Written by James Donnelly, executive director of the United Way of Logan County
It’s not about meeting a goal; It’s about meeting a need; Today we need your help! At this time of year one of the most asked questions that I receive is: How is the United Way campaign going, how close are we to the goal and do I feel comfortable that we will make it? My normal response is: “We’re getting closer and I’m optimistic that we’ll make it.” But today my response is a little different: “As we approach the final weeks of the 2013 UWLC campaign I’m concerned that we may not be able to meet the growing needs of our community.”
While several contributors have provided an increase over last year, for a variety of reasons many of our business and workplace campaigns have come in lower than anticipated. This leaves a void that will be extremely difficult to overcome when we begin the 2014 allocation process. During my two years as the executive director of the UWLC I’ve had a front row seat and was able to experience firsthand just how important the UWLC funded agencies and the programs that they provide are to many residents within our county.
I’m concerned for the 22 non-profit United Way funded agencies that count on our financial support to provide programs that are extremely important to our community. Several are struggling due to the numerous funding cuts from federal, state and local grants. The programs provided by these agencies help people from all walks of life; rich, poor, young, old, educated, uneducated, employed, unemployed. With almost one out of every three residents in our community having a need for the help and support of one of these agencies, it’s possible that someone in your family, a friend or neighbor has been touched and helped by one of the programs that they provide.
A recent USA Today/Bipartisan Policy Center poll reflects that, “Americans by more than 2-1, say the best way to make positive changes in society today is through volunteering and financially supporting non-profit organizations.”
The United Way of Logan County works extremely hard through its 22 funded non-profit agencies to give hope and effective compassion to many local children, adults and families struggling with the cycle of poverty, poor preventative health care and inadequate education among other issues running rampant in our community.
It’s a nostalgic time of year, and many of us can remember a time when we took care of our own, family took care of family and friends helped friends. While times have changed one fact remains: For more than 56 years, the United Way of Logan County has helped to create lasting change in our community by helping children succeed in school, ensuring that basic needs are met and by helping families become self-sufficient, providing local people with opportunities for a better life.
Best of all, 100 percent of funds raised by the United Way of Logan County stays in our community. What better way to invest than to support an organization focusing solely on local needs and local problems?
I’m asking that you join Janet and myself and embrace our best hope for community improvement by supporting the United Way of Logan County and our local nonprofits whose mission it is to take care of the special needs of our families, friends and neighbors who have fallen onto difficult times. While I would like to meet this year’s $700,000 goal before I return to retirement, to me it’s far more important that I’m able to leave my position knowing that I did my best in helping to keep our community healthy by meeting the needs of its residents.
I want to thank everyone who has already made a donation to the 2013 UWLC campaign and pass on my appreciation to each of you for the support that I’ve received during these past two years and I ask that you provide your continued support as Heidi Reser takes over for me. I’m leaving feeling good that I was able to contribute and play a role in our success.
For those who have not yet made a 2013 donation, I’m soliciting your help.
For more information about United Way or to make a tax-deductible gift before the end of the year, call 937-592-2886, mail a check to our office or donate online by visiting www.uwlogan.org.
“Together” we are making a difference!
James Donnelly is executive director of the United Way of Logan County through the end of the year.
Last Updated on Saturday, 07 December 2013
Written by Michael McGarry, Bellefontaine
Channel 7 News recently ran a rather shallow news episode on issues surrounding Adriel a school for troubled children which has been located in West Liberty, Ohio, for the past 113 years.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Written by Camille Watson, West Liberty
The goal of my AP Government class is to increase the voter turnout by discovering the facts and informing the voters.
My issue is the Benjamin Logan Emergency Levy. When I asked if the money would be used to hire staff or what the money would be used for, Superintendent Lori Lytle said, “The purpose of the levy is not to hire staff; it is to pay back the money that the Benjamin Logan School District owes in credit card debt. Right now, that number is a relatively low number. However, if Ben Logan doesn’t do something to take care of it soon, the number will continue to grow instead of being eliminated. Benjamin Logan needs to pay off this debt in order to remain fiscally responsible. This levy will eventually have to be passed; the number cannot just continue to grow.” When asked if the quality of education would go down should the levy not pass, Mrs. Lytle responded, “Benjamin Logan always strives to keep the quality at all costs. It would be more likely that the amount of class offerings would decrease, the class sizes would increase and the debt would increase.” When I asked if cuts would have to be made in the event that the levy did not pass, Superintendent Lytle replied, “In order to stay fiscally responsible, Benjamin Logan previously cut everything they could cut. So, no further cuts can be made immediately. Our staff is down to the bare bones; therefore, further cuts would decrease the quality of education.”
This tax would be a property tax. The taxes would begin being collected in January and the school district would begin receiving them in March or April. The increased cost to each taxpayer is $70 per $50,000 house value.
Last Updated on Friday, 01 November 2013
Written by Ian Fogle, Bellefontaine
As the November elections come around, local schools are again reaching out to citizens to assist with financial aid. Indian Lake is one school that has proposed a levy for this upcoming ballot. I have been researching the current issues on the ballot for my AP Government class.
In 2012, Indian Lake purposed a new levy that would generate 7.35-mills over the next 10 years, however, it failed. Since 2009, Indian Lake has had to reduce, “17 general education teachers, four reading specialist teachers, two intervention specialist teachers, five educational assistants, two custodians, and 64 supplemental contracts, (just to name a few),” says Superintendent O’Donnell. Indian Lake has endured a “loss of state revenue” of $1,158,000 since 2010.” The levy is said to cost $56 a year for properties valued at $100,000. Superintendent O’Donnell says the money collected from the levy is needed for, “all operations of the school system.” When asked about the recent scores on the school’s grade card and the correlation to this levy Mr. O’Donnell replied, “as funding continues to decrease then the board has to decrease expenditures by cutting staff. Then, test scores will suffer.”
Last Updated on Friday, 01 November 2013
Written by Brady Alexander Bechtel, Zanesfield
Hello, I am a student of the AP Government class at Benjamin Logan High School and we are researching local issues, levies and elections. I researched the upcoming Jefferson Township issue of maintaining and operating the Sloan Library. The projected voter turnout is only 11 percent. As students in the AP Government class were challenged with the task of motivating people to vote in the upcoming local election on November 5th, Jefferson Township officials are asking for a levy to fund the maintaining and operating of the library.
In my research I have found that if the levy is passed, there will be an increase of 0.5 millage on property tax for all residents living in Jefferson Township. There are on average 2,028 annual visits to the library as well as 624 visitors on their three Internet computers. The library currently has 7,980 print materials and 136 audio materials. The library is a non-profit organization. The library’s total operating revenue is $114,824 and the total operating expenditures are $55,106.
The library hosts various activities in Jefferson Township. Some of the activities include the toddler and preschool storytime and crafts and Library Club for kids ages 7-13. They also host an annual book sale during the Logan Hills Festival on Memorial Day weekend. The library also from time to time hosts the meetings of the Logan County Mayors Association. I would like to encourage all eligible voters to vote on this issue. You can vote at Tri-Valley Fire Department in Zanesfield. The address is 2568 Sandusky St., Zanesfield, OH 43360.
Brady Alexander Bechtel
Last Updated on Friday, 01 November 2013
Written by Lanny Davis, Lewistown
I have been a Stokes Township Trustee for the past 16 years, but will be retiring at the end of the year. During this span of time there have been many improvements made and several projects completed, of which I’m very proud to have been a part of. Drainage issues have been a large problem for us, but most of these issues have been addressed and solved. Contracting with the sheriff’s department to patrol the township has worked out very well. Installing an emergency siren at the Indian Lake Campgrounds is another safety feature. We have been fiscally responsible with township funds and are financially sound.
Having served with Dennis Wischmeyer for over four years and Robert Lehman for one year, I’m confident that they will continue to make sound decisions. Both of these gentlemen are self-employed and have the time to address problems that many times happen on very short notice. They will be full-time trustees. Both have their CDL license and are able to help with snow removal. Neither of these gentlemen have a personal vendetta as their reason for running. They also have had very good attendance records at our regular monthly meetings.
On November 5th, please support Dennis Wischmeyer and Robert Lehman for Stokes Township Trustee.
Last Updated on Friday, 01 November 2013
Written by Natalie J. Bahan, Bahan Law, LLC, Bellefontaine
This letter is in response to Nate Smith’s recent article “The other, other side of the coin,” and Chief Brandon Standley’s comments in the recent Examiner article concerning Ms. Romine’s recent theft charge. From reading both articles, it is clear to me that the chief and Nate have both entirely missed the reason why the public finds the “summons” Ms. Romine received repugnant. Ms. Romine is developmentally disabled and destitute. It’s not that the public doesn’t think it was criminal behavior to steal from the fountain, nor does the public believe lying to police is acceptable from the average citizen. But the point is Ms. Romine is not “average.” By definition alone, Ms. Romine is “below” average.
The public expects law enforcement to uphold the law. However, they also can use discretion. What this means is that they are not required to arrest or cite every violation of the law they happen to witness. A fact, for which, anyone who has received a “warning” instead of a “traffic citation” are very grateful. Public expectation is that law enforcement will exercise this discretion wisely. We also expect that they are trained in sensitivity and have the ability to recognize unusual situations, including someone’s less than average ability to make sound judgments, which might in turn lead them to steal or lie. After checking her record and conversing with her for a few minutes, they should have been able to glean enough information to respond to the situation without issuing a summons. The correct and compassionate response, regardless of her deception (which was probably driven by hunger), would have been to give her a warning and help her in any way they reasonably could. If she did it again, the summons would have been appropriate.
Nate Smith comments, “At no point was she ever arrested in this case, no one ever threatened to take her to jail.” That is completely false. Petty theft is a misdemeanor of the 1st degree and carries with it a potential jail sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The threat is real. Apparently, even Ms. Romine knew that. Most first time petty theft offenders receive a sentence of three days in jail and a $550 fine in Bellefontaine Municipal Court.
Nate Smith further comments, “Ms. Romine is not wrong to try and parlay this saga into years’ worth of economic security.” Mr. Smith, are you suggesting that she has the sophistication it requires to raise the public outcry her “summons” has caused and to further turn that into a moneymaking event? When did $14,000 become “years’ worth of economic security.”
Expression of authority not tempered with compassion is the reason why there has been a public outcry. Besides, what do they use the money in the fountain for anyway?
Natalie J. Bahan
Bahan Law, LLC,
Last Updated on Friday, 01 November 2013
Written by Andrew Johnson, West Mansfield
On November 5th, you, as residents of the Benjamin Logan School District are being asked to approve a new emergency levy. I urge you to please read the following before you decide.
Back in May of this year the school put a levy on the ballot and it did not pass. The school, I am sure, was not expecting it to fail, however it did. Now the school district has chosen to come to voters again with a levy that will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $11.66 per month. This is not an overly burdensome amount of money. Until you look at the fact that most people in the district don’t receive pay raises every year and adding more to their tax bill would make them have to tighten their belts while allowing the school district to keep expanding theirs.
On Friday, the 25th of October I received “The Ben Logan Journal” in the mail. This is the first time that the school district has sent anything to the residents of the school district to let them know that they want more money. Yes they have had school board meetings and have discussed putting the levy on the ballot but to wait until 11 days before election day to inform the average voter seems wrong. In the Journal the school states what will happen if the levy fails. Student teacher ratios, extra and co-curricular activities and student intervention programs will be negatively impacted. But my question is how will they be negatively impacted? What is the student/teacher ratio now and what will it be if the levy fails and would it still be within state guidelines.
Extra and co-curricular activities are not so important that you have to pay a teacher to do it. If a teacher wants to coach a school team then they should volunteer their time and not expect the school to pay them extra to do it. This goes for the school board as well (each member is paid about $6,000 to sit on the board). Do it because you want to help the school, not because you want to make extra money. Let the parents of children that want to do extracurricular’s pay for their child to participate. It is not fair for the whole to subsidize a program that only benefits a few.
In the Journal they list new employees. One thing that struck me was that they have a new dean of students at the middle school. Why does middle school need a dean of students? Why can’t the vice principal do this job? This is just one example of Ben Logan over hiring. There are many more. The school states they have cut $1,500,000 over the last three years and they cannot cut more. In a recent school board meeting the treasurer said that the school would be $500,000 in the hole at the end of the school year. At the same meeting the superintendent stated that she wanted the board to approve them getting a loan to install air conditioning. This makes no sense. Such an outlay of money for maybe two weeks in the fall and two weeks in the spring cannot be justified. The thing you do when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.
This school district needs to learn that you have to make hard choices when it comes to money and you have to live within your means. I urge you to vote your conscience on election day and send a message to Ben Logan Schools that, yes you are doing a great job, but you have to stop digging before asking for more money from voters that cannot afford it.
Last Updated on Thursday, 31 October 2013