Archive for December, 2009

News Year’s Eve in the parallel universe


Complexities of a Heart ( artwork) Christopher D. RITCHEY

This New Year’s Eve will mark the 4th Thursday of the death of my son. As with Christmas Eve a week ago, there will be no celebrations in this house, no noise makers, just emptiness and longing for what “should have been”.

We continue to walk the nights , waking from an exhaustive need for sleep , realizing that you aren’t alone in the pre dawn hours, a father and a grandmother silently acknowledging the presence of their fellow “walkers of night” fully knowing that across the town a young mother is also joining them as she cradles her child and weeps silent tears for her brother.

I can’t wish you Happy New Year and new beginnings this year, as like Christmas, it has become just another day to get through – our hearts pierced and held hostage from joy. Loraine

Note: Many thanks to Mark Teleha for taking the slides of Chris’ artwork and putting them into jpgs for me .
Chris RITCHEY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb3XAP0c8WU

December 30, 2009 at 10:26 pm 1 comment

Because I was “Gutless”

Ed note – As a new year beckons and resolutions are made I would ask you to consider one – not pleasant but necessary………………….

The white feather of cowardice

There is so much suffering going on in my world and I AM (partly ) TO BLAME because I didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to confront an issue.

I have by MY OWN cowardice enabled those who have harmed my family and taken Chris from us .

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/something-wicked-our-way-came/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/a-letter-a-legacy-nikki-to-chris-ritchey-sister-to-brother/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/18/the-chris-miss-tree/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/19/goodbye-my-luvleyful-grandson-chris-ritchey/


Face of Cancer

As readers are aware Chris was given the terrible news on August 29th 2009 after his tandem stem cell transplant that the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma “survived” and “his only chance of survival” was a clinical trial of SGN 35.

He was accepted on to this trial in Houston ,Texas at the beginning of September. Whilst his wife felt that Chris should be able to manage on his own in Texas, I felt the need for someone to be with him . I didn’t feel comfortable not knowing how this treatment would affect him , what the side effects would be , would he feel up to shopping for groceries, cooking meals ,eating or even driving to and from tests and infusions especially, as quite frankly, he was also dealing with the return of the cancer on top of this.

Chris’ family felt he should have someone with him for the months that he would need to be in Houston, so it was decided that I would travel to Texas and be with him and do the things mums do.

I know it was difficult for Chris, after all he was a grown man and the only reason his “mum” was with him was that he was desperately ill. I know that as much as he loved me I reminded him, by my presence alone, that he was fighting for his life and the cancer.

I won’t go into the pain of his journey in Houston due to the cancer and side-effect of the drugs or even the contracting of H1N1 that eventually took his life.

What I will say to you , all of you , is that I could have stopped the pain inflicted after his death caused by those that supposedly loved and cared for my son.

I could have stopped all that has happened since his death IF I HADN’T BEEN SO GUTLESS!

Chris and I had an honest relationship. Oh! sometimes a heated, and very vocal relationship- he was after all “my” son. Sometimes we needed those “bouts of heat” to get to the real issue, to draw out what was really the problem. However, no matter how heated our points of view became, we always came back to laughter and understanding of each other. He was part of me and his heritage in more ways than one.

Now to my dilemma – In my heart of hearts I knew that Chris should be making some decisions- I had a bad feeling about what the next weeks would bring.

One night I lay awake all night trying to decide what to do , I decided to find a time in the day where I would talk to Chris but I couldn’t.


C. J. Hodge “Turning Away” permission
www.artknowledgenews.com

How do you approach your son who had just turned 29 , who was fighting for survival and living on the thin thread of hope of a clinical trial drug and say

What do you want , what would be your wishes should you die?

How could I? how could I see his face as his “mum” asked such a question? Me, who was trying her damnedest to give him hope after the news he had very little unless the SGN 35 worked and he could tolerate its side effects, and for how long?

Try as I might I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t ,for once in his life, be open and forthright with him. I thought there might be time, time after the results that I knew would be good- you see I watched the tumors on his neck shrink. I knew that when that cough stopped after the 21st of September that the SGN 35 was working. I watched my son with the eyes of a mother.

And because I couldn’t bring myself to have the “death discussion” with Chris a person who had the “legal right” ( enabled by her family) has exercised that right which has caused my family such a world of hurt .

I didn’t have Chris wishes in writing, NO ONE DID!!!!

I gave her her due and her way (that is not mine ) of saying “goodbye” only a week later to be denied ours.

I am sure Chris trusted his bride and his family to use the love they had for him in a way that would help healing.

That didn’t happen because I was a “gutless wonder”

If there is a lesson to be learned here, please don’t trust that your final wishes would be what you wanted.
MAKE YOUR DECISIONS, MAKE THEM IN WRITING, AND MAKE THEM KNOWN, SIGN YOUR NAME!

I will in days to come give you some “options” and what they really entail-

There are no niceties in death and for some of us there is a great wickedness enabled by a mother’s cowardice.

“IF only”

December 28, 2009 at 6:33 pm 17 comments

Christmas: The Day After- Chris- Miss- Christmas

The ghosts of Christmas past came to visit – happier times caught forever in the all-seeing eye of the camera:

A Christmas of a promise of love and sharing, that started the road of union.

A Christmas that was so happy , a promise and an engagement ring -a family celebrated -a young girl filled with expectation and excitement of a life to come.

Years passed , Christmases came and went – friends and laughter- no tragedy’s befell our Christmas time but then another special Christmas – a beautiful baby girl had her first Christmas – I can still remember the overwhelming happiness I felt as she was posed for her first Christmas tree picture . I remember thinking as clearly as if it was today

I don’t think I have ever felt so happy and fulfilled- or experienced such a feeling”


Nikki’s first Christmas

Then there came another Christmas, just two days before Christmas I found out that Santa would be bringing Nikki a gift of baby brother or sister. It was a lovely Christmas that year. My mum, flying in for the holidays from England , not quite understanding why she was given a pair of baby booties in her Christmas stocking was over joyed finally when she realized she would be a Nana once again.

The following Christmas I knew that total happiness could be enhanced and it was by the birth of my son, he shared Santa’s lap and started new traditions

Christmas Traditions old and new as our little family and our children grew. Oh ! there was the yearly Christmas tree fight and the needing of hot buttered rum to get my husband in the mood to “test” the lights.

But a brother and a sister shared, ran to malls and purchased gifts, giggled at some of the “old people’s sweaters” they received and Christmas money clutched tight would head off on shopping sprees on the 26th .

Another Christmas just a few years ago saw a wedding and more laughter and joy beneath the Christmas tree. Once again a brother stood with his family in love beneath the trappings of Christmas time .

And now we are in Christmas present.
It is a Christmas never to be forgotten – a baby’s first Christmas
GAVIN

combined with a the wrenching sadness and “missing” of another son and child .

Our traditions will change again. The ones shared by Chris’ family have to change – the familiar and old not giving comfort but underlining the terrible loss in our lives.

No more photographs

Self photo -Chris Ritchey

to remember his face as the years go by. Absent from the tree photos to come, absent from our table but not from our hearts.

Christmas Yet to Come

A “Chris Miss “ present will become part of Gavin’s traditions and we will smile at a baby’s antics as he discovers Christmas through the years.

However, no matter the laughter, presents and lights that surround us Christmas time will continue to remind us of Chris .

This Christmas Chris is probably part of another tradition, one of an extended family who have taken my son’s remains like thieves in the night and placed them in a graveyard ( not of his faith or inclination) -to be visited in pajamas by those of the extended family bearing goodness knows what on a Christmas morning.

It was not a tradition Chris held with – his anger at being asked to participate at last years ritual was met with annoyance by his bride.

“Things are going to change next year Chris , you will participate”

I guess a more prophetic statement would be hard to find.

His wishes and his voice was silenced by death and by selfishness.

This year as Christmas morning dawned I wondered

“are they dancing the pajama dance of death like some sort of macabre elves over the remains of my son….is he part of their “new tradition”?

My anger and disgust continues unabated by “good will and forgiveness”- as I watch what their “gift of lies and treachery” have done to those that are living through this “Chris Miss – Time “


RITCHEY NOT LOMBARDI, VYKA, GONZALES, GOTT OR ZAWORSKI

December 25, 2009 at 10:02 pm 10 comments

CHRIS- MISS – TIME – Chris Ritchey

Christopher David RITCHEY
* NOT LOMBARDI ,VYKA, GONZALES, GOTT, or ZAWORSKI

The name is and was RITCHEY some seem to have forgotten that fact.

This Christmas and Chris-Miss time I have learned lessons not found in any textbook , bible or retelling of the Dickens Classics.

SOURCE

1. I have found there is a parallel universe- and those that walk in my universe see the twinkling holiday lights and decoration- they are peripheral to our sight and touch – they, along with the new fallen snow- bring no joy as we continue on our journey. We walk unseen through throngs of people smiling with packages and laughter- they are seen but not recognized.

We, of the parallel universe, move through the same time and space not taking up space in that universe – a presence barely felt by those of the world of colour, noise and happiness.

2. Forgiveness- What is forgiveness? Is it just another way of enabling those that have wronged us? – Letting them go to their church held unaccountable by an act of forgiveness to pray on their knees , pillars of a congregation- acts of “christian charity ” recompense for a terrible and cruel wrongful wickedness– Forgiveness to start anew and continue in their way?

By forgiving does the wrong and pain lessen and for whom? Is forgiveness supposed to make me feel better?

I have learned that to truly forgive you have to understand the reasoning for cruelty and of the act perpetrated – My understanding , like my forgiveness also must live in a parallel universe- the one of Dickens and Christmas spirits where Good Will Toward Men ( and women) is the cry of the day is not the place I walk. The cry that is heard in my universe is a gutteral scream of despair and loss at cruelty in the name of love and honour.

Banshee ( Source)

3. The darkness I also walk in the alternative universe , the one that comes with the night . For weeks I woke from nightmares, heart pounding, drenched in sweat and tears, shaking with an inner cold and fear only to realize the nightmare was actually a better place to be than the nightmare that became my reality upon waking .

I no longer try and wake from my nightmares they are less frightening and painful than my reality . The space between sleep and waking finds me fighting to stay in a nightmare world of my own rather than the one where I have lost MY SON, my closure and to have to see what the decisions of others have done to those I love. The dreadful toll taken showing on the faces of those I love most is worse than any Banshee of the night


4. Kindness I have learned that the wonderfully kind and caring thoughts and acts of literally thousands of people who have read this blog, sent cards, called , emailed from all over the world cannot erase from hurt or memory the dreadful acts perpetrated and enabled by “The Committee of 19”

SOURCE

5. Truth and Transparency I have learned that most people really want a sugar-coated truth . The truth of raw emotion makes them uncomfortable . There are certain aspects when it comes to death that people want left in the place between myth and reality , not wanting to see the light of day angered when the niceties are replaced by the realities. I am unable, any longer, to sugar -coat.

6. Heritage I have learned that I am more complex than I thought I was and that the ancient culture from which I came is still within me. We truly are products of our heritage and ancestry. Whilst the community of my “home” struggles with my attitude it is fully understood by those of my ilk.

We may all walk the same path , go through the motions of living in a collective universe but it seems all it takes is the losing of one of your reasons for being “ compounded by acts of selfishness of culture and perceived faith to remove you to another reality and parallel path .

December 21, 2009 at 11:52 pm 6 comments

Goodbye my “luvleyful” grandson- Chris Ritchey

Someone said that you were interred todayI wasn’t told when – your family wasn’t told– I couldn’t say goodbye to what was left of you on this earth as you went back to the earth-surrounded by whom? Another culture – “apart” – from those that have loved you for so long and since the day were born. A goodbye denied to me ! I could not shed a tear at your side or throw you one last kiss – we have been denied but my thoughts of goodbye are for you my “luvleyful boy” are not to be denied

My grandson has died, he slipped out of his flesh and bones into a new frame.

His spirit has passed from here to where? Leaving us full of despair and loneliness.

I look up to the sky , he is there in the twinkling of the stars, he is in every floating cloud in every ray of sunlight.

He is there in the whispering stir of the leaves, the grass under our feet, in the birds dawn chorus and every flower that buds in the spring.

He is there in Misty’s joyful bark and in every breath of air we breathe.

We mourn and long for you Chris – you left us too soon but we thank you for every memory you gave us – locked safely in our shattered hearts – so that none can take them away

I love you Chris and I am so glad and proud you were my grandson, if just for just awhile.

Love Nana


December 19, 2009 at 9:33 pm 21 comments

The Chris- MISS – Tree

It is my belief that the rituals surrounding death are not for those passed from our lives but for the living. We all in our own way and beliefs NEED to have closure

There are many ways, traditions and beliefs that come into play as any of us of the human race say goodbye to those we loved, honour and grieve over.

Your way may not be my way and my way may find us as odds in our beliefs. But I would hope that any of you would respect the right to say goodbye and for closure.

A wicked, wicked cruelty delivered by the face of love on a piece of lined notebook paper, a simple paragraph , laughable in the stated “reasonings” had it not caused such inconsolable sadness . A piece of paper that had to be delivered by a Funeral Director 8 days after the death of my son.
This face of love who hadn’t the guts to face the terrible emotions that wracked the very core of Chris’ family when receiving the news of a promise broken.

I will never ever lose the picture in my mind of Chris’ Nana- the gentlest of people who loved and cared for him – her little body curled into and imploding upon herself with utter grief and confusion .

“I have lived through terrible tragedies, seen and heard things in my 90 years- but this is wickedness and a terrible cruelty that comes with a coldness that I have never ever experienced and it comes in the name of love.”

A promise made to that same Nana , his sister, his family in a “funeral conference” the week before. A promise to respect our way as well and grateful thanks from a grandmother and sister to be allowed to say goodbye in our way was rescinded in a cowardly note.

What couldn’t be taken from Chris’ family in his life – his family – his beliefs -his culture- our last goodbye shared- has been ripped from us in death.

I am angry and perplexed at what has happened. The need for closure of his flesh and blood circumvented by those who were part of his extended family for such a little while. I have to question is this the charity of true Christians?

Their closure complete in having taken him to ground removing all vestige of him from his flesh and blood, our beliefs and our traditions that were his too . I respected their need for closure in their belief and in their way only to be denied our own goodbye and closure.

I will not fight ( for once) over the poor broken body of my wonderful caring son . I find it abhorrent, reprehensible and unforgivable what an extended family has done to his Nana , father,sister, uncle, brother-in-law and friends and YES! to me – who cherished the feel of his first fluttering heart beat with in my own body – who was there as that same heart stopped and the washing over me of a loss that is indescribable -a horror of emotion only known to other mothers who have borne the pain of birth and death of their child

As time goes by the box that contains the earthly remnants of my son, trapped for years to come by the cold grey clay of Ohio and Ohio laws, will be forgotten. A young woman ( wife) will find another love, another life- the extended family (in- laws) will move on – my son no more than a shadowy memory – the intense pain caused not addressed as they continue to pray .

A decision made on the grounds of “not being an organ donor so there would be no division of the ashes _ to remain whole (based on ignorance of the cremation process) as that is what Chris would have wanted-“

WHAT CHRIS WOULD HAVE WANTED????

What I do know beyond all doubt that my son, my flesh and blood , the child I bore, the boy I raised to manhood would never have sanctioned or agreed with the causing any one of us such great pain and sorrow, a dividing of those he loved. No ! That was not the way of my son .
Richard Earl Thompson (1914-1991)

There is a special place in a woodland glade where sits a weeping Norwegian Pine, a peculiar tree that represents his love of real Christmas trees and his quirky sense of humor , hundreds of spring bulbs and wildflowers planted for the colours so loved by the artist he was – a small stone with words of meaning sent by another mother , who shared the bleacher seats with me as our sons played soccer and grew into men.

A ceremony filled with love, the music of wild horses, passion for the things he loved , the child, boy and man that he became celebrating his love of life , humour , fire, freedom. the wild , love of nature and family.

As the years take their toll on the writing on a cold granite headstone, a tree will grow in strength , a field of colour at its roots – an open sky where the currents of air will play in the branches- the same air that Chris so desperately needed to save his life.

The words of my son who after coming out of the weeks of hospitalization after the 2nd stem cell transplant in a text to his cousin in England.

We are waiting for the car – Tony I had no idea how great fresh air tastes and feels – I never want to be locked in again……………

My son , I am sorry that your passing along with great grief has also produced a cold callousness and perhaps spitefulness I hadn’t thought possible in remembrance of you .

We will remember you with every blue sky, with every wag of Misty’s tail , with every splash of the waterfall and in every croak of the 8 frogs and flash of silver of the koi you gave me last Mother’s Day …. We love you beyond words ,beyond life and death………

Til death us do part” , as Nikki stated in her letter,is not part of any promise or commitment made between a parent and son, a sister and brother, a grandmother and grandchild , and uncle and nephew .

You have been with us for all your life and we will hold you close forever never to be replaced or forgotten.

December 18, 2009 at 12:00 am 10 comments

WILD HORSES- Chris Ritchey

The music of my heart Chris – our final farewell will be with strength, love and beauty ……..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb3XAP0c8WU
Susan Boyle

Wild Horses
Songwriters: Richards, K;Jagger, M

Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted
I bought them for you

Graceless lady
You know who I am
You know I can’t let you slide through my hand

Wild horses
Couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses
Couldn’t drag me away

I watched you suffer
A dull aching pain
Now you’ve decided
To show me the same

No sweeping exits
Or offstage lines
Could make me feel bitter
Or treat you unkind

Wild horses
Couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses
Couldn’t drag me away

I know I’ve dreamed you
A sin and a lie
I have my freedom
But I dont have much time

Faith has been broken
Tears must be cried
Let’s do some living
After we die

And Wild horses
Couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses
Couldn’t drag me away


SOURCE

December 16, 2009 at 11:24 pm 14 comments

A Letter – A Legacy – Nikki to Chris Ritchey – sister to brother

NOTE:I am sharing this letter that my daughter has written to her brother – an epitaph ? a eulogy? an expression of overwhelming pain and hurt.

Public in OUR grief- the only way we can have some closure – a healing perhaps- how do you say goodbye when your own closure has been cruelly denied …..

I am writing today to my little brother. This is more of an apology to him. Nikki

I am sorry Chris that I could not save you from all of your pain in these past 22 months and even in your passing.

During these months you were really there consoling me, telling me “it will be ok Nik.” You fought so hard for your family and in the end I was unable to do the same for you.

Over these past days I am remembering all the wonderful memories we made together.

When we were kids we would play all day long in Uncle’s pool with all of our friends screaming “Marco, Polo” driving mom nuts. Then in the winter we would ice skate on that same pool or practice skiing across the street at Irving. We were always outside till the street lights came on and mom would yell out the door “Nikki, Chris time to come in.”

My fondest memory was the night before my wedding. Our cousin Tony was there with us. We all sat in the hot tub that was in my room.

I don’t know how we all fit in there but we did. We laughed and laughed that night. We never went to sleep. We stayed up talking all night long. You and Tony massaged my feet,

we ordered room service- of course all on Mom and Dad’s tab.

I developed a huge swollen eye. Both you and Tony tried to ice it for me. We then had to call Mom to bring me tea bags. She was so mad, “What did you three do last night,” as Tony hung out the window trying to have a smoke. Who knew 7 years later that would be the day you would be cremated.

After I was married we still stayed close. I moved to Avon where you hung out with us. We bought a hot tub and many a late nights were spent underneath the stars.

Then I moved to Maumee and again you came to see me every weekend you could. Then I finally moved back to Lorain. You were there house hunting with me. We found a house not far from Mom and Dad’s. You were still living there at the time with them but everyday was spent at mine.

You had your own room and I never complained when you didn’t make your bed or when you left your wet towels on the floor.

We would go to the beach down at Beaver Park with Misty and Jax all the time that 2007 summer.

Then 2008 came with bad news. But you handled it with true Chris style. You were getting married that summer.

The night before you got married, again it was you, Tony, and me. Again a hot tub, laughter, and another sleepless night.

As you left my house that morning you stood outside the limo before getting in and just said “I love you.” I watched the limo pull away as my little brother left to become a married man.

It wasn’t 5 days later you were back at my house with me asking “can I come back home to your house.” Of course you were welcomed, this was your home. This is where you felt the most comfortable.

You went through all of your treatments like a champ. Never complained once. You came home every chance you could. Even after getting out of the hospital from a stem cell transplant you came home the next day to see your new nephew, Gavin.

You bought a 4-wheeler this year. You spent so much time out in the woods behind my house with Jim riding for hours. I have never seen you so happy as when you would jump on that ATV and take off. You would come home with mud up to the handle bars- like a pig in shit- you loved it!

I guess I must get back to the point of my apology to you. I tried to bring you home once again. I tried to make your wishes known, that this was your home, where you laughed, drank, played, and felt the most comfortable.

You spent more time here with me every chance you could than any old stuffy closed up apartment that you hated. You loved it here.

Every time you came over the first thing you did was go outside with the dogs. I am so sorry that I can’t bring you home to the outdoors where you belong.

I tried Chris but I was lied to. I was denied you, my own flesh and blood. Some are trying to make it seem like we didn’t have a special bond between us.

We will always have a bond. Blood is always thicker than water. We didn’t have a vow of till death do us part. We will never part.

You may have been taken from me physically not once but twice in this past week and in my heart I know where you are at.

You are here with me, what you always called home, sitting on my back porch outside underneath the starry sky, where you wanted to be. Know that I love you more than life itself. I am so sorry little brother…so so sorry.

December 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm 30 comments

Something wicked our way came

SOURCE

There is a wickedness and cruelty beyond words that continues to plague this family in the name of “love”. A world torn asunder has been further trashed in a most wickedly cold cruel way ……

There are quotes from other writers that play over and over in my mind in the past 3 days
Shakespeare and a witch stirring at her cauldron….. Macbeth

“By the pricking of my thumbs- something wicked this way comes..”

or perhaps John Paul Sartre from No Exit a play I performed with good friends – Dave – Caron and Casey in happier times

“Hell is other people”……….

Both quotes are quite appropriate this day – our journey has had another wickedness come our way and the hell we are now experiencing is directly due to “other people” – those that profess to love ………..

I have seen first hand what happens when someone you love ,a grieving father becomes “choked with emotion” upon hearing the news that promises made have been rescinded.
I have seen through my own flood of tears what happens to the already frail persona of a grandmother – her heart already broken now shattered by a cruel denial and thoughtlessness to those that were waiting closure in the name of love and honor
This latest blow to us has no honoring of my son and a selfish love at best-

“The love that grew with us from our cradles never knew diminution from time or distance ,
Other ties were formed, but they did not supercede or weaken this .
Death tore away at all that was mortal and perishable but this he could not sunder”

“Unknown”

December 14, 2009 at 6:40 pm 10 comments

Two sides- one published – one denied

There is once again a manipulation of events in the media. Anyone who wishes to access information on the CRA from the beginning October 2006 will find a plethora of information documented and the history on the side bar of this blog.

Media has from time to time been used and it is by omission that readers are led down a certain path of knowledge. One that could be seen as tipping the scales in unbiased reporting.

Last week the Morning Journal ran an article with regard to the CRA

“CRA set tax savings for key figures”
http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2009/12/10/news/mj1975864.txt
By AMANDA DOLASINSKI

The article in part mentions Don Romancak’s receiving a tax exemption on his property.

Readers of the CRA debacle will recall the first article written about the CRA program on WoM ( now defunct) and an interview with Mr. Romancak which was also used in the Cleveland Plain Dealer article on the CRA ( no longer on line) but following the same “thought process and investigative reporting” done by the Morning Journal three years later.
Mr. Romancak stated in that very first CRA interview:
“3. Addresses of applicants?
We will provide the addresses of those that have been approved and I suppose I will be able to provide those that have applied since they will eventually become public.
**Just so you know I have submitted the completed agreement and paid my fee, I do not know if mine has been approved yet. Don R.

This is not a person who tried to hide anything from the public and seemingly there was a chance ,since this application was public knowledge (through WoM) – to stop any illegal application?????.

Now back to truth and a balanced media .

Dan Given was also pilloried in the article of December 10th 2009 but the readership of the Morning Journal has been denied the “rest of the story ” and denied so far Mr. Given’s rebuttal leading their readership and those of the community in a direction that is less than accurate.

Therefore after many calls and e-mails to the Editors and Publishers of the Morning Journal by Mr. Given this blog will have to give him the space they have so far denied him.

From: Given, Dan
Subject: Complaint against your newspaper and its writings
To: jsudbrook@morningjournal.com
Cc: adolasinski@MorningJournal.com, letters@morningjournal.com
Date: Thursday, December 10, 2009, 1:45 PM

December 10, 2009

Mr Sudbrook,
After reading your newspaper today, I am very alarmed that your employee, Ms Amanda Dolasinski, continues to paint a picture of corruption and illegalities in a controversial city program in Lorain . Creating controversy should never be the purpose of a community newspaper when a little extra effort could in fact bring ALL THE FACTS to light on a topic that has been covered over and over again for the last three years. Clarity brings the truth. Omissions bring about questions.

First let me say that CRA’s (Community Reinvestment Areas) were created by the State of Ohio , not the City of Lorain . Next, many cities have CRA districts in this state which offer similar such residential tax abatements to its residents. For starters, I would suggest you start researching with Cleveland and Cincinnati and go from there. These CRA’s are regular tools utilized by older, urban, impoverished cities to attract residents to invest, stay, and/or move into these areas. They can be used for both remodeling and new construction.

In her article, which I believe is based to discredit the two individuals mainly focused upon, it implies that I had something to do with creating this 15 year tax abatement and also creating a 100% percentage of tax abatement. This is totally false. I had nothing to do with creating the districts, the rules, or the incentives to this program. I just applied for a city run program along with 400+ other residents who also were sold a bill of goods by the City of Lorain . I must also clearly state that my application and admission were reviewed and approved by the city legal staff before anything was granted.

To recap year’s worth of information in a few short paragraphs…At the time of this introduction, I was chairman of Lorain City Council’s Federal Programs Committee. These types of legislation had to come to my committee as that is why the committee was established and the rules it is mandated to operate under. There were five people on that committee. I did not do anything alone. When the topic of Lorain ’s various CRA zones with numerous CRA rules was brought up for discussion, I was asked if I would agree that a uniform set of rules should be established for all areas of the city. I felt that was a common sense question that was easy to answer. If you have numerous zones in the city and they all are called CRA’s, why not have one set of rules for all versus 5 sets of rules, created by five different people, over 5 different periods of time. Once I said yes to that common sense statement, the former Safety Service Director sent down HIS legislation to council for us to review. This was drafted by the former administration which was led by former Mayor Craig Foltin. For those that wish to recall this fact, Mr Foltin and I rarely saw eye to eye on anything and I would bet anyone my life savings that he would not do anything to benefit me financially, politically, or personally. This is not saying anything negative about our former mayor, it is only saying that he was not thinking of Dan Given and how something would affect him. Anyone alive at that point in time should recognize that.

Next, the legislation that was sent down by that administration only stated that uniform rules would be established by all CRA zones. Remember, that sitting City Council, I included, did not create these zones, nor did we create the incentives that the homeowners would receive, nor did we create the fees or rules that would be involved. We only agreed that someone in the city should create a UNIFORM set of rules to govern by. That specific piece of legislation was unanimously approved by all 11 members of Lorain City Council. Once again, no one can claim this was done in a back room or without public input and review.

One final fact that Ms Amanda Dolasinski failed to state in her article was that I was advised legally every step of they way on this topic while I was involved with the City of Lorain . In the attached letter from the former City Law Director, it clearly states that all actions were above board and clearly reviewed by his department or himself

I would appreciate you getting all the facts out in this situation rather than just flaming the fires on a community controversy that many people are trying to resolve.

I would appreciate you reading the attached letter as well.

Daniel Given

Lorain City Councilman

440-396-6113


The attached letter referred to by Mr. Given was one that has appeared on this blog and on Wom a number of times and one I personally had sent weeks ago to the Journal for their information , I have to wonder why this part of fair and balanced was left out ?

The Notorious Opponents of Exactitude Award has to once again be “given” ( pun intended) to the Publisher and Editors of the Morning Journal. Come on Boys and Girls let us be balanced and give those you write about their space to refute your conclusions – Isn’t that what the free press is supposedly all about?

December 13, 2009 at 7:30 pm 5 comments

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