Poland Forest should be preserved in natural state

Poland Forest should be preserved in natural state

In 1934, Grace Butler donated to Poland Village most of the land now comprising Poland Municipal Forest. She specified in the deed of conveyance that it be “used for park purposes only and kept and preserved in its natural state in so far as possible.”

But since 1938, the forest has suffered under an ordinance calling for harvesting for profit, despite historic proof that this ordinance was never practical.

Village council has finally recognized this and is rewriting the ordinance. But in the last village council meeting, ordinance author Bill Dunnavant claimed “managing according to forestry practices” was required by the Ohio Revised Code. And when council later reneged on a promise to include “maintain as a park,” he used the similar reasoning – that ORC says parks may have tennis courts, playgrounds, etc., that aren’t wanted in the forest and that future generations could interpret that such park facilities are permissible.

But the relevant sections of the ORC say a park may install playgrounds, tennis courts, etc. This is certainly different from shall. And the ordinance could be written to clearly prohibit such park facilities.

Similarly, ORC 5707.08 says that donated land for municipal forests “may be managed on forestry principles.” Since almost all the forest acreage was donated by Judge Rose and Grace Butler, there is no prohibition against managing as a completely natural area in any but small portions of Poland Municipal Forest.

The 1934 deed should be the controlling document. The 1938 redefinition as a municipal forest does not nullify the language of the deed; neither does one small harvest exception agreed to by Grace Butler. The language of the deed is clear and is what matters, not some imaginary change in attitude by Ms. Butler.

There is no reason this ordinance cannot be written to declare that this land will be used for park purposes only and maintained in its natural state in so far as possible. This ordinance should be written to comply with the Butler deed, the wishes of the Butler heirs and the wishes of the users of this beautiful natural area.

Finally, I call on village officials to obey the letter and spirit of Ohio’s “Sunshine Laws.” Current draft versions of this ordinance and other relevant documents should be easily available to the public, preferably posted on the village website and in forest kiosks. An informed public is the foundation of our democracy.

Frank Krygowski, Poland

Many play role in success of Easter Seals in Valley

On behalf of all the staff and clients of Easter Seals, I wish to express my gratitude to the Angels of Easter Seals on its 40th Annual Spring Fashion Show on May 4. Forty years is a significant milestone for an event such as this, which is made possible through the tireless efforts and volunteer spirit epitomized by the Angels of Easter Seals.

Over the years, Angels of Easter Seals events and activities have raised over $3.3 million, all of which has remained in our community to provide programs and services to children and adults with disabilities and special needs.

Our organization exists to provide people with disabilities the best services, the best opportunities they could possibly capture in life. In the past year Easter Seals of Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties has supported and provided services to over 3,500 individuals and their families. We dispel stereotypes, overcome obstacles and challenge perceptions about people with disabilities and their potential. Your attendance at this event supports and allows Easter Seals to continue our mission of helping people in our local area with disabilities or special needs to live with Equality, Dignity and Independence.

Disabilities have become increasingly complex in the 21st century. The definition of disability itself is broader, going beyond the physical to include emotional, intellectual, social and educational issues.Our goal and challenge for the future is to continue these efforts and provide services to those in our community who need them most. The awareness of our programs and services, along with the monies raised through this event are a vital part of our ability to meet these ever changing needs and support those who need and benefit from our services.

There are countless people to thank for their efforts in this event. The participation and support we receive from media personnel from The Vindicator and other local broadcast media is overwhelming. Add to this the many local businesses and organizations that support this event and it is one more reason as to why this is a great community.

Finally, I also want to thank the staff of Easter Seals for their dedication to the clients and families we serve. Without their skill, devotion and expertise we would not be able to impact and change lives. Together, we are taking on disabilities and working to ensure a brighter future for our entire community.

Tim Nelson, Youngstown

Tim Nelson is president and CEO of Easter Seals of Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

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