Parents of baby Madyson grateful
To the editor: The past month and a half, we have watched our newborn baby girl go through so many traumas. It has truly been a hard and long adventure and still is not over. When we first found out that our 2-week-old baby had to have open heart surgery we were devastated and so scared for our little girl.
Every day until her surgery was like walking on eggshells. We would notice her breathing, sleeping, and eating getting worse. When we got to the hospital and she got all checked in, that is when it became extremely hard because we then had to hand our precious baby over to the nurse and watch her walk away with her. We had probably about 30 people in the waiting room praying and waiting very patiently for them to come out and give us updates every hour for five and half hours. About a week before the surgery Tiffany's sister, Jessica Sponsellar, started an event on Facebook for Madyson called Please Pray For Me. Before the surgery she had already had 3,500 people following her and praying for her. A phone forward was also sent with Madyson's picture and a small letter with it explaining what was going on and the text message and Jessica's event page hit all over the world and fast. We were getting messages back from Germany, Africa, England and so many other different countries. Knowing that there was that many prayers out there for her are what kept us motivated and strong during the surgery. The doctors came out and everything was done and the operation was a success and we were able to go see our little girl.
During the stay in the hospital we continued to have people praying and her Facebook page grew to over 4,600 people actually following her and the site had hit over 10,000 people's houses. Even though we were scared to death because while in the PICU we found out Madyson had developed RSV and had a swallowing issue which meant her formula was going into her lungs and what did go to her stomach she refluxed back up and it went into her lungs plus she has a bowel issue, we couldn't help but feel a sense of peace and comfort all because of all the prayers and guests and the wonderful E-Cards people were sending to the hospital. People that we didn't even know were sending cards. It was truly an amazing feeling and definitely made us find God again. We believe our daughter's purpose for going through all of this is because she was strong enough for one and because our daughter helped bring so many people back together as friends and touched there lives spiritually. We would like to say thank you so much to Jessica Sponseller for starting that page and getting Madyson's story out there. During our stay at the hospital our neighbors, Jeff and Angela Howell, started to put together a spaghetti benefit dinner for Madyson and they recruited the help of Ms. Heather Schrefflar, Shaun and Charlene Theiss, Lauri Dotson, Wendy McNicol, Bill Moore, Roxanne Weaver Weber and many other volunteers. By the day of the dinner we had over 35 people helping and it had turned into a spaghetti dinner and Chinese auction consisting of over 90 items. We would like to say thank you to United Youth Soccer League, United Local PTO, Bob Evans Restaurant of Salem, Ricky's English Pub of Salem, Pizza Hut of Salem, East of Chicago of Salem, McDonald's of Salem, The Big Reach Center of Hope of Greenford and the Salem Cub Scouts Pack 3 for monetary and food donations. Also thanks to Accolades Sportswear for donating Madyson T-shirts to all the volunteers. We would also like to say thank you to all the volunteers and all the wonderful people for monetary donation and all of the wonderful gift baskets donated. We can not thank all of you enough for the love, support and prayers through all of this. It's amazing how such a little person can bring so many people together. You all have truly been a blessing to our family and we appreciate you all so much.
DAN MOORE and TIFFANY PEATE,
Hailing the death of Osama bin Laden
To the editor: Osama bin Laden is dead! This is a victory for our intelligence services and our military indeed. I hope it brings some amount of closure and peace to the families of those who were lost on Sept. 11, 2001 and those of our Armed Services who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
It is a long time coming for a small justice, and the jubilation is with mixed feelings at best. However, now is not the time to let our guard down. Now is the time to remain and become even more vigilant and aware. This is not the end of the war on terror, just another chapter, and one that may be just as, if not more, dangerous. We are now dealing with an enemy that is in shambles and without a leader ... without direction; a car without a driver. Now is the time for our unity and greatness to shine through. Now is the time for us to forget the differences and rally behind the common cause of protecting our nation and way of life. Do not leave it to our troops overseas and the politicians on Capitol Hill. Take our nation back from terror and become that shining city on the hill again! God Bless America!
Lisbon, Ohio/Fort Meade, Baltimore, Md.
Writes in response to gun-related op
To the editor: In response to the April 22 article, "Guns, alcohol just don't mix": Current law allows concealed handgun licensees to carry their handgun in their vehicle. Unlike any other state, Ohio's current laws have a long list of ridiculous, extremely specific rules describing exactly how the handgun must be transported. The slightest transgression can and does result in a criminal charge. HB45 eliminates these restrictions, which serve only to make criminals out of trustworthy, law-abiding people. The Senate version of this bill passed with an amendment that retroactively restores the rights of anyone who was convicted because of these inane rules. "Guns and alcohol don't mix." We have heard this statement over and over. I couldn't agree more. It is currently a felony (as it should be) for someone to have a handgun in their possession while under the influence of alcohol. HB45 doesn't change this: it still states that anyone who mixes guns and alcohol is committing a felony. Those opposed to HB45 go to great lengths to obscure this fact. What HB45 DOES change is to allow the licensed, responsible, law-abiding concealed handgun licensee to carry his gun with him when he takes his family to Applebees for dinner - something that is not possible under the current laws. Instead, he locks his gun in his car out in the parking lot. Criminals know this, and consider cars in restaurant parking lots an excellent source of guns to steal. They also know that the patrons are thus unarmed, and will make excellent victims. Forty-three other states have the exact same law that we are now attempting to pass in Ohio. Every state surrounding Ohio allows licensed concealed gun holders to visit restaurants that serve alcohol - and the restaurants in Ohio that border those states lose out as a result. Opponents to HB45 include the Ohio Restaurants Association and the Fraternal Order of Police. Both organizations have strong political ties. However, the vast number of restaurants and rank-and-file police officers that these organizations purport to represent do not share their views. They know that concealed handgun licensees as a group are responsible and law-abiding, and that responsible armed citizens deter crime. "Nikki Goeser" of Tennessee, and "Suzanna Hupp" of Texas, both concealed handgun licensees, were eating in restaurants, with their guns locked in their cars, as the law dictated. Suzanna watched a madman shoot and kill 23 people (including her parents). Nikki watched her stalker shoot and kill her husband. Both tragedies could have been averted had these women had their guns with them. Immediately after these tragedies occurred, both states passed the same law that the Ohio House is now considering. The fact is, there are already lots of people with concealed guns inside bars and restaurants. They are the criminals, breaking the law. The changes that HB45 makes don't affect them: they are already breaking the law. What HB45 does do is to allow those trained, statistically law-abiding citizens who hold a concealed carry license to protect themselves and their families when they choose to dine out with their family.
The liberals will be celebrating Beck off air
To the editor: It has finally happened. Glen Beck is going off the air and the liberals are jumping and screaming with delight. Certain groups, the media and most important the White House have been conducting open warfare to stifle Beck and his effort to inform the American people of what is really going on in their government, country and the world. I have been an ardent listener and observer of Beck's programs since the start of his TV show. In the beginning I found some of his comments difficult to swallow, but as time went on I realized he and his staff were involved in a tremendous research program and I cannot ever remember Beck making a controversial statement he could not back up with some form of documentary proof. His favorite comment was "Don't take my word, look it up for yourself, do your homework." Some of his enemies call him a self-proclaimed prophet. Beck prophesied nothing his comments as to what the future holds for us are based on incidences and events of the past and present. Beck has gone where others have feared to go. He has dared to search out and reveal the truth regardless of whose toes he stepped on. Fox says he is being removed because of low ratings. I have to wonder, because not too long ago his ratings were sky high. I have talked to people who say they don't like him. Some of the younger generations nearly go ballistic at the mention of his name. Others say they don't like him, but they won't listen and observe long enough to make any kind of an evaluation. Then I'm afraid too many others have been dodging the truth for so long, they are no longer able to accept it. Glen Beck is fluent on American history. He has a tremendous respect for our founding fathers and a deep love for his country. What we have allowed to happen to this man is a frontal attack on the First Amendment and I fear it is only the beginning. I believe we haven't heard the last of Glen Beck.
LEON J. WHITE,
Don't believe the governor and 'cronies'
To the editor: Governor Kasich and his Tea Party cronies are trying to convince the public that public employees are being overpaid and overcompensated by you the taxpayer. This simply is not true.
According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan "think tank" that seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy, public-sector workers receive less compensation and lower salaries than workers in the private-sector. (epi.org) It also finds that 54 percent of public-sector workers have a four-year or higher college degree as compared to the 35 percent of private-sector employees who have a similar level of education. The governor promised to cut government spending but that apparently only applies to public-sector workers. He gave his staff outrageous raises. His communications director, Scott Milburn, was given a $30,990/year raise. His press secretary is being bumped up an astounding $20,008/year. His chief of staff, Beth Hansen is getting a $47,010 raise this year. If that weren't enough spending, he then created a position, called special assistant to the governor, for his good friend Jai Chabria, which pays a salary of $145,000 per year. Kasich was quoted as saying "We're fortunate that we're getting a lot of good people to come in," he said. "Salary is an issue. There's a lady standing in the back of the room who's had two very good offers in the private sector who we would like to have come and work for us ..." Why is it that his staff gets labeled as "good people" deserving of a well-compensated job with the equivalent salary of someone in the private-sector while our state's teachers, paraprofessionals, police officers, firemen, nurses and other public sector-workers get labeled as not worth the money they are paid. When the community met with Rep. Craig Newbold recently, at the East Liverpool Public Library, to let him know how they felt about SB-5, he told my colleague that nothing would sway his decision to vote for SB-5 other than facts. We have been emailing, texting, calling, and writing to him with the facts but he doesn't want to hear us. He has his own private agenda. He has stated that he doesn't care if he is re-elected to office due to his district's dissatisfaction over how he votes on this issue. Well Mr. Newbold, you were elected to represent our interest not your own. It boggles the mind that Kasich and others like Rep. Newbold believe cutting the pay and bargaining rights of public-sector workers will create more jobs. I, for one, will not be buying anything other than bare essentials. If the other 365,000 public workers are anything like me they will also be cutting back how much is spent on nonessentials. That will not increase business or create jobs. It will only hurt our communities.
Appalled at condition of Columbiana Cemetery
To the editor: I just attended the funeral services of a beloved friend this pass weekend and visited her grave on May 2. I was appalled at the condition the Columbiana Cemetery, it looks like unkempt field. This place was once admired as a model for all other cemeteries to measure up to. What happened?
I was relieved that most of the leaves were finally picked up from last year. But the grass, it's way above your ankles. It appears that some people are cutting their own grass near their loved one's final resting place. They don't even bother to seed last year's grave, leaving them to be filled in by weeds.
Shame on you Columbiana city officials, it's obvious that you people do not have loved ones in this cemetery. Surely, you would not allow it to be so run down if you did. It's ironic that the Firestone memorial is so well kept, too bad you have to drive though the slums to see it.
Beaver Falls, Pa.
Proposed charter changes defy logic
To the editor: When legitimate charter school proponents say that the extreme changes proposed by Kasich and Batchelder will turn Ohio into a national "laughingstock" something is seriously wrong. Their proposals remove almost all meaningful charter accountability safeguards from the law. Changes are so extreme as to defy logic. Do they really hate public education that much? Or, is it more about the $432,000 for-profit charter operator David Brennan and close family members gave the Ohio Republican Party last election cycle - to include $83,000 to Batchelder? Who do they really represent, and since when did we give them carte blanche to privatize public education?
(Formerly of Columbiana)
Rain, wind and cold didn't stop volunteers
To the editor: Rain, wind, and cold didn't stop Cashland and Salem KSU volunteers from showing up and working on Saturday, April 16, for the Salem Beautification Committee's downtown Salem Clean-up Day!
The Cashland crew raked leaves, pulled weeds, picked up litter, and swept sidewalks at Liberty Park.
The Salem KSU faculty and students tackled the parking lot on Second Street, pulling overgrown weeds and doing a tremendous amount of raking and picking up litter. Gratitude just doesn't seem to be enough for these two groups of volunteers who gave up a Saturday to clean-up our town, where many of them do not even live. I tried to get both groups to go home due to terrible weather conditions, but they insisted on staying and working. They pulled their sweatshirt hoods over their heads and away they went, working until their jobs were done. Only one Cashland volunteer was from Salem, the other seven came from Alliance, Warren and Youngstown. Cashland volunteers who worked at Liberty Park all morning were Glen Randall, coordinator for the clean-up, Salem Cashland; Melissa Waldron, Warren manager; Mindy Cannon, Alliance market manager; and her daughter Maley; Stacey Atkins, Youngstown mentor manager; Ericka Conrad, Warren Cashland; Tara Ripple, Columbiana Cashland; and Stephanie O'Dell, Warren, Cashland.
Salem Kent State University volunteers also worked the entire morning, at the Second Street parking lot and they were: Victor Leija, student; Ruth McCullagh, public relations coordinator; Matthew Butts, director of institutional advancement; Danielle Stewart, student; Maddie Kocanjer, Julia Kocanjer, student; Donna Stewart, student and Jim Pendleton, student. And many thanks to Nancy Burcaw and son Kenrick, Cub Scout and Mason Nicoara, Cub Scout, for working on Saturday, April 2. The boys did a great job, and should be commended for helping on a rainy, wet weekend. Also, a big thank you to Eric Coffee, for power washing all the flower and trash containers downtown on Sunday, April 17. We would also like to recognize the Friends Roastery for their generosity in giving all the volunteers that worked downtown on the two clean-up Salem weekends free hot chocolate or coffee. In addition, much appreciation for the efforts of one particular S.B.C. member, Isabel Huber, who single-handedly cleaned up all the weeds along the west side of McCulloch Park and planted ajuga, a ground cover, one plant at a time, along the entire length of the MacMillan store. These volunteers who unselfishly gave of their time should be proud of their efforts in helping to improve and make a difference in the appearance of Salem. Salem residents should appreciate them, because they reap the benefits of all their hard work.
Hopefully, the Salem Beautification Committee motto, "Planting pride... .city wide" will be something that all Salem residents will want to strive for and embrace.
KAREN L. CARTER,