October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Domestic violence sees no color, ethnicity or dollar amount. It can be found in even the most affluent of neighborhoods, among the couple who looked so happy at their dinner party. The COVID-19 pandemic not only brought a huge increase in domestic violence within the walls of one’s own home, but also a huge increase in the control that abusers insert on ex-partners by putting their own children at risk during a pandemic. Co-parenting during a pandemic can be hard to navigate, but imagine having to navigate it with your ex-abuser? Abusers use anything to maintain control, even at the expense of their own children.
Many counties in Ohio are at the red level with some being watched for a possible switch to purple during this pandemic. Our governor speaks to us almost daily about the risks still out there, and the need to take precautions, and make best choices. What happens though when your children are not with you and have a visitation with your ex-abuser? In most co-parenting situations two parents have a court order stating who has to consent or sign off on important forms for children and it is abided by. Risks associated with COVID-19 are so high and these court orders are more important than ever and must be followed. With an abuser, the same court order may be in place, but they will not follow it and instead they will take the children to an indoor large activity, and solely sign a form stating “they know the risk of indoor activities during COVID-19” and “they agree to put the children in this activity knowing that risk.” You see, an abuser likes to have control over all situations and is not going to follow court orders and recommendations. If the organization is made aware that the other parent does not consent, then this should be a given that the child or children should not be allowed to participate; however, too many times in our society people do not want to get involved and they sit back even when they have all information and they allow one parent to sign and the children to participate anyway.
Again, with places reopening many choices are left up to parents to decide. Is it safe for my children to attend school? Is it safe for my children to attend an extracurricular activity with hundreds of people? Most people in a co-parenting situation would discuss this and figure out what is safest, but dealing with an abuser is never like dealing with most people. We need to mark this month of Domestic Violence Awareness by working to protect the children. We need to have legislation or mandates in place during this pandemic that state that in a co-parenting situation both parents have to sign off on COVID-19 forms and give consent, and there needs to be consequences if this does not happen. The safety of our children depends on it.
Lisa J. Friedlander
Sell lot near Circle K
Now that the Circle K redevelopment of the northeast corner of Routes 87 and 306 is nearing completion, the facts on the ground need to be explained for all the taxpayers of Russell Township.
Did you know that the little 0.41-acre greenspace lot right on the corner where the crews have been parking their vehicles and equipment isn’t Circle K’s? We, the taxpayers, own that lot. It does make the Circle K development look a lot nicer, but at what expense?
Recently, as Circle K was acquiring the various small parcels around their old existing facility, they approached Russell Township Trustees and made an offer to buy that little lot to fill out their plans for the corner. From what has been discussed, they offered in the neighborhood of $100,000 for that little lot, knowing that there are some EPA restrictions on what can be done, if anything, with that lot due to some ground contamination from the BP station that used to reside there. No matter, they wanted it anyway.
Did our trustees jump at the chance to get that little piece of land back in private hands, generating property tax revenue to help out the taxpayers of Russell? Nope. I suggested that if our trustees wanted to keep that little piece of land in greenspace, they could sell it to Circle K with, for example, a 30-year deed restriction on it preventing any development.
Do our trustees have plans for that little piece of land? Nope. As explained above, there is some sort of restriction on what can be done with that little piece of land. So why hang on to it if you have no plans for it? Don’t know. Plus, now with Circle K encircling it with their facilities and equipment, what could the township use it for going forward? Not much.
So, we the taxpayers of Russell will keep mowing and maintaining that little piece of land for the benefit of Circle K and not much else. Does this make sense to you? Keep this in mind the next time the trustees come to you asking for new levy monies, remember that they turned their thumbs down at an opportunity with no logical downside to help the coffers of the township.
Valley residents come through
They say you find out what you are made of when we are called to help our friends in need, and wow, the Chagrin Valley is made of pure love and giving. Thank you to everyone who donated to the Chagrin Valley Chamber’s Drive By Food Drive. We are humbled by the overwhelming donations. On behalf of the Chagrin Valley Chamber and Bainbridge Area Food for Friends, thank you.
What an incredible day. We started with 20-plus amazing flyer volunteers that canvased their neighborhoods to spread the word. And with 17 incredible businesses and 30 amazing walking volunteers, we drove through more than 100 streets in three different communities, picking up more donations that Bainbridge Area Food for Friends have ever seen before. Oh, and let’s throw in two Santas, a Mrs. Claus and the Easter Bunny each driven around in their own convertible. Wow. We are all still on cloud nine.
The fact that the efforts of all of you will stop someone from going to bed hungry makes my heart overflow with pride. I want to personally thank each and every one of you for your time and effort. I just cannot say thank you enough, and I know that the entire staff at the food bank thanks you from the bottom of their hearts too. I wish I could hug each one of you. Please pat yourself on the back from the Chamber (since we have to stay our distance during this time) and go to bed with pride for the amazing work you did for this food drive. Please don’t stop giving. You can make a donation at Bainbridgeareafoodforfriends.com or you can drop off food anytime at their location behind the Bainbridge Fire Department, 17826 Chillicothe Road. Thanks a million. We appreciate you so much. We are so blessed to live and work in the Chagrin Valley! #shoplocal
Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce
Rules apply to everyone
In response to a letter from John Oros. You stated that as executive director of the Geauga Park District you are above all the rules, policies and procedures of the park you run. As you have admitted you felt privileged enough to disregard your own park rules to allow more than 100 Jeeps to run on a hike and bike trail for your own fun. Yes, you are a veteran but that doesn’t mean you should just do what you want. I have a veteran in my family, and I respect all military veterans tremendously for their work, but I would not say they are privileged to just do what they want to do.
If the 100 Jeeps wanted to show their respect for veterans wouldn’t they want to use the Geauga roads as other recent “parades” of flag waving groups have done in the last few weeks? Parades where people could see and show their love for veterans? And utilizing Geauga County roads would have Jeep drivers also view all of Geauga County and to maybe patronize the businesses in the area? Instead, according to you, they were showing their respect of veterans by driving Jeeps down a bike and hike trail to celebrate being veterans. Really?
What you are saying is that as executive director of the Geauga Park District you are allowed to use public lands for your own personal fun and games. That as the executive director you are setting a bad precedence for others by saying it is fine to drive 100-plus Jeeps down a hike and bike trail for any given reason. I wonder how many other vehicles will want to use the hike and bike trail of Maple Highlands now that they have seen it done by those who should know better.
Again, I respect and admire veterans, but not when it becomes the fact that they run rough shod over rules, policies and procedures.