Youth must change their tunes; Fitch renovation is impractical; Tressel was scapegoat

Today’s youngsters must change tunes in music, lifestyle behavior

One day earlier this year, my daughter and I were awakened by loud screams. Frantically, I ran to the front of my house to look out of my window. I saw about 30 teenagers. One had a taser gun, and some were standing on the sidelines watching two young girls fist fighting. My daughter and I called 911 and waited. My emotions were everywhere — fear, anger, and sadness. Situations like these happen too often in Youngstown.

What is happening to our city? What is happening to our children? I have so much sorrow deep within my soul to see so many children lost. Why do they have no hope, respect or dignity for themselves, let alone each other?

Our young men are selling drugs and beating on young women, killing, dropping out of school, and becoming fathers. Young women are having babies and dropping out of school. These young men and women are abusing drugs and breaking the law with no remorse or fear of a consequence. Does anyone hear me?

Whom do they see? Whom are they watching? Grown men, “fathers,” still wearing their pants sagging, driving around in dope-boy trucks, listening to 2Pac. They need to pull their pants up, take the 15s out of the trunk, take out 2Pac, and put on Marvin Sapp, “Never Would of Made It!”

Grown women, “mothers,” are still clubbing Thursday through Sunday faithfully and dressing provocatively, their nails done nicely to hold the blunt. The clubbing days are over. They need to take out Beyonce’s “Drunken Love” and put on Dorinda Clark Cole’s “Make Me Real!” They should put on a nice dress and come to church.

This used to be me; I was that mother. I thank my Lord God and Savior for the total transformation of my life. Mothers, fathers, churches, governor, mayor, my brothers and sisters, it is time for a change. I am willing, are you?

These children are the next generation. We are their protectors and their mentors. We must love them, we must show them another way, the right way, how to make better choices, and persevere in life. It starts with us. We need more Boys and Girls Clubs and more drug rehabilitation facilities. We need to look up to the hills to where our help comes from, instead of looking down at those who are lost.

Kelly McGuire, Youngstown

Renovation of Fitch High School would prove to be impractical

As A result of the BABY BOOM, enrollment of Austintown schools necessitated an extensive building program. Five elementary schools and Frank Ohl Junior High were constructed from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. Considerable debt resulted from these construction projects.

When the number of students and the need for increased programming led to the decision to build a new high school, Ohio’s statutory limit on debt was close at hand. The maximum available for a bond issue was $4.2 million. Hard decisions had to be made to house 3,000 students while limiting costs. For example, rather than concrete block for walls in classrooms and hallways, steel studs and drywall were used — similar to the decision to have a frame house instead of brick. Other decisions resulted in smaller classrooms and an alternate heating/ventilating system. Without a permanent improvement levy, maintenance was, in most cases, limited to situations of immediate urgency and not preventative. Maintenance staffs have, over the nearly 50-year life of Fitch, accomplished remarkable things that leave us with a building that appears to be in good shape.

However, the pressures of time, environment, use, and evolution of instructional programming yield a structure that limits educational functionality and points to extreme budgetary demands for future sustainability of the facility.

If it were feasible, the cost for renovation of Fitch would be 72 percent of the cost for replacement. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission has set 66 percent as the point for which renovation is not cost-effective.

Ohio has set aside $31 million for the Fitch project through the OFCC. There is no space available to house students during construction if remodeling were to be attempted. So, logistics make reworking the current building impossible. The financial burden on Austintown taxpayers for a new high school is about $2 million more than it would be if renovation were possible.

There would be additional costs to bring the building up to current building codes.

Passage of the 4.1-mill bond issue on May 6 will fund the construction of a new Fitch, north of the existing structure, while incorporating the auditorium and gyms whose replacement would not be included in the OFCC allocation.

Thomas J. Stellers, Austintown

Stellers is a former member of the Austintown Board of Education.

Jim Tressel was scapegoat at OSU

Jim Tressel is an excellent choice as the president of YSU. Of all the stories of his career as a football coach, he has been portrayed as someone who gave good guidance to his players. He has been known to promote academic importance over sports. And, he has stated that he promotes life goals above all else.

His problems at Ohio State were probably no more than many other coaches’ problems at that time. However, Jim was made the scapegoat for all and was forced out of coaching. I’m sure a vote of his players would have had a different outcome.

As for the academic standing of a college president, I have always felt that anyone over the age of 35 should not be relying on his college record. He should be standing on his life’s record. And, Jim Tressel’s life record is very good.

It may be that Jim would not accept the YSU presidency, but it would be a shame if it were not offered to him. It would be nice to have him home again.

Donald Butler, Warren

Lower health risks; go vegetarian

RECENTLY, Time magazine cited several reasons for vegetarians living longer. The article was prompted by a report in the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine journal that a vegetarian diet lowers blood pressure, a key factor in risk of heart failure and stroke.

The Mayo Clinic notes that vegetarians are at lower risk for developing diabetes, another factor in heart disease. Indeed, an Oxford University study of 45,000 adults in last year’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vegetarians were 32 percent less likely to suffer from heart disease.

Moreover, researchers at California’s Loma Linda University, examining records of 70,000 patients, concluded last year that a vegetarian diet protects against colorectal and other types of cancer.

It’s no wonder that a 2012 Harvard University study of 120,000 people concluded that meat consumption raises the risk of total, heart, and cancer mortality. A more recent six-year study of 70,000 patients at Loma Linda found that vegetarians have a 12 percent lower risk of death.

The good news: Each of us can find our own fountain of youth by adopting a meat and dairy-free diet. An Internet search on “vegan recipes” or “live vegan” provides ample resources.

Peter Zack, Youngstown