Shame on de Souza for attack on Marchionda

Shame on de Souza for attack on Marchionda

After reading mr. (Bertram) de Souza’s rant in this past Sunday’s paper, I feel it is my duty to respond to his attack toward Dominic Marchionda. I am co-founder and president of the board of The Rich Center for Autism. If Mr. de Souza would have done his homework, he would have found that his allegations concerning Mr. Marchionda stealing money from The Rich Center PAR Golf Fundraising event are totally false! But, obviously it was easier for him to find him guilty of offenses before he has had a chance to prove his innocence in a courtroom.

When the news broke last year, we diligently went through our records to see if the accusations were true. Upon investigation, and reviewing all receipts, the accusations are without a doubt untrue! Mr. Marchionda has never taken a dime from the children and families of The Rich Center. This makes me wonder just how many of the other counts are untrue as well.

Mr. de Souza might do well to contain his attempts to vilify anyone until after details can be heard in a court of law. Isn’t this the way our judicial system was meant to work? Somehow this whole thing “stinks” of election-year propaganda.

Phyllis A. Ricchiuti, Poland

Phyllis A. Ricchiuti is co-founder and board president for The Paula and Anthony Rich Center for the Study and Treatment of Autism.

Editorial is all wet about the impact of legislation

I write to correct your Aug. 26 Vindicator editorial. In it, you make the claim that House Bill 602 is “a threat to the city’s water.”

HB 602 only does one thing – the state of Ohio would not provide new state funding to city water systems that discriminate against neighboring communities by charging higher prices based solely on where someone lives. Neighboring communities include state taxpayers; thus the reason for the law.

Contrary to the editorial, nothing in HB 602 bans “surcharges” to recover actual costs. Your staff did not call to confirm whether or not this was true.

In your editorial, you claim Youngstown and Niles paid for their systems, as if they used only city funding. If true, HB 602 would not affect them, as it only affects how state money (not city money) is spent. But since they are complaining to you, it must mean they use state taxpayer dollars. This proves the point.

Residents in Austintown, Canfield, Boardman and Liberty townships may rightfully question the unfairness in Youngstown charging them 40 percent higher prices for the same water simply because they live “outside” the city, even when they paid the same state taxes that were used to build the system.

In most other states, cities are not allowed to operate water/sewer monopolies with no state oversight. But in Ohio, cities have gotten used to taking advantage of their neighbors. This is taxation without representation, as Youngstown is not giving neighboring communities an opportunity to vote on those charges.

Many water and sewer systems across Ohio are falling apart because cities failed to plan for century-old problems such as cracks and collapses.

One possible solution would be for the state of Ohio to provide additional state funding to fix these systems, but if this happens, cities should not expect to claim state money while also charging their neighbors higher prices. That would be double dipping.

Rep. Mike Duffey, Columbus

State Rep. Mike Duffey is a Republican who represents the 21st House District.

All should value benefits of strong arts education

Each year, the cul- tural and education communities come together to celebrate the power of the arts in education to transform our communities, schools, teaching and learning. As our young people and educators return to school, we take time to reflect on the role of arts education in our lives and how it has contributed to making us the people we are today. The research is undeniable: When schools and communities embrace the arts – dance, music, theatre, visual and media arts – students benefit, educators are more effective, and learning communities are revolutionized.

Designated by Congress in 2010, National Arts in Education Week is a celebration of the transformative power of the arts in education. This year, we will be celebrating throughout the community Sept. 9-15, and I encourage all supporters of arts, culture, and education – as well as our elected officials and education leaders – to join with us.

The research is clear: Youth who participate in the arts are more likely to succeed in school, college, and career than their peers who did not have arts education. Participation in the arts also has been proven to have health benefits and lead to better citizenship.

In order to reap the benefits of arts-rich schools and arts-infused communities, we must focus on increasing access, particularly for students who are typically disenfranchised. Additionally, we must focus our efforts on broadening and diversifying the leadership pipeline, so that our arts educators, cultural program leaders and artists reflect the communities in which they are working.

Personally I am grateful that I grew up in an area where the arts were valued, where children began music lessons at a young age, where there were highly qualified teachers and access to competition, theater productions and concerts by first-rate artists and orchestras.

As we celebrate National Arts in Education Week, we should take pause to cheer for our accomplishments, but also remember the work we have to do. How can we support parents, families, and the community in providing more opportunities for arts education? I am a cheerleader for those who provide art instruction, dance lessons, live stage productions, private music instruction,and after school orchestras for our youth. It’s up to us to take a stand and take the lead – and we can start during National Arts in Education Week.

Karen Barker Ferren, Cortland

Catholic church scandal shouldn’t shake the faith

Let the truth be known. The scandal facing the Catholic Church has nothing to do with the way Catholics love, believe or worship their faith. The scandal begins and ends with those who take vows and preach the word of God from the pulpit, and in secret perpetrate their evil crimes against the innocent with those in power who know this and choose to cover it up.

I was raised a Catholic with 10 years of Catholic schooling. Not only was I taught that God’s love for all humanity was equal with one size fitting all, but evil crimes are committed in all professions. Those guilty should always be punished.

Catholics will continue in their faith but serious changes must take place in the church.

When evil is covered up, the blueprint God left for all humanity to follow continues to burn in the fires of hell.

Mary Lou Jurina, Youngstown

Cynic needs guarantee on added license-plate fee

With regards to the question Mahoning County Engineer Patrick Ginnetti posed to Canfield Fair-goers on an increase of $5 on license plates, per our local news, it would appear most citizens would approve. The need to improve our roads/infrastructure certainly exists, but will this additional money wind up actually being used for the repairs or will it wind up in the hands of another “developer” like many thousands of dollars did from the water department?

Cynical, I may be, but the government-trust level is very low at this time, and I would not want to see any additional monies going into developments that have nothing to do with our needed infrastructure repairs. Can the county commissioners give us any guarantees? I think not.

Georgie Arkwright, Youngstown