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Decision to close public library was made after much thought



Published: Sun, January 19, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Decision to close public library was made after much thought

Recently the Mahoning Val- ley was thrust into severe weather with a polar freeze bringing temperatures to lows that have not been experienced in many years. On Tuesday, Jan. 7, it was not simply cold; weather advisories warned that temperatures were extremely dangerous to anyone exposed even for a few minutes. Ice removal on sidewalks and parking lots is extremely difficult and costly at double-digit subzero temperatures, as is maintaining a temperature suitable for occupancy in buildings. In situations such as this, the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County must consider the safety of its customers and staff as a top priority in making a responsible decision.

Some will agree and some disagree with the decision to close for one day due to extreme weather, and all views can be expressed. However, the purpose of this letter is to set the record straight and correct some inaccuracies in a recently published letter. The letter included inaccurate monetary amounts. The actual operating budget for Mahoning County’s system of 15 libraries is about half of the figure that was used. The letter also lists a cost of closing that was not calculated to reflect actual operations. Both costs and savings are associated with a closing. Many operating costs are not affected by a one-day emergency closing, such as one of the library’s larger expenditures, money budgeted to purchase books and materials. When all factors are considered, any costs for the day are minimal, especially when compared with what it might cost the library if an injury resulted from the unsafe conditions.

Despite the fact that buildings were closed, the library was still available to serve customers through our website, and our mobile app, PLYMC mobile. Customers could search our catalog, have reference questions answered through Know It Now; download e-books, movies, music and magazines, use databases from home computers, take Learn4Life online classes, locate and request books through Search Ohio, place reserves and much more. In fact, as temperatures plummeted Monday, physical circulation and customer use in libraries was unusually low, but circulation of e-books was high, with more than 600 e-books downloaded that Monday and Tuesday.

The decision to close buildings for one day due to severe weather was made responsibly after much deliberation, considering weather advisories and input from many sources. The library will continue to heavily weigh the safety of our customers and staff in making decisions.

Janet Loew, YoungstownSFlbThe writer is communications and public relations director of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County.

Horror stories of puppy mills

An article in your Jan. 9 issue showed a man dressed in a dog costume holding a sign advertising puppies for sale at a Market Street pet store.

What you failed to include is how many pet stores acquire their puppies. They are supplied by puppy mills — warehouses that hold female dogs confined in small cages that live miserable lives, without exercise or care, since their only purpose is to give birth to puppies.

Also, when people purchase dogs from pet shops that stock from puppy mills, fewer are rescued from shelters, which leads to an increase in the euthanasia of unwanted dogs.

The man hopping around in the costume should tell people to choose a dog from a shelter, dog pound, or responsible breeders who raise puppies in humane conditions. It angers me every time I see him when I drive in that area.

Rev. Kathryn Adams, Canfield

Here’s how to protect your dog from bitter cold winter weather

I have been reading about the cold and our pets in The Vindicator. I was always concerned about our beagles outside in the winter. But my husband, who was a hunter all his life, knew how to make sure his dogs were taken care of.

He would buy bales of straw in the fall, getting ready for the cold. He would then get a couple of my old rugs and cut them up the middle.

He would stuff their dog houses full of straw (I mean really stuff them); then he would nail the rug to the front of the house like a little door with the slit in the middle, where the dog could come in and out.

This, along with extra dog food and fresh water three or four times a day, kept them nice and warm. I, still worried about them, was told to go put my arm in their house. I was so surprised when I did; it felt like they had a little heater in there. I wasn’t concerned about our dogs any longer. They were as snug in a bug in a rug.

Shirley Griffiths, Liberty

Fracking produces too much waste, too many costs for Ohio taxpayers

The Vindicator article this month headlined “Studies raise questions about the actual economic impact of a fracking boom in Ohio” compared conflicting reports about how many jobs fracking is really creating in Ohio.

However, it failed to discuss the economic pressures that the fracking industry leaves in communities once they’re done. Fracking has been proven to drive down property values in communities around wells, because of damage and the stigma of drilling.

In addition, heavy traffic from trucks bearing water to and wastewater away from wells can cause millions of dollars of damage to roads, not to mention that that water is removed permanently from the public water supply. Too often taxpayers end up picking up the bill for this damage.

Leaving aside the environmental concerns, this just doesn’t add up economically. The temporary industry jobs this fracking boom creates don’t justify the prolonged costs they leave for hard-working Ohioans. Until the industry can prove that it is being responsible with our resources and investment, we shouldn’t let this business continue in our state. At minimum, we should close the loopholes in hazardous-waste laws that exempt fracking waste from common-sense environment protections.

Courtney Cousins, Columbus

The writer is a representative of Environment Ohio, a statewide environmental advocacy organization.

Obamacare kicks Little Sisters

As the saying goes “no good deed goes unpunished.”

While President Obama’s health care law reigns supreme, The Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged who “care” for the elderly and poor will be heavily “fined a penalty” for their obedience to God rather than sin.

There it is folks. While Miley Cyrus makes millions as a singer, the good sisters are breaking the law by their love of God. This is President Obama’s crowning achievement for “change” in the world. Of course it was written into the health care law that the Amish are “exempt” from the law. I guess the president doesn’t consider them a threat to his plan for “change.”

Does this mean only a few will be getting religious freedom to do good? Pro-choice lives up to its name, and that name doesn’t mean equality.

Sylvia Koczwara, Youngstown

Rust Belt director, take a bow

Here’s just a hats off to a very involved local talent who has put much of his heart and soul into this Valley.

A recent article in The Vindicator highlighted the charitable generosity of Robert Dennick Joki. He does a great job as director of the Rust Belt Theater. He, along with his colleagues, are a value-added product of a great town and community.

Harold Wilson, Austintown


Comments

1TheLostPatrol(755 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

But Janet, employees were paid to stay home and not work, correct? In essence, taxpayers paid for employees to stay home because, in your reasoning, someone could have slipped and fallen, and the possible ensuing lawsuit could have resulted in costing the Taxpayers more than what it cost for them to have all the employees and their benefits stay home. Thankfully, the private sector was open for business so that the calamity day for your staff could enjoy a trip to the Mall or dining at a Restaurant, or even taking in a movie, or scheduling a last minute doctors appointment!

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2Autumn2(1 comment)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

Yes, a portion of our tax dollars do support the library. But if we were to calculate the percentage of our tax bill that goes to the library it would be minimal. We pay taxes for the privilege of living in this community and using all the services that are available to us. Where else can you find books, music, movies, newspapers and magazines virtually for free? Where else can you go to use a computer, hear a lecture or have your questions answered by knowledgeable staff? The librarians spend hours each week reading to our children, teaching them crafts and providing a safe atmosphere for our children to learn. I, for one, think the library is the biggest bargain in town and will gladly support it with my tax dollars. Shame on all the “curmudgeons”!

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3HDavis(5 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

I rarely post on anything here but feel compelled to add to the library closing. I wonder if some posting here really read the letter from Janet and if they took time to actually think about it. Reading their comments you would think not. No acknowledgement that at certain temps snow and ice removal efforts don't work and that this increases the potential of injury. Is it not valid to consider that weather officials are encouraging people to not be outdoors. Perhaps, just perhaps, the library was thinking about what officials were saying would be in the best interests of the public - not venturing outdoors - or being encouraged to do so. For my two cents, this is best bargain in town - and one of the most thoughtful.

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4HonestAbe(270 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

For the record, there were many private sector businesses that closed as well, including the Grove City Factory Outlets on Monday evening, Jan. 6th.

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5TheLostPatrol(755 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

So, we then assume that everyone got paid at the Grove City Factory Outlets an eight-hour shift just like the Library Public Employees did?

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6nerak(3 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

I can't believe these comments over the closing of 1 day of the library! Get over it people...it is only the library....this is not a life or death institution. Jeez, all the crap our government is doing that deserves letters; and you decide to complain about this?

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7MrRockets(1 comment)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

I agree with the above poster. These negative comments and the original article are totally ridiculous. I have lurked on here for a long time and haven't ever felt the urge to comment until I saw these 2 articles.

If I remember correctly, the Vindy ran a story informing the public that the library was closing the evening before. Also I had a doctor appointment that had to be rescheduled because the office closed. I'm pretty sure they still got paid and they should have. Most jobs in the private sector pay their employees when they are forced to close for weather.

The library really is one of the best things about the area. Like Janet said there were still plenty of services being offered online that day.

The ironic thing is the writer of the 1st article is the one actually wasting tax dollars by forcing the library staff to spend their time responding to him because of the inaccurate claims he made.

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