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Secrecy has provided no good results for Tri County



Hush ... hush.

That’s the sound coming from the Tri County Community Action offices last week.

It’s the same sound that has been coming from the office for several years and it’s the sound that has the agency at the brink of ceasing to exist as a local social service organization.

The situation, from what I have gathered in the news reporting process thus far, began as a result of secrecy and a lack of accountability in handling the agency’s money.

That escalated to the point that the independent Community Action Organization of Delaware, Madison and Union Counties was called in a year ago to take over Tri County’s weatherization program.

Instead of beginning an open public dialogue at that point, however, the agency and its board went on like it was business as usual. Eventually the state turned over operation of the utilities assistance program to DMU in November.

Still no public conversation.

Hush ... hush.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 August 2014

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Going farmer style with a classic

Among my favorite Christmas books is Clement C. Moore’s classic A Visit From St. Nicholas. I like the story and the rhyme, and I like the pictures in my old copy of the book I  have, although not all of its pages are intact.

Another of my most favorites is O Henry’s The Gift of the Magi, although I have trouble finishing it because I can’t see the words with tears in my eyes. Imagine giving up your most prized possession to have money to buy your husband something for his most prized possession, only to discover he has sold it to have money to buy something to go with your most prized possession, which, alas, now has been sold. True love and sacrifice, for sure.

Thinking about the holiday and the books and stories associated with it gave me an idea of creating one a little more in line with my life and things important to me, who has been married to a farmer for more than three decades.

So, with apologies to Mr. Moore and anyone else who may have penned anything similar, I offer up a farmer’s version of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas:

Last Updated on Monday, 23 December 2013

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What made Byron Scott a great township trustee, also made him noteworthy ‘Examiner’ photographer

NateSmith 2013


To value newspapers in this social media age is to harbor a fond appreciation for history and those who’ve come before.

Today, long after Byron Scott’s retirement as an Examiner photographer, his influence remains. He worked 37 years at this newspaper and his work sets a high bar for those of us carrying the banner today.

He was honored during a surprise gathering staged by his family and peers Tuesday ahead of what was his last meeting following a 28-year stint as trustee in Lake Township.

Mr. Scott was told no one gathered had ever before seen such a show of love and appreciation for a retiring township trustee.

“Me neither,” he told his family, friends and fellow township trustees.

A unique send-off for a one-of-a-kind public servant, to be sure.

Those in attendance shared stories about their relationship with Mr. Scott and the time spent working with him, and soon a theme emerged: His dedication to Lake Township.

“You won’t find anyone more committed to Lake Township than Scotty,” said fellow trustee Jim Wish, invoking Mr. Scott’s long-held nickname.

People were taken aback when Mr. Scott — the guest of honor — was told to get up first to be served his slice of retirement-themed cake, and instead served everyone else in the room first.

The same commitment to community that drove him to contribute as a township trustee for nearly 30 years is also what made Mr. Scott a great photographer and information gatherer.

He was dedicated to sharing the stories of those with whom he lived and worked. As a trustee he worked to help make those same folks’ lot in life a little easier, whether by clearing snow- and ice- covered roads or picking up litter in the township.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013

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Climbing to conclusions

NateSmith 2013smile


Clinging to my shoulders and arms, standing upright, as he’s wont to do these days, my nine-month-old son has taken to treating me like his very own Daddy jungle gym.

Cooing, and usually with drool dripping from the corner of his mouth and chin, the boy tests his limits. I’ll scoop him onto my lap and hold him upright. He grabs at my shirt to maintain his balance and bends his knees, bouncing and wobbling every which way.

Other, more advanced obstacles grab his attention. No longer content to climb about Dad’s lap, “OB,” as his friends have taken to calling him, seems to have set his sights recently on the top of the couch, and higher still, a nearby lampshade.

He reaches for the couch’s arm, steadying himself with both hands and the look in his eye signals that he wants to conquer this couch and mount the lampshade, which mocks him from its lofty perch atop the lamp, resting on a side table next to our sofa.

I’ll never tell him he can’t accomplish something to which he sets his mind, and that may well be the only lesson I’ve learned in this nine-month foray into parenting.

That, and, to stand to one side during diaper changes.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013

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Stouts’ extension of grace a display rarely seen

NateSmith 2013


No one would have faulted Steve and Penny Stout had they insisted the man who struck them with his pickup truck while they were bicycling near Benjamin Logan schools and then fled the scene be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Nathaniel Gregg, the motorist who spilled his bowl of cereal moments before hitting the couple, will serve only modest jail time and will not be convicted of a felony as a result of the case.

This light sentence comes not as the result of sloppy prosecution or an inattentive arbiter, but because of an awesome show of grace from Mr. and Mrs. Stout, who’ve long forgiven Mr. Gregg.

Despite their call that Mr. Gregg receive no jail time whatsoever, Logan County prosecutors recommended he receive 60 days in Logan County Jail.

Explaining to Logan County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark S. O’Connor why the state still recommended for Mr. Gregg a period of incarceration, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Eric Stewart said that’s the public’s expectation.

“If I crashed into somebody with my vehicle and then didn’t stop after the accident, I would expect to go to jail,” Mr. Stewart said during Monday’s hearing. “I think that’s what the public expects and that’s why we’re asking for 60 days’ local jail in this case.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013

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BEING REASONABLE: The other, other side of the coin

nate smith

It’s high time someone stand up for officers of the Bellefontaine Police Department.

Some $14,000 has been raised to benefit Deirdre Romine, a Bellefontaine resident who lives below the poverty line at 1600 S. Detroit St., Apt. 21.

She was issued a summons Oct. 7 for stealing coins from the fountain in front of the Logan County Courthouse, and her story garnered state and national attention after some focus was given to her daily plight. She lives alone, suffers from a mental illness, faces eviction and, at least on the day in question, didn’t have anything to eat.

It was a sad story and one she was more than willing to share with a contributor to one local monthly publication.

An online donation page was set up in her name and contributions poured in faster than even the organizers likely could have predicted.

She’s been victimized, people believe, for “only” stealing $2.87. Therefore, her oppressor must be the BPD.  

Lost amongst a groundswell of faux indignation surrounding Ms. Romine’s theft summons, is the reality that her behavior, in fact, necessitated a ticket and this whole mess has been blown entirely out of proportion.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013

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Words of wisdom from an owl


Owls have always been a symbol of wisdom but it’s a rare occasion you can squeeze anything much more than a rhetorical “Who?” from one.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013

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No easy solutions in Syria crisis


Syria has me at a loss.   

Just two short years ago, an uprising began as a movement of the people to overcome an oppressive government.

When atrocities — such as the severe beating of Ali Ferzat that left the political cartoonist with both hands broken or the murder and removal of musician Ibrahim al-Qashoush’s vocal chords — it was apparent that the regime of President Bashar Assad was a nasty bunch that the world would be better without.

But over the course of the past two years, the people’s movement has grown into something much more difficult to support.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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