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Letter to the Editor Last update on March 21, 2017
Latest letters appear at top of list

Published March 21, 2017

Dear Editor,
Brigid Mary Matheney, the Prosecutor from Jim Flaiz's office wasted her money by hiring two attorneys. The Chardon Prosecutor James Gillette is doing a much better job for her than any lawyer ever could.


Published March 18, 2017

Dear Editor:
My husband and I drove through Auburn Township yesterday and saw a building you have referenced in your news reporting web site. The name of the structure is Adam Hall.

What a huge disappointment to see a Chinese pagoda in the middle of what is billed to be a “quaint” township! It’s a really unattractive building.

What are you people thinking? You could have built something architecturally appropriate and inviting, but you built something that looks like a Chinese food drive through.

Anyway, after we saw the building we realized it was dinner time so we decided to order take out from Tai Pan.

We give Tai Pan a five star review for wonderful service and a delicious meal. Adam Hall gets no stars whatsoever, it's a total zero.

Mrs. Sternower, Middlefield, OH

Dear Auburn Township in Beautiful Geauga County,
Published March 14, 2017

Below is a letter I submitted to the Geauga Constitutional Council Website.

Today I read that the lousy, worthless "Prosecutor" James Gillette agreed to suppression of the fact that Matheney refused to take the breathalyzer test after being handcuffed and escorted to Bainbridge Police Station after her Ford SUV was towed.

Can Geauga County become more inbred and corrupt? How many drunk drivers have the privilege of refusing a breathalyzer, then have the PROSECUTOR agree to suppress the fact that they refused the breathalyzer? Whose side is the "Prosecutor" on? Certainly not on the side of the families who have lost someone to drunk driving.

Brigid Matheney was arrested for drunk driving, the next thing you know, she will be the new Geauga Leadership Emerald award winner. They gave the award to weak and pathetic Dan McClelland and now the clown Scott Hildenbrand. I was disgusted when Dan McClelland was given this award, never mind his wife is on the Board. And I will never support that worthless organization again. Why not nominate someone who is arrested for drunk driving? That should make their alumni proud.

And where are those phonies from M.A.D.D.? Mothers Against Drunk Driving is nowhere to be found when a Geauga Leadership graduate is arrested for drunk driving. They are nowhere to be found.

Martin V. Godschwin

Published March 1, 2017

That’s the question that has been asked since well before the last election took place. The President has made the claim that millions of non-citizens, either of the legal or illegal varieties, cast ballots in the 2016 race. That total number remains in dispute for good reason, but the fact that non-citizens have voter registration cards and in some cases are actually showing up to vote has never really been in dispute, despite what you regularly hear. Further proof of this reality comes to us from Ohio this week, where the Secretary of State has concluded an investigation and found that there were indeed such votes cast and that law enforcement has become involved.

The following is from the Ohio Secretary of State web page:

Husted said the actual number could be higher because the state cannot check the status of voters who registered using the last four digits of their social security numbers. Husted's office has asked the federal government to allow states to access information about non-citizens who have received social security numbers.

The analysis conducted by Husted is thus far the largest sample of its kind that has been taken with respect to the 2016 vote. However, it should be noted that the Ohio study did not purport to exhaustively examine other kinds of potentially illegal voting, including votes by felons or votes cast on behalf of deceased individuals.

In conclusion, there are major problems with the election system. Husted’s report is a good start but falls short of exposing the full gravity of the problem or identifying who is and who is not a qualified voter at the polls. This issue needs further investigation.


Published February 27, 2017

In my ongoing effort to connect with Geauga County Citizens I will be offering a Coffee with a Commissioner session in the following location: Panera Bread 8480 Washington St. on March 8th at 9:00 a.m. Join me, for some great conversation and support out Geauga County businesses. Watch the paper next week for a new location. Your suggestions and ideas are welcome by calling the county office.

Skip Claypool – Geauga County Commissioner

Published February 20, 2017

The inbreeding in the Auburn pond is stagnating, at best.

What the hell do they need to enlarge the white elephant for? A kitchen? That's going to be at an extraordinary cost and they better have some documentation to show the recovery of that type of investment over what period of time …

Pathetic, is such an inadequate word for such dismal performance and lack of consideration for the taxpayers ... then again, not new news, eh?

Claudine Steinfurth

Published Tuesday February 14, 2017
Updated Wednesday Feburary 15, 2017

Note the newest communication is at top and earlier comunications follow.

You are entitled to the opinion you state in the first paragraph. If you are following the nationwide dialogue, you are aware that decisions to create "Sanctuary" are coming from city administrators, not county leaders. We personally do not believe that "immigration" is a states-rights issue, but a national one that certainly involves the issues of safety and welfare for those of us who reside here. Moreover, anyone who feels passionate enough to demand "sanctuary" for immigrants should be willing to personally sponsor them financially, spiritually, and psychologically. After all, many of us do not even make the decision to bring babies into the world without first having a plan about how we nourish them to a productive maturity. Otherwise, the presence of so many individuals may resemble the alleys where unwanted and unloved feral stray cats live out a meager existence.

Thank you for informing us that Matt Lynch is providing a venue next week. Now that we know, we will attend. Why is your word "discuss" in quotes? How is his "discussion" any different from a "discussion" proposed by Mrs. Buckles? From your context, I get the distinct impression that a discussion of Mrs. Buckles' original request smacks of very partisan, i.e., Democratic overtones. From your context, I really have to demand that you abide by the same principles that you demand of others. It was not my intention to conclude that your original communication was politically-oriented, but your current slant makes me cautious of your intentions.

Mr. and Mrs. Buckles attend many public meetings. In fact, Tom and I really enjoyed Geauga Park District meetings, but the group that regularly attended these GPD meetings with the Buckles, along with the Buckles themselves, took over the meetings with such lack of empathy and compassion for the rights of other attendees that the GPD commissioners were forced to eliminate public comment altogether. Tom and I are sorry that Mr. and Mrs. Buckles and members of Protect Geauga Parks were so oblivious to others' First Amendment rights. If these individuals are so dispectful of other Geauga County taxpayers, how can we trust them to understand the responsibilities of admission to the USA? Quite frankly, your message seems to be one of hypocrisy, and I am sorry for you.

As frequent attendees of public meetings, we became aware quite a long time ago at a very local level that any communications we have with public governmental entities are the subject of public information requests. That knowledge is helpful to us when we address public entities. We are surprised that Mrs. Buckles is so sensitive to having her request made known. When time permits, we make public information requests from many township and county-level governmental entities in an effort to be knowledgeable. It is, of course, time-consuming. We also check out new filings in municipal and common pleas courts and study judicial decisions. It is critically important to study and analyze before making decisions.

We thank you for informing us of the upcoming meeting undertaken by Matt Lynch. Because we are busy, we may have not made this meeting without knowing about it. Perhaps if you are open to "discussion," you might find the content helpful in arriving at a final decision regarding your concerns. Quite frankly, I remain surprised that you have chosen to be a liaison for Mrs. Buckles when I know that she is perfectly capable intellectually of solving her own problems.

I believe that I have addressed your concerns. We will continue to investigate and to document our contributions to www.auburntownship.org, We will look forward to seeing you at the February 20 Auburn Township meeting at 6:30 P.M. It is always important to learn. My conversation with you, on the "Sanctuary" matter, however, is at an end.

Kind regards,
Diane Jones

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On 02/15/2017 12:03 AM, Michelle Lewis wrote:
Thanks for your response, Diane.

I am glad to hear you are open to a discussion on this topic. This is a complex issue, worthy of careful consideration of facts and differing perspectives. And the place for that discussion should be during a public meeting of the Geauga County Commissioners, to whom Mrs. Buckles made the original request via email.

Instead of civil public discourse we now have Matt Lynch and his Tea Party faithful gathering next week to "discuss" the issue. People certainly have the right to peacefully gather and share their ideas - I don't object to that. But I object to Mrs. Buckles' request being made widely available without any consideration of the matter by the Commissioners. Per the Commissioners the matter had not been discussed before Mr. Buckles confronted them today.

I have no idea how you came to be aware of Mrs. Buckles' request to create a sanctuary county. I can't imagine you would have made a public request for her email without someone first making you aware she had made the request. Regardless, it is deeply disturbing to me to think that Commissioners are selectively distributing information in a way that they feel will elicit the opposition they desire.

How we conduct public business matters - I'm confident we agree on that.

Shelly Lewis
Sent from my iPad

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On Feb 13, 2017, at 8:56 PM, AuburnTownship.org wrote:

Hi, Michelle!

We remember that trustee meeting well. We are very glad that you took the time to share your thoughts with candor. We respect your viewpoint. Interestingly, although Tom traces his own ancestry in America to four signers of the Mayflower Compact, I am only a second-generation American whose first generation parents were enthusiastic about attending public meetings and who encouraged their two children to participate in the civic process. They were very grateful to be U.S. citizens, as are we, and they demanded that we think for ourselves and be willing to take psychological risks by encouraging others to discuss their views. Further, while a high-school student, I was unable to study the German language that was part of my own ancestry because of the outcome of World War II. Thus, as far back as my own youth and as a result of discussions with my parents, I was made very aware of the role of political outcomes. Regardless, I was privileged to teach not only English and German, but also Spanish and Japanese at the high school level. I did not necessarily agree with the political stances taken by any of the leadership of those countries, but I love(d) the languages for themselves and enjoyed my experiences working with young people.

We have undertaken the website www.auburntownship.org for the last six years. I don't know if you are aware, but it grew out of a political stance taken by the three current trustees when they disregarded the fact that our farm of 20 plus years is by virtue of Ohio Revised Code 519.21 exempt from any township zoning. Nevertheless, these same trustees by their unwillingness to discuss any ideas at all with us after initially accepting our dedication to having a farm wind turbine to help defray our electricity costs forced us into a three-year litigation that was resolved by the Eleventh District Court of Appeals in December 2012. In addition, not only did the trustees deny us any conversation, but they also decided to go to newsprint media to label us as dishonorable and unscrupulous individuals who were motivated by "commercial interests" instead of respecting us as genuine farmers/ranchers who have raised horses and grown our own crops for the last 22 years.

The difference between the above-referenced trustees and us is that we welcome dialogue. If you re-read the latest commentary, you will note that we do not object to immigrants with the same dream that my grandparents and Tom's great-great-great-great-great grandparents shared. The concern that we thought we addressed was the financial burden that "sanctuary city" or "sanctuary county" may propose to taxpayers who are supporting other issues, very often at some very exorbitant tax rates. When our family's ancestors arrived here in Ohio, they were faced by overwhelming burdens. In the case of my ancestors, their language skills were minimal or non-existent and they arrived here with not much more than a rickety cardboard chest, the family Bible, and a few pennies. They rose to the challenges, although those took years to address. and even made it through the Depression, narrowly avoiding foreclosure of the family home. Through all of it, no one paid their rent for them, paid their utilities, or gave them food. One winter during the Depression, my grandfather shot a deer when my grandmother, mother, and two aunts, then little children, all were suffering through scarlet fever. Those conditions did not alleviate the penalty to my grandfather of shooting a deer out of season; he lost the food for his family and had to pay a fine to boot at a time when he was not employed.

It is my understanding that there are conditions today whereby immigrants qualify for county assistance. It is my understanding, from listening to recent broadcasts, that "sanctuary cities" are exempt from abiding by any immigration rules. As you are aware, the immigration situation is in great flux and capable of being resolved any number of ways. What we published in the latest commentary asked a number of questions without really affording our own political opinion, except to posit the question whether those who immigrate from foreign countries have the right to expect assistance from residents of the new country. Presenting such a situation is not a reflection of paranoia as much as it is a concern for getting readers to think about the serious questions that confront our republic. Moreover, raising these questions is by no means as paranoid, we believe, as those participants who, of late, have marched in many cities with as much close-mindedness as they claim their opponents to possess.

We are undoubtedly gratified that reading our commentary sparked you to engage in serious thought. In raising such an issue, we are well aware that we cannot please everyone. If you have read our other contributions, you have been aware that we provide original documentation and do not insist on our viewpoint, although we have encountered some one-sided responses provoked by strong feelings. Our own feelings are that we are privileged to be able to keep learning as we present ideas and raise questions. When it is all said and done, we have no objections to gaining perspectives that my differ from our original thoughts. How else can we learn and grow?

We are glad to have met you at the trustee meeting. We are hopeful that you have been keeping up on township affairs. Perhaps you are aware that the trustees are considering approval of a Zoning Amendment known as 16ZC-01; it is a noise amendment in response to a noise amendments on the books since 2014. The latter, it turns out, is non-enforceable, per Geauga Planning Director, David Dietrich. At any rate, the trustees will have the third meeting on this noise amendment on Monday, February 20, at 6:30 P.M. Few Auburn residents have taken the time to hear the issues and explanations, although they could be critically important if this noise issue supplants the 2014 unenforceable noise rule. We hope that we may see you at this meeting. Tom will be videoing as a way of continuing to provide the documentation that you have cited as necessary. We agree.

Thank you for your input. We love meaningful discussion of ideas.


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On 02/13/2017 06:19 PM, Michelle Lewis wrote:
Hi Tom and Diane:

We met at least a year ago at an Auburn Township meeting. I was asking the trustees to communicate with Kenston about road conditions and to share concerns they had about the relocated Kenston Bus Garage.

I read your commentary on sanctuary counties with dismay. I fail to see how it harms our county to have an educated discussion about refugees and immigrants. While many are opposed, many others feel a duty to help fellow human beings, regardless of their status. I would hope to have a fact-based discussion with elected leaders. Instead, I’m getting paranoia.


Michelle Lewis

Published February 8, 2017

I want to thank you for your recent postings.

In Geauga County, there is a double standard of reporting news and how people are treated by law enforcement. Brigid M. Matheney refused the breathalyzer test, but still has her driver's license? I thought that if someone refused the breathalyzer, they would have their license automatically suspended for a year. Not when you are protected by the Congressman and the Prosecutor.

The local papers did not cover this. This happened in November and we are just hearing about this?

Drunk driving is drunk driving. Watch and see, they will slap her on the wrist, and this will be a huge slap in the face to the police who made the lawful arrest.

Those police officers saved lives that night. I'm not as confident that Congressman Joyce and Prosecutor Jim Flaiz do the same.

Congressman David Joyce and Prosecutor Jim Flaiz will own the resolution of this situation. Please keep posting, the local papers are failing the community.

Martin Victor Godschwin

Published February 6, 2017

Have you noticed all the attention that the Geauga Prosecutor’s Office has received since January 19, 2017? Starting with Channel 8 and Channel 19, television and print news media have shared with the public a police dash-cam video showing the Bainbridge Police stopping a Geauga County Assistant Prosecutor on November 19, 2016, for weaving across the center line, for driving with an open container of alcohol, and for failing three field sobriety tests. Lady Justice gaged

Does it matter that it took sixty days from the event for the Associated Press wire, print news media, and television stations to share the report with the public? Does it matter that a Geauga County public servant behind the wheel could have injured or maimed other drivers on State Route 306 in Bainbridge near East Washington Street?

I noticed that The Chagrin Valley Times/Geauga Courier this past week printed a detailed account of civil litigation filed just the week before in Geauga Common Pleas Court. On the other hand, both publications have thus far failed to report on the DUI arrest of the public servant documented by police dash-cam video. What kind of gag order must exist when The Chagrin Valley Times/Geauga Courier reports with such bias and selectivity?

Diane Jones
Auburn Township

Published January 10, 2017

My husband I were disappointed and shocked to read on your site that Commissioner Raffaele Spidalieri ended the taping of the Commissioners meetings.

My husband works second shift, and I work part-time third shift, but we care for my elderly mother in our home so we don't have the luxury of attending meetings. The video of meetings that are posted on the GEauga Park District website and the Commissioners website are really a lifeline of information for us.

Raffaele Spidalieri was callous when he stated, “If they want to see the meeting, they should come…” What an arrogant blowhard he has become. I remember when he first ran, he represented himself as a working class man. He has no concept of what a working family goes through and we are sorry we supported him.

David Lair is paid over $80,000 dollars a year and he is too busy to take five minutes to post the video? How many hours does he work? It was our impression that Lair was only part-time and still making an obscene retire/rehire salary. And now he is overwhelmed and cannot post a video?

Something isn’t rotten in Denmark, something is rotten in Geauga County and I think the source of the smell is coming from blowhard Commissioner Spidalieri.

My neighbors told me I would be sorry if I voted out Mary Samide, and they were right. Today, I am missing Commissioner Mary Samide.

Mr. & Mrs. Sternower, Middlefield, OH

HandsOn Northeast Ohio
Published December 15, 2016

On Saturday, January 14, 2017, HandsOn Northeast Ohio will be conducting a homeless stand down at Public Auditorium in the City of Cleveland. I have been involved with the stand down for several years and from my own personal experience, it is emotionally devastating to witness first-hand the level of poverty and struggle of the participants.

I am extending an impassioned request to my neighbors in Geauga and Lake County to support this critical care event for those who are in such great need.

Also, I’m hoping to put together a small group of donors who will join me in sponsoring lunch for the volunteers. It’s an all-day program and requires a tremendous amount of volunteer time, effort and participation. It takes an army of volunteers to support this event, and they need to be cared for as well.

If you are looking for a way to make the Christmas and holiday season special this year, please consider volunteering or donating by contacting the HandsOn of Northeast Ohio organization at: www.handsonneo.org.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts
Chesterland, Ohio

Published November 27, 2016

For 22+ years I have been an avid reader of the Chagrin Valley Times and have enjoyed both your County Line and Commentary. I have always thought your commentary to be based on fact.

Imagine my disappointment when I read the November 24th commentary regarding the Geauga Planning Commission. It may make a good story and sell papers, but it is short on fact. While it is true we who sit on the Planning Commission are “toothless tigers,” as Jim Flaiz put it, we are charged with reading zoning amendments and commenting when they stray from ORC. Regardless of what we say, or fail to say, however, the recommendations of the Planning Commission have always been non-binding on the townships. They are free to do whatever they want.

The biggest rub in the Chagrin Valley Times’ interest is that legal advice from the prosecutor’s office is non-existent. We have requested staff from his office attend some of the meetings, not a burden since we meet only once a month for a couple of hours, so we could address questions of law. The prosecutor is our attorney, but he is withholding his services. That means we must wing it on our own to the best of our combined knowledge.

In many ways we function like a jury taking a vote on our actions. If you would care to check the Planning Commission minutes, you will see the actions of the Planning Commission have been unanimous in almost every case. You can’t blame any decision on just one person, for example, Skip Claypool, as the commentary seems to suggest. We are all equally culpable. The people on the commission are from diverse backgrounds and include a township zoning inspector and a sitting member of a township zoning commission.

I personally have found it necessary to litigate my own township because elected officials flagrantly disregard ORC. I know you remember, since my farm was the center piece of many of your County Line commentaries. I only want what is fair for victims who would find themselves on the receiving end of badly-written zoning.

Thomas Jones

Published September 30, 2016

We all need to know what is happening in our sleepy little township lest we wake up one day and find we no longer live in the same community where we put down our roots.

While reviewing the July 14, 2016, Auburn Township Zoning Commission meeting minutes, I found this: “Next meeting topics to discuss will be: noise amendment initiation, rework business zones; reducing business district property to residential; increase residential 2 to 3 acres, 3 to 5 acres, square footage increase to 2,000 square feet.” The next meeting (August 11) was canceled and the meeting following (September 8) had a zoning amendment about changing the noise requirements.

How will these changes affect you, your family, and the valuation of your property? How will the changes affect the tax base for the township?

Hearing date for noise zoning proposed amendment ZC2016-01 is scheduled for October 13, 2016 at 7:30 PM at the Auburn Administration Building. There are too few times when one has a chance to voice his/her opinion and affect the future of the township. This will be your chance to voice your approval or disapproval of the changes to our zoning.

Published May 27, 2016

May 2, 2016 trustee meeting
Auburn trustees voted on May 16 to extend the 208 sewer to the 180 acre former Auburn Springs Golf Course, now owned by BIP AUBURN (Bowlus Investment Group). The vote was approved two to one. This is the beginning of a process that may take years to clear the courts but will ultimately change the zoning landscape of the county, if not the state, forever.

Our large lot zoning in Geauga County for decades has relied on a judicial decision titled Ketchel v. Bainbridge.This court case relied on well and septic, in which water was a limiting resource. In the intervening time the United States Geological Survey has been doing a long term well study. If anything, it has proved that development has not impacted water levels.

May 16, 2016 trustee meeting
Fast forward to a time before the housing bubble burst in 2008 and check what has been happening across the country. Case by case, the legal system has been chipping away at large lot zoning. A developer is interested in the “highest and best use” for the land he is developing. “Highest and best use” has to pass the tests of legally permissible, physically possible, financially feasible, maximally productive. Translated, that means as many building lots as possible on the land available.

Moving forward to the present, this 180 acres of former golf course appears to be the missing link between Auburn Lakes to the south and Lorien Woods to the north. If/when this land is developed, it is for certain that the current three acre lot zoning will be broken. It may take years for the courts to decide, but with many millions of dollars at stake, we can be sure Dale Markowitz of Thrasher, Dinsmore & Dolan will win the day. OR maybe the owner just “wants to build a MAN CAVE,” as Auburn zoning inspector Kitko reported to the trustees on May 2.

Make area look friendlier
Published May 12, 2016

The Republican National Convention is fast approaching. I am proud to have the RNC held in Cleveland, Ohio. It means a lot to a lot of people, especially since our beloved Geauga County is predominantly Republican. We are a very caring and proud community.

Traveling our state and county highways, I look around and notice that several of our communities are not marked with the name of the community. Example: "Welcome to Bainbridge Twp."
It would be nice if our visitors knew what community they are driving through. Perhaps another friendly sign stating: "Leaving Bainbridge Twp. Thank you for visiting with us. Have a safe trip and come back again soon."

Also, one state highway in particular, Route 44, has several farms, particularly in Auburn Township, that are desperately in need of repair -- barns, outbuildings, silos, etc. Even farmhouses are desperately in need of a major face-lift and are in need of repair and painting. As I look at them, my pride diminishes, and I feel ashamed.

Beautiful farms becoming dilapidated. How sad. Farm equipment rusted and abandoned outside of the barns and in the fields. If they could be covered or pulled into the barns that are halfway safe to store farm equipment, that would make a big difference in the appearance making the area look less cluttered.
I am sure, without naming names, the owners of these farms know by the description what farms are being referred to. Please try to spruce up your area of Geauga County, Auburn Township. Let's make our rural communities a pleasure to be seen.
Linda J. Zmek, Auburn

Hospice of the Western Reserve
Published March 16, 2016

I want to take a moment to thank the Hospice of the Western Reserve.

In 2014, my younger sister Barbie was losing her five-year battle with cancer and came to my home for hospice care. Nothing, absolutely nothing can prepare you for something like this but with the love and support of family, friends and neighbors, together you find a way.

My sister was fortunate to have wonderful healthcare and we could afford the best of clinical and nursing support.  I asked what happens when someone does not have the means to pay for care and the Hospice of the Western Reserve said regardless, they provide hospice care without reservation.

I would ask, please, if anyone is looking for a worthy organization to support, please consider making a donation to the Hospice of the Western Reserve.

This was such a heartbreaking experience, my family really struggled. And just when I didn’t think I could make it one more day…, the Hospice of the Western Reserve was there to make sure that I did.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts

An Open Letter to the Republican Voters in Auburn Twp. Precinct B:
Published March 11, 2016

You have my gratitude for electing and allowing me to serve you as your Republican Central Committee member for a number of years. My intention to run for re-election was interrupted by an offer on my house and the decision to transition and move forward.

As a Conservative, it has been my honor to be elected to this position and in withdrawing please know that my support is 100% for Diane Jones to succeed me in serving all of you and your best interests in Auburn Township Precinct B.

Diane is, wholeheartedly, your best opportunity for conservative values, affording protection with assurance of the greatest good in your representation and as a watchdog of critical areas surrounding same within the County as a whole.

Diane, and her husband, have been vigilant about matters not only in Auburn Township, but throughout Geauga County and the well-being of each and every one of us. You may not agree, and that's fine. BUT, in the big picture of cronyism in Auburn Twp, and Geauga County, she is not going to pony up and play! She is going to look at what affords you the best dynamic for your representation ethically and legally.

I sincerely ask you for your support of Diane Jones for Auburn Township Precinct B Central Committee on Tuesday, 3/15/16.

Trust me, she does care, she does dig into the things that need the soiled turned a bit to get below the crap and into the substance of reason.

Thank you, all, for your past support.

Claudine Steinfurth

Published Feburary 25, 2016

The Russell Township Board of Trustees hosted a special event, a USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Water Well Monitoring Meeting, at 6:30 pm, on Tuesday, February 16, in the Russell Town Hall.

The purpose of the event was to discuss funding and organization for the long-term groundwater-level network in Geauga County. Attendance was to be township trustees, county officials, staff members from Geauga County, and representatives from the USGS and Ohio EPA. This was a lofty-stated goal except only four townships of the sixteen townships (Auburn, Bainbridge, Burton, and Russell) were at the table. Also absent were the USGS and EPA.

After much rankling the meeting was finally opened to public comment. Public comment proved to be the most informative part of the meeting. From questions asked, we learned that in the thirty-eight years of well monitoring there have been no problems with water levels. In a pointed question to David Sage representing the Health Department, I learned there is an arsenic problem across the northern townships and in the Chardon City water supply, which is treated to reduce the problem. The EPA standard of ten parts per billion (ppb) is the current allowed level in drinking water. In addition, the Geauga Health Department does not report on arsenic levels in water when they test and approve a well for residential use.

In another question regarding what can be done if the water levels are low and getting lower, David Sage indicated this to be a zoning issue. If you live in an area zoned for three acre lots and the water levels are usually low, the zoning would need to be changed to larger lot size. Perhaps every second or third home would have to be abandoned to raise the water level for remaining residents. These answers are not satisfying for me.

Geauga County Commissioner Claypool stated he is exploring options and doing due diligence. Mr. Claypool questions whether the USGS report is meeting our overall objectives of protecting our water supply. It should be noted that none of the County Commissioners was invited to the meeting.

Thomas Jones

February 4, 2016

The Russell Township Board of Trustees and Fiscal Officer will host a
seminar at 9 am, on Saturday, February 20, 2016, in the Gallery at Kent
State University in Burton.

This seminar, the first in a series of Geauga County Township Association
seminars, is entitled “5-Year Budgets”. In attendance will be Geauga
County Township Trustees, Fiscal Officers, County Budget Commission
members, and invited guests.

The purpose of this seminar is to help overcome obstacles, develop
methodologies, and improve processes among Geauga County township
trustees and fiscal officers.

Russell Township Board of Trustees

Letter to the Editor
published January 17, 2015

Thank youUnfortunately most voters have no idea how an incompetent judge can wreak havoc on innocent peoples' lives

Sent from my iPhone

Letter to the Editor
Published December 13, 2015

We viewed the video of the August 24, 2015 Budget Hearings on your site, "Auburn Township in Beautiful Geauga County".

In all honesty, I could not say that I was surprised to see David Lange's recent editorial about conservation groups in Geauga County. Over the past two years, the Chagrin Valley Times has blindly supported the erratic group known as Take Back Geauga Parks and Protect Geauga Parks.

My husband and I viewed the Budget Hearing video for August 24, 2015 and what Prosecutor Flaiz said in his response to the letter he received from a small group of extremists who seem to be rooted in hatred.

Prosecutor Jim Flaiz responded to their request not to suspend the 2012 levy collection. Prosecutor Jim Flaiz told them that the Geauga Park District misled the residents in 2012. The late Judge Charles Skip Henry was the judge in control of the parks at this time. Under Judge Henry and his park board commissioners and staff..., our research shows that the following persons were board members and staff of the parks at this time: Jim Patterson, John Leech, Tom Curtin and Keith McClintock. Under their "leadership" the people of Geauga County were lied to in order to gain support in passing of the levy.

John Karlovec was at this hearing. He did not write a word about this. And this is important, the people of our county deserve to know this. The Geauga Park District under Judge Henry, Jim Patterson, John Leech, Tom Curtin and Keith McClintock, misled the voters in 2012 and Karlovec did not write one word about it. This is hypocritical.

Joe Koziol, a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times was also in the room. Not one word was printed about this horrible act that was committed by the Geauga Park District under Judge Charles Henry.

I remember reading about this 2012 park levy in the paper that Frank Gliha, County Auditor, stated that the levy campaign was misleading. The Park District, under Henry, Patterson, Leech, Curtin and McClintock told voters that the levy would decrease their taxes. Frank Gliha said this was misleading. But it wasn't until August 24, 2015, at the Budget Hearing, that we were informed that the park district gave misleading financial numbers as well.

The zealot nature group known as Protect Preserve Geauga Parks would call for the hanging of Judge Grendell if he even blinks wrong in their opinion. But not one word of criticism or admonishment about Judge Henry, Jim Patterson, John Leech, Tom Curtin and Keith McClintock misleading the residents of Geauga county! The Geauga Park District in 2012 misled the voters and the zealot members of Protect Geauga Parks do not say one word? That's extremely hypocritical.

These are the same group who did not write one word of complaint when an estate vehicle was buried on park property, under Judge Charles Henry, Jim Patterson, John Leech, Tom Curtin and Keith McClintock.

I read articles written by members of Take Back Our Parks,now known as Protect Geauga Parks, complaining about a tether ball in the parks, but they are okay with the burial of a car on park donated property? How is that in keeping with their support of conservation?

There were reports that the park district, under Judge Henry, mishandled the donation of the Felkin estate. Where is the report for the criminal investigation for the mishandling of the Felkin Estate? Under Judge Charles Henry, Jim Patterson, John Leech, Tom Curtin and Keith McClintock, the park district inherited the Felkin Estate and we read news reports about missing guns, property, drills, etc., from this estate. If not for the good Nick Fischbach, we would never have heard of this. Where is the outrage for the mishandling of the Felkin Estate?

There is no outrage from David Lange, Joe Koziel, John Karlovec, or the environmental zealots known as Protect Geauga Park and Take Back Geauga Park.

Obviously, they don't really care about conservation. They just seemingly hate the presiding Judge, the park commissioners, and the staff of the Geauga Parks.

I read letters to the editor stating they disapproved of the appointment of the Executive Director. They wanted Keith McClintock to be appointed as Executive Director of the Park. Curtin and Keith McClintock are responsible for misleading the voters in 2012 and for burying a car on park property.

The people of Geauga County were misled in 2012 by the park leaders, and the same staff mishandled (criminally in my opinion) the Felkin Estate.

And not one word from the extremist members known as Protect Geauga Park/ Take back Geauga Park. Not one word. This is entirely hypocritical.

We were surprised to see the former Judge Mary Jane Trapp as a member of Protect Geauga Parks, and we will never vote for her again.

Mr. & Mrs. Sternower, Middlefield, OH

Confessions of an internet troll
Published December 10, 2015

I admit to following many internet chats. I do so to keep up with what is going on in my community. There is one chat board used by Protect Geauga Parks and hosted by Google Groups that I find particularly disturbing. A major contributor to the conversations is Sandy Buckles. In my opinion her comments incite others to corrupt the processes of the Geauga Park Board.

I could draw on months of emails but to keep it simple, I will concentrate on just two. The first talks to how to skew the park survey. The second email addresses PGP's indignation over the dismissal of the survey by the Park Board. I believe the Park Board must also have known of the cheating that took place on the surveys.

Note the following two excerpts from the email record:

“Wed, Feb 18, 2015 8:23 am
Subject: Re: Protect Geauga Parks - Park survey online
Supporter contacted us and said they were able to take survey 6 times using different devices with different IP addresses in their home. ”

“Dec 7, 2015 8:59 am
Subject: Protect Geauga Parks - We need you there!!!
YOUR SURVEY results have been put in the board's and Judge's trash bin. PGP supporters, we need to see you there.”

I am grateful the Park Board has worked with transparency to provide free and open discussions of the issues before the Board. I am hopeful the Park Board will continue to provide an open form to the public to both witness and comment on park business. The board needs to be commended and supported for protecting the parks and growing the number of people the parks serve in the county while at the same time being fiscally responsible with taxpayer monies.

PGP could be a constructive force for improving the parks if they could abandon the “my way or the highway” attitude I have observed both at the meetings and in their emails.

Dear Auburn Township in Beautiful Geauga,
Published December 9, 2015

I want to thank you for the wonderful reporting you do on your well-organized site. My generation was never permitted to speak up the way you do. Maybe I am afraid to speak up, I see what happens when you do. People in this county harshly criticize those who speak their minds.

And I would say that I am not strong enough to speak up. It's the way I was raised.

But I want to thank you for the work you do. We need more people to stand up to the families in Geauga County who have been taking advantage of citizens for years. There are some trustees in Geauga County who have been serving in Montville for more than 40 years. Of course he has no opposition, no one is permitted to run against these people. They feed shameless at the public tax trough.

I just wanted to thank you for giving a voice to many who cannot speak up for themselves. Things seem to be changing, and I think you are very brave.


McArthur claims erroneous
Published August 10, 2015

I regret very much having to write this letter, but the July 24 article in the Geauga Times Courier titled, "'No winner' in legal case, McArthur says," and July 23 in the Chagrin Valley Times, titled, "Grendell's legal battle with McArthur to cost taxpayers," compels me to write. To say that I am profoundly disappointed vastly understates my feelings.

I, therefore, am sending this letter to set forth certain matters appearing in the article that are factually untrue. I do so with the hope and belief that you will correct the erroneous public record caused to be made by Nancy McArthur.

As you are aware, I had the honor and privilege of serving as a justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio from 1985 to 2002. As a retired justice of the court, I still consider myself to be bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct where applicable. Thus the code provides: "Although it is not a duty of judicial office ... judges are encouraged to participate in activities that promote public understanding of and confidence in the judicial system."

In accordance with this admonition, when I was contacted by several persons and made aware of the very public dispute involving Judge Timothy J. Grendell and Nancy McArthur, and I was requested to see if I could assist the parties in resolving the dispute, I reluctantly agreed.

Both parties sought and agreed to mediation. Pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code, the parties agreed that the "matter shall be confidential and all things said and not said or done or not done at the mediation shall be absolutely confidential to the extent permitted by the law."

Up until the time of the publishing of the newspaper article, there had been, to my knowledge, no discussion in the public that mediation had taken place and, certainly, no mention of me as a mediator. I was delighted that all persons involved were keeping their commitments, given the contentiousness of the matter.

Notwithstanding that the agreement has been breached, at the least, by Ms. McArthur, I am still bound by the agreement not to disclose the proceedings conducted during mediation. I do, however, have an obligation to the parties, and now to the public, to be sure that any part of the mediation that is disclosed by one or more parties presents an accurate picture.

Operating within the confines of the revised code and the confidentiality agreement, I am constrained as to what I can say. However, I believe I am permitted to assure "county taxpayers" that Ms. McArthur's statement that the taxpayers "may also be responsible for the costs of a special mediator, retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Andrew Douglas, who was brought in last week to conduct a 7.5-hour session on the matter in Geauga County Common Pleas Court," is not accurate or truthful.

Ms. McArthur knows, or should know, given the office she now seeks, that such costs should not be paid by the county but rather are generally shared equally by the parties. However, even more striking is that she knows I have not submitted, nor do I intend to submit, a fee bill and, given the statement of her attorney Nancy C. Schuster that I was a volunteer -- a statement I agree with -- she knows that I did not intend to charge a fee for the services that were rendered. In fact, I had overnight lodging expenses, mileage and other expenses, all of which, without complaint then or now, my firm, as a public service, has absorbed.

The newspaper should clear up this error forthwith. In addition, without revealing any of the mediation proceedings, the public should know that there were other emails written by Ms. McArthur, and, in the interest of good journalism, the paper maybe should take a look at those.

Finally, there was no challenge to Judge Grendell's attorney, and, because I cannot elaborate further, suffice to say that the account presented to the newspaper was done so in false light.

This has been a difficult matter for the community, the parties and me. I believe it now to be at rest where it should reside in peace.

Andy Douglas, Crabbe, Brown & James LLP, Columbus

Rising CAUV taxes
Published August 1, 2015

I read Joan Demirjian's interview with Auburn Trustee Cavanagh on page A11 in the July 30th edition of the Times. I, like Mr. Cavanagh, participate in the CAUV program. I would like to point out an error in the report. To participate, a farm of less than 10 acres must show $2500 of gross income from the farm. Farms over 10 acres have no such reporting requirement. The majority of farms in CAUV are less than 10 acres.

CAUV is Ohio’s most effective tool for preserving farmland. CAUV was created by the Ohio Legislature to stop the loss of farmland to development. For property tax purposes, farmland devoted exclusively to commercial agriculture may be valued according to its current use rather than at its "highest and best" potential use. Green space preservation in the townships has been a valuable side effect of the program. Without CAUV many small farms would not be financially viable.

Each year, the Ohio Department of Taxation sets current agricultural use values (CAUV) for each of Ohio's soil types. In general, I only hear the large farms complaining about the changes in tax rates. I get very tired watching my fellow farmers with their hands out, always asking for more. All taxes increase over time. Farms enrolled in CAUV are no exception. Suck it up! Pay your fair share of taxes like everyone else.

Thomas Jones
Wind in the Woods Farm
Auburn Township

July 17, 2015

Dear Prosecutor Flaiz,
Diane and I have read your Township Training Manual cover to cover. What your staff has omitted should be cause for a revised edition. I am referring to the manual's lack of comment on ORC 519.21. Auburn Township, between 2008 and 2013, twice ignored the provisions of 519.21, resulting in the need for two farms to take legal action against the township at the 11th district Appeals Court to get relief. I am referring to Schabel v Troyan (Auburn Twin Oaks Winery) and Jones v Auburn Township Board of Trustees (A Wind in the Woods Farm), filed by Diane and me.

Your manual avoids any mention whatsoever of the fact that townships cannot regulate agriculture through zoning. Absence of discussion would be appropriate given no violations by any Geauga townships. However, the blatant disregard of 519.21 by Auburn Trustees is an issue of such great importance that it is covered at the Ohio Township Association annual meeting in Columbus and by Peggy Kirk Hall at Ohio State University. Both cases are widely cited on the web as precedent-setting. Although these two cases are not the only examples of township abuse of ORC 519.21, they are the most well-known.

The lack of knowledge or perversion of the law's intent has cost not only the two farms, but also the taxpayers of all sixteen Geauga County townships as well as all the townships in the Ohio Township Association Risk Management Authority, who are sharing the cost of litigation. Even though the two farms won at the appellate level, there is no recourse to recover damages because the trustees and township have immunity, the proverbial Catch 22.

Principles are important. Consider, however, the many who cannot afford to pursue their principles. The injustice only serves to embolden some trustees to act in ethically and morally irresponsible fashion. Such violations of property rights by elected officials speak to the fragility of our constitutional form of government. Failing to stress the importance and relevance of ORC 519.21 in the Township Training Manual implies that the Prosecutor's Office is less interested in the need for all government officials to honor the law of the land than to protect the status quo of those who feel entitled to misuse the power granted to them by the voters. As another election draws near, you may understand your clarity of purpose well enough to ensure the property rights of all Geauga County residents.

Thomas Jones
Wind in the Woods Farm

Restore Ohio wind-energy provisions that benefit local students: Jeff Snyder
Published Monday July 6, 2015

The largest taxpayer in our county -- Van Wert County in northwest Ohio -- is a wind farm. The wind farm has helped our school district provide every student with a
Jeff Snyder
Jeff Snyder Jeff Snyder is superintendent of the Lincolnview school district in Van Wert in western Ohio.Jeff Snyder
 computer – laptop or tablet -- and has assisted in starting two new high school courses for next year.

However, the Ohio legislature decided to add onerous restrictions on wind-energy development that have essentially made it economically and logistically impossible to develop more wind turbines in our area and many others.

The planned wind-energy development that this law has halted could have enabled us to provide even more services to our students, such as more educational programming, new infrastructure, and possibly providing funds back to our district residents in the reduction of taxes.

By turning to wind power, the Lincolnview Local Schools have added a new revenue stream of $400,000 annually. If we could obtain another wind project to our district through the wind-energy tax incentives, it would include another $600,000 per year — in total, around $1 million dollars in additional revenue.

A common-sense bill could give communities back the power to decide on their own whether to allow wind-energy development.

House Bill 190 would empower county commissioners to decide whether to use the previous regulation requiring wind turbines to be approximately 540 feet away from a property line or to use the new regulation that requires a setback that is more than double the previous law at approximately 1,300 feet. Then local communities can decide on a project-by-project basis what works best for their residents.

In Van Wert County, we have encountered no major issues that would have required this extreme setback expansion. Wind-energy companies have told us that this statute change makes it impossible for them develop more wind energy that can bring jobs, tax payments, and additional economic development to our communities.

wind turbine nose cone
Dan Litchfield, a business developer for Iberdrola Renewables looks inside the cone unit that will hold three blades of a wind turbine being erected by Iberdrola Renewables near Van Wert.
In addition to the direct economic benefits of wind projects, they can also have indirect economic benefits. Major companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft are also seeking to locate in areas that provide clean, renewable energy, and restricting wind-energy development could put us at a disadvantage for further economic development in Ohio and especially in northwest Ohio. Ultimately, those companies end up providing long-term and stable careers to people in those communities, thus creating economic development to our fine state of Ohio.

For example, Amazon is currently investing $1.1 billion in central Ohio over the next three years with a goal of being powered 100 percent by renewables by 2020.

Meanwhile, our students reaped the benefits of additional funding for our schools at no additional cost to our local taxpayers. The tax payments of over $400,000 a year from Iberdrola Renewables have been a huge help. We didn't have to go ask our community to pay more in taxes. Instead we took advantage of the natural wind that has always blown in our own backyards.

With new electronic devices for our schools, we are using new instructional techniques and practices every day in the classroom, such as differentiated instruction and inquiry-based learning. Our schools are buzzing with excitement from our students, teachers, and parents about this new upgrade.

We would have never considered such a large academic shift or change in our district, without the financial support of the wind turbines. We also would not have been able to look for more opportunities to develop a well-rounded graduate for years to come as we can now.

We are looking at implementing two new academic programs -- pre-engineering and biomedical -- as part of our academic portfolio this academic year. We are also hoping that some our students will use these new academic programs to better prepare themselves for the immediate workforce in our community or to enhance their preparation for college.

House Bill 190 will be the difference between more services for our students or less. I urge lawmakers to let our community decide for ourselves whether more wind energy development is right for us.

Jeff Snyder is superintendent of the Lincolnview school district in Van Wert in western Ohio.

POOR FLAG ETIQUETTE a letter from a concerned citizen
Published July 1, 2015

Auburn Township Trustees
Michael S. Troyan
Patrick J. Cavanaugh
John A. Eberly
Auburn Township, Ohio 44023

Dear Gentlemen,
I think it is wonderful that the Township is being so patriotic with their display of flags along Washington Street, in front of the Town Hall, the Administration Building, and the Fire Department Buildings. Thank you for replacing the tattered Flag at the Town Hall.

I wish to make two points with my letter, with the hopes that the situations can be remedied proficiently:

The street light on the corner of Auburn Road, and Washington Street has been dark since December. I have stopped into the Administration Office three (3) times, first in January, second in April, and today, to request that the light be replaced. Today I was told that I should contact First Energy, since the Administration apparently does not have time to call and personally speak with someone themselves. The light on the front peak of the Administration Building that lights the front of the building is burned out as well, making the intersection very dark, and the flags without light. The light by the side door (west side) is and has been on 24-7 for months.

This brings me to the second and most important point, Flag Etiquette; I will quote the American Legion web site which answers the question: “Is it proper to fly the flag at night?”, in which the reply was: “The Flag code states it is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. The American Legion interprets proper illumination as a light specifically placed to illuminate the flag (preferred) or having a light source sufficient to illuminate the flag so that it is recognizable as such by a casual observer”.

When I stopped into the Administration Building today to express concern about the lack of etiquette, I was told: “I don’t think any other municipalities take theirs down, and I should write a letter to the Trustees”! I checked with other municipalities, and their flags are placed on poles with working street lights above them.

Please see that the Township sets an example for, and maintains Flag etiquette standards.

Monte J. Sherman
Auburn Township, Ohio 44023

Published June 21, 2015
un "nature"al signs

Judge champions property rights
Published May 27, 2015

Say what you want about Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Timothy J. Grendell. I've written a few things myself. But he is not now nor has he been in favor of drilling for gas and oil in the county's park system. As the authority responsible for appointing the three-member board of commissioners for the parks, the judge took a lot of criticism in connection with a revision of bylaws early last year that permitted such drilling.

Where that harebrained idea came from isn't exactly clear, but Mr. Grendell had something to do with the provision's subsequent removal. Granted, he continues to take the brunt of anger directed at other changes in philosophy regarding the park district.

The judge, who previously served in the Ohio House and then the Ohio Senate, has a long record of fighting for citizens' property rights, notably his vigorous opposition to the collaboration between state politicians and the deep-pocketed gas and oil industry to undermine them.

When the enemies of property rights passed Ohio House Bill 278 in 2004 and steamrolled local zoning regulations that had protected many residential neighborhoods, Mr. Grendell fought them every inch of the way. He was back on the warpath this month against Ohio House Bill 8, which, if passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, would take away property rights of citizens who own regional park systems like the Cleveland Metroparks and the Geauga Park District.

HB 8 would clear the way for the gas and oil industry, with the apparent indiscriminate approval by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, to force park systems and other public lands -- except state parks -- into mandatory pooling. Like other landowners, who similarly lost their property rights through state mandate in 1965 and had them stomped upon by HB 278, the parks' owners -- you and me -- could be compelled to join in land-pooling compacts that enable mineral extraction.

"This proposed taking of the subterranean mineral rights of public land, such as our county's park property, is unprecedented and not in the best interest of protecting and preserving our wonderful county parks," Judge Grendell wrote in a cautionary letter to park commissioners.

Mr. Grendell and I go back a long way. In the mid-1990s, after a local developer's legal action nullified a referendum vote by the citizens of Bainbridge who wanted to block rezoning for an office complex, I argued that the First Amendment right of the people to petition the government's action came before property rights presumed in the Fourth Amendment. It was the first of many times that the lawyer Mr. Grendell informed me to the effect that I "write without knowledge of the true facts."

In 2006, Ohioans for Concealed Carry enthusiastically endorsed then-Sen. Grendell's unsuccessful candidacy for Ohio attorney general, citing his extraordinary support for gun rights, including passage of the state's concealed-carry law in 2003.

Citing that law, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the citizens of Clyde in Northwestern Ohio could not prohibit concealed weapons in their own city parks. That ruling applies to every municipal park in the state. Apparently, in Ohio, the Second Amendment right to bear arms supersedes the Fourth Amendment's property rights.

We might wonder where the champion of property rights and defender of public parks stands on that abrogation.

Published April 24, 2015

This week I had to make a very difficult decision and step away from my role as a CASA GAL (Court Appointed Special Assistant, Guardian Ad Litem), a volunteer position that I have been dedicated to since 2005. As a result of my experience at a recent Geauga Park Board meeting, I will not be able to meet the rigors of a case that requires great time and consideration.

I want to thank the CASA staff for their amazing support and dedication. And I want to thank Judge Timothy J. Grendell for his outstanding devotion to our CASA children.

I thought I was a pretty good CASA until I stood before Judge Grendell, and then I learned I had much to learn. As hard as I worked, thinking I had covered all of my bases, our Judge Grendell would bring up aspects of the case that were insightful and life-changing for my CASA Child. He is devoted to the best interest of the children.

Sadly, the county of Geauga spends more money cleaning up park trails than they do supporting the men and women who care for the most vulnerable in our community, children who are neglected , abused and delinquent.

It is my fervent hope that our County Commissioners would perform a salary comparison study and increase the salaries of our JfS social workers, therapists and their administrative and support staff, and especially our CASA program staff.

Most of all, I want to honor Judge Timothy J. Grendell; he is a hero for our CASA children.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts

Published April 16, 2015

I did attend the Tuesday, April 14, 2015, Geauga Park Board meeting and as I was leaving, I was viciously attacked by a member of the Protect Geauga Parks group.

The actual meeting was wonderful. The commissioners did a superb job of leading the program and responding to all issues and questions. Pat Leech spoke and shared such a precious story that really made a tremendous impact on everyone in attendance and especially me. I think I understand so much better the message she has been trying to convey. John Augustine was one of my favorite speakers. He made excellent points and brought great insight to the meeting. Ed Buckles spoke well and set the tone for the meeting, it was a tone of consensus and working together.

However, as I was leaving the meeting, a woman came rushing up to me and grabbed me by my arms, pulling me so hard that she injured my right arm. I wasn't sure what happened, but it felt like my shoulder was dislocated. I tried to break free of her, but she kept shaking me and when I did break free, she started hitting me. There were members of the Protect Geauga Park in the area, watching, and they did nothing to help me. I was begging them to please get the ranger, I called out for the ranger but nobody came to help me. At no time did I hit or strike this woman, I only tried to break free and protect myself.

I had to struggle to get away from this brutal woman, and when I did, I ran to my car and went home to call the Rangers. I do not have a cell phone, but called as soon as I got home, minutes after I had left the park. The Geauga Park District Ranger contacted me immediately and came to my home so I could report the attack. I did go to the hospital the same evening and had to go again the very next morning as I was treated for complications from the concussion and dislocated shoulder.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts

April 11, 2015

Responding to Rob Allen's Letter to the Editor of April 9, 2015. Allen's diatribe exactly fits the definition of "libel" which is defined as ”the act of publishing a false statement that causes people to have a bad opinion of someone". In his words, Allen besmirches the names of elected officials, Judge Tim Grendell and Geauga County Commissioner Skip Claypool with unfounded accusations. He doesn't stop there. He characterizes a lcouple of dedicated Geauga citizens as being uninformed dupes ignorant of the sinister agenda he imagines. Tom and Diane Jones are inarguably among the MOST informed and involved citizens in Geauga.

As a member of the Geauga Republican Central Committee, Allen's dismissal that concerns over what Geauga will look like when NOACA/NEOSCC Goals for 2040 are implemented is troubling. Readers who choose not to remain in denial as Allen does need only to view the unrecognizable future Geauga County by googling "Vibrant NEO 2040" ask yourself, "Is this the county you want to leave for your children and grandchildren"?

The Geauga Commissioner's decision withdraw funding from the Geauga Growth Partnership was a wise one and should be commended as responsible government. As laudable as the work of the GGP is, to continue funding a venture that benefits only 7% of the existing 1700 businesses in Geauga would have been a stark example of the cronyism delusion Allen sees in the decision.

Also troubling is Allen's acceptance of the media's characterization on who and what the TEA Party is and what they represent. American politics is burdened by big money from lobbyists and special interests with an undue influence on the peoples’ representatives. Americans should ask the question made famous by TV shrink Dr. Phil, "How's that working out for you?" Are you satisfied with the direction politicians are moving America?

The grassroots TEA Party movement is seen as a threat to the entrenched political parties Republicans and Democrats alike and thus is the continual target of smear campaigns and misrepresentation of its ideals.

The Geauga County TEA Party defends "Faith, Family and Freedom". We recognize the U.S. Constitution as the supreme law of the land and believe it must be adhered to without exception at all levels of government. This includes the Bill of Rights and other Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and their provisions designed to protect states’ rights and individual liberties. It would be enlightening to learn, as an elected member of the Geauga Republican Central Committee, which of the TEA Party goals Allen disagrees with. We are a peaceful movement. We respect other's opinions and views even though they do not agree with our own. We stand by the TEA Party beliefs and goals and choose to focus our energies on ensuring that our government representatives do the same. To find more about who we are please visit our website by googling "Geauga County Tea Party" or attending one of our monthly meetings or special events.

Finally, Allen should be cautious about whose tactics he is employing when defaming other hardworking Americans concerned about the country we will leave for our children and grandchildren. Saul Alinski in his book "Rules for Radicals" that was dedicated to Lucifer (satan) in Rule #5 states, “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. Should an elected Republican official be using Alinski's Rules in civil discourse?

Denver Sallee

Published March 29, 2015

Dear Senator Eklund,
Thank you for taking the time to visit with us at A Wind in the Woods (Windt im Wald) Farm on Friday, March 27.

We were very proud to show our 10K Bergey wind turbine, the result of over three years in court (10A001299) with final resolution in May 2013 as a result of the 11th District Court of Appeals reversal of December 24, 2012. Since ours is not the only example of Auburn Township's violation of ORC 519.21 (Schabel v Troyan, 10G002953, 10G002954, and 10G2955, involving Auburn Township's erroneous attempts to zone and to dismantle the Auburn Twin Oaks Winery, a clear case of viticulture as agriculture), it begins to become more than a bit evident that Auburn Township has disregarded and circumvented the Ohio Legislature's considerable ongoing efforts to protect Ohio farms and farmers from unwarranted attacks on civil liberties and property rights. We were therefore gratified to be able to discuss the erroneous use of Geauga County taxpayer dollars by the Prosecutor's Office and Assistant Prosecutor Bridey Matheney to violate our property rights and ultimately to cause the loss of a $30,000 Department of Development grant that was awarded to us through our very diligent efforts.

It is imperative that you be aware of this kind of disenfranchisement when it comes time for retiring judges Fuhry and/or Burt to be replaced with a Republican Central Committee member. As we are all aware, Matheney was appointed a member of the Central Committee by Nancy McArthur. It is important for the good of Geauga County that injustices created as a result of a legal involvement by Matheney follow her and come to bear, as she reportedly aspires for lucrative appointments at the county level of government.

We were pleased additionally to bring discussion on several other topics:

1) Your introduction of SB 118, which we were pleased to read. We were pleased that enactment of this bill would provide tremendous financial relief to Geauga County residents. Nevertheless, it is important to realize that, depending on the age and quality of septic systems tested (i.e., those systems over 40 year old), failure of these systems can likely bring success results beneath the mandatory 90%. Perhaps there is a way to deal with that conflict by adding a phrase or clause which might help provide a contingency in a year when the testing of many very old systems threatens removal from the benefits proposed by SB 118 and its companion bill hopefully to be introduced in the Ohio Senate.

Secondly, the language of the bill currently provides no way for Geauga County to regain its status of exemption from state septic regulations once its success rate falls below 90%. It would be beneficial to have a clause that provides for remediation practices that permit the county to return to the privileges of exemption from the state septic regulations in effect on January 1, 2015. including language in SB 118, such as the use of five- or ten-year running average (for demonstration of valid and reliable test outcomes) of septic results, would be of great benefit to Geauga County homeowners faced with the onerous burden of prohibitively expensive replacement septic systems.

2)Our concerns about conscientious and responsible manure management by "small" and "large" ag alike remain very important to us. We have engaged in responsible manure management for twenty years and have been fortunate to use our own carefully aged manure for our own crops. We are fearful that negligent practices of other farmers, including some local Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations (CAFOs) might result in our being sanctioned for no other reason than we, like the big operations, are "farmers." Responsible manure management for the purpose of conserving and protecting our natural waterways is imperative for all of us and for the future generations to whom we leave the legacy of Planet Earth.

3) Income tax versus sales tax as a source of income in Ohio remains an important concern. Thank you for addressing those thoughts.

4) The Heartbeat Bill is of vital concern to many Ohioans. We thank you for your initial politeness in listening to the comments, although it was later disappointing to hear you indicate you did not want to hear any more. As an elected official, you many encounter many thoughts that you do not personally agree with, but listening to the inputs of voters may be of critical importance to determining your final decisions in an election year. This may wind up being a more important issue than you realize as you embark on Town Hall meeting format in your targeted phone campaigns.

5) The issue of Common Core is a rallying point for many voters in Geauga County. As a former teacher who still stresses academic excellence and the promulgation of critical thinking as foundations for the well-being of Ohio within the Republic, Diane, as well as the others present share the concern that the continued existence of Common Core raises more questions and creates more problems than it resolves. We
definitely need your clarification on this issue before your election campaign.

One of the topics that we did not get to discuss was Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County-based Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) that currently controls Lake, Lorain, Medina,and Geauga Counties for distribution of federal funds by ODOT for road and bridge projects. As you may be aware, a large number of Geauga residents are most aware of the outrageous annual expense for Geauga County to belong to an organization that provides a pathetic distribution for Geauga highway projects. We would like to talk to you again about ways in which it is possible for Geauga County to leave NOACA in search of a venue that would provide a better opportunity for Geauga residents to improve highways, especially roads in the Amish community. As you may be aware, there have been many accidents on roadways in Amish areas that have destroyed horses as well as human lives. Knowing our commitment to our farm and our horses, most of whom we have bred ourselves, perhaps it may be easier for you to understand our commitment to our Amish neighbors' way of life and their reliance on their equine transportation.

Members of our contingency hope to visit you in the near future in Columbus, where we can present these and some other ideas. Those of us you met at A Wind in the Woods are part of a larger Geauga contingency who are passionately dedicated to bringing long-needed improvements to governance. For way too long Geauga County voters were unfairly subject to the whims of appointee after appointee in your Senate district with no opportunity to impact any outcomes for our well-being. We are grateful for the good start that Friday's meeting initiated. We look forward to continuing this mission.

We wish you and yours a blessed Easter season.

Diane and Tom

Governor Kasich’s budget 2nd largest in state history

Governor Kasich’s last Biennial budget was 62 billion dollars, and the 2nd largest in state history. The revenue to achieve this pork laden budget was siphoned away from townships, cities and school districts. Local governments lost half of their local government fund. Many school districts faced cuts of 20%.

Ancient history would reveal that a decade ago the 2005 state budget was 51.3 billion dollars, and at the time the largest in state history. Currently Governor Kasich would like appropriations to be 72.3 billion dollars, and have actual spending at 69.5 billion. For those counting, this is nearly a 40% increase in state spending in a decade!

Local governments and school districts across Ohio are “Levy tired”. Governor Kasich’s tax and spend proposals have tax payers turning 50 shades of purple trying to follow his budget shell game. What is really fiscally irresponsible with the Governor’s latest Robin Hood logic? If you support your local schools by supporting tax levies, you lose state funding to those school districts that don’t pass levies.

Governor Kasich is good at spending other governments’ money and then lecturing them to suck it up. Here’s a better suggestion: Cut your bloated state spending by practicing what you preach.

Sagamore Hills Township Trustees
Paul Schweikert (330.467.4970)
David DePasquale (330.908.0520)
John Zaccardelli (330.468.3532)

Published January 1, 2015


In answer to Mr. Leech and others who are shocked and very angry about the termination of Tom Curtin as the executive director of Geauga Park District, I say that you should get your facts straight.

The park district Board of Commissioners chose not to renew his contract when it expires on Dec. 31. He was placed on paid administrative leave through the end of his contract; he was not terminated.

In the year that I have been a park commissioner, my eyes have been opened to several examples of wrongdoing, some of which may have happened under Mr. Leechs watch.
I attempted to get to the bottom of one such matter when I opened an investigation into the handling of the Felkin Estate by the executive director. I had begun to hear what I thought were wild allegations about cars being buried and firearms misplaced.

None of the storied added up and I suggested that the board should have an impartial, independent investigation done by someone outside the county who had no vested interest in the matter. The investigation yielded astounding information and was a large factor in our decision not to renew Mr. Curtins contract.

Some of the findings were that a car with its tires still on it was ordered buried by Tom Curtin at the Felkin property on Bradford Drive in Munson Township. The Felkins personal property, which was left to the park district by Donald and Dorothy Felkin, was never probated and the estate could have been contested. Firearms, including a Thompson submachine gun, that were part of the estate were negligently mishandled and to this day have not been adequately accounted for.

The park districts legal counsel advised the director to rectify the probate issue in 2008 but was ignored. Federal, state and local laws, as well as park regulations, were broken.
This happened several years ago and was not corrected until after the investigation was just recently completed. Mr. Curtin did not feel that any of these issues were serious, but two of the three park commissioners did.

After much thought and consideration, Mike Petruziello and I voted not to renew Tom Curtins contract after its expiration, as we felt it was in the best interests of both the park district and Mr. Curtin himself to end our relationship.

Mr. Leechs opinion that there were no grounds for this action is ridiculous. Public officials must be held to a high ethical standard. As park commissioners, it is our duty to uphold these high standards on behalf of the taxpayers of Geauga County and not try to simply sweep such issues under the rug.

Nicholas Fischbach
GPD Commissioner

The only things shocking about the letter from John Leech, a former Geauga Park District commissioner, in last weeks paper is Mr. Leechs failure to tell your readers he is the president of an organization that is seeking to receive over a $100,000 fee from the park district. That sum is quite an incentive to want to keep a friendly park director. One wonders how much Mr. Leechs other organization received of taxpayers money when he was sitting as director of both boards at the same time?

Mr. Leech served on the Geauga park board, but did nothing when the park district under Tom Curtins leadership illegally buried a car on park property and converted private property without going through the probate court, as required by Ohio Law.

Also, while Mr. Curtin was director, the park district wasted over $400,000 of Geauga County taxpayers money on a mishandled employment matter, with much of that money going to attorneys. Isnt Mr. Leech a lawyer?

Former Park Commissioner Leech, where were you when all this happened? Didnt you, as a watchdog for the people of Geauga County, have a duty to supervise Mr. Curtin more closely?

At least the park commissioners appointed by Judge Tim Grendell are doing their job and protecting Geauga County taxpayers from these types of shenanigans.

From the Geauga taxpayers perspective, it looks like the two commissioners who voted not to renew Mr. Curtins one-sided contract of well over $100,000 including benefits made the right decision.

Robert and Esther Laczko
Chardon Township

Conserve, Protect, Preserve Uses Metzembaum Center Lie to Garner Support!
Published November 6, 2014

On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, at the Geauga Park District park board meeting, Joseph Bastulli, a member of the “Conserve, Protect, Preserve” political action committee, stated that he was very upset about a modification made to a walking trail at Sunnybrook Preserve. He said that the change in this walking trail was a detriment to the clients of the Metzenbaum Center for the developmentally disabled who use the trail daily. In essence, he alleged that this change is now impacting Metzenbaum clients and families; to the point that some can no longer use the trail.

On Thursday, November 6, 2014 around 8:30 a.m., I contacted Don Rice, Director of the Metzenbaum Center and he told me, "At no time has anyone, not a staff person, family member or client of the Metzenbaum center complained about the trail at Sunny Brook Preserve." He told me they just had a big staff meeting and this issue was never brought up or discussed. He said he does not know what Mr. Bastulli is talking about.

“We don’t use the Sunnybrook Preserve park; we use the park next door to our center," Mr. Rice commented. "Mr. Bastulli is neither affiliated with Metzenbaum, nor does he speak for the board. Anything official from the board will come from the Superintendent or an official press release."

Preserve, Protect, Conserve has published a series of lies, but Mr. Bastulli's statement at the Geauga park board meeting is more than just a lie. Now the organization is using developmentally disabled residents to garner empathy and to elicit support for their agenda. (Conserve, Protect, Preserve gave Mr. Bastulli a resounding round of applause!)

In Mr. Bastulli's ranting presentation, he labeled residents whose opinions differ from his own as “extremists.” The Conserve, Protect, Preserve group may have recited the Pledge of Allegiance that evening but apparently do not feel the pledge applies to all. Anyone who would use developmentally disabled persons to garner sympathy or support for their campaign is resolutely vulgar.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts

Published October 31, 2014

It has recently appeared in print that Auburn Township Community Park, formerly revered as Cathan Farm and Cathan Park, was purchased by Auburn Township with saved “estate taxes.”

It is time to clarify John Eberly's syntax error. “Estate taxes” were never free money. They were paid by Auburn Township residents who died. Not every Auburn decedent kicked up funds to be distributed to the township for any project that the township chose to use them for. Only those decedents who accrued more than $ 337,000 in their estates had the privilege of paying Auburn Township their “death payments.”

At any rate, there are no more “estate taxes” because everyone in Auburn who chooses or is forced to die now gets to do so without giving Auburn Township a cut of his/her estate. Good for individuals and their families. Bad, soooo sad for Auburn Township.

Just remember, any purchase made with “estate taxes” saved by Auburn Township cost most families and individuals. Cathan Farm was paid for with money earned or saved by Auburn Township residents.

Must-See Video: Ohio Rep. Bows to Economic Wonders of Coal and Fracking
Anastasia Pantsios | August 22, 2014 2:55 pm

David Joyce
“I’m biased because my dad was a coal guy,” Congressman David Joyce says truthfully in a new citizen-filmed video.

See the full story and video at this link http://ecowatch.com/2014/08/22/david-joyce-coal-gas/

The following is a samling some of the comments this story has generated:

"The video is sad really,It is much like watching a crack head that knows that he is killing himself begging to you to let him take a few more hits off the stem before you ship him off to rehab..."

"One more example of the fact that one need not have a functioning brain to be elected to office in America these days."


"Joyce is an idiot "

"So much for the food basin.  
Who the hell needs corn and potatoes when this @sshole needs to make a buck murdering our environment."

"Oh please Dave....Just because 7000 people are as clueless about atmospheric chemistry as you are in no way proves your fantasy is correct...... People don't like Obama (he has been a disappointment) so the laws of physics no longer apply. Are you really THAT crazy?" sting in clean, sustainable energy.”

July 21, 2014

Dear Editor:
Why would anyone try to degrade the prestigious Geauga Park District using inaccurate facts?

I would like to take this opportunity to address legally and factually false assertions by Rob Roy and Jim Mueller aimed at defaming Geauga County’s treasured Park District. It is most unfortunate for the sensible citizens of Geauga County that Rob Roy and Jim Mueller have chosen to mislead the public. Their failure to verify the accuracy of their erroneous comments with the Park District or Geauga County Probate Court is totally inexcusable.

The assertions by Mr. Roy and Mr. Mueller include misstatements about the legality of the valid services contract between the Geauga Park District and O’Brien Leadership Systems, LLC (O’Brien LLC); and the authority of the Geauga County Probate Court with respect to its oversight over the Geauga Park District.

Simply put, Mr. Roy’s and Mr. Mueller’s “questioning” of the services contract between the Park District and O’Brien LLC and the Probate Court’s legal authority is totally spurious and unfounded, as a matter of Ohio law.

Here are the TRUE facts and CORRECT legal analysis with respect to the O’Brien services contract:

    1. The Interim Director of the Park District had the legal authority to sign contracts for services to the Park District for contracts up to $50,000. Under Ohio law, Park District contracts for services under $50,000.00 DO NOT have to be put out for bid. See Ohio Revised Code Section 1545.07.

    2. The Interim Director signed the services contract with O’Brien LLC for an amount well below the amount requiring bids.

    3. The then newly appointed Park Board, with the guidance of the Board’s attorney, approved by ratification the services contract with O’Brien LLC by action taken at a public meeting in full compliance with Ohio law. Ohio Revised Code section 1545.07 specifically states that a Park Board “may contract for consulting services.”

Therefore, as a matter of Ohio law, there is nothing to “question” about the Park District’s services contract with O’Brien LLC.

As to Mr. Mueller’s misguided assertion that the Probate Court’s authority over the Park District is limited solely to appointing the Park Board Commissioners, Mr. Mueller is flat out WRONG!
The Probate Court, over which I have the privilege of presiding as Judge, has far more legal authority and statutory responsibility concerning the Park District than simply appointing the Park Board Commissioners.

The Probate Court’s legal authority and statutory responsibilities with respect to the County Park District is multifaceted, including:

    1. The Probate Court has the sole discretion to appoint and remove the Park Board Commissioners. Ohio Revised Code Section 1545.05 and 1545.06. The Court’s discretionary power to remove Board Commissioners for any reason provides the Probate Court with much greater responsibility for Park District oversight.

    2. The Probate Court is statutorily required to approve all donations to the Park District. Ohio Revised Code Section 1545.11.

    3. The Probate Court is statutorily required to approve the sale or transfer of the Park District’s property. Ohio Revised Code Section 1545.12. In fact, the Probate Court’s statutory Park responsibilities are very broad and covered by numerous statutory provisions.

Moreover, the Probate Court has the specific legal authority to issue declaratory orders or judgments. Ohio Revised Code Section 2101.24. It is obvious that Mr. Mueller has NOT read Chapter 1545 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Finally, Mr. Roy and Mr. Mueller apparently do not understand that the Park District continues to operate under an open and ongoing Probate Case (Case No. 13092). As such, the Park District and its many actions that require Probate Court statutory oversight are fully within the ongoing jurisdiction of the Geauga County Probate Court.

Geauga County Prosecutor James R. Flaiz was absolutely right. The Geauga County Auditor had no legal basis to withhold payment of the O’Brien LLC services contract.

While there is no reason for the State Auditor to waste his valuable time looking into Mr. Roy’s and Mr. Mueller’s legally baseless assertions, I am confident that the State Auditor would agree that Ohio Law has been fully complied with in this matter.

The Geauga Park District is one of our County’s greatest assets and does not deserve to be falsely maligned or defamed.

Timothy J. Grendell

So here we go again
What are your expectations of Congressman Dave Joyce?

At the beginning of Mr. Joyce's first term nearly two years ago, he informed us that he talked to his constituents and learned they want him to reach across the aisle and get something done. In keeping with this highly suspect finding, Mr. Joyce did very little to advance a conservative limited-government agenda. Instead, he pleased the big-government Republican leadership by going along to get along. His voting record proves this. Is that what you expect of him?

In the primary last spring while running against conservative Matt Lynch, Mr. Joyce held himself out as a "tried and true conservative." Apparently, Mr. Joyce was thinking those who pay somewhat close attention expect him to be just that, an outspoken and unbending advocate for American values by doing such things as advancing free-market solutions to health care and standing against unconstitutional executive amnesty for illegal aliens. Does that describe what you expect of him?

In his general-election campaign, you may recall Mr. Joyce changed course yet again. He decided to present himself as "Just Dave," a man placing no expectations upon himself whatsoever, except to be regarded as one of us, a darn good guy who cares about his neighbors. Is that what you expect of him?

Now Mr. Joyce is back to square one. After winning his second term last month as part of the historic anti-Barack Obama election, Mr. Joyce released a statement which said in part, "The voters made it clear it is time for the White House to work together with Congress to get things done in DC." Amazing. Mr. Joyce was able to draw the same conclusion after the 2014 tsunami-wave election that he drew after the stalemate election of 2012, an election in which the balance of power did not change at all. His cynicism defies belief.

So here we go again. The liberal Mr. Joyce just voted in favor of a 1,582-page $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, money we do not have which finances Obamacare through next September and funds Mr. Obama's dictatorial amnesty for at least the next three months. Only God knows what else is in the bill.

This is what we should expect of Mr. Joyce. He is a cynical, big-government, anti-liberty Republican who has demonstrated he will tell you whatever he thinks you want to hear to get your vote then stabs you in the back with his votes. Shame on him for sure. But shame on us if we continue to put up with this.

Just Dave has a phone number. If he is not meeting your expectations, I recommend giving him a call and letting him know what those expectations are.

Kevin L. String
Pepper Pike

Quasi nature lovers, anything but respectful and loving...

It has been my personal experience that nature lovers and members of the Audubon Society were generally caring and respectful individuals. Not so much with the Protect Geauga Parks group.

Dr. Steven Vieira, Assistant Professor of Biology at Lakeland Community College wrote to his fellow "Protect Geauga Parks" members, “As others have noted it is of the upmost (sic) importance to remain reasonable and respectful.” And then Dr. hypocrite goes on to write, “I teach environmental science and evolutionary biology in a conservative county… so I'm use (sic) to arguing with irrational thinkers.”

Not only is Dr. Vieira upset with Geauga County’s Probate Judge, he has disdain for “conservatives” as well.

Speaking of hypocrites, Pat Leech pretends to be supportive of Park Commissioner Shumway, and then from the other side of her face tells the Protect Geauga Parks members that she supports their passion?

Protect Geauga Parks member Debbie Mayo feels comfortable lying, and in writing! She wrote that Auburn Township resident Tom Jones is a spokesperson for Judge Grendell. Tom Jones is not now and never has been a spokesman for the Judge.

And Sandra Buckles who in my opinion has been disrespectful of the Judge and vicious in her approach and criticism of the park board members and park staff, has the nerve to add this quote to her letters:

"We must strive to touch the land gently and care for it as true stewards that those who follow us may see our mark on the land was one of respect and love....."( From a trail marker at Settler's Cove, near Ketchikan , Alaska.)
Robert B. Oetting

Sandra Buckles mark is anything but gentle and loving. However, as a member of the Audubon Society, she gives new meaning and real definition to the term, Cuckoo Bird.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts

Filthy heritage alive, not well
Published June 26, 2014

Thanks to breathing in such hazardous pollutants as hydrochloric acid, mercury, arsenic and sulfur dioxide, which are spewed into the air by the coal industry, about 1,200 Ohio residents suffer premature deaths each year, second only to neighboring Pennsylvania's grim statistics. That's more than the number killed with firearms, including suicides, homicides and accidents. State legislators, including those who represent the Chagrin Valley, and Gov. John Kasich are perfectly fine with that.

Answering the beck and call of the electric utility monopolies, Ohio legislators approved Substitute Senate Bill 310 and the governor signed it this month to retreat from the advances in clean-energy and conservation that were instilled with near-unanimous support from the General Assembly in 2008.

Instead of moving forward with the rest of the nation toward reducing the impact of coal burning on climate change and human health, Ohio's leaders are clinging to the state's filthy heritage. They also are shunning potential job growth associated with wind turbines, solar panels and other clean-energy innovations.

Of the 187 hazardous pollutants identified as threats to human health and the environment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 84 of them are emitted by coal-fired power plants. Those plants send 386,000 tons of pollutants into the air annually. Nationwide, according to the Clean Air Task Force, that results in an estimated 13,200 premature deaths, 9,700 hospitalizations and 20,000 heart attacks per year. Politicians may be able to live with that. But many human beings do not.

While political leaders, including U.S. Sen. Robert Portman, R-Ohio, continue to support billions of dollars in tax breaks and other federal subsidies for coal and other fossil fuels, similar considerations for renewable energy are decried as government give-aways.

It could be somewhat reassuring to believe that local government officials are more receptive to alternatives that are healthier for people and the environment, but the record does not reflect that.

Auburn Township and Geauga County officials wasted unaccountable thousands of dollars in taxpayers' money over several years in a losing legal battle against a township couple's plans to install a wind turbine at their horse farm because of a few complaints about aesthetics. It took two years for Moreland Hills Village Council to pass restrictive zoning regulations that allow homeowners to install solar panels on their roof because of hyper-sensitivity over their appearance.

This is no time to breathe easy for progress in Ohio.

Chagrin Valley Times
Dave Lange


Puiblished Feb 19, 2014

Commissioners this week received an electronic petition and emails from biking enthusiasts (the majority of whom do not live in the county), seeking approval of a bike trail easement, even though the existing trail is sparsely used. By Samide's own admission, she has never seen this kind of outcry, and certainly not over Geauga County's debilitating heroin crisis.

“In the 10 years that I have been a Geauga County commissioner, I have never seen that many emails come to the county about any issue,” Commissioner Mary Samide said. “I have never seen this kind of an outcry about something.”

Geauga County law enforcement is reporting an increase in heroin related deaths, heroin related crime has increased by 800% in some areas, young children are suffering as a result of caregivers abusing heroin, etc., and by all indications, the crisis is growing.

Commissioner Spidalieri proposed a cross-functioning, comprehensive and pro-active plan to address our heroin epidemic, but the plan was thwarted by the ego of former Commissioner Tracey Jemison. Tragically, by his own staff's admission, Sheriff Dan McClelland had no plan.

At the August 2013 Commissioners' meeting, Samide openly stated that she had no idea how bad the heroin crisis was. And I believe her.

People are dying from heroin in Geauga County, but Mary Samide chooses to be impressed by an exaggerated outcry over a bike trail.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts
Chesterland, Ohio

Endorsement of Skip Claypool for County Commissioner

This letter is in support for Walter “Skip” Claypool, candidate for Geauga County Commissioner. Not only has Skip championed a respectful and fair campaign, but he has remained professional in the midst of unfair and vicious attacks by the supporters of his opponent.

Skip Claypool is a proud American, a Vietnam veteran and a family man. He stands for everything good and right about our county. He is a strong defender of the U.S. Constitution and not only does he talks the talk, he walks the walk.

As already demonstrated while he was a commissioner, if Skip sees a potential problem, he researches it and then takes appropriate actions to address the issue in order to represent the majority interest of the people in the county. He is financially conservative and will do everything within his power to prevent wasteful spending.

I sincerely believe he deserves your vote on November 4.

Dal Lanese

Geauga Democrats have talent and heart, but poor leadership.
Geauga Democrats have never really had a voice in county elections. And it’s not because they don’t have heart or talent, they just have leadership that continuously sells them out.

Sheriff Dan McClelland is a Democrat, but strongly allied with Ed Ryder, Tracey Jemison, Mary Samide and now Blake Rear. He sidles with Republicans when he needs to, after all he is, in my opinion, the textbook politician securing his job and taking care of himself. And if a majority of Democrats get sidelined or stepped on in the interim, oh well.

Over the past ten years, Sheriff Dan McClelland has vehemently opposed retire-rehire. He is on record taking a strong stand against retire-rehire; until his good buddies needed this benefit then he turned his back on the community and other employees of the Sheriff’s department to take care of his friends.

Geauga County is in a life and death battle against the heroin epidemic. When our community came together to hear how law enforcement would address the heroin crisis, the Sheriff had no plan. He had no plan. Tracey Jemison, Commissioner at the time asked him to put one together.

Apparently, Dan McClelland has spent more time marveling at a “bottomless” picture of Midge, his dog, in Playboy magazine, than he did putting together a plan to combat heroin.

Democrat Sheriff McClelland had no plan, and proudly declares that Republican Blake Rear has been supportive of his law enforcement efforts.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts

Courage, Integrity, and Honesty
I have known Geauga Commissioner candidate, Walter “Skip” Claypool since 2011. The very first quality I noticed about Skip was his willingness to step out of a comfort zone to assess and resolve problems. I have marveled at Skip's ability to ask questions of current and former Commissioners about serious ongoing problems facing Geauga County. In addition to possessing a gift for assessing situations which sap the county's financial stability, he is skillful enough to propose practical solutions.

I have personally observed Skip develop his understanding of critical Geauga issues-- the heroin crisis, the “good old boy” retire-rehire policy, the waste of taxpayer dollars, and the removal of certain real-estate parcels from the county tax base to the detriment of remaining Geauga property owners. Skip spent the last several years investing mental energy, time, and personal finances to become incredibly knowledgeable about the shortcomings of Geauga County governance. A refreshingly honest and resilient critical thinker, he acts decisively. He will not evade difficult issues because “that's the way we have always done it.”

A leader is an individual who is willing to ask difficult questions and decisively engage in responsible solutions. Skip Claypool is an unmistakable leader, willing to take on the tough, lasting challenges that confront Geauga County families and their posterity. This is Skip's golden time. He will not hide from the tough challenges because he is morally and ethically committed to facing the difficult realities, not sugar-coated fantasies being fed to Geauga voters. I am overwhelmingly proud to endorse Walter Skip Claypool for Commissioner on November 4.

Diane J. Jones
Auburn Township


I recently received a mailer from Blake Rear (Republican?), paid for by the Ohio Republican Party in Columbus, with a picture on it showing him and Sheriff Dan McClelland (Democrat) together, both staring at the ground. It appeared to be a posed for picture. A quote from Sheriff McClelland stated how Mr. Rear has been extremely supportive of law enforcement efforts and narcotics enforcement funding. The mailer also states how Blake Rear has been leading the charge to keep Geauga families safe and through strategic budgeting he has ensured that our sheriff and prosecutor have the tools and resources they need. We have two other commissioners who vote on this also, not just Blake. None of this is true! Whatever charge Blake is leading, it is in his dreams! He was never a leader. Before Mr. Rear was even appointed, commissioner Ralph Spidialeri was the ONLY one who put together a plan with funding that involved the whole community, to combat the heroin problem in Geauga. Commissioners Mary Samide and Tracy Jemison stonewalled Mr. Spidialeri for two weeks, giving our embarrassed Sheriff McClelland time to hurriedly put together his own plan, that no one saw, so he could get the credit instead of Mr. Spidialeri. During a special public meeting addressing the heroin problem, which Sheriff McClelland missed because he was “on vacation”, his own chief deputy Hilldenbrand stated the Sheriff has known of the problem for several years and admitted he had no plan until after Spidialeri announced his. So here you have a Democratic Sheriff, whose lack of action caused the heroin problem to escalate, on Republican candidate Rear’s mailer endorsing him, with Mr. Rear claiming to be leading a charge, that was started by someone else, way before Mr. Rear was appointed to Commissioner. Can anyone explain this to me? Brian Johnston (Independent) running against Blake Rear, has a long history as a Geauga Deputy Sheriff Sergeant, now retired. He would be the most informed, sensitive, and action oriented to this issue, not Blake. Brian Johnston was voted officer of the year by the Geauga Bar Association and given a letter of high recommendation from Sheriff McClelland upon his retirement. I find all the hypocrisy here nauseating! Blake Rear seems to have no problem stealing someone else’s thunder and claiming it for his own.

Ed Corsi
Munson Twp.

Larry, Curly, Moe and Blake Rear

Geauga County is in a life and death heroin epidemic and unfortunately, Commissioner Blake Rear has offered nothing of significance to respond to the crisis. There is an upcoming election and we need a leader, not another political hack, “go along to get along” appointment from Ed Ryder’s old boys’ club.

One of the most important things that a community can do to battle heroin is to focus on prevention. Judge Timothy Grendell has taken powerful steps to battle the heroin crisis from a prevention perspective by providing the community with vital information on how to protect our children from exposure to heroin and by personally speaking with students and their families about the crisis. And Judge Grendell even takes time out of his hectic schedule to play basketball with the kids at the Juvenile Detention Center.

Judge Terri Stupica is also focusing on prevention and the students are responding to her as they are to Judge Grendell, and I for one am very grateful to both of our Judges for their efforts.

But do not wait for Blake Rear to take a stand against heroin. He is non-committal and on his best behavior after he viewed taped commissioner meetings at which he appeared to be flustered and out of control when questioned by residents.

As a member of the Chardon School Board, Blake Rear actually would take his tie and pull it up above his head, like he was pretending to hang himself, when bored. He did this more than once, until he was reminded that the meetings were being videotaped.

Blake Rear brings little if nothing to the table; however, his Three Stooges-like impersonation of pretending to hang himself with his tie at a school board meeting should bring big concern.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts

Brian Johnston and Walter “Skip” Claypool are running for two separate seats of Geauga County Commissioner this November 2014.

Skip Claypool is a Republican who beat Mary Samide in the primary and running against the Democratic candidate in November.

Skip already has previous experience as a Commissioner having filled a vacant seat for an interim period. More importantly, he is a very strong Constitutionalist and conservative, not just in words but also actions. Skip Claypool has repeatedly demonstrated having the backbone to stand up against the “good old boys club” and the self serving grip they have on Geauga, exposing wrongdoing, waste and misspending of YOUR money.

They hate him. I consider that to be a PLUS for Skip.

Considering himself not to be a politician, Skip Claypool is not the “go along to get along” type like most of your other politicians in Geauga. He really is a servant of the people.

Brian Johnston is an Independent and currently serving as a Geauga County Park District Commissioner. He too is a conservative.

Anyone elected has to raise their hand and swear to a constitutional oath upholding their office. That’s called “being sworn in”, or they cannot take office. That is just a mechanical function for most, then forgotten. Brian Johnston has stated he will take his Oath seriously, doing what is right for the people and I believe him, especially after getting to know his character over the past two years.

Concerning you die hard Republicans, even though Brian Johnston is Independent, he is more conservative Republican than all the RINO’S you have been deceived by and voting for in the past.

Johnston is running against Blake Rear whom I consider to be one of those RINO’S and part of the good old boy club.

I guess it’s a matter of who you want representing your rights, people who really will, or liars.

Ed Corsi

Protect, Conserve, Preserve… or Nature Nazis
September 13, 2014

At the Tuesday, September 9, 2014, Geauga Park District Board Meeting, the room had a number attendees who wore “Protect, Conserve, Preserve” t-shirts or carried logo signs. And I for one was happy to see them. After all, it has been my experience that people, who love nature, are generally loving and peaceful.

This group was far from loving or peaceful; they were unkind and arrogantly disrespectful.

It appeared, anyone who spoke contrary to their “ultimatum” belief that the bylaws cannot be changed or amended was heckled and criticized, sometimes severely.

I sat behind a bearded man who was snorting like a barnyard wash hog every time Commissioner Lou Mucci spoke. There were others who were chattering and criticizing board members for asking questions. There was an undercurrent of cackling and faces twisting in horror at comments they disagreed with. Whoever referred to this bunch as “elite” was misinformed.

This is a small group of people, but they want to dictate how the parks are used and enjoyed by Geauga County residents. They only want to permit hiking, bird watching, and more hiking and sitting and observing nature. No children are welcome. The “Protect, Conserve, Preserve” people will put their lives on the line to prevent someone from horseshoe throwing or roller-skating in the park, God forbid. In my opinion, they are manic in their stance, and Adolf Hitler was of the same mindset, “it will be my way, or else…”

Some of the participants wore shirts that read, “I am a Geauga Park District Trail Animal…” And I could not agree more.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts

August 18, 2014
Geauga has enough land for all

When did the Virginia Rail (a bird) and the coyotes (varmints) start paying taxes to acquire and maintain our Geauga County Parks?

Geauga County's hardworking men and women pay more than $6,000,000 per year in taxes for the county's parks. Geauga County has more than 9000 acres of county parkland. By comparison, Lake County, which is 2 ½ times more populated than Geauga County, has 4000 acres of county parks, including two golf courses and a Lake Farmpark.

Isn't there enough parkland in Geauga County to allow all of the residents the opportunity to use the parks for recreational purposes, while still preserving and conserving thousands of acres in the county?

Why does a negligible group of environmentalist-elitists think that they can dictate their special interest limits on how the county's taxpayers use their own publicly-funded parks? Some of these environmentalist-elitists even complain that the sound of children playing in the parks will disturb them or the birds from Virginia. Yet, they do not mind the hoots of the owls or the howls of the coyotes. Seriously?

There is plenty of parkland in Geauga County to accommodate recreation all while still preserving and conserving.

Thomas Jones
Auburn Township

August 4, 2014
Dear Editor:

There is no mystery or mischief to NOACA and the gas tax. The diversion of gas tax funds to non-highway projects is the biggest cause of highway underfunding in America. Less than eight dollars of every ten dollars collected is actually spent on highways. The Safe Route to School project in Chagrin Falls cost $571,000. Funding for non-highway projects across America have found MPO’s Municipal Planning Organizations directly or indirectly supporting the 15 cents a gallon tax increase. Over a 3 year period if approved this will result in an 83% gas tax increase. Wow! Would taxpayers in Chagrin Falls prefer to fund this project on a county level through an elected county engineer, or pay 15 cents more per gallon of gasoline for life?

The Director of NOACA would like to limit my movement to Summit County. Omitted from this suggestion is her involvement as Chairwoman of the non-profit Vibrant NEO. Vibrant NEO has proposed 41 initiatives across a 12 county region, including Summit County, that would divert much-needed highway money into transportation that the majority of people will not use, bus and rails. Both forms of transportation are highly subsidized with tax payer’s dollars.

Nationwide, Federal Bureaucracies are taking autonomy from local government. No one is held accountable or responsible because non-elected bureaucrats control the process. Senator Rob Portman just voted against a short term $10.8 billion transportation bill because he would like to empower states to set their own infrastructure priorities.

Lastly, taxpayers across America are tired of encountering bureaucrats who are condescending towards individuals who question how tax dollars are being spent. A case in point; non-answers to Skip Claypool’s questions at NOACA meetings.

Paul Schweiker

Dear Editor,
Strange games are afoot at the County Commissioners' office.

The Commissioners' meeting of July 22, 2014, resulted in some apparent breaches of conduct in the handling of mail addressed specifically to Commissioner Ralph Spidalieri. It seems mail private or otherwise addressed to him specifically, even registered mail, is being opened, copied, and distributed to the Administrator and the other two Commissioners.

County Administrator David Lair reportedly stated that it was policy to sign for and accept any private mail for a Commissioner not present. It is unclear whether David Lair responded about the right of office personnel or elected officials to read the private contents of mail specifically intended for another party.

The Commissioners and their staff need to be aware of U.S. Postal Service regulations in the U.S. Constitution about the handling of mail. These regulations speak to the ethical issues concerned with delivery or lack thereof to an individual. TITLE 18, Sections 1701, 1702, 1703,and 1708 and Section 274.2 of the USPS Administrative Support Manual (ASM) speak to the criminality of tampering with private communications.

And if that were not enough there are missing mail and email communications that Commissioner Ralph Spidalieri is not receiving. These are necessary for the performance of his duties as Commissioner. Many times now he has complained about not receiving information necessary for his vote on issues.

What will it take to make these games stop?

Thomas Jones
Auburn Township

Open letter to Congressman Dave Joyce

Dear David Joyce
What is your status w/the $0.15 increase on gasoline /tax?
The impact on the working class is catastrophic the poor running & of the roads/infrastructure is a problem of poor oversight, greed, & irresponsibility that is an accountability issue on every level ...
My hope is that your intelligence weighs reason in this matter vs unjust cost to average taxpayers.

Claudine Sherman Steinfurth

Chester Township Road Department Struggling with a $300,000 Deficit...
published June 29, 2014

Something interesting happened at the Thursday, June 26, 2014, Chester Township Park Board meeting.

For no reason at all…, without invitation or planning…, about 34 residents, all on the same evening, mind you…, came to make overwhelmingly emotional and passionate statements praising the life-changing work of Chester Park Board Commissioners Clay Lawrence, Joe Weiss and Lance Yandell. Terri Stupica spoke so fervently about the park, I’m not sure, but I think I heard Kate Smith singing, “God Bless America” in the background.

Tragically, we have lost war heroes in Geauga County, men have given their lives in battle, and families have lost their loved ones in defense of our freedom, but we have not witnessed this type of emotional outpouring or heard such life changing and dramatic statements made about them at a town hall meeting. I attended the funeral of a Geauga County WWII veteran, a man who earned two purple hearts. There were no trustees, residents, or judges at his funeral. There was no meeting held to praise him and thank him for his contribution to our country.

Many residents besides me believe that this Chester Township Park meeting was concocted not only to promote Lance, Joe, and Clay but more importantly to pressure Chester Township Trustees to provide a blank check for Chester park spending. The sad truth is that Chester Township is struggling with a $300,000 deficit left by former Trustees Mike Joyce, Judy Caputo, and Clay Lawrence. The Chester Road Department is in desperate need of more funding, and I am certain a new road levy is in the offing. Why would we spend more money on a cash-cow park project when a vital department needs funding?

I think that if Clay Lawrence, Joe Weiss, and Lance Yandell want to be recognized for their efforts, those who turned out for Thursday's meeting to praise them may be able to provide a very lovely certificate of appreciation signed by Mike Joyce, Pat Mula, Judy Caputo, Terri Stupica, and perhaps some well-meaning others. Such a certificate presented by such dignitaries must be worth its weight in gold.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts
Chesterland, Ohio 44026

Auburn Trustees,

I am unable to attend the Township meeting tonight. Is there another appropriate way to communicate an issue? We live on Bridge Creek Trail and well versed in the illegal activities that have occurred on our street. Now that there has been an arrest and the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office has boarded up the residence on our street what are the options for the residents? Can the Auburn Trustees provide support to file with the state to have this house designated as a drug nuisance? What are our options to have the house maintained and eventually sold?

Any advice or guidance would be appreciated.

Jeff McConnell

Bridey Matheney, not so much the prosecutor as the persecutor.

In a previous Geauga Recorder’s Office election campaign, Sharon Gingerich staged a big fundraiser with a fairly expensive program brochure. Sharon took $500 from a loyal and ardent supporter (the advertised amount) but told him that she could not put his name anywhere on the program because Ed Ryder would be upset with her.

This man had been a loyal friend and ardent supporter of Sharon starting way back when she was unemployed and volunteering at the courts. He always encouraged her and when she ran for office, he was front and center with support. Ed Ryder was upset with this resident because he criticized the Geauga County Republican party, and rightly so. Sharon should have stood by her friend and defended his constitutional right to free speech. She did not.

Sharon Gingerich doesn’t like the way Frank Gliha treats his employees. Well, I don’t like the way she treats people either. And when I worked with Sharon on a small project she was so fearful about being politically correct, that it was almost shameful.

Sharon has been bad mouthing Frank Gliha behind his back for quite some time but she didn’t come out against him in this campaign, until there were others to hide behind. Sharon didn’t do the right thing, what she did was politically expedient for herself. If I witness an injustice I take an immediate stand, in person and in writing and I sign my name. I would risk everything to protect someone.

How interesting that Sharon Gingerich went against Ed Ryder's endorsement of Frank Gliha. Actually, it's not that interesting, she conveniently turned on Ed Ryder now that he is stepping down and won't be around for Sharon's next campaign. For Sharon, “the vote” comes before everything, even loyalty and the U.S. Constitution.

Chris Hitchock, the Geauga County Treasurer came out against Frank Gliha in support of Bridey Matheney as well. In my personal dealings with Hitchcock I can tell you that he could not have been more arrogant and condescending. And if he doesn’t like the way Frank manages the Auditor’s office, he has only his own office to look at to find that residents feel the same way about Chris Hitchock. It comes as no surprise that Hitchcock would support Matheney, they have a lot in common.

Residents told me that they voted for Matheney because they voted against incumbents and did not know Matheney. Not a good voting plan, people!

What they did not know is that while Matheney criticized Frank Gliha for his management style and for not following the law, Matheney is the true offender.

Bridey Matheney conveyed a manic, and in my opinion, malicious prosecution against two local farmers and a ten-kilowatt windmill. With absolutely no regard for the taxpayers hard earned money, Bridey Matheney and Congressman David Joyce, then Prosecutor, spent nearly four years and close to a million dollars fighting the installation of this windmill. There is a current mandamus seeking financial damages as a result of the township's illegal actions.

Mind you, while Auburn Township officials participated in this misguided prosecution, Joyce and Matheney were fully aware that during the same time period, Auburn Township officials permitted the installation of two 100 KW windmills in close proximity to the residents property.

Congressman David Joyce and Bridey Matheney's massive and virulent legal action against these two farmers and a 10 kw windmill ended in the Appeals Court when they were informed that farms do not fall under the Ohio Revised Code enforcement.

A paralegal student could have told Joyce and Matheney that farms are exempted from zoning laws.

And while Bridey Matheney was so concerned about the way Frank Gliha managed his office and his treatment of employees, her treatment of the residents in this case was personally cruel. Bridey Matheny even pulled a party to the case, a senior citizen, aside and angrily scolded her, “You will never be a role model.” What did that have to do with the legal case at hand or anything? Matheney's statement was inappropriate and her behavior was more than unprofessional, it was unnatural.

Bridey Matheny espoused great concern for the treatment of Frank Gliha’s staff but while serving under David Joyce, she proved herself to be not so much the prosecutor, as the persecutor.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts
Chesterland, Ohio 44026

Please vote for the Geauga County Mental Health Levy on May 6, 2014

Geauga County residents are expressing concern that the May 6, 2014, mental health renewal levy may fail because of recent actions taken by our county commissioners. But I would say if this levy were to fail…, Jim Adams and the Geauga County Board of Mental Health are the only ones to blame.

In 2013, Director Jim Adams and the Mental Health Board warned if the additional levy were to fail, services and programming would be cut. The levy did fail, services were cut, but salaries for the director and his staff were shamefully increased.

At the April 22, 2014 commissioners meeting, Mary Samide displayed absolute disgust and outrage over the exploitation of tax dollars by Director Adams and the Mental Health Board. Two days later, Samide was a “no show” for the April 24, 2014 commissioners meeting and her cowardly absence caused the tabling of pending motions that were proposed to address this crisis.

Samide was more concerned about losing votes in her upcoming election, than standing up for the residents of Geauga County.

We can deal with Samide and Adams, and the Mental Health board in the upcoming year, but residents and their families who need mental health services deserve our support, right now.

Please vote for the May 6, 2014 mental health renewal levy.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts
Chesterland, OH 44026

Rights vs Loss Of Rights

The Geauga Commissioners race is not really about Mary Samide or Skip Claypool. It is really about Rights vs Loss Of Rights. Do you want Geauga to continue in a downward spiral of more government subsidized housing, more crime, more loss of property and water rights, more government control, or do you want to reverse this and correct the damage Mary Samide has already done? If you look at the voting record of Mary Samide, President of NOACA, plus past articles in the paper of her giving away tens of thousands of dollars of your tax money to government subsidized housing inhabitants in Geauga, you will clearly see that she supports a Socialist agenda which equals loss of rights. Our founding fathers gave us a Free Republic, not a Socialist government. If you check out the NOACA platform and goals, then look up the word Communism in the dictionary, you will find many frightening similarities pertaining to planning your community for you, redistribution of your money, government subsidized housing and more. Skip Claypool is a staunch, outspoken Constitutional supporter and not just because this is election time, he always has been. Skip wants to get us out of NOACA, eliminate wasteful spending, and bring us back to a more Constitutional way of running our county. As for me, I wouldn’t think twice about whether or not I wanted to lose my rights and have more crime.

Ed Corsi
Chardon Twp

Published April 17, 2014

It was surely a happy ending when Julius the boxer was rescued from the lake at Beartown Park.
However, the article did not report if he was on a leash and fully controlled, as required by park regulations. If he was, the unfortunate event would not have occurred.

As reported, at least five firefighters and a park ranger responded, likely incurring hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of cost for Auburn and the Park District. There is also the thousands of dollars of medical costs incurred when one of those rescuers required treatment and several days in the hospital.

If Julius chose not to wear his leash that day, will he be reimbursing the taxpayers of Auburn and Geauga County for their services?

Frank Schultz

Give Congressman David Joyce the Boot!

Chester Township residents lost their “voice” at town hall meetings when Congressman David Joyce was the GeaugaCounty Prosecutor. Under the direction of Joyce’s office, Chester Township Trustees Mike Joyce and Judy Caputo informed the residents that there would be no discussion during town hall meetings and if anyone spoke up, the police would be called.

When I emailed David Joyce and asked him how he could support this abuse of our constitutional right to free speech, he said that he did not know what I was talking about and denied accountability for the actions of his office.

Election Day, November 5, 2013, Chester Township residents once again “found their voice” by resoundingly defeating Judy Caputo and Mike Joyce booting them out of office.

On May 6, 2014, we have another opportunity to defend and protect our constitution, by giving Congressman David Joyce that same boot.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts
Chesterland, OH 44026

The Two Faces Of Mary Samide

Mary Samide sits on the board of NOACA (Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency) as President. She votes in favor of everything they do. For those of you who don’t already know, NOACA is a board of unelected bureaucrats who think they know what is best for you and your property. A socialist, un-American agency whose agenda and goals are to regulate and manage how you live and all property and development in Geauga and other counties, resulting in loss of your property and water rights, besides bringing in government subsidized housing. This is all just the tip of the iceberg that is ruining Geauga County. Again I repeat, when Mary presides over the NOACA meetings, she votes in favor of everything they do. After Mary Samide is finished selling you out at NOACA, she comes back to Geauga and sits on the board of Commissioners leading you all to believe she is a conservative Republican looking out for your best interests. This could not be further from the truth. Mary is the worst kind of liar and depends on you not paying attention. Don’t take my word for any of this. It is all a matter of public record if you would like to take the time to investigate. In my opinion, anyone voting for Mary Samide is either related to her, fooled by her, or just plain ignorant. Stop the damage she has done to Geauga County by voting for Skip Claypool who is an outspoken voice for your rights.

Ed Corsi
Chardon Twp
Who Would You Choose ?

Skip Claypool is running against incumbent Mary Samide for Geauga County Commissioner. I have known them both for many years. They are registered as Republicans. One of them really is a conservative Republican and the other is a liar, a RINO. You should be able to clarify who is which after reading this.

Some people say Skip Claypool is way too outspoken. I SAY THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED! Skip is very outspoken about our constitutional rights, preserving them, wasteful spending in Geauga, NOACA, loss of property rights, etc. He is passionate about these things.

Skip Claypool is not afraid to go against the grain and the “Good Old Boys Club”. He is for the people and not afraid to stand up against any agency (federal, state, or county) that is trying to usurp our rights.

At this time we have never seen a more rapid erosion of our freedoms by an out of control tyrannical government and you cannot stop this by being afraid, being a moderate, or going along to get along. We must have someone who is outspoken and aggressive concerning these things and Skip Claypool is.

On the other hand we have Mary Samide, the exact opposite of Skip. Mary has been caught lying so many times over the years that it would make other liars blush. She will tell you one thing then do another.

Mary pretends to be a conservative Republican but her actions and voting record show she is more of a Socialist than anything else. Mary is part of the “Good Old Boys Club”, going along to get along. She is president of NOACA, a worse than Socialist agency whose agenda promotes regionalism, erosion of your property rights and more un-American things. Mary votes in support of everything they do. She has supported Socialism and government subsidized housing in Geauga for years. She has been selling Geauga out, right under your noses and getting away with it because she is slick and you have not been paying attention.

If you want more lies, more Socialism and government subsidized housing in Geauga County, then support Mary Samide.

If you want a strong constitutionalist who will represent YOU, and has the backbone to stand up against all this Socialist crap then support Skip Claypool.

Ultimately the choice is yours. Make a wise one.

Ed Corsi

Walter “Skip” Claypool is a veteran and a fierce defender of the U. S. Constitution.

The rights that many have fought so hard to earn and defend are in dire jeopardy today. The right to bear arms is under constant attack. The right to secure communication has been trashed by the NSA. The right to freedom of speech at town hall meetings has been severely abused by local public officials.

Mary Samide has spent her entire career selling out the rights of Geauga County residents. Her blind and solicitous support of NOACA, (Northeast Ohio Area wide Coordinating Agency), H.F.A., (Ohio Housing Finance Agency), H.U.D. (Housing and Urban Development), has made a devastating impact on our property rights along with fostering an exponentially growing population of residents who have come to expect and demand generational public assistance.

In 2005, County Commissioner Mary Samide developed and approved the CHIS, (Community Housing Improvement Strategy). This plan insisted on implementing subsidized housing and handouts. The CHIS plan was required by the Ohio Office of Housing and Community Partnership in order to pave the way for the biggest influx of unconstitutional expenditure of federal funding and loss of legislative control in Geauga County's history.

Mary Samide stands for Section 8 Housing, grants that erode the control we have over our property rights, rental subsidies for individuals waiting for Section 8 housing, funding the purchase of homes for non-residents who want to transition to home ownership in Geauga County, NOACA funded projects and regionalism, etc.

In her own defense, Mary Samide stated, “Sheriff Dan McClelland is in front of the Commissioners all of the time asking for grants, why doesn’t anyone criticize him?”

Sadly, Mary Samide has made her mark on Geauga County. I hope residents will support a candidate who will help our community recover and reclaim what Samide has given away. My family and I are supporting Walter “Skip” Claypool, a veteran and a fierce defender of the U.S. Constitution.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts
Chesterland, Ohio 44026

A Good Neighbor is Needed in Government

Dear Editor,
In our ever expanding society, people have become more distant and isolated from one another. Although technology has brought us the ability to see and talk to people thousands of miles away with a click of a button, relationships have become less intimate. It is less common to see strangers greeting one another on the street or a co-worker taking time out of a busy day to ask how you are doing and take the time to listen to your answer. Yet, the concept and the importance of a good neighbor still holds significant value to each and every one of us. One of the most well-known advertisement slogans that has spanned generations is the one that begins “Like a good neighbor, BLANK BLANK is there!” We all know words that fill in those blanks. Why has this slogan remained so popular through the years? The answer is that even though lives have become busier and personal relationships have become less personal, we still cherish the idea of being able to depend on someone who will always be there in a time of need. The same holds true of our government officials. We elect individuals who we believe best represent our ideals and interests. We believe these individuals will stand up for us and give us a voice that will be heard by those who lead us. Unfortunately, we have been able to depend on our elected officials less and less. Often, they have their own agendas on the forefront of their minds and have forgotten their promises to the people who helped them achieve their position. It is time to bring back the principles on which this government was founded…by the people, for the people.

We moved to Ohio about two and a half years ago. It is always difficult leave familiar surroundings and people with whom you have built close ties to and start a new life in a strange place. We searched long and hard for a place we could call home before we found ourselves settling down in Novelty, Ohio. Shortly after moving in, we met our neighbor, Linda O’Brien. Linda is the epitome of what being a good neighbor means. She welcomed us into our neighborhood and has shown us genuine friendship and concern since. Linda lives her life by following the fundamental principles of her faith. She is sincere, honest, friendly, trustworthy, reliable, and dependable. She has a generous heart and an open mind. She always puts others before herself. Linda is always there to lend a helping hand when we are in need. She is one person that we can always count on in a time of crisis. I believe that our society and government are in a state of crisis right now. We are in desperate need of help and I believe that we need someone like Linda O’Brien to help bring our community back to the basics and to ensure that the fundamental principles upon which our country was founded are not lost. Linda is running for a seat in the Ohio House of Representative District 76. I believe that our community will be well served with Linda representing us and fighting for our concerns. Linda is passionate about her beliefs and will never back away from a challenge even when the risks can be great. She can help bring the true meaning of community back into politics and bring the government back to the people for the good of the people.

Please stand with me in support of Linda O’Brien as she endeavors to make a difference in our community and in our country. Please vote for her as a write-in candidate in the upcoming election and help her help us live a better tomorrow.

Ellen W. K. Rosenquist
Novelty, Ohio