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.

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

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

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

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 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

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