As a member of the New Albany-Plain Local Joint Parks District board for the past several years, it has been a pleasure to work with and serve the New Albany community.

Thank you for support of parks district

To the editor:

As a member of the New Albany-Plain Local Joint Parks District board for the past several years, it has been a pleasure to work with and serve the New Albany community.

There has always been a collaborative spirit between the community and the JPD, which is the principal reason we have been able to have such strong parks and available sports programming. However, we are at a very pivotal moment for the JPD, as we have experienced immense growth over the past 10 years (four times the field space and double the resident participation) that is beginning to strain our ability to meet the needs of our residents.

Our parks have afforded New Albany residents the opportunity to pursue their athletics interests in a safe and quality environment. As our community has grown, the JPD has tried to keep pace in order to ensure residents continue to have an enjoyable experience, whether it be as spectators or participants. In order for our parks to continue to be a valuable part of the community and not be faced with cutbacks to program offerings and an inability to provide safe fields and facilities, we need your support on Nov. 8. Please vote for Issue 18.

Thank you for your trust and continued support in the New Albany-Plain Local Joint Parks District.

Jeffrey L. Johnson

Chairman

New Albany-Plain Local Joint Parks District board

Plain Township Metro Park cost a concern

To the editor:

Several recent articles in local papers described preliminary plans to finish buying land and planning for park "amenities" for the Plain Township Metro Park.

The Oct. 13 article in ThisWeek reported $10 million is committed of the $13 million required. Plain Township is committing $2.5 million and the city of New Albany $2.5 million. An additional $10 million is estimated to "finish" the park, including improvements and staffing. The article didn't specify funding sources.

While I think it's marvelous that we will have a Metro Park close to our community, I'd really like to understand from where the money to "finish" it will come; I'm reasonably sure local taxpayers will be expected to contribute. Which brings me back to our parks levy.

The parks levy was established 11 years ago to support a parks district jointly "managed" by the city, township and school board. Perhaps there once were compelling reasons to arrange it this way. It appears to me that putting the city, township and school board in charge jointly has really resulted in no one being in charge. None of these entities have operational or budgetary responsibility for the parks, so no hard decisions have to be made about their use of tax dollars - the parks district has its own funding.

Perhaps it's time to eliminate the separate levy and make the parks operation part of the city budget so our elected representatives have responsibility to prioritize spending to only what is necessary.

I'd like to see a plan that shows how our existing parks relate to the new Metro Park before we raise taxes and spend more money. How many times and how many ways will we pay for parks?

Bob Radigan

New Albany

Concern over state Issue 2

To the editor:

In July, some fellow Ohio firefighters were involved in a "flashover" in which one firefighter was badly burned. A "flashover" occurs when the temperature in a room becomes superheated and all the contents ignite.

The family in the burning house had a ladder and climbed down to safety. The firefighters arrived as the last one was exiting the window with the assistance of a police officer. The three-man crew entered the house and the "flashover" occurred soon after. The lieutenant ordered a retreat when the conditions drastically changed.

The air in one firefighter's SBCA (self-contained breathing apparatus) became super-heated and he ripped off his facemask. At that time, the firefighters realized their lieutenant did not make it out. The other firefighter had been able to keep his mask on. He re-entered the house and brought the lieutenant out injured, but with his life. This all happened within the first few minutes of the call.

I share this story because I want you to know the realities of Issue 2. Seconds matter. Take that ladder away, and multiple victims are in the house with the same amount of firefighters, or even less, to rescue them. We face these realities when we negotiate through collective bargaining with binding arbitration. We do not strike, we do our job and all we ask is that we are given that ability with our security and safety in mind.

The problem with Senate Bill 5 is that Gov. Kasich is trying to blame the state's woes on the unions and resolve all issues with one stroke of the pen. I hope you realize it is a bit more complicated than that and join me in voting no on Issue 2 to repeal S.B. 5. The system needs fixing, but Issue 2 is not the answer.

Chuck Stenger

Jefferson Township firefighter

New Albany

New Albany Symphony Orchestra a gem

To the editor:

I feel so fortunate to live in the wonderful community of New Albany. This community is special in so many ways for obvious reasons, but there is also a hidden gem that you may not be familiar with: the New Albany Symphony Orchestra (NASO).

On Oct. 16, I attended the first concert of the NASO 2011-2012 season and it was an amazing experience.

As I listened to this fabulous concert in the wonderful Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, I marveled at the talented musicians. Are you aware that student and adult nonprofessional musicians auditioned at the end of the summer to be a part of this magnificent orchestra? It wasn't a "given" they'd make it. They had to demonstrate their musical expertise in order to qualify. These are our neighbors, possibly, the young girl who attends your church, or the adult you see at the library, or the good friend you often see at the neighborhood pool and didn't know they loved their cello or violin or clarinet. These are the talented individuals who had to "earn" their position by auditioning for NASO.

I sat in the beautiful McCoy center, imagining what it must feel like for these talented musicians to sit next to one of the extremely talented Columbus Symphony Orchestra professional musicians (please, remember these "professionals" are the ones who have taken a significant cut in their salary in order for Columbus to have a symphony). What a learning experience it must be for a young artist to have the opportunity to sit next to a professional musician during a concert. Or how about being a young artist and observing these professional musicians at a rehearsal taking out their pencils to make important notes on the music in order to improve for the upcoming concert?

These dedicated nonprofessional musicians volunteer their time to practice and to perform in order to share their love of and devotion to classical musical with the community. We all get pulled in so many directions on a weekend. Possibly, you might make the time to experience our New Albany gem by attending one of the three Sunday afternoon concerts. The next one will be on Dec. 18 at 3 p.m., which is NASO's popular holiday concert and fundraiser.

We are so lucky to have NASO in our community.

Deb Susi

New Albany