Thanks from McVicker family
To the editor:
The family of LCpl. Daniel McVicker would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation for the support we've once again received from the Sebring American Legion Post 76 and our dear friends within the community by attending our annual breakfast. We are humbled each year at the continued assurance that Danny's memory will stay alive because of your overwhelming support and encouragement.
Since its inception in 2006 the funds generated from this event has allowed us to provide financial assistance to over 26 West Branch students, with another two being provided in May. Students interested in applying can obtain information through the WBHS guidance office.
The simple words "thank you" seems inadequate for the way the entire community reaches out each year to our family, but "THANK YOU". There is no greater gift anyone can give us than helping us keep Danny's memory, sacrifice and service alive in our youth of tomorrow. We were honored and humbled once again this year.
The Family of LCpl.
How many times to say 'no'?
To the editor:
In 2012 and 2013, the people in United School District got fed up with United's school board trying to get bond issues passed for a new school over $13 million plus a 3 mill levy that brought in $7 million. This was rejected by the taxpayer twice and overwhelmingly the second time.
In 2013, we voted in two new board members. I'm sorry to say it didn't get any better, maybe worse. They are placing the 3 mill levy again back on the levy in May. How many times does the taxpayer have to say no, that either we can't afford or believe it is not needed?
Another thing that bothers us is what "lead team" reported. "Kindergarteners not able to have lunch due to no money on their accounts. They do receive an alternate lunch but it is after they have gone through the line and filled the tray which then is taken from them."
The alternate lunch is what, a peanut butter sandwich or something? The school can't keep the food on the tray. Why don't they let them eat it? The school wants more money while throwing money in the trash. Does this make sense to you as it doesn't me? Couldn't we flag those kids in the classroom before filling their trays and having to waste the food?
UL voters shouldn't be pranked
To the editor:
Last year Betty White's Off Their Rockers television program was canceled by NBC. The premise of the program was senior citizens pull pranks on people, mostly by doing or saying outlandish things (which aren't necessarily true), and then the reactions of those "pranked" is revealed.
I admit watching some of the episodes a few were genuinely funny; others were stereotypical, offensive, or so unbelievable that you wonder how people could be that gullible to fall for the prank.
Similarly, don't be "pranked" just because a letter by a senior citizen says outlandish things about United Schools and its operations. The facts are: the failed bond issue attempts were in May and November 2011. In November 2013, the district residents turned down a new 3.0 mill permanent improvement levy which would have replaced the original 3.0 mill PI levy first approved in 1984.
Also, I hardly think that district residents are "fed up" with the school board because in the past two school board elections three of four incumbents running have been reelected.
On the May ballot is a renewal of the 1984 3.0 mill PI levy. This PI levy has been renewed every five years (thankfully!) by district voters. PI levy funds can only be used for items with a lifespan of more than five years it cannot be used for salaries or employee benefits.
In the past, it has been used for busses, textbooks, technology, building additions, and facility upgrades. Since United voters are not willing to pay the taxes for a new school building, or additional taxes generated by a new PI levy based on today's values, the renewal of the current PI levy (based on 1984 valuations) is even more critical to help make necessary upgrades to our aging facility.
Additionally, since it is a renewal levy, property owners will continue to pay what they have been paying. Additionally, those who have a homestead exemption on their real estate taxes will continue to receive that exemption since this is a renewal, not a new levy.
Please, take the time to talk with knowledgeable people from United Schools who understand fund accounting, operating funds, permanent improvement funds, and how financial operations of the school are conducted.
Ask about the management, goals, and objectives of the district an annual financial plan for United Schools, dating back to when Gary Meier was superintendent. Look at the track record of United Schools with regard to finances compared to other area school districts and their taxes.
Then make your informed decision on United's 3.0 mill PI renewal levy based on facts, not on what a senior citizen says after all, you may be being "pranked!" And by the way, the school's lunch policy has nothing to do with the PI levy.
It's late for the EPA to help
To the editor:
It's too late for the Environmental Protection Agency to save your water/home values if things go to the dark side with gas/oil extraction. Right now hundreds of square miles are being leased and drilled in the area: Columbiana County, Carroll County, and our neighbor Beaver County Pa., to name a few. We are now in for tough times, because much cannot be undone.
To judge by the fracking-related troubles in Ft. Worth Texas, Dimock, Pa., ranch well and stream water in Wyoming and Oklahoma, it is likely that in future people will want to walk away from their homes in Columbiana County because their aquifers have been ruined, which makes for a nasty drink of water and also negates property resale values.
As the cement casing around the wells fail (and statistically 5 percent will fail immediately) the area will have to deal with several environmental horrors. The first is methane and radioactive gases, which are side effects of all types of drilling, terrible to breathe and worse if it gets in your tap water. Second is water pollution from underground pressure which wicks poisonous brine into the aquifers, strongly associated with injection wells. Third, earthquakes have resulted from pressure in the widely cracked underground rock which is now prone to shifting and collapsing.
But the EPA is here to protect us, right? Remember how years ago they fined East Palestine over water issues. Remember the local business that got caught for running waste milk through the system. Local proponents of signing gas leases in East Palestine boundaries argue that the mean old EPA will be our watchdog. They will save us. They won't save us.
The EPA is no longer designed to protect individuals from rich, global interests. It is a weak beast, defanged decades ago by the federal government and Ohio legislature. The agency job is to pick on cities, small businessmen, and owners of leaking septic fields, and such small fry. They might also be called upon to show up at the well sites with steno pads and hold environmental hearings for show, but as Negley, Ohio has experienced, the EPA will do nothing against out-of-state recylers. Not interested in sick people or potentially ruined water. The orders come from the top and benefit the "not us."
1) Veep Dick Cheney, in anticipation of the gas boom, pushed the "Hallburton Clause" through Congress, which stipulates that the "Clean Water Act" and "Clean Air Act" does not pertain to big polluters like gas/oil.
2) The U.S. Supreme Court found in favor of Citizens United which now defines corporations at a "person" who can give unlimited money in election campaigns. The result is that most U.S. and Ohio legislators are bought and paid for by big oil. If you don't believe that, please view the new Gasland II documentary video available at your local library.
Some now say the EPA. stands for "Every Politician's Answer." To their own economic problems, not yours and mine.
BARBARA WHITEHEAD GEORGESCU,
Kinds words for Salem business
To the editor:
With all the negativity in the news about Salem for quite sometime I was compelled to let everyone know about a very impressive business in our city. The store I am referring to is the "Pure Pets" store on Penn Avenue. The outside appearance of the store draws you in with eye-catching bright artwork of tree frogs on the storefront windows and other creative murals. This store was previously located on our main street, State Street, and they now have enlarged to two connected buildings.
I have not visited this pet store because it is on an off street and haven't really noticed it since it is not a well-traveled street in town. This is why I am writing to let people know it is there and to check it out. I was very impressed with the cleanliness, neatness and most of all not even a bad smell as in most pet stores.
I could almost compare it to a small museum, for they have everything from small furry animals to tropical fish, reptiles, birds, cats and dog supplies too. They even have crickets for our grandson's frog, which is how I knew about the store. There are several different rooms with supplies for each creature all displayed in their specific categories. The employees were also very helpful and informative with any question that was asked.
Our city is so fortunate to have a nice pet store for children or adults to visit and shop. Our children were raised in the '80s and often asked why Salem didn't have a pet store. When we were raised in Salem, all we had was the downtown Murphy's store. As children we were always anxious to stop downstairs to see the parakeets and goldfish. It is a shame it took this long for a pet store to come to our downtown. How nice to not have to travel to Boardman or Alliance just to purchase a goldfish, a needed item or just view the unusual fish or animals you don't normally see as pets, such as chinchillas. It is an educational experience and also an enjoyable place to take young children, especially during these long winter months.
I wish this business success in our city and congratulate them on a job well done. So for all of you with "cabin fever" this is a nice place to visit when your spirits are low. Check it out with your grandkids or children, you will be glad you did!
Ohio voter is the real loser
To the editor:
A Columbiana County candidate was recently rejected because of how he filled out his petitions. The candidate for state representative, Martin "Buck" Elsass, indicated "unaffiliated" in the place where party affiliation was asked.
According to a state directive, the signer should be of the same party as the person circulating the petition. There is no party named "unaffiliated" and it would follow that the signers are not "of that party."
Even though Mr. Elsass indicated he is Libertarian on the form, he was removed from the ballot. Makes sense, right? Well since there are only 11 registered Libertarians in the county, he was caught in a Catch 22 situation. Either he lists "Libertarian" with no chance of meeting the required number of petitioners, or he lists "unaffiliated" and gets rejected.
Not only Libertarians, but the Constitution Party, Green Party, etc. would face the same impossible situation. So, who is the real loser? The Ohio voter. Many are disheartened by Republicans and Democrats alike, and see less and less difference between the two. This tactic greatly limits alternative candidates, and therefore choices for the voter. Don't we live in America where anyone can throw their hat in the ring, and where citizens are not forced to vote for a party duopoly? I am a voter who wants the state directive changed to give greater choices.