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KATIE Brotherton, 25, has degrees from Miami University in Ohio and Xavier University. But after seven years of undergraduate and post-graduate study, she has $188,307.22 in student loan debt.

She said this forces her to hold a full-time and a part-time job while living in her parent's basement.

"Due to reckless neglect, student debt will be

the financial ruin of my generation, and there is an incredible need for a public discourse addressing this reality and its grave consequences," she wrote in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Americans do need to talk about this. Over the years the higher education industry has enjoyed a boom because of cheap student loans. Fueled by this supply of cheap money, tuition soared.

Now people like Brotherton are struggling with payments.

That $188,307.22 debt she owes for college represents a mortgage that she cannot take out. Brotherton is a well-educated basement dweller.

But students signed up for the loans. They benefit from the education lenders financed. They are responsible for paying it back.

Taxpayers can't bail out millions of students.

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WOODROW Wilson Crockett was born and raised near Texarkana, Ark., in 1918 and attended a one-room schoolhouse where both of his parents taught. Unable to afford college, he joined the military in 1940, earning the infamous $21 once a month.  

The U.S. military paid pilots $245 a month, so Crockett joined the Tuskegee Airmen program, the first black flying unit.

He fought discrimination so he could fight the Axis Powers. POWs were treated better than he was.

Still, Crockett flew 149 combat missions in World War II and 45 more in the Korean War. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1970.

His honors included the Soldier's Medal for rescuing drowning pilots, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal, five awards of the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and two awards of the Air Force Commendation Medal.

He and other Tuskegee Airmen received the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 2007.

Crockett died last month having left behind good advice for us all: "You just have to have perseverance," he said. "Set your goal and go for it.

"Hell, if you wait for the playing field to get level, you may not do anything."

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OHIO Division of Wildlife officials report a boom in the Buckeye State's black bear

population. Last year there were 152 bear sightings in Ohio — a fivefold increase from the 30 bear sighting 13 years earlier.

The bears are refugees from Pennsylvania and West Virginia, states saturated with black bears.

"They're just like teenage boys," Ohio state wildlife research biologist Suzie Prange told the Wheeling

Intelligencer. "They're out there on their own for the first time and they're looking for a girlfriend."

Bears are a little like humans. Over the years, thousands of West Virginians have moved to Ohio in search of food and a place to live. Now our bears are moving there.

In 1979, the Daily Mail launched its Save Our Bear campaign after the state's bear population had dwindled to 500. Today, there are easily more than 10,000 black bears in the woods.

Terrible situations can be changed. Now to do the same with the state's economy.

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REUTERS estimated that GM loses $49,000

for each Chevy Volt it sells. Fortunately, sales to date this year are only 13,500, or about one-third of the 40,000 Volts GM hoped to sell.

Taxpayers still own 32 percent of GM in lieu of the company paying back all of the $50 billion bailout. Taxpayers also lose money because they provide a $7,500 tax credit to people who buy Volts.

"There are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce," Reuters reported.

GM disputed the report but would not say how much money it loses on each car sold.

Americans do want electric-gasoline hybrid cars. Sales rose 65 percent in this market in August. It's just that customers prefer Toyota over Chevy. The Prius accounts for 57 percent of the sales.

Given the availability of other hybrids that sell well, there is no reason for taxpayers to subsidize the Chevy Volt, a car Americans do not seem to want.


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