Barnes Hotel Fire Debris Cleanup

The cleanup should commence soon. The necessary documents have been executed and will be delivered to the funding agency this week.

Save your local economy…

A thought for the day: For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spent it online and nothing comes home.

150 Things You Can Do … Final List

Social networks are built through hundreds of little and big actions we take every day. Here’s part of a list of nearly 150 ideas, drawn from suggestions by others to connect with others, build trust and get involved. Try some of these or try your own. If you have additional ideas, please send us a comment (click on “comment” below).

136. Say hi to those in elevators

137. Invite friends to go snowshoeing, hiking, or cross-country skiing

138. Offer to watch your neighbor’s home or apartment while they are away

139. Organize a fitness/health group with your friends or co-workers

140. Hang out at the community recycling activity  and chat with your neighbors as you sort your recyclables

141. Take pottery classes with your children or parent(s)

142. See if your neighbor needs anything when you run to the store

143. Ask to see a friend’s family photos

144. Join groups (e.g., arts, sports, religion) likely to lead to making new friends of different race or ethnicity, different social class or bridging across other dimensions

145. __________________________

146. __________________________

147. __________________________

148. __________________________

149. __________________________

150. __________________________

Law Gives Citizens Right to Attend Most Public Meetings

The following information comes from the Ohio State Bar Association

Q: Are all meetings of public bodies open to the public?

A: Most of the time, most of the meetings are open when the members are discussing the public’s business, but there are exceptions. The one absolute is that ALL votes must be taken at open meetings.

Q: What are those exceptions?
A: The law permits a public body to discuss “personnel” matters in a closed meeting, including hiring, firing, promoting or demoting public employees. However, disciplining an elected official for conduct related to official business must be done in an open meeting. Other exceptions include buying or selling property, meeting with an attorney to discuss imminent or pending litigation, matters related to bargaining with unions and any other issue required to be confidential under state or federal law.

Q: What kind of public bodies are covered by this law?
A: The law covers just about every decision-making body at every level of government that you could imagine from township trustees to school boards to the city council subcommittee on parades and celebrations. The body doesn’t have to make the “final” decision on an issue. It is enough if the body makes a recommendation to another public body. The law does not apply to all meetings of groups of public officials, though. The mayor’s cabinet, for example, holds meetings and makes recommendations to the mayor, but it is not constituted as a body with any legislative-type, or decision-making authority.

Q: What is the reasoning behind the exceptions to open discussions?
A: In cases where public employees are being investigated for misconduct, the exception allows potentially embarrassing matters to be kept private before a determination is made about what action to take. If the discussion involves the sale or purchase of property, advance knowledge of the plans could adversely affect the price. Obviously, discussing litigation is very sensitive and should not be open to the opposing side. The same is true of collective bargaining where a public discussion, while it might be interesting, might not be in the best interests of the community.

Q: May I take pictures at a public meeting or record what’s going on?
A: Generally, yes, provided you don’t disrupt the meeting. You have the right to attend a public meeting, but not the right to be heard at that meeting. If you are disruptive, you waive the right to remain and observe the meeting. A public body may establish reasonable rules regulating the use of audio or video equipment in order to limit interference with others’ ability to hear, see and participate in the meeting. These rules may require equipment to be silent, self-contained and self-powered. So, if you are taking a picture, for example, use a camera that doesn’t require a flash or make a lot of noise. It would be advisable to let the officials know in advance of your plans to record or videotape the meeting.

Q: Does the law cover all occasions when members of a legislative body get together, like three county commissioners at the county fair?
A: The law covers “prearranged discussion of the public business of the public body.” The fact that a majority of the members of such a body are in the same place at the same time does not make that gathering a public meeting. The gathering must be planned in advance for the purpose of having a meeting.

Q: How can I find out when meetings are being held?
A: Ask to be put on the public body’s meeting notice list. You can expect to pay a fee to cover the cost of having a meeting notice mailed to you or you may be required to provide self-addressed, stamped envelopes.

150 Things You Can Do … #7

Social networks are built through hundreds of little and big actions we take every day. Here’s part of a list of nearly 150 ideas, drawn from suggestions by others to connect with others, build trust and get involved. Try some of these or try your own. If you have additional ideas, please send us a comment (click on “comment” below).

121. Buy a big hot tub

122. Volunteer at your local local school

123. Offer to help out at your local recycling center

124. Send a “thank you” letter to the editor about a person or event that helped build community

125. Raise funds for a new town clock, park or other new feature

126. When inspired, write personal notes to friends and neighbors

127. Attend gallery openings

128. Organize a town-wide yard sale

129. Invite friends or colleagues to help with a home renovation or home building project

130. Join or start a local walking group and have coffee together afterwards

131. Build a neighborhood playground

132. Become a story-reader or baby-rocker at a local childcare center or neighborhood preschool

133. Contra dance or two-step

134. Help kids on your street construct a lemonade stand

135. Open the door for someone who has his or her hands full

(Last chance to submit your suggestions! The rest of the list will appear tomorrow.)

Have You Spoken Out?

Letting your opinions be known at a public meeting of your local government is exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they created our nation’s “participatory democracy.” Tell us about your experience. What kind of meeting did you attend? What issue did you speak on? Do you feel your appearance was effective and what advice do you have for others considering speaking at a public hearing? Please describe your experience by clicking on “Comments” below. Your comments can be made anonymously if you choose.

150 Things You Can Do … #6

Social networks are built through hundreds of little and big actions we take every day. Here’s part of a list of nearly 150 ideas, drawn from suggestions by others to connect with others, build trust and get involved. Try some of these or try your own. If you have additional ideas, please send us a comment (click on “comment” below).

Part 6

101. Greet people

102. Cut back on television

103. Join in to help carry something heavy

104. Plan a reunion of family, friends, or those with whom you had a special connection

105. Take in the programs at your local library

106. Read the local news faithfully

107. Buy a grill and invite others over for a meal

108. Fix it even if you didn’t break it

109. Pick it up even if you didn’t drop it

110. Attend a public meeting

111. Go with friends or colleagues to a ball game (and root, root, root for the home team!)

112. Help scrape ice off a neighbor’s car, put chains on the tires or shovel it out

113. Hire young people for odd jobs

114. Start a tradition

115. Share your snow blower

116. Help jump-start someone’s car

117. Join a project that includes people from all walks of life

118. Sit on your stoop

119. Be nice when you drive

120. Make gifts of time

 (watch for the rest of the list!)

Paulding Community Blog

Zoning ordinance number 656, enacted under chapter 713 of  the Ohio Revised Code.   ordinance  adopted by the Village of Paulding, Ohio, February 16, 1970.

Section 90.10′ H:

OPEN STORAGE PROHIBITED – Boats,tractors, airplanes, trucks,mobile homes, trailers, snow plows and other equipment and supplies may be permitted on residential lot PROVIDED THEY ARE STORED IN AN ENCLOSED STRUCTURE.

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Paulding Community Blog

Talking with people on their front porch last night, at approximately 10:30 PM, a couple of blocks off the square, they commented when a loud vehicle was cruising  around town, very loud even being several blocks away.  They said this is so common – loud pickups, motorcycles, cars with blaring radios, defective, altered,  or no muffler,  these all  during the daytime and at late hours after they go to bed, and then being awakened by the noise. I was reminded of the conversation of last night when at 6:45 AM this morning I was sitting in a swing in the backyard enjoying a cup of freshly brewed coffee made from fresh coffee beans – YUM – and thinking how pleasant a morning this was, a light cool breeze, absolute quiet, and then, don’t forget the time, a loud cackling motorcycle several blocks away, probably very very disturbing if you were…

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What may be discussed in “executive session”?

According to the Ohio Sunshine Laws manual [see link below] … An “executive session” is a conference between members of a public body [e.g. village and city councils, school boards, state agencies, etc.] from which the public is excluded. The public body, however, may invite anyone it chooses to attend an executive session. The Ohio Open Meetings Act strictly limits the use of executive sessions and places several limitations on their use. First, the Ohio Open Meetings Act limits the matters that a public body may discuss in executive session. Second, the Ohio Open Meetings Act requires that a public body follow a specific procedure to adjourn into an executive session. Finally, a public body may not take any formal action in an executive session; any formal action taken in an executive session is invalid.

There are very limited topics that the members of a public body may consider in executive session:

1. Certain Personnel Matters

A public body may adjourn into executive session:

• To consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of a public employee or official; and

• To consider the investigation of charges or complaints against a public employee, official, licensee, or regulated individual, unless the employee, official, licensee, or regulated individual requests a public hearing;


• A public body may not hold an executive session to consider the discipline of an elected official for conduct related to the performance of the official’s duties or to consider that person’s removal from office.

A motion to adjourn into executive session must specify which of the particular personnel matter(s) listed in the statute the movant proposes to discuss. A motion “to discuss personnel matters” is not sufficiently specific and does not comply with the statute.

2. Purchase or Sale of Property

A public body may adjourn into executive session to consider the purchase of property of any sort — real, personal, tangible, or intangible. A public body may also adjourn into executive session to consider the sale of real or personal property by competitive bid if disclosure of the information would result in a competitive advantage to the person whose personal, private interest is adverse to the general public interest. No member of a public body may use this exception as subterfuge to provide covert information to prospective buyers or sellers.

3. Pending or Imminent Court Action

A public body may adjourn into executive session with the public body’s attorney to discuss a pending or imminent court action. Court action is “pending” if a lawsuit has been commenced or is “imminent” if it is on the point of happening. A public body may not use this exception to adjourn into executive session for discussions with a board member who also happens to be an attorney.

The attorney should be the duly appointed counsel for the public body. Nor is a general discussion of legal matters sufficient basis for invoking this provision.

4. Collective Bargaining Matters

A public body may adjourn into executive session to prepare for, conduct, or review a collective bargaining strategy.

5. Matters Required to be Kept Confidential

A public body may adjourn into executive session to discuss matters that federal law, federal rules, or state statutes require the public body to keep confidential.

 6. Security Matters

A public body may adjourn into executive session to discuss details of security arrangements and emergency response protocols for a public body or public office, if disclosure of the matters discussed could reasonably be expected to jeopardize the security of the public body or public office.

7. Hospital Trade Secrets

A public body may adjourn into executive session to discuss trade secrets of a county hospital, a joint township hospital, or a municipal hospital.

8. Veterans Service Commission Applications

A Veterans Service Commission must hold an executive session when considering an applicant’s request for financial assistance, unless the applicant requests a public hearing. Note that, unlike the previous seven discussion topics, discussion of Veterans Service Commission applications in executive session is mandatory.

For a copy of the Ohio Sunshine Laws (Public Records Act & Open Meetings Act), visit the Ohio Attorney General’s website



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