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May 17, 2009
Salem News

Thorns to all the

eyesores around Salem

To the editor:

I have to agree with the editor's comments in last Sunday's "Thorns" in regard to the time spent on the house in the park.

At least this home is secure and decent to look at and is not in full view like homes in the city. It has been very disturbing to me to see the number of abandoned homes in the city increasing this past year. I was raised in Salem and don't recall ever seeing eyesores like this. Why have things changed? Have Salem residents lost their pride? Most of these homes are rental properties, which are more abundant now, maybe that is the problem.

The vacant homes I am concerned with are located on the corner of Third and Ellsworth and the other is on the corner of Ellsworth and Wilson. The home on the corner of Third has had broken-out windows throughout the winter with curtains flying and remains the same.

The one next to the recycling center and the same block as our fire station and city hall on Wilson has multiple broken out windows and obviously vacant.

This home was once well kept with pride by Mr. Orashan who was in his 90s. What is wrong with this picture? I live on the outskirts of town but can't help but notice these homes when I drive into the city and recycle.

I can't believe other residents haven't complained since they are both very traveled sections of town. I have also heard cats are taking over a house on Third Street and the urine stench is unbearable.

I have considered bringing this up at a city council meeting, but I am sure there would be many excuses or technicalities involved. The response would most likely be, "They are on the list for demolition!"

Well I'm sorry, but a notice on the door is not good enough for me anyway! How many homes must be on the list and what is the time limit? I don't understand why they can't at least board the windows up to keep vandals, children, rabid rodents, raccoons and bats out. Also, where are these varmints going to run when they do tear them down?

These rental areas are highly populated with young families. Abandoned buildings are just inviting trouble especially with the proven drug problems and crime on the rise in Salem. The way the economy is now desperate people are stealing copper plumbing or anything unguarded. Who is in charge of these so-called landlords that let these homes get to this state?

There is certainly some kind of zoning ordinance or code pertaining to this with all of the zoning rules today you are lucky to make home improvements with a permit, yet homes like this exist. Maybe it's just another case of passing the buck, which seems to be very common these days.

What good are downtown beautifications and crime watch groups (which are great) when these unsightly run-down homes remain to invite criminal activity and danger.

People may ask, "Why am I concerned when I don't live in these neighborhoods?" My answer to that is, "This is the problem with the world today." If everyone walked around with blinders on and left things go, this is exactly what will happen. I would also like to continue to be proud of Salem, the beautiful "Tree City." Come on officials, why put off tomorrow what can be done today? Just do it. Please!



Providing perspective

on house in the park

To the editor:

We write this letter to the editor to provide perspective on the issues relating to the home owned by the city of Salem and located in the Waterworth Memorial Park.

For years we have walked through the park, were aware of the home, and often saw a city truck parked in the drive. We were not troubled by that fact. Nor were we troubled by the fact that from 1997 until December 2008 the Salem Board of Park Commissioners ("board") rented the home to a city employee for $100 per month on the condition that he make repairs to the home and maintain it himself.

We became concerned, however, when we learned from various media sources, including the Salem News, that the board intended to have the home destroyed by having Salem firefighters burn it down.

At a public meeting on March 25, 2009, the board made clear that its decision was firm and final. The board's decision has not been implemented because there is an issue relating to whether the home and the 24 acres of land on which it sets is controlled by the board or the city of Salem.

To resolve this issue city council has before it a proposed ordinance that, if enacted, will formally dedicate the land, and several other parcels of land, as park property. In general we support this proposed legislation because it will eliminate the existing legal ambiguity and make clear that the board has authority over the land.

On the other hand we do not believe that the home, and an acre or two of land around it, should be transferred to the board without conditions that will prevent the board from carrying out its decision to have the home burned down.

In our view the home, as a public asset valued at $94,760 by the county auditor, should be preserved and conserved so that its economic value to the citizens of Salem can be maximized. Since March 25 many citizens have told us that they share our concerns, and have articulated constructive ways that the home can be used. We shared those ideas with city council on May 6.

To be honest we are saddened beyond words that in the midst of the most serious recession since the Great Depression a public body would decide to destroy a valuable public asset.

Moreover because the asset is a house built in 1980 that is in better condition than is a significant portion of the housing stock in Salem, the irony is not lost on us that the board is committed to destroying a relatively new home in excellent condition when so many people are losing their homes because of these very tough economic times.

We ask that citizens of the Salem community do two things. First, please go and see the home. It is located just north of the Waterworth Memorial parking lot adjacent to the tennis courts, band shell, and northern most baseball field.

Secondly, if you have questions and concerns about the fate of the home, please take action by: contacting your ward council person, or any of the three at-large council persons; and attending and speaking at the next two council meetings that are scheduled for Tuesday, May 19, at 7 p.m., and Tuesday, June 2 at 7 p.m.




Fears community could

lose Quaker City

To the editor:

I have been reading about how the city of Salem wants to buy the property that Quaker City Raceway sits on. Then lease the track back to the now owner for a few years and develop an industrial park. My question is what is a few years? Is it going to be around for the next generation or are we talking two to three years and that's it for racing?

Quaker City Raceway is a part of Salem history. It has been around since the 50s. Every time my family goes there it is a memorable experience. We really are worried that if the city buys this property the track will have a very limited life span left.

And all the history, fun and thrills of racing for a lot of us will be lost. Not to mention lost revenue from out of town/state racers and fans.

I think if they really wanted to develop an industrial park there, they can do it around the dragstrip. Let people come and enjoy themselves. I know many people in the area are not race fans.

But I have seen vehicles with license plates from Indiana, New York, and even some from Michigan and Kentucky. All these people come from other states to watch and race here.

All I am saying is if you want this property for job growth we are all for that. But do you have to destroy a good source of entertainment in doing so? It is nice having a dragstrip in our own backyard. Look at the crowds at the super nationals.

It is part of Salem history, and a lot of enjoyment for a lot of people. There is very little racing in this area. Everyone will have to drive to Pennsylvania to enjoy drag racing. And we would rather enjoy it right here in our own backyard for years to come. Please do not buy this property and put Quaker City Raceway on a short lifeline and pull the plug.



Scam alert issued over

call center reps

To the editor:

This is a scam alert.

I called a number that was published in the our local newspapers for call center reps.

This is not real. I called the number and they sent me a letter with a check for $2,880. My assignment was act as a customer and go to a MoneyGram location and send money to Canada. This was to evaluate the system.

I called the bank that was on the cashier's check. They said they do not issue cashier's checks and advised that this in a bogus check. Do not cash it.

I am going to turn this information over the the local law enforcement agencies.

Please be very careful ... there are scam artists out there who will rob you.



Is there any pride left in

the Leetonia community?

To the editor:

It is sad to hear of the people in Leetonia who have become so narrow-minded, self-centered and selfish. Where has our pride gone?

Other communities and school districts in Columbiana County are continually shouting from the rooftops the achievements and accolades of their towns and schools, however, in Leetonia, any improvements made are seen as wasteful expenditures to be looked down upon. The residents of Columbiana do not complain about the monies raised for the beautification of the circle that they worked hard for, nor do those in Crestview complain that new soccer fields were a waste of volunteers' time. Salem and Lisbon are constantly promoting the historical attributes of their town and praising their athletes.

I have heard comments that "there is nothing in Leetonia, why should we waste our money?" These are the same people who go to other communities to take advantage of the services offered there. Why do we think we do not deserve to better ourselves? Good things in life do not come free. It takes hard work, dedication and sacrifice.

We should be proud of our new library, we should be proud of our school, we should be proud of our students and teachers and the "Excellent" rating they received from the state.

There are many in Leetonia who continue to work hard to make our town a better place for everyone to enjoy, from planting trees and flowers, acquiring new businesses, and promoting our parks, to showing support at athletic events.

By not passing the school levy, we have not proven a point. We have not increased our household incomes.

We have not created more jobs for those who are suffering economically. We have said, our town does not matter, our home values do not matter and our children do not matter. I hope that over the next several months residents of our village realize we have many things to be proud of and by giving a little of ourselves the rewards will come back to us tenfold.



AT&T worker speaks

out on 'corporate greed'

To the editor:

Here's a good question: Why is it OK for AT&T, a profitable that's leading the industry, to cut workers' health care benefits and while giving our CEO and his family free health care for life?

Answer: It's not OK.

When you call AT&T for help, I'm one of the people that will go out in the cold, rain, and the snow and fix your phone. I like my job, I'm good at it and I'm proud AT&T is so successful.

Our economy might be struggling, but AT&T isn't.

AT&T wants to triple what some of us pay for health care, even though it earned $12.9 billion in profits last year, more than $3 billion in the first quarter of this year, and turned in an outstanding first quarter performance, according to Wall Street.

AT&T is trying to use the bad economy as an excuse to cut our families' standard of living. That's not right. As AT&T employees, we're proud of the work we do and we're proud that our company is successful.

Instead of shifting even more health care costs to workers and retirees on fixed incomes, AT&T should get behind the effort for real national health care reform. Not only would it save about $600 million a year and give a good return to shareholders, but it would be stopping the free ride that some companies get by not contributing at all to employee - and family - health care.

If working families have less in their paychecks, that's less we'll be able to spend in our communities. Think about what that will do to an economy already in recession.

We're taking a stand against corporate greed and we're asking elected officials and the public to stand with us. We want fairness from AT&T.



Communications Workers

of America, Local 4300



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