Single Bid For Uptown Project Raises Questions
To the Editor:
Due to a personal agenda of the city administrator of Maumee to rapidly pursue and complete the uptown beautification project, the city of Maumee awarded a $14 million contract under the guise that it satisfied a competitive bid process. This is not an accurate assessment of the facts.
True, the plans were published and offered to the heavy construction community and all interested bidders were availed the opportunity to study them and consider placing a bid. Three out of four potential bidders who purchased the plans and attended the pre-bid conference did not submit a bid. Why did this occur? I studied the plans and my opinion is that it was because the plans were non-customary and placed an inordinate amount of risk on the bidder. That left one bidder. Rather than delay the award of the contract to that bidder and investigate why the other three potential bidders dropped out, the city chose to award the project anyway.
This is fiscally irresponsible. The city did not assure the citizens that they got the lowest and best bid for the project. Just speculation, but my professional opinion says that it would have taken at least a month or more to correct the plan, advertise for bids and draw in those three very experienced Northwest Ohio contractors to submit a responsible bid. That would have satisfied the intent of the competitive bid process.
Here’s a note of fact: When I worked for the Ohio Department of Transportation in the District 2 construction office as the assistant construction engineer, I conducted my own study. The difference in the bid between the winning bidder and the next bidder was quite often 5 percent or more, sometimes being 10-15 percent. So, whenever you lose a potential bidder, it is possible that that bidder could have won the contract. Without him, you may have paid 5 percent more for the project.
Now, on the uptown project, three very experienced potential bidders were lost. What is the increased cost to the project as a result of that? Speculation on my part is that it would be at least the 5 percent and could be much more. So, let’s say at least $700,000.
After retirement from ODOT, I worked for two of those three contractors who did not choose to bid. I am quite aware of their ability to put forth a competitive bid. Each of them has been in business for over 75 years. Tell me that would not have made a difference to have them bid this project.
Rest assured, I will be talking to those two contractors, and I will determine why they didn’t submit a bid, something the city should have done. I can also assure you it wasn’t because there is plenty of work out there and the contractors were just not hungry enough to go after this project. Contractors have an estimating and bidding staff who work year-round doing just that. A $14 million contract is nothing to sneeze at.
Maumee Rotary Service Foundation, Trust Will Match Donations For Ukraine Relief
To the Editor:
The war in Ukraine has impacted the emotions of people in our area and across the world – from anger to fear, confusion and sadness. Last week, seven Maumee churches came together to lead a service for residents to pray for the refugees of Ukraine, the men and women fighting the war, world leaders and for peace. It was a moving service.
As we watch over 1 million Ukrainians flee their war-torn country, many of us feel a need to somehow aid them. We have reached out to Maumee Rotary to take the lead in working through Rotary International to make sure 100 percent of every donation goes toward assisting these refugees who left their homes with only the clothes on their backs.
For the first $5,000 in donations received, the Maumee Rotary Service Foundation and a private trust will match each dollar with a total of four additional dollars. For example, a donation of $10.00 would result in $50.00 of assistance. The goal is to raise $25,000. Hopefully, many generous donations will result in that goal being met or exceeded.
Checks should be made payable to Maumee Rotary Service Foundation with a notation of “Ukraine” and mailed to Maumee Rotary, PO Box 1088, Maumee, OH 43537 by Wednesday, March 16.
Together, we can make a difference in a time when it is truly needed.
Richard H. Carr
City of Maumee
Reader Envisions New Rec Center
To the Editor:
Recently, the county commissioners announced that they were going to have the old baseball stands at the Lucas County Recreation Center razed. That’s a well-needed move, but let’s not stop there. It’s time the two large halls at the rec center are also removed. Both are old, in poor condition and do not meet present-day ADA standards. Having been an event exhibitor in these buildings, I can tell you that the HVAC system does not work well, the roof leaks, bathrooms are very poor, exhibitor access is very limited and they do not present a good image of Lucas County. Tear them down, and in their place erect a couple of structures that would serve our area for decades to come. A pair of buildings similar to the multipurpose building that Wood County built a couple of years ago on its fairgrounds would be outstanding. That building has everything that is needed, it is safe and accessible, and it works well. Go check out that structure. From both a customer and user/exhibitor point of view, that building is everything that the Lucas County Rec Center buildings are not – except for parking. Wood County needs to work on that. Two new buildings may not cost the taxpayers a dime. Several large Toledo-based corporations may find it profitable to pay for the buildings in return for naming rights for 10-20 years. They should be approached about this effort. Neighbors of the Lucas County Rec Center should be excited about a “new” rec center. It beats looking at those dilapidated buildings there now. Tear them down, along with everything else on the property above ground. None of those buildings are worth saving or repairing except for the baseball diamonds on the north end. With new buildings and parking areas and updated fencing, the rec center could be a showcase for Maumee and Lucas County.
Reader Appreciates Mirror Photos
To the Editor:
I have been reading your paper for just under three years. I want to compliment your photographer(s) for the excellent pictures in the paper. The photos of nature are the ones that amaze me. They look real enough to touch them. The person or persons taking the photos has a way of getting Mother Nature to look up just before the photo is taken.
Again, my compliments on the beautiful photos of man and nature.
Karen Lee Trombley
Editor’s Note: Thank you for your letter. Art Weber, The Mirror outdoor editor, is responsible for the overwhelming majority of the nature photos. Art was recently honored for 50 years of service with Metroparks Toledo. You can find the article here.
Schools Need Our Support Now More Than Ever
To the Editor:
My husband, John, and I moved to Maumee in 2013. We chose Maumee mainly because it had a reputation for being a strong community that supports its school district.
Our daughter began kindergarten this year at Fairfield Elementary School. We knew going into this school year would be a struggle with so many unknowns, particularly if and when schools would transition to remote learning again. John and I both work full time, and like most families, remote learning would have been a significant challenge for us. Research clearly shows the benefits for most children to be in the classroom and around their teachers and other students, so that, too, was a concern for us.
This pandemic has already had a tremendous impact on children’s mental health. Children need consistency, love and positive experiences. We are grateful for the Maumee City School District’s ability to keep students in the classroom this year while monitoring the pandemic.
Now is not the time for division – our students deserve better. The staff working in our schools deserve better. Teachers are leaving their professions worldwide, and the ones who remain are under significant pressure. As Maumee residents, parents and stakeholders, it is our role to come together as a community and ensure our teachers have what they need to educate our children. Supporting and uplifting a school system is not only a predictor of its student success but also results in a city with a stronger economy and less crime.
John and I will continue to support our school district because, after all, most cities are only as good as their school districts.
Let’s Get New Businesses To Call Maumee Home
To the Editor:
Enjoyed reading a couple of weeks ago about new businesses in Maumee, specifically the first bed and breakfast and a possible restaurant or retail at the old Charter One Bank on Conant Street.
How about a Chick-fil-A in Maumee? The old Max and Erma’s would be a great location or out at Fallen Timbers Mall. Everyone loves Chick-fil-A! Perrysburg has recently announced many new dining options coming to their city, how about Maumee?
I know we have many good people who work hard to get businesses to Maumee, let’s do it! I will support it.
Just someone that loves Maumee.
Maumee School Board Deserving Of Thanks
To the Editor:
I would like to thank the Maumee City Schools Board of Education for its unwavering support and leadership over the past couple of years. It has not been easy for anyone, but the school district, they didn’t blink. Pouring time and resources into getting whatever our community needed … within moments of needing it.
They have been thoughtful, transparent and as consistent as you can be when things change on a dime. Preparing for five scenarios only to have door No. 6 be the one they need to go through.
A school system is invaluable to a community and I’m not sure I knew how much until now. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our community.
I support you and I thank you. That’s not nearly enough but that’s all I got.
City Must Prioritize Funds, Projects As Residents Are Billed For Blunder
To the Editor:
I recently received our January 2022 water and sewer bill. It was $410.83. Our January 2014 bill was $128.15. That means the 2022 bill is 3.2 times what it was just eight years ago. Additionally, it’s an 88-percent increase to our January 2020 bill, just two years ago.
If this is how we Maumee citizens are going to be treated for a 30-year-old blunder made by the city of Maumee that is supposedly going to cost us around $100 million to fix, I am not pleased. Yes, some of this increase is from the city of Toledo increase in water rates. I understand that.
I, for one, would appreciate knowing how the costs are going to be assessed for this project. I realize there are studies being conducted to determine exactly what is required to correct the sewer problem, but this has nothing to do with the cost of supplying the water. So, the questions are: Are the sewer rates, which are tied to the water usage, being raised in order to address the sewer issue? If so, then why are the water rates going up, also?
For the future, if the city was to review the charges and decide that the water rates could be lowered and then take the removed water charges and add them to the sewer charge to make my bill remain close to the same $410.83, that isn’t the answer. That’s just manipulating numbers.
If I am not mistaken, it appears the city may have already secured some grant money to assist with the costs for the sewer correction studies. That is good. I have to assume there has been discussion about selling municipal bonds to finance the project. If this is true, what are the results of those meetings? In other words, what can the residents of Maumee expect as options to finance the sewer correction and how would those options affect the water and sewer rates?
I completely understand that the present administration is not responsible for the sewer debacle, but nonetheless, neither are the citizens. I certainly hope the city is sacrificing somewhere over and above normal operations in order to address this situation. Like it or not, the city now has to assume the responsibilities to fix the problem. That is what the citizens expect from their government, and nothing less.
For me, beautification projects undertaken by the city are luxuries right now, unless they are financed from grants. Otherwise, I question the cost-benefit ratio. Every effort and every noncommitted dollar spent must be weighed against fixing the sewer issue, first, if it reduces the costs borne by the citizens.
Legion Offers Thanks To Event Supporters
To the Editor:
We at the American Legion would like to thank our local businesses for their support for our veterans:
J.D.’s Drive-Thru, Brondes Ford, Charlie’s Dodge, Tireman, Appliance Center, Expresso, Applebee’s, Outback, Fricker’s, Timbers, John’s Korner Bar, Sidelines, Power Tool Sales, Dale’s Bar & Grill, The Village Idiot, Marco’s, Honda East, Ventura’s, GenoaBank, Momac’s, El Salto, Whitehouse Inn and the people who came to the recent feather party to support us.
Thank you very much.
America Legion Post 320
River Towpath Cleanup Spoils Wildlife Habitat
To the Editor:
Maumee, what have we done?
My wife and I frequently walk on the towpath along the Maumee River to the very end at Towpath Park. This past summer, there was an ambitious, well-meaning effort to “clean up” the path from the Maumee/Perrysburg bridge to Towpath Park further downstream.
Almost every time we walk this portion of the path, a fellow walker will ask, “What do you think of the new look at this end of the trail?” In our experience talking to walkers on this segment of the towpath, almost everyone is perplexed by the new look. Not once did anybody state that they liked the new changes.
This cleanup will have a serious negative environmental impact due to a loss of natural habitat for wildlife. What used to be a path surrounded by trees and lush vegetation is now nothing more than desolation and wide-open space. I noticed that at least eight healthy, mature trees were cut down and replaced with small saplings. Why did the large trees have to be removed? It will take 30 years or more for the newly planted saplings to replace the trees that were cut down. The mature trees provided shade and habitat for numerous birds and mammals, not to mention a myriad variety of insects that are vital to a healthy habitat. The edge of the river was a perfect shelter for turtles, frogs, ducks, herons and geese. The river’s edge is now void of any shelter for these and many other creatures. You will see very few of those creatures at the river’s edge now.
I understand that much of the vegetation removed were invasive species. As the invasive species were removed, was there an effort to carefully use a herbicide to eliminate the invasive growth? Were native plants used to replace the invasive growth?
Before this cleanup, the path was shaded and protected from harsh weather. Since it will be a long time until any significant growth returns, this path will not provide a cool, refreshing walk during a hot summer day or evening. In winter, the vegetation provided a much-needed windbreak. Walking on the bare landscape now will be considerably colder as the freezing wind blows up or down the Maumee River valley. This area now is barren and appears to be the location of some unfortunate disaster, not at all the welcoming respite from busy city streets that made it popular.
I appreciate the hard work and money that was spent on this project, but was there any consideration to ask for recommendations from a naturalist or environmental expert before starting this project? Natural habitat is being lost at an alarming rate all over the world. Our lives and the lives of future generations depend on a large and healthy habitat for wildlife.
If you are as alarmed as I am about vanishing habitat, please read Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas Tallamy.
Ignored Citizens Made Their Voices Heard
To the Editor:
The sole incumbent was defeated in the recent Maumee City Council race. It comes as no surprise, at least to me.
My personal take on it involves the unanimous support of the uptown Conant Street treatment by city council. The citizens of Maumee feel ignored. Yes, it is important to have a strong business district, but it doesn’t go down easy when the desires of the rest of the city’s residents are tossed to the side in favor of that alone. The storm/sanitary sewer fiasco could also have influenced the election, but who knows to what degree?
Hopefully, the city administration will take a step back and review what has occurred and consider that the will of people cannot be ignored. It wouldn’t have taken a whole lot of effort to poll the residents and determine the acceptance of the plan before it was initiated. Do the mayor and the council have the authority to perform as they did, without citizen approval? There’s no question that they do. However, the change specifically involving Conant Street traffic was a big change that put a very bad taste in the mouth of a large group of people, within and outside of the city. That view will taint the rest of the project. It will sour the residents and business customers against other initiatives that may have merit.
Working with the community is critical to acceptance. Should the mayor and the rest of the incumbent council members be concerned about retaining their seats in the city administration? I would be if I was one of them. Can the damage be contained and revisions made to correct what has already been done? Likely not. For Conant Street, the project is already in progress. No one can expect the city to cancel the plans that are too deep into motion. The citizens and all visitors to the city will have to contend with the plan, like it or not. That is extremely unfortunate.
For the storm/sanitary sewer issue, that is completely inexcusable and should never have happened. The residents now have to pay to fix it. A responsible administration would step forward and reassess the uptown revitalization project and divert some of those funds to address the sewer issue. It’s far more critical than making the uptown look more contemporary.
I caution the new council members to act with care and concern for the entire city when making decisions that impact more than the obvious recipients of a resolution. Take some time to talk to the citizens and get a feel for their opinions before moving forward on large projects.
Maumee wasn’t spiraling into an abyss of poverty and despair before the Conant Street project. Let’s not be moved to act on every promise of milk and honey. It’s just possible that the milk is sour.
Larry Gillen, P.E. (ret.)
Get To Know AWLS School Board Candidates And Please Vote On Tuesday, November 2
To the Editor:
The Anthony Wayne Local Schools school board member election will be held on Tuesday, November 2.
On November 2, the Lucas County Board of Elections will have five community members on the ballot for two open board of education positions. In alphabetical order by last name, those individuals are: Robert Kimball Jr., Troy Lutz, Kyle Miller, Andrew Prine and Andrew Teet.
What are the responsibilities of a school board member?
The Ohio School Boards Association, an organization that represents school board members across the state, shares that the first responsibility of a school board member is to ensure the educational welfare of all students attending a public school. In doing so, will each candidate uphold the laws within the state of Ohio and the United States? Will each candidate work to understand the educational needs of all students versus those that may represent their specific viewpoint, moral or political background? Will the candidate work in good faith with all employees to provide a high-quality education to all students? Will the candidate keep the big picture of the district in mind versus focusing on one or a few issues?
How do I get information about these candidates?
If you are interested in gaining information on each candidate, there are available resources. The Mirror Newspaper ran an article on October 7 that provided a summary on each candidate. In addition, over the last couple of months, there have been articles in The Mirror Newspaper that have mentioned these candidates. The district has been told that each of the candidates has a Facebook election page that individuals can visit to access.
The League of Women Voters is also holding an event on Thursday, October 28 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Monclova Community Center. At this event, each candidate will speak to the audience and then will be available to individually share information and answer questions.
Why is it important to vote for a school board member?
Who will you vote for in the upcoming election? It’s an important question that will have, at minimum, a four-year impact, which is the term that a board member serves. However, the decisions that are made during those four years can have a much longer lasting impact on the future of the school district. School board members have an important community role in providing educational opportunities to all students in the district. The votes they cast can be critical to the future financial outlook of the district, the quality of the education provided to all students, the culture and climate in each school building and several other factors that go into educating students each and every day.
I encourage you to ask the candidates or seek out information that will tell you about their positions on:
How do we continue to maintain the lowest school taxes per $100K of home value in Lucas County?
How do we continue to provide outstanding facilities to our students as the residential growth in the district continues?
How do we continue to maintain our academic performance in order to achieve within the top 5-10 percent of all school districts in the state as well as locally and nationally?
How do we continue to have our graduating seniors receive nominations to the military academies and be offered millions of dollars in scholarship awards to attend colleges and universities?
How do we continue the tradition of success in our band, art and athletic programs?
How do we continue to have our individual schools be recognized as Purple Star Schools by the Ohio Department of Education?
Once again, Anthony Wayne community members are encouraged to vote on Tuesday, November 2. Every vote is important to the education of AWLS students and the community.
Superintendent, Anthony Wayne Local Schools
Unresolved Issues Remain With Uptown Plan
To the Editor:
It is commendable that Maumee officials want to make the uptown area more inviting to pedestrian traffic and to boost downtown businesses.
Before taking on such an extensive project, city officials hopefully researched other similar cities to learn the positives and negatives of such a project; in other words, an apples-to-apples comparison.
A list of these cities should be published in The Mirror.
My wife and I may not be able to visit these cities, so I have three questions:
1. When compared to Conant Street, what are the widths of the project streets in these other cities?
2. What are the lengths of their projects; how many intersections are involved?
3. Do these cities have two major highways assigned through their projects?
I agree with an earlier writer that criticism of the Maumee project should be withheld until the project is complete. Let’s see how it all plays out. But several things are not going to change after the project is completed.
There is a traffic choke point in front of the Maumee Theater. Two lanes from the north on Conant plus right and left turns from the Trail are all trying to enter one lane of Conant. From the south is another choke point, two lanes coming across the bridge are forced into one lane to continue onto Conant.
Routes 20 and 25 are not going to be reassigned out to I-475 just to reduce the traffic on Conant Street. Some truckers may choose I-475 if they are familiar with the situation and want to avoid uptown, but most motorists will continue to use Conant.
Conant Traffic Delays Are Inconvenient, Insulting
To the Editor:
Returning from Perrysburg across the Perrysburg-Maumee bridge, the traffic delays upon entering Maumee are a daily insult. With no left-turn arrow and a miles-long onslaught of oncoming traffic, it takes 3-5 light changes to make a left turn onto River Road (heading west). This is madness! Whatever illusory benefit envisioned by Maumee City Council is clearly offset by the thousands of inconveniences and delayed travelers through Maumee each week. This is a perfect example of a tyranny of the few over the many. I can only hope that this utopian experiment with its fanciful “return to yesteryear” rationale ends with the next Maumee municipal elections.
Maumee Deserves Better Than Current Debacles
To the Editor:
I get a chuckle every time I see Maumee officials try to convince themselves and others how “wonderful” the uptown “revitalization” program is going to be.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The whole project is a complete debacle. It reminds me of a “Chinese fire drill” gone bad.
Monnette’s Market does not belong on Conant Street. It would go well in The Andersons building on Illinois Avenue, where the parking is already in place.
And the “sewage” problem that nobody knew anything about. How sad. If I were king, there would be a lot of city officials looking for work right now.
Election Day is coming. The people in Maumee deserve better.
Maumee Will Regret Changes To Conant Street
To the Editor:
In the October 7 issue of The Mirror, I was astonished by David Tullis asking for patience with uptown Maumee traffic in his letter to the editor. He states, “I am not sure what these critics expect. Do they want a highway running straight through our uptown area?”
Is he aware that there is a highway running straight through Maumee for decades? It is called U.S. Route 20. Route 20 is 3,300 miles long, starts in New England and ends in the Pacific Northwest. Our city has been and always will be a cut-through until Route 20 gets rerouted, which will never happen.
I believe Maumee will regret the changes in traffic pattern now under construction. Uptown Maumee and Route 20 will always be the preferred direct route through the area. Maumee is building a reputation of a traffic nightmare for Route 20 travelers. This reputation will not make our uptown businesses more profitable and will discourage local residents from visiting Maumee.
Water Meter Maintenance Raises Billing Questions
To the Editor:
In the Spring 2021 Maumee City Newsletter, there was an article about the water meter readings and the need to replace the batteries. The article stated that the contractor would contact users to upgrade maintenance.
In a recent issue of The Mirror Newspaper, the piece about utility billing stated to call the utility billing office to schedule an appointment for the upgrade. I called and scheduling was for November.
I also read that utility billing for minimum usage would be for 6,000 gallons. As an older user, six months ago my statement said my usage was 2,000 gallons. Three months ago, the statement was for 3,000 gallons. Living alone, I don’t use as much as some people.
Am I going to be penalized for conserving water?
Be Patient On Conant During Rush Hours
To the Editor:
I just read the latest Mirror (September 30, 2021) and saw the letters to the editor concerning the new traffic pattern on Conant Street, and I am amazed at the short-sighted, negative statements.
I have lived and worked in Maumee for over 36 years and to be frank, traffic during certain periods on certain days (rush hours, 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.) has always been congested on Conant, even when we had the two lanes north and two lanes south. In fact, I believe it was more congested due to vehicles turning left into businesses such as Speedway or our local banks when there was no designated left turn lane in uptown Maumee.
I know that the city leaders are continually working with the traffic light cycle, and I have noticed traffic running smoothly when the lights are cycled properly. The problem occurs when the cycles get messed up due to pedestrian crossings and other issues with the timing of the light cycles. My understanding is that these issues are known and are going to be corrected.
Take away normal rush hours, the traffic runs smoothly. Focusing on rush hour is unfair and leads me to believe the only reason many of these critics are traveling on Conant during rush hour is to get to home or work from another city or township. I am not sure what some of these critics expect. Do they want a highway running straight through our uptown area? I surely don’t want our city to be a cut-through for drivers to get from Wood County to Lucas County or vice versa. I know the Maumee Uptown Business Association doesn’t. I am sure they like the extra parking and the available left turn. There are so many more other congested roads during normal rush hours in the surrounding areas and in Toledo; to target Maumee is ridiculous.
What I find disappointing is when I read the statement from a critic that she frequently gets stuck in an intersection; well, she is one of the problems then. The law states you do not enter an intersection until you know you can clear said intersection. Stopping in an intersection causes traffic to come to a complete stop and exacerbates the problem. Do not enter the intersection even on a green light until you know you can clear it totally. If you must wait for another light cycle, so be it. Don’t be selfish and block traffic. Try to be patient. You will get to your destination maybe two to three minutes later.
Change is hard for a lot of people, but what the city leaders are trying to accomplish is to make uptown Maumee a destination where you can walk safely, bicycle safely, gather, park, shop and eat. Maumee does not want to be a cut-through to get people to their homes or work in other cities faster. To those, I say take another route, please, and stop blocking our intersection due to your impatience.
The inconvenience of heavy traffic during rush hour is worth the larger picture of revitalizing the city of Maumee. It is worth the small wait in traffic, especially for the residents of Maumee who want to see our city thrive.
Uptown Traffic Pattern Makes Conant A Mess
To the Editor:
In my opinion, the traffic pattern on Conant Street is a mess!
I’ve seen times when traffic is backed up north of Illinois Avenue. Also, traffic from the Anthony Wayne Trail can’t turn onto Conant because the one lane going south is full. I’ve also found that I and others must get into the left lane very early in order to get through town. As a Maumee resident, I don’t want to use I-475 or the Waterville Bridge to cross the river to visit relatives who live farther south.
Another thought is that speed limit signs should be changed to “suggested” signs, as a lot of drivers exceed the limits and get so close behind me that I worry they are trying to push me or they want to run over me.
I am an old driver who still believes that a car should have a car length for every 10 mph of speed. This reasonable to me as I learned in physics class that if one is going 60 mph, it is 80 feet per second.
Residents Were Not Consulted About The New Traffic Pattern
To the Editor:
During the time of COVID-19, a lot of things have changed or have been lost – some huge, some small. I fear the residents of Maumee have become victims of COVID-19.
During the scary days of COVID-19, not knowing what was coming next, our council grasped an opportunity to take over the decisions of what they thought was best for the city at large. At the same time, other smaller towns were working on COVID plans and normal business.
But our city planners (we have this grand plan for the New Maumee) held no meetings, no explaining and no contesting or hearing input from Maumee residents. Traffic patterns were changed and traffic lanes were reduced during COVID. This was when a heavy traffic night on the Anthony Wayne Trail was seeing three cars at the same time. Who is going to make challenges when there are no face-to-face meetings?
With seven council members voting, it passed (no surprise). We, the residents of Maumee, were never asked what we thought. Or maybe they just missed me?
We now have a traffic-ridden city that keeps more spenders away than ever. Traffic speeds through residential streets at 50 mph, delaying emergency workers (never tested, never safe), with the major traffic blockages causing major traffic problems.
Should we, the residents of Maumee, thank our council now or wait until the New Maumee rises in all its new glory?
Support Teachers Even If You Disagree
To the Editor:
To all of my amazing Anthony Wayne teacher friends … God bless you all.
All of you with your own beliefs.
All of you with your own opinions.
All of you who are going to set it all aside and mask up today, and for the unforeseen future, to be role models of the bigger picture of importance of providing an education for our kids.
All of you who will have empty desks from kids whose parents are protesting the rule.
All of you who will be hurt that parents are choosing their beliefs over the importance of their kids being in those seats for you to educate.
All of you who have diligently showed up and given your best to these kids and families every day for the never ending months of this pandemic and unwaveringly put the kids first no matter your feelings about the rules.
To all of you…thank you.
And to all of the parents, please be kind and remember the teachers are doing their best for your kids.
Following Health Guidelines Is About Saving Lives
To the Editor:
In reading the August 26 edition of The Mirror, I was appalled at parents and a doctor who are against the (Maumee City Schools) policy mandating mask wearing for all students, staff and employees.
With the number of children who contract COVID-19 rising exponentially, the mask mandate only makes sense. Do these parents not care about the health of their children?
The only way this country and the world will overcome this pandemic is to follow the mask guidelines, vaccinate and social distance.
Since many of the students are currently not old enough for vaccination, they should mask and try to keep distant from each other where possible.
I know that masks are uncomfortable, especially to wear one all day, but isn’t everyone’s health more important than some discomfort? Without the mask guidelines, our students might end up back with virtual schooling.
By the way, eating margarine and Pop-Tarts is not anywhere near the same level of health risk as this pandemic.
Consuming those foods hasn’t cost 640,359 people their lives in a short 18-month period.
The only way we will overcome this pandemic will be to follow the common sense measures that we are given by the scientists. Following these guidelines is in no way an infringement of our freedoms. It is about saving lives.
Maumee, EPA Share Duty To Monitor Wastewater
To the Editor:
The following is not intended to diminish the degree of responsibility of the city of Maumee to have reported its wastewater discharge into the Maumee River after heavy rainstorms. It is meant to highlight the shared duty of all agencies involved in this matter.
If the EPA was the lead agency requiring the submittal of wastewater discharge reports, they should have contacted the city and asked for them if the reports had not been received. It brings to the forefront a question of why the reports were required in the first place. Apparently, the EPA was not acting on the information they received, because if they were, they would have asked why the city of Maumee was delinquent in its report submittals.
Certainly Maumee was on the EPA radar as one of the cities in Ohio that still had a combined sewer system. Unless Maumee had completed its sewer separation and informed the EPA as such, the EPA should have been tracking the city for its reports. If Maumee had reported that it completed the sewer separation, the EPA should have visited the city and confirmed it to be as such, at which time they would have found that to be untrue.
So, how did this matter essentially fall through the cracks? I don’t know, but I can guess there are some people who should know. It’s highly unlikely that both the city of Maumee and the EPA both had a massive turnover of personnel at the same time and the knowledge of this wastewater discharge reporting was lost in the process.
The mayor stated in a Toledo Blade article, “… decades of staff turnover make it hard to say exactly who is to blame.” If the last report was submitted around 1996, then I would suspect there are some staff still working for the Department of Public Service Sewer Division, or recently retired, who would have knowledge of the reporting requirement. Also, if the EPA had a proper reporting form, it would have the name of the person submitting the last data from 1996 to the agency. I worked for state government and that is the typical information included in forms such as this. It is necessary in order to have a complete accountability of all actions associated with the matter.
Finally, there are apparently eight combined sewer overflow discharge outlets into the Maumee River. Are we to believe that no one, in the last 25 years, noticed or reported the effluent being discharged into the river? If someone did notice it and did report it, please come forward and state as such. To whom did you report it and what was the response?
Letter To The Citizens Of Maumee And Surrounding Communities
By: Maumee Mayor Richard H. Carr
Much has been reported in local media about the upcoming increases in water and sewer rates for the city of Maumee. On behalf of Maumee’s Leadership Team –which includes elected officials who all serve part time and staff who operate the city full time – I want to reiterate the causes for the rate increases and further detail violations committed by the city, and myriad former staff members, in regard to pumping excessive amounts of sanitary sewer water into the Maumee River without reporting it to Lucas County and the EPA.
Water rate increases are necessary to offset costs due to a 2019 regionally negotiated agreement with the city of Toledo, which supplies water to Maumee. They are not related to EPA violations.
Sewer rate increases are due, in part, to the increased need by Maumee for sanitary sewer discharge services from Lucas County, partially as a result of paying to treat extra storm water that infiltrates our sanitary sewer system. The city of Maumee has not been diligent in regularly raising fees to help defray current costs of operation, maintenance, repair and updating of its aging infrastructure.
In addition, sanitary sewer rate increases are also due to future EPA-mandated maintenance, upgrades, and replacement of the city of Maumee’s sanitary sewer system infrastructure as a result of violations to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 6111 and the Federal Clean Water Act of 1972. Regrettably, these violations did occur over a long period of time and went unreported to the mayor and council as well as Lucas County and the EPA.
Just this week, during internal investigations by administrative staff, it was uncovered that staff reported to Lucas County twice in 2017, for the 2016 year, that Maumee experienced no sanitary overflows to the Maumee River, which we now know was also untrue. Fortunately, once the city council and I learned of the violations, I instructed our city administrator to immediately self-report to the EPA, so we could start the process to resolve the issues. These violations were a significant failure in communications and oversight. The citizens of Maumee and surrounding communities, and our local waterways, deserve better.
The Maumee Services Division is responsible for tracking sewage discharge and has, in the past, authorized pumping sewage into storm catch basins in an effort to alleviate the flooding of Maumee residents’ basements. This is a violation of both state regulations and the Federal Clean Water Act of 1972.
The city of Maumee has a permanent pump station at Birch Street for the sole purpose of pumping sanitary sewage into the storm system – which eventually ends up in the Maumee River. There are also nine other mobile pumps deployed, during large rain events, to relieve some of the pressure and help prevent sewer backups in basements. According to documents received from the Ohio EPA, the city was also supposed to have removed four sanitary bypass outfalls by 1993. None of the outfalls were removed – allowing illicit sanitary discharges to occur at those locations. Additionally, in 1988 and 1992, five other outfall locations were removed from monitoring even though there is still evidence that discharges occur at four of those locations.
We trusted that these systems were being utilized in compliance with EPA mandates, including filing overflow reports to Lucas County and the Ohio EPA. We now know that this was not true – except for the two false reports found that stated no overflows occurred in 2016.
When we contacted the EPA in July 2020, it was clear that we were not at liberty to publicly disclose until we negotiated and executed the Findings and Order with the EPA, which took place at our July 6, 2021 council meeting. However, beginning in July 2020, the city of Maumee took immediate corrective steps for initial remediation, while waiting for further directives from the EPA. For example, we will be contracting with a firm to install flow meters at outfalls so that we can properly measure flow and eventually determine ground and rainwater infiltration to the sanitary system – which causes system overflow. We are now immediately reporting every time we discharge into the Maumee, just as other communities are required to do in our region.
Many communities, whether permitted by volume or otherwise, are discharging into the Maumee River and Lake Erie. It is the job of the EPA to monitor that discharge and the cities’ jobs to comply. It is my hope that this unfortunate situation will lead to further discussions regionally about the health of our streams, rivers and Great Lakes. It is the responsibility of us all to keep our waterways clean for future generations.
On a personal note, I hope that this will also lead to a larger discussion about dilapidated infrastructure in the U.S. and the aging sewer systems in our communities as they directly impact our waterways. We can’t keep pushing the fixes down the road.
If further investigation is warranted, it should be led by the EPA as the law requires. The city of Maumee will comply with any of their requests if they choose to investigate any perceived malfeasance. Further, we will demonstrate our commitment to meaningful change by maintaining transparency about the situation with our citizens and surrounding communities and by putting protocols in place to prevent the lack of oversight from happening again. Maumee will make it right.
Council Candidate Pushes To Support Lake Erie Waterkeepers’ Initiative
To the Editor:
Since March 5, I have been working to have our city council and our mayor listen to a presentation by Lake Erie Waterkeepers regarding an executive order to help clean up Lake Erie. Unfortunately, I have been unable to have a conversation with our mayor and three of the seven council members about the issue.
The Lake Erie Waterkeeper program seeks to have fishable, swimmable, drinkable water for the Lake Erie Watershed. This goal for Lake Erie’s waters is being accomplished through advocacy, education, litigation and innovation. Lake Erie Waterkeeper was founded in 2004 and became a licensed member of the Waterkeeper Alliance in 2005. The initial program covered the western basin of Lake Erie. The program was expanded to the entire Lake Erie Watershed in 2011. Lake Erie Waterkeeper is served by a board of directors and advisers.
Multiple municipalities and organizations have already supported this initiative through formal action, including Toledo, Lucas County, Sandusky, Oregon, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG), Perrysburg, Rossford, Whitehouse, Luna Pier, Kelleys Island, South Bass Island and Lakewood.
The proposal only asks the city to show how important it is to protect our drinking water by showing support for the initiative. This proactive approach will not cost residents anything and will try to get our federal government to address the issues in Lake Erie and with our drinking water. I don’t know about all of you, but I still have not forgotten 2014.
For many years, a group of employees have known that sewage was being dumped into the river during large rain events. I believe those employees, along with our elected officials, should take interest in environmental issues and issues related to our drinking water more closely. Ideally, no sewage should be dumped into the river, but unfortunately this is not the case for many towns in our country. How can we hold the city accountable? How can we ensure something like this doesn’t happen in the future?
I am glad that when new employees started within the city, they realized something was wrong and reported the issue to the Ohio EPA. That is the action that was needed. I think the main focus, moving forward, should be to fix the issue. The unfortunate thing is that residents will be forced to pay the higher bills. Had this issue been discovered years ago, maybe our bills could have been incrementally increased, and the burden would be a far smaller hit to our budgets. Instead of being proactive and responsible, we are in a place with a lot of outraged residents, me being one of them.
Residents should be able to count on those in charge to be doing the right thing and should not be responsible for payment of any fines or any costs above and beyond the normal changes that would have been needed back when things should have been corrected. I have been told that residents will not be responsible for any fines.
Is there a creative way that the city can ease the burden of this sudden cost? How are those with limited incomes going to be impacted? Is this a matter of our leaders not doing the right thing? Or is it a matter of not paying enough attention to environmental issues such as this? All we do know for sure is that our river has been paying the consequences along with Lake Erie. This all leads back to our health since in the end, this is our drinking water.
Negligence, Costs Will Drive Residents Away
To the Editor:
I have been a Maumee resident since 1989. I was horrified to learn about the city of Maumee’s decades of negligence in the report to the state of the discovery of Maumee’s untreated sewage being dumped into the Maumee River. Will an investigation follow?
With this discovery, Maumee residents ended up with a $100 million bill to correct the issue. The residents of Maumee can expect a 60- to 65-percent increase to water rates starting next month.
With this 30-year expense to residents, will council continue with the new uptown adventure, possibly raising taxes 10, 20 or 30 percent?
I had an hourlong meeting with city administrator Patrick Burtch on Thursday, July 8 to get answers to many questions regarding the uptown Maumee project, especially why all planning and trials were done during the COVID-19 pandemic with no input from 14,000 residents, who should have a say, because there were no public meetings due to COVID restrictions. Does that sound right? Maybe it’s just me, but I received very unsatisfactory answers from Patrick Burtch to my questions.
A last note: Keep raising taxes and utilities for Maumee residents (especially younger residents) and we won’t be (Maumee) residents for very long!
Residents To Foot The Bill For City’s Mistakes
To the Editor:
So, the residents and the taxpayers of Maumee have to foot the bill for the mistakes made by city employees for not reporting information to the EPA – basically not doing their job?!
Now we have to deal with extra cost, higher water bills. How unfortunate. Will they get their hands slapped? Maybe the extra costs should come out of their paychecks?
Mr. Mayor, where were you when this was happening?
Uptown Maumee Improvements Should Preserve River Access
To the Editor:
The city of Maumee has plans to improve quality of life for its residents in the uptown area. Access to the river is an important part of that which I think is being forgotten. Unfortunately, the city is planning to permanently close one of these access points to the residents on the east side of Conant Street.
The Elizabeth/Harrison access to the river has been used by residents, fishermen and wildlife since the access was created years ago. The city has plans to permanently cut off access to the river at this location with a 6-foot-tall fence, extending wide enough to block pedestrian traffic. It will also extend down the hill on both sides of the access road, widening as it goes down. The fence will continue nearly to the towpath and enclose the future pump station.
I can understand the need to enclose the pumping station with fencing for the safety of utilities, but fencing in the entire hillside for no reason other than to stop pedestrian traffic to the river is unnecessary and unacceptable.
Currently, there are 3.5 access points to the river on the east side of Conant Street:
• White Street at Harrison Street: This access is a gravel road with no walkway for pedestrians. It is often unmaintained with vehicle traffic to contend with.
• Conant Street at the bridge: This is an emergency vehicle access point only maintained a week or two before the fireworks and is very steep; and again, no pedestrian walkway.
• Conant Street stairway (this is the .5): The one true pedestrian stairway directly to the towpath on the east side of Conant has long been forgotten and abandoned.
• Elizabeth Street at Harrison Street: This is a concrete street leading to the pumping station. It has no vehicle traffic but does have walkways around each safety gate. This has always been well-maintained by the city. It is the safest option for access to the river on the east side of Conant Street.
Please consider the following:
1. Fence in the buildings at the base of the hill only as much as needed.
2. Install a new gate at the top of the hill to improve the look of that intersection.
3. The money saved by not installing hundreds of feet of unnecessary fencing (Elizabeth Street) can be used to improve (not eliminate) pedestrian access at the Elizabeth Street location. A designated walkway with a railing would be appropriate.
The city would be doing a disservice to the residents of the neighborhood by closing access to the park at this safe location.
Waterville Township Residents Urged To Voice Police Support
To the Editor:
As a former Waterville Township trustee, I often get questions from residents who want to know more about what is going on in the township. Recently, one gentleman called to talk to me about police protection. He’s nervous that we’re going to lose the police department that we’ve relied on for many years. He has a right to be worried.
Like me, he’s read about Lucas County Sheriff Mike Navarre’s plan to offer patrol coverage to townships individually or as a collective for a cost to be determined by the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO). Simply, any tax dollars we pay will go the sheriff, who will then determine the level of service we receive. Thankfully, we already have a fiscally responsible department with a dedicated officer in Waterville Township to respond to any calls and provide proactive policing for our residents. Our officers are well-trained, trusted and provide around-the-clock coverage seven days a week – why would we replace them with the LCSO?
I believe there is a very strong possibility that policing for our township could be turned over to the LCSO by the board of Waterville Township trustees.
It’s critical for residents to attend the Waterville Township trustees’ monthly Zoom meetings to voice support for our police department and its continued operation. Residents should ask trustees to fully support the police department with their legislative actions. These include appointing the acting chief, Sgt. Shaun Wittmer, as chief of police; back-filling the role of sergeant; returning the department to proper full-time officer staffing levels to cover the township 24/7 and reduce overtime; and moving to restore the ability of Wittmer to write grants to obtain equipment and supplies for police operations. These are all necessary actions which township trustees have declined to take for the last several months.
The trustees meet on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom. The link is often posted the day before at www.watervilletownship.com. Please find the Zoom link and attend the meeting to share your thoughts.
I also encourage residents to contact Sgt. Wittmer with any questions or input via e-mail at: email@example.com or by calling the Waterville Township PD at (419) 878-9991. If he is not available, leave a message with dispatch and ask for a call back.
Backups, Blocked Traffic Could Make City A Mint
To the Editor:
The recent Letter to the Editor about the new Maumee traffic pattern contained one item that needs additional attention.
I am not a Maumee resident, but I travel through the city when going to our doctor in Rossford or shopping in Perrysburg. Our church is in Maumee and we have family in Maumee, so we are in the city a lot.
Several weeks ago, I wanted to go to Burger King on Conant Street and found the intersection of Conant and Illinois almost impossible to cross. It took several changes of the traffic light. After picking up the food, I headed out toward The Andersons and cut back onto Illinois. The line to cross Conant was backed up, so I went left on Conant, choosing to go home that way. The two southbound lanes on Conant were both backed up with cars and semis to a point just south of Meijer, at which point only one lane was backed up, shutting down driveways to numerous businesses.
I recently noticed an electric sign at Conant and the Anthony Wayne Trail instructing drivers to not block the intersections because a law will be enforced. If the police had been with me on my above trip to Burger King, Maumee could have collected enough fines to balance the city budget for the next several years.
Police Presence At Trail Will Help Traffic Flow
To the Editor:
Happy to see the Maumee police sitting in front of the Maumee Indoor Theater!
Since the new road changes on Conant Street, I have seen the intersection at Conant and the Anthony Wayne Trail become blocked as people make the light, but then sit in the intersection blocking all traffic as they wait for traffic flow to move on.
There was a sign there for a while telling people to not block the intersection, but did anyone really pay attention?
I think the presence of the police car will work better. I know it can’t sit there forever; but for now, I was happy to see it there.
Thank you, Maumee police!
Certain Lawn Fertilizers Are Harmful To Health
To the Editor:
I just discovered that some fertilizers contain potentially hazardous chemicals. The product I’m discussing is called a “Turf Products Fertilizer.” It is available locally. The bad news is that it contains prodiamine herbicide.
This chemical is listed by the EPA as a Class C chemical, which is a possible cancer-causing chemical.
The sack that the fertilizer is in contains these words: “Keep out of reach of children,” “Caution precautionary statements” and “Hazards to humans and domestic animals.”
Do you know what your landscape company is using?
Ohio Revised Code 901:5-11-09 requires a 3-by-5-inch warning sign to be placed in your yard if an application is applied. It should state a warning to keep children and pets off your yard. Some say this shall be displayed for 24 hours. Well, The Ohio State University studies have determined that prodiamine has a half-life of 16 days, depending on the climate. The math has this chemical active for several months.
The best practice is to leave clippings on your yard; they contain all the ingredients for a healthy yard. Landscape writer Paul McKinzie, of Chapel Hill, N.C., says you only have to fertilize your yard when you plant it.
The final summary: Mow your yard less often; no fertilizer; save money, the environment and your health.
Reader Questions Support For Conant Traffic Plan
To the Editor:
The March 4 issue of The Mirror Newspaper stated that the city administration and city council have approved the plan to proceed forward with the uptown streetscape project development.
I looked at the artist’s rendering of that plan and noticed streetscape islands to be built out in the area of the street parking. What amazes me is the concern that was expressed for pedestrian safety prior to initiating the reconfigured pavement marking on Conant Street. The administration was convinced the trial pavement marking would separate the vehicles from the pedestrians and result in a safer condition. Really? So, explain to me how having people sitting right next to the traveling public is safer. Seems to me walking on the sidewalk is far safer than sitting next to the traffic.
That brings up another issue. How many vehicle-to-pedestrian traffic accidents occurred under the previous pavement-marking scheme versus the new marking scheme? I wasn’t aware that we had a major problem. Was the change initiated because people “felt” unsafe or was it because it truly was unsafe? Comparisons have to be made under similar conditions. In other words, compare for the same months of previous years. The trial is only six months old and not covering every month of the year.
It’s no secret that I was against this change from the start and I continue to be against it. My predictions of this mess have come true. Because of this, I would like to review the study that was conducted to determine that the new pavement scheme is successful. Relative to that study, I would be quite interested in reading what parameters were used to conclude that the new scheme was a successful trial.
The primary reason for the new traffic flow pattern was to make it more inviting for people to come to the city and conduct business. If that is so, I hope the study also conducted a poll of customers and clients who came to Maumee within the past six months. I hope these questions were asked of them:
“I came to Maumee to conduct business because of the new pavement marking configuration whereas I would not have come if Conant was left as it was.” (True or False?)
“The previous traffic volume through Maumee discouraged me from driving to Maumee to conduct business under the previous pavement marking configuration.” (True or False?)
“The present congestion on Conant Street does not upset me as I come to conduct business in Maumee.” (True or False?)
“The present congestion on Conant Street does not upset me as I drive through the city when not conducting business in Maumee.” (True or False?)
“I find Maumee to be a much more inviting city to conduct business whereas I did not get that same impression in the past.” (True or False?)
Recently, my wife was driving to KeyBank by way of the Anthony Wayne Trail. She timed how long it took her to go from the Gibbs Street traffic signal to the bank. It took 20 minutes. Why? It was because the southbound traffic on Conant left no empty space for traffic turning southbound from the Anthony Wayne Trail to go to. I was told that the southbound traffic on Conant Street sometimes backs up clear north to Meijer. Do you still think that people are going to find an alternate route rather than drive through the Conant Street congestion? There is no practical alternate route and no one driving through this congestion welcomes it or is pleased with it!
I would ask that other citizens of Maumee express their opinions of the changed pavement marking on Conant Street. Maybe I am alone on this, but the opinions I have heard so far show that I am not alone. So, please contact the city administration or a council member and express your thoughts.
Remember, Maumee comprises over 14,000 residents. We may not have a business in uptown Maumee, but our opinions should still count.
Monclova Resident Reminds Readers That Conservation Begins At Home
To the Editor:
There are three major crises on earth. The first is the COVID-19 pandemic. The second is climate change. The third is earth’s sustainability. How many humans can the earth support?
Nature plays an important part. Without plants, animals, birds and insects, we cannot survive. Insects cannot survive without plants and vice versa. Birds cannot survive without insects. All fruit trees and flowers need insect pollinators. All animals need plants or meat. What do humans need?
National Geographic has articles on human population trends and bird and insect extinction. Insect population is down 76 percent from 1989 to 2016. Hundreds of bird species are extinct. Honeybees are becoming scarce. The monarch butterfly has a 96.4-percent extinction rate. When was the last time you saw a monarch?
Why is nature dying? Is it the lack of habitat and application of chemicals?
What can be done? Well from earth’s sustainability point of view, all political agencies have failed: no education, no news, no emergency political crisis, no science reports.
Every individual should read the New York Times Bestseller Nature’s Best Hope, a new approach to conservation that starts in your yard, by Douglas W. Tallamy. He says that 40 percent of the lawn chemicals used for lawns are banned in other countries because they are carcinogens. (He cites 75 studies.) He also comments on fertilizer. Per EPA, 40 to 60 percent of fertilizer applied to lawns runs off into streams and lakes, where it kills aquatic organisms and grows algae.
Avoid chemical and fertilizer applications to your yard. Trey Rogers, professor of turfgrass management at Michigan State University, says: Done correctly, mowing encourages the growth of healthy grass plants that can fight off disease, survive insect damage and drought, and keep weeds from invading. Grass should be cut and left at 3 inches.
Dig Out Fire Hydrants To Help First Responders
To the Editor:
Our communities are all in the midst of tragedies waiting to happen, as our fire hydrants have all been buried by so much snow and are inaccessible to our first responders in the event of an emergency.
As a family, we decided to make a little bit of a difference and started with our own subdivision (Olde Farm in Monclova Township) and were able to dig out 10 fire hydrants.
We created a Facebook page titled Fire Hydrant Dig-Out 2021 to encourage every family to dig out at least one hydrant. If people decide to take on this challenge, we encourage them to load their photos on this page so we can keep track of how many hydrants are liberated.
Our first responders already have enough to prepare for when responding to an emergency; buried fire hydrants shouldn’t be one of those things. If you consider that it took our family an average of 10 minutes per hydrant to dig out, that could be the difference between life and death.
Uptown Road Diet Trial Wins Resident’s Support
To the Editor:
As a Maumee resident, I am writing this letter to the editor to express my support for the uptown road diet plan. I have noticed many positive outcomes from the trial period thus far.
First, I believe it’s advantageous for all drivers to have a designated lane for the direction they are heading. As people learn the pattern, the traffic will flow even smoother.
Secondly, I have enjoyed running and walking in uptown since the diet was put into effect. The traffic is moving at a much slower pace and is further away from the sidewalks, which is greatly appreciated as a father of two younger children.
Lastly, I understand and appreciate that the road diet is part of a much larger master plan to beautify uptown and make it a more pedestrian-friendly space that people want to visit.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors Makes Maumee Great
To the Editor:
I have always been aware that Maumee was a great community to live in.
This past snowstorm on February 15-16 proved that.
As I looked down the street, I saw neighbors helping neighbors, cleaning away the snow.
Our good neighbor managed to clean away the snow from the driveways and sidewalks of 10 homes. It took a lot of effort and hard work.
Thank you, Pete Klosinski, from all of us.
Maumee IS great!
MUBA Expresses Support For Uptown Revitalization
To the Editor:
The Maumee Uptown Business Association (MUBA) fully supports the uptown Maumee revitalization efforts put forth by Maumee city administrator Patrick Burtch, Maumee Mayor Richard Carr and members of the Maumee City Council. The type of changes that have been proposed will support business growth and enhance the quality of life in the uptown district. The city’s responsiveness to this effort is truly commendable.
Previously, MUBA expressed support for the three-lane trial, or road diet, on Conant Street as a precursor to a larger, more comprehensive plan for the entire uptown area. MUBA applauds the city for moving forward with the road diet and fully supports implementing it on a permanent basis. The new traffic configuration has allowed additional customer parking on Conant Street, which is very beneficial for those served by local businesses. The added safety on the sidewalks will enhance future outdoor dining and shopping as well as the overall experience for our customer base. For these reasons, MUBA fully supports the new street configuration as a more effective and forward-thinking way to serve both the business community and the residents of Maumee.
The process of change, however, does not happen without significant challenges. It is our organization’s belief that the advantages experienced thus far outweigh any negative implications from the changes that have already been made and will be made in the future.
The comprehensive plan is very exciting for the business community. The uptown district is sure to become a thriving destination spot with the proposed public gathering areas, over 200 additional on-street parking spaces, updated landscaping, decorative lighting and an outdoor refreshment area. MUBA is confident that these changes, coupled with the proposed safety and enhancement plan along the Anthony Wayne corridor, will create a more connected and cohesive community for the citizens and business owners in the city of Maumee.
MUBA is dedicated to continued growth in the uptown district and looks forward to working collectively with city leaders and other supporters to ensure its long-term success for the betterment of all those who live and work in Maumee.
Maumee Uptown Business Association
Maumee Chamber Embraces Changes To Uptown Culture
To the Editor:
Please accept this letter on behalf of the members and the board of directors of the Maumee Chamber of Commerce to convey our full support of the revitalization plan for the uptown district.
Our members and our board have had the opportunity on several occasions to hear the merits of the Conant Street road diet and the masterplan for sustaining and reviving the heart of our city. We strongly support the efforts of the mayor, city administrator and the city staff to move forward and adopt this new traffic pattern.
The mission of the chamber is to promote cooperation among businesses and to foster a quality environment for the citizens of Maumee. We believe this new plan embodies our mission, will improve quality of life and create opportunity for growth and prosperity for businesses. We embrace the concepts of purposely planned parking versus parking lots, safe walkable sidewalks, calmed traffic with less trucks and more public gathering spaces. We look forward to aesthetic changes uptown, such as lighting, landscaping, arches over Conant Street and a cohesive atmosphere for the businesses, including a designated outdoor refreshment area.
We believe that by fostering an opportunity for residents and visitors to stop, shop, stay and eat, this masterplan will make a difference to businesses looking to move or relocate to Maumee. We stand behind the road diet as the impetus to change.
The Maumee Chamber of Commerce believes this administration cares about the quality of life of its residents and business owners and is choosing to invest in the future of this community.
Maumee Chamber of Commerce
Electronics Recycling Day Successful At Zion UMC
To the Editor:
On Saturday, January 23, more than 200 people took advantage of our Electronics Recycling Day. As a result, more than 14,600 pounds of e-waste was recycled.
While the church does not get paid for this annual event, we did receive some freewill donations.
Thank you from Zion United Methodist Church and the planet!
Rev. Carol Williams-Young
Zion United Methodist Church
Report Pet Incidents To Police Promptly
To the Editor:
I am writing this letter to every resident of Maumee. If you or your pet are ever attacked by someone’s pet, you must report the incident to the Maumee Police Division. If there are no reports of a previous incident by the same animal and you would have such an attack, you have no recourse in dealing with a difficult or unpleasant situation.
Conant Street Changes Are Welcomed
To the Editor:
Since The Mirror chose to publish two letters criticizing the uptown Maumee traffic pattern, I would like to give an opposing view. The gentleman from Whitehouse offered up his opinion, but no facts were given to prove his assertions.
Personally I think it is a great idea, and hopefully it becomes permanent. I do not believe that there will be a rush to use side streets to avoid Conant Street backups. No time would be gained. I have also noticed Maumee checking vehicle numbers on those side streets.
As for the lady using the terms “audacious” and “white elitism,” nothing like an overreaction to make a point. The truth is most people do not like change, even when sometimes change is good. Everyone reacted in horror when ODOT put in the diverging diamond setup on the Perrysburg bridge over US 23/I-475. It works really well – most issues are caused by individuals not paying attention to signs in addition to being in a hurry.
If anything, the new lanes may be a blessing, causing drivers to slow down and pay attention instead of hurrying and being on the phone.
Finally, anyone intimidated by the new lanes probably has not been to Columbus. Traffic there is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Conant Pattern Brings Positive Changes
To the Editor:
Letters have been published regarding the new traffic pattern on Conant Street.
I, too, had reservations on how well this would work. However, I am finding that people love the left-turn lanes at each cross street and the parallel parking on both sides of the street.
I’m sure there are times when traffic backs up, but in my experience, I have never had to wait an excessive amount of time while traveling from Perrysburg to my home in Maumee. Change is difficult, and in this year of 2020, we have had a tremendous amount of change. So, comparatively speaking, the traffic pattern change is not one of them.
In the long run, Maumee was certainly overdue for a “makeover,” and I believe the new city administrator, Patrick Burtch, is just what the doctor ordered.
Conant Traffic Changes Are Audacious, Unsafe
To the Editor:
Why does it seem as if city council and the mayor are shoving a plan down our throats that (to me) appears as: “Let’s be like our big and busy state capitol (home of OSU) and make a single-lane traffic pattern through our quaint and friendly Maumee. It will get our businesses booming and keep the riffraff out”?
The residents of Maumee have had no say. The warnings from a retired ODOT director were ignored. Despite the obvious steep decline in traffic since the pandemic began, the city proceeded to restripe Conant Street and initiated the two-month (not four-month as recommended) study.
We “hear” that drivers are learning to navigate the new patterns, the traffic flows well except for two periods a day and business is picking up.
First, drivers must navigate. But imagine the traffic congestion when businesses open to capacity, when schools are truly open, when (hopefully) more people return to work, when Monnette’s opens, etc.
I’ve witnessed near-collisions at cross street intersections. It is considerably harder to enter Conant from a cross street. Red lights last longer and green lights are short-lived. I tense up nearing downtown Maumee from either side because I have to position my car to prepare for the big one-lane experience. Driving in and out of Maumee is already unpleasant since this trial began.
A friend told me of her scary experiences as a pedestrian. Consider the possibilities of more cars, more pedestrians (including children) and more alcohol.
As for our booming businesses … which ones? I have seen no evidence. Another friend heard evidence to the contrary from one of our more popular businesses. I doubt these new plans would encourage people to stop here, considering congestion and the potential traffic jams as drivers try left-hand turns and parallel parking.
I’ve been a resident of uptown Maumee for only 12 years, and I have loved it here, but with more traffic due to one vs. two lanes, I can envision more “shortcuts” and speeding through our residential streets. Sadly, I have changed my routes to use more residential areas rather than encounter congestion. I will not take the expressway to drive to Perrysburg or Kroger.
I’m very concerned with this attitude of trying to “control” people by controlling access. To me, these actions fall in the realm of white elitism and I’ve had enough of that.
Many have shared these same concerns with me.
Conant Street Backups Result Of Traffic Study
To the Editor:
A couple of months ago, an article in The Mirror said that the city of Maumee was spending $40,000 to do a traffic study to reduce the number of lanes on Conant Street in the uptown area. In the following issue, a retired Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) director wrote saying it would not work. You cannot take two lanes coming in from Reynolds Road and two lanes coming across the bridge from Perrysburg and force them in to one lane going each way.
The retired ODOT director was right, for the traffic study lane changes resulted in major backups. They have also affected the vehicles turning from the southbound and northbound Anthony Wayne Trail. Residents living on Ford, Wayne and Broadway are experiencing a lot more traffic from those trying to get over the bridge to avoid the backup on Conant Street.
This will also have a safety impact on the children attending Union School and St. Joseph’s Catholic School. The closest alternate way of crossing the river for local traffic is to take I-475. If you think backups are bad now, wait until there is an accident or construction on the interstate. Another concern will be the additional traffic that will be generated by Monnette’s, a popular store, when it is built in the uptown area.
As I recall, the city said it would attract more business for the stores on Conant Street. This is a favorable idea, but I think the folks in bumper-to-bumper traffic will just want to get to their destinations. It appears to me that the city of Maumee wasted $40,000 and shot itself in the foot.
Chain-Link Fence Ban Prompts Puzzlement
To the Editor:
I was both surprised and puzzled to read that the city is prohibiting chain-link fences in Maumee side and backyards.
My chain-link fence was installed in 1955. Yes, that was 65 years ago, and it still looks great. I was so pleased when we moved onto Midfield in 1962 to have a safe, fenced, large backyard. A fence that is transparent. Adults, children and dogs can enjoy a larger sea of grass, birds and flowers. It is better than needing to have a face up against the slot of a plastic fence to see the outside world.
A new fence has a zinc coating that in time will give way to nature and the fence will start to rust. Aluminum paint applied with a roller will bring it back to life. This paint will last more than 10 years before it needs another coat.
I doubt if prohibiting chain-link fences in the backyards will increase property values as claimed by the Maumee Code Committee.
LCCS Thanks Voters For Their Support
To the Editor:
On behalf of the board of trustees of Lucas County Children Services, the employees, and the children and families we serve, thank you to Lucas County voters for approving Issue 18.
This 1.8-mill renewal will allow LCCS to continue leading the community in the protection of children. It will secure our financial stability at a time when child protection is evolving on a national level, even as agencies like LCCS must be diligent about protecting children and stabilizing families due to the COVID‐19 pandemic, family violence and substance abuse.
We remain committed to being good stewards of your tax dollars, and to providing the high-quality services that Lucas County voters have come to expect over the past 153 years.
Chair of LCCS Board of Trustees
Mirror Coverage Benefits Food Pantry Mission
To the Editor:
Our sincere thanks for your continued coverage of our progress at the Under One Roof Food Pantry, located at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
Your articles and photos always generate increased donations of cash and nonperishable goods from the community, which help us to stretch our limited finances. We have seen increased awareness of our collaborative efforts with our partnering churches and organizations as a result of your coverage.
As a nonprofit endeavor, we rely on the generosity of our community to survive, and you have repeatedly served as a catalyst to help us meet the demands of feeding food-insecure families within our area.
Special thanks to Nancy Gagnet for her thorough coverage of events, including our grand opening, the Boy Scout food drive and our recent Meijer Simply Give campaign, to mention a few.
Your role as a community newspaper cannot be underestimated during these challenging times. While I’m sure that you are experiencing your own set of challenges, your publication is the thread that holds this community together. Your local focus provides some greatly needed positive news for all of us. Thank you for all that you do!
Under One Roof Volunteer
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Resident Suggests Residents Vote No On Issue 5
To the Editor:
I have lived in Waterville my entire life and have always supported this city. For many years I was a firefighter and EMT, so I am certainly not against public safety upgrades. However, what I am against is how these upgrades are being paid for. It seems to me that every time the city, township or village has a need or wish they go to the taxpayers.
In 2019, there were 593 EMS runs in Waterville. Forty percent of the runs went to StoryPoint, Heartland of Waterville, Browning Masonic and Heritage Village. These runs are already being paid for through the property taxes we pay now. Obviously, with the increase in EMS runs, there is additional need for funds. With potential growth of Waterville, including possibly five more assisted living/nursing buildings, this need will only continue to increase. At what point do taxpayers say enough is enough. At what point will this model of taxing property owners no longer be sustainable?
Direct billing to insurance companies has worked for other cities both small and large. It would make sense to pass some of these costs onto the people who actually use the services. Medicare currently covers approximately $222.54 for a non-emergency run. Private health insurance would cover even more. Is it possible that between direct billing and the property taxes we already pay, this could cover a majority at EMS/fire expenses? Is it possible that a smaller levy, along with direct billing, would cover the cost? Has council really looked into what could be raised this way?
When I approached a council member about this idea, I was told that soft billing (which is different than actual direct billing) was “tried in the past and didn’t work. It just wasn’t a good idea.” Obviously, to continue to tax the property owners isn’t a good idea either, especially during this time of pandemic uncertainty. According to the latest edition of The Mirror, this levy is going to raise $400,000 less than previously thought. How soon until the taxpayers are hit up again?
A sustainable idea really needs to be planned for – other than continuing to tap out the taxpayers who are already tapped out from funding too many things.
MUBA Expresses Support For Conant Traffic Trial
To the Editor:
The Maumee Uptown Business Association welcomes business growth and believes it is vital to the success of every business and organization in the area. Part and parcel with that growth is the change necessary to meet the current needs of the businesses that reside in uptown Maumee, including the protection of the environment in which these businesses reside.
As such, MUBA expresses support for the three-lane trial on Conant Street taking place this fall. We believe that by working to address the significant problems caused from the ever-increasing traffic on Conant Street, city leaders are taking a first step to a larger vision in creating a more aesthetically pleasing, walkable and business-friendly uptown district.
In January of 2018, MUBA submitted a letter to Mayor Carr and members of Maumee City Council outlining areas of concern and suggested changes regarding traffic flow and parking in uptown Maumee. Among the suggestions were the following:
• Add angle parking in the 100 block of East Wayne Street, like the angle parking in 100 block of West Wayne.
• Ensure that the Monnette’s parking lot will properly accommodate their customers and staff.
• Redevelop the entire parking area by acquiring the East Mews lot from the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and redesign it to accommodate the maximum amount of parking spaces.
• Consider new uses for the parking lot on the corner of East Wayne and Gibbs in agreement with the property owner.
• Consider universal four-way stops to help ease confusion leading into the uptown area.
The trial plan that city administrator Patrick Burtch has proposed does all of this and more. The plan is a forward-thinking approach to developing our uptown district into a family-friendly destination that will encourage visitors from our area and beyond to stop in Maumee and linger in uptown – actions that are crucial to the success of small business.
We acknowledge that new business can derive from the exposure to vehicle traffic; however, vehicle traffic is not the only form of exposure and the tradeoff in this case may be the appeal of a family-friendly, safe and easily accessible (via increased parking) experience for current and future uptown visitors.
With the inclusion of Amazon to the business-heavy Conant/Reynolds Road, forward-thinking decisions need to be considered. It has been acknowledged for some time that Uptown traffic and parking are not tenable. The approach laid out by Mr. Burtch and city leadership may very well prove to be our best option toward sustainability in an uneasy business landscape.
MUBA retains the right to hold our ultimate judgment on the outcome of the trial period, but we remain excited for the possibility this discussion has brought forth and optimistic that it will prove helpful.
The Maumee Uptown Business Association
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