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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, September 24, 2017 1:00 am

Letters to the editor

Wake-up call on climate

Houston and Florida, we hear you loud and clear.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have stunned a nation asking itself how it will face the next big one. Fact is, climate change is making high-intensity storms significantly more likely. Now is the time for a better plan.

This is why I will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with Sen. Joe Donnelly and Rep. Jim Banks.

I will ask each of them to oppose dangerous cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency's budget, including cuts to climate change programs and other crucial health protections. Think oil spill prevention, toxic cleanup, chemical safety, Superfund emergency response and drinking water safety are important? You bet.

Just ask the millions of residents in southern states affected by unprecedented flooding.

Yet, President Donald Trump is defying common sense by proposing cuts to the very agency addressing these public health threats in Houston and elsewhere.

With a vote coming this month in Congress, our elected leaders in Indiana and every other state must fiercely defend the EPA's budget and the agency's ability to respond to extreme weather events – made worse by climate change – and the extremely toxic aftermath.

Rev. Kimberly Koczan

Fort Wayne

Red Cross inefficient

The American spirit can once again be seen. When a portion of our country is being destroyed by a natural disaster, we can count on the American people to unite and offer help. We are seeing this with the hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida.

Thank you for the outpouring of love.

What I question is the number of TV and radio stations that support and advertise an organization that rips off those who give.

Either they are in collusion with the organization; they just don't know the facts; are afraid of repercussions if the station goes against the flow; or just don't care.

I know the Red Cross is big business and sponsors many events, but the last audit conducted revealed that the Red Cross gave only 39 percent of the gifts received to those in need.

The Red Cross claims 91 percent of the money received goes to individuals. Bloomberg, NPR and ProPublica investigated.

Bloomberg reported, “Not only is the charity less than transparent with how it has used donors' money, it has been intentionally misleading. Its claim that 91 cents of every dollar goes to disaster victims was called 'not true' by NPR and ProPublica. The organization (Red Cross) even went so far as to say its spending practices were 'a trade secret' ” – implying they were not open for audit.

A legal matter is pending.

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy in 2012, reporters at ProPublica and NPR teamed up to do an investigation on the effect of Red Cross disaster relief outreach in areas affected by those storms. What they found was unimpressive and suggests you're better off finding a smaller local charity to send your money to.

Let us be wise stewards with the blessings we have been given. Don't be swayed by the ads of radio and TV personalities. Do the research; make every penny count.

Dr. J.R. Cotter

Fort Wayne