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Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:
May 5, 2010, started like any other morning. I tapped our 11-year-old on the shoulder to wake him up for school and waited for the “just a few minutes mom,” plea. But instead I heard, “did the levy pass?”  I had watched the preliminary reports and knew the news wasn’t good. I tried to explain that times are tough and a lot of people are stretched to the limit now. But deep down, I felt guilty. Not because I didn’t vote for the OSU Extension levy, but because I did absolutely nothing to ensure the levy would pass. The levy failed, but fortunately, by the grace of The Ohio State University, our county OSU Extension office was permitted to operate long enough to ensure the county 4-Hers could complete their projects and represent the county at the Ohio State Fair. On Aug. 9, the OSU Extension office closing taking the 4-H program with it.

As you enter Carrollton, there are billboards displaying sings representing various organizations within Carroll County. These signs serve as a proud displays of what our county has to offer. On those billboards you will see a sign displaying the OSE Extension and 4-H emblems. Although OSU Extension is a beneficial resource for county farmers as well as the other 28,000 residents of the bounty, I’d like to focu on 4-H for now. For those of you who are not familiar with 4-H, please allow me to explain what 4-H is. 4-H began over 100 years ago. With a network of more than six million youth, 540,000 volunteers, 3,500 professionals and more than 60 million alumni, 4-H h helps shape youth to move our country and the world forward in ways no other youth organization does. A longitudinal study conducted by the institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tuffs University shows youth engaged with 4-H are nearly two times more likely to get better grades in school; nearly two times more likely to plan to go to college; 41 percent less likely to engage in risky behavior and 25 percent more likely to positively contribute to their families and communities.

Unlike sports, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, 4-H members cannot cross county borders to join a club once OSU Extension is no longer supported by their home county. In addition, unlike scouts, 4-H is open to boys and girls aged 9-19. Children ages 5-8 may begin their 4-H experience as a Cloverbud. Because the enrollment base is so large, it allow siblings to enjoy being part of the same club. Orderly meetings are conducted typically once a month and older members are usually elected to hold the offices of president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. The positions of reporter, safety leader and recreation leader are offices held by members. Although members conduct the meeting, 4-H advisors oversee meetings and support the group as a whole. Parents are always welcome and encouraged to attend meetings. An OSU Extension agent is assigned to the county to serve as an educator and facilitate coordination of the program.

Youth choose 4-H projects from the Family Guide. They conduct community service projects, fundraising events and recreational activities throughout the year. In addition, 4-H camp is offered and members can apply for scholarships to help them with their higher education goals.

The necessity of 4-H is being downplayed by some in our community. Why should the county pay for something only about 400 children benefit from? If we don’t, no one will. Although 400 sounds like a small number, it is the largest youth organization in our county.

The reduced levy proposed for the Nov. 2 ballot is .25 mill which means after assessment, a $100,000 home will be taxed $7.68 per year ($.64 each months) for the duration of the five-year levy. The contribution for the full five years for this levy for a $100,000 home, matches the signup fee for single season of baseball (not including replacement cleats for the ones your child outgrew). But instead of benefitting one child, you’ll be benefitting hundreds.

The passing of the OSU Extension levy will allow 4-H to return to our county. If you’ve been waiting for a chance to show your support or if you would like to learn more about the levy, please attend the next OSU Extension Levy Committee to be held at Baxer’s Ridge Church Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. This is your chance to embrace a wonderful program that makes a difference in young people’s lives. If you cannot attend this rally, please show your support by voting for the OSU Extension Levy Nov. 2.

Chris Ulman
Mechanicstown, OH 

To the Editor
The second annual Benefit Dinner & Silent Auction of the Carroll County Animal Protection League was a huge success! We made over $4,000.00! (Patti Willoughby, our treasurer, will give a final count to us soon. More money is still coming in.) A grateful and appreciative thanks to all who contributed in any way to make this year’s event so successful. 

The food catered by “Old Carolina B-B-Q” was delicious (at least no complaints that we know of!)  and the speech given by Dr. David Whittington, of the Mogador Veterinarian Hospital, was very informative on Chinese medicine, acupuncture & acupressure in treating animals, and the history of veterinarian medicine from its beginning to present day and his encouraging and uplifting words on why an animal shelter is needed in Carroll County. 

The winner of the 50/50 raffle drawing was Randy Gifford and he donated his winnings of $72.00 back to us! Thanks Randy!

The Silent Auction brought in $1100.00! Thanks to everyone who won the bids of the items! And, many participants present won a door prize!

We could not have done this event without such generosity and support of so many individuals and businesses that contributed to this worthy event and the dedication of our volunteers in helping put it all together from beginning to end.

As always, we learned again from this year’s event to improve it even more for next year. So, when you get your new 2011 calendar, mark this event down for around Oct. 15 or 22 of 2011! 

The CCAPL minutes of the Oct. 5 meeting and a newsletter will be sent later on this week.

Eileen Rohrer,
Animal Protection League

To the Editor:
In a campaign ad this year, Attorney General Richard Cordray claims he will “always work to protect . . . the people of Ohio .” But shortly after winning a special election in 2008 to serve the remainder of the term that Marc Dann had been elected to, Cordray violated the public trust when he awarded Vanessa Stout $247,500 to settle her sexual-harassment complaint against Dann’s former general services director, Anthony Gutierrez.

Based on a seven-month investigation that ended a few weeks before Cordray became attorney general, the Ohio inspector general’s findings did not support such a settlement. His report said Stout and Gutierrez “had an overly familiar relationship that began long before Stout accused Gutierrez of sexual harassment, raising serious questions about the merits of Stout’s EEO complaint.”

Stout’s credibility was also undermined by what the report called “her extensive criminal history.” Before being hired at the attorney general’s office, Stout had been convicted of retail theft three times, assault, harassment and driving under the influence. And a warrant had been issued because of her failure to appear to face a DUI charge. After being hired, Stout was convicted of disorderly conduct while intoxicated, pulled over for driving with expired tags and arrested for drug possession.

Additionally, Stout made false statements on her employment application and during her interview for employment at the attorney general’s office. On the application, she intentionally omitted her three theft convictions and falsely asserted she had graduated from high school when in fact she had only completed the eleventh grade and had a GED. During the interview, she said she was proficient at using computer programs such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel when she actually was not.

 Stout never filed a complaint about Gutierrez until she got angry at him for transferring her out of his section. According to the office’s human resources director who first interviewed her about the complaint, Stout wanted to go back to her old job in Gutierrez’s section even with him still there, and said, “I liked it there. . . . I enjoyed my job. . . . I liked the people over there.” True victims of sexual harassment do not describe their work environment that way.  

One of Stout’s female coworkers told investigators the complaint was “bogus.” And about three months after filing the complaint against Gutierrez, Stout made an unfounded allegation of sexual impropriety against another female coworker who had also not been supportive of the complaint. Stout admitted to investigators that she made the allegation in front of other coworkers for the purpose of upsetting the woman despite having no firsthand knowledge of it being true.

 In view of Stout’s extensive criminal background, her lies told to obtain the state job, her acts that were inconsistent with being a victim of sexual harassment, her coworker’s testimony that the complaint was bogus, her unfounded sexual allegation against a female coworker, and the inspector general’s serious questions about the complaint’s validity, an honest attorney general could not in good conscience hand Stout a quarter of a million dollars of taxpayers’ money.

As the state’s chief attorney, Cordray had an ethical duty to vigorously defend against the claim, which surely would have fallen apart in court. But Cordray not only agreed to give Stout the money, he complimented her in doing so.  

Then he paid the amount before the settlement could be reviewed by the State Controlling Board. In quickly causing the transaction to be a done deal, Cordray tried to render the payment moot and thereby prevent the board from carefully analyzing whether it should occur.  

By wasting taxpayers’ money and causing outrageous injustice in a high-profile case, and then trying to prevent his acts from being reviewed by an outside board, Cordray showed he cannot be trusted to act properly in the numerous cases his office handles that do not receive publicity. The voters should remove him from office in November.

Joseph C. Sommer
Attorney at Law
Columbus, OH

To the Editor:
Another school year is in full swing and we, at the Carroll County District Library in Carrollton, want to eliminate some of the problems, struggles and incidents we had last year.

Due to the close proximity to the schools, we realize we are a perfect ‘meeting place’ for kids to walk to, catch rides, etc. It is not uncommon for 60 to 80 kids to be in the library after school. The library staff cannot possibly supervise and guarantee the safety of all these children. This is where cooperation is needed. We are asking parents, grandparents and caregivers to help us avoid this type of situation.

We request parents not use the library as a substitute for regular daycare/babysitters. We love seeing the kids use the library both for research and socialization, but we just don’t have the room or resources to accommodate all of them every day.

Talk with your child about the need to be at the library every day. Set short visit limitations and, if possible, monitor library visits occasionally to observe your child. Please discuss proper library behavior with your child. During the hectic time between 2-5 p.m., seating must be used for studying, not socializing.

For safety reasons, children cannot be lingering around outside the building. The library staff wishes to provide a warm, safe environment which promotes reading, studying and learning.
Let’s work together for the benefit of all.

Ellen Finnicum
Marcia Schaffer
Children’s Librarian
Carroll County District Library

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