Ill destroy natural area on White Pond Road

Indispensable for maintaining trees and more

Clearcutting and muck building and wetland encroachment for rental housing and small businesses on the way to the white pond in Akron are, I believe, harmful on many levels. Beauty and aesthetics are one thing. But in fact, we will destroy ourselves. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but I believe it’s true. The irony of the city honking on the Cuyahoga River Restoration at the Gorge dam and the inner belt while the destruction of critical habitat is hypocritical or naïve.

I’m converting my yard into a very natural environment that the city and developers will destroy. I don’t put my sheets because the leaf litter is required for creatures critical to our environment. I don’t use chemicals in my garden because the leaves are better.

The destruction of the White Pond property is more than trees. It is nature’s most essential and beautiful habitat. Maintaining these properties is critical to reclaiming the Cuyahoga River, Lake Erie, and many creeks, streams, and ponds. The vaunted benefits of “White Pond Preserve” pale in comparison to the present and future essential role the property plays in our overall quality of life. Like Cuyahoga Valley Beaver Marsh National Park, summit lake and the Cuyahoga River, if we do no more harm and minimal repair efforts, it will thrive to enhance life on many levels.

I realize that the train pulled out of the station on this project. In fact, I think those extra-large dump trucks coming into the property are now full to start the process. But I believe it will not only be a scar on the environment, but an emotional scar and on the quality of life for many people.

David Loar, Akron

LGBTQ advocates found at church

Conversion is a spiritual term. Yet in recent news stories about conversion therapy, spiritual well-being is the absent referent; it is danced but never explicitly mentioned.

On October 24, Akron joined Lakewood, Cleveland, Cleveland Heights and Kent in ban conversion therapy for kids. All of these towns in our region have thriving religious communities with Open and Affirmative Ministries who have long been supporters and protectors of queer youth.

We know that the undercurrent of the practice is religious in nature, but what is often missed is the deadly spiritual current. Individuals and families who are targeted by conversion therapy often live with intense spiritual anguish. I think of the mother of a transgender girl who, after attempting suicide, needed spiritual care and turned to religious leaders who responded by quoting rude passages. I think of a college student who was afraid to introduce her girlfriend to her parents because of the traumatic teachings of their family’s church. These examples, and others like them, are the reason I left my family’s tradition to join the United Church of Christ. The spiritual atmosphere was too toxic and the obstacles to providing affirmative spiritual care to those I loved and had been called to serve seemed insurmountable.

The spiritual wounds caused by deadly religious doctrines on gender and sexuality can take a lifetime, even generations, to heal. Spiritual care in the context of an affirming community saves lives. When our assertive spiritual communities are excluded from the narrative of practices such as conversion therapy, they are eclipsed by the heteronormative, homophobic, and transphobic mortal spirituality that makes their legal ban necessary in the first place. When this happens, the vital resources of our spiritual communities of affirmation go unnoticed. This must change.

Reverend Michael Anthony Howard of Akron, Minister of Faith in Action, Living Water Association, United Church of Christ

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