Letters: 'What in God's name is happening to the U.S.A.?' Responses to Ukraine sickening

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Comments supporting Russia's attack on Ukraine 'sickening'

How sickening it is to hear Donald Trump praise Vladimir Putin. Sickening, too, to hear former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praise the murderous dictator who is attacking Ukraine.

More: Condemnation, Biden blame: What Ohio officials, Senate candidates are saying about Ukraine

Sickening to hear congressional Republicans criticize President Biden instead of supporting him and the country.

Sickening also to have a talk show host, Tucker Carlson, to broadcast his support for Russia to millions of people.

What in God's name is happening to the U.S.A.?

Barbara Kussow, Columbus

Face masks depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump hang for sale at a souvenir street shop in St.Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016.
Face masks depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump hang for sale at a souvenir street shop in St.Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016.

'Just Jack' Hanna 'genial, passionate' and 'unpretentious' inspiring

I was the kid who never grew out of his animal phase.

At the confluence of animals and conservation was Jack Hanna: genial, passionate, and spit-out-your-soda hysterical. Jack’s lack of bravado and pride made him accessible. He made anyone think they could follow their dreams.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, it was my dream to be a zookeeper — to be close to animals and inspire people. This took me through high school (president of the environmentalist club), my very first job (Pittsburgh Zoo playground attendant), a zoology degree at The Ohio State University, and a seasonal (and eventually full-time) job at the Columbus Zoo on Jack’s team.

More: Jack Hanna, Columbus Zoo's Director Emeritus, has dementia, his daughters say

Even writing that sentence still seems otherworldly – I. Got. To. Travel. As. One. Of. Jack. Hanna's. Animal. Handlers.

He approached small-town Rotary clubs with the same investment as sold-out theaters; took as much time to connect with stage techs as he did news anchors. It didn’t matter to Jack – you were worth his time.

He ate lunch with event staff, not sequestered in a green room by himself. He ensured the animals were well-cared for (they always were).

He missed flights because he took extra time to make sure everyone got an autograph.

More: Columbus Zoo drops some animal vendors after Jack Hanna's inclusion in 'The Conservation Game' documentary

That passionate, adventurous, dedicated goofball you saw on TV, that’s who he was ‘round the clock. No pretense. No fakery. Just Jack. Jack Hanna made me the wildlife advocate I am today, and I am just one of the hundreds of thousands who can say the same.

Hardy Kern, Columbus

More school-based health care would help reduce student absenteeism

More can and must be done to address root causes of chronic absenteeism.

Recent data from the Ohio Department of Education shows about 15% of schools reported half of their students chronically absent during the 2020-2021 school year.

It’s hard for children to be academically successful when they’re not attending school regularly. So, why aren’t they at school? Research shows that 1 in 10 children miss more than 7 days of school due to illness or injury.

More: Letters: Absenteeism in schools was a problem before the pandemic; it's worse now

In fact, children with chronic health conditions or untreated medical needs, like asthma, tooth pain, or diabetes, are more likely to miss school.

No parent wants to see their child suffer and for many, the lack of transportation, health coverage, or time off from work, can make access to health services nearly impossible.

However, local examples exist of how communities have addressed these challenges: 100 school districts throughout Ohio provide school-based health care in partnership with parents, community providers, and local health systems; housing services where children are provided a clear pathway forward to re-engage students who have been disengaged in their learning due to health issues and ensure others do not fall off track.

More: Ohio schools struggle with spikes in chronic absenteeism during pandemic

It is a proven approach embraced by parents, health care providers, and local communities. For Ohio to successfully confront chronic absenteeism, expanding access to school-based health care services must be part of the solution.

Kelly Vyzral, Senior Health Policy Associate, Children's Defense Fund Ohio

More: How to submit a letter to the editor for The Columbus Dispatch

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Letters: How are Republicans reacting to Russia's attack on Ukraine?