Thank you to student volunteers

Special thank you to the Hambden Grange for once again providing free lunches to the 370 sixth-graders who participated in the Geauga Learn Program at the Great Geauga County Fair. The Hambden Grange has generously provided lunches to the students attending the Geauga Learn Program at the fair for over 10 years. The men and women of the Hambden Grange represent outstanding commitment to the community that makes Geauga County such a great place to live and raise a family.

Diane V. Grendell

Chester Township

Support for school system

I have thoughts on two letters to the Times recently. Patrick Gallagher wrote a thoughtful letter about efforts to reduce COVID-19 transmission. He addressed five claims made on the subject with facts and sources and did not find the need to call people names. This letter supports an old idea that society should have rules to protect students from harm. The other letter by Caroline Smith was much different. In her comments on critical race theory, she calls it a neo-Marxist theory that divides society. The letter does not reflect that CRT theory is not taught at any local schools and is only discussed in graduate level studies. It then infers that our children will be expected to accept a worldview that is not even mentioned in their schools. This letter follows the ugly national trend suggesting that any efforts to address diversity and COVID-19 are making us victims.

School board meetings around the country have been disrupted by people wanting to eliminate rules that protect students and staff from a disease and to add rules protecting students from ideas. Give our students some credit; they are not afraid of new ideas and are taught to evaluate them rationally. Our students deserve better, and I am glad that the Chagrin schools have the courage to address these issues. These schools and teachers have earned our trust with outstanding results. At the Chagrin Falls Board of Education meeting on Sept. 1, I was relieved to hear that most of the attendees support our school system’s approach on these issues. There is nothing wrong with helping our students stay healthy and to understand that people outside of our community may have different life experiences and values.

Gary Welch

Chagrin Falls

Praise for student program

The Geauga Learn Program returned to the Great Geauga County Fair this year for 370 sixth-grade students from Kenston and West Geauga schools. With the help of many dedicated volunteers, Geauga Learn provided these students with lessons in agriculture, natural resources, Geauga County history and military history. The Hambden Grange, once again, provided free meals for the students. Mike Blair from the fair board was instrumental to the success of this wonderful educational day at the fair.

Special thanks to the superintendents and teachers of the Kenston and West Geauga schools, fair board, staff from the Geauga County Probate/Juvenile Court and Sheriff’s Office for being a part of this special program – started over 10 years ago by then-State Representative (now Judge) Tim Grendell and then-Judge (now State Representative) Diane Grendell. All in all, it was a great learning opportunity for the kids, and a fun day for all at the Great Geauga County Fair.

Timothy J. Grendell

Chester Township

Remember those lost in 9/11

On Sept. 11, 20 years ago, 2,977 Americans died in the most horrific terrorist attack on our homeland in modern times. Most were ordinary people, just like you and me. Mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sons, daughters. They went to work on a sunny September morning and never returned.

Of those individuals, 403 of them were police officers, firefighters and port authority officers who ran toward an inferno to try to save strangers. They never returned. 7,054 American servicemen and women answered the call to defend their country in Iraq and Afghanistan. They never returned. Four hours was the length of the ceremony at Ground Zero last Saturday to read the names of the dead, honor their memories and acknowledge their sacrifices. One is the number of former presidents who didn’t show up to honor these heroes.

Lori A. O’Neill

Bainbridge Township

Trustee candidate lacks experience

Russell Township is having an election on Nov. 2 in which two trustees will be elected. There are three candidates, and the two top vote-getters will be elected for the next four years. Two of the candidates are somewhat familiar to the voters: Jim Mueller, the 12-year incumbent, and Matt Rambo, an attorney and former magistrate in the courts for seven years, now in private practice. The third candidate is a fellow named Chris Hare, a 19-year-old college student who lives at home with his parents, and has no experience at budgeting (a most important skill for anyone in public office) and has had no apparent private industry work experience as a postgraduate.

While Chris is a pleasant sort of guy, everybody in Russell should question if you want to trust someone with no budgeting experience with a $7.6 million operating budget, and oversight of the police, fire, EMT and road departments. Chris might be a credible candidate in 10 years, because, as Winston Churchill said, “Life experience is the foundation of leadership.” See you in 10 years, Chris.

James Mueller

Russell Township

Searching for solution

Many of you may have read the account of the ongoing litigation between Kelly’s Working Well Farm and Bainbridge Township. It is a long and complex story, though simple solutions are available.

At the start, we were taken aback by the aggressive actions taken by the township. Choosing to come onto the farm over a month after their first visit, knowing that children were present, with local and state officials, including law enforcement and ambulances in which to place those children, is the most egregious example.

Since then, Bainbridge has resisted our efforts to resolve the citations against the farm. Though we maintain the educational programming in question did not fit the broad definition of “fee-based instruction” used by Bainbridge to define a private school, we have been willing to accept their position, removing the program from the farm and submitting a signed affidavit that a similar program will not be hosted by the farm unless and until proper approval is obtained. Even with this basic condition, the sole justification for the citation, removed, Bainbridge officials have continued to hold us bound by a citation that is literally impossible to resolve. They are aware that our farm buildings are not eligible for occupancy permits or inspections by the Geauga County Building Department, the Ohio State Fire Marshal or the Division of Industrial Compliance, and yet they continue to insist that such permits and inspections be obtained. We have abated each element of the citation to the best of our ability, even to the extent of bringing in architects and engineers and presenting sealed plans, but the requirements for permits and inspections remain. We don’t understand their refusal to work with members of their own community whose motivation is to provide a place for adults and children to learn where their food comes from and valuable life-sustaining skills.

We are now about to launch a capital campaign to raise funds to construct a building on the farm to host community events and educational programming that align with our mission. In order to realize our plans, we will need to work with Bainbridge, and we hope that zoning officials and members of the Bainbridge Board of Trustees will be willing to work with us. We look forward to sharing our vision with the wider community in the weeks and months ahead.

Kelly Clark

Bainbridge

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