Take the time to get involved

Take the time to get involved

On Aug. 17 at around 6:30 a.m., a young Pomeranian dog got loose from her tether and, in the dim and damp disorientation that followed, became lost. The active and frantic search by the family included postings on Craigslist. As the day wore on, friends joined in the search. Sixteen hours later just after sunset, the tired and frightened dog’s luck ran out, and it was hit by a car and killed along West Boulevard in Boardman, about a mile away from home. Missing for so long and in the vicinity of a dangerous roadway, it would seem that this dog’s death was certain to happen. Perhaps it was not.

It is now known that several citizens saw this dog wandering throughout the day. Almost directly in front of the spot where the young dog lost her life a family saw the dog several times over the hours that passed, but there was no attempt to assist. Granted, there are those who don’t want to approach an unknown dog for fear of being bitten. Fair enough. Yet nothing stood in anyone’s way of calling the dog warden. Had someone reported the roaming dog, there’s a chance that she would have been pulled out of danger.

I feel deep sadness for this dog and her family. Some of this is due to the fact that I was the person who discovered her along the road. I feel grief, too, because I have learned how important this little dog was to everyone in her family, including a retired military dog for whom she was providing trauma therapy. My grief worsened when I learned that this Pomeranian was rescued from an abusive home when just a puppy. Then, too, there is my frustration after realizing that I traveled the area not 45 minutes prior to the accident. I’ve rescued many animals over the years, and had I seen this dog when I drove by I could have done something to help. It is difficult to accept that I lost this one.

So, when you notice that something is wrong, that if left unchanged a situation will not end well, think of what’s at stake.

Tim Seman, Youngstown

Area retailers should aim higher

While I am always pleased to see new business open in the Poland area, and I welcome Dollar General and Larry’s Drive Thru to town, I cannot help but continue to be disappointed at the lack of original economic development in the retail service sector. If I drive south for three miles, I arrive at a Dollar General at Five Points. If I drive north three miles into Struthers, I find a brand new Family Dollar. I can literally be in three places that sell wine, beer, and snack food within a two minute leisurely walk from the new drive- through. Along the greater 224 corridor, there must be at least four Taco Bells, a half-dozen excellent family-style Italian restaurants, and 20 dollar stores and drug stores

The brain dead redundancy of local retail development remains as disappointing as it is perplexing. As Simon “management” sits idle while Southern Park Mall languishes with closed store fronts and low end off-brand options, the 224 corridor cries out for something trendy, high-end, and original. One only needs to look to the new Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt at Presidential Square. Menchie’s, based out of Los Angeles, California, is busy day and night.

Right now, residents along the 244 corridor must travel to Pittsburgh, Akron, or Cleveland for any high-end services while redundant low-end retail offerings cannibalize one another from a lack of vision. There is certainly sufficient wealth and sophistication in Poland, Canfield, and south Boardman to support some form of high-end retail development so we don’t need to drive an hour and half. Imagine if a developer would have used the old Poland Phar Mor for a Trader Joe’s market? Or if the old Value City could be renovated as a Whole Foods market? Or a Michael Simon B-Spot opened in the abandoned diner on 224? Adding a truly high-end, small, clubby steakhouse like a Ditka’s or Shula’s to the moribund Western Reserve Square shops in downtown Poland would be transformational.

A market for better choices is here in the 244 corridor and the Valley. It doesn’t want to keep driving 90 minutes to get high-end services. Here’s hoping some imagination and calculated risk is undertaken next time and the 224 corridor can add something unique and desirable instead of the same ole low-end same ole.

Jim Barrett, Poland

Spending less on gas makes sense

Most everyone remembers their first cars with affection, no matter how ugly or beat up they might have been. In 1982, I gave $500 to my grandfather, a retired fireman, for his black and orangish-gold 1971 Datsun 510. It was in good shape and it ran well, but as a 16-year-old, I knew that it wasn’t the kind of car that the girls would circle up around. I was willing to take the social risk because the car came from my respected grandfather.

He always had one big Chevrolet in his carport, but the other slot had been reserved for his beloved Datsun. To him it just made good sense to own that small no-frills car,which got close to 30 mpg (a rarity for cars in that era).

I have no knowledge that he bought the Datsun out of any environmental concerns; I think he bought it because he would have to buy less gas, and because he liked the idea of being less dependent upon foreign oil (he got it used after the 1973 oil embargo).

I don’t believe his decision to buy a small, efficient car had anything to do with politics. And while it’s well known that the Democratic President Jimmy Carter championed reduced energy consumption, it was under the Republican President, Gerald Ford, that the first fuel efficiency standards came out in 1975. Apparently, sensible discussions about this issue could happen without it falling into bitter partisanship.

Today, I am proud to be following in the footsteps of my grandfather. I drive a fuel-efficient car because it transports me economically and because, I too, like the idea of being less dependent upon foreign oil. On top of that, the environmental impacts of driving increasingly concern me, because as a Christian, I take seriously the biblical mandate to steward God’s creation well. And as a father, I want, for my children’s sakes, to leave this earth a little better than when I entered upon it.

So, while the new fuel efficiency standards may be fiercely debated along partisan lines, to me it just seems sensible to do all we can do to spend less on fuel, to be less dependent on oil from fickle foreign countries, and to reduce the environmental impacts of our transportation.

Our Mahoning Valley’s General Motors plant in Lordstown is something of which I am proud. We all are affected by its success or failure. Currently, the Lordstown plant is producing a very sharp and sensible car, one that my grandfather would have loved to have bought instead of a Datsun. If that facility continues to produce cars like the Cruze (and the new diesel-powered Cruze), the plant and our Valley have a bright future.

I don’t know enough about the technical ins and outs of national fuel efficiency standards to know if our new standards are perfect, but to me they seem sensible and I urge the public to support them.

Steve Fortenberry, North Lima

The writer is pastor of Common Ground Church Community, North Lima.

Stealing a toy is a losing game

On Aug.13, I purchased a beach ball sprinkler in excess of 7-foot around for my grandchildren. On Aug.16, while they were getting ready for and eating dinner, it was stolen from my front yard.

I hope whoever took it has children who will enjoy it as much as my grandchildren did. But I worry about the lesson these children are learning: that they can get whatever they want just by taking it.

Sheryl Eckert, Youngstown