Fondly remembering Donald 'Luke' Bennett
To the editor:
I was saddened to see the obituary of Donald "Luke" Bennett in the Salem News on March 22. As the obituary stated, "He was employed by Salem City Schools for 34 years as a teacher, coach, and vice principal." But his impact could not be contained in that succinct sentence. Don Bennett helped me-and, I'm sure, countless other SHS students-in so many ways. I'd like to describe just some of them. I first met Mr. Bennett in the summer of 1963, when he came to an evening football workout as a new assistant for just-hired head coach Don Clarico. That night, he showed aspiring sophomore quarterbacks how to take a snap from center and call signals. But he taught us all so much more. The first time he rode the team bus to an away game, he brought along a book-and read from it. By that good example, he demonstrated it was manly both to read and to value an education. As an SHS American history teacher, he shared with us our nation's past. (Once, dozing in his class, I was abruptly awakened by the slam of my textbook hitting the floor-where Mr. Bennett had dropped it, to regain my attention.) Eventually, he enkindled in me an avid interest in that subject-which I later enjoyed conveying to my own high school students, when I became a social studies teacher. Mr. Bennett also worked at night as adult supervisor of the teen canteen in the basement of the Memorial Building. When he heard we had formed a band during the 1964 British invasion, he invited us to play there; his wife, Diane, and he both encouraged us the night we debuted. Today, I still enjoy playing the guitar, albeit badly.
(Thankfully, he also told me one evening at the canteen that the girl for me was my SHS classmate, Cindy Mancuso; I took his advice and we now look forward to celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary this fall.) In the summer, he taught us drivers ed. He also got me a summer job, working for Don Santee building houses in Mr. Bennett's neighborhood. (Later, Mr. Santee helped us to get our first house, in his development on Andrew Avenue.) When hired as head football coach at Salem High, I went to Mr. Bennett's house to ask him to become our defensive coordinator; he accepted that invitation. (Later, my Class of 1966 friend and teammate Jim Lantz, who also joined our staff, said to me: "Joe, you've got to stop calling him 'Mr. Bennett'-you're the head coach now!" After that, I started referring to him at staff meetings as "Luke," but I never felt truly comfortable doing it.) It was Luke and Fred Kunar who devised our defensive game plan that held a previously-undefeated nearby rival to seven points in Salem's 1985 gridiron win. When I became SHS assistant principal, Luke was supportive, helping us to enforce discipline. One day, he stopped me in the hall and said: "You need to make a five-year plan, so you'll know what you want to be doing then." He was right; I did. Years later, he taught American history to both of our children at Salem High. I never tired of hearing their Luke stories, which always produced both smiles and good memories. For all these things, then, I am very grateful to Mr. Bennett; thank you so much, Luke.
JOE ROTTENBORN, Salem
More residents not plugged into PUCO line
To the editor:
Glad to read Sunday's "Your Side." We see that we are not the only people upset with PUCO. Thanks to Shannon Kerr. We have written to The PUCO, Governor Kasich, and the Representatives of Ohio asking why First Energy has the right to tell us what light bulbs we are to use and also add a monthly fee to our Ohio Edison bill to pay for these light bulbs. We do not want the light bulbs and should not be charged for them. They are very expensive and do not provide good light. We have tried them out. Are we becoming a communist state? The bulbs are made in China. We are sick and tired of Chinese and Asian products. The quality of goods from these nations is poor when compared to American made goods. General Electric closed at least four plants in the Mahoning Valley that were involved with the production of light bulbs. First Energy has a large stock pile of these expensive Chinese bulbs and they want their money for them. They should eat the loss and give the bulbs away as a goodwill gesture. I am sure this would be a tax write off for them. We don't know if the bulbs even work or how long they have been in storage. These bulbs are supposed to last five years. We are not going going to go around the house tagging light bulbs and time them for replacement. We want First Energy's Gestapo tactics stopped. It is up to us to save energy by using it wisely. We turn off unused light bulbs and appliances when not in use. Freedom of choice is ours, or was it? What is next with regard to our rights?
MARGARET and ROBERT SABO,
Unhappy with Newbold supporting Senate Bill 5
To the editor:
I've been a Republican for over 35 years and for the first time in my life I have contributed money to the Democratic Party and will continue to do so until Ohio Senate Bill 5 is overturned and every politician that voted for it is removed from office including local Ohio Representative Craig Newbold. Newbold has turned a deaf ear to those he claims he represents in Columbiana County and has purposely mislead the citizens that came to him in good faith to discuss Senate Bill 5. At a recent public meeting held in East Liverpool Newbold stated, "I'm here to gather your opinion and input," "Perhaps we can form a committee," "I need to know what is taking place"but when asked whether he had even read the bill, his public response was "no." In the past I have often voted Republican because I felt the party stood, among other things, for many of the moral issues that are important to me and my family. But no more. It was unbelievable to see how protesters in Columbus were treated and locked out of the Ohio State House in freezing weather when there was clearly no threat; and how at the last minute Republican Senator Bill Seitz, a Commerce, Labor Committee member who did not support SB 5 was removed from the Committee by the Republican leadership and replaced with a supporter of SB 5 ahead of the vote. In essence forcibly stacking the deck to ensure the outcome of a vote. But it doesn't stop there, On March 16th Deborah Delisle the state superintendent at the Department of Education was removed in yet another heavy-handed tactic by the Kasich "regime" and the onslaught continues. So why should we care? If you're not a teacher, firefighter, police officer, public employee; or perhaps you don't even belong to a union, SB 5 doesn't affect you right? Wrong. If you have a contract with your employer whether it's a power plant, railroad, steel mill, trucking company, pottery or anyplace where you've signed a labor contract, the tentacles of Senate Bill 5 will eventually reach your doorstep.
Similar bills like SB 5 are being pushed in states across the country. It's a national movement by predominantly Republican lawmakers aimed at destroying the working middle-class of America, and don't be naive to think that your job, pension and benefits are going to be exempt from the fallout of this reckless and irresponsible legislation. If your son or daughter is in college studying to become an educator what are they going to do with that student loan and the future you hoped they would have? The passage of SB 5 has nothing to do with saving money and cutting the deficit and everything to do with privatizing education in addition to destroying the very fiber of middle-class America. I would encourage each person who votes to visit the Web site www.followthemoney.org. There you can see who contributed to elected officials in the past election and how much they received. The fact is, every single Republican Senator on the Ohio Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee; as well as the Ohio Secretary of State; Ohio Attorney General and Governor Kasich has taken substantial amounts of cash from White Hat Management which is listed on the follow-the-money.org Web site under the name of Brennan, Ann Amer. Located in Akron, White Hat Management is the largest for profit charter school in Ohio and has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican lawmakers. So is this such a bad thing? People contribute to politicians all the time in order to buy favor and influence votes. To answer that question just follow the money and then Google "White Hat Management Corruption" and then draw your own conclusion. This is yet another element of S.B 5; selling the education of Ohio's children to the highest bidder regardless of the outcome and effects it will have on students and our local school districts. And let's not forget Representative Newbold, who by the way owns and operates his own school in East Liverpool - Newbold Technical Institute. No small coincidence that Newbold happens to also be vice chair of the Ohio Education Committee. Of course Representative Newbold voted for SB 5. Given the tactics of Ohio's current administration not doing so would have been very bad for business. Conflict of interest and at whose expense? The taxpayer and Ohio's students that's who. In years past I had the good fortune of spending a significant amount of time in Eastern Europe before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union. What I saw and filmed there is unfortunately a snapshot of what I see happening today in Ohio and across this nation. The manipulation of party votes, strong-armed tactics and intimidation, plus a complete disregard for citizens and their basic rights. In the USSR workers were nothing more than expendable cogs in a machine that eventually destroyed the entire system. A radical statement perhaps, but the reality of events taking place in Ohio speaks for itself and all of us as citizens in a democracy should be alarmed. This entire anti-labor movement is nothing more than an ill-conceived and reckless tactic which parallels closely with what the CIA calls "economic destabilization." A tactic used in Third World countries which throws economies into crisis in order to achieve regime change. Sound familiar? Since Ohio is one of the nation's most important swing states, and no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio, Senate Bill 5 is the obvious opening shots in the Republican presidential campaign. But what they don't realize is that they have miscalculated horribly because this is not my Republican Party of years past and I will never support any politician or political party that attacks the basic foundation and dignity of American families in order to obtain a political goal and I'm not alone. At the information meeting held by Representative Newbold two weeks ago at the Carnegie Public Library, he asked, "how many of you here today are Republicans?" Numerous people raised their hand and it was clearly unanimous by their comments, all felt the Republican Party had abandon them and no longer represented their core values or held the presumed moral higher standards it once had. But unfortunately, to Newbold and many other Republican legislators a higher standard is something they no longer understand or care about.
LANCE SHULTZ, East Liverpool
Visitor to area lauds Heartland performers
To the editor:
I was a Canadian tourist, privileged to earlier view part of the rehearsals for the (Columbiana) Heartland School's Gilligan's Island Production which started on Friday, April 8. The joy and talent that those youngsters brought to their roles was amazing. They were having a blast...- their good humor is definitely contagious!
SALLY A. THURSTON, Harrow, Canada
ROC of Salem Youth Center filling a void
To the editor:
There is a common phrase I like: "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem." I think this sentiment is true when it comes to today's youth. Many adults have the opinion that unruly teenagers are the root of the deterioration of our communities. I agree that some teenagers cause trouble. But I submit that it's not entirely their fault. To a degree, they are the victim of broken home lives, the lack of suitable role models and having no one to guide them in life's journey.
If today's youth are so broken, isn't it time we helped fix them? The ROC of Salem Youth Center is a place where dozens of teenagers are gathering on Saturday nights. It is a place where they can stay off the streets, meet others going through similar life situations and become equipped to maneuver life's detours. We are a community ministry, not affiliated with any one church or organization. This community refuge for teens can only remain open with your help. As a nonprofit entity, we are funded solely through monetary donations from individuals, churches and businesses. We need your help. The youth of Salem need your help. Consider opening your checkbook and investing in the next generation. Become part of the solution-not the problem.
ERIC HAMILTON, Director, The ROC of Salem
Public union leaders are alligators themselves
To the editor:
The current argument over SB 5 (Ohio Public Unions) has characteristics of the old Abbott and Costello comedy routine "Who's on first, what's on second, and I don't know on third." Whose union are we talking about anyway, a union of the private sector or government employees union. Lumping them together easily confuses the issue at hand, the state's broke and I can't foot the bill. What's this idea that a state's employee and an elected official can negotiate health care and retirement benefits without the state citizens having a vote? Every additional dime a public employee receives is one less dime in my family's coffer. Collective bargaining is not a right as stated in constitution of the United States or the constitution of the state of Ohio. It is in the state's constitution to balance the budget. I don't know why the leadership of a public union ignores and downplays the alligators of my swamp. Now if the answer is to make business pay more in taxes, that business is the swamp I'm working in. The truth is that public union leaders are alligators themselves.
WILLIAM E. EARDLEY, East Liverpool
Salem girls softball team grateful for support
To the editor:
The Salem girls softball team recently held a breakfast to raise money to build dugouts at their new field at Southeast School. The team would like to thank all who donated items, helped cook, and especially those who attended to give their support and donations. The girls have been working hard this spring to sell candy, 50/50 raffle tickets, and flip flops. Because of your support at the breakfast, we were able to raise over $1,000 toward the cost of the dug outs. We wanted to take this opportunity to thank the people of Salem and surrounding communities. Your donations are greatly appreciated.
Salem Girls Softball Team, Salem Softball Boosters
Salem firefighters make day special for little boy
To the editor:
I am writing about a visit I had with the Salem Fire Department this weekend. I was dropping off recyclable items and was with my son Jonah who is 2 years and 9 months old. He kept talking about the big trucks. I locked my truck, took him next door and yelled into the hall. I was greeted by two firefighters and asked them if they had time to show a little boy around. Jonah was so excited! They took him around to all the trucks, let him climb inside and sit behind the wheel and explained to him what some equipment was. They were very nice to him and made it special. He was given a coloring book and badge to wear. I wanted to share my feel good story about our fire department and their taking the time to make my son feel extra special.
Disagrees with op piece on Medicare
To the editor:
The Salem News editorial of April 11 was a bit short on facts and somewhat over seasoned by implied untruths.First for the untruths We folks on Medicare do not always get our choice of caregivers; nor are we always treated by the same physicians-that happens, of course, because some of us visit local and out of area hospitals, some of us belong to HMOs, some have physicians who move, retire, or die. A personal specialist on whom I have relied for years recently transferred out of the USA and I will not follow him for the sake of my care; friends on Medicare have have told me of local physicians who have dismissed elderly patients. Seriously! As one who sports many pre-existing conditions, I would rather accept whatever care I can pay for or is offered rather than die because some insurer won't have me. Your editorial writer's implying that universal Medicare Choice will disappear with implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may be more the result of ignorance-I prefer not to accuse anyone writing for the Salem News of dishonesty. As for the Accountable Care Organizations cited in the editorial, our President didn't think that one up; managed care plans currently operate on that basis-that's what managing care implies, whether the providers of care do it or not. Some of the managed care plans that offer bonuses like Silver Sneakers and athletic equipment to quadraplegic home bound patients will save far more than the $1 billion cost of ACO's under what you term, so cynically, Obamacare. Americans who already have absolute choice in selecting health care providers typically have enough money for house calls, regardless of where they live in the world. Many retain their own resident physicians. The Republican Party has recently seen to it that the untaxed wealth of these individuals is not compromised by our President's touch. By the way, the misspelling of "switch" in the title of the editorial is cute-or maybe your spell checker was just not working. Those readers who can't spell don't recognize such failed attempts at humor; the rest of us would rather you stick to the facts, even with standard spelling. Think of the kids...