Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Cleveland Clinic wins the bidding contest for Union Hospital

I’ve seen quite a few opinions voiced on Facebook about the purchase of Union Hospital by Cleveland Clinic and, for what it’s worth, I thought I’d offer my own observation.

Union Hospital is a jewel in our community. Employing 1,100 people, it is not only a viable and necessary medical facility, but an economic driver. Its independence has served its community well over the decades, expanding into necessary areas (such as building a state of the art trauma center) and abandoning services that other facilities are better equipped to provide.

Make no mistake that an independent medical facility, managed locally by your neighbors, that can meet expenses and save for the future is the best option for this community. Sadly, the demographics of our community – an increasing number of Medicare and Medicaid patients – don’t help the bottom line.

Enter the Cleveland Clinic.

Personally, I am owing to both facilities. If competent medical personnel weren’t employed locally at Union and for sure at the renowned Cleveland Clinic, I probably wouldn’t be writing this. We can be sure of this: Things going forward will be different and some of that will be good and some will be bad.

I’m told from an independent source that the Clinic is very agreeable to purchasing state-of-the-art equipment for its facilities. That will help Union keep pace with advancement. Time will tell what happens to the 100 beds inside Union.

And at the same time, say goodbye to local control. Your neighbors might serve on a board, but their input will be weighed accordingly.

Meanwhile, all 1,100 employees will answer to Cleveland. While most employees might applaud the sale, it’s my guess Union-employed doctors probably are not jumping up and down over the prospect of answering to what will be a far more authoritarian Cleveland Clinic.

The Times-Reporter used the word “partner” in an editorial rather than “new owner” in describing the Union-Cleveland Clinic relationship. It’s a lot like what’s happening in the newspaper business when small, community newspapers are gobbled up by big publishing conglomerates. Smart corporate types will use the word “partner” in the initial news release. But don’t believe it.

Cleveland Clinic outbid other healthcare providers, including, according to sources, Canton’s Aultman Hospital and Cleveland’s University Hospital systems. Both are quality alternatives. I think it’s safe to assume that the Clinic’s offer was financially the best one.

What happens to the proceeds?

Well, this is where it gets dicey. The proceeds from the sale, minus obligations that Cleveland Clinic will be forced to assume, will be deposited into a charitable foundation. Many details, such as who will serve as a stewards of that money and the goals of such a foundation, are sketchy and are probably among the details to be worked out in coming months.

Personally, the Clinic’s purchase is good news for me. My health care is dictated by the folks in J Building on the Clinic’s main campus, but I have visited a number of Clinic satellite facilities, including a former Akron General one in Green, for lab work. With Union a part of the system, it will make my life easier and my digital record more accurate. (Yeah, I pay attention to the numbers.)

In my visits to the Clinic’s Green facility over a period of a couple of weeks recently, the large “Akron General Hospital” signs were downsized and replaced by larger “Cleveland Clinic” ones. I think you can bet on Union’s “UH” signage to become much smaller in the coming months and for “Cleveland Clinic” to assume space on the side of the building on the Boulevard.

And that, folks, will signal an end to an era.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

After extended 'vacation,' back on the blog beat

Edited and updated Jan. 29, 2017, at 12:15 p.m.

I saw on Facebook a thread on which people lamented the fact that Dover City Schools were going to use eminent domain to acquire the Dairy Queen property, which sits in the footprint of the new high school campus.

This should not be a surprise to anyone and underscores my belief that people actually don’t absorb the news. They just scan it and believe what they want to believe. To hell with the facts.

The David Angel family of Dover owns the property, which is now being managed by Angel’s son-in-law and daughter – Dave and April Angel-Yoder. I’m not sure whose name is actually on the property, but over the years it’s been operated/owned by various members of the Angel family.

When the possibility was raised that the property might be needed if Dover were to construct a new high school in the neighborhood (which subsequently proved to be what voters wanted), Angel assured the Dover Board of Education that he would work with members on a price for the property.

As the property changed hands over the years, the value of it remained constant – about $160,000.

All the other property owners in the path of the new campus settled with the board on prices for their properties and to my knowledge did so willingly.

That leaves one option for the school district to acquire the Dairy Queen property – eminent domain. My guess is that the Angel family will net $160,000 or a little more.

And now the people who have only been scanning the news rather than actually reading it are boo-hooing on behalf of the Angel family.

I’m never surprised by such developments. People read headlines and watch TV (see Trump). That’s about it.

***
Speaking of the news, GateHouse Media has parted company with Times-Reporter Editor Melissa Griffy Seeton and at least a couple other GateHouse Ohio staffers.

GateHouse is a vicious cost cutter and another round of layoffs indicates that it’s been another year of diminished returns. And I think we’re a little closer to the possibility of a non-daily newspaper serving our area.

Good luck to Melissa in whatever endeavor she undertakes.

***
Congratulations are in order for WJER and radio listeners throughout the Tuscarawas Valley. The longtime Dover-New Philadelphia station is an adding a FM version after selling off 101.7 10 years ago. Hard to believe it's been so long. The FM station will offer a mirror of the station's AM broadcast.

By the way, if you’re interested in a daily news briefing without forcing you to sort through honor rolls and sports stories, check out WJER’s website and bookmark its news page. That takes me to my next subject…

***
As primarily a consumer of news and information, I have to indict newspapers, TV stations and major electronic news outlets for their horrible websites that have become bogged down with pop-up ads, unwanted videos and irritating electronic billboards urging readers to subscribe.

If you’re lucky, maybe you can read the story after dealing with the clutter, but you’re better off getting your news feed from social media if you’re on a mobile device, or Microsoft’s new Windows 10 news feed if you’re using a laptop. The Windows 10 news feed offers numerous stories, photos and editorial cartoons from numerous sources without the annoying clutter.

Sorry, newspapers. And, no, I’m not subscribing to 10 different websites. Quit asking.

***
Early reviews of the plans by the new owner of Atwood Lodge and Conference Center are mostly positive. The general reaction to the idea of turning the lodge into an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility is “we’ve needed something like this for a long time.”

I’m OK with it as well and apparently so are a number of investors. I’m told that rehab centers generate a fairly decent return on investment.

Based on the amount of money put into New Philadelphia’s Hospice facility – a former nursing home – I would think such a conversion of the lodge into a rehab facility would cost upwards of $5 million to $10 million. So, the project will need a significant infusion of money to succeed.

I’m curious what will happen to the facility’s liquor license. Does it die with the resort, or can it move on to somewhere else? Let me know if you know.

(Update: From MWCD Director John Hoopingarner: "The liquor license at Atwood Lodge is a hybrid of sorts. If you recall, the area around the lodge was 'dry'. As the lodge struggled in the late '70s, conservancy district officials appealed to State Rep. William Hinig.

"He helped spearhead legislation that created the opportunity for publicly owned hotels of 100 rooms or more to obtain a liquor license without having to go through a local option election. This legislation helped Atwood Lodge and several other remotely located state park lodges as well.

"The thinking was the ability to serve alcohol would improve business. The license at the lodge has been maintained as such. Radius Hospitality (former operators of the Lodge under agreement with Carroll County) does not own the license, nor are they able to use it elsewhere. Because the lodge is now privately owned, the liquor license effectively evaporates."

Thank you, John.)

***
I can’t put my finger on why I’m losing interest in Facebook – maybe it’s the dogs and cats -- but I’ve mostly moved to Twitter for discussion on the issues. On Twitter I can respond briefly with zingers. I love it.

Some -- not all -- of things I’ve seen and read on Facebook border on being ludicrous, not including the dogs and cats and those tasty-looking meals at your favorite Mexican restaurant. Fake news reigns supreme and the idiots who blame mainstream media for all problems are about all I can take.
(If you remember, I was a longtime member of mainstream media and my goal and that of everyone I worked with and knew in the business was to deliver the truth. I don’t think that’s changed.)

There are also a large number of Facebook users who want to escape from political discourse, posting pictures of their kids, grandkids, food and, of course, dogs and cats. They don’t want to read about politics. And it’s probably why “Dancing with the Stars” continues to be a TV ratings winner – escapism.

So, I’m trying to limit my Facebook issue-based posts while using Twitter to answer the Great Orange One’s tweets. After all, he’s not reading my Facebook posts. At least I don’t think so.
You can follow me on Twitter by searching for dfarrell_dover.

***
For the life of me, I can’t figure how some of my friends, neighbors and family members cast a ballot for a man who mocked the disabled, who is the world’s biggest narcissist, who is a bigot, who is a liar, and who obviously has some mental health issues.

He’s pathological.

Vocabulary.com defines “pathological” thusly: “If something is caused by a physical or mental disease, it is pathological. Someone with a pathological compulsion for cleanliness might scrub the floors for hours every night.”

Trump is a pathological liar.

And he has surrounded himself with men and women, including but not limited to Sean “Baghdad Bob (reincarnated)” Spicer and Kelleyanne “Propaganda Barbie” Conway, to provide the masses with “alternative facts.”

Any of this scare you?

If it’s not obvious to you, well, maybe you’re part of the problem. And don’t be leaving me hate notes on Facebook. I don’t want to read them.

The man has been president for a week and every day brings a new concern. A couple days ago, we’re told the government is going to probe dead voters because Trump can’t handle the fact he didn’t win the popular vote.

Yesterday, he banned some Muslims from entering the United States, although not from the countries that gave us the 911 terrorists. He’s handpicked a few Muslim-populated countries (seven to be exact) such as Iran and Iraq. We shed a lot of blood in the latter country to free its population from a demagogue. Now we won’t let their citizens into our country. Trump also is irked we didn’t steal Iraqi oil.

Meanwhile, countries that host a Trump investment get a pass.

Expect more daily consternation.

Meanwhile, a plurality of voters doesn’t seem to care. I’m hoping that fact changes sooner rather than later because I really think Trump is a danger to the Republic.

After hours of research and watching and listening to Trump voters interviewed on cable TV, it’s apparent that the Great Orange One spoke to a lot of one-issue voters.

He got the pro-life vote (see religious right).

He got the gun vote (see National Rifle Assn. rolls).

He got the under-employed vote (see Walmart).

He got the vote of depressed small-town inhabitants (see Wilmington, Ohio).

He got the vote of coal miners and their families (See West Virginia).

He got the military vote (See communities outside U.S. bases).

He got the Mexico border population vote (See Arizona).

He got the oil vote (See pipelines).

He got the traditional Republican businessman vote (See marketplace regulations and stock market numbers).

And he got the racist and dumb vote (see angry white guys afraid of people who don’t look like them and people who weren’t paying attention in school).

Throw in the people who wasted their votes on third-party candidates and we have a Trump presidency. Yeah, it’s their fault, too.

God help us.






Sunday, December 18, 2016

Lovable Ed a fixture in the news business

The Tuscarawas Valley news business lost its most veteran member – Ed DeGraw, 92, of Dover, who reported for a gazillion years for The Times-Reporter and other publications.

I’m not sure the business can create characters like Ed any longer. Always puffing on his pipe and sipping a Coke, Ed was a fixture in our newsroom, sitting in his little corner of the world pontificating about everything and launching into a rant without warning.

Ed was one of the few reporters and photographers that I managed who actually liked covering the county fair – it could get tedious -- and in tandem with another veteran, Joe Mizer, provided unprecedented coverage for our local agricultural community year after year. I suspect that demographic has noticed that coverage might not be the same since Ed and Joe retired.

But that’s not all.

Ed didn’t understand the concept of overtime pay and would show up for work on days off because there was a story or column to be written. Need a volunteer? Ed would raise his hand.

He’d cover the cops, or city council. Or attend that all-important chicken dinner without complaint. God love him.

I don’t remember him ever calling in sick, or asking to be excused from traveling to work because of bad weather. And he brought a historical view to the news that he wrote -- sometimes to a fault. He knew when stuff happened. Ed was our Google before Google.

It sounds corny, but Ed had the proverbial nose for news and maintained sources on all levels. The first phone call I received on a fateful Sunday morning a couple of decades ago was from Ed who reported that “New Philadelphia High is on fire” and that we needed to rally the troops. A source had tipped him off.

Ed also had a special relationship with gardeners. At the first sign of frost, Ed would knock out a column, offering his thoughts on preparing the soil for winter and he wrote that column from scratch every year. His other passion was the Cleveland Indians, but his sportswriter roots allowed him to offer commentary on every aspect of athletics. And he did. Often.

I suspect God is getting an earful from Ed right now. And if God is smart, he better listen. I suspect He’ll learn something.

***
A few more quick hits and I’ll let you get on with your pre-Christmas activities:

--Please don’t ask me “What do you think of Trump now?” That question usually comes from a Fox News devotee who hasn’t been paying attention. It gets me all riled up and puts me in a really bad mood.

--It seems to me that every elementary school should have its own principal. I would have gone nuts in my elementary school without Sister Monica waving her paddle (with holes drilled in it to alleviate wind resistence) at my fellow hooligans. Fortunately, New Philadelphia Superintendent David Branch agrees and will request Monday that the Board of Education approve the hiring of a full slate of building principals effective Jan. 1.

--If you study the tax duplicate for the famous Dairy Queen which sits in the footstep of the new Dover High campus you will come to the conclusion that the property is worth about $160,000. In my mind, that would be a good offer from the school district to the Yoder-Angel family which owns the property.

--Driving north on N. Wooster Ave. recently, I noticed that I got stopped by only one traffic light, which is a vast improvement over the old system. There’s still more work to be done before the synchronization project is completed and traveling south is still dicey through the retail portion of S. Wooster Ave.

--I’m still encountering folks who are unaware of the existence of this blog. If someone happens to mention to you that he/she can’t find Farrell’s column in the Bargain Hunter, tell them to Google "dickfarrell.blogspot.com." It’s easily found.

--This is probably my last offering before Christmas. I hope you and your family have a great holiday. Talk to you soon.







Saturday, December 3, 2016

New frenzy: 'Take his phone away, take his phone away, take his phone away...'

Warning to my relatives south of the Mason-Dixon Line, staunch Republican friends everywhere and Hillary Clinton haters: You’re not going to like this.

I have been trying to be a good loser and give Donald Trump the benefit of all my doubts.

Doubts? I have had a few.

Less than a month after the election, it is clear to me that we did, in fact, elect a Tweeting reality TV star as opposed to anything resembling a statesman or leader of the free world. In other words, we chose an idiot.

In the interest of space, I won’t go into all of the reasons I decided to abandon hope for Trump. I’ll just focus on a few recent ones:

--He “saved” 1,000 Indiana jobs by striking a deal with the state of Indiana -- that would be the VP's home state -- to provide a $7 million tax break to Carrier Corp., which admitted later that it was only going to move 700 jobs to Mexico. I’m sure news of the deal lit up boardrooms across the country with executives plotting how they will weasel their own deal. Even Sarah Palin was critical of Trump’s “corporate cronyism.” Sarah Palin. Think about that.

--During a stop on his victory tour, he whipped a Cincinnati audience into frenzy, a la the campaign trail. The supporters broke into the intolerant “Lock her up” chant, which sends chills down my anti-fascist back. Then he announced his pick for secretary of defense, which apparently surprised the transition team, including close confidant Kellyanne Conway, who frankly has overstayed her 15 minutes of fame.

--He engaged in a free-flowing phone conversation with Taiwan’s leader even though such conversations violate a U.S. policy and protocol since 1979. So in less than a month, he’s irritated the world’s most populous country -- an important market to U.S. manufacturers and a cog in global supply chain -- sucked up to Russia and had niceties with Pakistan, which wouldn’t mind nuking its neighbor and our ally India. Nice job, Donald.

I’ll let the experts pass judgment on his cabinet picks, which hopefully won’t include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who as far as I can tell is qualified only to serve as the court jester. He’d make a good one.

Now, none of my relatives or friends has publicly admitted to me that they regret their Trump vote. I suspect it’s a lot like when you buy a car that you brag about but which you find out later actually is a piece of junk. You’re not going to admit you have buyer's remorse.

In the aftermath of the 1972 presidential election and in the wake of the Watergate scandal, a lot of people slapped bumper stickers on their cars that said “Don’t blame me. I voted for McGovern.” Perhaps, we’ll see an updated version of that slogan in the wake of the 2016 election.

Anyway, God help us.

***
I’m happy to report that I got through the first part of the holidays without engaging in any arguments with relatives over the election.

I did, however, hide the posts of a lot of “friends” on Facebook, which in an odd way I felt bad about because I was tailoring my news feed to suit my viewpoint. The deciding factor, however, was a propensity by so many people to cite fake news sources as reasons for hating Hillary.

And that brings me to the underscoring problem: People are ill-informed. They don’t read. They don’t understand history or our global relationships and how they came about. Americans can be dumb.

***
And speaking of education…

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce is supporting legislation that would make financial literacy a high school graduation requirement.

And so do I.

There are too many young adults saddled with enormous debt after graduating (or not) from college, who are easily securing loans and credit card debt without one thought to the future.

House Bill 383 would require high school students to complete a one-half credit course. The number of electives would be reduced from 5 to 4.5.

Hopefully, if the bill is passed, the Legislature will provide schools with funding to teach the subject. I guess that’s part of financial literacy as well.

***
Here’s an interesting little tidbit that you probably won’t read about in the Canton Repository, the official Pro Football Hall of Fame newspaper. (Yes, really.)

In the wake of a lawsuit over cancellation of the 2016 game, it has come to light, via the New York Post, that Hall of Fame President David Baker had a little trouble with the law back in the 1980s.
In an article headlined “How Roger Goodell let a check-forging politician run the Hall of Fame,” the Post detailed Baker’s run-in with the California justice system.

Goodell, who serves on the Hall of Fame’s board of trustees, supported the hiring of Baker back in 2014. The job pays $367,000 a year.

That, folks, is landing on your feet.

***
I’m not sure why but I haven’t seen anything in the local press about the closing of Green Valley Golf Club. (If I missed something, please let me know.)

Green Valley, one of the area’s oldest courses, was challenging to say the least. Its greens gave me fits.

Anyway, operator Gary Miller announced on Facebook on Oct.10 that the course was closing with this (edited) message:

“Well, a long history of New Philadelphia closed last night. Green Valley Golf Club is no longer open this year and maybe for the future. With the lack of new golfers and old diehard golfers getting too old to play golf, (it has become) a challenge for every course in the Tuscarawas Valley.

“So support your local courses and keep them open. On behalf of my dad Merv, mom Millie and myself, I want to thank everyone who supported us for almost 40 years -- lots and lots of memories. I have seen young boys turn into young men.

“We all have had a blast here but like the saying goes all good things must come to an end. It has been an emotional roller coaster for me when we just could not get together on the lease, but we all sure tried. So, thanks to all.”

Miller was among area operators who welcomed youngsters to their courses and treated them as important future customers. Among them was my son. I thank Gary Miller for that. Goodbye, Green Valley.

***
Remember the sale of Atwood Lodge and Conference? It’s been delayed again, this time until Jan. 13, according to the Carrollton Free PressStandard.


Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A retrospective on the election (kind of)

I decided to let the dust settle a little bit before I wrote anything about the election.

I am elated about the approval of a new Dover High School by voters in the Dover City School District. And I’m not so elated about the results of the presidential election, although I think the Republic somehow will survive if Donald Trump’s family takes away his Twitter account (watch those servers, Donald) and hides the nuclear codes from him.

But first, Dover…

Dover voters may not realize it but they just made their community much more attractive to families relocating to the area. With a new high school coming on line, families will look for homes within the district rather than buying a home in Jackson Township or North Canton, which have far superior educational facilities for their children.

Let Dover’s vote also be a wake-up call for New Philadelphia and Garaway. It’s time, folks, that you took a good look at your educational facilities and start to get serious about the future. Or Strasburg and now Dover are going to eat your lunch.

Let me also again address the letters of support from Dover Mayor Richard Homrighausen and City Councilman Don Maurer.

Before he got into the endorsement part of his letter – for which I am forever grateful -- the mayor schooled us citizens on why council didn’t endorse the high school project during one or more of its monthly caucus meetings.

“…It was a Committee Meeting of the Whole, and as such it was just what the name implies it was a ‘committee meeting.’ Committee meetings are where items are discussed, the pros and the cons of any issue, and not always is there concurrence reached among the wide and varied opinions.”

Let’s get this straight. If Council wanted to endorse the high school project it could have done so at a caucus meeting (or committee meeting of the whole) because there is nothing in the Ohio Revised Code to preclude that.

Meanwhile, I was told by a couple of readers that Maurer actually didn’t endorse the high school project in his letter. So, I went back and read it again.

Yep, they were right. Maurer stated only that Council had supported the schools. I don’t know how I misread that. So, I apologize to voters who might have been swayed by Maurer’s non-endorsement and, of course, to Maurer for getting his intentions wrong.

Let the record show that Maurer never supported the high school project, at least not that I know of.

 ***
Now that Dover is getting a new high school I can get behind other Dover projects, including downtown revitalization, traffic light synchronization, the riverside park, and a potential ice rink. Did I forget anything? Heck, I’m almost giddy.

I panned the riverside park project in my last offering because of the presence of those giant utility poles and maybe because I have this vision of glow-in-the-dark fish coming out of our river.

But a friend and an expert in the field of lakes, streams and rivers told me that a boat ramp, which was to be dedicated Nov. 12, is a wonderful thing for the Dover community and will allow our citizens to launch and float all kinds of boats. So, I also stand corrected on that issue. You know, mea culpa.

Plus, I’m in a better mood now that we’re finally replacing the decrepit high school.

***
In retrospect, Donald Trump ran a masterful campaign. He knew what would get his base fired into a frenzy. He told them anything – we’re going to build a wall; we’re going to stop Muslims from coming; we’re going to do away with Obamacare; we’re bringing back coal; we’re going to make America great again because, you know, it stinks, and on and on and on.

His tone, remarkably, has changed since last Tuesday when the weight of the world fell onto his shoulders.

Uh-oh.

It’s a given that Trump doesn’t read much. The reality star watches a lot of TV, we’re told, and that got me thinking.

I came up with a list of films and TV series he ought to watch before he takes office in January:

--“John Adams,” the acclaimed HBO series that should give Trump a pretty good idea about the formation of this country and its constitution. How great was America back then? Slaves helped build the White House, so it wasn’t so great just yet. And Adams was oblivious to that inhumanity, or at least accepted it, all the while he was ironing out the details of a democracy with his good friend (not) Thomas Jefferson.

--“Lincoln,” which underscores the enormous – I mean huge -- responsibility of trying to put a divided country back together. Americans were killing each other – not a great period in our history but we learned a great deal about how we need to treat each other. At least I thought we did.

--“All the President’s Men,” which should point out for Trump the role of the press in a free society and how an abuse of power can bring down a president. Be careful out there, Mr. Trump. Reporters everywhere are watching. As well they should be.

--“Saving Private Ryan,” which should offer him a dose of humility as he assumes the role of commander-in-chief. There certainly was greatness in the generation of Americans who rushed ashore on D-Day. (Historical note: Back in the homeland we were interning Japanese-Americans, or prior to that chasing German-Americans from their neighborhoods. See Columbus, Ohio’s GermanVillage. Do we have to mention the widespread segregation that was still prevalent during the period? That wasn't so great.)

--All of the episodes in “The West Wing,” which aired from 1999 to 2006. It’s a fictional account of the well-managed presidency of Democrat Josiah "Jed" Bartlet.  He even hired a Republican wonk for his staff who would remind you of Kellyanne Conway. We’re looking for tone and demeanor here, Mr. Trump. By the way, enlist Aaron Sorkin – the series’ creator – to write your speeches, although he doesn’t much care for you right now.

In the meantime, God help us.




Thursday, November 3, 2016

Wait until next year. Seriously.

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs.

Now that I have that off my chest, I have a couple of observations.

--I’m not sure Game 7 of the 2016 World Series was the greatest baseball game ever played as subjective pundits are saying repeatedly. If you’re an Indians fan, maybe the best game was Game 6 of the 1948 World Series, which the Indians won 4-3 over the Boston Braves, capturing its first championship since 1920. (Incidentally, the game’s duration was two hours and 16 minutes. 
Remember those days? Maybe if we could shorten the length of the games, the kids could watch.)

--If I were the owner of the Chicago White Sox, who won the World Series in 2005, I might ponder moving the team to Nashville. No one in Chicago seems to care about the White Sox with the exception of its South Side neighbors.

--How did all those darn Cubs fans get tickets to Game 7 in Cleveland? I don’t mind a couple of visiting fans but filling half the stadium with the enemy doesn’t bode well for the good guys.

--LeBron James really has become the king of Cleveland sports. When he talks, people listen. He provided the Indians words of encouragement after the game. Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen (“Wild Thing”) was a bust. Did anyone even notice him?

--The Indians won the “Best National Anthem” award. I mean the Cleveland Orchestra playing and the fans singing? How cool is that?

--If the Tribe can get Michael Brantley back and hold on to most of the players in 2017, I think they’ll be back. I really believe that. Really. (And Dover’s own Perci Garner needs to be on the active roster, too.)

***
When I first drafted this post, I discussed the nuances of letters to the editor by Dover Mayor Rick Homrighausen and City Councilman DonMaurer.

After reconsidering, I decided to thank both public officials for their support of the very important Dover High project proposal and move on to other things. I’m glad – the community is glad – to have their “yes” votes.

***
Also writing a letter to the editor – this is the season, you know – was April Angel-Yoder of Dover, whose family owns the Dairy Queen in the footprint of the Dover High project.

Angel-Yoder’s point was the school district under Ohio Facilities Commission rules could opt for renovation rather than new construction.

“I’m not ashamed to voice my opinion that demolishing our historic high school is not the best option for our community,” she wrote.

It’s true that the current facility could be renovated, but the taxpayers would be responsible for any costs above and beyond what the commission is willing to pay for new construction. In other words, renovation would cost taxpayers more money. Most, if not all, contractors do a lot of head shaking when asked the renovation question. I know. I’ve asked them.

In addition, I would debate Angel-Yoder that Dover High is somehow worth keeping because of its aesthetics. It looks like every other Ohio school building built shortly after the automobile was invented. It’s decrepit.

And one more point: Sources tell me that the Dover Board of Education has never discussed using its power of eminent domain to acquire Angel-Yoder’s Dairy Queen property. I’d be surprised if its owners weren’t fairly compensated.

***
Ever hear of ECOT?

ECOT is the state’s largest online charter school that siphons millions of taxpayer money from our public schools into the pockets of its for-profit owners.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the school handed diplomas to 2,374 students last spring.
“The one thing we do at ECOT is we graduate kids,” the Dispatch quoted Superintendent Rick Teeters as saying.

Yeah, right.

One out of every six high school dropouts in Ohio attended ECOT, or 3,252 students.

Our ruling political class in Columbus needs to be held accountable for the laughable performance of many of the state’s charter schools, including ECOT.

Next time you see Republicans state Rep. Al Landis and/or state Sen. Jay Hottinger ask them how they plan on solving this mess.

***
To all my New Philadelphia friends, it is not my fault the traffic lights in Dover still are not synchronized, to wit: “Your city sucks to drive through.”

I know, I know. It’s slow going out there.

And this week, the street department decided to paint new crosswalk lines on S. Wooster Ave. forcing two lanes of traffic into one. That also is not my fault.

I know it’s been since 1962, but the powers have promised a new traffic light system that eventually will make our lives easier. Patience, fellow motorists. Patience.

***
OK, I’m all for beautification projects, but I’m thinking our riverfront will never return to those simpler, more elegant times when courted ladies in long dresses would walk by the river with their beaus, using umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun and being coy about their intentions.

Among the aesthetic problems is the presence of 69-kilovolt transmission line poles in the neighborhood. Not sure a Gibson Girl ever came across one of those.

Meanwhile, I’ve been asking people I know if they’ve visited the riverfront since the city cleared the area along Front St.

They look at me like I’m crazy. For the record, I’m not crazy.
***
Repeat after me…

Just a few more days… Just a few more days … Just a few more days.




Friday, October 14, 2016

Saving Dairy Queen

Updated on Friday at 4:45 p.m. to reflect endorsements of the issue by two additional Dover councilmen.

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OK, I missed the edition, but I’m told there was a photo in our daily newspaper this week that not only speaks to the Dover High bond issue, but also to our community’s love of fast food.

“Save Our Dairy Queen.”

That’s right, folks.

Dairy Queen.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Apparently lovers of Dover’s Dairy Queen franchise are appealing to voters to save their bricks-and-mortar fast food joint on N. Tuscarawas Ave. rather than build a new high school on and around DQ's relatively small piece of real estate.

I have some bad news.

In a survey I took of Dover High seniors a couple of years ago, Dairy Queen finished dead last in the list of nearby fast food outlets that students head to during their 39-minute lunch period.

Why?

Because DQ’s drive-through line is the slowest on the planet, that’s why.

Personally, Dairy Queen only comes into play for me during the cold months when our community’s beloved Softies is not in operation. But if you need a quick milk shake fix during the winter, Wendy’s and McDonald’s fill the bill.

Now if Softies was located in the footprint of the new Dover High, well, that would be different.
Sorry, Dairy Queen.

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Apparently there is a small group of Dover citizens who will never see fit to replace our decrepit high school. Their members shall remain nameless, but I’m told they’re members of the same group that voiced displeasure with the last proposal.

One of the leaders of that Negative Nellie pack lent his artistic abilities to an anti-school proposal sign project. He made an estimated 15 rather ugly large signs – “Save DHS” -- that are now posted on like-minded individuals’ yards and properties throughout the community.

I have to believe he could have volunteered his time doing something worthwhile for the community – you know, like giving back – but, no, he was too busy with his signage project. I wonder how long it took him.

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Like I mentioned the last time we visited, time was running short for Dover City Council to reach a consensus and endorse the new high school project.

It’s not going to happen.

There is good news, however. Mayor Richard Homrighausen actually donned a campaign t-shirt and posed with a few other city officials, including Auditor Nicole Stoldt, Council President Shane Gunnoe, and Ward 1 Councilman Greg Bair. In addition, Councilman Justin Perkowski penned a letter to the editor offering his support of the project.

Also, Councilmen John Correll and John McFadden and Clerk Julie Leggett have formally endorsed the project with signed letters to the issue's leadership committee.

I have no evidence that council members Don Maurer, Sandy Moss and Bob Mueller support the project.

If you have evidence to the contrary, let me know.

Mueller, if you remember, previously said he can’t afford it although he’s paid more than $7,000 annually for attending a few council meetings a month. In case you’re interested in running for a seat, their terms are up at the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, members of just about every other political subdivision have, in fact, endorsed the project. Good for them.

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It’s partly my fault that “30 Seconds” lives on.

A little history: It was back in the ‘90s (before the Internet) that newspapers, including mine, were trying to connect better with readers and as a result features such as “30 Seconds” were born.

Initially, readers connected to a mechanical answering machine tucked away in a closet-like office and left all sorts of short messages. Callers weren’t really limited to 30 seconds. It was more of a suggestion; the machines actually listened for a minute.

Anyway, the better comments would make the cut and readers loved it. But whatever benefit it once offered, it now has degenerated into a vehicle for ignorance and intolerance.

Consider this recent entry:

“I am a senior citizen. Our children and grandchildren attended Dover schools, but we will not vote for a school levy until my great-grandchildren are taught how to write cursive and can add, subtract, multiply and divide. Some young people cannot even count your change back to you. A new building will not change this.”

Want to bet the caller doesn’t know how to use a computer?

“30 Seconds” needs to die.

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Speaking of schools in need of repair and renovation…

Hello, New Philadelphia. You there?

Both East and South elementary schools appear to be in need of serious exterior work, if not interior renovations.

Here’s the deal.

It’s unlikely you would live in a house for 25 years without updating or renovating. The same should go for schools. New Philadelphia High, for example, was remodeled after a fire severely damaged it in the early 1990s. That was 25 years ago.

Is it time to put more money into the facility? Absolutely.

Citizens need to understand that maintaining and updating school facilities is their responsibility. It goes with living and working in a community.