I feel angry for Curtis Mitchell and Sharon Edge and their family members ("Hazelwood Man Dies After 10 Calls to 911 Over 2 Days," Feb. 18). I too was undergoing a medical crisis as the recent snowstorm hit. As did others in our community, I lost power and have a baby who needed a nebulizer the Saturday of the storm. No power, no nebulizer.
Four-wheel-drive trucks were getting stuck on our street as well as other vehicles, including a salt truck. I remember thinking if I did call an ambulance it would have trouble getting to us. I felt helpless.
After some thoughts of desperation, my husband was able to use our vehicle to hook up the nebulizer so our child could breathe.
I can't imagine what Sharon Edge went through minute after minute waiting for help to arrive, watching her loved one slowly die.
There is no excuse for the paramedics who were only blocks away not to be able to walk to her house. Shame on them for not going those extra steps. They should be fired. I witnessed neighbors helping neighbors during this storm. For the ambulance to drop the ball and cost someone his life is inexcusable.
As snow and ice melt from our roads, the underlying pothole problem that the city faces becomes more and more evident. Day by day, the same salt that we use to clear our roads causes them to deteriorate more quickly. The plows and the traffic rupture the surfaces. In my 10 years of driving in Pittsburgh, this is the worst I have ever seen them.
The city's method of "patching" these holes has become so inefficient that they are often worse than they were as potholes. What used to appear to be small craters often seem to become small speed bumps in the road. Going over a group of filled potholes can be bumpier than if the city had not filled them at all.
We need to invest in more efficient ways of repairing potholes. A guy jumping out of a truck with a shovel and pouring some patch into a hole isn't going to cut it. I am confident that the city would actually save money in the long run by investing in better ways to tackle these problems. By investing in better materials to pave the roads from the beginning, we will save money in the long haul by having to repave roads less often. Some of the techniques and materials may seem costly at first, but the advantages will far outweigh the disadvantages.
Our infrastructure and our roadways in particular are a looming crisis that will most definitely affect the city's budget in the years to come. Dealing with these issues now, in a preventative way, will have a far greater impact than some of the methods currently being used.
While I enjoyed Kevin Kirkland's article on parking chairs ("Pittsburgh Residents Are Using Chairs, Different Items to Stake Out Parking Spots," Feb. 10), I have to wonder if he really lives in Pittsburgh since he was sooo wrong in his comments on parking chair etiquette.
Let's start at the beginning. The space in front of your house is yours, all four seasons, period. Other spaces not in front of any home are free for all. If you shovel a space, it is yours for as long as it is reserved with a chair, cone, etc., until such time that the snow is no longer a parking hindrance.
Taking a space that has been dug out/reserved is not OK for "an hour or two." When my wife comes home with our kids and a carload of groceries, I expect that the space that I've cleared (and salted) will be there for her and that she won't be lugging bags from a block away! Violate these unwritten rules in many Pittsburgh neighborhoods and you might just return to find that your car has been "disabled" in some way.
Finally, lest you think that all this snow has made me cold-hearted, I would urge people to help each other dig out, move second or unused cars away from congested areas and not throw the snow they clear into the streets. Because as we all know, it could be a loooong time before the residential streets see a plow.
PATRICK J. FIELD
Regarding U.S. Rep. John Murtha ("Veteran Lawmaker Dies at 77," Feb. 9): I prefer to remember Rep. Murtha -- as did Lockheed Martin in a full-page tribute ad in last Friday's Post Gazette -- for his 37 years in the Marine Corps and his service in Vietnam; support of our armed services; his campaign to reverse the incidence of diabetes and breast cancer, as well as major improvements to our national park sites across the country.
I'm sure no one was surprised by KQV's listeners poll, which chose to remember him as "the king of pork," as the views of that audience are always reflective of their conservative bias.
Upper St. Clair
We need God
How low will America sink before she realizes what her problem is? It's getting back to basics. Our forefathers and ancestors built our nation on godly principles: love, trust, humility, integrity, fear and reverence to our Almighty God. Need we be reminded of the words penned on our American coins, "In God We Trust"?
We have long forgotten about the long, hard struggles and blood, sweat and tears that our forefathers and ancestors endured to bring us to where we are today.
They had a strong belief and faith that God would keep America strong and in good standing with every other nation in the world. Today we have lost integrity and trust with so many of the nations that used to look to us for strength because of our strong faith in God. We have cast God aside; we no longer look to Him for wisdom, knowledge, guidance or understanding.
We forget that we are frail and that we are dust, yet we think we have all the answers or we look to the politicians for the answers for the economy, health care, jobs, etc. People, we're looking at the wrong folks. We need a life alert -- GOD. America needs help to get up; we need to go back to basics. "In God We Trust."
BETTY A. RICHEY
Time for hardball
In his State of the Union address and his Q-and-A session at a Republican meeting, President Barack Obama continued to stress the need for bipartisanship especially in the field of health care reform. Certainly the need has not been lessened by the election of "Senator 41" in Massachusetts.
The Republican response so far has been underwhelming. Most significant in my opinion has been the action of Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, who until last week put a hold on all outstanding Obama appointments, a display of blackmailing arrogance that is almost unbelievable even by current Washington standards.
I would like to see the president make recess appointments of those nominees still on hold by Sen. Shelby and others, not only to smooth the process of governing but also to show that he can play hardball, too, something that has not been too apparent so far.
I would like to take a minute and thank county Treasurer John Weinstein. For 15 years I obtained dog licenses for my three dogs. This past year, I lost two of my beloved pets (Miles and Inky), both 15 years old. Both died of old-age complications. Needless to say, I was heartbroken and deeply miss the both of them.
This year, when it was time to renew the license, I let Mr. Weinstein's office know that Miles and Inky had passed.
The other day, when I came home from work (tired and beat from this weather), there was a "card" from the county treasurer's office. I wondered, "what the heck could this be"?
I became overwhelmed as I read the card of condolences, which included a beautiful story on the passing of pets.
I am truly impressed with Mr. Weinstein's compassion and wanted to thank him for taking the time to remember Miles and Inky. This really meant a lot to this pet owner.
Mr. Cheney, go back to your bunker
Will Dick Cheney please go back into hiding and leave us all alone? His constant criticism and second-guessing of President Barack Obama has become tiresome, troublesome and totally unproductive.
It is no secret that he was the architect of one of the worst presidential administrations of our time. Iraq, anyone? And yet he goes out of his way to fault Mr. Obama for handling things such as the underwear bomber situation, even though it was OK under his regime. The facts are there for the public to see.
If he is trying to enhance the legacy of George W. Bush and himself, it is far too late for that. The history books will be all over their many failures. Mr. Cheney was a huge advocate in the use of waterboarding and other illegal methods to get terrorists to talk. Is there some kind of device out there that could serve to keep him quiet?