Restore dignity to probate court

The  Friday before what was supposed to have been election day, I received a  postcard from the Grendell campaign indicating that Matt Rambo was “under investigation” for “ethics violations’, the timing of which seemed designed to get this slur out into the public before the appropriate governing body could release its ruling that not only were the accusations unfounded, they were positively frivolous, with the sole intent of damaging Rambo in the upcoming primary election. 

The Ohio Supreme Court Board of Professional Conduct went so far as to issue a cease and desist order to prevent the Grendell campaign from further dissemination of this slur, which of course was promulgated by Grendell patronage employee Kim Laurie.

This is just more of the same from Tim Grendell, who widely projects his own failings and shortcomings onto his opponents, a tactic widely used by those intent on holding onto power by any means necessary. Even Grendell supporters would have to stipulate that his administration has been far from a paragon of ethical probity, freely spending taxpayer funds while resisting any form of accountability to said taxpayers and conducting inadequate oversight of lawyers with access to funds from estates in probate. The entire episode is just one more example of Grendell’s unfitness for any public office, let alone a judgeship.

It’s high time to bid farewell to Grendell’s shambolic, crony administration and to restore dignity and accountability to the probate court. Geauga County voters deserve no less.

Tony Festa

Russell Township

Thanks for opportunity

When I graduated from the University of Kentucky last May, I did not have a set plan for myself. I knew that I wanted to work with underrepresented children. I realized this during my last semester of college when I interned for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Lexington. When graduation came, I did not have a job lined up, and I ended up becoming an intern for CASA for Kids of Geauga County, under the Honorable Judge Timothy J Grendell.

It was here that I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in family law. I grew up In Geauga County and would have never thought that the stories I hear at work happen to children in my community, but it does. My passion for advocating for these children has only grown stronger since I began working with the CASA program in Geauga County. I have met some of the most amazing people who continue to inspire me every day. Whether it is one of our kids whose resilience continues to surprise me or one of our volunteers who dedicates the majority of their life to help these children get the opportunities that every child deserves.

I recently applied to law school. I am happy to say that I have been accepted into all of them. I feel incredibly grateful to be able to have this choice. This would not be possible without the Geauga County Juvenile Court, Judge Grendell and the CASA staff. I would like to publicly thank these people for pushing me to achieve my dreams. It is evident that these people genuinely care for the kids that come into this court and want the very best for them, especially Judge Grendell. Wherever I end up for law school, I am confident that the children of Geauga County are in excellent hands.

Sarah Lennon


Alternatives for Beech Brook

We are happy to report that there has been direct communication between Beech Brook and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and that Beech Brook officials can no longer deny that the WRLC is interested in the Beech Brook property.

As was highlighted and reported as far back as August of 2019, the WRLC must wait until the contingent sales offer expires (i.e. rezoning to mixed-use is voted down and/or the offer is withdrawn) before they can begin meaningful negotiations with Beech Brook. Thus, there are many viable options available to Beech Brook if they are willing to rescind the CEO’s stated position that, “First and foremost, the land will not remain vacant, nor will it become a park” which he published in a letter to the Times on March 26.

An opportunity for a public discussion/presentation has been desired for well over six months regarding these alternatives. Once the alternatives are given real and meaningful consideration, these alternatives could and would allow for compromises that would result in everyone’s goals and published mission statements being addressed. Beech Brook would receive revenue from the sale of their property, the environment would be protected, the citizens of Pepper Pike and surrounding communities would keep the bucolic nature of the area, there would be no increase in traffic, and we could have a full or partial land preserve or park on this property.

This information is also being sent directly to Tom Royer, president and CEO of Beech Brook, because his statement of, “Finally, it is simply not true that Beech Brook won’t allow visitors on our campus. We have always welcomed members of the community” is simply not true. While the ink was still wet from his editorial, Beech Brook rejected a request from a resident for visiting with renowned environmental specialists. The visit would have been confined to the undeveloped, heavily wooded 38-acre perimeter outside of the ten foot fence that surrounds the Beech Brook building facilities. Therefore, no compromise of confidentiality would have occurred.

We sincerely hope that Mr. Royer will respond to our direct communication because he never responded to our emails from Dec. 20, 2019 and Feb. 5, although he states in his second letter that “I do not ignore people who reach out to me. I have not received any communications or requests for meeting that have gone unanswered. I am willing to speak with anyone about this issue.”

We look forward to a positive response from Beech Brook so that Beech Brook and the community can plan, develop, and implement a solution that would be acceptable to all.

Manny and Judi Naft

Pepper Pike

Thanks for program support

Thank you Judge Grendell. I would like others to be aware of the good that Judge Grendell has done and continues to do for the residents of Geauga County. I’d like to share an example.

Silver Lining Equine Assisted Learning LLC is an organization that offers programs that incorporate horses experientially for personal growth and learning. It is a collaborative effort between an equine professional and a mental health professional working with clients and horses to achieve learning goals.

Horses are sensitive animals that respond immediately to individual’s attitude and behavior providing valuable information that helps bring about healthy changes. We introduced our equine assisted learning program to Judge Grendell. Following his review of the program he afforded us the opportunity to offer our programs to children and families impacted by domestic violence, abuse and neglect.

Judge Grendell’s decision to support our program has enabled and empowered children and families to learn and practice important life skills such as respect, responsibility, relationship building, problem solving, empathy, healthy boundaries and improved communication. The positive feedback we have received from mental health professionals, court personnel, case workers and family members reinforce the success of these programs and Judge Grendell’s decision to support these programs.

Joan Sladek, Diane Wildman

Chagrin Falls

Matt Rambo best choice

Did the devil make them do it?

“Deceiver” is another name for the devil.  Keep this in mind and think about the deception that judicial candidate Tim Grendell and his election campaign pulled on the voters of Geauga County.  Kimberly Laurie is a person who owes her job to Tim Grendell.  Who do you think whispered in Laurie’s ear and gave her the plan to file false charges against Grendell’s opponent?  That act being done, who do you think gave Grendell’s campaign the idea to mail a postcard to Geauga residents with the message that his opponent was facing ethics charges?  Do you see the deception here?  If you don’t want to be in league with the deceivers, then vote for Matt Rambo for Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge.  The truth is that Matt Rambo is the candidate with honesty and integrity on his side.

Kathleen Webb

Munson Township

Good triumphs in Newbury

This was really a simple letter to write. Even during these unprecedented times, there are always those that are good, those situations that are bad and those people or circumstances that are ugly.

The good: A shout out to all of the teachers in the Newbury Local School District but in particular, to Mrs. Ewing & Mrs. Cerny, the third-grade teachers at Newbury. They have made this home-schooling situation that much better by putting the kids on a video chat (Zoom) once a week so they can interact and laugh together again. My daughter was so excited to see everyone, (yes, even the teachers) that she didn’t want the call to end. You are the good that is still there for the kids at Newbury and I thank you. Keep it up.

The bad: Unfortunately, this is a bad year for it to be the last year the school district will be in existence. The planned school events (carnival, prom, after prom, etc.) which everyone looked forward to are either postponed or cancelled altogether. For seniors, I am sure this is especially difficult and maybe they can laugh about it (or at least talk about it) at their 10-year reunion but overall, those that support Newbury want you to know our hearts go out to you. Hopefully, some events can still be done in the summer or fall just to give you some closure to your years at Newbury High School.

The ugly: It goes without saying that the ugly here goes to the Newbury Board of Education which now gets to avoid those public meetings that they dreaded so much and hearing about how they gave away the school and the property for a few short-lived tax dollars. None of the board members have kids in the school so any way to get out of (what they feel is) harassment by those of us opposed to a territory transfer, is a good thing to them. Someday maybe their actions will be forgiven but they will never be forgotten.

It has been a roller-coaster of a year for the teachers and students at Newbury Elementary and Newbury High School. They are good students, parents, teachers and citizens and I applaud your dedication and perseverance. Thankfully, good always triumphs over evil.

Phillip A. Paradise Jr.


Parks heart of Geauga

I am writing in response to a letter to the editor submitted by Shelley Chernin published in last week’s newspaper. Ms. Chernin has crafted another opinion that misrepresents the truth. Members of Protect Geauga Parks continue to submit their misleading stories in an effort to discredit your parks. Their representations are particularly disappointing during this challenging season of COVID-19.

This crisis has challenged our citizens like no other time in recent history. Our park staff is proud to represent the majority of residents who support us. During this time, the heartbeat of Geauga County resonates in your parks. You and your families are choosing to get outside to enjoy our 25 parks. It is great to see you walking our 78 trails and experiencing Nature in your own unique way. We are pleased that parks are contributing to your well-being. Parks provide a mental, physical, spiritual and social (albeit socially distant) refuge during this challenging time. We could not be more proud to be here for you. My best to you and your families. Stay happy and healthy.

John Oros

Executive Director

Judge does good job

I first met Timothy Grendell back in August of 2009 when he was an Ohio State senator. At that time the Illuminating Company was in the process of taking away the all electric discounts that were promised to homeowners. Tim was the only politician that took interest in the plight of homeowners and fought for us in too many ways to mention here.

He had many hearings in Columbus and invited our group to speak there. In 2009 locally he held many town hall meetings to find out what was going on.

On a personal note the daughter of a friend of ours had to go before the Judge recently and the parent told us what a nice job he did.

A small group of people who claim they want to protect the parks keep writing letters saying that the Judge is running the parks and ruining them. They feel if anything is done to change them in any way this is bad. I have met Geauga Park District Director John Oros a few times when they set up a group of citizens to discuss the parks in 2017 and find out what we felt concerning the parks. It only took three meetings before that group protested so much that it was cancelled. I feel nothing can be done to make this group happy, other than not improving the parks in any way.

Rich Jordan

Munson Township

Businesses band together 

Fairmount Center for the Arts is located in Russell Township and is a proud member of the Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce. On behalf of this nonprofit arts organization, I wanted to publicly thank chamber Executive Director Molly Gebler and the many other area businesses who have connected with us through the chamber’s leadership during this time.

Like many other businesses, Fairmount was severely impacted by governor’s orders.  Normally a community organization with everyday energy of people engaging in the arts and fitness programs, our building went dark as we paused programs and sent our admin team home to work.

Then, just after this pause, and as we worked tirelessly to pivot to online dance, music, theatre, visual arts and fitness classes, Molly reached out to me, the executive director of Fairmount Center for the Arts to both check in and to interview me on how operations at Fairmount had changed.  She then shared this via social media and also via YouTube. During a time when marketing dollars are sparse, but the need for visibility is critical, it was so valuable to have the chamber reaching out and sharing to our community.

Fairmount was not alone. I saw and learned about so many other small businesses in our area through this video series which was put together by the chamber.

 An additional positive outcome was that through the chamber’s efforts, Fairmount was able to learn how other businesses were navigating this new territory.

 Moving forward in this unknown territory, I also have been wowed by local businesses specializing in marketing to law as they began offering webinars to answer questions and provide support without any request or expectation for financial gain.

Though this is a tough time, Fairmount Center for the Arts is grateful for these connections and support. Though we did not anticipate this, we are grateful to have connected with new businesses and perhaps new partners that will allow us to expand our programs differently than we ever imagined or perhaps even intended.

Thanks to Molly and the Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce for leading the way. 

Jeannie Fleming-Gifford

Russell Township

Hard work matters

I have been a park volunteer for 17 years and have lived in Geauga County for over 40 years. I have known Judge Tim Grendell for many years. He is a good person who loves serving our community and has been a supporter of our use and enjoyment of our county parks. Judge Tim Grendell works hard to protect our children and our seniors. Please join me in voting for Judge Tim Grendell. During these challenging times, thank you to Judge Grendell, the Geauga County Park Board, and the Park District’s hard working staff for continuing to provide a wonderful opportunity for families to enjoy nature in Geauga County’s beautiful parks.

Lois Hayes


Experience matters

As a retired Geauga County Commissioner, my wife Mariana and I appreciate that everyone is doing what we all can to keep safe and healthy. As we reflect on what is really important, we realize that leadership with experience is critical. We are grateful to have Judge Tim Grendell serving so many seniors, children, and their families, and applying justice and caring that is so needed. Judge Tim Grendell’s deep experience will provide essential services while keeping the public and court staff safe. We hope you will join us in voting for Judge Tim Grendell by mail, postmarked by April 27.

Bill Repke

Geauga County

Vote by mail would work

Voting by mail should replace voting at the polls in its entirety.  The two institutions that can be trusted is the County Board of Elections and the United States Postal Service.  The money saved by eliminating the need for poll workers could be used to offer free postage on the envelopes used to vote by mail. 

The person voting would also have more time to consider what they are voting for and would not be confined to the hours of the polling place.  It would also prevent unwanted entry to schools and churches from anyone trying to harm someone. In addition, the voter would not be harassed by someone trying to place unsolicited campaign literature into their hand.   The additional revenue would boost the U.S. Postal Service and perhaps keep it afloat until we as a country are able to vote online.

Voting by mail would solve the registered voter problem and guarantee safe passage of the ballots to the county board of elections.

Joe Bialek


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