Letters to the editor

Stealing signs leads to division

One of the great things about our country is the right to freedom of speech and the ability of citizens to voice support for favored candidates during our democratic election process.
However, a recent rash of thefts undermine that freedom by creating an unsanctioned form of censorship.
In the past week, many Pickerington residents have found yard signs supporting the presidential campaign of Barack Obama and Joe Biden stolen from their property. Signs supporting the McCain-Palin ticket remain standing.
Many of the stolen signs were distributed by the city’s recently opened Obama campaign office, which has only received a limited number of these items and maintains a long waiting list for them.
Obama signs are hard to come by for a couple of reasons.
First, the senator is putting his resources into grassroots organizing by opening community offices in the state (such as Pickerington’s) rather than spending excessive funds on campaign paraphernalia.
Furthermore, unlike the McCain campaign, all of Barack Obama’s support materials are union-made, which leads to increased production time due to the limited number of authorized producers. This is simply to say that when Obama signs go missing they are not easily replaced.
Perhaps most disappointing of all is that the theft of something as seemingly trivial as yard signs only leads to further political division.
This is an exciting time for our community and our nation to come together for common goals. Unfortunately, the disrespect shown by swiping signs sends a clear "us vs. them" message that only serves to drive a wedge between us.
I ask the members of our community to please rise above petty acts such as these. Let’s be respectful of one another’s differences while recognizing all that we hold in common. After all, that’s what makes the United States of America – and Pickerington in particular – a great place to live.

Aaron Maurer
Pickerington Campaign For Change Neighborhood Volunteer

Balloon launch raises awareness
As many of you now know, in recent weeks our family has established at OSU the Mary Ann Kirkby Living with Lung Cancer Fund.
Administered and directed by the Pulmonary Medicine Division of the OSU Medical Center, the Fund seeks to broaden and deepen awareness of the severity of lung cancer, and also to provide resources and support for the benefit of patients and their families.
With a five-year survival rate of only15 percent, and the many thousands of those afflicted, lung cancer looms as perhaps the deadliest of all cancers. Funding and other public support for lung cancer victims lags behind other forms of cancer.
At the Sept. 19 football game between PHSC and PHSN at Crew Stadium, our fund was recognized as we prepare to boost National Lung Cancer Awareness Month with a Saturday, Nov. 1, 11 a.m. balloon launch at Bloch Cancer Survivors park, NE corner of Lane Avenue. and Olentangy River Road, on the OSU campus.
Contributions of any amount are sought to honor or memorialize friends and loved ones who have been, or are currently, facing the challenge of cancer, particularly lung cancer.
Gifts are made to OSU and earmarked for the Kirkby Fund. Our family receives no financial benefit, does not name fund recipients, nor directs the specific uses of monies raised.
Over 2,000 fliers about the upcoming balloon launch were distributed, primarily to adults, at Crew Stadium. We are now in the process of placing fliers, with return tear off forms, in all the PLSD schools.
We hope very much that you will be able to participate with us on Nov. 1. You can do this either in person or have a member of our family launch a balloon for you.
A balloon will be released, and the name read publicly, for each person honored/memorialized at the ceremony.
Please watch for further information in the days and weeks ahead. Contact either of us at (614) 837-1731 or lmjkirkby@aol.com if you have questions or desire additional information.
If you wish to sponsor a balloon in someone’s honor you may:
• Put the flier’s tear off form, or other written note, in an envelope and send it by school mail to Lynn (PHSN) or Mary Ann (Ridgeview). We will be glad to deliver your envelope to the people at OSU arranging the event.
• Call or write: Kim Collins, Medical Center Development, at (614) 293-4927, kim.collins@osumc.edu.
• Make a gift online by going to  www.giveto.osu.edu/igive/onlinegiving, type in "KIRKBY" in the search field, press go, select the Mary Ann Kirkby Living with Lung Cancer Fund and proceed! 
Thanks for helping to make the lives of lung cancer patients and families, indeed, more livable.

Mary Ann and Lynn Kirkby
Pickerington

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