Drama over Bard divide

One of the newer treasures (since 2017) in Chagrin Falls Village was Summer Shakespeare in one of our two public parks.  My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the performances that we attended. We loved walking into the Village to enjoy not only the wonderful and creative productions, but also to see young children in rapt attention as the actors, themselves young, entered stage left and stage right in exotic costumes. I confess, the idyllic setting and enthusiasm grabbed our attention and we didn’t pay much attention to who was producing any given show. All of them seemed to be a perfect fit with the other arts available right here.

My expectation for the program was that any interested parties would offer resources and talent to continue producing outdoor Shakespeare seamlessly, summer after summer.  Now I see this won’t be the case in 2019.  What a shame.  But it could still happen when planning for 2020 and beyond.  With future collaboration on productions, and lessons learned, Chagrin Arts and CVLT together could select a Shakespearean theme for the summer.  Such themes could be “The Art of Great Tragedy,” “Comedy for a Summer’s Night” or “The Drama of Political Ambition.” Expert-led discussions or lectures could enrich the summer programing and productions could be staged in both Chagrin and Solon.  Scheduling events could be done jointly or by the group with the most time to devote to the concept. Individuals or groups could divide up the productions while sharing scenery, actors and marketing. Just call it “Shakespeare for a Summer’s Eve,” or some such non-proprietary name.  Share the fun and the responsibilities.

 When I saw the headline in the paper regarding Shakespeare summer theater, it made my heart hurt. Further reading didn’t help. Shakespeare belongs to all of us.  To have separate competing companies 5 miles apart, and both originating in Chagrin Falls feels, well, sad and/or symbolic of larger social divides and artificial boundaries. As it stands now, this divide is a small town example of a drama within a drama – unnecessary, confusing and inefficient. (Sound familiar?)

Kathy Kolcaba

Chagrin Falls

Watch out for kids at risk

Do you know that our young people are at great risk of becoming addicted to nicotine by the current epidemic of vaping? Vaping is using e-cigarettes, originally an alternative choice for tobacco smokers. JUUL is a brand of e-cigarette, and one JUUL equals one pack of cigarettes. You may not know if your student is vaping. Some kids vape during class or in the school bathroom. It is easy to buy e-cigs from older students, or, illegally, from stores, gas stations, etc.  

Although illegal under the age of 18, e-cigs promote use to youth with flavors of mango, mint, cotton candy, etc., on TV, radio, YouTube, store displays. It’s big business to lure today’s youth into addiction and future profits.

There are 60 chemical compounds in e-liquids and more in aerosol, associated with several different cancers, etc.  Nicotine affects key brain receptors in youth – limiting memory and learning.  

The schools are trying to educate our kids through health class and poorly-attended parent/student programs. They suspend students caught vaping, hoping to alert students and parents to this dangerous epidemic. It’s up to us as parents to be informed and talk often to our kids about the risks.

Pat and John Leech


No need to expand board

The Grendell-appointed Geauga County Park Board does not need to expand to five members, from its current slate of three.  Just because one commissioner forgets to attend, one commissioner misses two meetings in a row and one has, in my opinion, an appearance of conflict of interest, does not mean that the whole wheel needs to be re-invented.  The park board has operated just fine for many many years. Perhaps it is time to replace the commissioners who do not see the monthly meeting as a priority, with residents who would make as a priority their dedication to spending their time advocating for preservation, conservation and protection of the parks with integrity and transparency.  

Barb Partington

Munson Township

Look at the facts

Recreational marijuana is now legal in 10 states. Reports from Colorado and Oregon are available for viewing. Emergency room weed related visits, traffic fatalities and impaired driving rates rose significantly in Colorado. As of June 2017 there were 491 retail marijuana stores compared to 392 Starbucks and 208 McDonald’s. Marijuana use doubled in the last month in the states where it is legal according to the SAM report. Average potency of this drug has soared over the past years as has the social harm. I urge Ohioans to consider what message we want to send to our youth. Please read the reports from the nonpartisan and nonprofit alliance, Smart Approaches to Marijuana for more facts.

Mary Alice Bell


Let public speak

It’s clear that most of the folks in Geauga County are rather conservative in nature.   Typically that means they don’t want their hard earned tax dollars wasted by government agencies. Strange then that they have given the good Judge Timothy Grendell as much support as they have over the years. He’s currently sending out a news letter to county residents apparently at taxpayer expense to the tune of likely $20,000 or so a crack. Likely no other probate judges in the entire country do this. 

The park commissioners that the good judge has appointed to the l545 Russell Park District have spent about $60,000 in the last six months on attorney and accountant fees.   Keep in mind that these are the park district commissioners that claimed they had no money so they had to lease most of their land to the Geauga Park District. Could it be that they are doing the judge’s bidding and trying to bankrupt the  1545 Russell parks so the good judge can then declare the system bankrupt and transfer all of that park system to the ownership of the Geauga Park District?   Another power or land grab?   Another waste of our tax dollars?

The good judge claims it’s up to the commissioners how they run the parks. Ha!  He’s likely fired or not renewed the appointments of more park commissioners than any probate judge in history. A freedom of information request to the Geauga Park District showed that he even requires the park newsletter to be approved by him before it is allowed to go out to the public.   Now there is an effort to increase the number of Geauga park commissioners from three to five members. Some might say that this will increase the diversity of views on the board and be a good thing.  Likely not so in this case as the good judge will likely appoint more of this friends who have shown no interest in natural areas in the past, have had no involvement with parks in the past and will continue to not allow public comment and questions at public park commissioners meetings. Public comment would be a real way to add a diversity of views on issues before the board. 

John G. Augustine

Parkman Township

Changes could impact residents

To the residents of Chardon Township, if the proposed home occupation zoning amendment is approved by our trustees without significant changes, do not be surprised if you find that you no longer live in a residential zoned community. Unlike our commercial district which has a list of acceptable businesses, the proposed amendment has no list and basically leaves obtaining a home occupational permit up to the judgment of the zoning inspector. The same extremely well-paid zoning inspector who does not currently enforce zoning. Unlike other communities, our zoning does not have any restrictions on commercial vehicle size, quantity of commercial vehicles or employee restrictions. So these businesses can grow to any size.

The requirement of a conditional zoning permit has always been the back bone of our home occupational zoning. It is not in the proposal. The Geauga Planning Commission recommended that home occupation remain conditional zoning. Your zoning commission did not change it to conditional zoning as recommended nor did it state any reasons for not doing so. Your zoning commission chairman knowingly even provided false information to the local newspaper saying that it was under conditional zoning.

The planning commission also made recommendations regarding employees. The zoning commission brushed over these too without any reasons.

One needs to recognize that there are people on both our trustee board and our zoning commission board that have major conflicts of interest. They have all known for years that they were not complying with zoning and should have applied for a condition permit. These people have never applied for a conditional permit because some people have been violating the requirement for years and zoning was not being enforced.

The proposed amendment is a major plus for these board members who have conflicts of interest. That is why they have never been able to state why the current zoning needs to be changed. The proposal will enable them to legitimize their businesses with a cheaper easily obtained permit that has no renewal requirements and avoids the conditional zoning requirements.

For everyone else, who wants to live in a residential zoned area and not have businesses of any type and size as neighbors there are only disadvantages. The proposal may also significantly reduce property values as prospective buyers realize that the signs stating ‘zoned for your protection’ are a joke.

One needs to also realize that our zoning board has been operating to keep you in the dark. Unlike other communities, our zoning regulations are not posted on the internet, the zoning minutes are rarely posted on the internet and the meetings are not recorded.

If you want to remain in a residential zoned area, you need to attend a trustee meeting as soon as possible and demand that the zoning for home occupations remain conditional zoning. Do not underestimate the value of your attendance. These are the same trustees that voted themselves platinum no cost healthcare and they want to get reelected in order to keep it.

Mike Danzig


Learn about family first act

 I have been writing to local papers about the issue of dependent children for four years. I had letters about  the subject published in two area papers last week.  Now I read that two people are continuing to mislead the Geauga citizenry and the Geauga County Commissioners.  And Gov. Mike DeWine?  He doesn’t get it either.  Ohio ranks low in the list in placement of children with family. Less than 30 percent are placed with relatives, who cost less.  At the real core of the issue is that caseworkers and numerous Ohio agencies have little respect for families, and many people working in the system have a lack of understanding of what is really best for children. Plus, there are extreme inaccuracies, say experts, in gathering the real history of children. Jerry Milner, head of the Children’s Bureau came out pacifying state agencies, at first. Now he is singing a different tune in a recent article on Chronicle of Social Change.  

I interviewed Craig Swenson, executive director of the Department of Job and Family Service, for a college paper last fall.  He didn’t even know why the Family First Prevention Services Act was needed.  I knew before I called him because I am an unpaid activist for children’s rights.    

It is more about holding people in high regard than it is about money. It is more about the golden rule than about money. Mr. Swenson went before this county and begged for money in a levy, to pay for placement in institutions.  And, in a newspaper interview he once compared being locked away from family, and drugged with dangerous drugs, with his experiences at an expensive boarding school. Good people of Geauga County, please wake up.  It is about performance, not pomp and circumstance.   

Robin Neff


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