Avon Citizens for Change oppose eminent domain

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  • 4-7-08: Avon Citizens for Change meet to oppose eminent domain

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    www.avoncitizensforchange.com/

    Avon Citizens for Change

    The Avon Citizens for Change is committed to improving the lives of every citizen of Avon, Ohio. Through information and advocacy, we can make a difference! We will meet with our elected officials, attend hearings, and support candidates that are advocates of change.

    Together, we can successfully make improvements in our community so we can build a better world for our children. We must hold our elected officials accountable for the decisions they make and ensure they are in the best interest of ALL Avon residents.

    Our volunteer base is growing daily as citizens have found a voice and renewed sense of hope. You too can make a difference. Please send us an e-mail at

    noeminentdomain@yahoo.com

    We are outraged at the School Board's decision to seize one of our long time residents property though eminent domain ...

    Please join us for an open forum discussion on Monday, April 7, 2008, at 7:00 pm at the Avon United Methodist Church Barn, 37711 Detroit Road, Avon to discuss this issue ...''

    Clip posted on YouTube of Mary Jane Wolfe's speech to the Avon BOE March 18 2008 meeting:

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc5jW8d6Is8

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    www.petitiononline.com/avonstop/petition.html

    Petition to Stop Eminent Domain

    The Avon (Ohio) School Board has voted 3 to 2 to begin eminent domain proceedings against long term resident Mary Jane Wolfe. We, as citizens, believe there are other options the board is choosing to ignore.

    We fully support the Avon School District and understand the need for additional facilities as our community grows. We cannot however, support actions which are not in the best interest of the community and its residents.

    We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge the Avon School Board to act now to rescind the resolution to seize Mary Jane Wolfe's property thru eminent domaon

    The Avon ,Ohio, Stop Eminent Domain Petition to Avon Board of Education was created by Avon Citizens for Change and written by Rudolph Chavez avonparents@yahoo.com

    To sign the petition on line go to www.petitiononline.com/avonstop/petition.html

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    Top -- Home

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 3-29-08, By Jason Hawk

    [The next meeting of the Avon Citizens for Change is 7 pm on Monday, 4-7-08, at the Avon United Methodist Church Barn, 37711 Detroit Rd., Avon.]

    ``Opponents to Avon eminent domain plan mobilize

    AVON -- An army of volunteers spread throughout the city Friday, [3-28-08] afternoon, planting signs saying that they support the public schools but can't condone stealing land to build them.

    A group calling itself Avon Citizens for Change wants the local school board to back off its plans to seize Mary Jane Wolfe's 25-acre property on Center Road ...

    Tim Bresnahan, spokesman for the Citizens for Change, said about 50 people helped put 150 signs in yards Friday.

    Donations have been pouring into a Fifth Third account for the past week to help the group's fight, he said. The donations haven't been totaled, but they are in addition to the $1,000 that has been mailed to the organization's post office box.

    Sean Flaherty was one volunteer helping distribute signs that read, "Progress Yes, Eminent Domain No!!"

    "My fear is that the school board is trying to pull a fast one here and get this thing pushed through without an uproar," he said. "Well, they're not going to get away with it. We're going to give them a fight."

    Bresnahan and company also put up an online petition ... at

    www.avoncitizensforchange.com/

    Eventually, the petition will be circulated on paper so people without Internet access can sign too, he said ...

    The petition says the Citizens for Change thinks there are other places the Board of Education can build a new school, and it asks the board to back out of its 3-2 vote to use eminent domain to take Wolfe's property ...

    [School board President Dale Smitek] said he doesn't expect the board to talk about Wolfe's land again any time soon, especially if the matter goes before a judge ...''

    Contact Jason Hawk at jhawk@chroniclet.com.

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 3-19-08, By Jason Hawk

    ``Eminent domain fight in Avon

    AVON -- The same plea was repeated time and again by members of the crowd of about 100 gathered Tuesday night at Heritage North Elementary: Don't take Mary Jane Wolfe's land by force.

    Wolfe, 57, owns about 25 acres of land at 2758 Center Road, a property that Avon school board President Dale Smitek described as the absolute best place to build a new junior high school.

    The board voted 3-2 last month to try to seize that property in court for roughly $30,000 an acre.

    But Wolfe had a room full of supporters Tuesday as she protested that decision.

    "I don't deserve to be treated this way," she said. "I am asking the board to just leave me alone."

    Wolfe said her family has lived on the farm since 1955. She's lived there all but 14 years of her life, and her life partner died at their house there in 2005.

    Developers have been making offers to buy the farm for years, but Wolfe said she wants to keep the land and pass it on to her family.

    She got hugs from several of the people who defended her. "You're putting her (Wolfe) in a position where she has to fight just to keep what is hers," said resident Tom DeChant.

    He said the school board shouldn't use eminent domain, a law that lets government claim property needed for public good for a price determined by a judge, when there is so much other land for sale in the city.

    Jay Pickering said he knows exactly what Wolfe is experiencing. Five years ago, the district tried to seize about three acres of his property to build Heritage South Elementary, he said. The community fought back and the school board relented, and the district managed to build Heritage South and the district bus garage without his property, he said.

    "You don't know how it feels to be in my shoes or in Mary Jane's shoes," he told the board. "I know you can do it. You can rescind this vote to use eminent domain." ...

    "We will not pass a levy," said resident David Vargo. "In two years, we will not forget; we are going to continue this fight until then and beyond."

    After about an hour, Smitek cut off additional comments, saying he wasn't hearing anything new. The crowd booed that edict.

    Board member Kevin Romanchok made a motion to delay the eminent domain action for 90 days and create a panel of citizens to look at alternatives, but the motion died for lack of a second.''

    Contact Jason Hawk at jhawk@chroniclet.com.

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-27-08, By Rebecca Turman

    ``Resident speaks out on eminent domain takeover

    AVON -- On Feb. 19, the Avon Board of Education voted 3-2 to take approximately 25 acres of Wolfe's property through an eminent domain process for future use to build a new middle school.

    Avon Superintendent Jim Reitenbach said that Wolfe has 30 days from the vote to reconsider selling before the eminent domain moves forward. Wolfe is holding tight to her property and won't let go without a fight. "I was born here, and this has been in my family for years," Wolfe, a 1968 graduate of Avon High School, said of the property.

    Wolfe couldn't pinpoint the exact year when her family acquired the property located at 2740 and 2758 Center Road, but she said her grandparents purchased it. "My grandparents bought this property and this farm," she said. "They used to farm this to make a living and it was all covered in grapes. They farmed it, grew the grapes and sold them."

    Wolfe grew up on the property, and her parents kept up the farm. The land holds many memories for Wolfe, who recalled having picnics on the vast acreage as a young girl. "Through the years, when we grew up, we had a couple of horses and we always used to ride back there," she said, adding that the deer remain abundant in the fall and winter ...

    In 2005, Wolfe was diagnosed with throat cancer. Currently she is in remission and has check-ups every three months. "When I had been sick, Mr. Reitenbach was stopping at my home, leaving his business card," she said. "When my stepdaughter was living with me, she said to him, `My mom is sick, she doesn't feel well.'"

    Wolfe recalled a visit from Reitenbach when she, herself, came to the door. "He was asking me what my prognosis was," she said ...

    When asked why she wants to keep her property, Wolfe said, "As American citizens, my family worked all their life, and they worked very hard to acquire this property. It's nice and peaceful and quiet. "I just feel it is so inappropriate that this should be taken away from me. You work all of your life to own your property, and you think it's yours until you decide to sell it or not, and apparently that's not the case here."

    Wolfe said she is surprised by the board's decision. "I was shocked that they would go after my property through eminent domain," she said. "There are many parcels of land in Avon of people who want to sell."

    Wolfe is worried the stress brought on by the issue is bad for her health. "Both my oncologist and my radiation oncologist were very concerned," she said. "In fact, they said it's the last thing I need at this time. "I feel this is probably my lowest time. I've been ill. I've lost my partner. I'm trying to just get back on my feet again, and for them to just threaten this eminent domain stuff, it's just overwhelming. I'm supposed to be focusing on getting better."

    The board said the the takeover is nothing personal, but Wolfe doesn't agree. "I think it's absolutely personal," she said. "I think the way that they conducted themselves at the board meeting was astonishing. People had questions and I had questions. For us to be ignored or not answered, what kind of a message does that send?

    "When I was at that (Feb. 10) school board meeting, (Dale) Smitek specifically said they don't have plans," Wolfe said. "They just want to buy property. If you were planning on building anything, wouldn't you have some sort of plan?" ...

    Wolfe and her lawyer, Jon Pinney, said they would be more than willing to sit down and talk about the property with the board. "But not under the threat of eminent domain," Wolfe said. "That will not be hanging over my head."

    Pinney said he plans to send a letter to the board this week, on Wolfe's behalf, explaining her stance on the eminent domain action.

    The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for March 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Avon Heritage North Elementary School Media Center.''

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 3-12-08, By Rebecca Turman

    ``Board approves property takeover in eminent domain

    AVON -- The Heritage North Elementary School media center was standing room only during the Feb. 19 Avon Board of Education meeting. The large attendance of concerned residents was due to the board's resolution to take 25-27 acres of Mary Jane (Bendik) Wolfe's adjacent properties at 2740 and 2758 Center Road (SR 83) through eminent domain. The takeover would leave Wolfe's homes intact on the two properties, leaving her approximately 1.5 acres ...

    During the meeting, newly elected board member Kevin Romanchok said he was uncomfortable with voting for an eminent domain without knowing the reasoning. "I have not, myself, heard why it's necessary to take that piece of property," he said. The topic has been discussed by the board for years, Board Vice President Angie Marsiglia said.

    Tim Bresnahan, an Avon resident and member of the Avon Citizen's Committee PAC, requested that the board put a pause on the eminent domain for 120 days so the public could become more informed on why the board has chosen this route. Romanchok reiterated that he couldn't vote until he had more information. "Well, that's your problem," Smitek responded.

    "Why are you attacking this woman?" one resident asked. "I'm offended by the actions of this board." ...

    Wolfe listed off her reasoning for not wanting to negotiate. "Do I want all that traffic?" she asked. "How is it going to impact (SR) 83?" Most Avon residents wouldn't know about the board's ongoing talks with Wolfe because, "purchase of land is normally done in executive session," Smitek said.

    Bresnahan pointed out that a new school on the property would be funded with a bond issue. "Can I have 120 days?" he asked the board. Romanchok made a motion to delay the eminent domain for 120 days. When put to a vote, it failed with 3 (Marsiglia, Smitek and Debra Polovich) against and 2 (Romanchok and Susan Harrison) for the resolution ...

    One resident from the Creekview subdivision, which borders Wolfe's property, shared his opinion of the board voting down the resolution to delay the vote for 120 days. "If you put in for 120 days, you might have a great chance for success," he said. "To ignore this request, that, in my opinion, is asinine. People won't vote for the bond. We all think politicians are fishy, and whether you believe it or not, you are politicians." ...

    Avon resident Linda Schuler put her two cents in. "I'm not disagreeing with the need for a new middle school," she said. "But this board has a problem with perception by the public." Schuler said the board should not have moved so quickly forward with the eminent domain process. If the voters don't support the bond issue, the school won't have funding for construction, she said ...

    The district has contacted two other homeowners with property adjacent to Wolfe's, the Vasu property at 2636 Center Road and the Brunori property at 2666 Center Road. The district is currently in negotiations with those homeowners, Reitenbach said ...''

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 3-19-08, by CHANDA NEELY, Morning Journal Writer

    ``Avon homeowner, citizens fight against board's threat to use eminent domain

    Last night's Avon Board of Education meeting drew a large crowd of citizens concerned about the board's use of eminent domain.

    AVON -- A standing-room-only crowd filled the media center at Heritage North Elementary School in support of Mary Jane Wolfe at yesterday's meeting of the Avon Board of Education.

    Wolfe tearfully pleaded with the board to spare her property from eminent domain action by the school board and find a new site to build the new middle school.

    ''My family has owned and lived on that land for over 50 years,'' Wolfe said. ''I don't deserve to be treated this way. I have lived here all my life, except for 14 years, and I don't deserve to be treated this way.''

    The 25 to 27 acres the district wants at 2740 and 2758 Center Road, would leave Wolfe with 1.5 acre, including her home ...

    ''My land is not for sale,'' Wolfe said. ''I intend to pass it on just as my parents did for me.''

    More than 75 members of the community came out in support of Wolfe. ''You're putting her at a hardship,'' said Tim DeChant, of Avon. ''I don't know anyone that's liquid enough to fight you.

    ''My problem is there's property sufficient enough within the city of Avon that can be sought after,'' DeChant adds. ''But in one vote, in one meeting you guys take everything away from her.''

    The school board passed a resolution on Feb. 19 [2008] to move forward in taking legal action over Wolfe's property by eminent domain. Residents at that meeting asked the board to delay the decision for 120 days, but the measure was voted down ...

    Board member Kevin Romanchok made a motion yesterday to suspend any further action on the issue for 90 days and form a citizens committee to come up with alternative solutions to building a new middle school on Wolfe's property; however, no other board member would second the motion and the measure failed.

    ''I guarantee we will not pass a levy in two years,'' said David Vargo, of Creekview Lane. ''We will not forget. We're not going to support a levy for stolen property. Basically, that's what you're doing. You're stealing.''''

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 3-20-08, by CHANDA NEELY, Morning Journal Writer

    ``Avon resident overwhelmed at outpouring of support in fight against school board

    AVON -- Mary Jane Wolfe is overwhelmed at the outpouring of support she has gotten in her fight against the Avon school board.

    Wolfe is the owner of several acres at 2740 and 2758 Center Road, most of which the school board has plans to acquire by eminent domain for a future school building. Eminent domain takes the owner to court to force them to sell property for a public project at a price approved by the court.

    ''Everyone has just been so wonderful,'' Wolfe said. ''I'm so grateful. Everybody feels like this because it could be any one of them that this could happen to. I'm just overwhelmed.''

    A group of residents have even formed a group and put of a Web site, Avon Citizens for Change, to rally support to Wolfe.

    ''What they are doing to Ms. Wolfe is one thing, but they are neglecting to hear the voice of the people,'' William Baker, of Livingston Drive, told board members. ''They are neglecting to hear the voice of the people they are supposed to serve.'' ...

    ''My problem is there is sufficient property within the city of Avon that can be sought after, but in one vote, in one meeting you guys have taken everything away from her,'' Avon resident Tom DeChant said.

    DeChant is a member of the group Avon Citizens for Change. ''We are outraged at the school board's decision to seize one of our longtime residents property through eminent domain,'' the group said in a statement posted on its Web site ...

    ''My land is not for sale,'' Wolfe said. ''I intend to pass it on just as my parents did for me.''''

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    EDITORIAL from The Morning Journal, 3-20-08

    ``Avon school leaders' use of eminent domain risks future of education there ...

    The school board's huge mistake is its use of eminent domain to force Mary Jane Wolfe to part with most of her family property off of Center Road to provide a site to build a new middle school.

    What makes Wolfe's land attractive to school leaders is the fact that those approximately 25 acres adjoin the current middle school property on Stoney Ridge Road and are already served by the sewer system.

    But a tearful Wolfe again this week told the school board that she does not want to sell the property that has been in her family for more than 50 years. She wants to keep it and pass it on to her heirs.

    A supportive crowd of more than 75 community members sided with Wolfe at the school board meeting. Still, the school board refused to entertain a call by board member Kevin Romanchok to hold off for 90 days and try to find an alternative solution.

    Private property, especially a family homestead, is hallowed ground for Americans. The power of eminent domain should be used by governmental bodies only in the most serious necessity for roads or sewers for the health and welfare of the public at large.

    Taking Mary Jane Wolfe's family land is not a necessity to meet Avon's need for a new middle school. It is merely a convenience. That's not good enough ...

    The board has the legal power to haul Wolfe into court and force her to accept a court-approved price, if a judge agrees with the board's arguments.

    But then the board will need the good will of voting, tax-paying property owners to raise the tax money to build and operate a new middle school on the site.

    It's guaranteed that Avon's property owners won't forget, or forgive, the way the school board is mugging Mary Jane Wolfe. On future election days, the school board's ill-conceived eminent domain action will come back to haunt them and to hurt the progress and future of education in Avon as voters reject school levies.

    Board members urgently need to come to their senses and to exercise some of the good judgment that has brought the schools success to date.

    Respect Mary Jane Wolfe's wishes. Find a better solution for building a new middle school. Do it right.''

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 3-25-08, by CHANDA NEELY, Morning Journal Writer

    ``Avon Citizens for Change start legal defense fund to help resident in fight to keep property

    AVON -- Avon Schools: Progress yes. Eminent domain no.

    That's the slogan used by Avon Citizens for Change. The group has registered as a political action committee with the Lorain County Board of Elections and started a legal defense fund to help Mary Jane Wolfe in her fight to keep her property.

    ''Due to overwhelming support and request from the Avon community, we have decided to register our committee as a PAC,'' The group says in a statement on its Web site. ''(Becoming a PAC) allows us to now accept public donations.''

    ''(The group) was formed to help Mary Jane,'' Citizens for Change spokesman Tim Bresnahan said. ''Absolutely, that's our primary intent.''

    Nearly 50 people turned out yesterday for the group's first meeting.

    ''We formed this group about a month ago,'' said David Vargo, one of the founding members of Avon Citizens for Change. ''We went to the February school board meeting and felt so outraged. We knew we had to do something.'' ...

    Avon Citizens for Change has placed yards signs with its slogan throughout the city and plans to generate a petition to collect signatures of Avon residents who are also against the school district taking property by eminent domain.

    ''I want to thank everyone for being so supportive,'' Wolfe said. ''I never imagined there would be such an outpouring of support. I can't tell you what it feels like to get a letter saying someone is going to take your land. Every time the phone rings; it just hangs over your head.'' ...

    ''In reality, her tax dollars are being used to attack her,'' Vargo said. ''She's paying property taxes and (the school board) is using it to pay their lawyers.

    ''What's this litigation going to cost us,'' Vargo adds. ''It's not going to cost the school board anything. It's costing us.''

    The district says Wolfe's property is the ''best'' place to build the new middle school. Some residents have pointed out other alternatives.

    ''There are 2,000 acres of land in this town not developed,'' said Brian Parsons, of Avon. ''Almost 50 percent of this town is undeveloped.''

    ''There's more than one plot of 20-plus acres for sale (in Avon),'' adds Tom DeChant, a member of Avon Citizens for Change. ''Right there on Long and Detroit, there's 22 acres for $35,000 (an acre). The sewer line is right there. They can use Detroit Road and Long Road to exit.

    ''If they are going to put a middle school on Mary Jane's property and have it egress and ingress (Route) 83, I have to question the safety.''

    If the district acquires the land by eminent domain, it will have to put a bond issue on the ballot to fund construction of the new middle school. Some Avon residents have already said they will not support a levy.

    ''The only thing we are fighting is the eminent domain issue,'' Parsons said. ''We are not against building a new middle school.''''

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 2-27-08, by Jennifer González and Edith Starzyk Plain Dealer Reporters

    ``AVON -- For Mary Jane Wolf, the issue is clear: She doesn't want to sell land that has been in her family for generations.

    "I enjoy the peace and quiet here," said Wolf, 57. "It's just such a beautiful, quiet place." ...

    If the Wolf issue ends up in court, it will most likely hinge on whether the district's plans for the land meet the criteria of being a "public necessity."

    Dennis O'Toole, the district's attorney, said Avon officials still hope to avoid a court battle by negotiating a deal with Wolfe ...

    Kevin Romanchok, who joined the school board last month [1-08], was one of those voting against invoking eminent domain. He said he has not seen an analysis of how the district should respond to classroom space needs and exactly how the property in question would be used.

    "There's a higher standard you need to meet to justify that type of action," he said. Romanchok would like to see more discussion of alternate sites. At last week's meeting, an audience member said the district has an option on another piece of land that could be used for a new middle school ...''

    To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: jgonzalez@plaind.com

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    Source: http://www.loraincounty.com

    ``Cheers to the Editorial Page [of The Press] [2-27-08]

    also...Spinning Lessons......"While the Press understands taking of property for a legitimate reason, such as for building a much needed school (if it is perfectly legal because the end result will provide a much needed service), we don't forget that behind the land grab is a resident that is losing her property - against her will. It is one of the most personal actions that can be taken, and while the landowner many not have any recourse, the courtesy still needed to be extended to the homeowner and surrounding neighbors of an action that will greatly affect their lives. Without that courtesy, the appearance remains of an uncaring school board."

    Written by: avon7 on February 27, 2008

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    Title: Re: THE PRESS and the Avon Board of Education!!!

    But you left out the best part from the Press editorial!!!

    "Sometimes illusion, or at least creating an appearance of sincerity when there isn't much, would be nice."

    "That is the case of the Avon School Board, which is once again getting called out by this paper for insensitivity. The board is seeking to take the lion's share of a resident's property, but did not notify the resident, or nearby neighbors, that the issue would not only be presented, but voted on, at the last meeting. How did they know? They read it in a daily paper." ...

    KUDOS to the Press!!! We applaud you, and thank you for getting it right! I think Mr. Barnhart would agree. I know I do!

    Written by: Avon Eagle on February 27, 2008

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    Pick up your copy of the PRESS today!!!

    A quick post to my new heroes! To Press editorial cartoonist Ed Kelly: Who today portrayed the Avon Board of Education as a bulldozer with the words "Eminent Domain" across the plow blade! GREAT!!!

    To Eric and Linda Koehler of Avon: Who today had a great letter to the editor titled "Shame on you, Avon School Board" that ends with a great question....."Is there a defense fund for Mary Jane Wolfe?" GREAT IDEA!!!

    To Tim Cunningham of Avon: Who also had a great letter to the editor titled "Watch your seats". This one had the best punch line; "I don't need eminent domain to take your seat away, just a ballot!" ...

    Written by: Avon Eagle on March 5, 2008

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    Re: BOE

    Thank you... more insight.....I love how they say they don't want to use eminent domain.. but they threatened it with the Pickering property until they fought back. Remember the sign they posted on their store? What a tangled web the people running this town have woven.

    Written by: avon7 on March 3, 2008

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    Re: BOE

    They have had plans for the Ms. Wolfe's property for some time.

    Recall the two biggest excuses for moving the bus garage was choosing not to use eminent domain and the lack of 2 access points ...

    Written by: justmyopinion on March 2, 2008

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    Re: BOE

    Thank you.. that was very informative... makes you think that they've had plans for Ms. Wolfe's property for a long, long time...that's why they wanted the bus garage built where it is... what's next... It sure would be nice if they would share their 'vision' of the schools.. since we are the ones paying for it.

    Written by: avon7 on February 29, 2008

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    Re: BOE

    Sadly for us taxpayers, the bus garage chickens, sooner or later, will come home to roost, just like the demolition of the Avon Center School.

    See www.avonhistory.org/gnews/chem6.htm

    Written by: Oldtimer on February 29, 2008

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    LETTERS to the Editor of The Plain Dealer, 3-9-08

    ``Letters: Avon schools deserve scorn for land grab

    Regarding "Avon schools set to fight for land" (Feb. 27):

    The sprawling development patterns of Northeast Ohio are frequently justified by comments such as: "People have a right to live where they want; government has no right to tell people where they can live." The population increase in the city of Avon is a quintessential example of this philosophy. How ironic, then, that a governmental entity in Avon is now considering legal action to force a long-term resident to relinquish land in order to provide a facility for the education of the children of those people who "have a right to live where they want." Should not this lady have a right to live where she wants?

    Robert W. Layton, University Heights

    How un-American of the Avon school board to attempt to take the land of a widow to build a school simply be cause it is a convenient site! It would be a questionable move even if it were the only site!

    I hope district residents rise to the occasion and protest this land grab.

    Joan Colwell, Vermilion

    I am extremely disappointed that the Avon City School Dis trict is using eminent domain to acquire land for a new school. Mary Jane Wolf should not be forced to sell the majority of her property along the French Creek. Wolf is quoted as saying that she "enjoys the peace and quiet" and, as the property owner, should be allowed to continue to do so. As an American, she has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In my opinion, the use of eminent domain is a violation of those rights.

    Matthew W. Nahorn, Amherst''

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    Source: http://www.loraincounty.com

    ``Re: Avon Board Education Eminent Domain Action

    The majority on the board of education has acted with the same arrogance and disregard of public opinion for years. It is unfortunate but this abuse of power to use eminent domain out of convenience may be just what is needed for the public to open their eyes to a school board that thinks they have a mandate and thinks they are unbeatable come election time.

    Note the eminent domain action was brought after the election so voters have plenty of time to forget. Let us not be fooled.

    Written by: justmyopinion on March 11, 2008

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    Re: THANK YOU AVON LAKE PRESS 3/12

    I'm a little dissapointed that people weren't this upset with the bus garage.

    BOE looking at large legal bills. Check.

    BOE using inappropriate land because it was 'easier'. Check.

    BOE stonewalling at meetings. Check.

    BOE hubris. Check.

    Written by: urbanflight on March 13, 2008

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    Re: THANK YOU AVON LAKE PRESS 3/12

    awareness is growing.. that's the HUGE difference.....

    Written by: avon7 on March 13, 2008

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    The residents never understood the Bus Garage issue in its entirety. Hence the outcome of the 2005 Council elections when all but one were tossed. Much of that due to the full page ad by ... when he threw council "under the bus". Pardon the pun. It was there. I had to take it.

    Written by: Avon Eagle on March 13, 2008

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    Re: THANK YOU AVON LAKE PRESS 3/12-URB!!

    It's puzzling why the ... on the school board would risk the political capital gained from the forward momentum of the recreation complex on this eminent domain action, especially with Avon having to find money at reasonable interest to build Jacobs' 20+ million dollar Nagel interchange on speculation -- the Clinic may be aleady having difficulty getting credit for its area-wide expansion.

    A school on Long Rd. justifies a sewer line which will open up a housing development, but what is the advantage of seizing the [Wolfe] property? French Creek, and thus Ridgeville's 20-ft. diameter interceptor sewer, is the south boundary of this property. French Creek flows south-westerly between SR 83 and Stoney Ridge, as opposed to its generally north-westerly course. Maybe the game is to block a particular development. One of the players has used devil strips in the past.

    Written by: Oldtimer on March 15, 2008

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    Mrs. Wolf's Legal Fees

    My family is relatively new to Avon and have our son in the schools for the first time this school year. We are appalled at what the school board and superintendent are doing to this poor woman. I feel they are tarnishing the reputation of our school district and community. I have voted yes for every school initiative since we've moved here but will not vote for a bond issue to build a new school on stolen land. Has anyone started a fund for Mrs. Wolfe's legal fees? If this actually goes to court, I'm sure she will need all the help she can get. We will be at the school board meeting tonight. Thanks!

    Written by: llsteacher on March 18, 2008

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    Re: oldtimer

    What is going on now is a mystery to me, but it became clear at the BOE meeting last night [3-18-08] that taking the Wolfe property by eminent domain has nothing to do with meeting Avon's educational needs. The school board has done no studies to evaluate

  • 1. building a 2-story addition connected by an elevated hallway to the existing Middle School (which currently sits on 28 acres);

  • 2. razing the existing Middle School and replacing it with a 2-story building -- the students would temporarily be housed at the new addition to the high school;

  • 3. the cost of building a new middle school on the seized land;

  • 4. finding a willing seller somewhere else in Avon -- the BOE seems to be getting on quite well with the developer on Long Rd.;

  • 5. finding a storage area for the busses in Avon's industrial area to free up the land at Heritage North for a new Middle School -- thus avoiding millions in damages for asthma, cancer, etc.

    Written by: Oldtimer on March 19, 2008

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    Re: oldtimer

    It was mentioned in the meeting last night that they (Avon School [Board]) had conversations in people's kitchens about "other" potential properties for the Middle School, but never said whose kitchens they met at and which properties were discussed.

    Kinda makes you wonder.....

    Written by: eaglebooster on March 19, 2008

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    Re: Mrs. Wolf's Legal Fees

    I am not even from Avon but would send money to help her fight! Maybe a fund should be set up and then maybe the school would think twice!

    Written by: Whats up on March 19, 2008

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    Re: Avon School Board Meeting last night

    I attended the meeting and am so outraged!! Please spread the word--tell your friends, your neighbors what a bunch of arrogant cowards we have running this school board (except for Mr. Romanchok). Thank you Mr. Romanchok for trying to include the community -- at least you had the courage to do so. Call the Board office and tell them how outraged your are ... Tell them you won't vote for their future bond issues or levies if you steal Ms. Wolfe's land!!

    Here's how to reach them:

    Board Office 440-937-4680

    Treasurer's Office 440-937-4684 Fax - 440-937-4688

    Smitek: DSmitek@aol.com

    Marsiglia: AJKJ@aol.com

    Harrison: avonkennels@msn.com

    Polovich: DPolovich@aol.com

    Romanchok: for-avon-schools@roadrunner.com

    Reitenbach: ReitenbachJ@avon.k12.oh.us

    Written by: avonmomof2 on March 19, 2008

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    Re: Avon School Board Meeting last night/momof2

    I was hopeful that the Board would have taken the opportunity suggested from the crowd to work with a community group and look at all the options available and what needs to be taken into account to build this new middle school. It is obvious after last night that any bond issue would not appear until 2010. It's truly a shame that their poor foresight and lack of communication with the community has put the taxpayers of Avon in such a bind.

    Written by: rememberwhen on March 19, 2008

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    Re: Yard Sign Against Eminent Domain

    Check out the website:

    www.avoncitizensforchange.com

    There are links to contact the group - they are handling the signs.

    Written by: AvonResident on March 21, 2008

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    Mary Jane Wolfe speech from Avon BOE meeting

    Found this clip posted on YouTube of Mary Jane Wolfe's speech to the Avon BOE March 18 meeting.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc5jW8d6Is8

    Written by: eaglebooster on March 23, 2008

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    Re: Mary Jane Wolfe speech from Avon BOE meeting

    This speech speaks volumes...look at the actions of the board members - utter disprect. They would not even turn around and listen to her talk ...

    Written by: AvonResident on March 24, 2008

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    Re: Mary Jane Wolfe speech from Avon BOE meeting

    They used to sit in a row, facing the public like council does. ... changed that during her hilarious reign as board pres.

    Written by: jm jones on March 24, 2008

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    Re: Mary Jane Wolfe speech from Avon BOE meeting

    I have attended a couple meetings and I always thought it was so disrespectful that they sat without facing the public. And in this case to basically ignore Ms. Wolfe was ridiculous.

    Written by: Avon27 on March 24, 2008

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    Potential SB replacements?

    If the offending SB members are somehow removed, who will replace? Has ayone discussed potential candidates for these three slots?

    What about Tilton who ran before? He seemed very put together to me? Maybe Parsons who ran for council? He seemed level headed in his approach. Or maybe Chavez who ran for SB? don't know much about them but anything would be an upgrade!

    Is it too early to start indentifying candidates?

    Written by: Avon27 on March 25, 2008

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    Re: Potential SB replacements?

    From what I understand, if one or two Avon School Board members are removed, the Avon School Board members who are left decide among themselves who the replacement school board member(s) are. This is what happened when Dale Smitek lost in an election and when a school board member resigned, he was brought back in.

    If 3 or more school members are removed, a special election will be scheduled to replace the school board members.

    As for candidates, its an interesting discussion, but might be a bit premature with everything else going on.

    Written by: eaglebooster on March 25, 2008

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    Re: Mary Jane Wolfe speech from Avon BOE meeting

    This should be a "no-brainer". We voted these people in, we're telling them not to take this property and look at other options with us. What was another 90 days when nothing can be brought to the public to vote on until 2010?? We voted them in and they work for us. We want to know why "they have to have this property." Tell us why!! Stop hiding in "executive session." If they are not trying to hide anything, it sure looks like they are. And if they are, stealing this property is not going to keep it from coming out.

    Written by: rememberwhen on March 26, 2008

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    Re: Mary Jane Wolfe speech from Avon BOE meeting

    That's just it... do they not even care? The roles have been reversed...they act as if WE work for them.. they can do whatever they want. If ... had to fork over these legal costs himself.. would he be so quick to act the way he does? Everyone in this town is fed up with him and his two puppets. They need to be removed ASAP. The super is next.

    Written by: avon7 on March 26, 2008

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    Are we really fed up?

    ... it is not apparent that the public is fed up with the school board, we tolerate their regular abuses and in many cases have rewarded them with another term.

    In 2001 residents of Avon ousted Smitek and put two "new" members on the board only to have one member resign and have the board give Smitek a golden ticket back into office ...

    Then the city re-elected Smitek in 2005. More recent, whether the bus garage belongs where it is or not, the school board violated city law forcing the city to file for injuctive relief. Still the residents chose to re-elect Marsiglia and Keller virtually endorsing the school board's violation of the city law and admonishing the city council for enforcing it.

    There are numerous problems with the BOE and the eminent domain issue is just the one in the spotlight this time. ARE THE CITIZENS REALLY FED UP? Are we going to remember at election time?

    I hope so

    Written by: justmyopinion on March 26, 2008

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    NO to future School Levies

    Several of my friends have expressed to me their disgust with the eminent domain issue but have admitted they will not vote against a school levy.

    "Why punish the kids?", they say.

    The school board is punishing the kids! Whether directly or indirectly the money we supply the school board with is being used for this eminent domain issue, the bus garage battle and the many many other "non disclosed to the public" legal fees that the school board has racked up.

    If you mismanage your budget do you just get rewarded with more money? Try to convince your boss of that logic.

    A message needs to be sent that until intelligent decisions are made with our tax money we will not be funneling any more into the pot.

    If the school board needs more money to build a new school we must tell them to stop wasting what we give them first!

    Elect a new board and then pass a levy to make up the difference if need be.

    Written by: justmyopinion on March 26, 2008

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    Re: NO to future School Levies

    If we're going to put up a fight about the waste of money, then don't pass a levy and let's put up a fight when they threaten to take it out on our kids!

    Written by: cpa on March 26, 2008

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    Re: NO to future School Levies

    I agree.. I don't want to listen to any of their tactics, such as it only hurts the kids, etc... How about their reckless spending? The legal bills alone are unacceptable... The BOE needs to be accountable for their screw ups and bad choices.

    Written by: avon7 on March 27, 2008

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    Re: Are we really fed up?justmyopinion

    Isn't the Wolfe property a very large parcel for a Middle School? Does this mean the Avon BOE is not going to build on the Long Road Marsiglia land?

    Written by: avonloyal on March 27, 2008''

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    Comment from corymeister732, The Chronicle Telegram, 3-19-08

    ``I painted her barns in 2000 and I personally witnessed much wildlife on her property, since it a beautiful property bordering the French Creek. Canadian geese, beavers, groundhogs, frogs and many songbirds that she feeds. Smitek wants to destroy all that ...

    Leave that fine woman alone. All she wants to do is retire and honor the land that her family has had for generations. Please leave her alone.''

    See Eminent Domain -- Part 2

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