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May 26, 2013
Salem News

Charlie never had a chance

To the editor:

Like the thousands upon thousands before him, he did what he thought to be right. Little did I know that cold, snowy winter day in early December would be the last time that I would ever see one of my best childhood friends - someone I looked up to, someone who made me feel alive - my good friend and uncle, Charlie Mellott.

Charlie made the ultimate sacrifice for our country in March 1968. I have prayed for him daily over the years and still love him today like I did in 1968; maybe even more as I know now what he gave up at the young age of 19 years.

Charlie never got to ride his first motorcycle or feel what it's like to have a great paying job. He never got the chance to buy a new car. I don't know if he ever had a chance to have his first girlfriend or tell a woman how much he loved her. He never got the chance to marry his love and feel how great it is to share one's life with another person. He never got the chance to hold his first born child and wonder how this child's life will impact his own.

Charlie never had the chance to see his own family growing up around him. He never had the chance to buy and own a home in which to raise his family. He never had a chance to look into the eyes of a grandchild and feel the excitement of the future and realize the important impact he could have on the next generation.

Thank you my good friend and thank you to so many others who have made the same sacrifice you did. May you and many like you be able to look in the face of God and say, "I only did what was asked of me". We will love you all of our lives. Thank you for the love that you showed to us.



Kind words for rec supervisor

To the editor:-

First of all let me state that I'm new to writing letters to the editor. These letters are something I enjoy reading but I never saw myself writing one. I felt compelled to write a letter of "thank you" to a person I just recently was introduced to. His name is Shane Franks (recreation supervisor) and he currently manages the Memorial Building in Salem.

Let me start from the beginning. I am currently the president of the Salem High School Girls Soccer Boosters. Each year for the past four years our group has hosted an annual rummage sale at Centennial Park to raise money to send our girls to camp.

This year I was delayed in making my reservations and another person had reserved that pavilion ahead of me. Since our annual event is normally very large in size and needing the proper venue I was immediately overwhelmed by the situation. Shane quickly and graciously came up with several alternatives, the greatest being to allow us to use the Memorial Building gym. The Memorial Building was already hosting other vendors selling that day and he was able to get additional tables setup for our sale.

That act alone is enough to say "Man, this is a great guy!" But he took it one step further and helped us setup the night before carrying in some back-breaking items and was there the next day during the sale helping out tremendously. In addition, he had some very nice young people available that day who helped us out as well. They worked the entire day with smiles on their faces and were a complete pleasure to be around.

Learning more about Shane throughout the day I found out that not only did he save the day for our group but he's also coached many young kids over the years, volunteered for many organizations, and supports different youth events.

He is a true hidden treasure of Salem. If you ever get a chance to visit the Memorial Building maybe hunt him down and just say "Thanks for all you do!"

Steve Skiba, Salem


Expressing a concern

To the editor:

I have been working in the area of animal welfare, specifically dog rescue for over a decade. Anyone who knows me will say I speak my mind, especially if it involves the lives of animals.

I have worked at, volunteered and visited many animal shelters throughout Ohio. I have been involved in the seizing of dogs from hoarding and /or puppy mills. I have cared for or "fostered" hundreds of dogs. I know the time and effort it takes to care for a dog properly. There are actual studies and standards that explain how many minutes per animal it takes for proper care.

I live near an animal "sanctuary" at the corner of Depot Road and Rt. 45 that houses well over 100 animals according to a widely used animal rescue database called Petfinder. I pass by the facility at least once daily. With over 100 pets in their care, I do not see activity that would be expected and necessary to properly care for this many animals. I know for a fact that the dogs are kept not only in indoor kennels with several dogs to a kennel, but outside in all weather conditions as well. They have to ask for help to remove snow that falls into the kennels from the roof of nearby buildings. I also know for a fact, that the public is not permitted to enter all of the areas where these animals are kept. This is not acceptable, especially when it is operated by public donations.

The first advice that is given when anyone that is looking for a dog is to view the physical conditions that they are currently living in. This "sanctuary" uses a variety of "reasons" which are just excuses as to why they do not live by this widely held standard.

And yet, a local funding charity recently rewarded them for their unacceptable behavior by giving them a large donation. When I contacted this organization to inquire if they had been permitted access to the "inside" of the facility before granting the donation, I was told that they were given a tour of the "outside."

It is this type of ignorance that receives top billing on the evening news when someone eventually finds a way inside to see what really goes on behind those always closed doors.

I am in no way suggesting that this "sanctuary" be shut down.there is always a need for more REPUTABLE safe havens for homeless animals. However, we should ask ourselves why this particular facility does not have the same "open door" policy as other rescues/pounds/humane societies/sanctuaries that allow the public to view the living conditions (without prior notice) of their animals? Why does the public continue to financially (and otherwise) support a "sanctuary" that will not allow them to enter? Why does no one question just where these (over 100) animals are on a 100 degree day? Why does someone have to look at pictures in an album instead of walking through the facility and viewing all of the animals in person? It would beg the question.what could they be hiding?

It would give me (and many local members of the animal rescue family) great peace of mind to be able to say "I was wrong."

My challenge? - allow the general public to enter the facility during posted hours to prove me wrong.

Rose Ann Weikart Hack,



Upset with Sebring BOE

To the editor:

I am a parent in the Sebring Local School District. On May 15, I along with many other members of the community attended a school board meeting.

There are many problems in our schools right now and it seems they are being minimized, or not publicly talked about at all. The projected budget for our schools is very alarming and cuts are being talked about for next school year.

As a parent I understand that cuts will have to be made, but it honestly feels like a slap in the face when a budget is presented that shows major problems yet the board and superintendent continue to waste money on legal battles with teachers.

One such battle is attempting to discredit the legitimacy of a sick leave taken by Betsy Walsh. I as well as many other parents in the community were lead to believe this situation was dealt with, but as of May 16 Mrs. Walsh is currently on suspension because the administrators decided to continue "investigating" her claim of illness.

Where is the funding coming from to pursue these investigations? How can the administration justify making cuts to important school programs when they will not stop wasting funds on discrediting teachers? When is the school board going to recognize that the community is not happy with the direction they are taking our district in?

As elected members of the school board their first priority should be the voice of the community, they work for us. It is shameful that community members who wanted to speak were silenced because of not following the policy the board has set forth for speaking. The policies that have been adopted include giving seven days notice to a member of the administration for approval to speak but this policy is not listed on the schools website, and only seems to be in place when there are controversial issues happening.

This policy was not stressed at the April meeting when the budget was being presented, but when its something the board and superintendent do not want brought to light then it is followed. I hope this opens the eyes of some parents in the district, become involved because Sebring Schools are like the Titanic right now and we have hit an iceberg.

Natalie Schmid,



An interest in statue debate

To the editor:

I have followed with some interest the debate about the proposed Vallandigham statue. I am not a Lisbon resident, but I have relatives and friends who are members of your community and have, so to speak, "a dog in the fight." I did, however, know about Clement Vallandigham many years ago because of an amateur's interest in Civil War history. My comments have more to do with the nature of the debate than with the ultimate fate of the statue.

For more than 30 years I have taught English at YSU, and in my writing classes students end up doing research papers that are argumentative/persuasive (i.e. they have to defend a reasonable thesis). Every text I've used has had a section on "logical fallacies," and every one of those has warned against "false analogies."

I try to simplify this for students by reminding them that "most analogies limp, and some are so crippled that they can't even do that." I thought there were a couple examples of this in the discussions about C.V., one in your paper, the other at a public meeting. The latter used an analogy with Charles Manson to make the point (I guess) that "not every famous person gets a statue."

This one goes into the "crippled" category and scarcely deserves a response. Manson was a demented sociopath implicated in a mass murder; he was tried in civil court, convicted, and sentenced to death (commuted to life imprisonment). Unless I missed something along the way, Manson made no positive contribution to American life or society. I think "notorious" might be a better adjective for him, and no sane person would propose "memorializing" him in any way, though he will, of course, be "immortalized" in American pop history along with Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and this recent sicko from Cleveland. What do these folks have in common with C.V. that makes for a useful comparison? Nothing. It is hardly helpful to say that "they were all famous."

The other analogy is better but still limping badly: C.V. is like "Hanoi Jane" Fonda. There is some basis for comparison here in that both were accused by their foes of "giving comfort" to the enemy in wartime by their defiant speech and, in Fonda's case, actions. But here's where we need the crutches. Fonda was a political dilettante, an ill-informed "celebrity" who got in way over her head and, in the case of the Hanoi visit, was "played" like a violin by the canny North Vietnamese officials. She later admitted as much in her memoir.

C.V., on the other hand, was an astute legal mind (even his enemies admitted as much), a constitutional scholar, and an eloquent spokesperson for Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms. His speeches about the war being fought for the wrong reasons and Lincoln going way beyond the powers allotted to the office of president were not off-the-cuff celebrity stunts but reasoned, well thought out political positions.

Many Americans (lots of them from Ohio) shared these opinions without having the wherewithal to defend them so eloquently. C.V. did express his views quite vehemently, caustically, and relentlessly. History will judge him Lincoln's most forceful and persistent critic. But is that illegal? Is it treasonous?

Here's a little sample of the kind of rhetoric that was floating around in 1864 when Lincoln was up for his second term: [he is] "fungus from the corrupt womb of bigotry and fanaticism, a worse tyrant and more inhuman butcher than has existed since the days of Nero.... The man who votes for Lincoln now is a traitor and murderer. And if he is elected to misgovern for another four years, we trust some bold hand will pierce his heart with dagger point for the public good." This was the editorial viewpoint of Marcus Pomeroy in his otherwise respectable daily paper, the La Crosse, Wisconsin Democrat.

Even in today's atmosphere of poisonous anti-government rhetoric, this would give one pause. I'm pretty sure that if someone had put something like this out there publicly after, say, President Bush's invasion of Iraq, the FBI would have come knocking. It makes C.V. look like a downright piker.

Perhaps this offers a solution to some of the problems surrounding the statue proposal. If we could get one of these virulent anti-government (well, at least anti-every-other- administration lately) talkers like Rush, Glenn Beck, or Michael Savage to read up on C.V., they might see him as a kind of "patron saint," at least in the sense that he was someone who paved the way more than a century ago for their "free speech," no matter how critical it is of a sitting president.

Perhaps they could get interested in this current debate. Heck, they might even pay for the statue and come to speak at the dedication. Now that would put Lisbon on the map!

James E. Johnston, Sr., Poland



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