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Good experience with VA converts a hospital critic

A few months ago I wrote criticizing the Veteran’s Administration hospitals. I based the letter on conversations I had had with veterans and an extremely unpleasant visit to a VA hospital in another state that my family had made years before.

In the following weeks I saw letters from veterans defending the VA hospital and speaking of the excellent care they received there.

I was recently honored to assist a family friend, a Vietnam veteran, as he went to the Fort Wayne VA hospital for a cancer screening. I was impressed by the friendliness of the staff, many of whom were veterans themselves.

Everywhere in the hospital we found friendly employees and patients who greeted my friend and took the time to speak to him.

I withdraw my objection to the VA hospital and apologize to the workers who give our veterans the care they deserve. I also withdraw my suggestion that the VA hospitals close and that the veterans be treated instead at regular hospitals. It was my impression that the VA hospitals were unnecessary because they did not have enough patients and that the patients could just as easily be treated in other hospitals.

I was wrong. The people working there understand the problems facing veterans. They have a unique understanding others can only try to have.

Thanks to the VA for the excellent care they gave my friend and others who go there.

And my friend passed his test – no cancer.


Crack down on lawbreakers, not law-abiding gun owners

I’m 73 years old. I was raised around guns, and I’m a certified Indiana hunter safety instructor. I own several and I have never seen one jump up and shoot somebody.

We need to expand the laws and increase the punishment for the criminal element.

In my opinion we should have a national concealed-carry permit that’s good everywhere in the USA along with mandatory gun-handling training.

We need to require that the federal government agencies that do the background checks do their job correctly and with efficiency.

It saddens me about the kids getting shot all around this country, but the problem is a people problem and not a gun problem. Our governments (federal, state, city and county) need to recognize this and do something about it. Until then it will sadly continue to happen.

Our society has gotten so messed up with being politically correct and not offending people it’s scary.

Simply put, the United States of America needs to wake up and use common sense in dealing with this problem.

MICHAEL G. RADKE Columbia City

Archaic parking meters impede downtown business

I recently went downtown to JK O’Donnell’s for lunch. My co-worker and I were seated immediately, and I asked our server for change so I could feed the meter. She said, “You better hurry; that one circles the block over and over and will ticket you in a flash.”

I had been inside the restaurant for less than two minutes. I went directly out to the meter. Lo and behold, backing up right in front of my car was the meter reader’s SUV. As I placed the money in the meter, she sped off.

I had a great lunch and told the server what I had observed. She told me that if they park on the street for work they have to feed the meter on the hour. That goes for most downtown restaurant employees.

City officials want downtown patronage, they like the revenue, and yet we still feed meters on an hourly basis to avoid the meter maid. I travel to Indianapolis often and really like the updated credit card meters. They allow more than an hour parking (which most times is necessary).

Why isn’t there a better deal for workers downtown who are forced to park at a meter? And why is this city so challenged when it comes to coin-feeding meters? It’s archaic and ridiculous. If Fort Wayne wants business downtown it should come up with a plan that doesn’t frustrate the masses. It might see some improvement in the numbers eating downtown over lunch.