Playground needed in Bainbridge

The playground article in the Times on Aug. 15 points out a need that has been ignored for too long.

My 3-year-old grandchild has asked me countless times to visit the kids’ park behind the Chagrin Falls Library every time we drive through the village. There is a need for a playground for those kids who do not live in a local community park. A survey of surrounding communities with parks would be a good start in making a decision.

Let us show that our children can have a park, just like the pets in Bainbridge.

The movie “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner stated, “Build it and the people will come.” We do not need a $200,000 Disneyland attraction – just a small playground, perhaps built with the Men’s Club participation, to resolve this need.

Vince and Kathy Opaskar

Bainbridge

Reasons for neglect of playground

Full disclosure, I am an Auburn resident who has three young kids who are Kenston students and involved in KCE sports. Our street is feet away from the Bainbridge border so I feel like a dual resident (until it comes to tax time). I sent the trustees an email acknowledging that their responsibilities are to their residents as they are the ones in control of the park as well as the ones footing the bill. However, if this is something that the township asks donations for, I’d bet many Auburn residents would be willing to do so. 

I’m disappointed with the trustees’ view that the playground isn’t used much. My kids use playgrounds in the area constantly and they are not the only ones. That being said, when we moved here two years ago, it took eight months for us to discover the playground, and that was because of KCE soccer. Since then, we’ve used the playgrounds for more than just killing time during sports. 

If it’s true that the playground isn’t being used nearly as much as 20 years ago, I see two big reasons why, and it’s not because kids don’t like playgrounds anymore. 

One, the playground isn’t being promoted as a township amenity. It’s not located in a high traffic area that draws people in. That’s perfectly fine if area residents are aware it exists. So maybe 20 years ago when Bainbridge had a brand new park they did these things, but as time goes on and new residents move in, they might not be aware there’s a beautiful playground nearby. 

Two, the playground is in a state of disrepair, as stated by the trustees. Parents will not take their kids somewhere that poses a potential danger when there are other options close enough. This could be the reason it was noted that the playground is mostly used during sporting events, because there are no other options. 

So basically we have two big things that could be root causes for less use. That has nothing to do with “changing times” as quoted in the Chagrin Valley Times. Hopefully, enough people take action to let the trustees know that the playground is very much wanted, and if they want young families to continue moving to the area they need to make themselves competitive with neighboring towns and cities.

Emily Henschel

Auburn

A warning against vaping

Thank goodness tobacco smoking has decreased among teens! But “vaping” has greatly increased!  E-cigs are addicting a new generation of young people and threaten to reverse decades of progress in reducing youth tobacco use. E-cig companies, such as JUUL and Novo, have aggressively marketed e-cigs to youth with bubble gum, banana split and cotton candy flavors. JUUL pods contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. E-cig manufacturers are not required to report their ingredients. Marlboro-maker Altria spent over $12 billion buying into JUUL. A JUUL is small and easy to hide, using it in school bathrooms, the hall and even in the classroom. Schools are doing all they can to detect vaping devices, and students in both middle and high schools are suspended and might be mandated to attend sessions to learn the dangers of vaping.

Vapors are toxic and can trigger inflamation linked to asthma, stroke and diabetes. Inhaled nicotine increases heart rate, blood pressure, is highly addictive, may lead to changes in the developing adolescent brain and may increase the risk of addiction to other drugs. Companies are making marijuana pods to fit the JUUL. Marijuana affects thinking, problem-solving, memory, reaction time, coordination and school performance. Marijuana increases the risk of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.  

Students can order vape pens and e-cigs online. They might buy them from other students, gas stations, etc. It is illegal to give or sell e-cigs, vape pens or other tobacco products to anyone under 21. There will be jail time and a fine. There’s a reason for that – the health and future of our youth.

John and Pat Leech

Newbury

Say no to Pepper Pike rezoning

Although the current city officials in Pepper Pike have done a great job in making the city fiscally responsible with a balanced budget and an $11 million general fund, they get a large E for ERROR on their handling of the pending Beech Brook property rezoning issue that will probably be on the ballot in March, 2020.

What became apparent at the Aug. 13, 2019 Planning and Zoning public hearing is that for a long time, the city was aware that the 65-acre Beech Brook property was being placed on the market for sale. Because our city officials did not take pre-emptive action by procuring the land when it was available, a developer has a tentative agreement to purchase the property and request rezoning from U-2 Public Building to Mixed-use Overlay District. The developers’ request to rezone must be approved by city officials before going on the ballot in March, 2020. Pepper Pike residents will be asked to vote to rezone before the developer presents the Master Development Plan to the city.

So what does Mixed-use Overlay District really mean? Currently zoned as U-2 (only public buildings), the new Mixed-use Overlay District would additionally allow for single-family dwellings, public parks, offices, bank buildings, retail businesses, restaurants and multi-family rental dwellings.

If rezoning is passed by Pepper Pike residents, this project will totally change the existing character of our community, to say nothing of what it will do to traffic in the Lander/Chagrin area. One proposed scenario (Scenario C) from the developer calls for the possibility of 47 single family detached homes, an additional 60 single family attached homes and as many as 245 multi-family units. This totals 352 additional housing units in an area that is only 65-acres! So much for one acre per house. Additionally, Scenario C proposes 125,000 square feet of office space, 90,000 square feet of retail space (8-20 retail users), a parking garage and a road and a bridge connecting Chagrin Boulevard to Lander Road. What will all of this look like? We don’t know because the developers haven’t submitted a Master Development Plan yet.

Be informed that basically the only natural green space that will be left due to this proposal is that which Mother Nature has provided by putting a creek in this area that is restricted by regulations against development. Also note that the road, bridge and parking garage will be paid for by Pepper Pike residents, out of city funds. City officials are allowing themselves to be mesmerized by the promise of a large revenue stream and flowery language.

Please be sure you fully understand the consequences of the rezoning language and then make your voices heard by calling or writing Pepper Pike city officials as soon as possible (www.pepperpike.org) and attending meetings of the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council.

Manny and Judi Naft

Pepper Pike

Don’t vilify mental illness

Mental illness has affected most families. When President Trump claims that “mentally ill monsters” are a main factor behind most mass shootings, he is not appealing to the better angels of our nature. He is just being wrong, to put it mildly.

There is no significant relationship between mental illness and gun violence. Most mentally ill people are not violent in any way. In the relatively few cases where they can be linked, the mentally ill person is usually more intent on hurting himself than hurting others.

A bigot with a gun or a domestic abuser with a gun are much bigger threats to human life.

Jim Vittek

Chagrin Falls

To Newbury residents on petition

You may be approached in the near future and asked to sign a petition for a referendum initiative to put to Newbury voters the question of a territory transfer of Newbury school assets to the West Geauga Local School District. While encouraging the community to have a formal vote on the territory transfer question sounds fair, everyone needs to understand the true situation that Newbury currently faces regarding its school district.

Census data indicates that there are approximately 1,000 school-age children currently living in Newbury Township. The Newbury School District served approximately 350 of those children during the last school year, and it is estimated that this number will continue to decline in the very near future to well below 300, as more families seek more effective educational opportunities to better prepare their children for the future. These numbers clearly demonstrate that a very sizeable majority of families with children in our district have already “voted with their feet” on this issue, sending their children to another district while they and the rest of Newbury taxpayers continue to pay very high property taxes to support our failing district.

Referendum proponents typically support their desire to retain an independent Newbury Local School District by describing the advantages that they feel a very small district gives their children. That is a valid and very understandable point that I can certainly relate to from my own experience as a student at Newbury, but this argument only underscores the fact that what matters to them is their own self-interest, not the interests of the community as a whole and what is best for a vast majority of Newbury children, their families, and generations to come.

Consuming precious time to conduct a referendum on this issue might make sense if proponents could describe in any form a viable plan to sustain and develop an independent Newbury school district that provided a high quality education for all students in the community, while not overburdening taxpayers with property tax rates far in excess of what residents in surrounding townships pay. The fact is that proponents of requiring a referendum have no viable plan to save the district that we all love. Signing the referendum petition only prolongs a process that has been extremely stressful for all in the community, especially our children, and we are at a point where we need to reject an entirely emotional argument and move forward to secure for our township a partnership with West Geauga that ensures we will remain united as a township served by one great school district that will provide our children and generations to come with the very best education opportunity.

If you are approached to sign the referendum petition, I urge you to express your love for Newbury Township, and for our beloved Newbury Local School District, and respond that it is out of that love that you respectfully decline to participate in a process that will prolong the uncertainty we have all faced for some time.

David Lair

Newbury

Appreciation for fire department

The Greenbrier Neighborhood would like to thank the Chagrin Falls Fire Department for their outstanding service to our community.

On Saturday, Aug.17, the fire department took the time to visit many block parties being held throughout the village. Our neighborhood was one of their last stops and you would have never known it!

Our Chagrin firefighters were welcoming, energetic and their visit was the perfect ending to our gathering. The gentleman that visited us extended their giant ladder, let the children explore the truck and even tossed the football around. Our neighborhood visit with these fine community representatives will not be forgotten. We appreciate the time it took to visit our party and extend goodwill to the community.

Kelly Stukus

Chagrin Falls

To be American

A brief note, to anyone still stuck on the notion of Trump and Putin, I’d politely suggest either seeking out news besides Rachel Maddow or getting therapy, because Trump derangement syndrome is a real issue.

Now then, for those who feel gun control is the American way, perhaps we can reconsider the context with which this country was founded. A people facing tyrannical laws and taxation imposed on them by an unseen, almost intangible force. Sovereignty. Such a simple word, taken for granted by us Americans every single day. This government was founded by a people who feared the overpowered hand of government and sought a system in which its people were as free from rules as possible to maintain a cohesive society without imposing unduly on them.

These days it seems like we’ve forgotten that spirit. It’s always “we need laws for this” and “why aren’t there regulations for that” which is antithetical to the founding spirit of this nation. We should not seek out the government as a parental figure, responsible for keeping us in padded little rooms with teddy bears, blankets, and free everything our little hearts desire. The government is there to protect our freedom from outside forces, enforce the rule of law, and maintain infrastructure.

Currently we are witnessing Hong Kong citizens waving our flag, a worldwide symbol of freedom, while the tyrannical government of China attempts to regain full control of the region. The number of parallels between their current conflict and our revolutionary war are astounding except for one key detail; they’re currently crying out that they need weapons to resist the government. The point of an armed citizenry is to be able to resist a government which becomes too overbearing, and to give the government the power to disarm its citizens is a double strike against that very concept.

If you feel banning guns will make us safer, then you have forgotten that one of man’s first actions (metaphorically or literally) was to beat their brother dead with a rock. Just as the UK strictly limited firearms, they now face overwhelming knife crime. The issue is not the tool with which people harm each other, we need to address the reasons WHY people are harming each other and what has lead so many to commit such terrible crimes. Then still, it is not the government who must address these issues of the heart and mind, but the communities that need to protect each other. To quote a founding father, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Alex Lavrich

Chardon

Double side order of baloney to go

If you want to enjoy the most delicious and high quality bologna, I recommend the Farmer in the Deli. If you just want to hear a bunch of baloney, you should come to the Chester Township Trustee meetings. 

Some guy who owns a bunch of homes was invited to speak by the trustees and he said that he is having trouble renting because nobody wants to live in Chesterland. He said we have a bad reputation.

That’s funny; I had to buy a new phone with a call feature that allows me to block 300 calls because I am deluged with calls from realtors who say they have clients who want to live in Chester Township. 

A supporter of the trustees’ Chester Planning Committee said that she is embarrassed by Chester because this township is unkempt and dirty. I’m not sure if this is a dig at the Chester Road Department, but even though we have over funded the Road Department, they will be out of money in less than two years.   

Chester Township Trustees reported that our township is out of money in five years, (four years now) but they fully support the Chester Planning Committee’s plan to change zoning, build high density low income housing, install 2-3 miles of sidewalk and build a new police station, fire station, town hall and senior center. Never mind that the township will be “out of money in less than five years.” 

I make a motion to move the trustee meetings to the Famer in the Deli store. That way, we could enjoy the highest quality of bologna while trustees and the fiscal officer serve up a double side order of baloney, to go.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts

Chester

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