President Trump must go

“No President has ever done what I have done.” “I am the Chosen One.” These are the words of President Donald Trump. And it’s true. He is the only president in my memory who has ever spoken such unabashed, self-congratulatory words.

And yes, he is the only president who has weakened, almost to extinction, the Endangered Species Act, the EPA and the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts; initiated trade wars, which have harmed American farmers; overturned protections for our greatest waterways (Bristol Bay, for one example); and lied, lied, lied.

He is the president who, in two and a half years, has done more harm to our country and our citizens in more ways than I can count. I can’t wait for November 2020 when I can run, not walk, to the voting booth to vote him out.

Shirley Ashby

Chagrin Falls

Horse clean-up needed

I will not be the first to congratulate the Geauga Park District for building a beautiful addition to their park system, in that of Holbrook Hollows on Country Lane in Bainbridge. As a direct neighbor, I have watched the development and construction of all aspects over the past year. It is a great addition to the community.

Since its opening these past several months, it is indeed very popular for all those to whom it intended to offer this natural park system and experience. It is popular for community and personal group events, hikers, kids on play areas, and those with horses.

All looks good except for one issue we (I speak for several neighbors as well) must bring to the attention of the Park Management group and to all those in our community. Since its opening, we have been exposed to more ‘horse droppings,’ obviously from horses, than surely from dogs and such. Many times on Country Lane, parking lots, trails in woods, and overall everywhere, we have witnessed horse droppings not being cleaned up or addressed.

When we walk our dogs, there are ‘dog bags’ available for those owners to ‘pick up and dispose of the dogs’ remains. I totally get it. In order to keep good for all, this is important. So….why not horses? Are they some special four legged animal? Why are horses allowed to drop whenever and wherever they wish, with no bags or enforcement of the owners to pick up after them?

This is now out of hand, and hopefully the park board and managers will immediately address this issue in the infancy of this park.

Rob and Marybeth Heiman


Plan benefit to Pepper Pike

As some may have heard, Pepper Pike has a unique opportunity to create a walkable town center neighborhood in the southeast corner of our city on the old Bellefaire property. Currently, the land is zoned for institutional use and provides no revenue for our schools or city. If it stays institutional, resident taxpayers would continue getting zero dollars from it, and something like a hospital could build there with no regard for the city or our already horrendous traffic situation on Lander Circle.

By rezoning it to a mixed-use overlay district, Pepper Pike would be able to continue talks with a developer, who happens to be a resident here, to identify a project that would reflect the character of our community, preserve green space and protect Willey Creek. Significantly, this rezoning will also bring new tax revenue to our schools and City. The revenue from a potential project could even be used by the city to find a way to lessen our traffic issues. The idea is to build a neighborhood that would be inviting to young families who would like to raise their children here and our older population who are looking to stay in Pepper Pike but perhaps want to downsize. But we can’t even discuss a plan until the property is rezoned, and that is what is in front of City Council. I hope you will learn more about this unique opportunity and see all the incredible benefits it can bring to our community.

Ron Wauschek

Pepper Pike

Rezoning an opportunity

Pepper Pike residents who care about the city’s future and want it to have the same opportunities as other nearby towns understand the importance of the Beech Brook property rezoning.

Rezoning the land for varied use means a varied tax base for Pepper Pike. A mixed-use development means jobs, taxes and a town center for Pepper Pike. It means keeping entertainment dollars in Pepper Pike instead of continuing to see them leave town every weekend. And, after hearing from the development team, it’s clear that they are looking to attract niche businesses that aren’t already available in our community. They also firmly said “no big box retailers.”

Above all, residents must remember that getting this rezoning grants Pepper Pike some much-needed flexibility. It will not guarantee that any particular mixed-use proposal will come to life, but it will offer our city the opportunity to use the property for something besides a school, library, church or civic center or another non taxing entity.

Rezoning the Beech Brook land is great for our community. I urge you to keep on open mind to the possibilities.

Brian Agin

Pepper Pike

Presidential speech

President Obama was sometimes ribbed because he would pause and take a moment to answer questions. He was carefully choosing his words. President Kennedy enjoyed a good-natured give and take with the press and others. President Franklin Roosevelt also enjoyed speaking with reporters and others, even though, especially during World War II, sometimes he could not give out information. Once asked where American bombers had left from for a certain raid, he replied they went from the secret base in Shangri La. The reporters enjoyed working with him so much they one year that had a paper mache replica of the Sphinx made with his face on it. FDR thoroughly enjoyed the gift, which is still on display at the museum adjacent to his home in Hyde Park, New York. (A very worthwhile trip.)

These were intelligent people who also had a sense of humor. The current President uses what he claims is English in unusual ways. He also has his own ‘go-to catch phrases.’ For those not familiar with their meaning, below is a lexicon converting some to more conventional English:

“We’ll see what happens.” I have no idea what to do.

“The enemy of the people.” A quote from Benito Mussolini, who is rarely quoted by American politicians.

“I.” His most commonly used word.

“And many more things.” I can’t think of any more to say.

“Everybody says so.” People I pay agree with me.

“Lots of people are saying.” A copyrighted trademark of Fox News.

“Great things are going to happen.” I have no idea what to do.

“I only hire the best people.” Most people won’t work with me.

“Bigly.” No meaning for this can be found or discerned.

Surely there will be more of these.

Scott Baker

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Attack is un-American

The Village Athiest hath spoken! In an outburst of venom-dripping insults, pseudo scientist John Augustine has viciously abused one of the most competent, bright and dedicated public servants I have had the pleasure to know, Sarah Fowler.

There are many scriptures that may apply here such as “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God.” Or even “Professing themselves to be wise, they became as fools.”

Attacking a virtuous person for their religious beliefs is the height of un-American intolerant arrogance, especially when the innocent target goes to such lengths to carry out their duties according to the law, not according to their religion’s teachings per se. 

Our public servant Sarah “gives unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” Does it follow that this atheist would as well attack the almost unanimously God-fearing Founders, who signed the Declaration of Independence, in spite of their virtue and sacrifices, and their successful building of the first free nation? One that protects such drivel under the First Amendment?

James R. MacNeal


Facts about Newbury

Newbury Board of Education President Maggie Zock stated she was going to set the story straight, but what she really did was throw you another curve ball to confuse the issue further.

Here are the facts Newbury. Ohio Revised Code 3311.24 states that a school board can initiate a territory transfer. The board would be required to get 75 percent of the property owners’ written consent to move it forward. Ms. Zock has been quoted stating prior to being elected, they wanted the residents to vote on a merger, consolidation or a transfer. This was a campaign tactic for election. She has also been quoted saying a public vote was not possible. State law gives the residents a final say in the matter. This route they chose not to take would have allowed the public to have a say in the issue. In the end, they chose a way that wouldn’t allow public input unless we went forward with the petition of referendum.

Newbury, we vote on levy and bond issues, but you don’t get to vote on this huge permanent community issue? There is no honesty or transparency with this process. Even if you are for the transfer, sign the referendum, and then go vote to put it through for next year. Simple. Give the taxpayers the issue.

Ms. Zock initiated several meetings with superintendents and treasurers from West Geauga, Berkshire and Geauga ESC. Have we ever heard information from these meetings? I’ve attended 80 percent of Newbury school board meetings the last three years, and I’ve heard nothing. I believe Geauga County ESC has a clear understanding of how mergers work. The amount of errors in the timelines they have issued is unacceptable. The process was hurried, and major mistakes have happened.

Newbury BOE have lost the trust and credibility of the community because they have refused to do things the right way.

I received a postcard this week pushing not to sign the referendum. Odd that it didn’t say who paid for it. Some feel Ms. Zock may have used her board position to get the school to pay for those. The superintendent denies she signed off on them.

Why would David Lair promote not signing it (meaning give up your right to vote on the issue) and then turn around and ask you to vote for him in November?

I fully expect Ms. Zock, and her supporters, to be upset by this letter. It’s once again campaign season and character attacks are to come – particularly on me.

I am honest, do my own homework, attend meetings and do it all for the future of kids and our town.

This issue isn’t about me or any one person. It is about Newbury, our community. We as a community expect our elected officials to have integrity and transparency when making impactful decisions. The community at large needs to vote on the future of our school, the heart of our community.  

Jessica Alldredge


Protect Newbury’s opportunity

Over the past months, and years, we have been hearing about the declining student enrollment, aging buildings, and future financial picture of Newbury schools. Rather than going over that again, I want to focus on the future. The students of Newbury have been presented with an outstanding opportunity to join West Geauga Schools. An opportunity to receive an exceptional education that provides them with a wide variety of academic options, sports and other extracurricular activities. There is now a threat to this pending territory transfer in the form of a referendum petition. If this referendum is successful, a decision to stop the transfer would be placed on the March 2020 ballot. This decision would keep Newbury independent, and the district would have to wait two years before considering any other type of territory transfer. At that time, the opportunity to join West Geauga would be gone, because they would not likely provide the same offer to accept all of our students again. By delaying this decision, we just kick the can further down the road, and we will continue to see more students leave the district and higher taxes for property owners.

The voters had their say in the last Newbury Board of Education election when three members were elected to the board. The three of them ran on the clear platform that they would seek consolidation options. If this referendum petition gains enough signatures, the community of Newbury runs the risk of its student body being split apart into multiple school districts. With the pending transfer to West Geauga, all the students will move together. During this type of transition, social connections will be very important to these students. It is time to consider what is best for all the students of Newbury. Therefore, I urge you not to sign this referendum petition. If you have signed the petition but feel you did not have enough information to make your decision and changed your mind, you can call the Geauga County Educational Service Center at 440-350-2563 and ask to have your name removed.

Terri Rice


Editor’s note: Mr. Rice is a candidate for Newbury Board of Education.

The dangers of gift cards

A recent article in the Times described scams involving gift cards. I do not know when the influx of gift cards entered into the economy as currency, and I could not understand their astronomical rise in popularity. However, in July of 2018, I made a shocking discovery. A prior trusted employee and friend was purchasing Visa gift cards to steal money while hiding the purchases as legitimate business expenses. 

How did this happen? Our business has recurring expenses of fuel and construction supplies that are purchased at GetGo, Home Depot and Lowes. These places all have a wide assortment of gift cards available for purchase at checkout. When the prior employee would check out with a small purchase of fuel or supplies or sometimes just a candy bar, he would throw in a $25, $50 or $100 Visa gift card and report the total transaction as a business expense. 

The thefts started out sporadically but eventually were occurring on a daily and even multiple times a day basis. The Chagrin Falls Police department uncovered over $10,000 of unauthorized purchases after researching only a six month time period. 

As a small business owner, I made the mistake of not demanding a receipt for every purchase. Many times I asked for receipts and tried to instill this as a reasonable and necessary policy. My requests were ignored. I was naïve and unwise to make allowances for a person I believed was honest and trustworthy.

Eventually, I went to GetGo, Home Depot and Lowes, and requested itemized receipts for several past purchases. Nearly every one showed one or multiple Visa gift card purchases. GetGo also had video surveillance of the gift cards being purchased. The beginning of a very sad saga began to unravel. 

I would like to know how often gift cards are used fraudulently and how often they are used as useful and meaningful gifts. Is there a need to have hundreds of these cards available at so many checkout counters? I suspect I’m not the only one who has been taken advantage of by their proliferation. 

Donna Mintz

Chagrin Falls

A vote for Chardon schools


(of a building or object) in a state of disrepair or ruin as a result of age or neglect.

According to this definition, Chardon High School is dilapidated. This is as a result of age and certainly not neglect. Despite appropriated money put towards regular maintenance, at this point maintenance is putting lipstick on a 68-year-old pig. The classrooms are antiquated, the roof is leaking, fire, safety and security measures are outdated and the facility limits the accessibility for visitors and students with disabilities. Chardon students deserve facilities conducive to focus, thought and collaboration without the distraction of puddles on the floor and drafty windows. Just as a driver reaches a point when their car repairs become cost-prohibitive versus buying a new car, so has Chardon High School reached a juncture when repairs are untenable versus building a new facility.

After living in several different areas around the country, my husband and I chose to build a home in Chardon for the reputation of its strong schools. My three children have been educated via Catholic school, public school and homeschooling for reasons I will save for a future editorial. I certainly would not have entertained the idea of homeschooling them in a dilapidated house.

Even when we have not utilized public education, we have always been ardent supporters of it. We recognize that an investment in our schools is also an investment in our community. The time is now. The plan is right. This Chardon resident supports Issue 21.

Meredith Gajda


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