Sunday, November 20, 2011

JoePa failed in father figure role

Originally published in the Tuscarawas County edition of the Bargain Hunter.

I feel for the students and alumni of Pennsylvania State University. Through no fault of their own, their school will be forever tarnished by a child abuse scandal that is so appalling that even legendary football coach Joe Paterno couldn’t survive the ensuing firestorm.

And it’s not over yet.

Look for no sympathy for JoePa from this corner. In 2002, a graduate assistant informed the coach that a 10-year-old boy was sodomized in his locker room by a trusted colleague. Paterno then dropped the matter into the lap of his athletic director. Somehow, the report never left the confines of Penn State.
I’d like to think that if I walked in on a child abuser in action that I’d at least go a little nuts on him. Most fathers I know would.

Is Joe Paterno a father figure? Hardly.
And by the way, news media, Paterno is not caught up in a “sex scandal.” Sodomizing a little boy is violent molestation and child abuse. It’s torturing a child’s mind. It’s stealing his innocence.
It is not a “sex scandal.”
You have to love Sugarcreek.

In a newspaper report detailing the mayoral victory by Clayton Weller, we learned that repairing the town cuckoo clock apparently is high on Weller’s agenda.

“Weller is a native of the village, and wants to see the cuckoo clock in place, repaired and running,” stated the story.

It went on to quote Weller, to wit: “I hope to do what I can to help the area grow and help our local businesses to thrive and listen to the people and also try to get Sugarcreek on the map for positive things.”
I can’t say that I was aware that the town’s cuckoo clock was out of commission, but apparently outgoing Mayor Jeremiah Johnson failed to give it the priority it was due. He was defeated 576 to 198.

Let this be a warning to other incumbent small-town mayors.

Got a street light that’s burned out? A big pothole on Main St.? A bad cuckoo clock?
Pay attention to the details, folks. Sometimes it’s the little things that count. I’m being serious here. Really.
After my last commentary, an online responder wondered why I didn’t run for mayor or city council. That’s a fair enough question.

There are several reasons. I would absolutely hate passing out campaign literature and canvassing neighborhoods, especially on beautiful summer and autumn days.

I’d also hate having to attend chicken and Swiss steak dinners night after night and listen to politicos of every shape and size drone on and on.

And I would hate sitting in that little house on the Square every Christmas season, pretending I was Santa Claus.
A couple of years ago, I congratulated New Philadelphia Mayor Ron Brodzinski on his impending retirement.
“I’m really going to enjoy getting up on Sunday morning and not having to worry about whether my name is in your column,” Brodzinski said.

I was flattered and humbled by his comment. So, I think I’ll pass on the politics thing for the time being and continue offering my take on things right here – well, as long as the Bargain Hunter folks allow.
Dover City Council, you can relax now.

I know the ballot issue that proposed a new Dover High School in the north end of the city got absolutely trounced. But there was no call for the cheap shots aimed at members of the Dover City Schools administration and Board of Education, along with community members, who against the odds worked tirelessly in an effort to move the community forward.

Reading a full page of anonymous, venom-infected comments in the local daily newspaper made me about half sick.

Would they prefer the uneducated, uninformed and derelicts make decisions on our behalf?

A friend of mine put it succinctly in an email to me: “The board is made up of citizens who were elected by voters and volunteer their time and make a good faith effort to provide the best educational programs they can for the kids. To read the dozens of printed and online comments, the board is some dastardly mix of arrogant, out-of-touch, elitist, anti-democratic boobs who to a person does not understand the word ‘NO!’

“The undercurrent of class warfare is there as well. From the comments, there’s a lot of jealousy that successful business people were in the forefront of the levy campaign. Who should be doing it – a bunch of minimum wage, underachieving, anti-education boobs?”

This isn’t class warfare. It’s about having a vision for a better community. It’s why there is now a beautiful Performing Arts Center at Kent-Tuscarawas.

I applaud those who stepped up. We need them. I pray they have thick skins.

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