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‘Culture of poverty’ vs. ‘culture of immorality’

What Mrs. Esh characterized as “the culture of poverty” is actually “the culture of immorality,” in my opinion. I have been blessed to serve those in poverty for more than 20 years in several venues: pastoral ministry, social services, mental health counseling. Here is what I have found consistently: there are those in poverty who are making a good faith effort to be productive citizens across all life domains (including valuing education for their children/grandchildren); and there are those who are parasitical, predatory and exploitative. It is regrettable that Ms. Esh unwittingly (I hope) cast a false light over those in poverty making good faith efforts, implying that all in poverty are: parasitical, predatory and exploitative.

By the way, parasitical, predatory and exploitative folks can be found in abundance also in the middle and upper economic classes. Remember: it wasn’t the poor folks who brought about the mortgage meltdown debacle, but parasites and predators wearing $1,000 suits on Wall Street and in the halls of Congress and the White House who exploited and are still exploiting people of all economic strata who earn their money the old-fashioned way by working for it.

Marshall Pierson
Bellefontaine

Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014

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Wind turbines will ruin view of Indian Lake

My husband and I purchased our home on Long Island 15 years ago. We love everything that the lake has to offer us.

Please let me paint a picture of our Indian Lake home. On any given day I can look out my windows and be entertained or relaxed after a stressful day. I can see everything from ice fishermen, a beaver swimming across the channel, little children sitting on grandpa’s lap driving their boat, kayakers out for some exercises, to ultralight airplanes and I can enjoy feeding a family of swans.

I’m sure you are wondering what this has to do with anything. To me this is my way of life. It is what I cherish and have worked hard to obtain. So if, or when, eight of the 172 proposed 50 story tall wind turbines go up here near the lake, my absolutely beautiful view we now have will be destroyed.

Fifty stories tall is about five times the size of the water towers in most of our communities and nearly as tall as any skyscraper in Columbus, Ohio. You may wonder how that will ruin my view. The smaller turbines at Honda can be seen six to seven miles away. These eight turbines will be as close as one mile from my lakeside view. They will block my sun rises and moon rises. The beautiful lake view has already been altered by the two turbines Honda has installed. Now close your eyes and imagine 172 much larger turbines across Indian Lake and Logan and Hardin counties. Remember, think larger.

There are legitimate health and safety issues you may not be aware of. From potential interruptions to LifeFlight service, to the safety of the Bald Eagle, along with sonic high pitched noise affecting the wildlife. Shadow flicker will disturb life inside our homes and our first responders can do nothing but stand by and watch a fiery turbine burn itself out and be prepared to protect adjacent fields, homes and businesses. Not to mention the huge impact our properties will take in value.

It is a proven fact that they are not cost efficient. It is a foreign owned company and they are supported by our (yours and mine) hard earned tax dollars.

Just because you have driven past these turbines on the highway or seen them in the distance, does not mean you are educated on their effects and permanent ramifications.

Take the time to educate yourself.

To the Logan County Commissioners: As a voting resident of Logan County, I request that you do not grant any tax abatements or give any tax breaks to any wind developer who wants to exploit our community.

Please stand up and help save Indian Lake, Logan County and Hardin County. For more information, please visit: www.fightthewind.com.

Vicky Arnold
Belle Center

Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014

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Ridgemont board of education lauded for work

Four years ago, I began my journey with Ridgemont Local Schools. In doing so, I have had the opportunity to partner with a thoughtful and determined board of education. I believe it is important for us to continue to publicly acknowledge the work of Ridgemont’s Board of Education during January which is Board Member Recognition Month. On behalf of he Ridgemont staff, students and community, I submit this letter as public recognition of the five board members of Ridgemont Local Schools. I feel quite fortunate to work with the five members of Ridgemont’s Board. This board is solidly devoted to the students of Ridgemont. The current board members are Dave Copp, Cheryl France, Eric Hill, Corey Ledley and Jerry Turner. Overall, their diversified years of experience in agriculture, business, education industry and life in general make them a well-rounded group of individuals. Their commitment to Ridgemont makes them unified.

The work of public education is a noble calling which seeks to educate all children regardless of the economic status, ability, or circumstance. While we continue to face challenges, I am grateful that Ridgemont’s Board Members have only one commitment and that is to the current and future success of our students, staff, parents and community. Because they are unified in purpose, our leadership team is able to thrive and move forward. It is my honor to serve with them.

Each member brings unique talents and insights to our team. I am pleased to write this letter on behalf of all of the staff and students of Ridgemont Schools in order to say, “Thank you. Thank you for your time, talents and energy. The work  you do on behalf of our students is important and it does not go unnoticed.” I hope the Ridgemont community will join me in honoring our board members this month. I also hope we will continue to hold them in high esteem and give them the respect due them for the office they hold all year-long.

Emmy Beeson
Superintendent
Ridgemont Local Schools

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 January 2014

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Public safety is everyone’s job

Chief BrandonStandley crop

BRANDON STANDLEY

Since Nov. 23, 2011, (the day I was sworn-in as Chief of Police), I have attempted to come up with ways to engage our community to help us keep our community safer. With your help, we have been able to host our first-ever Community Safety Day this last summer, visit your neighborhoods and share prevention messages and current information, and begin a renewed effort in our schools for DARE and GUIDE while arresting many individuals for drug-related crimes. We have been asked to speak at many community meetings, or groups, and attempt to share information that you may find helpful. We still need your help!

I have come to find that there are still those that don’t believe it is their “job” to keep crime out of our neighborhoods, it is just law enforcement’s. There are still those that believe that as long as they don’t think anyone is looking, it is okay to violate the law. This is why security companies are a booming business.

We have still others that believe that no one will hold them accountable for their own actions, so they continue to prey on the vulnerable. Our goal is to make sure that criminals know that just because law enforcement may not be around them at the time they are ready to commit their act, you are and you are ready to call us.

My charge to you this New Year is to join with us to make our community a better place to live. Public safety is everyone’s job.

Police are in a constant juggling act with staffing levels, accurate information, and available opportunities to be at the right spot at the right time. Sometimes that means that we miss an opportunity to be prompt to your submitted information because we are tied up doing other crime fighting.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 January 2014

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What are the chances of any other Messiah than Jesus?

What are the chances that someone other than Jesus of Nazareth could be the Messiah, the Savior of the world? As we approach the Christmas Season, let us examine a few reasons why Christians believe that only Jesus of Nazareth could be the Messiah.

First, consider that his birthplace, Bethlehem in Judea, was predicted by the prophet Micah approximately 750 years ahead of time.* Out of literally thousands of hamlets, villages, towns and cities then existing in the ancient world, Micah “just happened” to pick not only “Bethlehem,” but he even specified which Bethlehem when he correctly predicted it to be Bethlehem in the region of Ephrathah nearby to Jerusalem. Why specify the region? Because there were two Bethlehems in Israel at the time. This should not be considered strange when we consider our American context, for example when we talk about going to “Columbus,“Do we mean Columbus, Ohio; Columbus, Indiana; or Columbus, Georgia? Or even Bellefontaine: Bellefontaine, Ohio or Bellefontaine, Missouri? Now perhaps a skeptic might want to argue that Micah was just “lucky” when he happened to pick the correct Bethlehem. However, the Bethlehem he picked is the locale of the tribe of Judah and family of Jesse, the father of King David, the city known as the “City of David.” Think about playing “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” when we were children. Our chances of getting the tail correctly pinned, being blindfolded, were better than Micah’s if in fact, he was merely making a blind guess out of all the towns in Israel, let alone all the towns in the whole wide world in his day.

Second, consider the timing of Jesus’ birth, as given to the prophet Daniel in a dream as a young man, and as given by the angel Gabriel to Daniel in a separate disclosure when he was a very old man.** As a young man Daniel was tasked by the king of Babylon to correctly interpret a dream that troubled the king greatly, one that his own wisemen*** could not interpret even under pain of death. Daniel correctly told the king that three world kingdoms, beginning with his own, would rise and fall, and that during the time of the fourth world kingdom, a fifth kingdom, of divine origin, would arise without any fanfare among men, but would eventually grow and fill the entire world, while the manmade world kingdoms, which history documents as neo-Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, rose and fell, while the Kingdom of Messiah Jesus continues to grow and grow and grow from generation to generation. Also consider that the angel Gabriel was very specific when he tied the public advent of “Messiah the Prince” to a Persian king’s decree to use Persian money to finance the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its Temple and telling Daniel that “69 weeks” (of years: 69x7=483 years) would elapse between the decree and the public advent of Messiah. Guess what: History shows that a Persian king did ratify an earlier rebuilding decree in 458 B.C., and that Jesus was publicly unveiled as the Messiah at the Jordan River in A.D. 27, 485 years after the decree, very shortly after the completion of the 69 weeks of years.

So, just what are the chances someone else is the Messiah? Merry Christmas!

*Micah 5:2

**Cf. Daniel 2; 9-20-27

***Magoi in the book of Daniel: Magi in the Gospel of Matthew in the Christmas narrative. Think of We Three Kings of Orient Are.

Pastor Marshall Pierson
Bellefontaine

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 December 2013

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Blessing and disappointment

My wife and I thank the person or persons that paid our check at Bob Evans last Wednesday (Dec. 18) evening. It is greatly appreciated although we do not know who you are. Let us assure you that we will return the loving gesture before this Christmas season is over.

There is a disappointment at this same time. There are many movies enjoyed at the local cinema and that is the choice one makes. Those movies so often contain violence, bad language, wizardry, unreal graphics, etc. To see a movie that is really and truly PG is not available very often. However, there has been a movie during this season that provides good, clean entertainment. That movie is The Christmas Candle based on the book written by Max Lucado, Minister, Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. It is well produced and tells a wonderful story. It is scripturally sound and presents a beautiful picture to one that wants to see a movie that is for all family members. It is a shame that the people in the Bellefontaine area have not, at the present time, been able to see this movie. If by chance you are where the movie is being shown it certainly behooves you to take time to view this movie.

Emerson & Lucy Brown
West Liberty

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 December 2013

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Of wealth inequities, Wal-Mart wages, healthcare woes, Jim Jordanisms and Merry Christmas

The most significant thing the oligarchy (top one or two percent of the wealthy) that we now live under has achieved is pitting the rest of us against each other.

Instead of protesting and doing something about the worst income inequality in the history of the United States, we’re at each others’ throats over abortion, same-sex marriage, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the social safety net that has kept us from the abyss all along.

A sizable portion of our society has been convinced, or has likely convinced themselves that at least half of us are lazy louts.

It’s apparent to me that a lot of Americans want to believe this of their fellow men and women.

I’ve known plenty of folks — even those who should know better — espousing that nonsense.

If you listen long enough, a certain theme emerges: “I’m sick of my tax dollars going to bums sitting on their a----.”

Some Christian nation we have.

Those crooks on Wall Street, most of whom should be wearing prison garb by now, are full steam ahead from the recession of 2008-2009, which they largely created.

It’s the American people in general who have never recovered.

We’ve had over 40 straight months of job growth, but when you’re bleeding 700,000 jobs per month (as we were at the end of the George W. Bush presidency), we’re not really back to robust health.

Speaking of Wall Street, it endlessly intrigues me that critics of welfare programs are always crowing about “kings and queens” of that genre.

A person receiving welfare — even if doing it in a fraudulent manner — couldn’t damage us in a lifetime the way a Wall Street thief can in a day.

Are there people in this nation who won’t work and expect a handout from the government?

Certainly.

Are they now or have they ever been close to a majority of Americans?

H--- no.

One historical fact proves it.

For three to four decades after World War II, the unemployment rate in America seldom exceeded the five percent range.

If there were as many layabouts as some claim, what were all those people doing?

I once heard a woman say “men should be like salt and pepper shakers. You could take them off a shelf and put them back as you please.”

That’s essentially what has happened to the American worker since the 1980s.

For those recent decades, all we’ve done is fatten the bank accounts of the richest among us.

Since the last recession, for example, 95 percent of economic  gains have gone to the top one percent.

On the other side of the scale: One in six Americans lives in poverty and one in seven needs food stamps to get by. The jobs today often don’t pay a liveable wage and provide little or no benefits. We’re easily disposable parts.

With the decline of unions (around seven percent in the private sector and not much higher in the public sector), most of the chips (if not all) are in management’s hands. Never a good place to be.

If you know American labor history, you’re aware that most of our so-called job creators have to be dragged kicking and screaming into doing the right thing (good wages, benefits, etc.) for their employees. There are only a precious few today holding them accountable. It’s a woeful state of affairs.

A primary example is Wal-Mart, the leading private sector employer in the country, which has never been unionized. The median hourly wage (including part-time) is $8.80. Wal-Mart claims it’s closer to $12.67 an hour. Regardless, the only true beneficiaries is the family of the late founder, Sam Walton. Also, leading up to labor disputes in 2012, the National Labor Relations Board found that “Wal-Mart unlawfully threatened employees with reprisal if they engaged in strikes and protests.”

You can bet your life that Wal-Mart is not the only place American workers are treated that way.

The overall minimum wages of $7.25 is an obscenity.

Are we complete fools? This is what’s being done to us. We’ve been sold down the river (out of the country actually).

The redistribution of wealth is a nightmare scenario for conservatives. Funny, isn’t it, you never hear them admit what’s befallen us is that very thing. Robin Hood in reverse, that is.

What we get instead is a big segment of our population hurling invective at those helped by the government (unemployment insurance, food stamps, etc.). We’ve mixed victims of this vicious greed in with the real slackers. Go figure.

We’ve wasted our energies demonizing our collective selves rather than confronting those who are exploiting us.

It includes politicians on local, state and national levels.

Ironically, none is worse than the right-wing extremist — Jim Jordan, Republican of Urbana, who represents our 4th District in the U.S. House.

Jordan was front and center among the Tea Party faction who recently shut down the federal government. The U.S. economy took a $24 billion hit.

Jordan is a boot kicker for businesses and corporations. Their taxes are too high and regulations too stiff, he snorts.

When it comes to actual human beings, however, Jordan can be one very cruel customer. He even voted to slash $40 billion  over 10 years ($4 billion per year) from the nation’s food stamp program. It follows several billion in cuts to food stamps this year (the Senate hasn’t voted on the latter).

Jordan is a posterboy for the Republicans’ arrogant and insolent you’re-on-your-own party. One of his favorite talking points is “the government is taking your money.” Those are code words for “it may be helping someone less fortunate than you.” Heaven forbid.

The reason that Jordan and his anti-government crowd hates it so much is simple. The federal government, in particular, has frequently been a financial and legal friend to those they scorn: The poor, down on their luck, minorities and the disenfranchised.

Much of what has gone wrong for us in America stems from our own complicity and apathy.

Take our very conservative county and area, for instance. Jim Jordan is as likely to lose a general election as we are to have a blizzard on the fourth of July.

At a recent meeting of the Bellefontaine Rotary Club, Jordan spoke to a group Examiner staff writer Reuben Mees called “100 of Logan County’s brightest teenagers.”

 I can only hope that at least some of them disagreed with his ideology. In this county, however, you could never be sure.

Jordan ranted against the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act (Obamacare), which seeks to provide 30 million Americans with health insurance. At one point he said, “The only solution to Obamacare is to repeal it short of that we can only delay it.”

What about all the people who don’t have health insurance, or it’s inadequate to their needs. What’s the alternative? It’s been bankruptcy and death in many cases.

Our health is a roll of the dice, and luck can’t be the option for our care, Mr. Jordan. We should have had universal health coverage in this nation for decades. It’s inexcusable that we don’t.

Jordan, of course, involved this mantra: “But when you get married and raise a family and watch the government take your money, you do get concerned.”

He tacked on “never forget, you live in the greatest country in the world.”

Yes, but in spite of people with attitudes like him.

Imagine, cheerleading for something as vital as health insurance — peoples’ lives really — to fail.

It doesn’t strike me as an American virtue.

Rampant economic inequality and lack of health care are surely moral issues.

Like slavery and segregation, we’re either on the right or wrong side of history — and humanity. There’s no in between.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Jerry Turner
Quincy

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2013

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The Midnight Council Fire still burnsdirected by ultimate Scoutmaster

Somewhere ...way up above the clouds ...under the Great White Oak ...in the Deep Woods ...behind the Great White Throne on High ...burns the Midnight Council Fire.

Three men from our community have recently been ushered in, to take their seats in the circle; Soapy Green, from Troop 70, in West Mansfield, Andy Stoner, from Troop 51, at Rushsylvania, and Curt Collins, from the old troop at Lakeview.

Out of the assembly, one man rises to greet them. He is a short, stout fellow. He is dressed in a faded blue work uniform. The name “Jim” is sewn above his left pocket. In that pocket are: a steel ruler, a soap stone, a couple burnt welding rods, a small screwdriver, and a couple pencils. His bald head is covered with an old Hobart skull cap. Under his wire rimmed glasses a warm smile fills his face. He reaches out a hand of welcome. One of his fingers is missing. It’s Jim Seeley. “Welcome, Fellas, have a seat.”

Next to Jim sits a small wiry man strumming a guitar ...With his head tilted to one side. He looks up through squinted eyes, “Did you do your best?” It’s Otis Cooper.

Out in the center of the circle, in front of the fire, Don Mears and Dale Huber are trying to lead the group in a song. Most of the guys are still laughing at a joke Bill Price just told. On the far side of the circle, near the trunk of the Great White Oak, Turley Lamberson and Les Born are planning the next Camporee. Kenny Nichols doesn’t like the location. Glen Zell says, “come on, give it a chance.”

Four men sit on an old hickory log, under a low hanging branch of the Great White Oak. Steve Skidmore, in a dark green vest, wearing his three cornered hat, is absentmindedly polishing the stock of his Brown Bess. Sam Doak is practicing an arm sling on Charlie Rinehart. Jack Young stands up, walks to the fire, stirs the ashes with a stick, then lifts the burning stick to light Andy’s pipe. “Good to see ya.”

Behind the fire, Rev. Guy Furby in full uniform, with his “Smoky the Bear” hat, sits on an old Coleman ice chest preparing to read the evening Scripture lesson. Don Geist stands over his shoulder with a flashlight, to illuminate the pages of the Book.

Over on the left side, Claude Wesser sits on a 10 gallon milk can. He holds a small boy wrapped in a blanket. Claude comforts the tenderfoot, who has never been away from home before. Every once in a while, the Big Guy comes down off the Great White Throne, and strolls down the path towards the Great Oak, and the Midnight Council Fire. As He enters the circle, He reaches to His back pocket, and pulls out His blue bandana. With it, He squats down to the fire, and picks up the coffee pot. He pours a dose into the stainless steel Sierra cup, that hangs from His belt on a thong. He takes a sip, then reaches over and fills Cedric Braden’s up. He rises to His feet, stretches His back, and stares up at the stars. “It sure is a beautiful night, boys.”

Yes, Father, it sure is,” they all reply.

You see ... God too, is a Scoutmaster.

Ronald Irick
West Liberty

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2013

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