Bellefontaine Examiner

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Why openness is important in meetings and officials




If a public body and its officials want citizens to trust them with their hard-earned tax dollars, the safety of their families and general health and well-being of the community, they have to be open.

People want to know how their money is being spent and why.

And they want — no, they deserve — to know who is spending that money and making the decisions that impact their families, homes and daily lives.

The State of Ohio has a set of laws in place called the Ohio Sunshine Laws that are intended to protect Ohioans’ right to know what is happening in their government.

Just this week, a small village in Logan County flaunted those laws.

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 February 2016

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Understanding the difference between self-defense and reckless homicide



Read the news on any given day and it’s evident that violent acts are becoming ever more commonplace in American society in recent years.

The news of a mass shooting at the Columbine High School that left 12 students, a teacher and the two teenage shooters dead just days before I started at the Examiner in 1999 once shocked the nation. School shootings now seem to happen a couple times a year somewhere in the United States.

It seems as if people are becoming numb to the idea of death by shooting — especially the notion of teenagers using weapons to kill one another.

It’s unfortunate to say, but we, as the residents of Logan County, are now facing one such case that raises interesting questions and has the ability to set a precedent about our treatment and attitudes toward acts of violence in this community.

Last Updated on Monday, 11 January 2016

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Why real marijuana advocates urge ‘no’ vote on Issue 3



If there’s one thing hard-core hippies like more than hitting a hookah full of homegrown hashish, it’s hating on the money-mongering materialism of western society.

That may be a bit stereotypical, but it illustrates to a tee what is really wrong with the current ballot proposal regarding the legalization of marijuana in Ohio.

It is also the reason the real hippies — an amalgam of individuals who continue to exist within the fabric of American culture — find the proposed Issue 3 amendment as skunky as those who just don’t want weed legalized in the state.

Issue 3, as it will appear on the Tuesday ballot, would legalize marijuana for recreational use and make some half-hearted provisions for medical uses.

While the issue of whether or not to legalize cannabis and its active chemical ingredient THC is a valid question to ask voters to weigh in on, the proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution would not only legalize marijuana use, but would make permanent a whole set of laws on who can and cannot produce it.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 October 2015

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Wind-swept memories of Hurricane Katrina



Ten years ago today, I woke up at 6 a.m. and I knew it was going to be a bad day.    In fact, everyone in a 200-mile radius of me was also preparing for a really bad day. But just how bad it was going to get, few could imagine.

The weathercaster on the television was already announcing that Hurricane Katrina had made landfall in southeastern Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane. It must have weakened slightly overnight as the last I had heard before leaving my work at the Hattiesburg, Miss., American the night before was that it was still a massive Category 4 storm.

Regardless, it was one of the most destructive natural disasters this country had ever endured.

Fortunately, the electric was still working at my house north of Hattiesburg, but that wouldn’t last through my morning shower.

By the time Examiner subscribers read this piece over their morning coffee today, the winds would already have been starting to howl 100 miles inland in the village where I lived with my significant other at the time, Jennifer. 

It was certainly a difficult day as we lost one service after another — electricity and television followed by water service and eventually, both land and cellular telephone communication came to a halt.

The massive winds of the storm tore a hole in the roof of our house that allowed rain to pour into the eastern half of the home and we spent most of the day moving our furniture toward the center of the house as the waterfalls in the bedrooms grew in size.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 August 2015

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Early symptoms of election fever setting in



From a local special election that has been questioned for its cost to taxpayers, the introduction of a full slate of candidates for local offices to the first debate of the 2016 presidential election cycle, this week has been a flurry of election-related activity that has reawakened the political junkie in me from a three-year slumber.

Special election

At the local level, probably the most whispered about issue this week was the approximately $35,000 spent to put on Tuesday’s special election to pass a 0.25-mill levy for the Logan County Historical Society.

With only 1,053 voters, or a measly 3.6 percent of Logan County’s total registered voters, the election cost more than $33 per voter to put on. 

The August election was called because paperwork filed by the historical society to place the levy on the May ballot was submitted to the Logan County Commissioners’ Office in a timely fashion, but did not make it from that office to the Logan County Board of Elections in time to meet the February deadline.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 August 2015

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Opening a bridge to the past

sue pitts

The bridge is opening! The bridge is opening!

Yes, I am a little excited. Actually, exhausted! It’s been a very long — sometimes unbearable — wait since news came more than a year ago that I and my generation would again get to walk across the Sandy Beach Bridge — the icon of our youth.

And now it’s here. Today is the day we get to travel back in time.

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 August 2014

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A little touch of awe in the daily grind



Sometimes I forget how fortunate we are to live in a place like Logan County.

A citified gentleman originally from Harlem who now lives in Columbus recently commented to me that if he were able to spend a week in Logan County, he would spend his time fasting and communing with God and nature.

It is an awesome place, he said.

And he was not using “awesome” in that worn out way I once used as a teenager and now try to avoid entirely. He was truly struck by the immensity of nature and history we Logan County residents often take for granted.

I was struck by a similar sense of awe just this weekend as I sat on the walls of Piatt Castle Mac-O-Chee and listened to its caretaker discuss how limestone from the nearby quarry was used to build nearly every facet of the castle’s walls from the massive stone exteriors to the plaster interior walls and fresco paintings.

Looking up at the sea of limestone and listening to ducks quacking on the nearby pond made me appreciate our little corner of the world.

Then on Monday, I read a column by a man from Napoleon who had written that he picked up a copy of the Bellefontaine Examiner on a trip through the area but didn’t find any nuggets to share with readers of the North West Signal.

I was a little hurt at first that he didn’t find anything of value to report on from our neck of the woods.

In an email to the author, I noted that Bellefontaine’s very cornerstone was once the spring that Shawnee war chief Blue Jacket drank from and that pioneer Simon Kenton loved this place so much he and his wife Margaret chose to spend their final years here enjoying the mint that still grows around the former site of their cabin.

We were a booming railroad town, I wrote, a community integrally tied to transportation and we recently celebrated the opening of a new museum that highlights this rich contribution to society.

There is much more to Logan County than the fact that Campbell Hill is the highest point in the state, I wrote.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 August 2014

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Dads: Be worthy of the love we’re getting this weekend

Nate Owen


My wife asked me the following question this week, more than once: “What do you want for Father’s Day?”

I haven’t yet given a satisfactory answer to that question.

According to many of the commercials on television recently, most fathers must want the latest tech gadget or discount suits and ties.

The concept of gift-giving for Father’s Day strikes me a bit counter-productive.

We share a bank account, my wife and I, and there are many things we’d do and/or buy with the right amount of discretionary income.

Kids, though, come first. How can I possibly ask her to spend our money, hundreds of dollars for some of these gifts being touted for, “Dads and grads,” on something specifically for me, when there’s no shortage of activities our entire family can enjoy?

It seems very important to my wife that I feel appreciated on Father’s Day, and that should tell you all you need to know about the kind of selfless person she is.

So, on this Father’s Day, I think the thing I want most is to make sure that I behave in a way that honors the adoration my family gives me.

And that’s perhaps something each of us paternal influences should consider tomorrow — on the day devoted to honoring the bond between father and child — making certain we are worthy of being called, “Dad.”

Talk is as cheap as the tacky neckties often associated with Father’s Day, and any upwardly mobile male can claim to love his children.

The evidence is in the example we set for our kids.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 June 2014

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