It’s time for General Assembly to return its attention to Nitro’s Law

It’s time for General Assembly to return its attention to Nitro’s Law

I would like to bring atten- tion to a bill known as Nitro’s Law or Ohio House Bill 108. Some have heard of it, many have not. This law, if passed, would give prosecutors the option to charge kennel owners, manages and workers who abuse animals in their care with a fifth degree felony as opposed to a misdemeanor. This would be the first step in hopefully making animal abuse by anyone in this state a felony. Ohio is one of only four states in the nation that still considers animal abuse a misdemeanor.

This efforts is in response to the starving of 19 dogs at High Caliber K-9 Training and Boarding Facility in Coitsville in October of 2008, in which eight of the dogs died. This bill is named for one of the dogs who died, Nitro, a Rottweiler who was a beloved family companion. His owners, residents of New York, joined with others in 2009 to form to work towards legislation that would make such a crime a felony. The man charged in the animals death, Steve Croley, received four months in jail.

House Bill 108 passed the House in February. It passed through the Senate Agricultural Committee in May and is now in the Senate waiting to be brought to the floor. This bill has the full support of Rep. Ron Gerberry, who sponsored the bill and Sen. Joe Schiavoni, among others. Despite numerous supporters in the Legislature, Senate President Thomas E. Niehaus has not moved it to the floor for a vote.

We are constantly bombarded with reports of animal abuse, neglect and cruelty, especially in this area. The burning of a small calf at a farm in Lisbon is the latest. It is beyond horrific.

The passage of Nitro’s Law/HB108 would bring Ohio in line with 46 other states that currently have a “first offense” felony provision on their books for animal abuse. Please make your voice heard in Columbus. Call President Tom Niehaus at (614)466-8082 and tell him you want Nitro’s Law passed.

Mary Ellen Rhinehart, Canfield

Vindicator should favor saving money on Port Authority salary

Last Sunday’s editorial rela- tive to the Western Reserve Port Authority was a far cry from the position The Vindicator has taken over the years on the waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

Ms. DeLeon was hired in 2009 not 1999 and that was after a “national search” which was conducted by some head hunter group out of Chicago at a cost of over $70,000. This was done as it was recommended by Congressman Tim Ryan, but I voted against it. There was very little input from port authority members with the exception of then board Chairman Masternick and Richard Shiraldi. Trumbull County Commissioner Heltzel was another player in the hiring of Ms. DeLeon. The tactics that were employed to get the job done were as phony then as the claims of economic success of Ms. DeLeon are now. Just ask any of the people that were appointed to the Economic Advisory Committee by each of the seven contributors to advise Ms. DeLeon and express their input on economic matters and review her performance. This never happened over the three years of the contract despite Ms. DeLeon’s repeated statements that she would call a meeting of this group soon.

The leaders of the seven contributors (Youngstown, Warren, Trumbull and Mahoning counties, city of Niles, Howland Township and the Trumbull County Labor Council) were not interested in renewing their contributions to fund Ms. DeLeon’s salary again. However the Port Authority has funding now with the increase in the “Bed Tax,” which according to an attorney general’s opinion can only be spent at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport. However, “bending the law” a little seems to be OK with some of my fellow board members.

I am still waiting for a decision from Ohio Ethics Commission complaint that I filed over a year ago against board member Scott Lewis. The complaint alleged Mr. Lewis had an illegal interest in a public contract over a lease.

I will conclude by offering this challenge to the Vindicator. Simply invite Mr. Heltzel, Ms. Righetti, Mr. Shiraldi, Mr. Lewis or even Ms. DeLeon to meet in your offices to discuss the matter and I will make myself available. No sound bites, just the truth.

Don Hanni III, Youngstown

Bad lunches aren’t healthful

Of the many things going on in the world today one pressing issue has become very clear. Students are dissatisfied and angered. The reason is the school lunch program, which this year has become worse than ever before. The School Lunch Program was established to provide students with an outlet to eat during the Great Depression. Is it any better to give students food they do not eat and throw away than it is to give them no food at all?

Lunches have been disgusting, vile, and of an unbearable taste this year. When a student buys a lunch, they expect it to be food they will eat to give them energy through the day, not processed whole wheat garbage they throw away without eating.

There are people starving, and the school gives hundreds of students food they throw away. Where is the justice in that system?

We want the old lunches back, good food, more choices, more variety and quality. We seek to improve our school. Is it not our duty as community members?

Many school children have fallen victim to various levels of poverty. It is these students who depend on their free or reduced price school lunches. If they can’t tolerate their lunches and throw them away where’s their food? They don’t know if dinner will be waiting when they get home, they don’t know if there will be breakfast in the morning. When they throw away the only steady source of food they receive their health could decline. Their very well being could be in danger.

The idea of these lunches is to give kids healthier, lighter lunches, right? Well there is a serious issue in this. When kids don’t eat enough or don’t eat anything as soon as they get home they binge on whatever they can get their hands on, giving them more calories in the evening and less time to burn it off. In effect this so called “health food” is making kids’ eating habits worse. Many dismiss this as kids simply being ungrateful and complaining. Well it is becoming ever clearer that this is a more serious issue than it has ever been in the past.

The time has come to change what’s corrupt in our cafeterias for the health of the nations’ youth and the improvement of their learning.

Richard J. Sammartino, Boardman

Hire a veteran and get a bonus

Almost 150 years ago, Abra- ham Lincoln set a national priority to “care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.” The Work Opportunity Tax Credit as expanded by the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 supports that cause.

The expanded WOTC provides a significant tax credit to employers who hire certain veterans. The credit is up to $9,600 per qualifying veteran hired by for-profit businesses (up to $6,240 for tax-exempt organizations).

Employers hiring veterans with service-related disabilities may be eligible for the maximum tax credit. Other factors affecting the credit amount include the length of the veteran’s employment before being hired, the number of hours the veteran works, and the veteran’s wage amount during the first year of employment.

Veterans must begin work by year’s end for the employer to be eligible for the credit.

Details are available by searching for “WOTC” at

Jennifer Jenkins, Columbus

The writer is the IRS Field Media Relations representative for Ohio and western Pennsylvania.