Thanks for publishing my response to John Ralph's comments about me. This is in response to Christine Steigerwald's letter to the editor in response to John Ralph's comments.
Because of the media coverage, I am not anonymous. It is completely unprofessional for anyone who works in that field to comment publicly about a family. Perhaps she didn't know that my anonymity has not existed for months. Either way, it is unprofessional and defamatory.
I don't believe Nancy McArthur wants her campaign to go down the road of the "Jerry Springer Show." No matter who is spreading lies, their title or their status, attempts to bring misinformation about a family in this county is wrong.
As some people march on with their life, my family has been through a literal hell. I have reams of paper trail and tons of evidence. Guess what an FBI agent I have on tape said to me. That they didn't even read all of what I sent them. Yes, he said it was "too much "for anyone to read." Unbelievable, but I have it on tape.
If these matters are ever addressed in the context of authentic investigative journalism, the evidence would astonish people. That time has not come.
Ms. Steigerwald should avoid making comments about people which she does not have full knowledge of, nor is it proper or appropriate for her to comment at all.
Yes, humility is a virtue to be admired, and it is sorely lacking on the political front in Geauga County, in my opinion. The dark cloud over the political climate rains on the various agencies and affects the way the public or John Q. Citizen is treated. I pray for this county, and I hope all people of faith and good will be praying also for love and truth to prevail.
Robin Neff, Chardon
Park regulations bypassed
This is an open letter to the newly formed Geauga Park District Board of Commissioners:
I would like to welcome Len Barker and Jackie Dottore to the park board. I am sorry I was unable to attend this meeting and look forward to meeting you.
I had requested and received a park board packet and was familiar with the agenda and business to be covered at the meeting. I just reviewed the video of the meeting.
I was very surprised and disappointed and appalled with the decision made by Executive Director John Oros to bypass park regulations and waive the rules for snowmobiling in the park. This is a highly irregular act and does not have precedent, to the best of my knowledge. What is the purpose of a board of commissioners if the executive director makes unilateral decisions about waiving park regulations? This is insulting to you as a board and to the residents of Geauga County who rely on the board and the park staff to enforce the regulations of the parks.
You will find the park regulations on the park website. Page 13 covers use of motorized vehicles, including snowmobiles. The dissatisfaction from members of the audience was not frivolous but was in direct response to blatant violation of park rules and regulations and blatant unilateral decision making by the executive director.
I hope that you will do your due diligence and read the rules and regulations. Has there been a feasibility study of this proposed park use? While I believe that some of you voiced support of "trying" an activity before making a final decision, this is not a professional way of doing business in an organization.
The park district is a public, not private, entity, and the public expects that rules and regulations will be followed by all staff, including the director.
I also found it irregular that such a contentious issue was not on the board agenda. I will be investigating further the ramifications of this action. It was in poor form and disrespectful to both the public and you as a board to present this decision without including it on the agenda and without following protocol of board procedure.
To Commissioner Bill Gertz, I appreciated your comments and look forward to having further discussion with you on this issue
Barbara Partington. Munson
Snowmobiling goes too far
Some readers may be wondering why there are so many letters voicing concern about the Geauga park system. After all, the Geauga parks have long been considered to be one of the best, adding to our property values, enjoyment, health and well-being for years. So what's all the fuss about?
For decades, before Judge Chip Henry's tragic death, our parks enjoyed the excellent stewardship of a group of park commissioners who were far-sighted and knowledgeable, who demonstrated respect and awareness of conservation and land management and who worked well with park naturalists and staff.
But since Judge Timothy Grendell has been in charge, the park system has lacked stability and expertise. In late 2013, the entire park board was arbitrarily removed and replaced by various individuals, most of whom seem to have no experience, knowledge or interest in conservation. And since then, there has been a constant turnover in board positions appointed by Judge Grendell.
There have been many instances of poor judgment and a major shift in philosophy by Judge Grendell, and these new park commissioners -- changing the times of board meetings, thus limiting public review; ignoring the results of the survey given to the community; promoting operations people while eliminating a new naturalist position; promoting playgrounds and equipment over passive enjoyment of nature, etc. -- but the latest authority given to Executive Director John Oros cannot be ignored by any of us who value the Geauga Park District.
Mr. Oros has arbitrarily decided to allow snowmobiling in Observatory Park. Snowmobiling. It's hard to imagine any activity that is more intrusive, loud, destructive and dangerous and less in keeping with the true value of our parks and what most of us seek when we visit.
Please join us in Protect Geauga Parks to preserve our wonderful park system. Even for those who are not "nature lovers," our park system affects us all in raising property values. providing clean air and water and promoting good health and well-being. Let this be a legacy we pass on to our children.
Brenda Moosbrugger, Chester
Students needed at polls
In 2006, Ohio passed a law stating high school seniors who are at least 17 years of age and registered to vote may be excused from school for one day to allow them to serve as poll workers.
Contact your local board of elections and let them know you are interested. Most boards require only a few hours of training beforehand, and then poll workers are ready to go.
Talk to your social studies teacher, guidance counselor and parents about using your experience as a poll worker as extra credit.
As more election sites are automated, the need for youth who are comfortable with technology is a plus in making elections run smoother.
It is important that our young people know they can make an important contribution during these elections. Please step up during the primary elections in March and again during the presidential elections in the fall.
Contact the Geauga Board of Elections at 440-279-2030 or go online to the Geauga County website to learn more on student poll workers and tell them you're interested.
Terri McIntee. Burton
It's Attila versus Lincoln
What used to be my favorite part of this newspaper because it always contained interesting points of view and debate on issues important to the Chagrin Valley residents is still my favorite part of the paper but for an entirely different reason. The current letters to the editor in this paper, though equally entertaining, now have the ability to win me a free breakfast at the Washington Diner by way of a friendly wager with my good friend Murray.
Gone are the letters debating newsworthy topics, legislation important to the valley and praise for various accomplishments of our residents. Instead the letters to the editor have devolved into a futile exercise in name calling bordering defamation.
Allow me to explain. Murray and I have a running bet on whether the Times will print more letters from readers slamming Judge Tim Grendell or praising congressional candidate Matt Lynch. To believe the opinions of these letter writers, one could only conclude that Judge Grendell is nothing less than Attila the Hun and Matt Lynch is the next Lincoln, Hamilton and Jefferson all rolled into one.
Last week Murray bought me breakfast, because there were four Judge Grendell-slamming letters and zero praising Mr. Lynch. Two weeks ago, however, I found myself paying for Murray's steak and eggs, with the Matt Lynch supporters really making their voices heard over the Judge Grendell slammers.
For what it's worth, it's boring reading essentially the same letters each week. In the future, can we all try to make the letters to the editor as entertaining as the police blotter is? After all, what could be more interesting than a dead coyote being mistaken for a dead dog, a deer giving a homeowner dirty looks or the 463rd shoplifting at Kohl's?
Ryan Fisher, Bainbridge
Best reasons to know her
I am writing to correct a recent editorial in the Chagrin Valley Times. The editorial disparaged Judge Timothy J. Grendell's appointment of Linda O'Brien to the Russell Park Board. The editorial was critical of her appointment and made statements about what Ms. O'Brien is best known for. I am writing to set the record straight on what Linda is best known for.
Linda O'Brien is best known for bringing Liberty Camp to Geauga County. Over 60 children in grades one through six attended this camp. The purpose of Liberty Camp was to instill in these children knowledge of the sacrifices of our forefathers in order to give us the gift that is the United States of America. Through hands-on activities, re-enactors and lectures, the children learned about the American Revolution, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
Ms. O'Brien is best known for bringing music to Geauga County. She organized two concerts: Fiddle for Freedom, featuring the Stockdale Family Band; and Celebrate Freedom, featuring Todd Allen Henrendeen. The people who came were entertained and inspired with Gospel and patriotic music.
Ms. O'Brien is best known for helping to bring Billy Vaughn to Chester. Billy Vaughn's son Aaron was a Navy SEAL who, along with 29 brave Navy SEALs and soldiers, were killed when their helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan. Billy Vaughn wrote the book "Betrayed" to expose the suspicious circumstances of their deaths and the cover-up by our government.
Ms. O'Brien is best known for traveling to Kenya to help keep an orphanage open.
Ms. O'Brien is best known for courageously running for office. She put her name on the ballot, not for self-aggrandizement but to uphold conservative values.
Most of all, to anyone who knows her, Linda O'Brien is best known for her love of the Lord, her love of family and her love of the United States of America.
Now that you know what Ms. O'Brien is best known for, I am asking for you to vote for Linda O'Brien in the March 15 primary. She is running for the Republican State Central Committee Representative for District 18.
Elsie Tarczy, South Russell
Maybe judge just nice guy
Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Tim Grendell has taken plenty of criticism in recent months for his oversight of the Geauga Park District and his appointment of park commissioners that seem come and go from the board like birds at a bird feeder. But I have come to wonder if some of the criticism is unfair. For example, he is sometimes accused of "cronyism."
Now, it is true that, shortly after being appointed probate judge, he used the power of his office to create a court constable position. Previously, no probate judge had his own constable. A Geauga County sheriff's deputy has always provided security to the court. Judge Grendell named his campaign manager, John Ralph, to that new constable position.
It is also true that, after the firing of former park district Director Tom Curtin, Judge Grendell used the power of his office to order a $16,000, no-bid contract to study park district personnel "leadership," to be completed by Linda O'Brien, a recently failed tea-party candidate and political friend of the judge.
I know there are other examples that his critics rattle off, but my point is this: Why do people have to call this "cronyism"? Cronyism is such a pejorative term. As these two examples show, maybe the judge is just a nice guy, using the power of his office and his court budget to take care of a few friends, people he likes and cares about? What is so bad about that?
Todd Ray, Munson
Too much money to waste
I am writing regarding your recent article entitled, "Probe of mental health board costing county of Geauga $34,000 so far."
The mental health system itself is suffering from the lack of funding, so where is this extra $34,000 coming from to launch the investigation? I am in no way, shape, form or fashion agreeing with Commissioner Blake Rear regarding him condoning the investigation, but I do feel that $34,000 is entirely too much money to waste on probing.
Mr. Rear feels that he is fighting one of the county's own agencies. If there is hard-core evidence that the agency is misusing mental-health funds or doing anything else unethical, then legal actions need to be taken. There should not be a prolonging of an investigation, because that is costing Geauga too much money when that money can go toward much-needed treatment and public awareness. Sticking by an agency or individual in wrongdoing and publicly wanting to sweep wrongdoings under the rug makes Mr. Rear guilty by association.
My sincere respect and thanks goes to the other Geauga County commissioners, who weren't afraid to "fight" one of their county's agencies in an attempt to rule out or confirm the "misbehavior" in the county department.
Cortney Terry, Case Western Reserve University