VIEWPOINTS A10 • HILLTOP PRESS • DECEMBER 11, 2013 HILLTOP PRESS Editor: Dick Maloney, email@example.com, 248-7134 EDITORIALS | LETTERS | COLUMNS | CH@TROOM CommunityPress.com LaRosa’s dedicated to making a difference in community Cincinnati remains the 10th poorest city in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Carla, a Cincinnati resident who works 10-hour days, six days a week, while taking care of eight great-nieces and nephews counts on the extra help she receives from the Freestore Foodbank to care for and put food on the table for her family. “It’s a great help. It means a lot to me. It helps to stretch the rest of the food. The Freestore Foodbank means everything to me. It’s part of my survival,” she said. The holiday season is upon us, and our city must continue supporting those in need now and year-round. I am proud to live in Cincinnati and have much gratitude towards those organizations that devote their time, energy, and livelihood to help individuals and families in our city, especially the Freestore Foodbank. The poor and the struggling are our Michael neighbors, LaRosa COMMUNITY PRESS Carla is our neighbor. PeoGUEST COLUMNIST ple in our community must face the harsh reality of hunger and food scarcity daily. Even those that are fortunate enough to have jobs still struggle to make ends meet as the cost of food and expenses continue to increase. My family, our team members, and our guests have grown up in this community. To look at our neighborhoods – in our backyards, and see the struggles families have to face in order to make ends meet, is disconcerting. It is our responsibility to come together to help those in need. We as a community can work as a team to fight hunger. I regularly visit our 63 pizzerias, from our Boudinot Avenue location to Price Hill to Anderson Township to Forest Park, to meet with guests and team members, to listen to their stories about their families, their interests, their successes and sometimes, their hardships. While many families who frequent our pizzerias can afford a hot meal, I have heard of challenging times when putting food on the table was a struggle for them, their families or friends. During this holiday season, LaRosa’s is once again proud to support the Freestore Foodbank of Cincinnati to fight hunger right here in our own backyard. Serving more than 300,000 people annually in 20 counties across Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. The Freestore Foodbank is the Tristate’s largest foodbank distributing more that 19 million meals annually. The organization provides emergency food assistance to mre than 7,200 individuals per month from its Customer Connection Center in Over-the-Rhine alone. Each of our pizzerias ar selling Buddy Cards (our twofor-one pizza discount card) for the benefit of the Freestore Foodbank. We will donate $5 from the sale of every $10 Buddy Card directly to the Freestore Foodbank and the nourishment and comfort they provide to those who truly need help in our community. Ultimately, our contribution will help support the Freestore Foodbank’s annual goal to distribute 16.2 million pounds of food to meet our region’s growing demand. We hope you’ll join us in our efforts to surpass our 2012 effort of 7,000 cards sold for Cincinnati. Here’s how you can help: » Buy a LaRosa’s Buddy Card by Dec. 31. For a full list of locations, visit www.larosas.com. » Donate to the Freestore Foodbank of Cincinnati. Visit www.freestorefoodbank.org or www.thefoodbankdayton. Food brings people together and can build a community. No child, person or family should go hungry. Please join me and the LaRosa’s family in the fight against hunger. Together we can feed our neighbors in need. Michael T. LaRosa is chief executive officer of LaRosa’s Inc. Deregulation as an economic stimulus Howard Ain’s assessment of customer’s confusion about the deregulated marketplace of traditional utility service is accurate. However, a strategy that Mr. Ain did not address but truly does benefit residents and small businesses is for communities to adopt a governmental aggregation program. While an aggregation strategy may not eliminate all the harassment that takes place, residents are assured that the community has negotiated the price as well as the terms and conditions of service with a single alternative supplier. Local communities including the villages of Addyston and Cleves, the City of Cheviot and Green Township have imple- mented aggregation programs for the benefit of their residents. The elected officials should be commended for taking the Donald initiative to Marshall COMMUNITY PRESS implement aggregation GUEST COLUMNIST for the benefit of residents and small businesses. While many believe government should not be involved in such services, unfortunately state law is written in such a manner that local government must be involved so that the benefits of aggregation inure to residents. Aggregation results in lower rates since alternative suppliers assume a greater percentage of the populous will enroll resulting in greater load diversity that leads to lower rates. Aggregation programs allow all residents to benefit and receive the same price and terms of service but residents retain the choice to opt-out of the program. Eagle Energy endorses aggregation programs and would encourage more communities to adopt these programs for the benefit of residents. Eagle Energy administers the aggregation program of 11 communities and through September the residents of those communities have realized $3 million in lower utility rates. Aggregation programs are implemented without cost to residents meaning the realized savings translates into a $4 to $5 million local economic stimulus. Mr. Ain also mentions the PUCO website when comparing rates. The PUCO ignores the sales tax component of natural gas rates. Customers should make sure they are making a valid natural gas comparison when evaluating natural gas rates by including the 6.75 percent sales tax impact on any natural gas offer. Often alternative suppliers ignore this tax when quoting prices. Sales tax does not apply to electric rates. As a final note, the PUCO has issued revised rules for comment dealing with the manner alternative suppliers must abide by in the solicitation of customers and related matters. Eagle Energy in its comments suggested door-to-door solicitation be prohibited especially in communities that have adopted a governmental aggregation program. Eagle Energy also suggested in its comments that additional clarity be mandated when a utility and its marketing affiliate operate in the same serving area; e.g., Duke Energy and Duke Energy Retail Sales. Donald Marshall is president, Eagle Energy, LLC. He lives in Green Townhip. CH@TROOM Dec. 4 question What is your favorite Christmas/holiday song, TV show, movie or performance? Why do you like it? “My favorite Christmas song is a combination of ‘Peace on Earth’ and ‘Little Drummer Boy.’ It was a duet done by a unique collaboration of Bing Crosby and David Bowie. “My favorite movie has to be ‘A Christmas Story’ as it is timeless although set in the 1940s. It is repeated every year and watched by a new generation annually. Go figure!” T.D.T. “‘Father Christmas’ by the Kinks!” J.S.K. “’The Little Drummer Boy’ is a favorite because he hadn’t any material thing to give to Jesus, so he played for him, giving what he could give. The pa-rumpa-pum-pum is also a great onomatopoeia” performance: ‘A Christmas Carol.’” NEXT QUESTION Do you think Ohio legislators should approve a bill to allow back-to-school shoppers to buy certain items free of state and local sales taxes? Why or why not? Every week we ask readers a question they can reply to via e-mail. Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org with Chatroom in the subject line. church on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas, everyone!” R.W.J. “Albert Finney’s ‘Scrooge’ is our favorite holiday movie. It’s a musical version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and was made in the 1970s. It can be checked out at the local library. The best version of this story ever made!” C.H. TRog “My favorites are all the ridiculous and boring commercials because I know they end Dec. 26.” “‘White Christmas’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ are my two favorite Christmas classic movies, but nothing is better than singing ‘Silent Night’ at the end of our candlelight service at “Favorite song: ‘Snoopy and the Red Baron,’ favorite TV Show: ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,’ favorite movie: ‘A Christmas Story,’ and favorite D.J. HILLTOP PRESS A publication of O.H.R. “’Pine Tree! Coming into Pine Tree!’ ‘White Christmas!’ Best Christmas song, best Christmas performer, best Christmas movie. “Bing Crosby is the top of the Christmas triumvirate of Bing, Perry Como and Nat King Cole. And he didn’t need Auto Tune! The movie has great scenes, songs and classic performers. “Rosemary, Vera, Bing and Danny bring music, laughter, dance and that great warm and fuzzy Christmas spirit that we all seek this time of year. I’m sure everyone’s feelings about this movie are ‘Mutual, I’m sure!’” T.J.F. Nov. 27 question The Ohio House has passed a bill which would redefine self-defense and circumstances where the use of force trumps the duty to retreat to public settings, such as stores and streets. Under current law, residents need not retreat before using force if they are lawfully in their homes, vehicles or the vehicle of an immediate family member. Is this good legislation? Why or why not? “98 out of every 100 gun deaths are not caused by robbers, rapists and murderers? Wow, I’d like to know where those numbers came from. “As to armed guards not being in schools? Didn’t work out in Sandy Hook or any other gun free zone did it. Theater in Colorado ring a bell? “And white people being paranoid and prejudiced? Ever hear of the knockout game? It’s when you sucker punch some unsuspecting victim when they’re not looking to try and knock them out with one punch. It’s resulted in a few deaths also. One of the latest victims was an elderly white grandmother. It’s also called polar bear hunting. Why you may ask? Because the vast majority of perpetrators are black and their victims are white. Try looking it up on Youtube, seems the thugs like to film their activities. You only get the respect you earn, not the respect you demand or think you are entitled to. “No one is forcing you to buy, have, or carry a gun for protection. What gives you the right to take away or restrict my decision/right to protect my life? “No this bill doesn’t go far enough. It needs to exempt you from being sued in civil court by an ambulance chasing vul- 5556 Cheviot Road Cincinnati, Ohio 45247 phone: 923-3111 fax: 853-6220 email: email@example.com web site: www.communitypress.com ture If you are charged and found not guilty or not charged for protecting yourself or some other person’s life. “Guns save as well as take lives. Just as locks only keep an honest person honest. And bad guys aren’t going to pay attention to any gun laws, now, in the future or ever.” W.B. ABOUT LETTERS AND COLUMNS We welcome your comments on editorials, columns, stories or other topics important to you in The Hilltop Press. Include your name, address and phone number(s) so we may verify your letter. Letters of 200 or fewer words and columns of 500 or fewer words have the best chance of being published. All submissions may be edited for length, accuracy and clarity. Deadline: Noon Thursday E-mail: rmaloney@community press.com Fax: 853-6220 U.S. mail: See box below Letters, columns and articles submitted to The Hilltop Press may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms. Hilltop Press Editor Dick Maloney firstname.lastname@example.org, 248-7134 Office hours: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday See page A2 for additional contact information.