Thursday, June 30, 2005

So you want to get involved?

I got yer chances right here. Village meetings are in the Chambers (or as I call it, "Echo Central", the place is just begging for some carpeting) behind the Police Station. Township meetings are in the Township building on Main St./Windham-Parkman Rd.

Tuesday, July 5

5:30 Streets/Sidewalks Committee
6:00 Safety Committee
7:00 Utility Committee

Wednesday, July 6

6:00 Buildings and Properties Committee
6:30 Housing Code Committee

Thursday, July 7

7:00 Twp Trustees Meeting

Monday, July 11

5:00 Finance Committee
6:00 Zoning Committee

Tuesday, July 12

7:00 Village Council Meeting

Thursday, July 21

7:00 Twp Trustees Meeting

Now you have no excuses.

Recent ordinances

In my grubby little hands are two of the most recent items discussed by the Village Council. The first (Resolution No. R-2005-7) discussed the Joint Fire District. The second (Ordinance No. O-2005-11) deals with questionnaires and registrations to help collect village income tax. It is generally directed toward general contractors who do work in the Village but are not paying their share of income tax.

If you'd like a copy of either of these, let me know and I'll fire an email or post them here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The park needs your help

Jodi Minotti has posted a request for help to clean up the Village Park in anticipation of State Tournament games being played here in Windham. She is asking for some young volunteers to help with the clean-up, so parents, kick your kids out of the house some night in the next couple of weeks and have them do some community service. It looks good on the college resume, and generally lends to building good character (at least that’s what my dad always used to say).

If you or your children can help her out, give her a call at 3802 after 5 pm any day.

"Moonlight" Graham

From Shape of Days...

The game was played at Washington Park on June 29, 1905, between the Brooklyn Superbas and the New York Giants. It wasn't a decisive game, or even a particularly exciting one. The Giants shellacked Brooklyn 11-1. I guess that makes sense, seeing as how the Giants went on to win the World Series that year while Brooklyn finished dead last.

No, it wasn’t who won or lost, or even how it was played, that made this game memorable. It was the late-inning debut of a 28-year-old rookie from Fayetteville, North Carolina, named Archibald “Moonlight” Graham.

Head over to read the whole thing.

Batman Begins

Thoughts before I saw this movie: “Wow, I should go see this movie, it looks really cool and way better than the old ones, even the one with Michael Keaton.”

Thoughts after I saw this movie: “This is the greatest movie ever made. All other movies should be forced to acknowledge it and bow before its awesomeness.”

Ok, that might be a bit much, but still. The Spider-Man movies are incredible because they accurately portray what the comics convey. Spider-Man is a young kid, down on his luck most times, and blessed with powers beyond a normal man. He was the first to teach comic book readers that “with great power comes great responsibility.”

Batman on the other hand holds a dear place in the hearts of many readers. He is a normal man without any superpowers. The only abilities that he has come from extensive training, and a few dollars from the mighty Wayne vault. He is the embodiment of the idea that “one man can make a difference” which is stressed very strongly at the end of the film. The entirety of the movie is very true to the comics as they have been developed within the last twenty years. There is no campiness or multicolored villains in the flick. It is dark, subdued, and nearly creepy at moments.

I’ve been a reader of comics since I was a child. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Teen Titans, the Justice League, Daredevil, and so many more all led kids like me to strive for the best in humanity. Nearly every book ended with a theme that tomorrow is going to be a better day, and that there is always hope. One of the greatest storylines in the X-Men series basically ended with the idea that humanity is basically good, and sometimes you just have to work to find it and bring it to the forefront. Its likely from these sources that I get some of my naive thinking that people are just trying to do the best that they can, even when they don’t exactly know how. In the depths of the heart, we all know what doing right is, but along the way, we sometimes convince ourselves to move in another direction.

Sometimes it takes one person, standing up and saying, “This is the right direction” for the rest of us to see which way to go. Someone to stand up and shake us to our foundation, so that it can be rebuilt correctly.

Monday, June 27, 2005

So gas is expensive?

According to this fellow, its still not as bad as it was back during the price crunch of the 70’s and early 80’s.

Its all about inflation, comparatively, the highest price per gallon ever paid (in 2005 dollars) is just short of $3.00.  See here for a nifty chart.

For those of you scoring at home...

Recent Supreme Court decisions:

Government seizing of private land for private developmental use through which the public would benefit –  –  –  –  Court says go for it –  –  –  –  Bad court!

Should cable companies have to share their bandwidth lines with other telecommunications companies? –  –  –  –  Court says no –  –  –  –  Good court!

Peer to peer sharing is illegal and software makers are liable –  –  –  –  Court says send this one back to trial –  –  –  –  Good court!

The Ten Commandments should be allowed to be posted in public areas owned by the government –  –  –  –  Court says yes –  –  –  –  (see next line)

The Ten Commandments should be allowed to be posted in public areas where court proceedings take place –  –  –  –  Court says no –  –  –  –  Confusing court!

To elaborate on a couple of points:

No governmental body should be allowed to overtake privately owned land unless there is provable eminent domain.  This nonsense of the government seizing land so that some developers could come in and build a minimall or some such thing in the Northeast frosts me to no end.  I know that you all have come to know me as the kind, gentle, evil, right-wing, conservative, baby seal clubbing Republican that I am that suckles at the teat of big business, so this might throw you for a loop.  When it comes to being a private citizen in the United States, property ownership should be one of our sacred cows.  It should never be trifled with, especially in a grab for tas revenue.  Using this thinking, the Village of Windham should negotiate a contract with some business to make Windham the Beans and Weenies Capital of the World.  Upon negotiating said contract, we’ll just seize every home in the projects, give each one “fair-market value” of their homes, raze them, and build our monument to the greatness of Beans and Weenies.  Tax dollars will flow in from visitors to the awesome structure, and the Village will be on solid financial footing forever.  Problems solved, the peons have been paid off to move to another area.  If ownership is not respected in this country, we’re not far from becoming a socialist state.  That may sound extremist, but what country places the needs of the government above the needs of the private citizen?

As for the Ten Commandments being placed on government land, its really not a big deal to me.  I understand the drive of many to reinsert religion into the daily life of the US citizen, and wholeheartedly support it.  I don’t understand, though, how putting replicas of the Commandments in a public area is going to accomplish the feat.  I would think that a more personal avenue would be better suited for bringing about a change of attitude.

And now for the biggie (and for all you Christian type folks in the audience)…

We don’t even live under the Ten Commandments anymore.  Jesus died so that the New Testament would be in force, not the Old Testament.  The Ten Commandments are part of the Old Testament.  I don’t think that Jesus would have his followers to say, “Well yeah, but its better than nothing.” 

Well, that could make for an interesting argument or two.  Have at it!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Who is Responsible Here?

If you read the next post down, about halfway through or so, there is a mentioning of having landlords pay the water and sewer bills of those renters who pretty much ignore their responsibility to pay them.  I understand that there is a large drive to get some of the abusers of the system out of the project homes in Maple Grove Park, but this is taking that drive too far. 

A few years back, the Village Council made it a requirement that landlords transfer the water and sewer bills to their renter upon occupying an apartment.  I’m not entirely certain of the reasoning, but I would expect it to be so that the Village could track down non-payers and require them to make their payments.  For some in the Village, this required the installation of water meters (at their own cost).  This was overall a good move, because it allowed the Village to get their unpaid bills from the people who actually abused the system. 

Now the Council is being encouraged to reverse track.  Rather than put the responsibility upon the renter than them alone, there is going to be a transerral of responsibility to the landlord if the renter refuses to pay.  This is akin to forcing a parent to pay for his thirty-five year old daughter’s credit card bills, rather than forcing her to make some hard decisions in life.  We need to be careful that the in the drive to clear out the abusers, we don’t do harm to the longtime residents of the Village.  What about the elderly lady who has two rental homes and rents the home to someone she didn’t realize wasn’t going to live up to their responsiblities?  Too bad Grandma, you should have been more careful, here’s a bill for $150.00. 

I fully understand the desire of many to clean and clear the projects, and really support it.  There is little doubt that for this Village to continue to go in the right direction, there must be some very hard decisions made concerning the Maple Grove community.  Let’s be careful not to overburden ourselves with Ordinances that go too far and harm the Village.

Notes notes notes notes from the recent Village Council Meeting

I’ll NOTE once again that these are NOTES and are not to be construed in any way as an official record of the recent meeting. NOTES are subject to change, as the first paragraph of these NOTES point out. Please do not mistake these as anything other than NOTES.


Get the point?

At 7:02 P.M., Mayor Starkey called the Meeting to order and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call: C. James Moore – present

Marian Garrett – present

Robert Donham – present

Scott Garrett – present

Jodi Minotti – present

Absent: Francis Ballard

Minutes of the April 12, 2005 and May 10, 2005 Regular Council Meeting were presented and reviewed by Council. A correction was made to the May 2005 minutes under the Finance Committee report; it should be so noted to say “A General Fund printout for 2004 will be delivered to each Council Member to peruse prior to that meeting.” Jim Moore made a motion to accept the minutes as corrected. Second, M. Garrett. Ayes: J. Moore, M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J. Minotti. Nays: None. Motion carried.

Shelley Craine presented the Financial Report for the months of April and May 2005. Shelley noted that due to her absence at last month’s Council meeting, the Financial Report for March, 2005 was not presented to Council and apologized for the oversight. She reported that she will bring the March 2005 before Council at the July meeting. Marian Garrett made a motion to accept the April 2005 Bank Reconciliation at a balance of $447,730.55 and the May 2005 Bank Reconciliation at a balance of $514,573.28. Second, S. Garrett. Ayes: J. Moore, M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J. Minotti. Nays: None. Motion carried.

Marian Garrett made a motion to accept the April 2005 Payment Summary with a total of $86,077.91 and the May 2005 Payment Summary with a total of $130,203.68. Second, S. Garrett. Ayes: J. Moore, M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J. Minotti. Nays: None. Motion carried.

Jim Moore presented the Village Council President’s Report. He mentioned that he has been in contact with a local person who has completed very nice websites for other municipalities at a reasonable price. He stated we need a policy for use. Scott Garrett inquired as to which fund the monies would be taken to fund this website. Marian answered that initially it would come from the General Fund and anything that was posted later on, the cost would be applied to the appropriate fund. Mark Manlove stated that it is often helpful to post the Codified Ordinances and Zoning information. Jim Moore made a motion to get a website online for the Village. Second, S. Garrett. Ayes: J. Moore, M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J. Minotti. Nays: None. Motion carried.

Jim mentioned two letters, one dated May 23, 2005 concerning request of Windham Township Trustees to reduce the cemetery lot fees for Village residents to the same prices as Township residents and the second letter dated May 12, 2005 to Rick Kubic, Director of the Youngstown area Division of the State Auditor’s Office. The letter was a follow-up to a telephone conversation with Councilwoman Marian Garrett requesting a change of our State Audit team to do our 2004 Audit and a list of a few outside Auditing firms approved by the State since another State Audit team is not available.

The Police and Fire Department reports for May, 2005 were presented by Jim Moore.

Mayor Jess Starkey stated the he had received a $300.00 gift from Chloe Small and Susan Malmesur to pay for the electric costs to run the fountain in front of the Community Center. Marian Garrett made a motion to accept the gift with gratitude. Second, S. Garrett. Ayes: J. Moore, M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J. Minotti. Nays: None. Motion carried.

The Mayor made a request of council to seek permission to place ads in the Record Courier and Weekly Villager to seek sealed bids for the Dump Truck – on June 19, June 26 and July 3, 2005 with bid opening on July 11 at Noon. Jim Moore made the motion to proceed with the bidding process. Second, R. Donham. Ayes: J. Moore, M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J. Minotti. Nays: None. Motion carried.

The Mayor made a request of council for the passage of the approval of Agricultural applications (used of village land for Agricultural use) for Jim and Patty Moore and Ken and Nancy Morris. These will be filed with the Portage Co. Auditor’s Office. R. Donham moved to approve the acceptance of the applications. Second, M. Garrett. Ayes: M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J. Minotti. Nays: None. Abstain: J. Moore. Motion carried.

Prior requests of guests to address council. Phyllis Baker, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary presented to Council the opportunity to sell Poppies for the Veterans.

The Personnel Committee report was given by Jim Moore. He reviewed a proposal dated June 2, 2005 to Windham Township Trustees to form a Joint Fire District under the Ohio Revised Code, giving the Trustees until June 16, 2005 at their next Trustee’s meeting to respond.

Jim presented Resolution No. R-2005–7 in support of creating a Joint Fire District with Windham Township Trustees in order to establish Fire EMS Protection for all residents of the Township and village under a District that allows for fair representation of all parties. Jim Moore made a motion to accept. Second, R. Donham. Ayes: J. Moore, M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J. Minotti. Nays: None. Motion carried.

Jim Moore made a motion to appoint Scott Garrett as the Village Representative to serve on the Joint Fire District in the event of the Village and Township both passing legislation to form a Joint Fire District. The Board should consist of not less than (3) Three board members, (1) One Village council person, (1) One Township Trustee and (1) One appointed Citizen. Second, J. Garrett. Ayes: J. Moore, M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J. Minotti. Nays: None. Motion carried.

Jim mentioned that the current Fire District Levy is up for a 5–year Renewal this Fall. The Village council prefers that all new Levies be decided by a new Joint Fire District Board. Should that not occur, Village Council will then decide its direction on Fire/ EMS issues.

Jim reviewed the Unemployment compensation Claim awarded to former Village Fiscal Officer Grace Kontiris is under Appeal by the Village. It is the Village’s position that she resigned her position and was not laid off. The total claim cost to the Village will be $7,982.00 unless reversed. (last payment to be made week-ending July 2, 2005)

Jim Moore announced that the Jim Olson Lawsuit against the Village and the Village’s counter-claim is set for pre-trial November 10, 2005 and Jury trial November 15, 2005 before Judge John Enlow.

The Finance Committee report was presented by Marian Garrett. She presented Ordinance No. O-2005–11 to add Section 181.12 to provide for Questionnaires and Registration by the Village Income Tax Administrator and provide for penalties of failing to comply. Marian made a motion to suspend the rules to enable the Ordinance to be voted upon at the meeting. Second, S. Garrett. Ayes: J. Moore, M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J. Minotti. Nays: None. Motion carried.

Marian, then made a motion to adopt the Ordinance as presented. Second, J. Moore. Ayes: J. Moore, M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J. Minotti. Nays: None. Motion carried.

Marian presented the report from Income Tax Administrator Lloyd Billman and noted that the Village has collected $39,268.69 more when compared to the same period last year.

Marian made a motion to approve the 2005 Certificate of Estimated Resources of $2,242,895.02 and 2005 Appropriations not to exceed revenue by fund. Second, J. Moore. Ayes: J. Moore, M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J. Minotti. Nays: None. Motion carried.

The Safety Committee report was presented by Jim Moore. Minutes of the June meeting were given to Council members.

The Utilities Committee reported was given by Scott Garrett. He gave a brief update on USDA and CDBG grants/loan for the East Center Street new Sewer Line, mentioning that right aways for utility easements were being sought. Scott furthered by mentioning the Committee’s desire to consider a new Ordinance to have Landlords pay the Water/Sewer bills for tenants to take effect in January 2006.

Scott mentioned that we are behind on the scheduled maintenance for the Water Tower. It should be maintained every 5 years and it will cost about $8,000 to drain and grease the interior of the tower to prevent rust.

Scott reported that the clear wells are being cleaned. It is a three-day process which began on June 13, 2005.

It was noted that a request was received to purchase a Manlift to b used jointly by the Water, Sewer and Street Depts. at an estimated cost of $5,000 – $10,000.

Scott mentioned that the “Temporary Status” placed on Utility customers will be eliminated. He also noted that the two water main breaks have been repaired.

A report was not given for the Streets and Sidewalks Committee as Francis Ballard’s son is hospitalized and she was unable to attend the meeting. Kevin Knight noted that we need to address the overhanging limbs and shrubbery preventing access to the Village sidewalks. It was suggested that a letter be issued to property owners. Further action would require an Ordinance and vote by Council.

The Village Building and Properties Committee report was given by Jodi Minotti. She presented the minutes of the June meeting. It was noted that no committee members attended the meeting. Council noted that members need to be sought to serve on this committee from the Community and School Board.

A request received from Rev. Richard Collins of the House of Prayer Church for the use of the property behind the Fire Station for a Tent Revival to be held the first or second week of August, 2005 was discussed. The Revival will be conducted by Rev. Jerry Cottrell of West Virginia. (Previous requests have been approved in years past.) The council would like to have a Certificate of Liability Insurance from the Church to cover any injuries while on Village property.

Jim Moore presented the minutes of the June meeting of the Planning and Zoning Committee.

Jodi Minotti presented the Parks and Recreation Committee report along with the minutes from May and June 2005 meetings. The deplorable conditions of our park were discussed.

The Economic Development and Long Range Planning Committee report was given by Marian Garrett. She thanked all who attended the Hooverman Center Meeting: Scott Garrett, Ruth Roth, Carolyn Miller, Jesse Chase, and Police Chief Jack DeSalvo. This group gathered to develop means to assist and help the Windham Community and make available services known. Scott Garrett gave a brief report on the meeting.

Marian reported that the Good Start Committee funding has not been firmed up. She has been in contact with Joyce Gray in this regard.

The Records Commission report was given by Marian Garrett. She noted that the Archived Records are going to be sorted, boxed, labeled and inventoried beginning Wednesday, June 15, 2005 and every Wednesday thereafter until complete. This process will be supervised by Shelley Craine, Fiscal Officer with the assistance of the Records Commission Committee as needed. Any destruction of records will be conducted only after a thorough review by consultation with the Ohio Historical Society and any other required entities. The Office will be staffed and open during this process.

The Council recognized the following Guests: Judy who asked some questions concerning the change to the Landlords paying the water/sewer bills and mentioned continuing problems with dogs running loose. Marian Quickle thanked those involved with the clean-up of the “junkyard” in his neighborhood.

Robert Donham made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Second, M.
Garrett. Ayes: J. Moore, M. Garrett, S. Garrett, R. Donham, J.
Minotti. Nays: None. Motion carried. The meeting was adjourned
at 8:37 PM.


I probably mistyped something. Its likely my fault. I’m tired. These NOTES are way too long. I gotta quit promising this kind of thing. Argh.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A Stroke of Luck

Straight forward here:

Ohio workers win $15 million after playing wrong game

HOWLAND, Ohio Eleven dental workers in northeastern Ohio are very happy one of their co-workers made a mistake.

The worker played the wrong lottery game this week for the group. They'd been buying MegaMillions tickets for a year. Instead, she bought an Ohio Super Lotto ticket.

And they ended up winning Saturday's 15 (m) million-dollar jackpot.

Lottery officials say the workers will remain anonymous until all eleven come into the claim office.

The winning ticket was sold at the Giant Eagle in Howland, about 14 miles northwest of Youngstown.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Coming soon!

Notes from the recent Village Council Meeting will be uploaded this afternoon sometime.  I’ve got to slog down to the Village Administrative offices, get them printed out, slog back to the house, retype them so that every one of you can get your own grubby mitts on them.

Its passed

Well, it looks like the State of Ohio has a new budget set pretty much in place.  Its going to the Governor’s desk, and since he was the one who proposed it, I’m guessing he’ll sign it.  There’s always the fun of the line-item Veto though, and that’s always sweetness and light.

I have to admit that I was mistaken in advising that the Village institute a Sales Tax to replace the .5% reduction that was proposed.  In Ohio, it appears that Villages and Cities do not have the right to levy any sales tax.  I can understand why I guess, but it would have been a nice fix for our present financial struggles.

Regardless, I do feel badly for you imbibers of alcoholic beverage and smoker of rich Virginia leaf (ok, cheap Mexico leaf with the present taxes).  Your prices go up a little bit once more.  One pack a day would buy one half of my weekly gas usage, even with the prices we have now.  Yikes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Its Gitmo week!

Apparently I missed the across-the-blogosphere memo about posting concerning Gitmo EVERY STINKING DAY.

So here’s my obligatory post.  Go here.

No here, seriously.


Monday, June 20, 2005

It feels like....

Wow, it looks as if my vacation lasted a little longer than I originally expected.  I really didin’t do all that much last week did I?  Except for that whole Fire District procedure I suppose, but hey, community service and all.

Its times like this I pause and think to myself, “Self, what are you really doing after all?”  Then I think, “Well, first of all, you’re basically talking to yourself, which means you’re either insane, or, well, ok fine, you’re crazy.” 

These are the strange conversations that run around in my head.  Its an interesting place to be sometimes.  I think I’ve actually lost an argument with myself a few times, though I’m not quite sure how that worked out. 

In other news, if you haven’t watched the show “Hit Me Baby, One More Time” and you grew up in the 80’s, slap yourself upside the head and watch it next time its on.  Its on NBC Thursday nights at 9, and thank TiVO, I continue to be able to watch it.  Along with Quantum Leap, Stargate, a multitude of Texas Hold-em Poker shows, et cetera.  Nights have a tendency to be late around here sometimes.

The garden is growing.  I’m actually staying ahead of the weeds this time.  Unfortunately a side effect of keeping ahead of them is that my flower beds aren’t in the best shape.  Curse you twenty-four hour day!


Saturday, June 18, 2005

Moonbats...and such

Remember that Hitler post from a week ago?  Well, guess what?  Here comes Dick Durbin, Senator from the state of Illinois.  Apparently life really sucks for the folks being held down at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, more lovingly known as Gitmo.  Considering they are people who actively fought against troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, they do hold different status than, say, Martha Stewart.  Conditions are not the most favorable, being in the tropics and all, it tends to get hot, and also gets chilly at night.  Its worse than that really, butI digress. 

Mr. Durbin compared the treatment of prisoners by the US in the same light as the Nazis treated theirs.  Fair enough, I suppose, anyone can make an utterly foolish statement at any time that they want, it is truly a free country (though these prisoners were part of a group who actively wanted to change that).  Our soldiers turn the air conditioning way down, so that they shiver!  (Gasp!)  Then they turn it off so that they get hot!  (Wince!)  How can we not realize that this is equal to (or worse!) than the Nazis or Pol Pot, or as Amnesty International mentioned last week, equal to the Gulag.

Of course, let’s ignore some facts about those groups.

This form of so-called “torture” doesn’t even come close to what real torture is.  WARNING WARNING   The Jawa Report posts pictures of known torture by Hussein and others.  They are GRAPHIC, so don’t go without preparing yourself somehow.

Curiously absent in Durbin’s report is exactly who these people were?  Are they your average terrorist suspect or someone with pull?  Had they been model prisoners or the ones who’d always caused trouble and incited others to strife?  This information is left out so that one man could stand in the middle of the Senate and degrade the U.S. Military. 

Friday, June 17, 2005

The results are in...

The Township Trustees decided to vote against the proposed Joint Fire District as presented by the Village Council.  The Council had passed a resolution at their June 14 meeting resolving their support of forming a Joint Fire District. 

One of the issues that was raised concerning the Joint District was that there would be at least one non-elected official sitting on the Fire Board.  Considering the recent drumbeat of “taxation without representation”, this may be justified.  One good thing that came out of the meeting was that the Trustees seem willing to hash out a new Agreement of Operation with the Village.  While certainly this won’t be a free and easy process, it is a step in the correct direction.

My hope is that the two sides will agree to an Agreement of Operation that would last for a period of two years.  During those two years, they would continue to work together to develop a compromise putting together a Joint Fire District that is tolerable to both sides.  An old adage about compromise basically says that a good compromise makes both parties involved angry.  (Look at the recent Senate compromise over federal judges, somehow everyone was angry about that one.) 

It seems reasonable that by the end of 2007, we can have in place, a District that resolves issues on both sides.  The Village continues to be concerned about representation in the decision making process, and not only the money generating process.  The Trustees continue to be concerned about the financial viability of the Village, considering past mismanagement and disrespect.  We can get past these issues by putting personal feelings aside and working toward the common good.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Response to my letter - Part Two

The second response to the recently delivered letter has been received. Its lateness is due in large part to the Columbus Zoo (which I highly recommend). The Questions will be posted inline once again

Thank you for your interest in our proposal for a Joint Fire District. We truly do believe that this is the best way to go and sincerely hope the Township Trustees will agree to work with Village Council in determining the best way to achieve this goal.

Our Fire Dept. is largely self-governing where day-to-day operations are concerned and I sincerely believe everyone agrees that they do an outstanding job of serving Village & Township residents.

As you delivered your letter of inquiry to be, I have taken the liberty of responding from my point of view.

1. The Village Council has stated that one of the main problems concerning the financial management of the services amounts to "taxation without representation". How are the finances of the services collected and is there financial expectation placed upon the residents of the village to support the Fire and EMS Service?

1. Taxation Without Representation quite simply means that Village Residents pay the same taxes as do township residents, however, as it now stands the Village Resident’s officials are denied a vote on any Fire Dept/EMS issues that may come up. The Township Trustees have assumed sole prerogative for decision making for setting and expending all taxes generated.

2. The various issues concerning the services provided have been discussed over a long period of time. Is there now animosity between the Trustees and the Council because of them?

2. “Animosity” is a very strong word and probably not one that I personally would use. That there have been strong differences of opinion born of frustration might be a more apt description of circumstances.

3. What have your past proposals been with the Village concerning a Joint Operating Agreement (briefly)?

3. The Trustees cancelled our quarterly meeting in the fall of 2003 when we should have drafted a new operating agreement. As the meetings were scheduled on an alternating basis the Village waited for a new meeting date which was never set. In early 2004 the Village Council submitted a proposed operating agreement in hopes of getting things moving. It was not countered. The Village has sent letters saying that six people who care about their community can surely work together on equal footing, however, that suggestions has not been well received by the Trustees.

4. What would you consider to be the strengths and weakness of entering into a Joint Fire District agreement with the Village?

4. In my opinion, a Joint Fire District removes all politics from the decision making body. It is completely independent of both the Village Council & the Township Trustees. Their sole function will be to determine how best to support our Fire & EMS Services to the entire community.

5. If the Village would "decide on an alternative direction", how would the Fire and EMS service change for residents of the Village?

6. If the Village would "decide on an alternative direction", what would be the ramifications upon the Fire and EMS service financially?

5/6. To respond to these questions would be premature as we have banked our hopes on the positive approach of a Joint Fire District and sincerely hope that NO alternative directions will need to be considered.

I have tried to stick strictly with the facts and hope it has been helpful


Marian Garrett

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Going AFW (Away From Windham) for a couple of days

Just for everyone to know, I had a meeting scheduled with Marian Garrett this afternoon, but due to circumstances beyond my control, we're not able to get together. We should be able to have a meeting concerning the proposed Fire District on Wednesday sometime.

I appreciate her, and the entire Village Council's understanding in this matter.

While I'm away, I will still have blog access and email access, but only once a day. Don't expect too much, unless you're thirsty for pictures of Columbus Zoo (which you're going to get anyway). Feel free to email me at .


Saturday, June 11, 2005

Response to my letter

The first response to the letters that have been delivered to the Council and Township Trustees has been received.  It is from Dann Timmons, one of the Windham Township Trustees.  It is rather lengthy, first, giving some history of the Fire District, the EMS service, and the Township/Village relationship in the past.  I’ll post my questions inline in italics when pertinent.  I’d like to personally thank Dann for his prompt reply to my letter.

 Dear Windhamite,

     I am in receipt of your recent inquiry and I would be pleased to respond.  In order to adequately answer your questions, I need to summarize some history.


     The Windham Township Fire District is a legal entity created in 1965 to provide fire protection to Windham Township.  At that time, Windham Village was part of the township.  In 1993, the village was forced to succeed from the township.  The township fire district remained intact and continued to provide fire protection to both the village and the township.  A township fire district is legally able to provide service outside of its geographical boundaries and has the authority to place levies on the ballot for the residents of any area for which it provides services.  While this is not a common situation in Ohio, is certainly not unique.


     Over the years, the involvement of the village council has varied depending on the individuals involved.  There has generally been a written agreement that delegated certain responsibilities to the village.


     The fire district is funded mainly by two levies.  A one mil levy for operating and a one mil levy for large equipment.  The levy on the ballot last November was a replacement of the operating levy.  The large equipment levy goes back to the voters for either renewal or replacement this November.  The current levies generate about $41, 000.00 per year with the village and township contributing nearly equal amounts.  The last November levy was a replacement that allowed for an adjustment due to the increase in property values.  When the fire district receives the funds from the replacement levy, the taxpayers will be providing $51,000.00 per year.  The funds from the large equipment levy go into a separate fund and are used solely for capital purchases such as fire fighting equipment.


     The money generated by the operating levy has never been adequate to support the entire fire district budget.  Historically, under the operating agreements with the village, the firemen's pay for calls in the village were paid out of the village's general fund and firemen's pay for calls in the township were paid out of the township's general fund.  To expediate the process, the township always paid the firemen and would bill the village for their share.  In more recent years, EMT's pay was handled the same way.  Also under the old operating agreement with the village, the cost was shared for the fire chief's pay and the township contributed a sum to the village for use of the village dispatch service.  Any additional expenses was shared equally by the village and township. 


     Over the years, the fire department has had a rescue service.  This has always been firemen who were members of the department who went on and received EMT training.  Until recently, the village and township contracted separately for ambulance service with the village most recently using Action and the township using Community.  Each paid a fee for the service out of their respective general funds and the ambulance provider would be free to bill the residents who used their services.  The rescue service picked up whatever calls they could.


     The system outlined above served our community well for many years, but in the late 90s, some problems began to arise.  To begin with, the village started experiencing more and more financial difficulty and were no longer able to contribute to expenses.  As time went on, it became more difficult for the village to meet fire pay.  At one point in 2001, the village fell behind 3 years.  This was finally paid, but by the end of 2002, the village was once again behind 1 year.  This put undue pressure on the township trustees who continued to pay the firemen out of their general fund.  Another problem was fuel for the fire trucks and rescue squad.  Under the old agreement, the department would take gasoline and diesel from village tanks with the village billing the fire district.  In 2003, the village tanks began to run dry.  The fuel supplier for the village put the village on a cash only basis. For the safety of all concerned, the department began to fuel from the township tanks.  Another incident in 2001 reshaped the operation of the fire district when Community Ambulance announced that they would no longer provide service to Windham Township or Windham Village.


     In order to continue operations without seeking additional taxes from the voters, changes had to be made.  The fire district in 2002 began to bill for rescue services.  The fire department members agreed to change their constitution to allow their members to be an EMT or paramedic without being a fireman.  This allowed the department to gain some personnel to meet the challenge of the huge increase in rescue service.  Today, the fire district pays all fire department bills directly, pay the firemen, fire chief, assistant chief, EMT coordinator and EMTs without any financial contribution from the village.  The village continues to provide dispatch service for which the township trustees pay about $4, 000.00 per year from its general fund.


     To answer your questions:


1. The Village Council has stated that one of the main problems concerning the financial management of the services amounts to "taxation without representation". How are the finances of the services collected and is there financial expectation placed upon the residents of the village to support the Fire and EMS Service?


1.  The battle cry of "taxation without representation" is not completely applicable.  While village residents do not vote for trustees, they do vote for the levies.  With more voting power in the village, the trustees will always serve the best interests of the village as well as the township.  For the second part of your question, I think I fully explained the funding.  The financial expectations place on the village residents, as you put it does not go beyond the tax levies and rescue squad billing for those who use the services.  (Incidentally, after some experimentation with increased collection efforts, the trustees voted last meeting to return to "soft billing" which relies mainly on insurance.  Anyone with a balance due beyond insurance will get one bill.  Fortunately, we have some residents without insurance that paid, but for those that could not afford it, collection was not fair).


2. The various issues concerning the services provided have been discussed over a long period of time. Is there now animosity between the Trustees and the Council because of them?


2.  I personally do not feel any animosity toward Village Council members, and I seriously doubt that Brian or Howard do either.  We all live in the same community and send our children to the same school.  I have no doubt that everyone involved want the best for all of Windham.


3. What have your past proposals been with the Village concerning a Joint Operating Agreement (briefly)?


3.  I did not have much problem with the old operating agreement except that we can no longer expect the village to contribute financially.  We certainly would welcome their input on any major decisions.  We have proposed some joint committees to study and propose fund raising ideas and to project a replacement plan for the fire equipment to allow the trustees to better plan for the future.  We have a wealth of people in the community with great experience that could also serve and provide guidance.  How many years service can we reasonably expect out of the pumper?  Is the older rescue squad still reliable?  The list goes on and would need to be continually reviewed.  To date, village council has not responded to these suggestions.

4. What would you consider to be the strengths and weakness of entering into a Joint Fire District agreement with the Village?

4.  The biggest problem I see with the proposed joint fire district would be the additional expense.  This would require a separate board and a separate clerk.  The current township trustees now serve as the fire district board with the township clerk serving as the fiscal officer.  Their wages are paid by the township and they are all bonded with the township picking up the bill.  With the already tight budget, I do not see where expenses can be cut in the fire districts budget to pay the additional cost.  Another concern I have is the proposal to run the joint district with one council member, one trustee and three appointed persons.  I don't think it would be a good idea to set up a position of control of the fire district with non-elected officials.

5. If the Village would "decide on an alternative direction", how would the Fire and EMS service change for residents of the Village?

6. If the Village would "decide on an alternative direction", what would be the ramifications upon the Fire and EMS service financially?

5. and 6.  The "alternative direction" for the village would be to withdraw from the existing fire district.  The township district would remain intact but would only collect the levy money from the township residents.  The fire station is owned by the district and sits on village land subject to a long term "ground lease."  The district would retain the station subject to the lease.  Under the Ohio Revised Code, the county auditor would divide the equipment.   All I can say, there would probably be a long and expensive battle over equipment.  In my view, the effects of the village's withdrawal from the existing district would be devastating to our community.  While it would be difficult for the township fire district to operate with half of the levy money gone, it would be virtually impossible for the village to start their own department.  The tax levy would be substantial to build and equip a new station.  In addition, while the township and village share equally in tax dollars, village residents receive far more services.  I cannot see how the village residents would ever pass the levies required.  I personally remain hopeful that none of this comes to pass.  The department we have now is made up of dedicated individuals who provide a valuable service to the residents.  We have had to make major changes over the past few years to keep up with the changing times.  At times, progress has seemed painfully slow, but we are a far different department today than we were a few years ago.

     In closing, I would be happy to discuss the issues with anyone.  I hope that I have answered your questions.



                                                           Dann Timmons, Windham Township Trustee    

Villager Article on the Fire District Proposal

Via The Villager and AconcernedCitizen's post at Windham’s Takeforum Discussion Board (linked at the right):

 Village seeks joint fire district

Jody Schroath

June 10, 2005
The Windham Council’s Personnel Committee and Mayor Jess Starkey took their concerns over the Windham Fire District and EMS service on the road last Thursday when they presented a plan for a joint fire district to Windham Township trustees during their meeting. They did not expect to be welcomed with open arms, and they weren’t.

Read the rest at the links referenced above.  Its basically a rundown of the short presentation and what was stated in the letter that we posted a couple of days ago.  Personally, I would have preferred more coverage of the Township’s position, but as it likely hasn’t been publicly discussed, this would be a bit more troublesome to discover.

Oh wait.


I have a feeling that anything written by the pen of Sean Penn (no pun intended, really!) isn’t going to have the most fair blend of opposing thought.  Especially when it comes to America.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I have to admit

The whole journalism process is incredibly cool.  Its really amazing the amount of information to which everyone has access, and how it drives issues and people.  If you’ve never taken the time to get involved, my recommendation is to do it, and do it now. 

Whether it is as simple as working with the Parks Committee to improve the Village Parks or working on Village Council, finding out how the School Board is improving itself in light of the preliminary results from standardized testing, watching the streets to warn people about which houses to avoid, and which houses need to be watched closely by police, get involved.

Hey, I could use an understudy, anyone wanna volunteer? 


On the surface, having a Joint Fire District sounds like a great idea.  It gets both groups to the table in a way that there is equality of thought, and more importantly, equality of purpose. 

But alas, there are so many underlying threads of mystique and intrigue that it likely boggles the mind.  Its no real secret that there’s been trouble between the Village and the Township Trustees.  A good part of the time, it has generally been on the part of the Village also.  That’s not to say that the Township shouldn’t consider the issue of representation, which seems to be a valid one. 

Later today, I’ll be hand-delivering a short questionairre to representatives of the Village Council and the Township Trustees.  The questions are brief and are aimed to get some general information from both sides of the issue. 

Question one deals with the ideal of “taxation without representation” and the views of both the Trustees and the Council.  The second question deals with the perceived animosity between the parties.  Question three requests information about past proposals from both sides concerning an Operating Agreement.  Question four asks about the strenths and weakness of entering into a Joint Fire District agreement.  The fifth and sixth questions deal with what would happen if the Village would “decide on an alternative direction”. 

My hope is to have these questions answered by Monday, June 13, but both parties involved have meetings next week, which may delay answering.  My preference would be to have them as early as possible so that residents of both the Village and Township would know the reasoning of their elected representatives.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Concerning the Fire and EMS Service to the Village

Received today.  This was presented to the Windham Township Trustees on June 2, 2005 at their regular meeting.

Windham Village Mayor and Council Comments and Proposal to Windham Township Trustees

June 02, 2005

The Village of Windham’s Mayor and Council Representatives are here to offer a proposal that we believe will resolve the most important and continuing unresolved issues between us.

I am the spokesperson in presenting to you this proposal and comments.  What I am presenting to you and my comments have been cleared by Mayor Starkey, our Council members on the Personnel Committee and our Village Solicitor Manlove.

I would prefer that you first hear what I have to say on behalf of the Village. Afterward, I would like Jess, Marian and Scott to make any comments to you that they wish about this proposal or their concerns.

For the past 1 1/2 years the Village has tried to resolve the issues between us peacefully by trying to get an operating agreement that is fair and reasonable.  We have avoided our most extreme alternative which would be to separate from this Fire District causing both the village and Township to try to provide Fire and EMS Service each on our own.  Our impression is that you are trying to get us to knuckle under or force us to withdraw from the District.

It’s clear to us by the Township Trustees written responses to us that you will not ever again agree to an Operating Agreement that includes and equal Voice and Vote for the village as well as several other issues that the parties are unable to agree on.  The Village either lets you do what you want or we take alternative action.  We have discussed our alternatives and intend to act if you decide you do not want to work with us on our proposal offer to resolve our differences.

We’re here to offer you a proposal in your open meeting and open to the Township and Village residents and the news media.

Our proposal is a peaceful alternative that we believe is fair, reasonable and provide representatives from both sides equal voice and vote.  And most importantly, can provide an improved Fire and EMS service to Village and Township residents.

We are proposing that the Village Council and Township Trustees agree to form a Joint Fire District under Section [505.37.1] [505.371] of the Ohio Revised Code.

A Joint District will provide a separate Fire and EMS Board made up on one (1) Township Trustee Representative appointed by the Trustees and one (1) Village Council representative appointed by Village Council.  This would give each of us a Voice and a Vote.  In order to break any tie votes on issues and to provide input from our residents the Joint Board would have three (3) residents from the Township and the Village.  This provides a Joint Board with an odd number of five (5) total board members.  The resident representatives would alternate in such as way as to provide two township residents and one village resident for one (1) year and the next year two Village residents and one Township resident.

The Village could agree to two Township residents and one Village resident serving on the Joint Board during the first year of operation.

Good “examples” of Joint Fire Districts around us include Mantua Village, Mantua Township and Shalersville Township; Garrettsville Village, Nelson and Freedom Townships and Newton Falls Village and Township.

We have a copy of the Newton Falls Joint District which has (5) Board Members for your review.  It’s a pretty formal document and provides a guideline for us.  We want you to clearly understand that this is provided only as a guideline and we can agree to create whatever we wish to fit our Joint District needs, within the ORC law.

Obviously, we don’t expect you to give a response tonight.  We will try to answer any questions you have.  We believe that all of the unresolved issues such as; Equal Voice and Vote, Levies Funding, financial issues, EMS billing to residents, Fire Dept. additional storage building, a generator, Firemen and EMT pay, dispatch service, fuel and fuel tanks and other issues will be resolved with a Joint Fire District Board.

We need to set a timeline for your final response to a Joint District and need your response not later than your meeting on June 16.  We will make ourselves available between now and June 16 to meet or talk by telephone on any questions or concerns you have.

The June 16 date is important to the Village in order that we have time to decide on an alternative direction we will begin acting on at our July Council Meeting.  Such alternative direction may require that any needed levies that would have to be filed in August with the County Auditor and Board of Elections for the Nov. 2005 elections.

We have consistently tried to resolve the main issue of taxation without representation.  Due to your persistence, we feel that the Joint Fire District is the best possible approach to the Village and Township.

There are many issues we need to resolve with this proposal and if you are agreeable we need to begin forming a Joint Fire District in the very near future.

Respectively Submitted,


C. James Moore, Council President

For Mayor and Council

I have a copy of the Newton Falls Code concerning the creation of a joint fire district as mentioned in the presentation.  If anyone would like a copy, please email me at and I will send it to you directly.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


By the way, if anyone would like a copy of the pictures that I post here, just drop me a line and I’ll email them to you.  Ooooh, maybe I should brand them, to show off my awesome photography skillz.

Village Parks

There’s been some discussion about the current state of the Village parks to the west of Main Street.  There is a committee that is to oversee the parks, but I believe it to be shorthanded at this time.  The issues that have been brought up about the parks specifically is the condition of the bathrooms, benches being broken, and the fields not being in ideal conditions.  I’ve looked into revamping the field, and it will take some serious manpower (likely all voluntary also) to get the field into what is considered “standard” condition.

If anyone is interested in getting together and trying to get some things done at the parks, please contact me at  Perhaps in getting our heads together we can do some good around here.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Here's something you don't see every day.

The reason to have a parade in the first place!

The Fire Department's secret weapons - Garden Hoses!

The Mini-Storage team gets a mini-trailer ride

How many teams do we have in this town?

Sweet ride

Its great to be a player

Its great to be a coach

Nighttime at the Fireman's Festival

Suspects in the Dairy Mart robbery arrested

In today’s Record Courier:

Portage robbery suspects arrested
David O'Brien

By Dave O’Brien

Record-Courier staff writer

Two suspects identified as being connected with the recent robberies of two Portage County convenience stores were arrested Friday, according to Portage County Sheriff Duane Kaley.

On Friday, the sheriff’s office, with cooperation from the Kent Police Department, interviewed and subsequently arrested Ronald Nicholas, 47, of 1959 S.R. 59, in connection with both the May 5 robbery of the Circle K convenience store at 3465 S.R. 59 in Ravenna Township, and the May 20 robbery of the Dairy Mart at 8922 Maple Grove Road in Windham.

The charges against Nicholas are second-degree felonies. A search warrant also was served on Nicholas’ residence Friday, the sheriff said.

Also arrested in c

onnection with the Windham case was Nicholas’ alleged accomplice, Jeffrey Johnson, 42, of 1025 Lady Catherine St. in Streetsboro. Johnson also was charged with robbery, a second-degree felony.

In the Windham case, police retrieved photos from the store’s security camera, showing what were described as two white males entering the store around 11:20 p.m., Windham Police Chief Jack DeSalvo previously said. The suspects allegedly took an undetermined amount of cash from the store’s register, sprayed the clerk in the face with an unknown liquid, then fled.

No other information was available regarding the Ravenna Township case.

Kaley said charges in the Windham case will be filed by Windham police, even though his office made the arrests.

When Bad News Really Isn't

Well, economic indicators are in, and whoopdedoo, guess what? Politicians are spinning them to their own benefit. Huge surprise there. Direct from the Department of Labor’s site.


Nonfarm employment edged up by 78,000 in May following a much larger increase in April, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Payroll employment continued to grow over the month in health care and construction, but was little changed in the other major industry sectors.

Unemployment (Household Survey Data)

Both the number of unemployed persons, 7.6 million, and the unemployment rate, 5.1 percent, were essentially unchanged in May. The jobless rate was down from 5.6 percent a year earlier. Over the month, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.4 percent), adult women (4.6 percent), teenagers (17.9 percent), whites (4.4 percent), blacks (10.1 percent), and Hispanics or Latinos (6.0 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 3.9 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed--those unemployed 27 weeks and over--was little changed over the month. This group continued to account for about 1 in 5 unemployed persons. (See table A-9.)

Total Employment and the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)

In May, total employment, at 141.5 million, and the civilian labor force, at
149.1 million, continued to trend up. The employment-population ratio, at 62.7 percent, has trended up in recent months. (See table A-1.)

Persons Not in the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)

There were 1.4 million persons who were marginally attached to the labor
force in May, down slightly from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally
adjusted.) These individuals wanted and were available to work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed, however, because they did not actively search for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, at 392,000 in May, declined over the year. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, were not currently looking for work specifically because they believed no jobs were available for them. The other 1.0 million marginally attached had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-13.)

Republicans are spinning this as good because the unemployment rate went down .1%, which is a good thing. Democrats are spinning this as bad because more jobs weren’t created, which is a bad thing.

To me though, I think the most remarkable thing is the emphasis of “its pretty much the same as last month” throughout the report. To quote: “little changed”, “essentially unchanged”, “little or no change”, and “little changed”. Pretty bland really.

There are positive things to see, even though they are subdued. The labor force (people who are able and want to work) is trending upward, which is good. People who have quit looking for jobs have reduced in number also. These are kind of nice things to at least note, but can also be spinned by both parties. If you watch the Sunday morning talk shows, I’m sure these things will be spun quickly enough to cool an office building.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Wonder if this trend will ever hit Windham?

Beautiful Atrocities reports that In the Future, Everyone Will Be Hitler for 15 Minutes.

The sad thing is that they have quite a bit of proof for the statement.

And on a personal note



Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

The AP reports:

 In a report to the U.N. Security Council, acting chief weapons inspector Demetrius Perricos said that satellite imagery experts had determined that material that could be used to make biological or chemical weapons and banned long-range missiles had been removed from 109 sites, up from 90 reported in March.

Of course, its talking about Iraq.  Remember?  That place where there not only were no weapons of mass destruction, they didn’t even have any capability to make anything because of the splendiforous job that the U.N. did?  Yep, that’s the one. 

Friday, June 03, 2005

Equality - The Truth

Head on over to Right Thinking Girl's blog and read her post “The Myth of Equality.”  Its a great post about a misunderstood subject.  Here is her conclusion:

Nobody is entitled to success. Success is a result of hard work. Because of temperments and personality, there is no way to guarantee that we will all work equally hard. The best bet for ourselves, and our country, is to return to a time when we were a self-reliant people. Being babyfed Socialist concepts like "equality" has only served to dull the very instincts for our survival that will ensure we attain a level of success that we all proclaim to want.


Thursday, June 02, 2005

I fought the law...

But guess who won this time?  Sometimes you just have to love the Ohio Revised Code. 

 "The minutes of a regular or special meeting of any public body shall be promptly prepared, filed, and maintained and shall be open to public inspection." Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(C)  Source

Seriously, the Ohio Revised Code (heretofore referred to as “the Code”  <—— legal speak!!!!) is quite interesting, though a bit dry to the palate.  I’d recommend it with a good dose of Mountain Dew, or maybe one of those new type energy drinks.  Huzzah!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Secret to a Good Marriage

Yep, I think they’ve got it pegged.  From Marginal Revolution.

The Secret to a Good Marriage? Delusion

At lunch the other day Robin Hanson offered a perceptive comment on marriage and divorce (I paraphrase).

We tend to remember slights and frustrations more than favors and kindnesses.  So inevitably in a marriage the weight of negative remembrances of thing past comes to exceed that of the positive.  Divorce is the result.

The secret to a good marriage, therefore is selective forgetfulness.  Coincidentally some psychologists have recently come to the same conclusion.  The couples who stay together are the delusional ones - the ones who look at their past with rose-colored glasses.

Psychologists believe that what they are observing in couples who endorse these and similar sentiments are strongly selective memories that ignore inevitable negative events over the course of marital history. Maybe a distorted view of your marriage that emphasises the positive and forgets the negative is crucial to accounting for who stays and who flees when it comes to relationship endurance.


A kindred spirit is someone who appears especially to understand us and uniquely share our experiences, probably because they see the world they way we do and are therefore, in important respects, just like us.

Murray's group measured marital partners' personalities, values and day to day feelings and compared these to marital satisfaction. Those in the happiest and most stable marriages were those most likely to believe their partners were most like them - that is, "kindred spirits" - even when objective comparison of personality found that the similarity was much more imagined than real.

Meanwhile Bryan over at EconLog offers some useful ideas on how to remember and how to forget.


MWM seeking significant other

Well, I think its time I took the plunge.  Yes folks, its time to buy a really good camera with an excellent telescopic lens.  I’ve been wanting to buy one off and on for a few years now, but with how things are going, I think its time to make the small investment.  Perhaps one of  you kindly readers could direct me to such a fine camera?  It doesn’t matter whether its digital or 35mm.  I’m just looking to take more baseball pictures and “pictures of interest” that would go well with some of the things I’ll be talking about over the next few months.

If anyone could help, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Your Congressman and You

Perusing the Congressional website, we come across young Tim Ryan, the up-and-coming Democrat hailing from the 17th District in Ohio.  I think I know where that is; it takes in Youngstown, Niles, Warren, Ravenna…and a few other towns.  Being neither a huge tax base nor a huge numerical voting base, a smaller town like ours tends to be a bit overlooked.  Not to worry though, that’s why we have the internet!

Timmy has been a bit busy lately in that well oiled machine known as Washington D.C. 



 WASHINGTON, D.C.  Congressman Tim Ryan announced today that he obtained $7.5 million for Youngstown Air Reserve Station in the House's version of a military spending bill. The money would fund the construction of approximately 100 reservist lodging rooms at the airbase as part of a three-phase project known as the Joint Services Lodging Facility.

The funding follows $1,000,000 in federal money that Ryan secured in a spending bill last year for the engineering and design phase of the project. Completion of all three phases will add a total of 338 rooms to the airbase.

A study of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station completed suggested adding reservist lodging would increase the airbase's ability to compete in the BRAC process.  Because the airbase currently has only 76 rooms, reservists on drill weekends must be placed into double occupancy in existing rooms or moved off-base to local hotels

"The BRAC process is not yet over, and I intend to do everything I can to make our base more attractive as we move forward," Congressman Ryan said.  “This money is huge bonus for the Youngstown Airbase, making it more effective for training soldiers, and hopefully increasing the base’s ability to grow.”.

The base housing money is contained in a spending bill, H.R. 2528, known as the 2006 MilCon (Military Construction) bill.  It passed the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday evening and now moves to the Senate for approval.

Congressman Ryan added, "I'm very pleased my Democratic and Republican colleagues on the appropriations committee recognized the importance of this project, and I intend to work aggressively at obtaining more federal dollars for the completion of the housing and future improvements."

Its great that he’s able to get this money for the airbase, it is in need of continued growth, and is a credit to the Reserves.  Now I wonder how we can get some of that magic federal money to filter in our direction…