Open hearts to God

I don’t know what it’s like to be black in America today. But even if I were black, I’d really only know what it’s like to be me in America. Blacks have different experiences dependent on where and how they live and it’s untrue and unfair to suggest that racism is systemic in the United States.

Certainly there are people in this country who are racist. Many are white but some are black. Racism is just one expression of a hard heart closed to the things of God like love, kindness, and peace. It finds expression in other ways like murder, theft and destruction of property. And in maligning others merely for having a different perspective than you.

The problem isn’t racism. The problem is a heart condition of which racism is just a symptom. Those who are truly racist as well as those who kill, steal and destroy will not be persuaded to change their ways by protests or pleas. They need a heart transplant. They need God.

There seems to be an unspoken rule that truths or beliefs about God are to be excluded in civil discourse on political or societal issues, presumably because we don’t all agree even about his existence. But since the very context of civil discourse is disagreement with an intent to persuade others, that rule is unjustified. And if there was ever a time when it should be ignored, that time is now.

It is because God has been ignored by so many Americans that we are so disordered and suffering evils of all kinds. Do we not have enough evidence yet that our increasingly secular society has resulted in not more but less peace, unity, family stability, love for one’s neighbor, and regard for the inherent value of every human life, including one’s own? Are not the skyrocketing rates of suicide and opioid use evidence of a lack of meaning and purpose that only knowledge of God and his love for us can provide?

President Donald Trump and other leaders have called for prayer and that’s needed. But God can only do so much. I know that sounds heretical. Isn’t God omnipotent? Yes, but he can’t do the logically impossible, like make people freely do something. He has made us free to choose or reject him, and we reject him at our own peril, as we are witnessing today.

So my primary prayer for America is that God will somehow open the eyes of those who reject or ignore him to recognize his goodness and love and see their need for him. And to help those of us who believe and trust in him live lives that reflect that love and goodness, because the nonbelievers do see us.

Caroline Smith

South Russell

Protection from pandemic

COVID-19 is still around even though things are “opening up.” I am still required to wear a mask at my job. I am still asked to stay 6 feet away from co-workers. My church is not meeting in its regular meeting place, and our temporary meeting place is following the government’s guidelines of approximately ten people in a group. The list of other “protections” could go on and on, and we are all trying to protect ourselves from this virus. In the Bible, Psalm 91:10 says, “There shall no evil befall thee; neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” This is a wonderful promise of protection from disease, but to whom is this promise made? In verse 14 of the same Psalm, God says, “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” A person can really only trust in God’s protection if he has placed his faith in Jesus Christ.

From the New Testament of the Bible, we understand that to love God is to love His Son Jesus Christ and receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” And, once one begins to love God, he will desire to obey his commandments. John 14:15 says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” We learn Christ’s commandments in the Bible.

We can wear masks, keep social distance and wash our hands, but what is the status of your relationship with God? While becoming a Christian does not guarantee that you will not contract a virus such as COVID-19, it does put you in a relationship with God who can protect you if it is His will. Have you begun to truly love Him so you can be in a place of God’s protection during this pandemic? If not, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and begin following His commands today!

John Howard

Middlefield

Exercise right to assemble

The right to peaceful public assembly, even if it is loud and energetic, is a fundamental right guaranteed to Americans by the Constitution.

The current George Floyd issue is one of great significance due to the blatant homicide we have all seen on the video. No one who sees this could not be moved and offended to the core at the violent denial of Mr. Floyd’s constitutional right to life itself.

Peaceful protest is one thing. But when further senseless homicide, violence, property destruction and looting begin, that is not a constitutional right. This current rendition of public protest, prominently characterized and marred by well-coordinated rioting, is largely the work of opportunistic anti-American anarchists.

There are several groups that fall into this category, a prime example of which is the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement. It is highly instructive to consult their website and I challenge every American to read their 10 Points of Action seen there. That truly says it all.

The current generation of anarchists are even further to the political left than Communists, who at least champion a form of government, albeit unacceptable and a failed totalitarian one.

The founding fathers designed the Constitution precisely to prevent anarchy disguised as democracy. It is why we are not a democracy but a representative republic; a land of laws vs. the whim of man, which protect the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority.

Anarchy invariably and inevitably devolves into mobocracy which is nonstop violence and disorder. People simply cannot survive in mobocracies because there is always some group seeking power in a never-ending eternal state of revolution against one another!

Eventually some group overcomes the others and a dictator arises. Note that whether an individual or a “proletariat” tyranny is still the ultimate product of anarchy as well as extreme violence, many deaths and a shattered economy. In short, mega-misery.

Be very careful if you are considering protesting. Do your homework to ensure that the group(s) to which you join yourself are not simply anarchists looking to exploit your well-meaning emotional outrage to help them promote and carry out the violent overthrow of the greatest government mankind has ever produced, the constitutional United States of America. That constitutional government is by design not a democracy but a representative republic and has produced the highest standard of living for all its citizens of any civilization in the history of mankind.

Exercise your right to peaceful public assembly and attend one of the most important American cultural events of all, the Independence Day Parade. The parade in Chester Township was cancelled but is back on, of necessity, under new leadership. It will be held at 10 a.m. July 4 along Ohio Route 306, followed by speakers and hopefully food in the park.

Exercise your constitutional rights by attending and practicing common sense social distancing and mask use as you are free to do.

Happy birthday America!

James R. MacNeal

Troy Township

Dr. King served community

As former patients and current friends, we would like to thank Dr. Steven King for his 40 plus years of excellent dentistry in Chagrin Falls as well as congratulate him on his recent retirement. In our view, Dr. King exemplified the model of a small town professional practitioner. He excelled as a clinician, always keeping up with the latest developments in dentistry, while comforting his patients through his friendly demeanor, sound advice and pretty good jokes.

Additionally, he accomplished all this while serving his community including as a former Blossom Time chairman and president of the Jaycees, current member of the Chagrin Falls architectural review board, and as Spiderman during Halloween, to name a few. We are heartened to read that Dr. King has no intention of leaving our community anytime soon and we would like to think his successor will be as equally dedicated.

Greg and Chris Robinson

Moreland Hills

Best interest of Pepper Pike

Currently our existing retailers, restaurants and commercial building tenants are struggling just to survive so for city officials and residents of Pepper Pike to even consider adding an additional 195,500 square feet of non-residential space (which is the total by adding the numbers on the developer’s plan) by rezoning the Beech Brook property to mixed-use overlay district would be unconscionable. Signing a petition or voting for rezoning would be sending the message to these business owners, who have served us well for all these years, we are totally insensitive to their situation.

This new additional 195,500 square feet (plus two large areas designated as unknown “future development”) comes at the expense of the environment and a major increase in traffic that is already at an unacceptable level (plus two more traffic circles in addition to Lander Circle). What has now been presented by the developer in his updated request is to put this entire 195,500 square feet of commercial buildings on the heavily wooded area of Beech Brook that has never been developed. Virtually all the trees will be removed (clear-cut) to construct this commercial development. As we all know, we keep experiencing hundred year rain fall amounts every two years or so and flooding in our city is an issue. What will the run-off and flooding results be of adding this much impervious gray space for these buildings, associated parking spaces and roadways?

Also note there are major discrepancies between the developer’s drawings compared to the text in the ordinance written by the developer, such as the number of dwellings (drawing shows 154 dwellings, text allows for 272 dwellings) and there is no overall limit of commercial square footage in the non-residential areas.

There are literally dozens more reasons, each one being reason enough, to justify saying no to this mixed-use rezoning effort. There are much better alternatives available that are in the best interest of Pepper Pike. Therefore, do not sign any petitions to put this issue on the ballot or support any initiatives to have this move forward.

If you would like to learn more about the concerns and consequences of rezoning, email SayNoToRezone@roadrunner.com.

Manny and Judi Naft

Pepper Pike

Debacle of a situation

For those that have attended the virtual meetings between the Newbury Local School District BOE and the West Geauga school board, I offer my apologies. They are truly an exercise in futility for the citizens of Newbury. Newbury’s school board continues to try to show tax savings and push the school property onto the Newbury Township Trustees in a feeble attempt to save face with the citizens stating, “We just want something for the community” while the trustees (knowing they don’t have the money available to purchase or maintain any of the properties) ask for more time to make decisions based on weak data from a survey. One trustee rightfully stated, “You (Newbury school board) have had over a year to look at paths forward and now you ask us in a meeting to make a decision on whether we are interested in the property or not?” Does it really matter?

The Newbury school board will be dissolved at the end of June and become part of West Geauga. It can play Pontius Pilate, wipe their hands clean and walk away. They did their damage; they got the school closed. It will be left to someone else to determine how long it sits vacant as an eyesore in the center of town. They can cry crocodile tears (except Terri Rice who has yet to say a word except “present” when roll call is made) about how they “wanted something for the community but it just didn’t make financial sense to burden the taxpayers with yet another levy to purchase and maintain it” while watching it go to the highest bidder in an auction. Even though potential numbers for an impending bond issue for a new school for West Geauga, their school board dodged that question by a Newbury trustee like a prizefighter saying, “it is too premature to determine any projection on those numbers at this time”.

Interestingly, one of the advocates for the “It’s Time” group that pushed for closure, quickly commented that they do not want the trustees to take on the property because that would increase taxes. Understandable. These are the same folks that will vote against any tax increase, including levies for West Geauga and combined with those against the closure of Newbury from the start who will also be voting against levies for West Geauga, should make an interesting conundrum for their next election.

In the end, this is pomp and circumstance for the citizens of Newbury. Most, if not all, of the property will likely go to auction to a private investor. Newbury will get to see either another senior living center go in (I think we have more than enough already) or apartments or a strip mall with shops that don’t increase the tax base enough to make an impact.

I hope Maggie Zock, Kimya Matthews, Terry Sedivy, Dave Lair and Mrs. Rice are happy with the results of this debacle in the years to come when they drive by a dilapidated school building that so many cherished as their alma mater.

Phil Paradise Jr.

Newbury Township

Why the silence?

America is in a crisis between decent Americans and racists. Why the silence? This issue won’t go away. There is no middle ground on racism. To paraphrase John Stuart Mills, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.

Every mayor, council member and police officer within reach of this newspaper, please ensure your community that everyone is welcome, everyone will be treated fairly, and that everyone is safe. Please be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Make us proud to be Americans. It’s been so long.

Sandra Cobb

Moreland Hills

Keep Chester green

West Geauga High School late 2009, after the first planning committee was shelved, over four hundred Chester Township residents gathered for a Chester zoning meeting featuring Armond Dinardo. Mr. Dinardo put two full-page ads in the Chesterland News stating, Gary Paoletto “is only part of a small group of people” who oppose 48 houses on 11 acres. The room was over the allowed limit, there were 200 more in the hallway. One person spoke in favor of the developer’s plan. There were also 800 signatures on petitions against the plan. Everyone there was opposed to the plan including Ken Radtke.

Now Ken Radtke favors these things. The old committee was shut down when Chester trustees discovered saying yes to free sidewalks included a mandate for low income apartments. The new committee with the same lies, used 11-year-old data that is now obsolete, saying “we are an aging community.” Currently, new families with children are moving into Chester Township. On my street alone there are at least five new families here. Zoning is the law we have that controls development. If you ever heard how zoning is bad, it is, for developers who would build whatever they want anywhere they want. Zoning is good for us. Zoning is weakened when you allow a banned use. There is no zoning for any type of multi-family housing in Chester. If apartments, condos, cluster housing is allowed anywhere in Chester our zoning becomes worth nothing more but the paper it is written on. Ken Radtke knows this.

The survey sent out has no verification security. There is no barcode on the envelope or the survey to identify it with the address it was sent to. Anyone can make 500 or 1,000 copies and send those in to further corrupt the findings. Why did Ken Radtke and Joe Mazurco do this? Whether it was incompetence, or intentional it makes this survey/questionnaire worthless to make any claims about “what the people of Chesterland want.” On top of that, 160 survey/questionnaires went to Munson residents which makes the results even more inconclusive and corrupted. If the Chester trustees or anyone else try to infer anything from it, they will find themselves in court.

This entire committee and survey is a travesty of lies. When the survey results come out, I can promise you the developers will come out to file zoning changes for apartments and small lots and I believe that Ken and Joe will do a bad job of defending our rights. That’s why removing them is the best option. Let’s keep Chester green.

Gary Paoletto

Chester Township

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