Dvorak true leader

Recent events of misconduct in Geauga County government make it clear that our county needs meaningful and effective leadership. Commissioners Spidalieri and Lennon provide that leadership. Geauga residents need to ensure that the third county commissioner also provides that leadership.

Jim Dvorak is the person to elect to the third commissioner’s seat. He has a proven track record of highly effective public service. He is centered, collaborative and level-headed in governing decisions. He has the strong character and integrity that Geauga residents expect and deserve.

Skip Claypool is not what Geauga County needs. Claypool’s wholly unimpressive tenure has been one of petty and pointless arguments, as well as alienating others.

Jim Dvorak is the right choice for Geauga County commissioner.

Justin Madden

Russell Township

Dvorak supports veterans

This letter is in reference to Jim Dvorak, a candidate for county commissioner and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Geauga County Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc.

The veterans group lasted 12 years before it was finished. Jim was a participant of the group every which way. It cost over $500,000 in hard costs and another $150,000 in donated costs. It was quite a project in itself.

The fundraisers were put on by the sheriff (the motorcycle runs), Pat Preston Chevrolet (a car auction which he donated to the fund), and Jim, himself, by coordinating the miscellaneous people to pile bricks on top of one another for a fundraiser. He conducted at least 10 of these outings himself. That in itself was amazing.

Jim was the one non-veteran to attempt to join, and did join, the group with a vote of the total board of trustees. They went out of their way to get him on the board at his insistence to make a way for the veterans.

The memorial is a veterans memorial. Jim was a part of the planning for it, funding for it and the execution of it.

We thank him personally, and hope to belie the statements about his involvement with the memorial.

Paul A. Newman

Chardon

Support Issue 3 in Chardon

On April 12, Chardon City Council unanimously voted to pass a Resolution of Support for the 3.9-mill operating levy for the Chardon Local School District. May I take a moment to share my personal reasons for supporting Issue 3.

I am a firm believer that a financially strong city and a financially strong school district are an absolute necessity in order to have a thriving community that families want to be a part of. One without the other will just not work.

As the former finance director for the city of Chardon, I understand how devastating state budget cuts can be. The state legislature cut $1 million in funding to Chardon schools in 2017/2018 and the district will continue to lose that funding every year thereafter. Passage of Issue 3 is needed to replace this lost funding from the state and prevent cuts that will eliminate programs and services to students.

Funds from Issue 3 will not be used for construction of new buildings or other capital improvements. It will only be used for the day-to-day operating costs of educating our children and grandchildren.

It was stated in the Resolution of Support from Chardon City Council that Chardon schools are ranked in the top 10 percent of Ohio schools. This is an outstanding achievement and something we should all be proud of. Please join me in support of Issue 3 on May 8 which is essential to the continued excellence and success of the Chardon Schools.

Jeff Smock

Chardon Mayor

Setting record straight

I am writing this memo to the citizens of Geauga to address some lies and very misleading information that has recently been published regarding the commissioners, and especially Walter “Skip” Claypool. Obviously, as Skip’s wife, it bothers me when people tell lies about him or plant “seeds of doubt” about him. However, more importantly since we are in the midst of an election, I believe it is vital that you are given facts so you can make an informed decision when you head to the polls on May 8. There are many with an agenda, and I trust you can sift that out.

I will be brief as the facts are simple. First – the commissioner’s office has limited jurisdiction and does not have management authority over other elected officials like the Auditor’s Office. And some of what occurs is legal and confidential in nature and can’t be talked about publically. For example, the recent alleged fraud that took place within the auditor’s function is outside the jurisdiction of the commissioners. This is a legal matter that our county prosecutor has responsibility to oversee and he has done so. The only role the commissioners play is to give the necessary financial support to the prosecutor so that he can properly and effectively address this issue. The commissioners have given the prosecutor their full support including whatever financial support is needed.

Second – Skip is a huge advocate for seniors. If you have any questions about this, please contact the director of the Department on Aging and she will give you facts. The truth is that Skip has been and continues to be an advocate for our seniors. There was a silly comment recently about Skip opposing the Chesterland senior center and this is simply factually incorrect.

There is no doubt that the commissioners, Skip included, take their responsibilities very seriously and you know this if you pay attention to the articles in the paper. He asks a lot of questions and does not simply support the status quo.

On a personal note, Skip is his own man. He is not afraid to stand up for what is right – what is best for the citizens of our great county. He is honest. One thing you can count on – he cares about the citizens of Geauga County – he cares about protecting our way of life and doing so without throwing money at everything. He works hard and takes his responsibility as a commissioner very seriously. Skip and I have raised five successful children and now have 10 wonderful grandchildren (all grandchildren are wonderful!) who simply adore their grandpa. He spends as much time with his mother as he can. I am not sure why people print the lies and misleading information that they do – but I can only surmise that they are very unhappy people and have a personal agenda of some sort. They are certainly not looking out for your best interests.

Pam Claypool

Chester Township

Retain Skip Claypool

Skip Claypool is my choice for Geauga County commissioner. My name is Jim Fincham. I am a professional soil scientist and feel like I know about half the people in Geauga County, having worked on many lots to describe soil profiles for purposes of designing septic systems.

I know Jim Dvorak from The Red Tulip project, where we are both directors of the Red Tulip Project of Geauga. I also know Walter (Skip) Claypool. I find Skip to be a very forthright, honest and hard working commissioner, who is very aware of the potential threats that exist relative to Geauga County issues. One is the UN Agenda 21 (which has morphed into many other titles since its inception in 1972).

It is an insidious plan to control the worldwide population by controlling our water supply. The plan is one that in my opinion is the “Covenant made with many for one week” mentioned in Daniel 9:27. One week is the equivalent of 49 years, being seven periods of seven years. The Covenant will cause “the overspreading of Abominations that make Desolate.” Controlling our water supply has the potential to make desolation all around us.

If in fact this is the Daniel prophecy, 1972 plus 49 years means the Agenda 21 plan matures in 2021. Skip is very well informed of this threat and he and the other commissioners are doing all they can to protect our county from the abuses posed by NOACA, the agency that wants to take our tax dollars and spend them for the benefit of Cuyahoga and other counties.

I have challenged Jim Dvorak to educate himself on this very important issue. He promised he would, just like he promised to attend every commissioners’ meeting since the beginning of the year to educate himself on the issues facing our county.

To my knowledge, Jim only attended two commissioners meetings and at last we talked he knew next to nothing about UN Agenda 21. Skip has a track record of working tirelessly in the role of commissioner of Geauga County. He is very well informed as to the issues and in my opinion is far better qualified and prepared to represent our county for the next several years.

Jim is a very capable individual also, who seems to be involved in many many public organizations. So many in fact he has not had time to prepare to be an informed commissioner. My vote is to sustain Skip Claypool in the position of commissioner of Geauga County.

Jim Fincham

Claridon Township

Open records important

I bet nearly all of us appreciate the founding fathers adopting the Bill of Rights, but they missed one. Had I been there squabbling over the issues with them, I bet I could have convinced them to add a sunshine bill to the bill of rights. However, likely had the Judge Timothy Grendell appointed park commissioner Andrej Lah been sitting beside me, I bet he would have been one of those fighting tooth and nail against those rights.

Just recently Mr. Lah received a good verbal spanking by the special master of the Court of Claims. One of Protect Geauga Park’s board members, Shelley Chernin, had filed a legal complaint with the court of claims because of the refusal of the Geauga park board to release a resident’s letter that Mr. Lah had read at an official park board meeting. It is obvious from reading the letter and listening to Mr. Lah’s comments at two board meetings the he was seriously mischaracterizing the letter and using it as an excuse to lambast Protect Geauga Parks. See for yourself by reading the woman’s letter, special master’s report and viewing the video of Mr. Lah at the April meeting on the Protect Geauga Parks website (protectgeaugaparks.us).

I’m guessing that had he been a founder, Mr. Lah would have been particularly vociferous in fighting against the First Amendment giving us the right of freedom of speech since he and the other commissioners have continued to not permit public comment or questions at commissioners meetings and any emailed questions to the board typically find their way into the park board’s black hole never to emerge again or be answered.

Time for a probate judge, park board and park director that appreciate the Bill of Rights and put their appreciation into action.

John G. Augustine

Parkman Township

Transparency matters

In regards to the Geauga Park District, its board of trustees and the probate Judge, it would appear that the lack of transparency which has permeated its relationship with the citizens of Geauga County since 2011 continues.

Why in the world does a special master of the Ohio Court of Claims need to recommend that the court issue an order for a copy of a letter from a board meeting from last Aug 8. So much time, energy and monies expended by the park board and private citizens on this exercise instead of simply “opening up meetings for public questions and comments.” Open dialogue is needed. The closed manner in which monthly meetings are now conducted insults not only the board, but also any one attending. The citizens of the county clearly have a right to ask questions in a civil manner and expect answers in a reciprocal manner.

We owe a huge “thank you” to Shelley Chernin and Protect Geauga Parks for their continued effort to “shine the light of transparency on the park district board, director and probate judge.”

Bill Franz

Bainbridge Township

No room for uninformed attacks

On April 14, I was fortunate to attend the “13th Annual Heroes for Andy” honoring the memory of Andy Nowacki, who gave his life in service to his country.

One of the heroes honored was Deacon Albert Jones, president of the Lake County NAACP. Deacon Jones was honored for his humanitarian service to his community, the people of Lake County, where he strives to better the community by bringing people together to “Begin the Conversation” where people from all walks of life can come together to engage in civil discourse and engagement for the betterment of the community.

This is one of the hallmarks of the Lake County NAACP.

Recently, Matt Lynch, a candidate for judicial office, attacked the Lake County NAACP as being a political organization and Judge Colleen O’Toole for being one of its board members.

His attacks against the Lake County NAACP are uninformed and designed to inflame people against a community-driven and responsible member of the community while at the same time disparaging Deacon Jones and the entire Lake County NAACP.

Mr. Lynch’s motives for attacking the Lake County NAACP and Judge O’Toole raise serious questions as to whether he is fit for judicial office since his attacks evidence racial bias and a complete disregard for the truth.

Judges are encouraged to engage with the community and be better educated about issues impacting the community and enhance the public’s trust and understanding of the courts. Judge O’Toole, like many of her colleagues, does this regularly and answers the call of Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor who calls on judges to do more.

Mr. Lynch’s bias and racist attitude make him unfit for judicial office. He also owes Deacon Jones and the Lake County NAACP an apology for his uninformed and malicious attack.

William K. Weisenberg

Westerville, Ohio

Support volunteer efforts

Thanks to Judge Lester Taylor, the Geauga County Historical Society began in 1873. He searched out longtime residents in each township to collect information. The Pioneer History was published in 1880 and is a gem for researchers with ties to Geauga County.

In 1941, Frances Paine Bolton donated 6 acres of land and two buildings, the Hickox Brick and the White Barn. Except for the Bond Building, all the other buildings were moved from locations in Geauga County.

Geauga County Commissioners have given no support for two years which has caused the staff to make significant changes. The buildings are a wealth of authentic information. I doubt that the commissioners have seen the changes.

Aren’t the commissioners the CEOs of Geauga County? What were they doing that they weren’t aware of the embezzled amount of over $3 million? Even $30,000 for the Historical Society would do wonders. There are very few paid staff members. All that is being done to create a Maple Museum of Geauga County is by volunteers.

Are the commissioners serious about closing Pleasant Hill? The commissioners purchased 300 acres of land, built a structure to house homeless, indigents and a wing for the insane. It was a working farm with a sugarbush.

Please join me in voting for Jim Dvorak whom I have known in the process of building the Veterans Memorial. He raised funds by organizing celebrity brick laying competitions. He is trustworthy, dependable and compassionate; sorely needed as a commissioner.

Dianne Kellogg

Claridon Township

Not seeing big picture

I have remained largely out of politics since my run for the Ohio State Senate and refocused on my career, but with the primary election only a few days away I wanted to remind everyone of what the past four years has held with Skip Claypool as commissioner.

Added fees to cover the lack of funding for our roads. Skip’s relentless attacks against NOACA have caused a loss of revenue to maintain our county roads. To make up for it, the county engineer had to ask for additional licensing fees on the people of the county.

USGS no longer monitoring our wells. Again, Skip on his own not seeing the forest through the trees, canceling the monitoring of our wells without a plan in place to pick up where the USGS left off.

Claypool and the Jones’ repeated lawsuits against the Geauga GOP. Claiming to be a Republican yet backing his friend Tom Jones who has repeatedly brought frivolous lawsuits against the GOP in the county, draining funds from the party that would have been better spent elsewhere.

If you look at everything Skip has done, all the trouble and mayhem he has caused the only conclusion a rational person can draw is that he never learned the phrase, “Look before you leap.” Always reacting without seeing the larger picture, digging the county deeper in debt and making enemies out of friends. That is the legacy of Skip Claypool.

Rob Allen

Geauga County

Support Solon school levy

The most pressing concern right now for all of us who live in Solon is the upcoming school levy on the May 8 ballot as Issue 8. Without the passage of this levy, major changes will need to be made in how our schools operate. If you are like our family, the excellent public education in Solon was one of the main reasons you moved here. Please don’t let this change. Get out and vote in favor of the levy on May 8.

Andrea and Matt Morrison

Solon

Support Solon schools

On May 8, voters in the Solon City School District will be asked to support an operating levy that will help maintain the district’s strong reputation for student achievement.

In fact, Solon students have earned Ohio’s No. 1 report card for achievement three years in a row. They rank among the best in the state, and even nationally, in academics, athletics and other extracurricular activities.

The 8.5-mill incremental operating levy would be phased in over two years and cost approximately $241 for every $100,000 in property valuation. The district would recapture 1.6 mills of retired bond debt in the first year at no additional cost to taxpayers and add 6.9 mills beginning in 2020.

These funds are critical for the district, which continues to see less from the state. Without them, deeper cuts will impact students. Already, district leaders have made significant reductions.

As you prepare to vote, remember that your investment in public schools helps both students and communities achieve.

Dr. Kathy McFarland

Ohio School Boards Association

Columbus

Support senior living project

I’ve been living in Solon for 22 years and love it. I raised my family here and want to stay here. Right now my options are limited, but Issue 14 can change that. Issue 14 is privately funded and will provide independent living, assisted living and a memory care unit. This will give me options in the future to stay in Solon as my needs could change. There is no cost for this option, and will bring tax dollars to the city.

I am voting yes for Issue 14, so should you.

Steve Goldberg

Solon

Predicting traffic jams

I attempted to be diplomatic in a previous letter expressing concern about the city of Solon permitting a fast food Chick-fil-A to locate on the corner of Solon Road and Kruse Drive sandwiched between Burntwood Tavern and the new Rose Italian Kitchen.

After reading Solon Mayor Edward Kraus’ effusive praise of Chick-fil-A, I feel there are a number of serious issues City Council committees, the Solon Planning Commission and finally city council as a whole must consider. Apparently Mr. Kraus subscribes to the potentially bad development is still better than (temporarily) no development doctrine.

Chick-fil-A is a popular fast food franchiser and chain restaurant because they have an attractive menu, good management and clean stores. What they don’t seem to be as concerned about though is the traffic problems their stores cause once they open for business.

In Willoughby, traffic often backs up onto Euclid Avenue because of their drive-thru. I recently observed a Chick-fil-A in Savannah, Georgia, where the drive through line completely lapped the building at 6 p.m. The Warrensville Heights location experienced traffic pattern issues when it opened. Motorists and pedestrians still have to be very cautious navigating that property because of the drive-thru.

Ingress and egress to the proposed location in Solon (on the site of the former Panini’s) can only be granted off the already too narrow Kruse Drive. A new curb cut on Solon Road so close to the Route 91 intersection is too dangerous.

Planning Director Rob Frankland’s published comments appear to express much more caution and concern about that location than that of the mayor. That is probably because he realizes the issues the poorly planned traffic pattern at the busy Starbucks off Aurora Road continue to cause.

While Mr. Kraus gushes at the thought of Chick-fil-A serving “30,000 people who work in the city who do not have a lot of time for lunch” he apparently has given little thought to the “forever” traffic issues a high volume fast food operation will cause in the wrong location at least ten hours per day. Just imagine if only 5 percent of them try to converge on that location during lunchtime and then again during the evening rush hour.

Hopefully the Planning Commission and City Council will realize this and not make the same planning errors of the past. Someone with the city needs to also express concerns to Chick-fil-A upfront so they may not feel they had the rug pulled out under them at the 11th hour like what happened when McDonald’s wanted to build on the corner of SR 91 and 43 a few years ago. In the end city council nixed that plan because of real traffic issues at that busy intersection.

Robert Paulson

Bainbridge

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