Thursday, September 3, 2009


UPDATE: 09/03/2009 - 2:00 PM.

A redacted portion of an e-mail from Trustee Louis Giavasis (Plain TownshIp) with photo of Plain Township bench below:
... Above [below in this blog] is an attached photo of the bench Plain Township dedicated this past spring at the opening and dedication of the Ohio Vietnam Memorial in Clinton, Ohio. Trustee Al Leno and myself were present for the opening ceremonies, the bench sits at the far left corner facing the wall listing out the names of all Ohioans' that served and gave the ultimate sacrifice to our country in Vietnam

To its credit the city of Akron is supporting the newly constituted Ohio Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Park (OVMP, Park). (See Plusquellic confesses to mistake on bench, ABJ, Bob Dyer, 09/02/09). To the discredit of Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, he had his name etched in the bench that Akron paid $3,500 to have created and placed in the park.

Akronites were upset that Plusquellic (who is not a Vietnam veteran) would have his name inscribed on the bench.

In reading the Akron Beacon Journal post on the furor, the SCPR noted a passing observation in the story, to wit:
Noon [Ken Noon, owner of Summit Memorials in Akron, which produced the benches] did give Akron credit for buying a bench in the first place, saying both Cleveland and Canton declined to participate. (emphasis added)
Canton declined to participate?

Has Noon made a mistake?


For in the heart of Canton is a statute at the Aultman Hospital complex honoring Sharon Lane, a nurse who graduated from the Aultman Hospital School of Nursing in 1961 (Canton South, 1951) and who gave her full measure in Vietnam on June 08, 1969.

Get this.

Sharon Lane's mother and sister were featured speakers at the Park's dedication on May 17, 2009. Isn't this a slap in the face by Canton City Council? The only female killed in Vietnam does not have her hometown honor her by participating in the development of the Park honoring her sacrifice.

Even the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce wouldn't support the Park. Chamber members called OVMP officials wanting to know why they were listed as places where visitors could sleep and dine.

Answer: The Canton Regional Chamber refused to participate in the Park effort.

The Ohio Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Park's inception (a 501(c)(3) non-profit which pays nothing to its 7 "worker bees") is aptly described by Massillon Independent report by Doug Staley (Thousands gather for dedication of Vietnam Veterans [sic] Memorial Park, May 18, 2009):
The park, conceived in 2005 by the Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park Commission, features a 125-foot-long granite wall engraved with the names of the 3,095 Ohio natives who died in Vietnam.
Ken Noon tells the SCPR that over the past three years that the committee working on funding for the project has visited virtually every nook and cranny (either by actual appearance or telephone call) of Stark County government (probably about May, 2007 - before the financial crisis hit) asking for financial participation in the development of the park only to be turned down by all except for Canal Fulton, Lawrence Township, Plain Township and several graduating classes of Northwest High School (Canal Fulton/Lawrence Township/New Franklin).

Astonished? Yours truly is!

Shame on the city, village and township governments of Stark County.

Canton city council officials reportedly told OVMP officials that the park is not in Stark County and therefore they do not wish to participate.

Can you believe that?

Cantonians (Frank Sasz of the Park says 63 in number) gave their lives 11,000 miles from Canton but Canton officials couldn't dig up $3,500 for a park honoring the 63's ultimate sacrifice located a mere 10 miles from the heart of the city of Canton.

Here's another insult.

Jackson Township government officials told Park officials that Jackson would give no money but would issue a proclamation if Park officials would come to pick it up at (and this is the SCPR's description - not that of Park officials) "at a photo-op" session.

Remember, Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez is a mover and shaker in Jackson (fiscal officer and former trustee). Lot of substance to this guy, no?

The SCPR is working on developing a list of other Stark Countians who lost their lives in Vietnam. So far the total number is 91 (63 from Canton). What communities did they come from? What haven't those communities jumped in to support the OVMP?

But whether or not a particular Stark County community has suffered a loss, each and every Stark Community should be participating at the OVMP at some level.

Governor Strickland turned down the Ohio Vietnam Memorial Park both for Ohio's financial support and for his appearance at the May 17, 2009 dedication before 7,000 potential voters.

He haa made multiple appearances in Stark/Summit County since the dedication, (in fact he is Canton today (headline in Sherrod Brown press release: Brown to Join Gov. Strickland in Celebrating Dedication of Saxton McKinley House, National First Ladies’ Library as McKinley Historic Home) but has not stopped once at the Park. But he could come to Stark in October 2008 to attend a fundraiser for a Democratic Ohio House candidate at the behest of former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

Doesn't Strickland have his priorities straight?

Everyday Stark Countians have supported the Park. About 600 to 800 bricks have been purchased by individuals and probably 10% of them have been purchased by folks like you and me. The Park purchased and laid a total of 11,000 bricks and are now being ordered at the rate of about two a day.

Take some time and watch the video about the OVMP done by Channels 45/49 (PBS) by clicking on this sentence.

Call your city councilperson, trustee and village councilman or your mayor and ask:

Why hasn't my community supported the Ohio Vietnam Veteran's Park?

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