Archive for the ‘Editorials And Opinion’ Category

And The Real Name Of State Route 13 Is…

This is just annoying. Everyone is used to referring to State Route 13 as 4th Street, but now they’ve added another name, “Reese-LeFevre Parkway”. It’s sure to add confusion to any visitor not familiar with Newark, Ohio. 

Confusing Newark, Ohio Main Street Intersection.

Intersection of 4th and Main, or is it Reese-LeFevre Parkway and Main, or State Route 13 and Main?

Right now, it is easy to point out craziness in Newark, Ohio and this is just another more recent change to the downtown. The added signage really doesn’t add any value, but does add confusion. 

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Federal Fountain – Cracked!

A new fountain was installed on the Licking County Courthouse lawn in downtown Newark, Ohio this winter. The old was aging and in need of removal or replacement and I would like to commend those that donated much time and money to the project. Many businesses and individuals freely gave out of their own pockets. The reports I read stated $100,000! That’s only slightly less than the median price of a home in Newark, Ohio. 

What I find to be a big problem with this fountain is that $100,000 didn’t do it. The project dipped into the federal coffers for another $20,000 for a beautification grant. The fountain was installed at the same time that the federal government was shutting down. They were claiming they were broke, but obviously  the were not. All across American this little grant and that little grant goes to appease the locals for their political support. 

I hope that extra $20,000 included a warranty for the fountain. Not long after cold hit, it cracked. Just like the system that partially funded it, it cracked. The town will probably be staring at this tarp until warm weather or until another federal fix-it-up grant comes their way. 

Cracked federally funded fountain in Newark, Ohio.

Cracked fountain that was partially funded by federal beautification grants.

It seems so many time that these federal grants come back to bite the city. Right now there are people being question for real estate transactions were used to purchase building that were never used, aren’t being used now, and cannot be sold. So many of the grants turn out to be nothing but a waste. Democrats and Republicans fall for them. It’s easy money. Fill out the forms, answer the questions in the right way, and money arrives to make it look like you as a politician actually did something positive during your tenure.

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Granville, Ohio’s Tree Debacle With AEP Comes Back To Haunt Them

The rumor has it that Granville, Ohio was the last to get their power turned back on because they put up so much resistance to the work AEP was doing back in 2009 in an attempt to prevent outages. After watching this video, I think that the obvious reason that so many in Granville were last to receive power after these recent storms was that they had so much debris that needed to be cleared.

Listen to what the rhetoric they are using against Tim McCray as he tries to explain to them that AEP has the right to clear all of the trees in their right-of-way for 30 more years to come. He’s trying to tell them that it’s a necessity for the power company’s operations. Their retort is that they must stop “the massacre of the trees”. They even refuse to quit video taping him in hopes that he’ll say something wrong. He knows they’re going to try and snag him with a captured soundbite later, but they refuse to stop the video recorder so that he can inform them of AEP’s legal position.

For those that don’t know about Granville, Ohio. It’s a really nice, quaint little college town. It’s full of nice people, but over-run with Liberal extremists that run the village. They find ways to pick and choose what businesses succeed and fail by using zoning codes to micro-manage the town’s affairs. Like many Liberals, they always think that they know what’s best and that their government management is required for things to operate properly. This time, that micro-management and restrictive use of common sense led them to a few days of misery without power during some record-breaking temperatures.

It’s sad to see good folks who didn’t play any part in this suffer, but maybe they’ll reconsider how they run their village in the future. I wonder what these folks who fought so hard against AEP will say now that mother nature has done their tree trimming for them? Who knows if the rumors about AEP’s priorities were stacked against Granville or not? I can only guess that those who do know are just shaking their heads. 

httpv://youtu.be/5DoNX5d8tQM

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Air Evac Lifeteam Membership To Pay For Air Ambulance Transport

Licking County recently gained a new emergency air helicopter company in Saint Louisville, Ohio called Air Evac Lifeteam. We’re lucky to have these fine people serving our community. They have saved lives and are an important part of the area’s health services. I’ve seen references where they’re being used very, very frequently.

Heritage Days 2011 Air Evac Lifeteam

Heritage Days 2011 Air Evac Lifeteam (Photo credit: Macomb Paynes)

It caught my eye that so many stories in the news state the use of emergency air transport, but then it will state, “transported with non-life threating injuries.”. What’s that about? You would think that a life threatening injury is the only reason air transport would be required. I worry that they’re calling for air transport when it’s not really required to pay for this multi-million dollar operation. I don’t know enough to know that this is the case, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of reasonable suspicion to question this. One reason that reports may appear this way is that air service is also called when there may be a loss of limb, but not a loss of life.

When emergency air transport is called, costs vary in the $10,000 – $20,000 range. It depends on your insurance as to how much of this is paid. Some are under the assumption that their coverage pays for 100% of this, but are shocked to find out that insurance only pays what it considers to be customary, usually about $3,000. The patient is responsible for the rest of the bill.

Since I suspect that the service is being used at times when it may not be required, I want insurance to cover it. As a motorcycle rider, I know that just about any accident could cause an injury where air service is requested. It’s not like a patient has a choice in the matter either. Theoretically you could refuse air service, but what are the chances of you getting your way. If they’re called, you’re paying. There’s also a very good chance that you really will need them.

So what can you do to cover the chances of getting a bill that could put you into bankruptcy? There is a membership that costs $50/year. Seems like a great idea. Problem is, the membership only covers the cost of that particular service is used. If you buy the Air Evac Lifeteam membership and another service from Columbus is called, the bill is not covered. Check the FAQ for Air Evac. It answers most of the questions I have.

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The City Of Newark, Ohio Finds Yet Another Grant

Newark, Ohio has found another program to fund it’s operations with state funds. This transfer of state taxpayer funds goes to clean up a local property on South 21st street. Here’s the story, ironically published at Business First.

Pipeline Through Licking County Should Cause Concern

I’ve been reading quite a bit about a pipeline coming through Licking County to support planned drilling in the Marcellus Shale gas drilling projects to our east. All that I’ve seen so far is excitement coming from our local government. It seems that after a steady decline in the local economy, they’ve found something they can put their name on and lay claim to. That excitement is going to blind them to the potential hazards that this project could bring.

Gas Drilling Rig

I’m not going to write to much on the Marcellus Shale projects. I can’t. I don’t have enough knowledge about the gas and oil industry to defend every detail that I write about. I do know that if you want to see the end results, all you have to do is look to Pennsylvania. Fracking(a complicated process of getting gas out of a well that’s gone dry) has devastated the lives of many and ruined rural land there. Fracking involves pumping millions of gallons of water and hydraulic chemicals into the well to force cracks in it and get surrounding gas to fill the empty well. Along with putting toxic chemicals in the ground, the process also releases chemicals already in the ground out into the environment. The result is hazardous to the health of the population in the area.

I’m not much of a tree hugger. I believe that many potentially harmful practices can have the risk greatly reduced simply by using proper practices. Proper practices usually cost more money, so the only common sense protection is for the law to enforce laws concerning private property. That’s usually not done because the gas industry pays off our legal system and politicians. There’s a lot to the methods used to skirt the law in Pennsylvania. The laws have already exempted the gas industry from oversight. For example, nobody is allowed to question what’s in the fracking fluid. The law protects them from disclosing it’s contents.

Ohioans should be studying what’s happened in Pennsylvania. Marcellus Protest is a good place to start. Use a search engine to look for terms like “Pennsylvania Fracking” too. Some of what you find is horrifying. Wells blowing up in backyards, tap water that you can set on fire, significant rises in cancer and rare diseases, and more. This is not the harmless natural gas industry that we’ve been led to believe for so many years.

There’s big, big money involved. Here’s a Licking County Port Authority CEO finding himself excited at the thought of Licking County, Ohio getting in on the gas boom. I’ve read a lot of his posts and he NEVER mentions any of the hazards experienced in Pennsylvania. No mention of the need to change Ohio law to protect citizens from an industry that most no nothing about. Just as ignorant are the landowners entering into contracts to lease their land to the drilling companies. I don’t use the term “ignorant” in a derogatory way here. I too an ignorant, but how are our politicians and citizens going to enter into agreements with a complicated industry that they don’t know anything about. Who is educated in the gas industry that will look out for the public?

All of us should keep a very close eye on our local government when it comes to their decisions on this pipeline. We all need the work, we could all use the revenue, but remember who we’re letting make these important decisions. Remember the state and local government allowing Longaberger to do as it pleased with the roads? What fruit has that brought us? We don’t need to discount the gas industry as an evil, but we do need local government to give priority to protecting the property and land of it’s citizens over the easy money from allowing the gas companies to operate at their convenience.

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Madison Township Volunteer Fire Department Video

The Madison Township Volunteer Fire Department put together a video showing the training and work that they do along with some information about volunteering.

httpv://youtu.be/Wgg_ZIoUFS0

Here’s a link to their Facebook page.

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Lincoln Middle School Demolished. Progress Or Waste?

Lincoln Middle School In Newark, Ohio Demolished.

Was the Lincoln Middle School demolition wasteful or necessary for progress.

I recently noticed an article about the demolition of Lincoln Middle School in Newark, Ohio and it brought back recent memories of every other elementary school demolished in Newark. The school that I remember well is North Elementary on Deo Drive. For years before it’s demolition, voters were asked for funds for new windows, heating/cooling system, a new parking lot and more. After so many very expensive improvements, the school was demolished. It was a total waste and the land remains vacant years later.

The article in the local paper stated that the school was being demolished with no sales to the public because that would be labor intensive. The article never touched on the feelings of many that the demolition was just a waste in general. See all of those windows on the front of the school? They’re not that old. There were many contractors that enjoyed many projects maintaining this building recently. It’s frequently the same old story of recent major renovations, only to be thrown into a scrap pile.

The school board’s defense is that they must maintain the schools for the children and that all spending to do so is justified. They never know if they’ll get the money for new schools, so they must make sure that parking lots are perfect, state of the art heating/cooling systems are installed, and that the old structures get the utmost attention. They need these expenditures to use as justification for the new schools. “Look at how much these old buildings are costing us!”, is the claim right after the updates.

Joe Taxpayer first sees these high expenditures to maintain the old buildings. Then, he sees the massive campaigns in the news and the signs. Quite often, the “do it for the children” signs are in contractor’s yards, public employee yards, and in the politicians yards. Basically everyone that profits from the system is all for any new levy that comes about. After a levy is passed, the old schools are razed, then another levy comes out demanding more money to operate the new schools. Oddly, when requesting a levy for new schools, they always forget to include enough money to actually operate them.

To ad insult to injury, the old schools are frequently torn down. The school district always has an excuse. “If sold, they could become an eyesore as a commercial property.”, “The buildings are just unsafe and need to be torn down.”, etc. They gloss over the fact that they’ve ruined a viable commercial property and any of the profits that could have resulted in it’s sale.

My question is, where in Newark, Ohio has an old school that did survive turn into a nuisance? The few that I know about have remained nice properties used as churches and office buildings. These businesses have improved their neighborhoods. With this in mind, I have to wonder if the officials simply don’t want the embarrassment when the buildings prove to have value when the schools claim the buildings are dangerous.

If you buy the school district’s claims, keep voting for new schools. I don’t agree and I’m looking for ways to make them more accountable. Question the school district’s claims boldly! Many of us work and/or live in buildings in much worse condition than Lincoln, yet they’re telling us that it the building is worthless? That would mean that many other buildings that pay large amounts of taxes to support new schools are even more worthless!

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Short Video About The Effects Of Rising Electricity Costs On Newark, Ohio Residents

Here’s a short video about the effects of rising power costs on the residents of Newark, Ohio. It’s an odd one. Panning video shots of the city with upbeat music in the background while you listen to an interview about the dire situation the city is in. 

Newark City councilman and Park National Vice President and Trust Officer, John Uible, explains that many Newark residents are on fixed incomes, Social Security, or working at jobs where they know their income will not be rising. He goes on to explain that Newark isn’t making anything any more, so all future jobs rely on the hospitals, government employment, financial institutions, or insurance firms. Depressing. This comes from a person that intimately knows where the money’s at in Licking County. 

Considering that Park National is one of the small banks that has been doing it’s job without the help of stimulus funds, I’m sure there is more that they would like to say about the situation, but can’t. All that Park National can do now is hope that there is enough government revenue grabbed by local businesses to support the community. If the hospital gets enough from government health services funding, enough mandates are placed on the citizens to force them to buy enough insurance, and enough government contracts support the local vendors, we’re golden. 

Mr. Uible’s advice, is that we need to tell the leaders in Washington that people can only pay so much and that the costs need to be held at a reasonable level. No kidding!! I have a feeling that they already know that, but I’m sure that they could care less. Only a crazed, conspiratorial, whack-job would think that the leaders are pushing this to put more money in the pockets of non-producing friends and cripple the ability for hard working industrial towns to earn a living without relying on the graces of those in Washington right? 

Enjoy the educational video. 

httpv://youtu.be/YZI4UjuaJa8

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City Of Newark Converting Brownfield Area To Solar Power Farm

Newark, Ohio to build a similar solar power grid on a brownfield site.

Newark, Ohio planning to build a similar solar grid.

I found an interesting link about Newark, Ohio’s plan for a solar energy project at http://clean.ohio.gov/BrownfieldRevitalization/. The planned site is a brownfield site at 1357 East Main Street.

As I’ve pointed out before, Newark, Ohio is the city of grants and nearly ever project is tied to a grant. A position was made for Kimberly Burton, Newark’s Economic & Community Development Director(person who can put the correct language into a grant request), who’s name appears on every grant written. She’s a master of grabbing Federal money for projects that should be local matters. Democrat and Republican businesses alike adore her work. After the money is acquired from the Federal or state level, all that they have to do is compete(at least in a political sense of the word) for who gets the easy money. So before I start to discuss this solar project, you know where I stand on the use of grants. They are simply money that taxpayers have paid to state or federal governments for state and federal matters that are then redistributed to local municipalities. This bypasses the voters authority over use of the money and the results are projects that never would have happened under the scrutiny of the local voters.

The solar project looks great if you ignore the details. It’s a plan to use 24-40 acres that the EPA has deemed unusable for development due to contamination and place a solar power setup there. The power generated will be used for the city’s power needs and any surplus will be sold to a power company for profit. It sounds great until you consider it costs about 30 cents per kilowatt to produce solar power as compared to 4 cents for coal.

The articles I’ve read all have quotes that include nothing but buzz phrases about the benefits of the project. “It’s going to create jobs.”, is a frequent one. It will too! There is an incredible amount of technical expertise required to do the maintenance. How many jobs? Is the project going to create the profits need to pay the workers? Nobody’s answering that or referring to documentation that provides answers.

There will be private investors in the project, many of who are remaining anonymous at this time. It’s refreshing to hear that they’ve found someone that will have a little skin in the game and that it’s not all grant money. Keep a watchful eye on this project. There are many “green” projects that turn out to be nothing more than scams to funnel federal money into the hands of  “investors”. It’s an easy scheme to do.

  1. Create a “green” project that will confiscate money from the taxpayers under the guise of improving the environment.
  2. Get a group of investors that can share in the perceived risk.
  3. Build with select contractors, some of whom may be investors in the scam. The grant money is spent and gone forever at this stage.
  4. Before the project fails, investors in the know have sold their interest to others. Some of these investors have already gained their investment back when the profits from the build were paid. Unwitting investors don’t get out in time and it’s a loss for them.

One may want to consider why private companies are not investing heavily in similar projects. In this volatile market, why aren’t private companies investing in a solar farm that would cut their energy costs? If these systems were truly profitable, private entities would direct funds away from risky markets and invest in a solar energy solution that would immediately start providing returns with very little risk. Companies creating the solar grids would not rely on government grants for anything as there would be a high demand for their product. Keep an eye on this project. The city cannot afford costly mistakes. I can find no discussions of what the city is risking if this turns out to be a failure. Who pays if a hail storm takes the project out? Who pays if the power generated is not enough to cover the costs to create it? Who is going to manage the system and are the competent or just a well networked person? There are many unanswered questions.

Some related Documents –

  • Request For Consultants For Brownfield Redevelopment In Newark, Ohio.
  • BusinessFirst Article about Newark, Ohio’s solar project.
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