Archive for February, 2011

>“Will Our Leaders Lead?” ~ by Dr. James Vandermark

>Your coverage of the battle of balancing the budget has been informative. Clearly, the issue we face is not only balancing the budget (living within one’s means) but also reducing our national debt! I concur that the public structure has far too long spent money they could ill afford to spend (due to the simple process: spend less than one takes in). Such spending shows an unhealthy political pattern of ineptness when it comes to spending. With such pattern comes a lack of trust in areas of fiduciary responsibility. In my opinion, this is one reason for the lack of political involvement (voting polls) and support by citizens. So, I ask, ‘will our leaders lead?’

Regrettably, our penchant to vote in those who mishandle the finances through whimsical spending without a realistic look at the bottom line, and if not altered, will, I fear, irrevocably lead to a financial despair that even the recession did not face. Sadly, it appears to me that even our current administration under our current president seems lackadaisical about the economy. Again, I implore, ‘will our leaders lead?’

Unfortunately, in view of the pending economic crisis on the back of overspending, we as a country and its constituent parts have come to unavoidable crossroads of forced accountability, and no one will enjoy it but everyone must endure it. Many have endured it. Many have lost their jobs. Factories have all but closed. The economy, contrary to the statements coming from political leadership is not rebounding for those of us living in its trenches. Again, I ask of our leaders, ‘will you lead?’

Now, it is at the threshold of the public sector. The ravaging economy hammers against the door. Leadership is facing the continued realization more is needed to avert the looming economic crisis. The leadership entertaining the cutting out of collective bargaining is certainly an emotional one. A sacrifice is being asked of those so involved as a part of averting the crisis. Alongside this, programs are considered being slashed, if not cut in the budgets (of course, I would question the validity of what is considered essential and non-essential programming. It seems the determination is not based on the purpose of government but on the cries of groups). Still, I cry out, ‘will our leaders lead, too?’

Will our leaders lead? I have heard much rhetoric given to this economic woe. I have read of the budgetary cuts that are being suggested to assuage the crisis. Much to my chagrin, I have seen political tactics attempted to avoid making hard decisions. This is embarrassing. When we need our leaders the most, they leave. Leaders lead, not run.

Will our leaders lead? Many have lost jobs. Various programs may be eliminated. Countless folks may lose some once held benefits. Nevertheless, not number among these is our political leaders. Our political leaders stand apart, untouched by the economic woes.

Will our leaders lead? Our leaders speak as if they understand the incredible painful tow it has had. How can they fully comprehend if they have not suffered a loss of job, the loss of a place to house their family, and the loss of caring for their loved ones? Too much time has passed for those of us who have endured it so for mere rhetoric to sooth us.

Will our leaders lead? Our leadership speaks as if they understand the sacrifice they ask of the American citizen. How can they fully comprehend the sacrifice of working for less, much less than before, struggling to live daily when they do not so live? Our leadership speaks as if they understand the sacrifice they are asking of the public servants to give up ‘collective bargaining’ but do they really. Do they fully understand how this process came about? How can they understand it when they can vote on their own salaries and benefits?

Will our leaders lead? Time for mere political rhetoric is gone. Action is warranted. I call upon our political leaders at all levels to join us. I call upon our political leaders to lead by returning to being servants for the common good of the United States rather than being a politician. I call upon our political leaders to lead by example of what they see and what they ask of us.

Will our leaders lead? Will our political leaders, from the president down to the states and cities, lead not only by words of compassion, not only by budgetary decisions, but also by a personal decision to take personal cuts in their salaries and pensions? Furthermore, will you do whatever is necessary to reduce your staff or reduce its pay in order to reduce the budget, and thereby promoting a healthier economy? Will you do everything within your power to curtail spending within your sphere of influence in order to reduce the debt, and thereby fueling a healthy economy? Is this not what our political leaders are asking of the public sector regarding collective bargaining? Would this not give substantive meaning to the words of compassion spoken to those of us eking out a living in these poor economic trenches?

Will you, our political leaders join us? Will you make a similar sacrifice, as your constituents have, and take a substantial reduction in salary and pensions to reduce and avert the economic crisis? Will you commit to it publically? Will you commit to it for as long as it takes to realign the economy?

Will our leaders lead? Leaders who are willing to join in the throes of sacrifice warrant the admiration of its people. Thus far, I have not seen any leader who is willing to walk among us, willing to sacrifice alongside of us in order for us to climb out of this economic quagmire. I do not ask that you take such measures that you cannot place a meal on your table, cannot keep the heat on, or wonder how you will care for your family like many of us. However, I implore you…

President Obama,
Vice President Biden,
Related cabinet and czars, support staff,
Governors and staff,
House of Representatives,
and all other political support etc.

to demonstrate your compassionate talk, show us your willingness to join us (instead of standing apart from us) by volitionally choosing to take the aforementioned cuts, and perhaps more you can think of in order show us, the American citizen, you are one of us and to develop a healthy economy.

Will our leaders so lead? I pray that you will. If you join us both in word and in your actions, we will follow. Otherwise, we are faced with the dilemma that may be at the root of our country’s woes as envisioned by Lee Iaococca’s book, Where Have All The Leaders Gone? This is too unbearable to consider. Will our leaders so lead?



>Annie81 sent in these photos of flooding in the Versailles area (Update from Celina)


The first is Seibt Road in Webster. The other two are the old 121 in Versailles.

UPDATE: the photo below shows flooding in Celina. There are many more photos in a slideshow at

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>They gave of themselves, and now they need your companionship

>The Darke County Chapter of the American Red Cross is looking for friendly volunteers who can share just an hour per week by visiting with local veterans. Volunteers, who must be at least 15 years old, will visit veterans living in one or more nursing care facilities throughout Darke County. Share stories, lend a friendly hand, help with letter writing or just be a friendly ear for these incredible individuals who made it possible for us to enjoy our freedom. Training and a background check are provided, and volunteers will have on-going support to help them fill this important role.

“It’s such a simple yet, heart-felt way to say thank-you to the men and women who have served so selflessly in our Armed Forces. Help us help them by spending a few hours a month sharing a conversation with a veteran who’s living out their life in an assisted living facility,” Lynne Gump, Executive Director, Darke County Chapter American Red Cross
To learn more about this volunteer opportunity or other opportunities within our community, please contact HandsOn West Central Ohio at (937) 548-8002, ext. 211, or visit HandsOn West Central Ohio, including Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, is a program of Council on Rural Services. This program receives funding from Darke County United Way, Corporation for National Service, Area Agency on Aging, PSA2, Harry Stephens Trust, and the Darke County HOPE Foundation.

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>Arrest Warrant Executed

>On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, at approximately 10:30 p.m. the Greenville, Police Department responded to the Star Dust Motel, located at 5436 State Route 49 S., to affect an arrest warrant on Michael Shane Penka.  The warrant, entered through Mercer County, OH, was for Burglary and Breaking and Entering.

Following a short investigation, officers located Penka hiding under a couch in room 114 and arrested him.  Officers also found thousands of dollars in stolen property, including jewelry, electronics, criminal tools and a loaded handgun.  Much of the stolen property was later found to be from a burglary that occurred on February 22, 2011, in neighboring Randolph County, IN.

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>Local presentation on congestive heart failure and benefits of yoga.
Area nurses can earn two contact hours, and learn how yoga can benefit their patients, by attending “It’s a Stretch: Congestive Heart Failure Updates and the Benefits of Yoga” on March 29. This program is presented by the Darke County Nursing Education Council and State of the Heart Hospice. It will be held March 29 from 4:30 to 7:15 p.m. in the third floor conference room at Wayne HealthCare, 835 Sweitzer St. in Greenville.

Nurses will receive updates on congestive heart failure and learn how to incorporate the benefits of yoga for patients with any of the following: heart disease, fibromyalgia, cancer, infertility, digestive issues, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Dr. Henry Chong, cardiologist, and Emily Jasenski, experienced registered yoga teacher, will be speaking.

Registration for the event is due by March 22 and includes a $20 fee that covers a light meal and contact hours. Please send your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and the $20 fee to Diane Crawford, 608 W. George St., Arcanum, Ohio 45304. Make checks payable to DCNEC.

For more information, call Diane Crawford, 937-423-5033, Kelley Hall, 937-548-2999, or Kathy O’Dell, 937-547-0013.

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>Last U.S. World War I Veteran Dies

>R.I.P. Frank Buckles


>Feedback on the comments

>A few readers have complained recently about the comments on this website. This is frustrating because some complain that the comments are restricted too much, while others argue that the comments should be restricted more. Obviously all of the readers are never going to be happy, but here are a few thoughts on how the comments are approached.

There are basically three possible options on comments:

#1 – We could have no comments at all. This option is unacceptable because the whole idea of DarkeJournal is for the community to be part of it. Before DarkeJournal, a few local media outlets controlled the media dialogue for the entire community. Now you do – and it would be foolish to go back.

#2 – We could let comments go up on the website without any prior review at all. This option is not preferred because someone could post a slanderous message – or post with foul language – which would stay on the website until someone complained.

#3 – We could do comments with prior review. This is the current approach, but the readers of this website should understand that the review is very cursory. There are days where hundreds of comments are submitted, and it is impossible to carefully read every word of every comment. Frequently, a scan is made for foul language, names of individuals, and obviously abusive comments.

The current approach presumes self-policing by the people on this website. At any point in time, readers can send an email complaining about an abusive comment. This has been part of the official Visitor Agreement since September 2009. What has occurred over time is that a lot of people like to complain that the comments are “nasty,” but rarely does anyone ever complain about an individual comment. Without any feedback, it is impossible to determine what is allegedly “nasty.” Occasionally, there are discussions that get out of hand and are shut down. But often it seems that some commmenters like to dish … but not receive.

Here are a few points in defense of DarkeJournal: 1) the comments on DarkeJournal are no different than the normal commentary that goes on at the post office, the hair salon, or any place else where people meet and have discussions. If you are seeing it here, you can bet it’s being discussed out in the community as well, 2) the comment policy here is much more restrictive than mainstream outlets such as The Columbus Dispatch, for example, which allows anonymous comments without any prior review at all. Other sites utilize facebook for comments, and we may also do that at some point in the future.

In an effort to further improve the comments, you are being reminded that you are part of the process. If you see an abusive comment, please report it. Further the message below has been added to the comment page as a continuous reminder.

Guidelines: You share in the DarkeJournal community, so please keep your comments smart and civil. Don’t attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards (or our Visitor Agreement), report abuse to