Washington’s warnings

What would George Washington think?

As Washington left office in 1796, in his farewell address he reminded his fellow Americans about the values and ideals that would keep the republic strong.  He also warned them about the prevailing threats that would undermine it.

One of those threats was political partisanship.

Here is just a taste of what Washington wrote:

“Political partisanship serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection.

“A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”

Kind of makes you wonder what he might think of what is happening today.

Mike Carlton

Chagrin Falls

Vote yes on Issue 19

As the parent of two adults with developmental disabilities, I know first-hand how important it is to have safe and supportive housing for our sons in the community in which they grew up — and how difficult it is to make that happen. Families of those with disabilities struggle continually to help our sons and daughters have a meaningful quality of life, but the barriers can be significant.

Solon Community Living has developed a concept that will benefit our community by adding high-quality housing for adults with special needs. They have created a detailed and viable plan, supported by all our City Council members, to insure that all aspects of this project make good sense for Solon and its residents. There is a tremendous need for such quality housing, which will serve a number of families, who in turn will enhance the “good neighbor” and inclusive ways of life that are so wonderful about our community. Vote yes on Issue 19.

Jeanne Sydenstricker

Solon

Vote for Solon Issue 19

As the recently retired coordinator of the Solon Blue Ribbon Adapted Recreation Program and employee of the Solon Recreation Department, I am asking that you, as a resident of Solon, vote for Issue 19 on the March 17 ballot.

The passage of this issue will allow the development of quality housing for those citizens with disabilities, on the southwest corner of Aurora Road and Portz Parkway. This location would insure the ready access to community resources, most notably the Solon Community Center. This initiative is another example of the proactive attitude by the city of Solon in re-imagining an even better Solon, celebrating the diversity of the Solon community, in working, living and thriving together.

While working in Solon with many families who care for a family member with special needs and caring for my own sister with special needs, a critical concern on everyone’s mind is “how can I preserve the safety and well-being of my loved one when I am no longer capable of doing so?”  What better way then to provide a quality home setting with nurturing, well trained provider support within the caring, familiar community of the City of Solon?!  The opportunity that this initiative provides represents the groundwork that individuals with disabilities need to live a fulfilling life that encourages each resident to reach their highest potential.  Issue 19 promises to meet this need, for children and adults, with confidence, respect and dignity.

Issue 19 is unanimously supported by members of the Solon City Council, The Solon Planning Commission and Mayor Edward H. Kraus.

The City of Solon has an amazing reputation for supporting it’s diverse population.  Continue this support, specifically for individuals with disabilities, by voting yes for Issue 19.  Your vote counts.

Linda Creviston

Solon

Helping children cope

The loss of another young life in Geauga County due to suicide is heartbreaking.

Over the past two years, no less than six children have lost their lives to suicide in our county. Each one is a tragic loss of a young life with so much promise. Suicide causes a ripple effect of grief, loss and confusion for loved ones, friends and community who are affected. For the families of the children we have lost, we pray that they find a way to cope.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death of young people between the ages of 10-24. If you know of a youth who is struggling with depression or despair, or is the victim of bullying, please offer that youth a lifeline.

In Geauga County, you can call COPELINE at 440-285-5665 or 888-285-5665 for assistance, or you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) (http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org). If you feel that danger is imminent, call 9-1-1.

Judge Timothy J. Grendell

Chester Township

Juvenile court does fine job

I’m very proud of the men and women who serve in the Geauga County Juvenile Court.  The court provides for the care and protection of children through the judicial procedures that ensure a fair hearing and the protection of constitutional and legal rights.

The staff of the Geauga County Juvenile Court play an important role in the support and protection of our children and in my personal volunteer experience, they are doing an outstanding job. The employees are consummately professional, knowledgeable, kind and caring.

One employee in particular,  Constable John Ralph, performs numerous official duties, but he also plays a vital role for the CASA Guardian Ad Litem program. In the course of our work as volunteer CASA’s, some cases lend to potentially dangerous situations, and that is when we reach out to Constable John Ralph for assistance.

When I have to go into a home with a history of child abuse, neglect, violence, domestic violence, drug trafficking or threatening behavior, I am accompanied by our Constable.

Constable Ralph has repeatedly put his own personal safety on the line, for the protection of our CASA children.  

I’m very proud of the staff of the Geauga County Juvenile Court and especially Constable Ralph.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts

Chester Township

Let farm continue

We are writing in support of Kelly’s Working Well Farm in Bainbridge Township. It is truly a wonderful institution. Our 11-year-old daughter has attended summer camp at the farm for the past four years. She has had an overwhelmingly positive experience. She has learned many skills being on the farm, caring for animals and tending to the crops and the land. She has learned how to harvest eggs, sheer sheep, slaughter animals, clean cages, carry roosters, soothe dogs and herd sheep. She has learned about the environment, conservation and ecology. Her experiences at the farm have fostered a commitment to animals and the earth.

We think that Kelly’s Working Well Farm is a treasure for Bainbridge and the surrounding communities. We whole-heartedly support the farm and urge you to allow it to continue its operation.

David and Erica Steinweg

Beachwood

Access to Beech Brook for all

If residents of Pepper Pike are being asked to rezone the Beech Brook property, and because this property borders our neighbors in Orange Village, then all residents should have easy access to the Beech Brook property to see what it looks like. We call upon the officials of this institution to immediately and publicly welcome all to view and walk around the property at any time.

Many residents and environmental professionals are concerned about the environmental impact of rezoning and this concern should not be a reason for denying access. We urge Beech Brook to be a good neighbor and do the right thing by all residents.

Manny and Judi Naft

Pepper Pike

Plan comes before rezoning vote

Developers have stated that they won’t develop a plan for the Beech Brook property until after we, the residents of Pepper Pike, have voted to change our zoning laws. They want us to vote for rezoning based on their vague, ambiguous plan. Once we give them the variance, we have lost control of the land use.

Please give me a signed, blank check. I’ll fill in the amount later after I’ve decided what I want to purchase. Don’t worry, it’ll be fine.

Lou Ann Graham

Pepper Pike

Time for change

After Judge Timothy Grendell was appointed juvenile and probate judge to replace Judge “Chip” Henry (who tragically was killed by a hit-skip driver), troubles started brewing with Judge Grendell’s control of our county park district. I have been following events of the past several years and am very concerned with several issues, like the frequent appointing of park commissioners, some of whom had no previous interest or professional background in park management, and then their firing after a few months if they didn’t conform to his wishes, or asserted themselves on an issue. Why? Public participation is no longer allowed at the Geauga Park District commissioners’ public meetings. Why?  And now I see our tax dollars being spent on big blue signs placed around the county, slick brochures and expensive mailings, always with his name and face on them. Why? This is not how our parks should be run. This was not how Judge Henry ran our parks.  I miss Judge Henry. It’s time for a change. 

Rosemary Balazs

Chester Township

Vote for Matt Rambo

I support Matt Rambo for Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge in the March 17 Republican Primary. It is time we had a judge who can wisely and competently fulfill the duties of his office relating to our county treasure, the Geauga Park District.

The current Probate Judge, Timothy Grendell, has jeopardized the GPD since taking office in 2011, by appointing a revolving door of board commissioners whose actions have undermined the park mission to “conserve, preserve and protect.” Grendell’s GPD board has banned public comment at its monthly meetings since June 2016.

Judge Grendell does not have a transparent process for recruiting or selecting persons qualified to serve as park board commissioners. There are no open position announcements, application forms, or formal review procedures. Two of the three current park board members own and operate businesses that the park board regularly contracts with (Howard Bates of Arms Trucking and Pat Preston of Preston Auto). This conflict of interest requires Mr. Bates and Mr. Preston to abstain from voting on monthly spending plans, an essential component of board oversight. In the past, such voting abstentions have delayed paying the vouchers, disrupting financial management.

Judge Grendell believes in park board member turnover, and makes appointments to give opportunities to “people who want to contribute to the good of the county” (Chagrin Valley Times, Jan. 9, 2020, “Judge Names Pat Preston to Geauga Park Board”). I believe Matt Rambo can do much better than the Grendell version of “good.” Surely there are two other people in the county who could serve on the board whose business dealings with the parks don’t create a potential conflict of interest.

Geauga County needs a probate and juvenile court judge who can be judicious, transparent, and accountable in appointing a fully qualified board of commissioners to the Geauga Park Board. It’s time to renew accountability, stewardship and citizen input. Vote for Matt Rambo in the March 17 Republican Primary Election.

Ann Jacobson

South Russell

Too much tax burden

Complaining about high taxes is a common conversation among Russell residents. The standing question is “why does this little township create such an extreme tax burden?” With the election next month there are a few things that residents should know before they vote.

If the new proposed 511 Park levy on the Russell ballot passes, Russell residents will be taxed for three parks. As a past Russell Township Park commissioner, I know that the Russell Citizens Park Board created under Ohio Revised Code section 511 levy is being promoted by the same group of residents who conducted themselves with “mob mentality” when the Modroo property was being evaluated. Their behavior was unwarranted and an embarrassment to our township. I support parks being enjoyed by the people who pay for them – Russell residents.

Late last year, I attended a Russell Trustee meeting where township Fiscal Officer Karen Walder asked for budget approval of $750,000 for employee health benefits. I asked how many full-time employees were eligible for the plan – the answer was 26. As a human resources consultant for decades, I sourced, priced and implemented numerous employee benefit plans. I knew immediately that something wasn’t right with this so I met with Mrs. Walder to confirm. She confirmed the numbers. The budgeted amount per employee comes out to be $28,850 per year. In today’s market, a very high quality plan should cost approximately $16,000 per employee if all employees are shown as family which is not Russell’s case. Using $16,000 for 26 employees would reduce the cost to $416,000 – a savings of $334,000. Russell employees’ contribution is only 15 percent of the cost.

I discovered a couple of additional concerns. First, all employees’ co-pays are 100 percent reimbursed by the township which is not the case in surrounding townships. As a matter of fact, I have never experienced a plan or a company policy that includes that benefit. Another interesting fact is that the broker is not local – rather it is someone in Columbus. Russell’s plan is not in a Municipal Sharing Group that combines other townships for lower costs. This is due to a previous bad experience that the township suffered through.

I hope Russell residents will consider these facts when they go to the voting polls in March. If we want fair taxation, we need to know who and what we are voting for.

Linda J. O’Brien

Russell Township

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