Council member conducts meeting
To the editor:
Although thunder storms were on the horizon, 13 Second Ward residents arrived at city hall for our first meeting of 2014. As usual there more Salem residents present then attend sessions of Salem City Council
I opened the meeting, by reading a resolution, passed by council on June 3. The resolution granted approval for City Law Director Brooke Zellers to file an injunction to force the scrap yard owner to become compliant under our "Manufacturing" zoned district ordinances. Mayor Berlin signed the document within 10 days of passage by city council.
High points from an e-mail from Mayor John Berlin were also read to those present. The mayor wrote: I have been informed that the resolution does not compel the law director to file an injunction; it merely authorizes the law director to do so, now or next month or next year or 10 years from now. That is what you (Councilman Brown) and the rest of council voted 7-0 for.
(I opened an e-mail this morning, sent Tuesday afternoon by Mr. Zellers. He wrote: "Barring any unforseen crunches he intended to have the injunctions ready to file on Friday") (June 27th).
I previously invited Second Ward resident Karen Carter, a member of the "Beautification Committee," to attend and tell us what the committee is doing downtown.
She was unable to attend so Jennifer Brown was her substitute. She informed those present of current projects and future plans to beautify downtown.
The committee has, as usual planted flowers in large containers and will continue to prune and maintain them. She expressed concern for the appearance of some buildings downtown and the need for building owners to do something to make their properties more appealing. She wanted to know who was responsible for repairing broken curbs downtown. She asked if it was possible for each council member to use part of their $10,000 ward fund to help with repairs. I told her I would look into it.
She asked for Salem residents to walk the sidewalks downtown and look at changes made or in progress.
One resident expressed concern for the Tan-Fantastic building, vacant store locations with dirty and vacant windows. Buildings with a "slum" area appearance. Mr. and Mrs. Scott Cahill, Second Ward residents, informed those present about their concerns and past interest in the Tan-Fantastic building. They also informed us of other projects they have in progress. Several residents entered into the discussion. The overall feeling was that the Tan-Fantastic building should have been torn down years ago.
Many of those present expressed their feelings that the former city administration, present city administration and Salem City Council (including myself) have not addressed the important issues facing Salem.
Some of their concerns are the increase in the number of drug problems, run down rental homes that aren't fit for human occupancy. Many of those owned and rented by what two residents referred to as "slum" landlords. Their presence drive down the property values of homes in the neighborhoods.
They appreciate the great job Police Chief Panezott is doing. They would like Salem City Council, to consider discussing ways to get something done that require landlords to use some of the rent they receive to improve the outside appearance of their rentals. I told them I would bring it up at a future council meeting.
As usual the problem of trash cans remaining on the curb for days at a time came up. One resident said: she looked up the street and saw a long row of "yellow" trash cans. They were lined up like soldiers. I told her I would inform the proper individual in city hall about what she saw.
Last but not least. They want all the laws of the city enforced. Starting with mowing of lawns before the grass is 8 inches high and garbage cans left on the curb. They want to improve the appearance of their neighborhoods.
Other concerns were discussed and noted. I intend to address some of them and contact the proper office in city hall to handle the others.
My sincere thanks to former Fourth Ward Council Member Mary Ann Dzuracky for taking notes during the meeting.
2nd Ward Councilman,
Wants fireworks legalized in Ohio
To the editor:
I once again write to suggest that the time has come to consider legislation in Ohio to allow for the sale and use of the full line of consumer fireworks.
Consumer fireworks are safer today than they have ever been in the history of our country. John Adams, in a prophetic 1776 letter to his wife Abigail, suggested that the Independence Day holiday "ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore."
Today in America, we celebrate as John Adams suggested with the modern version of bonfires and illuminations, that being barbecues and fireworks. Nothing could be more patriotic, and nothing else quite suffices for the Fourth of July.
In 1994, the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory first began testing consumer fireworks at the factory level in China for compliance with U.S. manufacturing and performance standards. Since 1994, the use of fireworks in America has increased some 77 percent from 117,000,000 pounds to 207,500,000 pounds in 2012. Against this tremendous increase in the use of the products, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that fireworks-related injuries dropped over 30 percent from 12,500 in 1994 to 8,700 in 2012.
Forty-six states now permit the sale and use of some level of consumer fireworks. Since 2006, the following states have liberalized their fireworks laws by permitting some additional level of consumer fireworks over what had previously been permitted ranging from ground-based products to the full-line of products: Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Utah. Legislation has been considered in Iowa, Massachusetts, Virginia and West Virginia.
In considering and enacting the legislation, these states have all recognized the improved safety record of consumer fireworks and the fact that sorely needed revenue could be generated from the sale of the products.
Everyone loves fireworks. People love to watch major league sports, and they also love to play sandlot sports. The same holds true with fireworks. People love to watch professional displays, and they also love to shoot their own backyard fireworks.
Ohio legislators have the power to change the fireworks laws and take their constituents out of the shadows of uncertainty and illegality and bring Ohio to parity with so many other states that permit the sale and use of the full line of consumer fireworks. This is long overdue.
Write or e-mail your legislator and ask for legalization of the full line of consumer fireworks. Take us out of the consumer fireworks dark ages and into the modern era. Enjoy the Independence Day holiday with your family and celebrate safely.
WILLIAM A. WEIMER,