Dispatch.com regularly will post letters to the editor that don't make it to print in The Dispatch. Unlike letters to the editor that appear in the newspaper, Web-only letters have not been edited.

Dispatch.com regularly will post letters to the editor that don't make it to print in The Dispatch. Unlike letters to the editor that appear in the newspaper, Web-only letters have not been edited.

West Nile

Thank you for reporting on the identification of West Nile-infected mosquitoes in Licking County this week. The Ohio Public Health Association and a number of other Public Health stakeholders have worked diligently over the past year to help get the identification and testing program back up and running at the Ohio Department of Health. We sincerely believe this is a basic Public Health function and one that is best provided at the State level.

We'd also like to thank the legislature for agreeing that this is an important and necessary program, and for designating the funds in the State budget to support it. Thanks also go to Governor Kasich for signing the bill including the funds - in spite of a desire to keep spending low. The most important thanks go to the Ohio Department of Health interim director, Lance Himes and staff for working so quickly to put the funds into use as soon as possible after the July 1 budget year began. In this day of government delays, inefficiency and confusion - it is refreshing to see a State agency work so well and so quickly to reinstate this important statewide, comprehensive program. From July 1 to the publication of your article on June 23 - they've got the program up and running, are receiving specimens and have already identified their first West Nile infected mosquitoes, allowing the Licking County Health Department to focus their education and intervention efforts.

Licking County Health Commissioner Joe Ebel and his staff are also to be complimented - in their quick action to get the specimens to the ODH and then in acting to prioritize their prevention efforts accordingly. His comments in your article were truly on point!

This is how Public Health is supposed to work. And we're thankful it is.

Lois Hall, Columbus

Mideast situation

You know, what is happening in Gaza is a real tragedy. No one likes to hear of innocent people being killed, especially women and children. The pictures coming out of Gaza are very disturbing. However think of this, during WWII the U.S. killed thousands and thousands of innocent Germans and Japanese. Who was responsible? Who started the aggression, Hitler and the Nazis and Tojo and his military radicals. Without the action mainly of these two men, millions of people would not have died. When the Japanese killed Americans at Pearl Harbor, we retaliated. We were fortunate that they weren't bombing or rocketing the main land. What would we do if Canada or Mexico started lobbing rockets toward New York City or even Cleveland. We would to the same thing that Israel is doing, and innocent civilians would be killed. You cannot provoke and not expect retaliation. War is war and this is the results.

Charlie M. Miller, West Jefferson

Obama's work

I watched and read various news stories this weekend about the flow of illegals into America and one thing kept coming to mind. Obama keeps selling us the sad story that we need Billions of dollars to help these people. Where is this inept leader of ours when it comes to helping our people.There are more people within areas of our cities in America that need to cross the city boarders to get a safer life.Look at what is happening with crime and murders in Chicago and Columbus,to name two city war zones. I don't have an answer to the crime within our cities, but I am not the leader of this country.Our cities are becoming war zones and our boarders just a line on a map and our leader is doing political fund raiser and golf outings. When Obama was running for office he said he wanted to fundamentally change this country,well he has managed to do that plus the rest of the world for the worse. Examples:

Commercial Planes are being shot down, Russia taking over other countries, Middle East is on fire and illegals coming into this country in busses and various Government agencies using unfettered power to circumvent our Constituional rights. How can anyone in their right mind say this country is better now than it was six years ago.

Dick Alexander, Pickerington

Appointing ambassadors

For decades, Republican and Democratic presidents have routinely appointed political supporters rather than professional diplomats to ambassador posts around the world. To reward successful fundraisers is a time-honored practice in American politics (Reagan did it!), but for at least two reasons it’s time to stop that nonsense.

First, it is not in the best interest of America to send individuals abroad who are ignorant of the language and culture of a foreign country. Recent nominees include Noah Bryson Mamet who has never been to Argentina, and George J. Tsunis who was oblivious of Norway’s political system. Being a political ally and rich donor should never qualify an individual for receiving ambassadorial appointments. It is not only “a national embarrassment,” in the words of Senator John McCain, it can also have serious national-security implications.

Second, one-fourth of the 169 nations where the U.S. has embassies are currently without ambassadors, as reported by the Dispatch on July 20. Forty-three nominees are awaiting confirmation by the full Senate, among them numerous political supporters of Obama. It should come as no surprise that there is strong GOP opposition to many of them. Some nominations have been stalled for over a year. As a result, there are prolonged vacancies in countries and continents around the world. For example, the absence of American ambassadors in 13 African states is impeding American counterterrorism efforts there. If career officers and experts in International Studies and Business were nominated rather than political cronies, the Senate might be more willing to expedite the confirmation process.

America needs qualified, experienced ambassadors whose lives are dedicated to public service, not uncommitted clowns who don’t know what’s at stake. It should not be impossible for Democrats and Republicans to agree on that and to discontinue the unfortunate practice of rewarding campaign donors with ambassadorships.

Thomas Wolber, Delaware

Reynoldsburg teachers

I am a resident of Reynoldsburg with one student in the school system, and one who recently graduated as a valedictorian. You accurately summarize the School District's position regarding the important issue of teacher compensation. However, there is two sides to ever story (here the teachers' side), and when it comes to schools, there is often three sides (the parents' side). Please allow me to suggest a few elements of the discussion you left out.

Reynoldsburg Schools leaders would prefer to give large bonuses or incentive to teachers whom they decide should receive it. In schools, what works to educate students should be shared and used as a collaborative model. Under this compensation plan, something new or distinctly effective will become proprietary. Nobody will share the secret to something that will garner them an additional $30,000. This insures that students are even more subject to the randomness of teacher assignment, when the goal should be to minimize the effect of teacher assignment on academic performance.

Fifty some teachers have left Reynoldsburg Schools this summer. Many were concerned over the uncertainty of how they would be compensated in the future. This turnover is only the beginning. Reynoldsburg Schools will see frequent and massive teacher turnover if the Thomas-Manning proposal is implemented. Without health insurance and structured compensation systems, Reynoldsburg will be filling vacancies with inexperienced teachers who will, once they gain some experience, leave Reynoldsburg Schools for a more structured compensation system in another school system.

The health insurance approach alone means that experienced teachers with dependents (spouses and children) will self select out of Reynoldsburg Schools. That restricts the teacher pool to younger more transient teachers who will be more likely to leave. This proposal is so out of step with the reality of mainstream teacher compensation that it must be a bargaining chip that school leaders will give up to make headway on their merit pay proposal.

All of these incentives for teachers to leave Reynoldsburg Schools would create a school system perpetually in transition. That is not good for the School District, the teachers on the move, the ever changing curriculum, the students who need some predictability, or stressed out parents. While it is true that Reynoldsburg Schools has been an innovative school system in recent years, on these proposals, they have outsmarted themselves by half.

Tom Drabick, Reynoldsburg

Is it art?

I enjoyed the article in the Sunday Travel Section, "Untraditional Art Fare Explored". It describes how 16 people sit down at a "farmhouse" table, in an exhibit space, and eat off of an artist's pottery. Fine so far! The art in this scenario, however, is "created by the experience; the people who are eating are works of sculpture". An integral element of this type of art, the article explains, is how the experience is about "breaking down any sense of elitism". And all of this non-elitism, for only $150 a person! In a place and time where most folks cannot even consider spending $150 for a meal (or an experience), I wonder if we even understand the meaning of elitism, at all.

John Vogelpohl, Galloway