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Stop strippers at the scrap yards


Published: Sun, March 25, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Stop strippers at the scrap yards

I recently was party to a most unpleasant situation that many in the city have experienced over the years. My neighbor’s property was broken into and vandalized. The person or persons who broke into the house through basement windows removed electrical wires and plumbing from the basement. The police officer who answered the call told us that nothing could be done about the break-in and theft (no fingerprints were taken, nothing) but he would make a report. The end.

Fortunately, the house is made of brick, so the thieves could not strip it of its siding. (I see this all over the city.)

Your Feb. 16 article, “Ohio police: Man dumped ashes, sold urns for scrap,” prompted me to write this letter. The article details the theft of 17 metal urns containing the cremated remains of the dead by an employee of a crematorium in Cincinnati. He took them to a scrap yard for sale. Of course, the situation I describe is not as creepy, but it is no less upsetting and financially devastating.

Cincinnati’s city council has “voted for new rules requiring licenses, criminal background checks and a two day waiting period before payment can be made to scrap metal sellers.” In Youngstown thieves are stripping perfectly good houses down to their bare bones and taking the copper wires, pipes and siding to scrap yards for cash. I suggest that our city legislators follow Cincinnati’s lead and enact laws similar, if not exactly, like theirs.

It may not stop the plundering of our properties but it can serve as a deterrent.

Jackie Adair, Youngstown

“... And then is heard no more.”

Rennie Griffith was more than a great actress. She was a great lady. She died recently at the age of 90.

While others, often mistakenly, were credited for the Playhouse’s phenomenal success and renown as one of the nation’s top three theatres, it was really Rennie who made the greatest contributions over a period of six decades. The annual New Year’s parties at John and Rennie’s brought all of the Playhouse people together as one family.

When the Playhouse fell on bad times in recent years, it was Rennie who donated the money to make an annual series of plays possible.

When there were tough decisions to be made, it was Rennie who provided wise counsel and leadership.

When an outstanding talent was needed to play a part, there was always, and usually, only, Rennie.

Along with husband John, the two were generally credited with being the best actors this Valley has produced. They were recognized as being the best of the best by judges when the Playhouse won a national competition with its production of the “Subject was Roses” in 1967.

The extended run is over. This is the final curtain. This is a standing ovation.

As the late John Abbey would say, “We were blessed. We had our own Lunt and Fontanne.”

Bentley Lenhoff, Uniontown

The writer is a former director of the Youngstown Playhouse.

Selling true farmers short

A shale industry spokesman at a recent event at Wilmington Area High School was asked what effect shale gas well drilling will have on our local agriculture. His response: “All I can say about that is that we’re going to make a lot of farmers around here rich” as he leaned into the microphone and boldly delivered his clever, smug statement,

I sat in the audience and realized that this man did not understand real farmers at all. To a real farmer, farming is not just an occupation or a hobby, it is much more. To some true farmers, it is a way of life — a total life-style. To other authentic farmers, farming is an inspired passion, and to some others, it is almost a religion that shapes their moral code.

There is a level of awareness and joy attained by the farmer who is appreciative of, and who understands, the beauty he perceives in what he is doing. Every true farmer can vividly describe some personal aesthetic experiences that have occurred to him on his farm at one time or another. These are gentle, joyful memories that visit and comfort him on his death bed and ease his departure from this life.

I know a farmer who signed a gas lease a few years ago without being made aware of the risks, consequences, and sacrifices that he would have to face and endure. When the heavy equipment that the lease permitted on his land arrived and began to knock down many of his large oak trees, which he had often climbed as a boy, he immediately felt the loss of the goodness that those beautiful trees had generously provided him throughout his life. When he watched the simple, single-file cow path being replaced by a wide, permanent, industrial road across his wild-flowered meadow, his sense of loss was magnified. When the slow seepage entered the aquifer and finally contaminated his and his neighbors’ water wells forever, he was overcome with deep regret for signing that complicated, deceptive gas lease; but it was too late.

We are conditioned by our greedy, competitive society to try to get as much money as we can get. People who read their Bibles are warned over and over again in the pages of this Good Book to resist this temptation. Yet in our local communities, thousands of hypocrites willingly signed leases in order to become rich despite all the warnings about the serious consequences of signing.

In the solitude of his fields, the sensitive farmer concludes that happiness dwells in the beauty of true virtue. Gratitude, simplicity and humility make up the content of his character, and he clearly realizes that he doesn’t need to be given a lot of money to be rich.

Steven J. Beck, West Middlesex

Labor unions at worst

The other day, I witnessed the labor unions at their worst. For several years grocery providers who are organized by the union have felt it is not profitable to business in the city of Youngstown.

Now that a purveyor of food products has opened three stores in the neighborhoods starved for service, the unions have stationed their hired guns at these locations attempting to drive those who do not pay tribute to them out of business.

In other words, money to bribe the political hacks they support is more important to these unions bosses then the jobs these stores provide in a dismal labor market.

I have yet to hear any of our elected officials speak out in support of these businesses. I know it is hard for them when they must go to these same unions bosses with their hand out when they next run for another term at the Golden Trough.

The problem the labor bosses have is that modern technology has made the jobs they have under their control less labor intensive. They need to expand into nonunion jobs in order to keep the cash flow that supports them and their puppets in the manner they have come to expect.

I am waiting to see these paid pickets at the convenient stores that will be the only access the inner city will have to groceries when the union drives these jobs out of town.

Either organize them if they desire or leave them alone and raise the tribute from the local followers of this flawed philosophy.

Robert J. Husted, New Springfield


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