A Hometown Celebration

As I type this I can hear fire and police sirens going off near my home here in Vienna, Ohio. I now hear screaming and guns shots. Looking out by backdoor I realize emergency sirens are warning about the approaching danger. I now see that danger heading down old Rt. 82. It is the school bus carrying our bad assed Matthews High School Lady Mustangs girls’ softball team. I realize now that the gun shots and screams are actually cheers and fireworks from the crowd here to greet them. They are returning from playing in Akron for the District 4 state championship. They became the first runner up losing to Crestview in a great 6-2 game. I listened to it at 10 this morning on WTOM 1350 AM Sports Radio in Akron, Ohio. I want to thank them for the great job they did in broadcasting the game today. I want to chastise cable TV station, SportsTime Ohio for not broadcasting the game live. They chose instead to do a morning of half-hour info commercials. I understand they may show the game later this afternoon (after the fact). Can you imagine if a TV network decided to broadcast NFL football games several hours after they had actually ended? You can steal elections and start illegal wars in this country and men won’t blink an eye but deny them a live football game and there will be rioting, looting and murder in the streets.

I want to thank the American Veterans Club in Vienna for posting a sign saying, “Good luck Lady Stangs!” It’s cool that the volunteer fire department did the same! Sadly, the bulletin board in Vienna square still has up community events from last week let alone anything wishing the Lady Mustangs luck. Worse yet, the bulletin board in front of Matthews High School has up a notice about last week’s graduation information and nothing about the Lady Stangs playing for the state title. I have the feeling if this was the boy’s football team our streets would be paved with red carpet welcoming them home from a state championship win or lose. And that is the important part, that even if you come in second you deserve a celebration. That is because it took a lot of hard work, time and effort on the part of the players, coaches and the parents to get as far as they did. Kids today have a lot stacked against them so it is wonderful to see them succeed against the odds.

I want to talk about some of the things stacked against them. In Ohio the schools are funded by tax levies on the ballot. Levies fail more often than they pass. That is because adults forget that someone paid for their education and that they should have the same obligation and desire to want to do it for the next generation. Instead we have that caveman attitude of I got mine, screw you. Matthews school district has struggled to pass school levies just to maintain our old buildings for years now. I don’t need to hear people tell me how hard times are and that they can’t afford to pay any more taxes. I’d be willing to bet I make way less money than 95% of the people who would say that to me and I still believe in funding education. I once had a Vienna resident argue with me that our local schools were top-heavy in administration. I asked him to give me an example. He replied, “We have two grade schools and there is no need for two principals.” I then told him the fact is we only have one principal and he runs between both buildings. He replied, “That can’t be.” To him it couldn’t be because like many people their presumptions are more important than the facts and the truth.

I’d be willing to say Matthews High School is the oldest high school building still in use in Trumbull County. It was built-in 1915.  Neal the name of the Matthews area Junior High school is even older and due to fiscal issues, the school closed its doors forever at the end of the 2010-2011 school year. Without a junior high those students were just jammed into the high school without one square inch having been added on to accommodate them. Like Neal the high school is from the days of lead paint and asbestos. If that isn’t enough danger for students the high school has electrical/cell phone towers on the grounds to make some revenue. Vienna grade school students go to Baker and Currie elementary schools. They were built-in the 1950’s so the students face asbestos problems also. That seems like enough environmental danger for small children to be exposed to and yet the school board at Mathews has decided to put the elementary students in further possible peril. The board authorized a lease agreement with BP for the mineral rights to 87 acres of land owned by the board near both grade schools. Under the agreement, the district could receive about $339,000. Superintendent Lewis Lowery said, ”That will not buy any new buildings, but that might be able to take care of that septic problem,” He added, ”It’s a one time shot in the arm. We’ll probably work on some roof repair and paving.” The taxpayers keep voting against school levies. They’ve decided they’d rather keep their tax dollars than educated our nations children. Then the school board is forced to make deals putting profits before pupils. We are left with Republicans blaming any problems in education on teachers and their union.

My two children got a great education in the Mathews school district thanks to wonderful teachers and despite people who don’t want to pay for kids’ education and idiotic school boards. I hope today’s Mathew’s students are as lucky as my kids and way to go Lady Mustangs!

Flash & the Pan: Hey Saint Peter

Waiting for a Train

God made the Idiot for practice, and then he made the School Board. ~ Mark Twain

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