Retired Salem Utilities Committee member thankful
To the editor:
I would like to express my appreciation to Mayors Mondell, DeJane and Wolford for their confidence in me and to all of the council members who approved my appointment to Salem Utilities Commission.
Over the last 20 years, under city council direction and based on Ohio Law, the commission has provided safe and plentiful water, as well as treating our waste water, all at the lowest cost of any municipal utility in the state of Ohio.
I am very proud of having been part of the commission's service to the community. We actively engaged the federal government and provided water which allowed a federal prison to come to Columbiana County bringing many jobs. That action was followed up by working with Freshmark and helping them move 500 jobs to Salem
When informed that our children were playing in infected creek water at the city parks, the commission provided a sewer service to the northwest section of Salem. Again allowing our children a safe place to play in an outstanding environment.
New water tanks, expansion of the water and wastewater treatment plants, providing funding for storm sewer upgrade studies are only part of the many improvements provided to the city. In the near future, the commission should resolve a long-standing problem of unfunded mandates from the state EPA, without overburdening one of the city's largest employers.
We have been good neighbors and when asked, we have provided water to outlying locations such as Washingtonville, Leetonia, the county jail, Bycroft School, and Sheriff's Office.
All of the above could not have happened without an outstanding staff. I have seen our employees fix broken water lines in 15 degree weather, take the time to call and question unusual water usage, work to make sure sewer and water lines are available for new housing, etc. They are just good folks and we, the citizens of Salem, are very lucky to have them working for us.
I have a new appreciation for the services provided by the many volunteers on all of the city commissions and especially want to thank the many commission members, city council members, and city officials that I have had the pleasure to know and work with.
As I leave the commission, and assuming it will be allowed to continue in its present form, I know that it will continue to operate in an outstanding manner.
Under the leadership of Bob Hodgson and the continued guidance of Don Weingart and Matt Hoopes, the citizens of Salem and the surrounding communities will continue to be blessed with the best utilities department in the State of Ohio.
Bullying victim with Asperger's Syndrome proud to be herself
To the editor:
She wanders down the school hallway, books held tightly to her chest, breathing shallow as she stumbles past a group of kids. Snickers erupt from the group. One calls out the word that taunts her whenever she looks into the mirror. "Retard."
This girl who is shy, awkward, has family troubles and struggles with OCD and anxiety, runs to the bathroom, tears drenching her cheeks as she sinks to the floor of the bathroom stall. Why can't she be normal? Why does she have Asperger's? Is there a God, and if so, what would he let such terrible things happen to Heather McClaskey, in the school year of 2008-2009. Salem Ohio?
I am that girl and I'm a survivor and victim of bullying. What is Asperger's Syndrome? It is a form of highly-functioning autism, one of many types on the autistic spectrum. For those who don't know what autism is, according to Google's definition: "a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts."
Where did the years of bullying and taunting start? Well it all began in sixth grade. I was a terrified little girl, petrified by what others thought and plagued with social anxiety. Oh, and lets not forget the whole ear plugging thing due to sounds hurting my ears. It was a quite a difficult year indeed.
This girl, who we will call Sarah, thought it would be fun to tease me about my little quirks. She called me retard, teased me in gym class and made my self-esteem go down the drain. Oh how I wished she would just disappear or I was strong enough to stand up for myself. But I couldn't. I didn't tell anyone what was going on.
Enter seventh grade and all went downhill from there. It's hard enough trying to adjusting to the new environment and changes of middle school if you're a "normal" kid. Now imagine you think everyone is staring at you, whispering mean things, judging you, and the torturous hell of not knowing what sound is going to hurt your ears or what is going to happen in the next minute.
I hated my social awkwardness and crippling shyness. I especially had a burning hatred for lunch. I was always to shy to talk to any of the kids. So I usually sat alone at lunch. The teachers and staff were my friends and protectors. I always wanted a friend my age, a boyfriend, be cool, show off to the popular kids. I didn't have the best hygiene I admit or the best taste in clothes. I had greasy hair and my eyebrows were thick and hairy. I thought I was the ugliest creature on Earth. Anytime I looked into the mirror all I thought was ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, over and over again. I always ended up in the bathroom crying most days.
The only people I shared my problems with were my mom and sister. My sister has a reputation around this town and she's a good fighter. Megan would threaten kids sometimes who gave me a hard time. But it still didn't stop all the teasing.
And it's not to say I didn't have support or help from other kids, teachers and staff. They tried to get me to talk about was going on, what was wrong. But I gave them one of those best lies of our days: "I'm fine, it's nothing." Even when tears sprang from my eyes I would lie. The Salem school staff have had some of the kindest teachers I have ever met. Especially in the special education department. So I wasn't totally alone.
My suffering reached its climax in early 2009. I was starting to become suicidal. Every day I asked my mom why I couldn't be home schooled. I wouldn't really raise my hand in classes anymore. I was losing interesting in hobbies, life. I was so sick of everything. I would even daydream about the perfect plans to kill myself and sometimes try to write my own suicide notes in choir.
I had enough one night. The bullying, the taunts, the social anxiety, my family, everything was getting to be too much. I grabbed a razor off the bath tub and lightly scraped my wrists. I let out a sound that can only be described as pure pain and misery. I rushed down the stairs and into my mother's arms. That's the night I realized I wanted to live.
I wish I could say everything was better after that, but life is a funny thing. It has some ups, it has some downs. But sometimes it can be right in the middle. So what life like for me now and what would I like you to learn from this story? It is that bullying is real and it can have traumatic effects on your life. That you need to ask for help. And above all, don't be a bystander.
I am now a proud graduate of Salem High and am slowly going through my journey in life as a writer. I have a boyfriend now. My family still has problems and I still get depressed from time to time. But with all the love, courage, support and help over the years and with the recent self-discovery that I am beautiful and would never give away my Asperger's I now realize I'd never want to be anyone but me, Heather Lynn McClaskey.
Heather Lynn McClaskey,
2013 Salem High School graduate,
World famous organist will perform at First Friends Church
To the editor:
At 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, world famous organist Hector Olivera will be in concert at the Salem First Friends Church on Jennings Avenue.
For those who have heard and seen Hector, no explanation is necessary to describe his unique music/magic. From his first song, he will astound you for the rest of the concert. You will be in awe as he performs on the Roland Electronic Organ and makes it sound like a full orchestra, big band, jazz band, and pipe organ. Even human voice sounds will be heard along with multiple instruments.
He is so gifted that tickets have already been purchased from people living in Kansas, Canada, Florida, Michigan and Washington, D.C. for the concert. I sincerely urge you to attend this concert and enjoy an evening of music you will never forget.
Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased by calling the church at 330-332-0001. Three years ago, the church was packed to hear Hector. I hope you don't miss this opportunity to hear him again. I'll see you there, on Saturday, Sept. 21.
JERRY L. WOLFORD,
Salem First Friends Church
Urges local residents to get educated on all that is fracking
To the editor:
I'm writing to urge the citizens of Salem and Columbiana County to get educated on fracking and all that comes along with it. I'm not against oil and gas drilling.
I understand we need energy and I understand that people have leased with their families and their livelihood in mind. I am concerned that the frenzy we are experiencing and the promise of money is clouding our judgment.
We have experienced things like this before. When I was about 10 back in early '70s - my friend and I walked down the tracks by State Street, under the overpass, until we found some neon green mud. We waded in it up to our thighs. Later I found out that was the Nease Chemical Plant. Nease Chemical was responsible for contaminating Beaver Creek with the dangerous chemical mirex. Finally, after more than 40 years, the EPA says it will begin to clean up this toxic site.
Today, I have many chronic health issues. Because of my health problems I am on total and permanent disability.
I am not alone in this county. Many of us have health problems. Columbiana County has an above average rate of cancer for the state. I don't know for sure that there is a connection between my health problems and Nease Chemical. But I do know that the chemicals involved in gas drilling are highly toxic. During the fracking process, hydrogen sulfide, ozone, BTEX, methane, and volatile organic compounds are emitted into the air.
Many landowners have already leased. I have no problem with that and understand their decision. Just because many of us have leased already does not mean there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves and future generations. Having all the information is an important first step.
I'm asking the citizens of Salem and surrounding communities to join me at the screening of the documentary, "Triple Divide," which depicts the experience of landowners in Pennsylvania. The event, hosted by the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, is taking place on Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Memorial Building. The documentary was produced by investigative journalists with no agenda other than exposing the truth. Fracking is here and we should know as much as we can about it.
President's same old remedy isn't curing economic woes
To the editor:
Our president is again out on the stump trying to enlighten his adoring public on the art of economics. He has been preaching the same old remedy for the last five years, and apparently has not learned from experience, because this country is becoming more in debt by the minute.
Our president will not accept the blaring fact that no country or business can survive if they continue to spend more money than is coming in.
He never talks about the $17 trillion national debt hanging around our necks like a dead albatross. He speaks only of spending money, money we don't have. He wants to begin a massive program of building and refurbishing roads and bridges. Where's the money? He wants to increase the entitlements. Where's the money? He wants to go ahead with Obamacare at a cost well over what he promised. Where's the money? Then we have the dozens of projects he is advocating. Where's the money?
When he is proposing all these expenditures he never tells us where the money is coming from.
He is continuously harping about increasing the taxes on the rich, the upper 1 percent, but ignores the fact, without the investments of the rich, jobs for the middle class would not exist. Instead of making drastic cuts across the board of all non-essential items, he falls back to his old tricks of borrowing and printing money, a temporary fix which only increases the devaluation of the dollar and moves us ever closer to a total collapse of our economy.
There seems to be a lack of urgency in Washington, starting with the president and the entire congress. No one wants to tackle this problem head on. Aren't they aware of the conditions in Greece and Spain? People in the streets rioting because their government cannot deliver the benefits they were promised. Does anyone believe this could not happen here?
I wonder if I will be around long enough to hear something positive coming from Obama and his administration? Should that happen I would be delighted to give them due credit.
LEON J. WHITE,