Avon Growth News, 8-19-05 to Present

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8-19-05 Save money with a second water meter

8-24-05 Test the Busses!

8-31-05 More on the Threatening Letter

9-2-05 All Pro Freight donates use of its tractor-trailers to ship relief to Katrina victims

9-7-05 Willow Creek residents protest closing Avon Road

9-8-05 What about Avon's existing 36 busses?

NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 8-7-05, by the Associated Press

``Is your town a great place to visit?

Consider nominating it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of "Distinctive Destinations" for 2006.

The National Trust bestows this title on 12 communities each year that have a strong sense of place and offer authentic experiences to visitors. Criteria include a commitment to historic preservation, dynamic downtowns with locally owned small businesses, interesting architecture, cultural diversity and walkability.

Oberlin was a previous winner. Others have included Annapolis, Md.; Natchez, Miss.; Burlington, Vt.; and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Visit www.nationaltrust.org/ddd or call 1-800-944-6847. The contest ends Nov. 4 [2005].''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 8-19-05, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

[Save money with a second water meter]

``AVON -- This hot, dry summer is leaving many Avon homeowners drowning in water bills and learning the hard way about installing a second water meter.

''I've seen bills as high as $1,200 a month,'' said Mayor Jim Smith, on homes without the second water meter.

The city charges $424 to install the money-saving meter, leaving bill payers feeling caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Smith said the second meter is called a deduct meter. ''It subtracts the water used outdoors from what people use inside,'' said Smith.

Water used outside is not subject to Avon's sewer charge, Smith said, since it filters into the ground and not into Avon's sewers.

''The sewer charge can be 200 percent of the water fee,'' said Smith, who added he does not have the deduct meter. ''I let my lawn go brown.''

The Avon Utilities Department said 140 homeowners had applied for the deduct meter from May 1 to Aug. 18, [2005] fewer than the 150 who applied for the device during the same period last year.

Janet Knight, Avon Finance Department clerk, said the city charges $250 to install the deduct meter, which costs $174. ''The homeowner has to have the plumbing in place,'' said Knight, which she said means having a three-quarter inch tap line ...''

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Avon School Board Members:

Angie Marsiglia 934-6767, AJKJ@aol.com

Deborah Polovich 937-5298, DPolovich@aol.com

Ruth Keller 937-5221, rakeller@centurytel.net

Susan Harrison 937-5850, avonkennels@msn.com

Dale Smitek 934-6919, DSmitek@aol.com

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 8-24-05, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

[Test the Busses!]

``AVON -- A decision on the location of a new school bus garage was delayed yesterday [8-23-05] after a Lorain County judge ruled to allow Avon City Council a month to study the effects of bus emissions on students' health.

Council is trying to stop the Avon School Board from moving forward with plans to build a new garage at the Heritage Schools Complex, citing potential harmful effects from diesel fuel emissions. Avon Planning Commission approved the site April 27 [2005].

At the request of Avon Assistant Law Director Dan Stringer, Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery continued yesterday's injunction hearing until Sept. 29. In the meantime, Stringer said, council hopes to find an emissions expert to examine the issue.

Another hearing, on motions pending before the court, will be held Sept. 13, and school board attorney Ken Stumphauzer has already filed a motion to keep environmental issues out of testimony in the case.

Yesterday, Rothgery's staff attorney, Tom Dugan, met with members of city council, the school board and both bodies' attorneys.

''City Council feels it's an important issue,'' said Stringer, about the potential harm to students of storing the buses near their school. ''It takes time to find an expert and survey the facility.'' ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 8-24-05, By Lori E. Switaj

``Bus garage ruling delayed

AVON -- The Aug. 23 ruling to determine whether the Avon Board of Education can move ahead with building a bus garage at the Heritage school campus has been delayed. Representatives from both the board of education and Avon City Council are expected to meet Aug. 23 (after PRESS deadline) to set a new schedule.

Dan Stringer, representing the city of Avon, said he could not comment on whether or not the school board forwarded a letter to council demanding that ... [council members not mail out a letter expressing health concerns about buildup of tiny particles of diesel pollution in Heritage North].

Council president Larry Hoekstra said he was aware of the reported letter but had not yet seen it. Hoekstra said he believed the letter included a threat by the Board of Education to sue each council member individually.

"I'm disappointed they're willing to sue council members," Hoekstra said, questioning if they were substantial concerns.

Attempts to contact school board members prior to deadline proved futile.

Former councilman and 2005 candidate Jack Kilroy filed a brief [as a 'friend of the court'] last week rebuking city council ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 8-25-05, By SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

``AVON -- Avon City Council's dispute with the school board about plans for a new school bus garage almost escalated when Council President Larry Hoekstra said he intended to send 500 letters to Avon residents about possible health hazards from bus exhaust fumes.

A letter from the school board's attorney to council's attorney on Aug. 16 was sent to warn Hoekstra against sending the letters, but Hoekstra said he had dropped the idea at least a week before the warning was received.

Hoekstra said he had planned to send letters to 500 households near the Heritage Schools Complex, site of the proposed bus garage, and near the middle school on Stoney Ridge Road, where the current bus garage is located. "I refuse to be intimidated by the school board," he said.

It was at the urging of council members and council's attorney Dan Stringer that Hoekstra decided not to mail the letters. He added that he's waiting to learn more about the potential dangers of diesel exhaust from Avon's school buses [buildup of tiny particles of diesel pollution in Heritage North].

When School Board President Angela Marsiglia said she learned of Hoekstra's plans, she asked the board's attorney, Ken Stumphauzer, to send a letter warning against Hoekstra's plan ...

On Aug. 16 [2005], Stumphauzer wrote to Stringer ... that, in his opinion, "communication from any member of Avon City Council that the proposed bus garage at the Heritage site would pose a health or safety risk to children at those schools or persons in the immediate vicinity would be ... actionable."

In addition, Stumphauzer has filed a motion with Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery to keep testimony and evidence on environmental issues out of the Sept. 29 hearing on council's request for a permanent injunction to prevent the bus garage being built at Heritage ... Stumphauzer's motion will be discussed Sept. 13 in court ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 8-31-05, By Beth Mlady

[More on the Threatening Letter]

``AVON -- ... When it was revealed last week by the media that council president, Larry Hoekstra, had contemplated sending a letter to hundreds of residents who live near the proposed bus garage site at Heritage telling them of the dangers to their children from diesel bus emissions ... school board president Angela Marsiglia took action. She contacted the board's attorney, Kenneth Stumphauzer, who sent a letter to Daniel Stringer, city council's lawyer, advising city council members "to cease and desist" from distributing spurious [Stumphauzer's adjective] information to residents or they would lose their "protected status...as a public official" and could be individually sued ...

school busses
School busses parked at SBS Transit on Colorado Ave. (SR 611) give some idea of what could happen to the front yard of Heritage North School on Detroit Road.

Stumphauzer's letter to Stringer was, according to councilwoman-at-large JoAnne Easterday, not to be discussed outside of their respective factions ...

Also currently at issue is the Harvard study that city council members (and resident Taylor "Jack" Smith, author of several letters published in The PRESS) have used as their basis for exposing the possible dangers of bus fumes. When reminded that The PRESS ... had found [the] data was up to 10 years old ... Easterday insisted she stands by what she read in the report.

[What difference does it make if some of the data is 10 years old? Is the data invalid? Galileo's data from his inclined plane experiment is just as good today as it was over 300 years ago, when it served as the basis for Newton's Laws of Motion.]

"There is a danger. Public health should be everybody's business," Easterday said. "Is this risk worth it?" She went on to say that regardless of the Harvard report, "the school board has not addressed those ... concerns."

Marsiglia ... conveyed her frustration and confusion over the letters published by Smith in The PRESS over the past couple of weeks. He made constant reference to the Harvard study, as well as diesel fume particulates ... [Although the Harvard review article is a good place to start, it was not mentioned in these two letters, which are shown immediately below this story. See the Harvard Magazine article at: http://www.harvard-magazine.com/on-line/050543.html ]

"He (Smith) never worried about particles in the air or ill effects on children from diesel fumes when he sold the property he owned on which Avon Commons now stands," Marsiglia said ...

[What does that have to do with idling busses stored at Heritage North producing tiny particles of diesel pollution that build up in the school?]

A special meeting of the board of education is scheduled to be held on Sept. 1. The intent of that meeting is to work out a resolution from the board to Avon City Council as the means for re-opening discussions between the two parties. The judge's staff attorney had recommended a return to productive communications between the board and council at an Aug. 23 management (mediation) hearing ... The case is scheduled to go to trial on Sept. 29 [2005].''

[MORE REFERENCES:

http://www.moea.state.mn.us/ee/noidle.cfm

http://www.nrdc.org/air/transportation/qbus.asp

http://www.stnonline.com/stn/cleanschoolbus/index.htm

http://www.stnonline.com/stn/cleanschoolbus/csb_news.htm#carb5

http://www.stnonline.com/stn/cleanschoolbus/csb_ehhreport.htm ]

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Press, 8-4-05, by Taylor J. Smith

``In The Press, 8-3-05, bus garage article, the snippet attributed to me needs some context: School busses should not be stored at Heritage North. When these busses warm up in the morning, clouds of tiny particles from the diesel engines will fill the air. These tiny particles have been shown to be the cause of the asthma epidemic which is sweeping the country. These particles also cause lung cancer. The life of just one Avon student is worth more than any financial saving from storing the busses at Heritage North.

The deadly tiny particles of diesel pollution will blow into the school through even the smallest crevice. These particles will accumulate in Heritage North. The kids will breathe them in when they get there. After they get off the busses at Heritage North, they will breathe in these deadly particles all day long, day after day, inside the school.

The only way these particles will leave the school is on the clothes and in the lungs of students and staff. The concentration of these particles will rise until as many are being added to the air in the school each day as are leaving in or on people. Little brothers and sisters at home will be contaminated.

I'm surprised by the willingness of the Board of Education to risk incurring substantial liabilities for the taxpayers of Avon. How much will a court grant for the treatment of a lifetime of asthma and for the pain and suffering of a child? The BOE will not be able to plead ignorance.

After several years of storing school busses on the west side of Heritage North, what will be the cost to the taxpayers of decontaminating the school? Would it exceed the cost of a major asbestos removal? Where will the students go while the school is being decontaminated?

What happens to the expensive bus garage at Heritage North if, after several years, the school must be decontaminated? Will the taxpayers be forced to pay for another bus garage far from any school?

The Board of Education seems to have determined that from 36 to 42 busses will serve an Avon population of about 15,000. How many busses will have to be stored at Heritage North when Avon has a build-out population of 74,000?

The time to do the right thing is now, before Avon is committed to an expensive disaster.''

Taylor J. Smith, Avon

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LETTER to The Editor of The Press, 8-24-05, by Taylor J. Smith

``I continue to be surprised by the willingness of the Board of Education to risk incurring substantial liabilities for the taxpayers of Avon. The BOE should not claim without data that there is no threat to the health of our children from storing busses at Heritage North.

The Board of Education should ask the EPA to measure the number of tiny particles of diesel pollution coming out of the tailpipe of each bus at startup to obtain an average. With this information, engineering calculations can be performed to estimate the accumulation of diesel particles in the school over several years. No bids for constructing the bus garage should be solicited until the BOE has performed this due diligence.

Why does the Board of Education refuse to consider the effect of Avon's rapid growth? The BOE seems to have determined that from 36 to 42 busses will serve an Avon population of about 15,000. How many busses will have to be stored at Heritage North when Avon has a build-out population of 74,000? The BOE has been storing busses near Stoney Ridge and Bauerdale for about fifty years. Are we to think that busses will be stored at Heritage North for fifty years?

Again, the time to do the right thing is now, before Avon is committed to an expensive disaster.''

Sincerely yours, Taylor J. Smith, Avon

More on the Bus Garage

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 9-2-05, by Ryan Merrill

``Hurricane help on the way

[All Pro Freight donates use of its tractor-trailers to ship relief to Katrina victims]

AVON -- Local residents and business owners have pledged aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, donating everything from trucks to toys. All Pro Freight, a trucking company based in Avon, is donating the use of its 53-foot-long tractor-trailers to ship non-perishable items down south. "We're kind of throwing our hat in the ring in any way we can help out," said company president Chris Haas. "We want to help people who are in dire need."

Because most charities in the area are only accepting cash donations, All Pro Freight is providing a way to donate items, he said. "When people are asked to write a check or cash, people tend not to get around to it," Haas said. "But concrete items seem easier to donate." All items donated must be packed in a box. The company will be funding the cost of the trip, Haas said. It will cost about $2,000 in fuel alone to make the trek.

There is no time set as to when the first truck will be sent down, Haas said. "As soon as we fill up one trailer, we'll send it down there," he said. The company will be taking donations between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the work week and is currently talking about opening up on Saturday to take more donations, said Jeff Somerville, safety and recruiting manager at All Pro Freight. The company is located in Avon at 1200 Chester Industrial Parkway, off state Route 2. The easiest way to Chester Industrial Parkway is to get off at state Route 611 from Route 2 and follow Route 611 until Chester Road intersects with Chester Industrial Parkway.

The Amherst Preschool Club is working toward gathering non-perishable items to be placed on All Pro Freight's trucks, but need some help organizing an area where they can collect materials, said member Linda Turley.

"I saw a little boy on TV today; he had the same teddy bear as my son," she said. "The family was living in their SUV and I identified with the kid, and I got the idea for the drive."

The club needs a truck to transport its items to All Pro Freight, she said. Anyone who can give a place to collect and organize donations or a truck can call Turley at 985-2715 ...''

More on All Pro Freight

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 9-7-05, by Julie A. Short

``AVON -- As reported in the PRESS on June 29 [2005], Westlake officials are once again considering closing off Avon Road at the border of Avon and Westlake, no longer providing through access for travel between the two cities.

The issue has come up before over the years, but now there are more residents living off Avon Road in the new Willow Creek subdivision that will be affected by the closing. They expressed their concern in a letter delivered to the mayors, council members, fire and police chiefs of both cities, as well as Lorain and Cuyahoga county commissioners and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA).

As stated in the letter, "The most important reason we do not want Avon Road closed is safety issues. Closing the road would create extreme life-safety hazards for the hundreds of families in the area. This includes valuable response time for both cities of Avon and Westlake, lack of evacuation routes when an emergency occurs, and increased opportunities for criminals on a low traffic road."

Willow Creek resident Laura Rouse had delivered a copy of the letter to Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough's office as of PRESS deadline, but had not heard from the mayor. Repeated calls to the mayor's office from the PRESS were not returned.

Westlake Fire Chief Rick Pietrick also did not return the PRESS' calls for comment. "No information has been provided to any of us regarding why they are thinking about closing the road," Rouse said ...

The Willow Creek subdivision will include 163 homes when it is completed next year. There are also nine homes along Avon Road by the same developer, Oster Homes, along with approximately 12 additional houses along the approximately one and one-half mile road.

The letter also addresses the rumor for a proposed gate that would divide the two cities. This gate could allow access for emergency vehicles. "This may seem like a reasonable solution, however, a gate could be easily chained by an individual to prohibit access. If electrical, a wire could easily be cut by a criminal or eaten through by an animal, or in some other way be made inoperable. A gate, if properly operating, would certainly add time to rescue vehicles' efforts as well making this a less than desirable solution."

The letter goes on to state, "Closing the road would also cause problems for services to the residents of the area. Currently the Westlake City School bus drops off the children who live on Avon Road and turns around in the Willow Creek development.

The Avon City schools drop off the children in the area and continue down Avon Road to Bradley Road. If Avon Road were to be closed at the border of the cities the school buses would have to back down Avon Road.

In Westlake this would mean they would have to drive the bus backwards for almost 1/2 a mile and turn around in the intersection of Bradley. In Avon they would have to back down Avon Road for approximately 1/3 of a mile and turn around in Willow Creek.

Bus drivers may be very skilled but this is a long distance to back up any vehicle and in icy weather conditions controlling a bus you are trying to drive backwards could have serious consequences for our children. In addition to buses, garbage trucks and any other large vehicle (including fire trucks) would have the same difficulties."

The concerns go behind the immediate neighborhood. The letter goes to say, "The issues affect the citizens of both our cities and for what reason? The information we obtained from reading articles about the possible closure give no viable reason for the road to be closed.

We would like to request copies of the studies and analysis that were done which lead to the decision that it is necessary to close this road. We will be contacting the Northeast Ohio Area Coordinating Agency (NOACA) for any information they may have pertaining to the closing of this road.

We have been informed by Avon city officials that the city of Avon is willing to ensure maintenance of the road at the city of Avon's cost. If the city of Avon is willing to pay for this why would you [Westlake] still choose to close the road?"

The residents close the letter summarizing their concerns and delivering a few parting thoughts: "We have not heard any real reason from the city of Westlake as to why the road has to be closed. We have only heard rumors, which lead us to believe that the reason for the road to be closed is due to egos and spite.

Obviously not all issues have been thought out. If, after seriously considering the reasons we have listed and considering it will cost Westlake no taxes to maintain the road, what reason do you have to close Avon Road? Although closing the road might be your decision we know this action would put thousands of lives and hundreds of homes in peril.

We feel risking lives and property of the citizens of Avon and Westlake is unjustifiable and will have no positive outcome for many and would appear to serve only a privileged few. Please seriously consider the decision with the right reasons in mind."

A number of Willow Creek residents attended a meeting of the Westlake City Council on Sept. 1 [2005]. Council read a resolution to approve the preliminary plan for the Gerent subdivision scheduled to be built along Detroit Road extending to Avon Road near the Avon Oaks Country Club (no action was taken). It is this subdivision that seems to be the primary driving force behind closing the road.

"The item of closing Avon Road was not addressed specifically during the meeting," Rouse said. "We did talk with a few councilmen afterwards and they said that they are still not sure if Westlake will vacate the road. They asked that we talk with the developer. They also suggested setting up a meeting with our mayor."''

More on closing Avon Road

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR of Harvard Magazine, 9-05, by Edward W. Kaiser

``I am a recently retired employee of an automotive company, where I carried out research on vehicle emissions primarily from spark-ignition engines. I found 'Clearing the Air' by Jonathan Shaw (May-June, page 28) very enjoyable and learned a great deal about the health effects of particles in the atmosphere.

I wish to make one small comment concerning a statement in the shaded box on page 34, which might cause some confusion among your readers. Diesel engines are significantly more fuel efficient than spark-ignition engines.

The main drawback to their use in the automobile fleet is the fact that the emissions of particles and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) are very high for these engines and difficult to control. Spark-ignited engines have inherently low particulate emissions, but do produce high levels of NOx [nitrogen oxides], which are reduced by 'three-way catalysts.' These catalysts cannot remove NOx from diesels, however.

To meet the very stringent future automotive-emissions requirements in the United States, particularly California, diesel engines will require new emissions-reduction technologies, which reduce particulate and NOx emissions to levels required by governmental regulations.

These devices, which complement engine hardware changes that have already reduced diesel emissions, tend to be sensitive to poisoning by sulfur, and this is a major reason why low-sulfur fuels are required. Low-sulfur fuels and other 'reformulated' fuels can reduce particulate emissions somewhat, but not to the low levels required.

Thus, your implication that 'older diesel' vehicles can be retrofitted to burn cleaner fuels and, thereby, meet governmental requirements is not correct in my opinion. As discussed above, meeting the regulations requires not only fuel reformulation but also sophisticated exhaust after-treatment systems, advanced engine hardware, and new engine-control strategies, which cannot be easily and cost-effectively retrofitted to older diesel automobiles [or busses].''

Edward W. Kaiser, Ph.D. '70, Dearborn, Mich.

See www.harvardmagazine.com/on-line/070576.html

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