Court making improvements

I wonder if residents understand what improvements Geauga County Juvenile Judge Tim Grendell has overseen in the juvenile court? The juvenile court has carefully spent thousands of dollars to ensure families in crisis can continue to see their children. Under the leadership of Judge Grendell, in just the last 18 months, Geauga County parents have been able to spend more than 800 additional hours with their children through the court’s supervised visitation program.

Judge Grendell recently created the court’s Help Center, a place where families who cannot afford legal representation can get free legal information to help them better navigate the court system. Also, under the judge’s direction, the court’s Case Management Program was created to help families access much needed treatment for both mental health and drug abuse earlier in the court process.

Judge Grendell donates time and money to support local programs. He has spend more than $10,000 of his own money on programs such as Geauga Learn, NAMI, Bainbridge Safety Town and has supported 4-H students.

Finally, I’d like to share a quote from Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. “Judges have to be able to … participate in educational opportunities and promote their court’s work.” It seems to me that is exactly what Judge Tim Grendell is doing.

The Rev. Morris Eason

Chagrin Falls

Rescind coal, nuclear bailout

The pollution promoting coal and nuclear bailout law adopted in July is a betrayal of our trust in state government. It would worsen the climate change devastation, increase electricity costs, displace lower cost generators with mismanaged coal/nuclear facilities, place at risk thousands of Ohio jobs, cripple Ohio’s ability to participate in the fast-growing green energy/energy-efficiency sectors and prolong exposure to the remote risk of radioactive catastrophe at nuclear plants with a history of serious safety lapses. By subsidizing coal and nuclear electricity generation, the law places at risk our health and our future. Efforts are underway to obtain signatures for a referendum to rescind this law. Take democracy back from a gerrymandered state government beholden to utilities and coal mine operators. Sign the petition if asked to do so.

Why would the bailout law worsen climate change devastation? It would provide huge subsidies (maybe more than $150 million annually) to two old, uncompetitive, unneeded, greenhouse-gas-belching coal plants (one in INDIANA, if you can believe that). And it would eviscerate support for renewable energy and efficiency. These damaging provisions hugely outweigh the climate benefit from keeping open the two nuclear plants.

Why would the bailout law increase electricity costs? First, it would terminate the energy efficiency program, which reduces electricity usage and saves ratepayers about 2.5 times the program cost. The program, with the renewable energy program, now costs about $4.39 per month, of which the efficiency program cost is about $3.50. So, the monthly saving from the efficiency program is about $4.36 [($3.50 x 2.5) - $4.39]. That’s in contrast to the likely cost to ratepayers under the bailout law of $2.35, a cost increase of $6.71.

Second, the grid administrator (PJM) concludes that if the two nukes were to remain open, the likely effect would be that by 2023, consumers would pay $169 million MORE for electricity over the PJM region, and $10 million more in Ohio, than if those plants were closed.

Why would the bailout law place at risk thousands of Ohio jobs? First, it would eviscerate support for renewable energy and energy efficiency. In Ohio, those sectors employ more than 90,000 people. Energy efficiency added more new jobs than any other industry in the U.S. energy sector in 2017. A meaningful portion of these jobs would be lost.

Second, it would lower employment at natural gas generation plants, because they would be unable to compete with the nuclear/coal plants subsidized by the bailout law.

Those losses should be partially offset by employment that would be preserved at the two nuclear plants and the one coal plant in Ohio (remember, the other plant is in Indiana). Perry has about 700 employees, Davis Besse about 650 and the Ohio coal plant about 300. The overall effect of the bailout law on Ohio employment, however, would likely be negative.

Please support the referendum.

Mark Hennessey

Pepper Pike

Streets are a mess

We have lived in Solon for 40 years and have never seen such a ridiculous mess on our city streets. Every main street and many of the secondary streets are being worked on, all at the same time. Aurora, SOM, Solon roads – you name it – is torn up, down to one lane and only “travel at your own risk.”

Whatever happened to the word “planning?” It seems to be lost with our current administration. Previous administrations would of never worked on all these main artery roads at the same time. Common sense and good planning are definitely lacking.

We pity the poor workers who must travel our roads each day to get to their place of employment. This cannot speak well of our town. Besides the frustration of traveling on these roads, there also are the numerous flat tires and vehicle damage people are getting due to this current never-ending debacle.

We are surprised people are not rioting in the streets – probably because they are afraid they will get swallowed up in one of the many numerous holes – never to be seen or heard of again.

Ed and Rosemary Suit

Solon

Hunting Valley tax break

The recent legislative attempt to cut property taxes for Hunting Valley residents at the cost of their own public school district took me by surprise. As a former Superintendent of the Orange City Schools (1990-1996), I remember when the local mayors and council members strongly supported the district. They understood then that each of the municipalities had much to gain if the schools were exemplary, and a great deal to lose if they faltered. While I am proud to have worked as an educator for over 40 years, I write now as a senior citizen on a fixed income, as someone who lives in the district and as a grandfather who wants the next generation to have the kind of education that secures their future.

Having worked and resided in a number of communities that greatly value their schools, I can attest to the positive impact that a school district’s reputation can have on home value and upon quality of life issues. If you don’t believe this, compare school districts across the county and beyond. Additionally, my experiences tell me that the ability of public schools to be academically competitive with their private and parochial school counterparts is a benefit that most residents see as a source of pride. Most also believe such competitiveness brings added value to their community. From a broader perspective, let’s keep in mind that public schools are the cornerstone of democracy, and their success or failure impacts all of us. After all, the creation of an educated, skilled work force is critical to our nation’s future. Moreover, the quality of life that our kids and grandkids will enjoy is greatly impacted by the quality of education they receive.

Now, no one likes to pay taxes, and the way public schools are funded has been a topic of consternation for decades. However, the answer is not to short-circuit the school funding formula in a secretive manner and seemingly without concern for the impact upon the local public schools. The proposed legislation would have severely damaged the district, as the cuts necessitated by the loss of millions of dollars would have negatively impacted the education of our Orange school students. Furthermore, the effects would have been felt for years to come.

It seems to me that finding a way to maintain the excellence of the Orange City School District is a far better investment than financially disabling it and hoping for the best. Trying to recreate quality after the damage is done is more difficult and ultimately more costly. It is interesting to note that, during my time in Orange, even those citizens who had no children attending the schools worked on our levy campaigns to insure we maintained a competitive edge. The alternative, to pay less, seems attractive, but in the long term, the consequences may be worse than the tax bite. It is right to demand fiscal responsibility and prudent spending, but let’s not “throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

Albert G. Roberts

Orange Village

Support for Canton, Berger

I am writing this letter in support of my friends Jerry Canton and Christopher Berger in their re-election to the South Russell Village Council.

My wife Rosary and I have lived and raised our family in South Russell since 1976 and have loved every minute. Both Jerry and Chris are examples of why we are so happy here. I have put down a few reasons why we stayed in South Russell for more than 40 years. We raised our three young teenage daughters here, attended Chagrin Falls High School and they too all live in the Chagrin area and are now raising their families here. I have included a few highlights and accolades regarding these special men and what they have accomplished for all of us here in South Russell.

Mr. Canton spearheaded development of the South Russell Playground and was Chairperson of the South Russell Property Committee. Undertaking a project like this took thoughtful and strategic planning and oversight, which created a new benchmark in our admired community of South Russell. The day the playground opened, I was driving down Bell around 3 p.m. and saw something I have not seen before; hundreds of families enjoying themselves with their children playing and eating hot dogs, which stirred my heart. We are now connected on so many levels with South Russell families and have set a new benchmark for other communities to follow thanks to caring people like Jerry Canton and his team. We finally have a place for young families to bring their families to play and raise their young children here in our great community of South Russell. Communities across our counties would love to have what we have.

Mr. Canton has been a Geauga County Grand Jury Foreman 2017-2018, is a retired Geauga County classroom tender and is a current Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District substitute teacher.

Mr. Berger is president of the Whitetail Run Association, a volunteer special Geauga child advocate, attorney and consultant for international trade clients and an adjunct Professor at Lakeland Community College and Lake Erie College for global business and management.

Larry Morrow

South Russell

Helping children

I do not know David Partington, and he clearly does not know me because he keeps making false and misleading statements about me and our Court in your paper.

First, the statement in his recent letter about tax dollar use is wrong.

Moreover, Mr. Partington is unaware that I used my own personal money to pay for the space at the Great Geauga County Fair and provided half to the court to inform and educate our residents and the other half to the Ohio National Guard for its recruiting tent, at no cost to the court or National Guard.

Second, he is clearly unaware of the fact that my wife, state Rep. Diane Grendell and I have spent more than $7,500 of our own personal money to take our county’s sixth-graders to the Great Geauga County Fair for an educational program (Geauga Learn) for 10 years; more than $1,000 of our personal money to support the Bainbridge Township Safety Town for child safety education; and $1,000 of our personal money to support NAMI to provide mental health support assistance to families. We also were sponsors for the recent Hope for Kids event that raised $49,000 to support the needs of children (including foster children) in Geauga County. I used my own money to install basketball equipment at the Geauga Youth Center. Diane and I sponsored a little league team in Chardon, and I provide birthday cakes and local fishing trips for foster and other children in need of Court’s services and protection.

While I know Mr. Partington is a generous donor to the local Democrat Party, I am not aware of him providing any of his personal funds in support of the children served by our Court and Job and Family Services. If Mr. Partington is really interested in helping our county’s children (instead of playing politics), all he has to do is ask me, and I will provide him with a list of programs to which he can give his money, just like Diane and I do.

Judge Timothy J. Grendell

Geauga Juvenile and Probate Court

Safe routes marks 10 years

The 10th Annual Walk to School – Walk to Town Day was held last Friday in the Village of Chagrin Falls. More than 450 students (over 70 percent) from the Chagrin Falls Intermediate and Middle schools participated in this fun community event, organized by Safe Routes Chagrin. This event would not be possible without the contributions of many volunteers and local business sponsors and the support of school staff, administration and our local police and government.

Chagrin goes above and beyond the traditional Walk to School Day celebrated all over the nation by adding an afternoon component called “Walk to Town” which celebrates what makes Chagrin Falls special: a walkable, accessible community where students, parents, teachers, retirees and community members all appreciate and enjoy being able to walk to the schools, shops, parks and businesses that Chagrin Falls offers.This fun event energizes students who might not normally walk to school or to town to give it a try and find out first-hand how fun it can be to enjoy being active while walking with friends. Our event also emphasizes the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.

At our event, Middle School students learned about history from Chagrin Falls Historical Society volunteers, organized by Pat Zalba, as the students competed to solve clues in an Historical Scavenger Hunt after school. Intermediate School students paraded to town with “The Chicken,” Safe Routes Chagrin’s mascot, to participate in a Fun Fitness Fair in Riverside Park. There, they enjoyed healthy food, prizes and many movement related activities and games provided by local merchants, including: yoga with Molly Wrentmore; bike drills with Jacob English from Mountain Road Cycles; a fitness obstacle course with The Set; Chicken Limbo with the Chagrin Valley Rec Center; tug-o-war with the Dads’ Club; brain teaser games with the Chagrin Falls Public Library; learning about the dangers of pollution with Dawn Wrench of the Environmental Education Center of Ohio (EECO); attempting personal trainer exercises with Fitness Together; flying kicks with Kuk Sul Do; photos in the Photo Booth with David Petkiewicz and high school student Ava McFarlane; and jump rope, corn hole, giant Connect 4, giant fooseball and much more!

Students ended the day with a prize ceremony, with many winning gift cards to local stores so that they can return to town to shop locally and enjoy the downtown area.

Safe Routes Chagrin wishes to thank over 100 volunteers who helped make the day a huge success as well as the following Event Sponsors: The Chagrin Falls Dads’ Club; First Federal Lakewood; Perfect-a-Smile Dental; and Dynamic Design.

Kathryn Garvey

Chagrin Falls

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