Friday, October 30, 2009

Say it ain't so: Dover Swifty's is history

Dover's last "We Pump The Gas" filling station -- Swifty's on S. Wooster Ave. -- has been shuttered.
This will come as horrible news to those who have depended on the station's attendants over the years to do the dirty work, especially in the winter. Plus, you got a discount if you paid with cash.
The station also lagged behind others when it came time to hike the price, so it saved more than a few drivers a little cash.
It doesn't quite feel like a death in the family, but it does leave another hole in the retail landscape.

More endorsements

There are clear choices for Dover Schools’ voters in the upcoming election.
This blog endorses longtime incumbent Steven Mastin and newcomer Shaun M. Immel to fill two seats on the Dover Board of Education.
Other candidates are Steve Page and Landon L. Anderson. Vacating her seat is Beverly McHenry.
Mastin, who has served on the board 16 years, still is a tireless supporter of Dover schools. Criticism has been leveled at him for being on the board “too long.” That’s bunk. He has the experience, knowledge and drive to continue in an effective role.
Forty-one-year-old Shaun Immel also impresses. He serves as chief technology officer at Micro-Poise Measurement Systems LLC of Akron.
A Dover High and University of Akron product, Immel has served on numerous community and school-related organizations.
He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children.
Both Mastin and Immel deserve your vote on Nov. 3.
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Because I know all four candidates who are vying for three at-large seats on Dover City Council, this blog will refrain from making an endorsement in that race.
The candidates are incumbent Democrat Don Maurer, incumbent Republican Joseph A. Parolini and former Democrat councilmen Dan Minnis and Anthony J. Korns.
All of the candidates certainly are qualified to serve and good luck to them. Hopefully, we’ll hear some noise from the new council because contrary to popular belief, Dover is far from being a little Mecca.
I give less than satisfactory marks to current and previous councils, which have faltered on occasion in their watchdog roles. Running a multi-million dollar operation like a city requires oversight. Lots of it.
A resolution for 2010? Do your job, council. Ask questions. Lots of them.
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New Philadelphia’s Ward 2 residents have the opportunity on Tuesday to say goodbye to Councilman Robert Conner, who is the extreme opposite of Dover’s “quiet” councilmen. His shenanigans have been well-publicized.
This blog strongly endorses John Zucal for the seat.
Zucal’s brother-in-law, Darrin Lautenschleger, also is a councilman while his brother, Jim Zucal, is the city’s service director. If John Zucal wins the seat, I feel for family members who presumably will be exposed to a lot of shop talk.
If this were Cuyahoga County, I’d be worried about such a situation. But it’s not. It’s Tuscarawas County, where family involvement in public service is not necessarily a bad thing.
John Zucal promises to listen to constituents and work with colleagues and there’s no reason to doubt that. Richard Buterbaugh also is running for the seat.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yes, Yes, Yes

Hi, folks. I’m back – a little earlier than I had planned but the upcoming election forced me to weigh in now rather than later.
I’m not sure what direction this blog will take, or whether I will continue it into the distant future. A lot depends on the feedback that you, the reader, provides. And, of course, I need to make some money and that fact might preclude my offering a smattering of opinions and/or news.
Likewise, I’m uncertain what direction this blog will take when it comes to publishing your comments. I am not enamored with the state of online newspaper comment sections that for the most part resemble the Old West at high noon – everybody’s shooting at somebody.
So, let’s get on with it.
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Recently, I received a political mailing that was headlined, "Ohio Democrats are Voting NO on Issue 3." Prominent Democrats against Issue 3 include Gov. Ted Strickland, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher.
After those names, the list gets a little dicey.
Others mentioned included state Rep. Ted Celeste of Columbus, Parma Mayor Dean DePiero, state Sen. Teresa Fedor of Toledo, Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady, Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and state Rep. Tyrone Yates of Cincinnati.
In addition, a TV ad proclaims that one of the promoters of Issue 3 – Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert – once was arrested for illegal bookmaking. Well, yes, he was – while he was a student at Michigan State (his record ultimately was expunged).
Big deal.
Given the current economic situation in Ohio – it ain’t pretty – it’s time to finally bite the bullet and allow construction of casinos.
In other words and for what it’s worth, the editorial board of this blog (me) endorses passage of Issue 3 on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Is Issue 3 a perfect solution? No, of course not. It only allows for construction of casinos in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo. Gilbert is involved in the Cleveland and Cincinnati plans. And if the casinos are successful, Gilbert and friends will make money. If they aren’t, Gilbert and friends are the big losers.
One can only imagine what would have happened in distressed Lorain County if Alan Spitzer had been permitted to transform an old shipbuilding site into a Las Vegas-style casino resort back in the early ‘90s.
But voters throughout the state turned down Spitzer’s proposal because, well, it wasn’t perfect.
Been to Lorain lately? It ain’t pretty.
In the meantime, while we looked for the perfect solution and depended on our underperforming Legislature for one, our neighboring states planted gaming sites close to our borders in order to tap into Ohioans’ pocketbooks.
OK, see if you can wrap your arms around these bullet points:
-- The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cincinnati Enquirer have endorsed passage of Issue 3 despite long histories of being against casino gambling in Ohio for whatever reason. Could it be the editors at those esteemed institutions looked out their ivory tower windows and were alarmed by what they saw?
-- Editors, by their nature, are primarily conservative in their outlooks on society. We don’t want to be too Democratic or too Republican or too anything. And gambling is rather decadent in nature (isn’t it?) and we would rather you spend your money on four Cleveland Browns tickets than blow $200 for a chance at a million and that’s the main reason most newspapers don’t endorse casino issues, excepting the PD and Enquirer this time around.
-- The newspapers that didn’t endorse Issue 3 will gladly accept any advertising thrown their way if the casinos are built.
-- There are many Democrats who are supporters of Issue 3. Check out the list at
-- Most politicians don’t want to go out on a limb and reveal that they are for casino gambling, although privately they’ll admit that "we have to get it done."
-- The casinos will employ thousands of Ohioans, although it’s conceivable that some skilled positions might go to out-of-state residents who have the qualifications. It’s conceivable that some of those people are ex-Ohioans.
The state is broke and our big cities need be reinvigorated. Issue 3 will help on both counts.
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It’s tough to get excited about Issues 1 and 2.
Issue 1 gives rather meager bonuses – $500 to $1,000 – to veterans of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan by allowing the state to issue $200 million in bonds (at no cost to the taxpayers). How can anyone be against that?
Issue 2 is a pre-emptive move to create an agricultural board that ultimately will determine what’s right and what’s wrong with how our farmers treat the animals that provide us our food supply, and it amends the constitution to empower the board.
I don’t like amending the constitution to accomplish something like this, but like I said before … if you wait on the Legislature…
This blog supports passage of Issues 1 and 2.
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See you next time.