Avon Growth News, 1-20-05 to 2-22-05

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1-20-05: Landmarks Preservation Commission Update

2-3-05: Avon to move part of Chester Road

2-2-05: Avon Seniors to hold an open house April 23-24.

2-11-05: Free trade hurts middle class

2-11-05: Driven largely by equity extraction

2-22-05: Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival 2005

LETTER To the Editor of The Chronicle-Telegram, 1-12-05, by Robert J. Gates, Jr.

One of the reasons people come to live in Avon is our small town atmosphere, due in part to the many beautiful older homes throughout our community. This is a benefit we all enjoy.

But what about those who own and maintain our historic structures? What do they get out it? They have pride in their homes; and some have received the recognition of inclusion in the official Avon Register of Historic Places.

There are benefits from being on Avon's register. The Avon Landmarks Preservation Commission will give free advice for the maintenance or modification of our historic structures, in cooperation with community organizations; and nothing is mandatory. The local building authority has the power to waive any requirement of the Ohio Building Code not affecting health and safety for structures on Avon's register.

As a point of information, landmarks preservation is constitutional, just as is zoning which prevents someone from putting a gas station or a big box store next to your home.

Efforts are being made to establish a Heritage Home Loan Program which would provide low interest loans for work on Avon's historic buildings. A two percent interest rate could be very attractive. We all enjoy the the beautiful homes from Avon's past; and this is one way of expressing our appreciation to those who maintain them.

Sincerely yours, Bob Gates Jr., Member, Avon Landmarks Preservation Commission

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 1-12-05, By Julie A. Short

Landmarks Preservation Commission begins to receive appeals

AVON -- It's been almost three months since members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission formally met with property owners who received notification that their properties were on the newly created list of historic landmarks in Avon.

More than 150 residents turned out for the meeting and [some] expressed their displeasure with the entire process. They wanted immediate answers as to how to begin the appeal process. Commission members did not have appeal forms available at the Oct. 27 [2004] meeting. More than 200 properties are listed.

"We did a mailing with a letter dated Dec. 31," Commission Chair Carol Hartwig said. "We sent the appeal form and copies of the survey and criteria used to determine if the property is historic. The property owners are to fill out a form, giving us the location and property owner and why they should be taken off. Eventually these forms will be available on the city's website."

According to Hartwig, approximately 30 property owners have applied for an appeal [asked for an appeal form].

"One of the reasons is they (property owners) are afraid we will tell them what to do with their property," she said. "The Commission was created to bring community awareness of historic properties. I consider it a privilege to be on the list."

Once property owners fill out the form, Hartwig hopes the Commission will be able to talk with everyone individually.

The PRESS asked several questions regarding the Commission and its appeal process and was told over and over to "read the Charter." In an effort to clear up any confusion residents may have, here is how the city's Charter reads (with regards to the Commission's duties and powers) and what voters approved in November 2003:

"The Landmarks Preservation Commission shall cause to be conducted a survey to establish a register of Avon's landmarks to raise community awareness of Avon's history and historic resources. The owner of a property in Avon, which is designated a landmark, may appeal to the Landmarks Preservation Commission to have the property removed from the register of landmarks. No person or governmental body owning a registered landmark shall demolish said landmark without a demolition permit issued by the Commission. The Commission shall issue a demolition permit no later than six months after receiving the application for said permit."

"The Landmarks Preservation Commission shall perform such other duties as may be imposed upon it by this Charter and by ordinances and resolutions of the legislative authority which shall appropriate each year a sufficient sum to carry out the duties of the Commission."

According to Hartwig, most of the appeals are for homes, although the Commission did receive an inquiry regarding Avon Village Elementary School.

In other commission news...Lois Shinko has been named to the Commission, replacing former member Cheryl Huene representing the Avon Garden Club. Per city charter, members of the Commission shall serve for a term of four years except for the first four members appointed, the mayoral appointee shall be appointed for a period not to exceed the term of mayor, the Avon Garden Club appointee shall serve a term of one year, the Avon Historical Society shall serve a term of three years and the French Creek Development Association appointee shall serve a term of four years.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-3-05, By KATIE GALLAGHER, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon looks to move part of Chester Road

AVON -- A plan for relocating where Chester Road intersects with SR 611 has been presented to owners of the 23 parcels of land to be affected by the project.

The city invited approximately 10 property owners to a ''stakeholders'' meeting on Tuesday [2-1-05] night to discuss preliminary plans for the relocation, which officials say won't be done until 2008 or 2009.

The city's master plan calls for moving a stretch of Chester Road and the intersection to the north, farther from the busy Interstate 90 interchange ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-2-05, By Julie A. Short

``AVON -- With the senior center coordinator compensation dilemma behind them, members of Avon Seniors Inc. are anxious to forge ahead and begin the process of moving into their new home on Detroit Road (old fire station).

"Carmelina (Barbera) is going to start work March 1," Ward 3 Councilman Tim Nickum said of the newly hired senior center coordinator. "We can't wait to begin implementing programs and move into our new building. This has been a long process, but I think Carmelina will be a great asset to the organization and the new center will be a great asset to the community." ...

Nickum and Avon Seniors Inc. Treasurer Bob Fedor have also been talking with representatives from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to supply a van to transport seniors to and from places such as doctor's appointments, grocery stores and meetings.

"NOACA and ODOT have a program that would supply the van for free," Nickum said. "We would have to provide the driver and pay for the insurance."

Once the seniors get settled in the new center, the implementation of new programs and the continuation of existing programs will commence. While the socialization aspect of the organization is important, the seniors are quick to point out that there is a lot more going on than just playing cards and planning trips.

"We are a resource for seniors to receive information on items such as where to get medication at a cheaper price," member Andy Monda said. "We are also collecting wheelchairs, canes and other equipment for seniors or others who cannot afford to purchase these items on their own."

The most recent program the seniors have created, with assistance from the Avon Fire Department, is a lock box program. The small safe boxes are mounted at the front door of the home. Inside the box is a key to the home and a small informational form. The box itself can be entered only by the fire department. In case of an emergency, there is no need to break down the door, if the occupant is unable to get to the door for whatever reason. The boxes are available for $25 each.

"We also have our Vial of Life program which other cities have implanted," member Dianne Fischer said. "The vials are placed in the refrigerator and contain info on the resident's medical history. When the paramedics arrive at the home on an emergency, all they have to do is look in the refrigerator for the medical history." ...

Currently, there are approximately 600 dues-paying members at a cost of $5 per year. There are more than 3,000 seniors (55 and older) living in Avon. The group also actively solicits sponsors from local businesses and professional groups.

Avon Seniors Inc. is organized with an executive board, which also serves a second role as the Avon Senior Citizens Advisory Commission. The board is composed of the elected officers of the corporation, plus a representative from the mayor's office and a representative from city council. The officers include president, past president, vice president, treasurer, recording secretary and a corresponding secretary.

A number of committees have been established within the organization including membership, programs/activities, publicity, historian, volunteers, newsletter, cookbook, nominating, ways and means, name badges, arts and crafts and strategic planning. More committees will be added as specific interests and needs are identified.

Avon Seniors plans to hold an open house April 23-24.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 2-11-05, by Thomas W. Gerdel, Plain Dealer Reporter

``Author says free trade hurts middle class

Alan Tonelson wants to change trade policies that he believes are behind the growing trade deficit and the erosion of American manufacturing.

Tonelson is a research fellow at the U.S. Business & Industry Council, which represents about 1,000 small to midsized manufacturers. He also is the author of "The Race to the Bottom: Why a Worldwide Worker Surplus and Uncontrolled Free Trade are Sinking American Living Standards" (Westview, $17.50).

On Thursday, he noted the continuing growth of the trade deficit in the latest government report but said he wasn't hopeful that Congress would be spurred to fix it. As long as Americans can keep buying what they want, he said, the urgency of the trade gap will be lost on legislators.

Tonelson was in Akron this week to address the Summit County Machine Shop Group. Here is an edited transcript of an interview with him:

QUESTION: Last week, the National Association of Manufacturers threw its support behind efforts to pressure China into revaluing its currency, which now is pegged to the U.S. dollar. Would that help cut our trade deficit with China?

ANSWER: If China revalues by 40 percent, and if they don't switch over to other subsidies, you would see the prices of U.S.- versus Chinese-made goods change by 40 percent, and this artificial 40 percent Chinese price advantage would indeed vanish.

There still would be other price advantages from extremely low labor costs and from subsidies that are going to stay in China no matter what, but if that currency subsidy goes away, then American manufacturers -- the smaller guys -- can compete on quality and on technology.

QUESTION: What other action do you favor?

ANSWER: I think we simply need to set targets for China trade, so that each year the Chinese themselves, however they want to do it, must export less and less or take more and more U.S. products to get our trade deficit down. If they don't, we slap tariffs on them.

QUESTION: What other steps does your group favor to help revive American manufacturing and restore a balance in trade?

ANSWER: We have to go on the defense by not passing the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement. This is exactly the kind of outsourcing-focused trade agreement that, in my view, is largely responsible for our trade deficit ...

QUESTION: What other changes are needed to rein in the trade deficit?

ANSWER: The president must be denied his request for trade negotiating authority, or fast track -- not only because he will continue to carry out this outsourcing strategy, but because fast track is profoundly undemocratic. [Fast-track authority would streamline the process by which trade agreements are negotiated and then considered by Congress.]

QUESTION: Aren't our trade options limited by our membership in the World Trade Organization?

ANSWER: I would bring the structure of the world trade system back to the old GATT [General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade] system, where the United States had a veto.

Under GATT, there was a lot of growth in trade for 40 years and it permitted trade disputes to be solved diplomatically. We think the World Trade Organization has turned into an anti-American kangaroo court.

QUESTION: In your book, you predict a coming "crack-up" of American society and the economy if outsourcing trends continue. What do you mean?

ANSWER: To me, the key is the loss of manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing jobs pay the highest average wages, and they've been the key to creation of the American middle class. The prosperity and stability of the middle class has been the most important bulwark of a healthy American democracy ...

QUESTION: But won't a growing service economy promote a more vibrant middle class?

ANSWER: A worker making an average $10 an hour cannot possibly support a family of four. That's not a middle-class wage.''

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

See also:

Myths of Free Trade: Why American Trade Policy Has Failed

by Sherrod Brown, ranking Democrat on the U. S. House of Representatives Commerce committee, a myth-busting guide to free-trade ideology, ten years after NAFTA.

From Amazon.com:

``Brown says that free trade doesn't promote growth in either developed or developing countries, but simply shifts well-paying American jobs to Third World sweatshops. There, miserably underpaid workers, denied workplace safety regulations or the right to unionize, can't buy the products they make, which creates imbalances of supply over demand and thus contributes to the US balance of trade deficit.

Rather than spreading American values around the globe, Brown argues, free trade buttresses the power of authoritarian regimes like China's. Indeed, in Brown's view, no one benefits from unregulated trade except corporations and rich investors, eager to deploy their assets wherever labor and the environment are most profitably exploited.

Ten years after NAFTA, free-trade policies have not brought prosperity to Mexican workers, and more than one million American jobs have been lost.''

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The Daily Reckoning , 2-11-05, Paris, France

GREENSPAN'S WHOPPER, by Bill Bonner

``... We see something in Alan Greenspan's career...his comportment...his betrayal of his old ideas...his pact with the Devil in Washington...and his attempt to hold off nature's revenge at least until he leaves the Fed...that is both entertaining and educational ...

The background: The U.S. economy faced a major recession in 2001 ... The Fed quickly cut rates to head off the recession. Indeed, never before had rates been cut so much, so fast. George W. Bush, meanwhile, boosted spending ...

In Greenspan's bubble economy something remarkably awful happened. Householders were lured to "take out" the equity in their homes. They believed that the bubble in real estate priced created "wealth" that they could spend. Many did not hesitate. Mortgage debt ballooned in the early years of the 21st century - from about $6 trillion in 1999 to nearly $9 trillion at the end of 2004.

Three trillion dollars may not seem like much to you, dear reader. But it increased the average household's debt by $30,000. Americans still lived in more or less the same houses. But they owed far more on them.

We had given up all hope of ever getting an honest word out of the Fed chairman on this subject when, in early February, in the year of our Lord 2005, the maestro slipped up. His speech was entitled "Current Account." Jet lagged, his defenses down, the poor man seems to have committed truth.

"The growth of home mortgage debt has been the major contributor to the decline in the personal saving rate in the United States from almost 6 percent in 1993 to its current level of 1 percent," he admitted ...

Then, he began a confession: The rapid growth in home mortgage debt over the past five years has been "driven largely by equity extraction," said the man most responsible for it ...

"Approximately half of equity extraction shows up in additional household expenditures, reducing savings commensurately and thereby presumably contributing to the current account deficit ..." continues [Greenspan].

"Lacking in job creation and real wage growth," explains Stephrn Roach, "private sector real wage and salary disbursements have increased a mere 4% over the first 37 months of this recovery - fully ten percentage points short of the average gains of more than 14% that occurred over the five preceding cyclical upturns.

Yet consumers didn't flinch in the face of what in the past would have been a major impediment to spending. Spurred on by home equity extraction and Bush Administration tax cuts, income-short households pushed the consumption share of US GDP up to a record 71.1% in early 2003 ..., an unprecedented breakout from the 67% norm that had prevailed over the 1975 to 2000 period ...

Where does it lead? ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-23-05, By Julie A. Short

``Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival seeks volunteers, parade participants

AVON -- If you thought Avon ran out of duct tape after last year's Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival, think again. Plans have quietly been underway since the final guest left Veterans Memorial Park in 2004.

The festival returns for its second time Father's Day weekend (June 17-19) [2005], showcasing duct tape in all forms including art, sculptures, fashion and more. The festival also honors the history and heritage of the city that is proclaimed the "Duct Tape Capital" of the world, home of Duck brand duct tape.

As an ideal showcase featuring dad's favorite fix-all, the festival also includes an antique car and truck show, a "Duct Tape Dad of the Year" contest and all the classic carnival food and rides. Musical performances and booths from local vendors and organizations will also be onsite.

"Last year the response to the festival was overwhelmingly positive," Heather Sefcik from Avon-based Henkel Consumer Adhesives said. "Attendance numbers were well above 20,000 during the weekend. This year we are expecting an even bigger turnout, and we will need an increased number of volunteers ... Any non-profit organization whose members collectively volunteer for a minimum of 15 hours, will receive a free informational booth at the festival."

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Melanie Canning at Melanie.canning@us.henkel.com

Avon Mayor Jim Smith will serve as the Grand Marshal of the duct tape parade, scheduled for Father's Day (June 19, 2005) at 1:30 p.m. and will take off from Avon Village Elementary School and travel down Detroit Road to Avon High School. Float participants are encouraged to continue down the road to the festival grounds, where floats can be displayed for the remainder of the day.

Cost to enter the parade is $25 per duct tape float (covers duct tape supply and prizes). There is no cost to march, drive or perform in the parade. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place, most outrageous float and most fun group. Entertainment groups are welcome, including dance troupes, cheerleaders and musical groups. The deadline to enter the parade is March 18. For more parade information, call Heather Sefcik at 937-7125.

New this year is the availability for duct tape enthusiasts to purchase pre-sale festival T-shirts available in long- or short-sleeve. To order a shirt, e-mail Heather Sefcik at heather.Sefcik@us.henkel.com and include in the subject line "festival shirt pre-order."

Additional sponsorship opportunities are available by calling Mary Ann Littell at 934-5589.

For more information on the Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival, log onto http://www.ducttapefestival.com ''

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