Environmental concerns of Issue 110

Please vote no on Issue 110.

There are numerous reasons to vote NO on Issue 110. Issue 110 is the developer’s circumvention of Solon’s government (by mandamus litigation) to put to the voters his personally drafted and preposterous zoning change to the Lake Luczek property.

The most important reason however to vote NO is the history and future of this magnificent property. Between 1991 and 1994, Dr. Luczek worked with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio EPA, utilizing the services of Braun-Prenosil Associates (Engineers and Surveyors) to build a self-sufficient ecosystem with complete biodiversity to integrate into the Chagrin River Watershed by building a currently categorized class II Dam and forming Lake Luczek. The lake is a water retention lake for over 700 acres of stormwater drainage for Thornbury, as well as other developments. It is surrounded by approximately 70 acres of aged deciduous forest housing hundreds of varieties of flora and fauna that are highly unique to this property. The 23.5-acre lake is also surrounded with the highest quality wetlands that comprise the entire property, Category 3 wetlands which cannot be mitigated or developed according to Ohio EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers. The Lake is part of the 100- year flood plain, the Chagrin River Watershed (Aurora Branch, McFarland Creek), and as such is an integral part of the Great Lakes Watershed. Unfortunately, the developer has done no due diligence on this property and is proposing a zoning initiative that will never be permitted by any of these agencies.

Solon needs to protect this property from exploitation (as it has with the Blue Herron Preserve and the North Branch Preserve several years ago) and act in accord with the city’s Master Plan, which states, “The city recognizes that an effective open space program provides many benefits to the community including a general enhancement of the quality of life, an increase in biodiversity, reduction in population growth, enhancement of community aesthetic appeal, and an extension of the active and passive recreational opportunities that are available to city residents.” This would make a beautiful public park for the enjoyment of all the citizens of Solon, which would be in fulfillment of the city’s Master Plan.

The developer has said that a no vote on Issue 110 would bring the destruction of the forest because more than 100 houses would be built on the property under the existing zoning of single-family residences on 1-acre lots, which would require building at least 25 houses on the lake itself (do the math). A NO vote would bring the property back under the domain of the city government, who actually cares about and is answerable to you the citizens who vote them into office. Voting NO would afford the opportunity to make this a public park for all of Solon.

Brad Martin


Vote for Michael Pircio

I am writing in support of Michael Pircio, the Republican running for Ohio’s 99th Congressional District. I have known Michael his whole life. I was at his Air Force Basic Training graduation in San Antonio, Texas. He is an honest, thoughtful, conservative leader that understands the issues that are important to those of us living in Geauga County. You can see his ideas and the issues that animate him at www.pircioforohio.com.

I must add, with the sleazy tactics that were on public display for the past two weeks during the confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, our country would be better off with less Democrats in elected office. Vote Pircio on Nov. 6!

The Rev. Douglas Browning


Do not cede zoning authority

All established communities have zoning requirements, covenants and guidelines that must be followed regarding development, redevelopment and construction. A developer in Solon, Ohio would like to change the rules to allow him (and other developers after a precedent has been set) to create these rules. Initiative petition No. 110 is a zoning change, created by the developer, which currently does not exist in the City of Solon. This petition would allow mix-use (apartments, townhouses, retail, hotels, a wine entertainment center, and above and below ground parking, among other uses) in a currently residentially zoned area known as Kerem Lake.

As indicated in last week’s local newspaper, the city of Solon has formed a commission to study mixed-use zoning to allow potential mixed-use properties in the current commercially zoned areas of the city. This is how a well-reasoned representative democracy works. The elected leaders study issues, make recommendations, vet them with the constituency and act. Yisrael Harris (the developer) has gone around the city, our zoning requirements, and has forced your tax dollars be used to pay his legal bills.

If Mr. Harris is successful with his zoning change, your neighborhood could be next.

Please do not allow this dangerous, precedent-setting rezoning to take place in Solon. Voice your opinion by voting No on Issue No. 110 on Nov. 6.

Bud Thomas


Vote yes for citizen’s park levy

One year ago, Russell Township voters overwhelmingly (62 percent) approved the formation of a new township park district in exasperation over the actions of park commissioners appointed by the probate court judge. These actions included the threatened sale of park land on Dines Road to a private buyer, delays in the long-planned purchase of the Modroo property, and extraordinary and unnecessary legal expenditures. So now, Russell Township has two park districts, and Russell voters will see two levies on the November ballot. I fear this will be confusing.

I have actively followed the situation in Russell Township parks. I’ll try to clear up some confusion by talking about how I intend to vote.

I plan to vote for the Russell Township Citizens Park District (511) 0.25-mill levy. I will not vote for the Russell Township Park District (1545) 0.5-mill levy.

Last year, we voted to form the citizens park district because Russell residents wanted local control over ALL township parks. Realizing the goal of local control over all of our parks will take time, the citizens park district will work toward unifying the two park districts into one. Meanwhile, they will preserve green space in Russell.

The citizens park district needs a small amount of funding to begin to function, to be available to acquire new park lands by donation or purchase, and to be ready for the transfer of assets from the old park district. The need for start-up funding is clear.

Geauga County reviewed the old Russell Township Park District’s budget in August and failed to pass it. This means that even if their levy passes, they will lose at least one year of collection on it and will not have funds available from the levy for two years. They’ve had to hire an accountant to straighten out discrepancies in their budget, so it is unclear how much money they have in their various accounts. The latest news is that they are short on operating funds, but their levy will not help.

For the record, the chairman of the Russell Township Park District, Scott Wayt, is an employee of the probate court. I wonder how he can make independent decisions about our parks when his livelihood depends upon the will of the probate court. The current board, although clearly doing their best, have made some rookie mistakes, including poorly planned and unsupervised tree cutting at Russell Uplands. I have difficulty trusting this inexperienced group of commissioners with additional funds.

In time, when things have settled in Russell and we have one park district again, we can think about whether that park district needs more funding to do its job properly. For now, I support minimal funding of the citizens park district to move us toward the goal of one, locally controlled park district. Please vote YES on Issue 4.

Shelley Chernin


Vote for independent Umholtz

Bob Umholtz, attorney and chief public defender in Geauga County since 1990, is running as an independent in the upcoming Nov. 6 election to become the judge of Geauga County’s Court of Common Pleas. Bob believes that a judge should be absolutely impartial and uninfluenced by political parties. He has more experience in Geauga County courtrooms than the two other candidates combined. He has worked diligently to defend the rights of people in Geauga County’s common pleas court for nearly 30 years.

Bob Umholtz has served his country with honor and distinction in the intelligence branch of the United States Air Force. He has faithfully served his family and raised two sons, who are now also serving our nation. One is a major in the Air Force and one is with the Secret Service. Bob has tirelessly served every community he has been a part of. He has been a friend to many and won the respect of his peers in the legal profession as well as the people who have worked for him in the public defender’s office. He has earned the respect of law enforcement officers and judges and also his clients.

Bob Umholtz conducts himself with dignity and integrity inside Geauga County courtrooms and anywhere he goes. He fully understands the laws of this country and the rights to which we are all entitled. Bob has full knowledge of the intricacies of being in a courtroom and of conducting court in a dignified and orderly manner.

Experience is what matters. For Bob Umholtz to become the next judge in the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas is a logical extension of a longtime and distinguished career serving the people of Geauga County.

Thank you for voting for the most experienced and honorable man, Bob Umholtz, Independent.

Cathy DiNardo

Troy Township

Geauga should vote for Umholtz

To all Geauga County residents,

We are going to be selecting a new common pleas court judge in a few short weeks. I am asking everyone to vote for Bob Umholtz. Bob has served Geauga County for almost 30 years as chief public defender. Experience with county government, not to mention the hundreds of cases he has taken to trial, makes Bob the logical choice I have had the privilege of getting to know Bob and his family very well, all serving our country in various capacities, from the U.S. Air Force to the Secret Service. If you don’t already know Bob, you owe it to yourself to stop by the public defender’s office and meet one of Geauga County’s finest servants. I am sure that after a very short conversation you will be joining me in voting for Bob Umholtz for the next Geauga County Court of Common Pleas judge.

Pierre Hodgins


Questions not answered

I was told to attend the open house on Solon on the lake to have ALL my questions answered. I attended and my questions were NOT answered. In what has become standard protocol for Yisrael Harris and his associates, our questions were screened and only questions that fit his narrative were discussed. We had to submit our questions in advance, and they decided what questions would be and would not be answered. No questions were allowed from the floor. When a citizen of Solon tried to ask a question from the floor, he was silenced and told to sit down.

Mr. Harris was invited to speak about his proposal at the Solon Town Hall on Sept. 27. He declined Ward 3 Councilman Jeremy Zelwin’s invitation to speak, choosing to present his information at their open house where they could control the messaging.

I’m not surprised by Mr. Harris and his team’s lack of transparency. They were unhappy with Solon City Council’s established procedure, which provides three readings of proposed zoning changes. The three readings provide concerned citizens the opportunity to voice their opinions on changes to the zoning code. Mr. Harris doesn’t care how citizens feel about his proposal. That’s why he chose to bypass Solon’s city planning process, go straight to the Ohio Supreme Court and charge the City of Solon for his $107,000 in legal fees (your tax dollars).

We will not be silenced. Vote NO on Issue 110 on Nov. 6.

Donna Thomas


Support Umholtz for common pleas

I support Bob Umholtz for Geauga Court of Common Pleas Judge. Bob has been representing people in Geauga County for over 34 years, most of that as chief public defender. Bob knows well the problems currently facing our county as he works daily in Geauga courts.

I have had the privilege of knowing Bob and Marie Umholtz for more than 25 years. Both have lived and practiced law in Chardon. Both of their sons were born there. Two years ago they started building their home and farm in Claridon Township where they now live.

My husband Chip (Judge Charles “Chip” Henry) worked with Bob as his assistant public defender before he took the bench in 1992. Chip always respected Bob’s diligent commitment to the law. Even though Chip is no longer with us, I strongly believe he would join me in supporting Bob for the Geauga Court of Common Pleas. He is exactly the kind of person we need on the bench.

Linda Henry

Chagrin Falls

GOP message to women

GOP senators to sexual assault victims: we don’t believe you.

• It’s likely that Brett Kavanaugh committed sexual assault/attempted rape.

• Christine Blasey Ford is believable. No reason to lie. Doesn’t want publicity. Years ago, she told her therapist privately that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her. No issue of mistaken identity, since she knew Kavanaugh previously. Gathering at which assault occurred matches July 1 event on Kavanaugh’s calendar. Polygraph supports her truthfulness. Information that Kavanaugh was a belligerent drunk when younger is consistent with Dr. Ford’s description.

• Lack of corroboration does not refute her testimony, and is understandable because nothing memorable happened to others except Mark Judge, who has reason not to be truthful.

• Kavanaugh had obvious reason to lie and did so. His characterizations of “Devil’s Triangle” and “Renate alumnus” in his high school yearbook to describe him, were not truthful. Ms. Dolphin called the innuendo about her “horrible, hurtful and simply untrue.”

• For a Supreme Court appointment, burden of proof for character allegation should not be high. This is not a criminal case, where claims must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The highest character standards are required for the Supreme Court. If a nominee’s character is shown to be reasonably or likely questionable, that should be sufficient. Based solely on Dr. Ford’s credible testimony and supportive information, burden of proof is satisfied and Kavanaugh should be disqualified.

• GOP Senators have said that they believe Kavanaugh, which means they must not believe Dr. Ford. Really?! That’s not what most Americans believe. It’s difficult to imagine a more credible witness than Dr. Ford. Kavanaugh, not so much. What GOP senators are really saying is that they don’t care that much about sexual misconduct, at least when a Supreme Court seat is at stake. That’s their message to women. Please let the GOP ticket know what we think about that when we vote in November!

Joseph Mark Hennessey

Pepper Pike

Support for Robinson homerun

Three strikes and you’re out – now stay out.

One: Jim Trakas has already served in the Ohio House and was subject to term limits a decade ago but not before he was stripped of his leadership roles by the house speaker.

Two: Any time you’re under investigation by the state’s inspector general for saying you can make a fine “go away,” you know you’re in trouble. It must have been tough to resign from an $88,411 job but that’s what Jim Trakas did in 2013 when he stepped down as executive director of Ohio’s Cosmetology Board (yes, Cosmetology) after being appointed by Gov. John Kasich. Pushed or jumped doesn’t matter when you’re in an ethics scandal. Jim Trakas summed it up best: “It’s time to step out of politics.”

Three: Jim Trakas was the CEO of Provost Academy, a failing online charter school, forced to return $800,000 to Ohio for enrollment discrepancies. He then served as a lobbyist for the owner of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (known as ECOT) which received more than $1 billion from Ohio before closing due an enrollment scandal and costing taxpayers millions. The state attorney general is currently attempting to recover $60 million from ECOT and its owners.

The voters in Solon, Chagrin Falls, Moreland Hills, Bentleyville, Hunting Valley, Gates Mills and the rest of Ohio House District 6 should shut the revolving door on Jim Trakas and elect Solon resident Phil Robinson as their state representative.

Tom Jackson


Issue 110 is bad for Solon

I’m a resident in Ward 5 in the City of Solon. I’m writing to express opposition to the proposed rezoning of 100 acres on Bainbridge Road, Issue 110 on the Nov. 6 ballot. The developer has no experience overseeing this type of massive project, which was originally said to be a winery, hotel, apartment building, senior living facility, spa, underground parking, townhouses and single family homes. The developer has already stated he is changing this plan. The fact is that if this zoning passes he can do just about anything he wants. Furthermore, it opens the door for developers in the future to do the same thing anywhere in the city.

The developer circumvented long standing procedures in an attempt to get a zoning change to a zoning classification that doesn’t currently exist in Solon. The proposed mixed-use development is not in compliance with the city’s master plan. It doesn’t make sense to me to support something that our council members and planning commission do not support.

We are being asked by the developer to support a project for which there have been no environmental impact studies, no traffic studies and no understanding of how this would increase the load on city services and infrastructure. Issue 110 is BAD for Solon. Vote NO

Jay Ross


Vote Ondrey for common pleas

I am going to vote for Dave Ondrey for common pleas court judge, and I ask everyone to support him as well. I have known Dave for many years both personally and professionally, and I know he will be a fine judge based on my personal observations of him and his past record and accomplishments.

Dave is an experienced trial attorney who has practiced law for nearly four decades in Geauga County. He has represented townships, governmental agencies, individuals, corporations and other organizations in both civil and criminal matters. In addition, he has held very responsible positions in vital Geauga County not-for-profit organizations including Geauga Hospital, United Way and University Hospitals Health System. Dave knows our community and its values.

Most importantly, Dave has the temperament to be a fair, impartial, compassionate and scholarly judge.

I urge you to vote for Dave Ondrey for Geauga County Court of Common Pleas.

John Leech

Chester Township

LaTourette is out of touch

Last year, I wrote an email to Sarah LaTourette. I told her the story of a relative of mine, a young woman (I’ll call her Marie) who got pregnant as a teen and gave the baby up for adoption. After that, Marie struggled with the pain of that experience, made some bad choices and wandered without direction. It took years, but Marie turned her life around. She is now working and going to college part-time. While she still struggles to pay the bills, she has taken responsibility for her life, and that includes getting her healthcare from a low-cost clinic.

I wrote to LaTourette because she had recently voted against funding for such healthcare clinics. I was trying to remind her that many people, like Marie, rely upon these programs for their basic healthcare needs.

LaTourette responded to my email, and she confirmed: Yes, she voted against healthcare funding. She told me, in essence, Marie should just go somewhere else to get her healthcare.

LaTourette doesn’t seem to understand. “Just get your healthcare from somewhere else” isn’t an option for most of us. LaTourette’s flippant response shows me that she is out of touch with the people of her district.

That’s why, this November, my vote is going to John Kennedy. John understands the struggles of getting and keeping good healthcare.

John was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1996, and since then, has been working to bring attention and solutions to our most pressing healthcare concerns. As you may have seen, John recently completed an amazing feat. He ran 142 miles, from Aurora to the Statehouse in Columbus, to bring attention to the rising cost of insulin. John knows the importance of having good health care coverage, and he’s not afraid to work for solutions.

Unlike LaTourette, who voted to limit our healthcare options, John will fight to protect and expand health care coverage for all citizens of the 76th District. He will make it his priority, so hard-working people like Marie can continue to succeed. On Nov. 6, please vote for John Kennedy.

Nicole Mulloy

Russell Township

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