Vote to support the schools

Vote to support the schools
The Youngstown Chapter AARP 4611 recognizes the importance of supporting our city's schools and the crucial role they play in providing students with academic and social skills necessary to succeed in the world of work.
We, of course, are fully aware that passage of the levy will increase taxes, but as stakeholders in our community, we feel that the development of our young people into productive, involved citizens is a major priority for all of us. Also, it should be noted that it has been 19 years since the Youngstown City School District placed an operating levy on the ballot.
Passage of this levy will help enable Superintendent Wendy Webb and her staff to continue to move the Youngstown City Schools in the right direction. Recent improvements in student achievement, attendance, and graduation rates clearly indicate that the schools are getting better.
Youngstown Chapter AARP 4611 urges all citizens to vote. Our city is working hard to improve its services, to improve our quality of life. It is important too that the Youngstown City Schools continue to have sufficient educational resources for the benefit of the students who will become our community's future leaders.
Youngstown Chapter AARP 4611
Girard Lakes have potential
I believe that Girard Councilman Mike Costarella raises some very good points in questioning the city's plans to continue timbering property that the city owns both at the Girard Lakes and within the urban area of the city itself. The councilman's objections were cited in an Oct. 17 story by John W. Goodwin Jr. headlined "Forestry management plan is a bad idea, councilman says."
In addition to the 10 objections the councilman raises, I would like to mention the following:
Timbering, even if it is not of a clear-cut nature, vastly increases the amount of sunlight which will penetrate a forest or woods. This results in the proliferation of undergrowth, so that the area concerned becomes, in essence, a thicket, and will remain thus so for generations.
One wonders if the maintenance and upkeep of the timbered area, which Goodwin's story said the plans call for, would really mitigate this problem.
If one doubts that past timbering at the Girard Lakes have had a pernicious effect, one only has to stroll down to the boat launch area on Upper Girard Lake (now closed) from Keefer Road.
Because of the thick, ugly growth, this area is completely impassable to hunters or hikers. Some ATV trails have been forced through this mass of spindly trees, and these one-lane tracks raise safety questions the Girard police might consider -- if they haven't already.
Of course, if the wooded area surrounding the two Girard lakes is just to be parceled up and sold to developers, perhaps it doesn't matter if the area is logged further. But if some consideration were to be given in the future to retaining the 600 or so acres and the two small lakes for public use, then timbering the area would appear shortsighted at best. (What would Mill Creek Park, which one might call a long strip of old growth forest, look like today, except for the foresight of Volney Rogers and state lawmakers more than a century ago?)
One might note that the Website for the two Girard Lakes (which was drafted when the city was attempting to use them as a revenue source) reads, in part:
Visit Girard Lakes and enjoy the natural beauty that is so close to home. The Website then continues that visitors may enjoy a forest featuring "pine, aspen, oak, maple, birch, poplar and chestnut," and it adds that "there are many trails around the lakes that are easily accessible."
It is indeed a pity that the Girard Lakes, which were closed to public use in 2004, have fallen prey to the city administration which seems intent on exploiting the area rather than safeguarding it because of its historic role in the Mahoning Valley's past, and for the recreational potential it has in our rapidly urbanizing state.
The new American way
Driving past the orange barrels this summer I noticed that most of the construction companies were using Asian made heavy equipment. I know that in the case of Interstate highways that they are federal contracts.
These contracts are paid for by the Federal Highway Trust Fund which is funded by our income taxes. In other words, these construction companies are using our tax money to buy Asian made equipment. This in turn supports Japanese jobs as well as Korean, Chinese, etc. Our tax money supports Asian steel mills and Asian manufacturing but not American jobs, not American steel mills and not American manufacturing.
In addition the state of Ohio also purchases Asian made equipment, as do our counties, cities, towns and villages. All using our tax money.
The city of Cleveland has wrung it's hands over the closing of a local steel mill citing the loss of its tax base, which would require that laying off of police and firemen. But the city buys Asian made equipment (made of Asian steel), using our tax money.
It used to be mandated that the government could only buy American made tools and machinery. It used to be mandated that only American made tools and machines could be used on government projects and contracts.
Japan uses it's tax money to support only Japanese jobs. We need to use our tax money to support only American jobs and manufacturing.
Remember the auditorium
Several years ago, the Boardman Board of Education put an issue on the ballet asking for an additional tax in order to pay for a new auditorium at the high school. The proposed levy was defeated. Boardman taxpayers did not want to pay for a new auditorium.
The school board decided to disregard the voters' mandate and spent over 3 million building the auditorium. Now, the board is asking the voters for an additional levy for the building/maintenance budget that was depleted by the construction of the auditorium. If the school board had adhered to the wishes of the Boardman voters, there would be money in the budget to make the necessary improvements to the school buildings.
There is a great deal of uncertainty in the economic outlook of the Mahoning Valley. Jobs in the medical and manufacturing sectors are at risk of disappearing and rising energy costs have affected everyone. According to the Mahoning County auditor Website, the proposed levy will increase my property taxes by more than 200. The school board needs to learn to live within its budget; like everyone else in Boardman Township.
An evil and sick kind of fun
I am writing about vandalism that was done to our car Oct. 11 -- and not only ours, but three other cars on Burbank Avenue. I have lived here for 48 years and never had a problem with anyone here.
A rock was thrown at our rear window, but before that, it looks like they took this rock and smashed the corner of the roof and scratched the whole side of the car. What pleasure to you suppose they got out of this? It was an evil and asinine and sick kind of fun, I think.
We are a retired couple with a fixed income, a 13-year-old Sunfire and prescriptions totaling 14 a month. It will cost about 700 to get the vehicle repaired, plus being without transportation for a week or so.
I hope these thugs had a ball. It would be a shame if it was all done for nothing.
Youngstown is blooming
I had the opportunity to visit Youngstown last month. I am a grower and exhibitor of dahlias and Youngstown was host to the Midwest Dahlia Conference's annual show.
I was completely awed by the facilities at Fellows Riverside Gardens and the surrounding landscape. This visitor was very pleasantly surprised on his first trip to Youngstown. You have a right to be proud of this jewel in your midst.
Muskegon, Mich.