Howland residents, be prepared to open vein if school levy passes

Howland residents, be prepared to open vein if school levy passes

Wake up, Howland taxpay- ers. Here we go again. On Tuesday, when you go to vote, you better be aware that if the Howland school levy passes, you won’t only have to open your wallet, you’ll have to open a vein to once again support “excellence” in the Howland Local School District. What part of “no” didn’t Superintendent Sheets and the Howland school board understand? Didn’t the voters say “no” the last time?

Once again, Howland taxpayers need to consider the following: The Howland schools have come back to the voters for an “emergency” levy once in 2006 and 2009, and there is currently a 10-year emergency levy that will not expire until the year 2022. Add on to those facts the recent decision of our school board to impose a 2.4-mill levy (currently being collected at 2.1 mills) on taxpayers because of their decision to attach us permanently to the Trumbull Career and Technical Center in Champion. Be aware that we as taxpayers did not get to vote on the move from Ashtabula Technical to TCTC — only the board.

So, not only will voters be paying the 2.1-mill levy, but our school district is again begging for an additional 3.9-mill “emergency” levy. The passage of the 3.9-mill emergency levy will bring an additional whopping 6 mills added onto the voters’ property taxes.

According to a Trumbull County auditor, the Howland Local School District currently receives 35.6 mills, but with the possible passage of the 3.9-mill levy, it could possibly bring it up to 41.6 mills. When will it be enough?

Considering that a substantial slice of Howland’s property owners are retired and on fixed incomes and others have lost jobs due to the failing economy, the school board’s decisions seem to be very greedy and disconnect with the Howland taxpayers. Many people are struggling just to keep their homes and properties and are forced to just “make do.” I suggest the Howland schools start doing the same. If these levies keep coming, no one will be able to live in the “world-class community” of Howland.

Pamela S. Plesea, Warren

Mahoning Valley must stop being guinea pig for fracking experiment

I am in fear for the future of my home town. My fear is directed at what we may be doing to our most valuable resources — our land and water — by allowing the natural-gas industry to just do as they please with the legacy we leave to our future generations.

I do not want to be the old person that was asked by my children, “Why didn’t you do something?” when we look back 50 years from now and our water is undrinkable, the land is contaminated, and the air so full of methane it is not safe to breathe.

I will admit that when the “fracking/natural gas” boom came a few years ago I was hopeful that maybe this would be a great boost for the area and that maybe it can be done safely.

After several years and having had to hear my windows rattle several times, I realize now that our area is nothing more than a financial opportunity for the oil/gas industry. When I read that a head of a Texas natural-gas company is trying to get fracking stopped in his own backyard, that tells me everything.

It also concerns me when I hear people say much money has already been invested so we can’t really expect the gas companies to be made to stop now. Why can’t we expect them to stop now? Why can’t we say, “Sorry we tried but the experiment has failed; so stop doing that you’re doing, cut your losses and go home before you turn our area into a contaminated wasteland?”

I am tired of this area being part of the “Great Fracking Experiment”. There is a reason that it has been banned in many other states. I guess we are thought of by these companies as the uneducated masses, so they think that we won’t figure it out until it is too late. Then this area will be nothing but one big distribution point full of natural gas pipelines, filling stations, frack water tanks sites, etc.

All of this reminds me of a Native American saying; “Only when mankind has cut down all of the forests so that animals can’t live, polluted all of the rivers and killed every fish, will he realize that he can’t eat money.”

Sandra Magliocca, Austintown

No-more-taxes philosophy will only hurt West Branch schools

I graduated from West Branch in 1989. My wife and I have two girls open-enrolled in Damascus. We own property in the school district but currently reside in Salem and pay both Salem and West Branch property taxes. We are in the process of moving into the district either late this year or early next year, so whether this levy passes or fails, we do have a vested interest in the outcome. My family history at West Branch spans five generations.

This community has always done right by its kids. Yet, here we are as a community discussing if it’s worth spending less than 1 penny out of every dollar we earn to support our kids, our school and the community. I do believe in the old saying a penny saved is a penny earned. But it should never be at the expense of our school and kids.

The details and merit of this levy have been debated in social media similarly to kicking a dead horse. The school board has gone to great lengths to be clear and accurate on the details of this levy, and I applaud their efforts, as well as how they’ve handled their fiscal responsibility and overall management of the school.

Flatly having an ideology of no more tax is easy. It is an easy position to take. It’s driven by a broader political picture at the federal level. It becomes the never ending rhetoric of stand your ground to big government. But this levy is local — it is about us, not big government or billion dollar bridges to nowhere. I want to personally thank every single person that works for West Branch School District — from the teachers, kitchen staff, administrators, school board, bus drivers, janitorial, aids, subs, coaches. All of you have my deepest appreciation for protecting, teaching, feeding, motivating and most important to me — inspiring our kids.

You are their guardians for seven hours a day and it’s time for us to stand up for you and deliver passage of this levy Tuesday.

Andy Cameron, Beloit

Shame on YSU football players for promoting cruel circus stunts

Regarding The Vindicator’s recent article on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performances in Youngstown last week, it’s a shame that Youngstown football greats are promoting the highly controversial circus. Ringling paid a record fine of $270,000 for violating federal animal protection laws.

More and more young people are aware that Ringling handlers have whipped tigers and beat elephants with bullhooks (heavy batons with a sharp metal hook on the end) to get animals to perform demeaning and confusing tricks — like “playing” football.

The animals spend the vast majority of their lives chained in box cars and confined in transport cages. They’ll rarely feel the sun or fresh air. They have nothing that gives their lives meaning.

People who care about animal welfare should never buy a ticket to the circus.

Jennifer O’Connor, Norfolk, Va.

O’Connor is a staff writer for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation.