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Home Opinions/Columns Letters Week of 2/13/2012
Week of 2/13/2012
Written by Press Staff Writer   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 15:18

Police are appreciated
To the editor: On Jan. 30, in the “Letters” forum, there was one letter I found to be particularly offensive. The letter, titled “Tired of Tickets,” was written by a woman who will no longer support the police levies because she feels Lake Township officers are “unprofessional.” I could not disagree more.

I have lived in Lake Township for years, and I have had contact more than once with the officers here. Anytime there was an unwanted guest at my family’s home, Lake Township officers got there in two minutes and were conscientious, efficient and sensitive to the situation.

When the tornado roared through and there was fear and debris was all around, Lake Township officers were there helping restore our peace of minds. These officers just had their building torn apart, were worried about their own homes and families, and yet they were here – helping my neighbors out of the rubble that used to be their home.

When I was home late at night alone and heard a loud noise outside, Lake Township came and checked it out. They didn’t make any comments about how it was just a cat in the garbage and that I was being paranoid. They were nothing but respectful, and I know because I listened on the police scanner. I would have made fun of me.

The woman also mentioned in her letter that she was pulled over on Bradner Road and the officer was hiding on private property. I’ve been ticketed on Bradner Road, Pemberville Road, and State Route 795 just to name a few. Why? Because I was speeding. It doesn’t matter if the officer was on private property, if he had his headlights off, or if he swooped down from the trees like a ninja. It’s irrelevant and adults realize that what they did was wrong and accept the ticket. Police are just doing their job.

I worked at one of the travel plazas on I-280 for nine years, and over that time there have been incidents where we needed the police and we needed them immediately – they never disappointed. They always got there fast, treated people with respect and dignity and were more than professional. The lady who wrote the letter seems to insinuate that the area needs more police to stop our neighborhood from being on the national news. The police routinely patrol there. I see it all the time. It’s a work in progress I’m sure.

She also said the police were inappropriate when the officer gave her son a ticket. She said she thinks that Lake Township officers target young men in sports cars. It sounds like something I would say when I was 16 and got mad when I got pulled over for having my stereo up too loud. They really have better things to do.

If there’s one thing I learned in my 30 years on this planet, it’s to respect the officers because you will need them before they need you.

Thank you Lake Township police officers for all the help you have given me and my family over the years. It really is appreciated.
Dana Funk
Millbury


Unfair comparison
To the editor: I’m writing in response to the letter submitted last week by Terrylee Dembowski of Gibsonburg. In that letter Mr. Dembowski states that property owners are led to believe that the passage of school levies increase home values.

While I don’t believe that this was ever stated by a school official nor do I believe that a levy passage alone affects property values, they are affected by having a good, attractive school district and facilities. If someone with children were looking to move into this area they most definitely will do research on the schools. With Genoa, Lakota, Gibsonburg, Elmwood, etc. all having brand new, modern schools what will attract them to come to Woodville or Elmore?

Next, the letter states that Woodmore is asking for a 6.96 mill levy when in fact it is a 5.43 mill levy. This will cost the property owner of a $100,000 home $166.29 a year. The 5.43 mills does not include the 0.5 mill maintenance levy that the Ohio Schools Facility Commission requires, however, this will be offset by the board pledging to reduce the current Permanent Improvement levy by 0.5 mills.

Mr. Dembowski states that school officials are reluctant to repair the present building and that upkeep of the building hasn’t been a priority. This is also false. The district has spent over $300,000 the last five years just in repairs/maintaining the current elementary building. It’s easy to say that the upkeep of the current building hasn’t been a priority, but where are the facts that support this argument?

We have offered Mr. Dembowski and any other community members to come take a tour of the building. Very few have taken advantage of this opportunity.

Also, Mr. Dembowski states that the new administrative office in Elmore was renovated. This is not the case. We moved in “as-is” and have done no maintenance or upgrades to the building. Comparing an office building that houses five to 10 people per day to an elementary with 600-plus students in it is not an apples-to-apples comparison either.
Kevin Slates
Treasurer/CFO, Woodmore Schools


Responding to chief
To the editor: In my first letter to the editor, the headline of “Tired of Tickets” was not written by me but the staff of The Press. This is obviously not the headline I would have placed regarding my letter. I would like to simply point out some of the issues in the letter by Mark Hummer, Lake Township Police Chief.

• Regarding the accident details. No person goes home after assisting at an accident scene and marks it on the calendar (so I don’t know the exact date). I provided the residence and nearby intersection that it took place at, and the best description of the officer. No, I didn’t get his name or badge number as I was assisting the driver. I was never asked the make of the vehicle, time of day in my short conversation. I was the first person on the scene and then the Lake Township officer. There were no other parties until medics arrived. It would be my word against the officer as there would not be any other evidence available and doubtful the victims would recall the details. End of story.

• Last time I checked my professional curriculum vitae, I was a nurse practitioner, not a physician assistant. Legally, in the state of Ohio, any nurse is not obligated to stop at an accident scene (Ohio Revised Code 2305.23) and I am quite aware of my professional code of ethics.

• My son did not want to have any contact with the police after my letter, as he was afraid of public humiliation. I encouraged him to discuss his last encounter. Well, I must apologize to him wholeheartedly as he was so totally right. I did not want to place him under further duress during this critical time. The officer could have given him a warning. Chief Hummer could have just discussed the incident in question and not any previous violations. I again apologize to my son.

• At no time did I not admit guilt for the violations and we did accept the consequences of them, including $123 for a non-moving violation. The point was related to the conduct, not the violation.

• We abide by the law and occasionally we all make mistakes. We are all human.
Lorrie Elchert
Millbury
Editor’s note: The headline of Ms. Elchert’s first letter was written by The Press. Chief Hummer’s response did not say a licensed medical professional is legally bound to stop at an accident. It implied a medical professional would be “duty-bound” to report questionable behavior of a police officer at an accident to the officer’s supervisors or to emergency medical personnel at the scene. Researching police and emergency medical reports of the accident scene for the past two-and-a-half years, Chief Hummer said he could find no accident resembling the circumstances described by Ms. Elchert. 


Costly misappropriation
To the editor: Think about the year 2049 – 37 long years from now. That’s when the Woodmore school building levy will be paid for if this oppressive tax passes. On a $100,000 home, that’s $200-$300 additional per year on top of all the other emergency, permanent and maintenance levies, including utilities, salary increases and cost overruns. Why wasn’t this property maintained as it aged? Where did all the upkeep and improvement levy money that was meant to sustain this building go?

My taxes recently increased $150 per year on account of the 2010 emergency levy that just passed. Mayor Krumnow erroneously believes that with a new school, more families and businesses will relocate here in Elmore. That was the same logic used for a turnpike exit outside of Elmore. More shops, restaurants, people, trucks and businesses locating here and creating a larger tax base. Well, all that never happened here either.

If the levy passes, how much longer do you think before an auditorium levy or some other ill-conceived building levy is placed on the ballot? The Woodmore school board will gladly spend your disposable income, retirement fund, college fund and rainy day fund for these projects, all under the guise of increased property values. That’s not always the case. I am not mad enough at my wallet or savings account to vote for these opulent and ill-timed projects.

If the average functional age of a school building is 42 years and Woodmore Elementary  School was built in 1923, why didn’t the board come to the voters in 1965, 1975, 1985 or even 1995 when times were productive to provide the appropriate cash through taxation and secure this building’s future?

Gasoline, propane, utilities, insurance premiums, out-of-pocket medical deductibles, food and property taxes are sky high and not retreating. Some properties decline in value – but not the tax. Ever receive a partial return or refund of your property tax?

The Ohio Supreme Court reaffirmed four times that the way taxes for schools are collected is wrong, but the Ohio legislature sits on its collective hands while Gov. Kasich cuts more funding and juggles the remaining funds elsewhere, letting school districts go broke, unless there is a property tax increase.

Why don’t the proponents of this levy dig really, really deeply into their own savings accounts, IRAs, money markets and voluntarily and exclusively support this levy?

Accordingly, renovation or relocation to vacant school buildings in other districts is the only viable alternative to this egregious misuse of our tax money.

I urge all voters to defeat again this outrageous and costly misappropriation of our tax money.
Alan Snyder
Elmore


Never too old
To the editor: I am a 1944 graduate of Woodville schools and attended in the same building that stands today. My children, as well as their children, have also attended this same building at Woodmore Elementary. Currently, my great-grandchildren, the fourth generation, are still in the same building.

After many decades, would you propose that it is time for a new school? We truly cannot expect something to last forever and this building is falling apart, and rightfully so, with its old age. We need to have a more safe and modern environment for our children. This old building was once a wonderful landscape that met the needs of many students, but I know currently that they are finding most of the building obsolete.

We need a new building that will let us, as great-grandparents, attend functions at the school with handicapped-accessible restrooms and proper handrails. Our society hasn’t seen any changes in the restrooms at all since I attended school. We need a new building equipped with energy-efficient windows and lighting, along with new heating and cooling systems. This establishment is not built for the way that teachers need to use technology today with our students. Not only would a new school increase the property values of our homes in Woodville, but we would see new families and new businesses coming to our towns.

If the state will fund 32 percent of the money to help build a new school, now is the time to build it. Many of the schools around us have already voted “yes” and they have new facilities for their children. If we vote “yes” for this levy, we will never regret the decision. This new school will last for generations to come.
Dale Grove
Woodville

Comments (3)Add Comment
Unfair comparisons....
posted by Terrylee Dembowski, February 10, 2012
Kevin, and how much will the new school cost to maintain annually?
Kevin, you know that I am an over-the-road trucker and my home time is limited to appx. 3 days a month. Usually on weekends. Will you and Mr. Fernbaugh come out some Sat. for an inspection?
Apples to Apples? Maintenance is Maintenance Kevin, if you have a staff & administration that neglects it, it all is the same, no matter how large.
By the way Kevin, if the maintenance had been kept up to snuff the
years prior to the last five then it wouldn't be the problem you whine about. ($60,000 annually is a far better than the $500,000 plus you will be paying for a new school plus the cost of maintenance..
Yes, Kevin, you know and I know that your side is always saying that
great schools attract industry, WRONG!!! Low taxes (usually an abatement is given) attract industry and families. So stop with the rhetoric ... Thanks Kevin for all you do and you are still one fine treasurer in-spite of our differencs.
In response to the Dale Grove
posted by Terrylee Dembowski, February 10, 2012
Mr. Grove, and where do you think the 32% from the state comes from?
You are stealing from all the tax-payers in Ohio just because it is offered? It's time that property-owners get a break. Dale, are you, you retired in the 80 or 90's no doubt, when pensions were part of the benefit package. So you have yours, what about those younger than you who are struggling to make ends meet in this economy.That $150 -200 annually (twice that amount if a home is assessed at $200,000 or more) taken out for taxes may not mean much to you but
it does to many who at wits end at where their next dollar is coming from. If you want a new school then you and your cronies who support it should dig down in your retirement, bank accounts, pockets, and finance a new one. Let those of us who are against it try to work for a retirement so we can live a life of dignity in OUR GOLDEN YEARS...
Terrylee
posted by Kevin Slates, February 16, 2012
Thanks for the complement, I do appreciate it.

John and/or I would be happy to open up the elementary for you on the weekends when you are around. I understand you have a busy schedule but we will work around that for you.

I don't believe we are whining about anything and we have had this conversation before--how can you say that things haven't been maintained with out being in the building or any facts? Again, it's easy for people to state that and others run with that but as Mr. Fernbaugh has stated (and I concur) since he has been here the custodial staff along with the administration has not neglected anything. I believe we have one of the finest custodial staffs we could ask for and they do a remarkable job.

Looking forward to your next phone call,
Kevin

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