On behalf of the Columbus Chapter of CISV, we would like to express our immense appreciation to the Bexley City Schools, the city of Bexley, the Jewish Community Center and the entire Bexley community ...

Bexley Community's support of CISV summer camp appreciated

To the editor:

On behalf of the Columbus Chapter of CISV, we would like to express our immense appreciation to the Bexley City Schools, the city of Bexley, the Jewish Community Center and the entire Bexley community for their support of the CISV Summer Camp that was hosted at the Bexley City Schools Cassingham Complex from June 23, 2012, through July 15, 2012.

CISV is an international peace education organization that strives to promote world peace, social justice and sustainable solutions to problems. The theme of this Summer Camp was "Make the Dream Work," which refers to CISV founder Doris Allen's dream of world peace through building global friendships.

Delegations of 14-year-olds, adult leaders and staff from Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and USA spent three weeks in Bexley exploring issues of collaboration and sustainable development.

The camp was taking place at Bexley's middle and high schools during the recent power outage. The school was without power for nearly a week.

During this time, Mayor Ben Kessler, school district Superintendent Mike Johnson, the school facilities and custodial staff, and JCC Executive Director Carol Folkerth went to great lengths to ensure that the camp participants were safe and as comfortable as possible. A trip to the JCC pool, which included much needed warm showers, was arranged. AEP was contacted and every effort was made to restore power as quickly as possible. The facilities and custodial staff ran auxiliary power to needed computers, fans and refrigerators.

Although the physical conditions in the school deteriorated, the spirit of the 49 participants, leaders and staff remained positive due in large part to the support of the Bexley schools, city and community.

Lynn Vottero and Stephanie Gray Wilson
CISV Columbus, summer camp co-planners

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Upper Arlington 'Sweet Freedom's Song' was fantastic celebration

To the editor:

Congratulations to Upper Arlington on a fantastic July 4 celebration, "Sweet Freedom's Song."

Brushing aside record high temperatures, power-outage woes and even a late-arriving thunderstorm that required early launch of the fireworks, our community carried on with our cherished Independence Day tradition undeterred.

We have many wonderful people and businesses to thank.

Our celebration is sponsored by the Upper Arlington Civic Association through the generous contributions of UACA members during The Walk membership drive. Staffing for Independence Day was provided by the hard-working and enthusiastic UACA directors and junior directors, under the excellent leadership of UACA President Tony Callander.

Executing such a large event requires a great deal of organization and dedication, and we would like to thank our fellow committee members for their hard work. Mark and Lisa Berens organized this year's parade. Mike and Kris Ferraro coordinated float construction, and Larry and Jennifer Jupp headed the float judging competition. It was a pleasure working with such a wonderful committee.

Special thanks are in order to Jeni Britton Bauer, owner of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, for serving as our 2012 parade grand marshal. Our cheerful and patriotic "Sweet Freedom's Song" logo was created by UA resident Jenny Ledman of Real Brand Design.

Once again this year, Kyle Andrews organized the military units and Josh Gille coordinated the antique cars in the parade. Ron Johnson, Becky Scholl and Laura Hagar organized the Party in the Park tables and Brion Burcham successfully put the reservation process online.

Bob Davidek again coordinated the traditional UA morning wake-up calls and Boy Scout Troop 555 led several scout groups in the distribution of flags before the parade. Bill Hall continued as the UACA's liaison with Colonial Fireworks. George and Janet Belu provided breakfast before the parade for the veterans groups. Thank you all for your ongoing support.

Thanks to talented Hastings seventh-grader Jordyn Stone for her wonderful rendition of the national anthem.

The UA Police Department (Lt. Greg Patrick), the UA Fire Department (Capt. Ben Anders), Parks Division (Dave Staats), Streets Division (Buddy Caplinger) and City Manager's Office (Emma Speight) deserve special thanks for their efforts leading up to and on July 4. You all helped make the day run smoothly and safely.

Several former July 4 Committee general chairpersons aided in the morning with the staging and launching of floats: thanks to Randy and Kathy Mueller, Mike and Melissa Fleming, Jeff and Becky Scholl and Andy and Carolyn Weeks. Brian McGuire and Ed Crum again facilitated painting the stars on Northwest Boulevard. Thanks to all of you.

Thank you, Parade Patrol volunteers: the Hall family, the Schoning family and Ben Berens. Thank you to the Diday family, who served as our fearless Kids on Bikes supervisors for 2012, as well as the 22 individuals who served as judges for the floats as they passed by Donatos.

Many businesses and individuals donated products or services throughout the summer and on July 4. Thanks to: Griffin Paving and Striping, Brian McGuire Landscaping, Real Brand Design, Grassroots Irrigation, Donatos Pizza, Mama Mimi's, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, Old Bag of Nails, Giant Eagle, Rent-a-Johns (Bill Reynolds Jr.), the Golf Car Co., Macy's, Kingsdale Shopping Center, Continental Realty, Arlington Towing, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, Panera Bread, Saint Agatha Parish, the UA Public Library, Barrington Elementary (Jason Fine) and UAHS (Michael Schaefer).

It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of planning such a wonderful Upper Arlington tradition.

Drew and Lissa Wade
2012 General Chairs
UA July 4 Celebration

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Library appreciates students' donation

To the editor:

On behalf of the Upper Arlington Public Library board of trustees and administration, I want to extend great appreciation to the Upper Arlington High School class of 2012 for its generous donation of $750.

What a surprise and honor it was to learn that the class of 2012 had elected the Upper Arlington Public Library as the recipient of one of its class gifts.

For many in the class of 2012, your relationship with the UA Library began in our Storytime classes long before you even entered school and over the years, our relationship has been one of mutual benefit. During the school year, we stocked our collection with the books you needed to complete your assignments and our librarians were here to help you with your homework and research.

In return, over the summer months many of you served us as volunteers for the annual summer reading club. As you head into the next phase of your life's journey, you can still count on the UA library to be there for you, whether it's information you need for a college research paper, or market data to help guide your decisions with a new business enterprise, or for e-books and music for relaxing.

So don't be a stranger: Both you and your UA Library card will always be welcome here.

Thank you, UA class of 2012, for making the UA Library a part of your class memories. We are proud of your many academic accomplishments and congratulate you on your success. We promise to steward your gift well.

Chris Taylor, Director
Jack Burtch, President
Board of Trustees
Upper Arlington Public Library

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Wickliffe, Barrington are worth a visit

To the editor:

In 1972, the Upper Arlington Board of Education approved the Informal Program as a parent choice alternative in response to parent requests and teacher initiatives.

Today, the program continues to offer an alternative educational experience and currently serves nearly 700 children at Wickliffe and Barrington schools.

As part of the 40th anniversary of the first Informal Program classrooms, staff from Wickliffe and Barrington held an Informal Program open house April 26 at Wickliffe Progressive Community School. The evening was an opportunity to share student work that captures the learning fostered in the Informal Program.

After a brief presentation about the program's "Ten Foundational Principles of Progressive Education," a framework for our work with children, attendees toured the building, viewing examples of student work that brought these principles to life.

We want to thank the many community members who joined us that evening for this celebration of learning. We continue to be grateful for the opportunity given to us by the Upper Arlington school district and the larger community in providing this parent-choice alternative program since 1972.

We invite community members to visit our schools any time to learn more about the Informal Program.

Chris Collaros, Principal
Wickliffe Progressive Community School
Jason Fine, Principal
Barrington Elementary School

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Whitehall Thanks for celebrating the Fourth with us in Whitehall

To the editor:

On behalf of the city of Whitehall, I want to thank Whitehall residents and visitors who attended this year's fireworks display held on Tuesday, July 3, in John Bishop Park. I would also like to personally thank the many volunteers from the WCCA who worked tirelessly in record heat to put together a wonderful festival.

This year's event was an overwhelming success, providing a safe and family-friendly environment. The 25-minute firework display was one of the longest ever in Whitehall and was truly beautiful to watch. I hope that you and your family had a chance to join us in the park.

Thanks again to Whitehall residents and visitors who came out to celebrate with the city and for helping keep families safe, happy and entertained.

Kim Maggard
Whitehall Mayor

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Facebook comment about Whitehall pageants is 'deplorable'

To the editor:

I was born and raised in Whitehall, though I now live in Mansfield. I keep in close contact with my friends who still live in Whitehall via Facebook. As my family was always very involved in the city's activities for the Fourth of July and both my parents are past Citizens of the Year for Whitehall, I am always interested in the traditional activities WCCA puts on for this great holiday.

I was unable to attend the festivities this year but have been very entertained by the updates posted by my friends on their Facebook pages. I would say that 99 percent of the comments posted this year have been positive; however, there was one negative comment that I feel needs to be brought to the attention of the citizens and city officials. The comment was about the children who participated in the Young Miss Whitehall and Miss Whitehall pageants this year. The commenter said, "After spending the morning in Whitehall and seeing approximately 15 parade floats honoring pageant winners, the question is: How exactly does one win Miss Whitehall/Young Miss Whitehall? Does having all your teeth plus no criminal record get you the top crown? Or is it a no tattoo/normal BMI upset? I need answers."

This comment is outrageous. This comment would be bad coming from anyone, but to make it even worse, the commenter lists her occupation on Facebook as "K to 5 Teacher for a Private School."

For a teacher to degrade young girls whom she knows nothing about is deplorable.

She knows nothing about those girls, their families, the pageants or how the pageant winners are chosen. Those girls are judged on their poise, their confidence and their abilities. They practice their talents for weeks before the pageants, and the majority of their scores are for the talent and the interview portions of the programs. All of the judges are from out of town and do not know any of the families participating in the pageants. For her to see girls in a parade and make such a comment is disgusting, and I hope she realizes her mistake and apologizes to those girls.

Congratulations to all the pageant and talent show participants in Whitehall. They make this Whitehall alumna proud to call Whitehall my home town.

Michele McCray-DeSanto
Mansfield

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Worthington Does 'usual' mean better on memorial hall board?

To the editor:

In the July 12 letters to ThisWeek Worthington News, it's clear that some people in this community believe that doing the "usual" is better.

What made Washington "qualified" to lead troops across the Delaware? What made Jefferson qualified to write the Declaration of Independence? It was nothing more than a general education and a desire to change the course of the political life in this country. So why should Sharon Memorial Hall be any different?

In a nation founded on the idea that its citizenry should be encouraged to participate in political life at every level, in Sharon Township, we're being told that if you don't already have experience In a job, stay out of it. As columnist Dave Barry said, "Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic."

It seems to me that some of the stuffy and visionless members of the previous memorial board, as well as some of the tenants, need to take a moment of reflection and truly evaluate their intentions. Perhaps there is a little something selfish, murky or suspicious hiding there in those intentions.

Let's be honest with ourselves and the community. The Sharon Memorial Hall is a building of historic significance whose mission is to commemorate and serve veterans and the community.

In reality, what does it currently do to engage that mission? And what more can it do? That should be the focus of conversations, not this mudslinging, juvenile name calling and the character slurs.

Let's get back to the real work at hand and leave the high school drama to the children.

Pam Kelly
Newly appointed member Sharon Memorial Hall board
Worthington

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Kudos to Duffey for 'no' vote on S.B. 316

To the editor:

As a Worthington school board member, I want to express a tip of the hat to state Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) for his recent "no" vote on S.B. 316. This legislation is commonly known as Gov. Kasich's "Third Grade Reading Guarantee."

Teaching students to read by the third grade is important. However, research indicates that retention (holding students back a grade) is expensive, often of no benefit to students and sometimes detrimental. Retained students rarely make academic progress in the retained year and are 20 percent more likely to eventually drop out of school.

We would be better served with legislation to ensure non-reading third-graders get extensive intervention and quality teachers. For example, districts can promote direct instruction and offer tutoring for at-risk students. There are alternatives to students being "held back."

As a board member, I want district residents to know Mike Duffey called me about S.B. 316 before his vote, asked for my opinion and listened. In voting against the bill, the record demonstrates Rep. Duffey is an independent thinker in the legislature -- a rare quality indeed.

From his work to save Worthington's all-day kindergarten (H.B. 30) to opposing S.B. 316, my experience has been that Rep. Duffey has been a strong advocate for Worthington schools.

No doubt, his perspective has been influenced by two people important to him -- his mother and his wife. Although she passed away two years ago, his mother was a teacher and administrator. And his wife, Lindsay, is currently a teacher and librarian in the Olentangy school district.

Mike's "no" vote on S.B. 316 was the right choice, and it is greatly appreciated. I hope the legislature will continue its efforts without holding kids back in the process.

Jennifer Best
Worthington City Schools Board Member
Dublin

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Volunteers, backers made 4th a success

To the editor:

We want to thank everyone who volunteered and supported the Worthington Hills Fourth of July parade this year. This was the 42nd annual parade in our neighborhood, a tradition that has endured and thrived because of the civic-mindedness of not only residents of Worthington Hills but also many in the wider Worthington community. Our theme this year was Operation Patriotism: July 4th Past, Present, Future.

We had more than 60 entrants and were honored to have as our honorary grand marshal, Coach Earle Bruce. It is events such as this that make us proud to live in Worthington. The streets were lined with hundreds of viewers who enjoyed a wonderful celebration of our national pride and gratefulness to those who have served to protect our freedom. We had so much help from so many, which made this such a successful event. Thank you all for their efforts.

Daren and Ginger Maloney
Worthington

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City's emergency service outstanding

To the editor:

I want to thank Unit 3 of the Worthington Fire Department and the non-emergency dispatcher who talked me into having them come to check our home following a very strong -- what I thought was chlorine -- odor. Within minutes of their arrival, they knew the odor was electrical, and each man immediately checked a part of our home and attic. Our air conditioner had continued to run after either lightning or a power surge had burned out a portion of the furnace, thus causing the problem and potential danger. Everything was secured, and they advised me to call our insurance agent and furnace company as soon as possible.

Phil and I have lived in Worthington for 46 years and have found it necessary to call the police twice, the medic once and now the fire department. Our children have had the best teachers, and our city maintenance crews and leadership are outstanding. Let's remember to support them when they need us.

Sara and Phil White
Worthington

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Worthington really is great place to live

To the editor:

I have always preferred living in Worthington to Columbus, even though taxes are higher.

The recent storm knocked part of a Bradford pear tree over a prized magnolia tree I had in front of my front door. I notified the city, and when the crew came to take away the pear tree, they did it carefully so that the magnolia would not be damaged further. Thanks to them.

I also want to thank the power company's employees who worked long hours in the unbearable heat, my neighbors who helped clean up the debris and unblocked the sidewalk and driveway and the city refuse collectors who were actually running behind the trucks to get our spoiled food off the streets as quickly as possible. In the winter, I appreciate the speed with which our streets are cleared of ice and snow.

Just visit the north end of Columbus to see how much better off we are in Worthington. Our high taxes are well spent.

Thanks to all of those responsible, from the mayor on down to the employees who keep our city clean and attractive.

Mary Wiles
Worthington

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Summer: season for BBQ, levy rhetoric

To the editor:

Ah, summer -- the season for barbecues, outdoor pursuits and festivals. But it is also the season for mosquitoes, ticks and the misleading rhetoric supporting yet another November school levy.

With this new levy would come yet another significant increase in property taxes. This time, we will be asked to pay, on average, an additional $400 annually (based on the $209,000 average home value). The passage of this levy will mean six successive years of tax increases, ending in 2015, all at a time when our home values have continued to fall.

I am most willing to fund requests for my money should it be used toward expanding educational opportunities for our children. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as my additional tax dollars have done nothing more than find their way into the pockets of Worthington teachers.

As our 720 teachers are enjoying their 12-week vacation and a $75,000 average annual salary (for nine months of work), consider that more than 40 will retire with $30,000 in accumulated sick-leave pay, costing more than $1 million. Moreover, with the average teacher retiring at age 58, their pension will be well over $1 million as they enjoy $50,000 to $70,000 in annual pension payments.

As one working in the private sector, I can only dream of this level of compensation. More frustrating is that while we in the private sector struggle through tough economic times, we are left footing the bill for these excesses.

While recognizing the importance of Worthington educators, I realize that the public sector must be held to the same compensation standards as the private sector if we are to get a handle on spending and place greater emphasis on opportunities that benefit our children. Until these discrepancies are addressed, my vote for the levy will be a resounding no.

Guy Molde
Worthington