It’s More Important Than Ever To Support Our Local Businesses
To the Editor:
Most every city has people who have a special interest in their community. Many lived their total lives in their community and provide a hometown touch to their business model. A true measure is how their employees represent them.
Two businesses that stand out in Northwest Ohio are Walt Churchill’s two supermarket locations in Perrysburg and Maumee, and the Kazmaier’s in Perrysburg.
I mostly frequent Walt’s Maumee location and Kazmaier’s in Perrysburg and appreciate that neither store uses the “vending machine” impersonal checkout system.
I cannot think of one visit where I did not interact with a caring, well-trained dedicated employee with long seniority.
Recently, I visited Walt’s and its beverage department and was greeted by a young lady, Cindy, who brightened my day with a sincere “Can I help you?” followed by a “What are you doing the rest of your day?” along with a “Thank you for shopping Churchill’s.” While talking to her, she expressed how happy she is working for the Churchill’s family and alongside her fellow employees.
Big-box stores have huge buying advantages and the depth of their corporate structure, but they have a hard time providing the hometown touch.
Walt Churchill’s and Kazmaier’s: Please keep it going. I am confident the community appreciates your care and personal involvement with your loyal customer following. All your special events are pace setting, along with your weekly specials and highest quality standards. Hopefully, Walt, you can return to your spectacular salad bar unmatched anywhere. In this very difficult time, service matters with so much competition. As you know, you are in a very competitive market with tight margins, along with dealing with perishable products.
The best motto I have ever heard is from a friend of mine, another businessman: “Buy Local – Hire Local!” Keeping our money local makes us a much stronger community, especially now.
Include Schools, Parents In Conant Conversation
To the Editor:
I suggest expanding the conversation of the proposed traffic changes to include school administrators and parents, specifically Union School and St. Joseph Catholic School. Union School provides space for preschool children, ages 3-5, offered by the Educational Service Center Lake Erie West as well as Perrysburg City Schools, with the staff and children being transported into Maumee. In addition, St. Joseph Catholic School instructs students from preschool through eighth grade. Most of these children require transportation via bus service provided by their public home school districts, carpools or family cars. Changes in the traffic flow on Conant Street will affect the schedules of school buses as well as parents dropping off and picking up their children on their way to and from work. The Mirror’s lead story (August 27, 2020), “Proposal to Slow Traffic Flow on Conant Street,” should be more inclusive. For example, solicit opinions from Citizens Bank, KeyBank, Edward Jones Investment Services and the Speedway gas station as well as from their clients/customers. As a former Maumee resident now residing in Monclova Township, I enjoy driving into uptown Maumee to frequent the businesses I mentioned above as well as stopping in at the Brew House for a delicious piece of cheesecake.
New Traffic Proposal Is Shortsighted
To the Editor:
Kudos to Mr. Gillen for his letter to the editor in the August 6 edition of The Mirror, pointing out the sheer lunacy of Maumee’s Conant Street traffic proposal. I had many of the same thoughts when I first read the original story. However, I had not thought of the possibility of the state and federal highway departments withholding highway aid, but that could be a real expensive result.
In addition, I found fault with the idea that motorists could use US 23 and I-475 to the west to avoid congestion. What about the out-of-the-area motorists coming north on US 20 and SR 25? They won’t know of the suggested detours and will follow the routes they are on, cussing Maumee when they are stopped at the one-lane bottlenecks through Maumee.
I have heard some dumb ideas proposed by various politicians, but this one takes the cake. I lived in Maumee for 28 years until moving to Monclova Township in 1999. Am I glad I escaped the shortsightedness of Maumee’s politicians. Are residents really sure they want to let their leaders waste $40,000 of their tax money on such a pointless experiment?
Traffic Plan Will Likely Lead To Backups
To the Editor:
Mr. Burtch and Maumee City Council are honest about one thing: they intend to make Conant Street so difficult to use that 10,000 to 15,000 drivers will want to stay away.
Their hope is that the uptown businesses will make more money. The excuse is that there is too much traffic for an average small town. That is a weak excuse.
Maumee is a small town, but one with a huge industrial park that employs thousands and pays Maumee millions of dollars.
Maumee is a small town that sits on one side of the river with the only bridge within miles that does not require going down a ramp onto a crowded freeway. The bridge connects two towns, and leads to both state and federal highways and is a short distance to the turnpike. We are not a small town surrounded by farmland.
Of course Maumee residents are going to have difficulty going to and returning from Perrysburg. This is not good if you must now drive well out of the way and take a freeway in winter weather to get across the river and go to work. Also, the Anthony Wayne Trail and Conant Street will back up as two lanes each way will be reduced to one.
Then too is the cost: $40,000 for a test to see if it works. Where did this money come from since the city was recently trying to lay off workers or have them take a pay cut, because I assume the city was having trouble paying its bills?
The city has spent a lot of money making Maumee look nice. There soon will be thousands of people that feel Maumee is not nice at all.
Charles W. Repp
Reconsidering New Monnette’s Loacation
To the Editor:
It doesn’t seem to be good business planning to locate a vegetable market on a busy corner with little parking available and never will, no matter how they trash uptown Maumee. The old Pharm spot has plenty of space ready to use.
The old Southwyck land is a couple miles farther west. Conant Street has been a major route across the river for decades. That will not change. Who wants to drive miles out of their way every day?
Two westbound lanes on the bridge must merge to one lane in less than a block – next to a school. How many accidents will likely occur? What if someone is killed?
It is too far to walk from where we live and with no parking the market has already lost a customer.
This whole situation smells like backroom.
Conant Street Traffic Proposal Will Take Maumee Backward
To the Editor:
I was shocked to read the article in the July 23, 2020 edition of the The Mirror, titled “Traffic To Be Reconfigured In Uptown Maumee As Parallel Parking Is Added To Conant Street.” It is the city administrator’s opinion that Maumee should not be responsible for accommodating heavy traffic through the city. His plan to reduce the number of traveled lanes and adding parallel parking is not the solution. I would be seriously cautious to propose this plan. If the Federal Highway Administration hears about it, they may be expressing their objections. It could affect future federal and state funding. You don’t purposely create traffic congestion on a U.S. Route because someone thinks it is not the city’s responsibility to accommodate the traffic. If you want to propose that the route designation be changed to bypass the city, then make that proposal through the proper channels. Every engineer associated with traffic movement and control is taught the responsibility of moving traffic in its most efficient form without compromising safety. Cutting the number of traveled lanes in half and adding parallel parking satisfies neither of these requirements. Additionally, to think diverting a portion of the traffic to other alternate routes will somehow increase business for the uptown district is also misguided. Consider this: Hundreds of small towns became ghost towns as a result of expressways bypassing their towns. Some other towns were adversely affected when a U.S. Route was removed from the town and diverted around it. Maumee won’t become a ghost town, but hoping that traffic does not travel through uptown Maumee will not increase business. Also, assuming that the reconfiguration will move transitory travelers to alternate routes is assuming a lot. The only feasible alternate route across the Maumee River is I-475 on the west end of town. That alternate movement only affects travelers traveling west on U.S. 24 or continuing north on I-475. Think about it for a minute. Those travelers would already be taking that route. They don’t want to be held up traveling through the uptown Maumee district if they don’t have to. So, who will the reconfiguration affect? Anyone presently going north on Conant Street to Reynolds Road will not go west and north on I-475 in Wood County to come back east to get to Reynolds Road. Anyone going east on the Anthony Wayne Trail from Conant Street will not go west on I-475 in Wood County to come back east on U.S. 24. These moves are out of the drivers’ way. You can expect the residents on Broadway Street, Wayne Street, Dudley Street, and John Street to complain about increased traffic from drivers trying to beat the backup through town. The proposed plan will encourage moving a portion of the traffic off Conant Street through these residential neighborhoods. How long will it be before these people express their displeasure for increased traffic flow on their streets? The Mirror article further states, “Additional traffic proposals will include intersection modifications on the residential streets off of Conant Street to make bypassing Conant Street more challenging for drivers.” I am curious to see what these modifications and challenges may be. Typically, making a change at the intersections to make it “challenging” to drivers is not always recommended. Remember, you will also be making it challenging and/or annoying to the local residents. When traffic backs up across the Anthony Wayne Trail and across the uptown intersections, it will be obvious that the reconfiguration was wrong. I hate to see $40,000 spent on restriping the pavement as an experiment. The article mentioned, “… creating a three-lane cross section, or one lane of traffic moving north and south with one turn lane in the center for both left-hand and right-hand turns.” If I am reading this correctly, left turns will be allowed between the Anthony Wayne Trail and Harrison Street, where they are restricted now. At one time, parallel parking was allowed along both curbs of uptown Conant Street. It was removed to increase traffic flow. Putting the parking back in will certainly create backups as people are trying to negotiate the move into these parking spots, adding more congestion to the traffic flow. This will also create frustrated travelers stopped behind these parkers. They will cuss out Maumee for this reduction in traffic flow. That will not create a good image for Maumee and it won’t increase uptown business. There are occasional deliveries for uptown businesses; trucks stop in the right lane to unload their products. Under the proposed plan, with only one lane available in each direction, the delivery trucks will be blocking through-traffic movement. That traffic will have to go around the trucks by going into the center lane for left turns only. Again, not a recommended movement. In summary, Maumee will be going backward in the eyes of travelers driving through our city. Additionally, you don’t purposely create traffic congestion as a means to address what you perceive as someone else’s responsibility. It will not bode well for the city and it might put it in poor standing with the Federal Highway Administration and affect future highway-related funding. Even without the concern for the funding, I doubt the majority of Maumee citizens would be in favor of the plan, but that would require a poll from them to determine their position. As a result, I have to ask: Was this plan run past the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration for their review and comment? Both departments will be involved in future highway funding participation since U.S. 20 is trailblazed on Conant Street and Reynolds Road to Central Avenue. If the city goes ahead with the plan, it may find itself removing the parking in the future in order to receive the funding. If this becomes the option, and the city refuses to remove the parking and loses the funding, I, as a Maumee citizen, will take extreme exception to that decision.
Lawrence R. Gillen, P.E. (retired)
Author’s note: I am a retired professional engineer who worked 32 years for the Ohio Department of Transportation. Twenty-five of those years were spent as the assistant district construction engineer for District 2, which encompasses the northwestern eight counties of Ohio. I assisted in the administration of over 1,500 highway construction projects during my tenure with the department.
Maumee Police Chief Tullis Condemns The Actions Of Officers Responsible For Death Of George Floyd
To the citizens and community of Maumee:
As your police chief and a veteran of law enforcement for over 35 years, I was horrified, sickened and saddened on May 25.
I viewed a video of Minneapolis officers taking a series of actions that violated police policies, the Constitution of the United States and common human decency, and that resulted the end of Mr. George Floyd’s life. He was restrained in the prone position, unable to breathe and suffocated, even as he and onlookers called out for help. Police are trained that this type of restraint, with a subject in a prone position, is inherently dangerous. Derek Chauvin, the officer who can be seen most clearly in witness videos pinning Mr. Floyd to the ground, does not represent the vast number of men and women who took the oath of a law enforcement officer.
I want my community to know that I condemn what I witnessed and feel that the officers involved in the death of George Floyd were criminal in their actions and need to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. My heartfelt prayers go out to George Floyd, his family, friends and community. I want everyone to know that the Maumee Police Division hears and listens to the public outcry and anger, and we understand. I am willing to do anything to prevent this deplorable action from occurring again. We know that we work for our community and its citizens, businesses and schools. We now have to regain the trust and respect of the community we police. Being transparent as to what, why and how we police will help build the trust lost by the actions of a few bad officers.
When I became a law enforcement officer, I saw that my fundamental duty was to serve the community, to safeguard lives and property, and to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice. I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of police service. I will never engage in acts of corruption, bias policing, brutality or bribery, nor will I condone such acts by other police officers.
I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. This is why I felt I had to speak out for the injustice that was done to George Floyd by ex-officer Derek Chauvin. The other three ex-officers on the scene, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas K. Lane, should be held accountable for their lack of action to stop the illegal and inhumane act that Chauvin was committing. They did not live up to the oath they swore to uphold and they allowed a human to die at the hands of law enforcement. This incident was a violation of humanity and law.
Our job is inherently dangerous, in general, but what makes law enforcement even more dangerous, and harder for all our good and honorable officers to navigate, is when there are individual officers who are incompetent, lack quality training, have a mediocre work ethic, lack integrity and practice bias policing. These types of officers lose the trust and respect that is needed from our community in order for honorable and just law enforcement officers to perform their duties.
The best way to rid law enforcement of this danger is through quality leadership, outstanding supervision from our sergeants, effective discipline policy and quality training. I promise that I will lead by example and make sure that the officers I police with will represent law enforcement in a positive, ethical, professional and honorable manner.
David H. Tullis II
Maumee Chief of Police
The Alzheimer’s Association Remains Committed To Serving Ohio’s Families
To the Editor:
For Ohio’s 604,000 Alzheimer’s caregivers, the state’s stay-at-home order to address the COVID-19 pandemic separated families from loved ones in nursing facilities and further isolated some at-home caregivers.
Devastated. Heartbroken. Stressed. Lonely. Tired. Those are the sentiments we hear caregivers express.
For example, Becki Bickett did a lot of personal care for her mother, who lives in a skilled nursing facility. Between Bickett and her sister, they visited every day – cutting their mother’s hair, making sure she brushed her teeth, painting her nails – actions all meant to shower love on their mother.
To not be able to touch her right now is just unbearable, Bickett said. “It just breaks our heart because we don’t know what she is thinking.”
The caregiver support resources that the Alzheimer’s Association provides to Ohioans is a lifeline for thousands, especially during this time of uncertainty and isolation. Our around-the-clock resources – like our Helpline at (800) 272-3900 and the wealth of information at alz.org – are designed to deliver the information people need while they are in their homes. Because of grants and the fundraising efforts of our communities, our support services are free of charge.
Like many businesses, the Alzheimer’s Association quickly switched our face-to-face operations to virtual service platforms. Every day, staff at the Ohio Alzheimer’s Association is answering questions, leading telephone support groups, delivering educational programs through video conferencing, consulting with families to build the best care plan for their loved one and providing care advice. If you contact the Alzheimer’s Association, you can access:
• 24/7 Helpline at (800) 272-3900 – This around-the-clock resource is answered by trained specialists.
• Telephone care consultations – Let our staff build a care plan tailored to your family’s needs.
• Telephone support groups – Talk with other caregivers who understand what you are going through.
• Virtual education programs – Learn about the stages of Alzheimer’s disease and how to handle behaviors through a videoconferencing experience.
We continue to pursue our mission with passion and compassion. As the leading voice for Alzheimer’s advocacy in the state of Ohio, the association also advocates and provides support for Ohio’s 220,000 individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease.
We thank Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted for their leadership during this pandemic. Since one of our goals is educating the public, the association has committed to helping Gov. DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, communicate the necessary public health steps that our communities must take to flatten the curve of this virus.
We know there are hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who could use our free services. Help us reach those Ohioans who need us during this critical time. Tell someone about the Alzheimer’s Association or give them the Helpline number. If you need support, we are here for you also. Call our 24/7 Helpline at (800) 272-3900.
Northwest Ohio Chapter
School Choice Expansion Warrants Local Support
To the Editor:
Regarding the Anthony Wayne school board resolution opposing the expansion of vouchers in our district: I certainly don’t understand how the state evaluators found our elementary schools to be underperforming if that’s what they are claiming, but my view is that all our children should be eligible for vouchers in every district because we are (theoretically) all taxpayers. Since parochial and other private schools often have as good or better results than many public schools – not all – we need to support parental choice. Yes, we hear of charter schools that have not outperformed the “failing” public schools in their districts, but smaller schools will likely result in greater ability to manage and attend to the disruptive students who take up so much teacher time in our inner cities. (I’ve taught there.) Consider the expanding school population in our district with people moving here because they WANT their children in AW schools. Consider all the high-income housing bringing in property taxes for our schools. Our property taxes are high enough already, but the increased student numbers may push us to even higher taxes for expanding our high school – maybe even the building of a second high school. However, if enough students want to go to neighboring public, private, parochial or charter schools, we may actually reduce our need for expanded facilities and the greater expense for such expansion. Meanwhile, the AFT and the NEA teachers’ unions have voted to support and promote partisan causes. Parents have a right to not want their children indoctrinated into these partisan views. There are good, democratic reasons for people to want more choice – and it is only fair that the monies given by the state for every child living in the district follow that child to a school chosen by the parents. There is no good reason for the public schools’ monopoly on education funds paid by all taxpayers. If they are still the best schools in sports, music and academics, like AW schools, they will keep most of their students. However, if a school is truly failing and loses students to charter or private schools, its teachers may find jobs in those schools – which will be able to pay more than they do currently if state funding comes with their students. We need academic choice because of the politicization of the public schools – and because of disruptive students who make it difficult for good students to learn and good teachers to teach in some of our public schools. Moreover, smaller may be better for some students and teachers.
Barbara Mason Rohrs
Former Two-Term AWLS Board Member
Voucher Program Expansion Threatens Public School Funds
To the Editor:
A recent law change in Ohio could result in public schools losing hundreds of millions of dollars next school year. That threatens educational prospects for public school students in Lucas County and in school districts across our state. I am calling on my fellow lawmakers to act swiftly to protect our students.
Despite my fierce warnings, Ohio’s most recent budget contained language to extensively expand eligibility for private school vouchers, which were supposedly intended to provide options for students in struggling school districts.
Since the budget passed, we have seen a 400-percent increase in the private school EdChoice Scholarship voucher eligibility, impacting districts across our state, including some of our state’s wealthiest schools. One education policy expert estimated that this new rule could annually reroute $330 million meant for public schools to private institutions. In an unprecedented move, this massive increase in voucher eligibility will even allow students who were never going to attend public school to pull money from their public school districts.
House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and voucher policy architect state Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima), along with media from across the state, have called for urgent changes to the policy. Time is of the essence, as applications for vouchers open on February 1.
Northwest Ohioans may wonder how we got here and why some students in the Sylvania and Anthony Wayne schools districts are eligible for vouchers allegedly aimed at helping struggling schools. At the foundation of voucher eligibility is not only a haphazard series of qualifications for schools, but also Ohio’s profoundly flawed and inaccurate school report card system. Because of these report cards, which are a better indication of poverty in a district than its students’ successes, we do not know if our public schools are really failing or thriving. We cannot hold our districts accountable if we do not use measures to accurately assess them.
Regardless of the intent of voucher programs, we now have private schools siphoning large amounts of tax dollars from quality public school districts, leaving some districts with inadequate state funding.
We must support public education, and ensure funds stay in those districts by providing fair funding and evaluation for our public schools. We can’t afford to let our children.
State Sen. Teresa Fedor
Editor’s Note: In The Mirror’s readership area, Waterville Primary and Whitehouse Primary in the Anthony Wayne Local Schools District appear on the Ohio Department of Education’s list of schools designated as underperforming for the 2020-21 school year, qualifying students living in the schools’ service boundaries for the expanded voucher program for the first time. Statewide, more than 1,200 schools have been designated as underperforming for 2020-21.
Waterville City Council Member Calls Out Mischaracterization
To the Editor:
As a member of Waterville City Council, I would like to correct some statements made recently in The Mirror and on social media.
During the Monday, October 28 Waterville City Council meeting, Michael Hampton III quoted the October 17 Mirror article on the October 10 Candidates Forum claiming that I said, “It’s just not true,” which was taken out of context and inferred that I meant that the fire department’s turnout gear is not expired.
In fact, an audio recording from that night shows that I was referring to the notion that Waterville City Council has been characterized as not caring for the safety of its citizenry when it comes to equipping our firefighters. In actuality, council appropriated funds for seven of the last 10 years toward turnout gear for the firefighters.
Also, I was quoted as saying, “A miscommunication between the outgoing fire chief in 2018 and the interim fire chief led to the equipment not being purchased.” Actually, I said there is some miscommunication in the chatter on social media. Monies have been appropriated and the public is not getting all the facts. I made no mention of the outgoing and incoming chiefs and the equipment not being purchased.
Maumee Police Dispatchers Oppose 911 Consolidation
To the Editor:
The Briefing on the Feasibility of Merged and Consolidated 911 Services Draft is written with assumptions and no guarantees.
We, the dispatchers in Maumee, are being forced into giving up everything we have worked for at the agencies we chose to work at and for what? Longer shifts, understaffing, low morale, relentlessly higher call volume, lower pay, insufficient training, learning new jurisdictional boundaries and higher stress.
There is no job security in consolidating for the 184 currently employed telecommunicators in the county right now. The draft is a risk not just for the 184 of us, but contrary to what the draft states, it’s a risk to the safety of the first responders and the citizens of Lucas County. This shouldn’t be an all-or-nothing with something as important as the work we do, and our voices should be heard.
Telecommunicators (i.e., call-takers and dispatchers) are the first first responders. Without 911 telecommunicators, first responders (i.e., police, fire and EMS) at the scene couldn’t do their jobs. As telecommunicators, we determine who will be dispatched to the scene and gather vital information for the responding units. The information that is given to us and the sounds we hear or don’t hear on the other end of the phone are relayed to the responding units. We currently have the ability to check for warrants, concealed carry permits and history on subjects involved prior to the officers’ arrival. A very important part of that will be lost if this consolidation happens.
In a consolidated dispatch center, the duties are separated (i.e., call-taking, dispatch and records), whereas in the suburbs, the telecommunicator now does all the duties, handling the call from start to finish. In a consolidated center, important information could be lost because of the separation of duties.
Many telecommunicators and officers have brought up officer safety based on the tone of voice heard over the radio. In Maumee, like many of the suburbs, our telecommunicators and officers know each other outside of the uniforms we wear. We know each other as fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. We tell stories, laugh and joke about our families and life outside of work. We know when one another is having a bad day all by the tone in our voices. Officers en route to a scene can tell by our voices if they need to step it up, not just because of the words we say, but also how we say them. They can picture the scene based on our tone, which helps them prepare for what they’re about to encounter.
The draft was written by people who have never done the job of a telecommunicator or a police officer (for more than a year). An overwhelming number of us who do the job day in and day out are saying this is not a good idea. It’s not our job to throw numbers, statistics or tell you that you’ll save a million dollars if you consolidate. Our job is to answer emergency and non-emergency calls from our citizens when they are having the worst day of their lives and get help to them.
In a consolidated dispatch center, you lose that connection with your citizens because you’re answering call after call with little time to gather all the information you need before you move on to the next call. Not to mention, in a consolidated center, call-takers lose out on personal knowledge of your neighborhood, familiarity with crime problems or proper response if something exists out of the ordinary.
We do not want to be just another body to fill an empty chair in an understaffed consolidated dispatch center, doing the bare minimum because that’s the best we can do.
Maumee Police Division Dispatchers
Traffic Study At Monnette’s Site Should Precede Construction
To the Editor:
Maumee, wake up!
I attended the Maumee city council candidate forum on Thursday, August 29. I was encouraged to see the large number of citizens that attended this event. It proves that Maumee is a community that cares about its city.
During the forum, several candidates mentioned the need for a traffic study for uptown Maumee due to the burden of extra traffic and congestion with the opening of Monnette’s Market in the 200 block of Conant Street. The traffic study was spoken about in vague terms with a promise that at some point in the future this traffic study would be completed. The traffic study MUST be done immediately, before Monnette’s breaks ground. This is a critical safety issue that will minimize driver frustration, anger, injury and possibly worse in uptown Maumee.
Consider the following:
Do the citizens of Maumee realize that one of the new curb cuts to enter the Monnette’s parking lot will be directly across the street from Union School where students are dropped off? This fact should be a major concern of the Maumee school board because the safety of students is in jeopardy.
Do the parishioners of St Paul’s Lutheran Church realize their parking lot might be the best place to park for Monnette’s shoppers?
Do the current businesses on Conant Street realize that there is an excellent chance that street parking on Conant Street will be totally eliminated? Pedestrians walking both sides of Conant Street will be within a few arms’ length of moving traffic.
Do the residents of the 200 and 300 blocks of East Wayne, East Broadway and other nearby streets realize that Monnette’s customers could be parking in front of their homes?
Imagine the drive of a Perrysburg resident who wants to shop at Monnette’s. They cross the already congested Maumee/Perrysburg Bridge and have to make a right into the Monette’s parking lot from Conant or turn right on East Broadway and then a quick left into Monnette’s parking lot. Think of the newly added congestion at the corner of Broadway and Conant streets, which is a school crossing.
Maumee City Council was in such a rush to sell this property to Monnette’s that due diligence was ignored. The traffic study should have been one of the very first steps the city completed prior to the sale of the property and approval of the building plan. City council has failed the citizens of Maumee by allowing business to overshadow the safety of Maumee. Shame on them! Maumee City Council must delay groundbreaking or any other progress on Monnette’s Market until the traffic study has been completed and its recommendations acted upon.
Shelly Company Stoneco Quarry Tour Proves To Be An Informative Experience
To the Editor:
I would like to thank Stoneco and The Shelly Company for the most informative tour of their quarry, located in Maumee.
Who knew a hole in the ground, filled with rocks, could be so interesting? Every time I hear a rumble and the sky is clear, I now know what’s causing it.
A good-will gesture much appreciated.
Former City Administrator/Safety Director Criticizes Recent Claim Made By Mayor
To the Editor:
I would like to address comments by Maumee Mayor Richard Carr in the July 11 edition of The Mirror Newspaper pertaining to the new Side Cut Crossings project. In the article, “New Assisted Living, Memory Care Facility to Open Next Year,” Carr states: “This is the first development since the 1970s that we’ve had a large-scale economic development project in which 100 percent goes to Maumee Schools.”
Mr. Carr’s comment is not only highly misleading but also betrays his general lack of understanding of economic development in Maumee. I would like to point out that there have been dozens of large-scale projects, in and outside of Arrowhead Park, in which the Maumee City School District received 100 percent of their property taxes (whether tax-abated or unabated). To name a few: UPS, Kuhlman Corporation, Surface Combustion, Suffolk Square, Meijer, Kroger, the theater complex (now Calvary Church), Lathrop Corporation, S.E. Johnson, L.A. Fitness, Hickory Farms and Paramount Health Care, among others.
These projects all occurred in the four decades after the 1970s, and all allowed the Maumee City School District as well as the Penta County School District to collect 100 percent of their property tax revenue. Moreover, all of these are large projects in every sense of the word: acreage, building valuation, employment numbers and payroll amounts. Not only that, the great majority of these projects place little service burden on the city.
The other aspect of Mr. Carr’s statement to address is the false impression he would like to convey that he somehow originated this project or had meaningful involvement in its creation. First, understand that economic development is done by the private sector, not government. The city can only assist in bringing about development. That said, it was the city’s administration, which I worked with and directed, that first envisioned the Side Cut Crossings site as a location for the proposed Andersons headquarters in 2013. We worked with the property owner (Norfolk Southern Railroad) and real estate developer Joe Swolsky to put together a plan to offer the property to The Andersons, proposing a campus rich in amenities and with a financing and incentive package to make it happen. Unfortunately, The Andersons selected another site outside the city.
The administration kept working with both the railroad and Mr. Swolsky to repackage the plan for an alternative development that ultimately became Side Cut Crossings. Along the way, we briefed the mayor and council of our progress. The result retained the same basic high-amenity site plan and ended up attracting The Toledo Clinic and the Memory Care development now going forward, and which will allow Maumee City Schools and Penta to collect 100 percent of their respective millages just like all the previously mentioned projects that have occurred over the last 40 years.
Editor’s Note: John Jezak served as the Maumee City Administrator and Safety Director for nearly 20 years. He is running for mayor against incumbent Mayor Richard Carr.
MCS Panther Pride Foundation Thanks Donors For Their Support
To the Editor:
The Panther Pride Foundation held its inaugural fundraising event and auction, “A Class Act,” in honor of Charlie Carr (MHS ’72) on March 16. Because of the generosity and support of this community and its deep commitment to Maumee City Schools, the Panther Pride Foundation received over 60 donated silent auction items, 10 live auction experiences and a special arts fund request that helped raise more than $25,000 for the priorities outlined by the foundation and the school district. Thank you to our 2019 sponsors: Maumee Bay Turf/Turf Nation, William Vaughan Company, Fast Signs-Maumee, Spieker Company, Savage and Associates, Porter Architects, DECA Engineering, Buehrer Group, Aly Sterling Philanthropy and the Brew House & Bake Shop. The foundation and board members want to thank the Maumee community and area businesses for their support of the Panther Pride Foundation’s 2019 A Class Act.
Sarah Otis, MHS ’78
Maumee City Schools, Director Development and Alumni Relations
Success Of Maumee Prom Owed To Panther Parents
To the Parents of MHS Prom-Goers:
I just wanted to write and express how wonderful the MHS prom was. Our seniors and juniors were courteous, respectful and truly appreciative of the event. I received so many “thank-yous” from the students that I was overwhelmed! I even received an e-mail from the parents of a non-MHS student who was a guest at our prom (and after-prom), who wanted to let me know just what an outstanding job we do as well as how great our students and staff were. This all comes back to you, the parents, who have raised such fantastic young men and women and present such a positive image of the Panther family and community. When I hear prom horror stories from principals of other high schools – and indeed, I do – I just respond that Maumee students are a pure joy and blessing to work with. Thank you for everything you do.
Maumee High School Principal
Anthony Wayne Local Schools Work To Provide Safe Environment
To the Editor:
As an educator and father, my prayers go out to the community of Parkland, Fla., in the aftermath of last week’s horrific tragedy.
As superintendent of Anthony Wayne Local Schools, I want to assure you that we are continually working hard to provide safe and supportive learning environments by focusing on school climate, safety and security.
Working with local police and fire departments and a Homeland Security representative, we developed a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan for each school. These plans are reviewed regularly and emergency drills are conducted annually – including one held on February 16 at Waterville Primary.
Construction on more secure entrances to many of the buildings will begin this summer, so that visitors will enter into a separate, locked area before gaining access to the school.
We encourage our parents, students, staff and community to also be alert and, if noticing anthing suspicious, call or text 1-844-SAFEROH, an anonymous Ohio tip line.
If you have any questions about the district’s efforts to safeguard children, please contact me at (419) 877-5377.
Dr. Jim Fritz
Anthony Wayne Local Schools
MUBA Endorses Uptown Monnette’s Project
To the Editor:
A vibrant uptown business district is of utmost importance to our community, which is why the Maumee Uptown Business Association fully supports a proposal to build a new Monnette’s Market in the 200 block of Conant Street in uptown Maumee.
MUBA members held discussions with Marc Monnette, owner of Monnette’s Market, and commercial realtor Keith Brown to learn more about the proposal. After a formal vote on the proposal, only four businesses opposed it while the following business members voted in favor of the new market: Leslie Poellnitz-Allstate Insurance, Always Promoting, Boss & Vitou LPA, Blaser Tax Service, Buster Brown’s Big Dog Lounge, Cabinet Impressions, Cigar Affair, Dale’s Bar & Grill, DECA Inc., Dibling Floor Covering and Interiors, Daney Chiropractic & Nutrition, Encore Furniture @ 306, Genoa Bank, Georgette’s Grounds and Gifts, Haley Appraisal, In Bloom Flowers, Maumee Branch Library, Maumee Chamber of Commerce, Maumee Indoor Theater, Maumee QuickPrint, The Mirror Newspaper, MGM Communications, New Life Spine, Prism Glass, Rambo & Szozda Law, Red Wing Shoes, Salon 308, Sunshine Studio, Tailored Real Estate, You Can Be An Artist and The Village Idiot.
MUBA members are aware that other uses for this property have been discussed, including developing the area into a park. While the association supports community park space, a majority of uptown business owners believe that the 200 block of Conant Street is prime for economic development. Further, the association favors the creation of additional retail space, which members believe will enhance those businesses already heavily invested in the uptown area.
Maumee Uptown Business Association
Maumee Resident Opposes Development
To the Editor:
To the members of Maumee City Council regarding the property at 200 Conant Street in Maumee, I make the following proposals and requests as a Maumee resident and taxpayer.
Due diligence requires an independent appraisal of this property and a traffic study in this congested area that would address the number of parking spaces needed for Monnette’s employees in addition to the vehicles of the customers they expect to shop there.
And by the way, let’s also allow a left turn onto East Wayne from Conant. Of course, it will back up traffic on southbound Conant, but we must be more concerned with the ease of access to the store. Surely, we can’t allow a left turn from East Broadway as you are headed east after crossing the bridge from Perrysburg, as the traffic on this block of East Broadway is backed up many times a day with cars waiting to turn left at the light to go over the bridge.
I also make the following proposals; eliminate the July 3 fireworks if the property in question is sold to a commercial developer. There is no room to accommodate the hundreds of people who use this property to bring their children to the events, music, food and games.
I also propose the elimination of Food Truck Fridays and the Christmas tree-lighting event, and the elimination of the vendors located along East Wayne Street at the annual August Summer Fair due to the need for customers to have access to any commercial development of the above named property.
I have more than a passing interest in this issue as I serve as chair of the Maumee Tree Commission, member of the Design Review Board, member of the Maumee Garden Club, member of the Maumee Uptown Business Association and director of Friends of Side Cut Metropark.
The number of young parents interested in raising their children where they can participate in local events will just have to find other communities that place a value on that.
The Right Place At The Right Time: Maumee’s Future Is Looking Bright
To the Editor:
As we begin 2018, it is a time to look at our city today as well as at our future. Maumee may just be the right place at the right time.
For the past several years, we have heard about “Millennials” moving out of the suburbs and into the urban areas; studies are now showing that “Millennials may like the city, (but) they love the suburbs even more.” The New York Times reported on September 15, 2017 that according to the latest Census Bureau statics, 25- to 29-year-olds are about a quarter more likely to move from the city to the suburbs then from the suburbs to the city, and older Millennials are more than twice as likely to move to the suburbs. Also important, employers are following the Millennials and bucking the traditional wisdom that you must be headquartered in an urban area to attract Millennial employees.
Walkable and transit-friendly neighborhoods, good schools and close proximity to a variety of restaurants are some of the reasons cited for this change. Maumee meets this description.
A clean, safe city with good schools and close proximity to good employment opportunities allowing for less travel time and more time with the family are all attributes our city strives to maintain and grow.
For a few years, the future of our Arrowhead Park business community was questioned by some. Those who did, underestimated Maumee. Instead of a decline, we are seeing significant growth and new development. New businesses in Arrowhead are building and existing businesses there are expanding.
This spring will see the groundbreaking of an approximately 70-acre new business development in Maumee along the Anthony Wayne Trail between Monclova Road and Ford Street. A far more attractive entrance to our city will accompany this new area. It appears that for the first time, we will have senior housing in Maumee as part of this project. This will be in the immediate proximity to medical facilities, restaurants and other businesses. This should also strengthen St. Luke’s Hospital, one of our largest employers.
Events such as Food Truck Fridays, our Third of July Fireworks, Holiday Hustle run and Holiday Light Parade, Summer Fair/Taste of Maumee, the 2017 Christmas tree lighting and more have become extremely popular for all ages, with young families being able to walk to and participate in all of these events.
I have seen in Maumee a resurgence of young parents working to become involved in our community activities and having their families become part of our community by participating in these events.
Through multiple meetings with the new Anthony Wayne Trail site developers and the Maumee City Schools Board of Education, we have an agreement in which our Maumee schools will receive their 100-percent share of all property taxes for this new area, and our schools have committed to applying 10 percent of the new amounts they receive for the next 20 years to improving all school facilities the public comes in contact with: athletic facilities, elementary playgrounds, the high school and middle school auditoriums, etc. Improving these facilities for children will make Maumee an even more attractive choice for young families.
In 2017, for the first time since 2005, our City of Maumee Operations Fund operated at a surplus instead of a deficit. Without increasing taxes or reducing services, we have turned what had reached as high as a one-year deficit of $2.5 million in 2009 to a $700,000 surplus in 2017. We did it through eliminating unnecessary spending.
In 2016, Moody’s Investor Service stated that Maumee’s “Balanced financial operations demonstrate good fiscal management” and “Maumee has a robust financial position.” Wait until they see our 2017 results!
We are a financially sound city today with safe and clean neighborhoods where individual residents, businesses, schools, government and civic organizations work together. This will continue to attract young families and businesses, and keep our seniors residents in Maumee. What we are doing today shapes our community’s future.
Richard H. Carr
Former Maumee Council Member Supports Uptown Development
To the Editor:
I read the article about the possibility of Monnette’s Market moving uptown.
Back in 2004, when I was a member of city council, others and I voted to purchase the old gas station on Conant Street for around a quarter-million dollars. The primary reasoning then was the ability to control commercial development in the 200 block of Conant. We did not want just any commercial development to go there, especially with what was then Union and what still is St. Joe’s elementary schools in such close proximity.
In the few years immediately following, council reviewed options for that property’s development. Then came the recession, and for a long time business were not building, but instead trying to keep financially operational.
In the interim, the property has been used for a variety of public service-type events. While this was fine then, it is time to look forward again on what makes sense for the continued quality of life of not only the uptown area, but also the city as a whole.
In my 30-plus years as an uptown resident, I have fond memories of walking up to Gaffney Drug Store, to Sterling’s market and maybe for an ice cream cone at Jacky’s Depot. I could shop at Food Town and The Andersons – all with ease and, in most cases, by walking. In all cases, we would meet neighbors and friends on the way, while there or on our way home. That was a higher quality of life than that same landscape offers today or could offer as a park.
I am not complaining about change, as that’s inevitable. I welcomed Meijer and then Kroger when they joined Maumee. With that being said, those stores are huge and a distance for all, which requires driving and precious time even if you only need a few things.
My enthusiasm for a Monnette’s-type of business grows by the day. Knowing the store as I do and what they provide – fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and a list too long to mention – at what are reasonable prices in a small market-type atmosphere, they are a big proponent of supporting not only local farmers, but also regional entrepreneurs and their products.
We already have parks strewn throughout the Maumee area. Putting one on the last piece of commercial uptown property, I believe to be shortsighted. Bring tax revenues to our city and schools. Put an easy-access food market uptown. This could not only enhance the existing businesses and residents, but also potentially start and continue to be a reason for long-term redevelopment, as again change will continue. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity.
Know that when we secured the property back in 2004, it was for commercial development. Especially with The Andersons closing, many other residents long for this type of business to once again be integrated into the very fabric of Maumee.
Sharing Good City Budget News As Quarter Ends With Surplus
Everyone likes good news! Our city of Maumee financial statements are complete for the first three quarters of 2017 and they bring very good news. We finished September with a year-to-date surplus of $679,985 in our Operations Fund and $1,036,872 in our Capital Fund. (Two-thirds of each tax dollar received goes to Operations and the remaining one-third to Capital.) Why is this such good news? Every year since 2005, our Operations Fund has had a year-end deficit. In the period of the mid-2000s, our Operation Fund realized consistent single-year deficits of well over $1 million and those deficits reached as high as $2.1 million. The trend of change began in 2014; by 2015, the year-end deficit was $319,440 and in 2016, $226,832. With the loss of The Andersons corporate headquarters and retail store we had projected a 2017 Operations Fund deficit of $767,471, so a surplus is truly very good news. How was this achieved? First, it was not through any increase in taxes! Instead, in 2013 we began an annual process of reviewing every single expense of our city that is controlled by the mayor and council. We initiated a computer program that required pre-approval of every expense incurred throughout the year, and we created an audit team to review year-end results. We eliminated much unnecessary spending without reducing services. We also implemented a monthly review of overtime by division and by every employee. We have realized three straight years of decline in overtime paid, and through September our overtime payments have been reduced 40 percent compared to 2014. As expected, our revenues are down substantially this year compared to last year. However, our expenses have realized a far more significant reduction. For the first three quarters of this year, operations controlled by the mayor and council realized a surplus of $1,189,086. The year-to-date expenses paid by the city for the municipal court exceeded the revenue paid by the court to the city by $509,101. This resulted in a net $679,985 Operations surplus year to date. Are we expecting to finish 2017 with such a high surplus in our Operations Fund for the year? No. Timing of payroll, purchase of rock salt, receipt of EMS payments from the county and other significant expenditures will impact our final quarter. Nevertheless, instead of a $767,471 deficit in 2017, we are now projected to break even and possibly have a surplus for the first time since 2005! These results are a reflection of the commitment of our city council, administration and employees to paying attention to details and being responsible with how your tax dollars are spent. We cannot relax. We must continue to watch with the same scrutiny how every dollar is spent. Recently announced major economic development plans for Maumee should by 2019 result in our financial situation having completely turned around, enabling us to operate on a balanced budget with potential surplus to protect us from any downturns in our state or national economy in the future. While turning deficit spending in excess of $2 million a year to a surplus is remarkable, we realize that operating a safe, clean city within the tax dollars received is what you expect from us. And, speaking of good news: Yes, the Maumee High School football team did beat that school from across the river and the Ding Dong Bell is home where it belongs! That achievement, like our financial results, resulted from commitment and teamwork. Both, in different ways, are accomplishments for which we can be thankful. Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!
Richard H. Carr
Area Generosity Makes A Difference To Students In Guatemala
To the Editor:
What would it be like to live in a very small one-room home with dirt floors and no bathrooms? What would it be like if parents could not help children with homework because the parents are not able to read? And what would it be like if the school that children attend could not afford paper or pencils for students to use? The Maumee City Schools recently joined with area residents in a project to educate students here on the poverty in our world, and to provide much-needed school supplies to students in Guatemala. This effort was an overwhelming success. New pencils, boxes of crayons, hundreds of bottles of glue, rulers, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, scissors and many other supplies filled numerous boxes at Gateway, Fairfield Elementary, Fort Miami Elementary and Wayne Trail Elementary in Maumee. These supplies were personally distributed by Maumee-area residents to students in Guatemala City, Mazatenango and the remote Mayan Indian village of Paquila in Guatemala this July. Thanks to the students in the Maumee City Schools and their families, we are providing children in Guatemala with an opportunity to learn. Our students have demonstrated that together we can make a difference in our world!
July 2017 Guatemala Mission Team
There’s No Place Like Home When You’re Maumee Proud
To the Editor:
I’m Maumee Proud. I grew up here and have returned here three times in my lifetime. I am most grateful that my family moved here when I was 1.5 years old. As an adult, I’ve lived in two other states, in at least five municipalities or zip codes, and wherever I was at the time, there was no place like home. I’m proud of our community and how we come together with examples like Mama C’s. I am also grateful our neighbors were able to march peacefully this summer for a cause they believe in and could exercise their freedom of speech. I’m grateful for the churches. Almost all have food pantries and have been providing for the needs of many, spiritually and in other ways, for years. I am Maumee Proud of the many youth activities our family participates in. It is always a pleasure greeting other families, whether we are at a high school football game, dropping a child off at school or meeting up in one of the many church-sponsored events. I am most proud about how we look after each other. Our church pantries are tied into individuals throughout our town. Most people wouldn’t know that from time to time, residents are given a voucher for a tank of gas, have their electric or gas bill covered for a month or that someone like a school resource officer would be delivering a load of free groceries to a family in need, because they are one of the many angels of stealth we have in this small city, where I am Maumee Proud. Yes, we have issues, like many other places, but we have much more to be grateful and proud about.
Maumee Operating At A Deficit Despite Cost-Cutting Measures
To the Editor:
Many residents have asked how the city is doing with the loss of The Andersons’ corporate headquarters at the end of last year and the retail store in 2017.
The financial statements for our city for the first six months of this year are complete, and the answer as to how we are doing financially is important to our residents and business owners.
The first six months of this year, the city of Maumee operated at a deficit of $339,000. While we are well-insulated from such losses as we maintain healthy balances in our savings accounts, no city nor individual nor business can sustain deficit spending forever before you deplete your savings.
For the period of January 1 through June 30, 2017, all operations of the city of Maumee, excepting the Maumee Municipal Court, were completed at $37,000 less than the income received during that period. Those operations controlled by the administration and council resulted in a surplus.
However, for the first six months of this year, the Maumee Municipal Court’s deficit was $376,000. The mayor and council have no control over the court’s spending, which was confirmed when Judge Byers sued the mayor and council and was successful in obtaining an opinion that as we were not in a financial emergency, we had no power over the court’s spending.
I think it is a shame that we would have to wait until we are in an emergency to address the deficit spending of the court. The city of Maumee has made major reductions to spending and vastly improved managing our funds in the last four years, which has enabled us to operate our services at a surplus where before, the deficit was over a million dollars a year.
In addition to eliminating unnecessary contract expenses, we also have concentrated on managing overtime expense. For the first six months of this year, overtime was down over $22,000 from the same period last year and over $93,000 for the same period in 2015. We will have some major economic development announcements in the next month resulting from our efforts over the last 18 months, which will allow us to continue to improve financially.
Richard H. Carr
Whitehouse Was The Right Choice For An Appreciative Couple
To the Editor:
Moving to Whitehouse was the best move we ever made. Aware of our disabilities, Whitehouse Police Chief Mark McDonough and Deputy Chief Todd Kitzler arranged to have the snow cleared from our driveway this winter. They also arranged for Boy Scout Troop 97 to come and weed our garden and lay the mulch around our house in May. Thanks to leaders Clif Vaughan and Mike Haines and their Scouts, Henry Haines, Jack Haines and Geordi Pizzifred, for their hard work. We have found Whitehouse and its caring people to give new meaning to the quote, “It Takes a Village.” Indeed it does.
Jan and Paul Rachow
Whitehouse, Waterville Quiet Despite Proposed Nexus Compressor Station
To the Editor:
It’s been quiet in Waterville and Whitehouse lately. Economic development has been good for homebuilders and the real estate industry in general. Soon, very soon, a decision will be made at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over the Nexus pipeline. The outcome could have devastating consequences to the general area if its permit is issued – giving a first industrial natural gas compressor station to Waterville. Anthony Wayne Superintendent Jim Fritz has publicly voiced his concerns of the toxic plume generated affecting five of the district’s six schools that are within a 3-mile radius downwind. Nexus representatives have told me of plans for a second pipeline (another compressor station) that would double emissions from the Moosman Drive compressor site. Just something to consider when looking to move to the growing area.
Ottawa Lake, Mich.
First Responders Earn Deep Gratitude From Rescued Rollover Accident Driver
To the Editor:
I wish to extend my most heartfelt gratitude to the Maumee Fire Department, paramedics, police officers and everyone who helped rescue me from my vehicle after my rollover accident on West Broadway. It was the most terrifying thing that I have ever been through.
Words cannot express how thankful I am for providing me the most compassionate, kind and proficient emergency care. As soon as they arrived, I instantly felt protected and safe. They reassured me over and over, “You are going to be alright.” The firemen and police officers made me feel comfortable and calm as they explained step by step the process of cutting me out of the SUV. I was trapped for close to an hour and there was always someone right by my side while the other firefighters were sawing the roof off. I am so grateful to all of them for saving me.
My family and I thank the Maumee fire and police departments from the bottom of our hearts for taking such good care of me and the other driver.
American Legion Grateful For Donations
To the Editor:
The Feather Party hosted by members of American Legion Post 320 was a great success.
We appreciate all of the support for the event, especially from the following businesses that donated so generously to it: Brandywine Country Club, Appliance Center, The Andersons, Charlie’s Dodge, Tireman, D&R Outdoor Power Equipment, Jd’s Drive-Thru, Dale’s, The Village Idiot, Buster Brown’s Big Dog Lounge, The Cigar Affair, El Salto’s, Timbers Bowling, Marco’s Pizza, Expresso Car Wash, Loma Linda’s, Casa Barron, Mar’s Center Court, Holiday Inn, Subway, Brondes, Barry Bagels, Longhorn Saloon, Fricker’s, OmniSource, Frisch’s Big Boy, Teri Lynn Salon, Maumee Eagles, Amazing Dollar, Bunker Bar, 7-Eleven Walbridge and The Skillet.
American Legion Post 320