Let farm continue

I am a 55-year-old mother and wife, a homemaker from Thompson, Ohio. I spent most of my childhood in West-European cities and had the privilege to enjoy German kindergarten and the great outdoors.

We all know the importance of education for our children. Yet, in an age where printed curriculum materials by far took over a good narrator and a dead letter on the paper with a set of classroom-friendly videos took the place of a teacher, do we still differ a good from not-so-good education? Do we nourish the true spirit of the child or prefer to continue to tame all their talents and gifts, suppressing their IQ, cultural intelligence and emotional intelligence?

It would be many years later and many miles away, after visiting a significant number of schools in different countries that I found a place that felt right; a place where children are allowed to be children, where their curiosity and need to explore were not suppressed while sitting for more than 6 hours in monotonic atmosphere of a 30-foot by 20-foot, 30-same-age-students classroom and where testing concepts by far outreached the “circle one” concept (after, hopefully, memorizing all others).

It was a place where the last child in the woods was no longer the last; a place of hope where thinking, first-hand exploration, outdoor science, observation and play are the crucial part of children’s development, and should be present in everyday activities; a place where outdoors, farm animals, birds, trees, leaves, ants, butterflies and their life cycles are all an essential part of a classroom that feels like a playroom, and conclusions are made using child’s thinking skills vs. “circle-one.”

That place was Kelly’s Working Well Farm.

I met Kelly while completing Geoff Lawton’s permaculture design certification. I wanted to learn first-hand how to build a straw bale house. At the time, Kelly was offering free workshop participation under a professional lead, a great way to learn and put community together. To say that I enjoyed the workshop would be an understatement! It was a gathering of the most friendly people I ever met, an educational presentation with open discussion on healthier approaches to our living space and the health benefits of such structures, with a terminus of synchronizing human actions with Mother Nature in an attempt that is neither harmful nor destitute. Finally, a place for kids to learn and grow!

Young children experience learning through play and exploration in a variety of settings including the home, yard and nature. We should let our children’s growth beyond their current level of knowledge, skills, interests and emotions, and teach them how to think and observe, something that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

The early years of a child’s life are pivotal to their long-term success—and Kelly’s Farm was a part of it. Please, let Kelly’s Farm continue to be the success we all want to see!

Davorka Butorac Gabrovsek 

Thompson, Ohio

Think twice about rezoning

We moved to Pepper Pike because of the country feel of the community, no red lights or sidewalks and large lots with lots of green space. The proposed Beech Brook rezoning ordinance would significantly impact the nature of Pepper Pike, and not for the better.  

1) Do we need more retail in this area?  What stores would be coming to the development that aren’t already at Pinecrest, Village Square, Beachwood Place, Legacy, LaPlace or Eton? Would we be robbing Peter to pay Paul – stealing stores from one shopping area to relocate, leaving gaping empty store fronts at others? 

2)  The traffic on Chagrin Boulevard and Lander Road leading in and out of the circle is difficult now.  Try making a left turn. You rely on the kindness of other drivers. What would a more than 50 acre development with retail and housing add?  Do we widen both roads to four or five lanes so that we look like a retail hub and not a community?  Do we add red lights at every intersection and end up looking like Mayfield Road?  This isn’t the vision of Pepper Pike we want.

3)  Are the developers asking for a tax abatement?  If yes, how will this affect our school system?  Pinecrest is already underperforming in their expected revenue to Orange schools.

4)  Would the homes in the development be required to follow code and have one acre lots or would the rezoning allow the developer to pack houses in adding to the congestion?

5) What is Pepper Pike’s financial commitment to the project?  I have been told close to $20 million!  If that is accurate, $20 million would have better use in repaving roads, upgrading existing city buildings, or adding to the rainy day fund so we don’t suffer another financial emergency as we did several years ago.

This proposed development affects not only Pepper Pike but every surrounding community.

We don’t need nor do we want this use for the land. Please ask the council members to vote no on the Beech Brook rezoning ordinance.

Lou Ann Graham

Pepper Pike

Questions and answers

Question 1: When is President Donald Trump’s alleged witch hunt not a witch hunt?

Question 2: When is Trump’s alleged fake news not fate news?

Question 3: When is Trump’s alleged inquiry hoax not a hoax?

Answer: When Robert Muller lists all of Russia’s interference with the election and indicts 12 members of Russia’s military intelligence and concluded they sought to help Trump’s candidacy.

Answer: When about six of Trump’s partners in crime pleaded guilty or were convicted of various crimes.

Answer: When about 12 witnesses, most of whom were Trump appointees, all testify to his various crimes.

Question 4: Why is Trump’s claim and the Republican senators’ claim Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election pure garbage?

Answer: Because various U.S. agencies who investigated and several witnesses in the impeachment hearing all found it was Russia.

Un-indicted Trump is the biggest liar and the worst elected official in our history.

Number two for the worst is a tie between Moscow Mitch (U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell), Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Graham or U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan.

Right now, Rep. Jordan has a slight edge. He denies turning a blind eye to alleged abuse by a doctor at the Ohio State University. At least five people said he had to have known of the abuse. He continues to claim Trump was justified in pushing for Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political opponents. Rep. Jordan is a disgrace.

Anyone who does not vote to impeach and remove Trump should be voted out of office.

Thomas J. Mullen


Save a piece of Chagrin history

On Jan. 10, 1964, Barbara Kuniczak sold her house at 126 E. Washington St., Chagrin Falls, to five citizens, who formed a private trust to prevent its demolition. The builder of the May Court and Elm Court extensions wanted the property for access to his planned development.

Mrs. Kuniczak’s house had been built c. 1847 by George March, an original settler of Chagrin Falls. It is the third oldest occupied residence in the village, and a noted example of Western Reserve architecture, painted red.

Two couples who were neighbors of that house and a venerated real estate broker pooled resources to buy the house and rent it for a quarter century. They took out a mortgage, before selling the property to persons who have preserved the unique place of the original March house in local architectural history.

The property at 3 West Summit may be slated for an ignominious destruction, but with sufficient private investment and a motivated seller, its neighbors and supporters could save this equally notable specimen of local history.

Stephen G. Thomas

Moreland Hills

Residents support parks

I’m writing in response to a letter to the editor by Mr. John G. Augustine of Parkman Township. The piece was entitled “Question on park action” and published in the Nov. 28 edition of the Chagrin Valley Times.

Mr. Augustine criticized Geauga Park District leadership for not accepting a land donation. Readers should know additional facts associated with this decision. At their Sept. 10 meeting, park commissioners did elect to decline the donation of a small piece of property, albeit a generous offer.

However, Mr. Augustine failed to mention other key factors from the report he referenced by Park Biologist Paul Pira which ultimately affected the board’s decision. The property is less than one acre. It is only 0.57 acres in size and is virtually land-locked. The map in the report shows the acreage only touches Geauga Park District property at one corner. The report shows the property scored a 33 out of a possible 100 points on a Natural Quality Evaluation. This evaluation is a key factor in decision-making by park leadership. As an example, one of our newest parks, Veterans Legacy Woods, scored 61 out of 100.

In his letter, Mr. Augustine references anthropogenic impacts, aquatic ecosystems and global warming, amongst other terminology that may be unfamiliar to many residents. He largely did not recognize the important role public access plays in educating our residents. Without naturalist-led hikes, programs and access to natural areas, some residents may never come to understand the importance of preserving, conserving and protecting, which are portions of our mission. Our mission goes on to recognize its responsibility to everyone in our county by providing recreational experiences to residents of every age, every ability and at all times of the year.

The current leadership recognizes that public access to parks and the natural wonders within the Geauga Park District system is a key component to our success. Current and future generations should be given the opportunities to experience nature in a variety of ways in order to appreciate nature. Mr. Augustine ends his editorial by criticizing park leadership. We recognize the current park district staff, administrators and park commissioners appointed by Judge Grendell were recently supported by the voters of Geauga County. These voters made a resounding statement on Nov. 5 when 66 percent of them said “yes” to Geauga Park District. The 66 percent approval rate surpassed every “yes” vote in our history. Thank you to the vast majority of voters and residents who appreciate and support Geauga Park District.

John Oros

Geauga Parks Executive Director

Keep pastoral peace in Pepper Pike

I am adding my voice to those who are concerned with the current redevelopment plan for the Beech Brook property. While I understand the desire to redevelop the property, the value added of the current proposition does not appear to outweigh the potential harms of the high density mixed use plan: traffic congestion, empty retail and increased crime.

Traffic on Chagrin Boulevard is already a nightmare, only to become more so with its impending widening. My guess is that many of you, as I, avoid Lander Circle during rush hours now.  The current redevelopment plan will magnify rush hour congestion and raise off-hour congestion to the levels of today’s rush hour.  

Eton in neighboring Woodmere is successful, thank goodness. Orange Village’s Pinecrest, although new and very attractive, has many empty storefronts after more than a year.  Who will inhabit a new development?  They’ve had their chance with Pinecrest and have demurred and Pinecrest has the added benefit of being next to the freeway.

One of the reasons we moved to Pepper Pike is its pastoral, peaceful and safe nature.  Have you read the Chagrin Valley Times police briefs lately? Pinecrest is in it quite often for criminal activity, as are the hotels in that area. Why would we invite that into our community?  Why would we place it next to our schools?  When the shooting happened at Lander Circle, we were all shocked. I fear that activity like that will become common place if the current plan is approved.

In sum, while I heartily agree that the Beech Brook property should be redeveloped, I am against the current rezoning to allow the implementation of an unnecessary and ill-conceived development plan.  

Laura Stack

Pepper Pike

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