Community response saved a boy

Community response saved a boy

I am writing this letter for many reasons, but most importantly my hope is to raise awareness that despite the negative times it seems we are living in, and in spite of the seemingly critical and apathetic human nature we are exposed to daily, goodness and caring still exists and is, in fact, alive and well, right here in our own neighborhoods.

Last Saturday my 13 year old autistic child went missing. I called 911 and Sgt. Altiere of the Vienna Police Department was in my drive within minutes. He formed a search party of local fire and emergency rescue units as well as neighboring authorities who joined the search. Family, friends and neighbors all came out to help. These people, many whom I had never met, spent their entire evening to help two parents whose world was falling apart. An entire community pulled together to help us, using all of their resources. They searched on foot, in cars, ATVs, and by air until Christian was found. A neighbor we had never met used his private plane to search the entire area. We are forever indebted to these individuals for the kindness and professionalism that was extended to us.

It seems that in this time we are living in there is no shortage of bad news. Our faith and love for humanity has been encouraged and deepened by these individuals in ways that words cannot express.

I am proud to live in a community of people who go over and above to help one another. It restores my faith in humanity. All too often we take our local law enforcement for granted, or we are quick to judge. But what I found was a group of people ready to do whatever was necessary to help, even if it meant searching the entire night.

I know all too well that this story very easily may have turned out differently, and my heart is still full of many emotions. Knowing there are genuinely good people living right among us has given our story an even happier ending.

Christine Bernard, Vienna

‘Unnatural’ can be a loaded word

A letter appeared last Sun- day arguing that, “Same-sex marriage is unnatural.”

I have at least two problems with this thesis. In the first place, when exactly can something reasonably be considered “unnatural?” According to the University of Oslo, homosexuality has been observed in over 1,500 different species — a reality which effectively obliterates the claim that homosexuality isn’t a natural phenomenon. True, a homosexual relationship isn’t conducive to procreation; that says nothing about how “unnatural” the phenomenon is or isn’t. A relationship between a pair of heterosexual 70-somethings isn’t conducive to procreation either; that hardly makes the relationship unnatural.

This brings me to my second major reservation about the author’s claim. Are we to assume that “unnatural” is just another term for evil? We have surrounded ourselves with many “unnatural” things. Technology and modern medicine are unnatural. Even the clothes on your back can hardly be considered natural in the strictest sense of the word. Yet I don’t see very many people condemning pants as the great scourge of society. Perhaps this is because there is no real opposition to things unnatural. Opponents of same-sex marriage use the term not because it’s synonymous with “evil” or “wrong,” but because it’s a good euphemism for “things I don’t like.”

Ultimately, the author claims that marriage equality shouldn’t be accepted because homosexuality deviates from the norm. Such a position doesn’t bode well for opponents of marriage equality; the latest Quinnipiac poll showed a majority support for same-sex marriage. It appears that the opponents are the new deviants. Does that mean we shouldn’t accept them?

Eric Chianese, Youngstown

Why is Obama targeting seniors?

Doesn’t President Obama know that seniors come in all colors, including black? So much for the president’s so-called social equality speech.

Throwing the seniors over the cliff by cutting Medicare and Social Security checks isn’t the same as the president giving his spare change to charity. Especially since nowadays the money intended for charities only “ends up” in the pockets of Planned Parenthood. Just as millions of taxpayers’ dollars are being given to China to support their forced abortions.

The president gets a $400,000 paycheck — no utilities, no food bill, no gas bill, paid vacations. Yet he asks seniors to pay the national debt by ending their lives early. This is the president’s social equality that Americans voted for?

Sylvia Koczwara, Youngstown

Obama sets example for politicians

On April 4, President Obama announced he would give back 5 percent of his salary for the remainder of this year because of the impact on average Americans due to the sequester imposed by Congress.

A very noble gesture indeed, but I think all politicians, Democrat, Republican, independent; local, state and federal; should follow the president’s lead. In other words, put their money where their mouths have been. It would only be fair, given the situation most Americans have been put into due to (the highly-paid) Congress’s inaction.

But please don’t tell us something like “it’s such a small gesture, and it wouldn’t make any difference.” After all, it’s the idea (a little self-sacrifice), not the end result, that matters most. Talk is cheap.

How about it, politicians; are you up to the president’s challenge?

Or not?

Lee Guy, Boardman

Seeking support for Bazetta PD

In 1977 taxpayers of Bazetta Township passed the first tax from which the Bazetta Township Police Department was developed. One constable was the lone police officer in the township. Today the Bazetta Police Department consists of six full-time and six part-time officers. We have eight patrol cars, with shotguns, taser, ASP, OC, handguns and mobile data terminals in every car while on patrol. With the purchasing of modern technology, it allows officers to respond to your complaints without undue delay. It lets officers to determine if drivers have a license and insurance without stopping everyone and removing the offenders from our roadways.

Education and growth are key roles in Bazetta Police Department. We currently have almost half of our officers with a bachelor’s degree, one with a master’s degree and three military veterans. Our officers have specialized field training, evidence collection, management and a detective assigned to investigations. We have accomplished extra programs to strengthen our community such as our safety day, food drives and blood drives. We provide youth outreach in our community.

The police department has been developed through sound fiscal decision-making, as well as passage of levies by our residents. Our officers are attempting to provide police service with late 1970s taxes and loss of revenue is a constant dilemma. State funding has been cut by $56,569 per year and by 2016 that will grow to $112,045. Another major factor is our loss of property taxes of $90,934. Our officers have seen an increase in arrests, citations and calls for service. In 2012 our department handled 6,675 calls.

This is a chance to secure the funding of our police department and not have a negative impact on our community. We are asking our residents to pass a 2.5 mil replacement levy to continue to provide professional police service. This would be an increase of $56.60 a year per $100,000 valuations. This levy would hire an additional police officer and increase patrols, establish a senior check program, and replace aging cruisers and outdated equipment.

Michael J. Hovis, Bazetta

The writer is acting chief of police.