Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Community Booster 10-02-03
Just Vote!
By Jeff Gill

Mary Jo Long and Jean Weisert remember when a coin toss decided an election.
“You have to declare a winner before a recount can be requested,” Long said, “and the vote was even on the first round.” So a George Washington quarter was found and thrown for heads or tails.
One vote. Your vote. Can it be that important?
After the last presidential election, which repeated a national drama seen in Nixon versus Kennedy (one voter per precinct could have swung the result to the Republicans) or in Tilden vs. Ohio’s own Hayes (ditto for the Democrats), can anyone really doubt the importance of one vote, even on Tuesday, Nov. 4?
A recent visit to the Licking County Board of Elections, in the County Administration Building across from the Courthouse, showed a steady stream of absentee voters weeks ahead of county Election Day.
“Now when you press next to your choice, push through that chad so it pops out the back,” one elections clerk reminded folks at the counter. Americans know about chads nowadays, hanging, pregnant, and otherwise. Electronic methods may be on their way, but director Long (a Republican) and deputy director Weisert (a Democrat, as one of the checks and balances found in every electoral step from top to bottom of the process) are both certain that the old punch cards can give Licking County a reliable result, with a little help from the human factors.
“We’re expecting 100% turnout; we always want to see that,” declares Long. “We are preparing for about 45% in this non-federal election year. There are 99,119 total registered voters in the county, and we plan on seeing about 44,500 of them.”
Turnout is around 75 to 80% in presidential election years, which makes little sense to Long and Weisert. “These are the elections where you’re picking the people who really affect your day-to-day lives,” Long says. “And your vote counts very directly in local races for mayors, council members, township trustees, and school boards.” Weisert notes, “This should be the 80-plus percent election.”
From 6:30 am to 7:30 pm, voting locations will open all over the county, and over 488 pollworkers will put in fourteen hours days and more. By statute, there must be four pollworkers for each of the 122 precincts, working out of 69 locations. Paired Democrats and Republicans oversee each step in the process, ensuring fairness and impartiality.
These workers for democracy make $85 for their before sunrise and after sunset day, along with occasionally dealing with a citizen who is disgruntled to discover that they aren’t registered.
“According to the 1995 National Voting Rights Act, if someone does not vote in two subsequent federal elections, or in four years, we send that voter a card notifying them that their status may change,” explains Long. “Either that card needs to be sent back indicating that they wish to remain a registered voter, or if they take any action as a voter – signing a petition, voting in a primary, or voting in the next election – then we know they are still living at that address and are renewed as a registered voter.”
“It takes, in practice, at least eight years of inactivity for someone to lose their registered voter status,” Weisert adds.
Moving also requires a new registration, but if you were registered somewhere within Ohio, you can still vote as a “walk-in” voter, which will require a bit more paperwork and proof of identity.
The “Motor Voter” legislation, opening up the registration process, has made it easier to get registered as a voter, but has also led to some thinking they’re registered simply by getting their driver’s license or signing up for local services. “If you’ve never filled out a voter registration form, you’re not a registered voter,” explains Weisert.
And if you last voted for Ronald Reagan, you may not be registered any longer.
If you aren’t registered or have lapsed, it actually isn’t too early to start thinking about the next election. Long and Weisert were quick to point out that the next electoral event is the Presidential primary for Ohio on March 2, which makes the deadline for registration February 2. . .just three months away.
In fact, the Licking County Board of Elections (with two Democratic and two Republican members, of course) and the staff are constantly thinking about the next election. There can be as many as four cycles each year, with local school district levies, bond issues, charter amendments, and state issues to tally along with the usual slates of officials and representatives.
Will your one vote count? Absentee voting can be done until 5 pm in the Board offices on Monday, Nov. 3, and about 2,000 have done so already. Those citizens probably already know about Gore v. Bush, and some may remember that even the late, well-known Gov. James Rhodes had some “one vote per precinct” squeakers.
Some other notable ONE vote elections found on the internet:

In 1645, ONE vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England
In 1649, ONE vote caused Charles I of England to be executed
In 1845, ONE vote brought Texas into the Union
In 1868, ONE vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment
In 1876, ONE vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the United States presidency
A slightly more technical site on-line from a statistician says that for elections of less than 100,000 voters, there should be a tie result in 1 out of every 30,000 races. The Board of Elections doesn’t keep track of such things, but they’re sure Licking County is well ahead of that prediction.
“We’re always prepared for that outcome, just in case,” said Long. Sounds like they’re prepared for everything: are you prepared to vote on Nov. 4?
On Election Day, Tuesday, November 4, the polls will open at 6:30 am and close at 7:30 pm, in 69 locations serving 122 precincts all across Licking County. Absentee voting can be done until 5 pm on Monday, Nov. 3, only at the Licking County Board of Election Offices on the first floor of the Hill County Administration Building across from the Courthouse in Newark.

Monday, October 27, 2003

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The Church Window – November 2003 Hebron Christian Church newsletter

Notes From My Knapsack

One of the best pieces of news at the Charlotte 2003 General Assembly was that, for the two years since the last GA, the Disciples of Christ have started the most new churches and welcomed the most new members since the 1920’s. Can I hear a “Hallelujah!”
Of course, a thoughtful observer might ask “But aren’t our total numbers, both congregational and membership, still declining?”
Yep. They sure are. No point in sugar coating the hard news, which is that years of what I’d call “deferred maintenance” in not starting new church plants in growing areas, while existing churches in rust-belt downtowns and grain belt rural areas are quite naturally aging and shrinking.
But that does not in any way erase the good news that a) the Disciples of Christ are fulfilling the Great Commandment (see end of Matthew’s Gospel), b) we’re doing it well enough to measure. If we keep doing both, the decline in membership will reverse, and is already leveling off. In areas of growth in the South and Southwest, we Disciples are being fruitful by multiplying.
What does this have to say to Christ’s Disciples here at Hebron Christian? Well, in another good news/bad news twist, a speaker at the pre-Assembly Evangelism Workshops handed around a demographic curve that shows the life cycle of established congregations. According to it, we should be, well, dead. . .congregationally speaking, that is.
Now, his point wasn’t that some places can’t break the curve: his point was, only about 5% of mainline congregations make it past 125 years. It is, all the data show, a natural lifecycle. Nothing personal, he says, but when a church he consults with says “that won’t be us,” he has to find a way to courteously ask “Why not? It could be, but you have to tell me why you belong in the 5% when the odds favor a bet on 95%.”
So here we are at 137 years and counting. That’s data right there. Another reason for optimism is that your elders, and the Program Planning Retreat, and trustees, are all looking at how prepared we are for coming challenges. We aren’t assuming that the past will look like the future, and this church is prioritizing both long-term maintenance and mission outreach in 2004 and beyond.
That times are tough fiscally is no surprise; that we continue to “praise God, share Christ, and grow in the Spirit” may be more surprising than we realize, and is quite possibly a sign that Jesus has some work for this congregation to do in the Hebron that is and is to come.
Let us give thanks!

In Grace & Peace,
Pastor Jeff

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Christian Church in Ohio Updates

At Charlotte, the Assembly welcomed and celebrated more than 140 new church starts since two years ago in Kansas City. Church Extension says that our success rate continues above 80%, which is exceptional.
In Ohio, we’ve had two: North Lima has “The Saturday Church at Glenellen,” which is exactly what it sounds like, meeting the needs of shift workers and others for whom Sunday morning is rarely time off. While the figure is well known that 65% of the US population is not within driving distance of a Disciples congregation, there’s access and then there’s access. This new option has brought many unchurched families into a new worship experience, supported by existing Disciples churches in the area.
And at Mentor, where their Campbellite roots go back before 1830, Mentor Christian Church hosts “Mision Cristiana Emanuel (DC),” a Latino congregation with Spanish-language services. This well-established Disciples congregation has found new vitality with the excitement of the young families and activities of this “daughter” church.
If you get National Geographic, look at the most recent (Nov.) issue in the Geographica section towards the front, which tells the story we heard in Charlotte very well.

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Youth News

Officers for the Hebron Christian Youth in 2003-4

Girl-Co’s: Julie McNichols & Whitney Mason
Boy-Co’s: David Cable & Josh Halter
Jr. Ldrs.: Jessica McNichols & Tracy Wildermuth
Communicators: Michael Scheidegger & Josh Walters
Treasurer: David Scheidegger

The youth are collecting “Coats For Kids (and Adults)” through Nov. 16, and they will offer the poinsettia sale, whose proceeds go to their “Adopt A Family For Christmas” plan.

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Community Thanksgiving Service

Lakewood Area Churches will come together at Lakewood High School’s auditorium on Sunday evening, Nov. 23, at 7 pm. Area youth and their advisors will provide the music and message, with an offering taken for the LEADS Buckeye Lake Food Pantry.

Come join us!

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Here’s what I read before the prayer time last Sunday (10-26). What I *didn’t* read at first is in parentheses, otherwise it’s verbatim.

(From LIFE Magazine, Jan. 7, 1946, by John DosPassos:)

The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." A tour of the beaten-up cities (of Europe) six months after victory is a mighty sobering experience for anyone. (Europeans,) friend and foe alike, look you accusingly in the face and tell you how bitterly they are disappointed in you as an American. They cite the evolution of the word "liberation." Before (the Normandy landings) it meant to be freed from the tyranny of the Nazis. Now it stands in the minds of the civilians for one thing, looting. . . .

When the British and American came the Viennese felt that at last they were in the hands of civilized people. But instead of coming in with a bold plan of relief and reconstruction
we came in full of evasions and apologies. . . .

We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease.

[Good thing we didn’t give up on Europe and come home, isn’t it?]
Hebron Crossroads 10-02-03
By Jeff Gill

Lots to share about activities ‘round the Hebron Crossroads in the week past and coming weeks, so read this column down to the end!
Beggar’s Night and the Lakewood Band Fall wrap-up concert are just past us, and Autumn is starting to hint at winter; seven Sundays to Christmas and counting down. . .

Monday night, Nov. 3, the Hebron Historical Society is meeting at 7:30 pm at the United Methodist Church of Hebron. Their program, in keeping with the slogan for our village of “Historic Crossroads of Ohio,” will add to the traffic of the National Road and the Ohio Canal with a presentation on “The Great Hopewell Road,” a two thousand year old construction from Newark to Chillicothe that passes through the boundaries of Hebron itself (just west of Evans Athletic Complex and the Municipal Building).
Oh, and I’m the presenter. Actually, you’ll get a good overview of the work of Dr. Brad Lepper of the Ohio Historical Society; or maybe an underview as I’ve been a regular spear-carrier for Brad through his many years of research in this area. But come and learn about the millennia of history that makes up the Hebron story.

And the next morning, bright and early at 6:30 am (OK, not so very bright then), the polls will open for Election Day. The faithful poll workers, those laborers for democracy who are your friends and neighbors, will put in more than thirteen hours in many cases to let you use your democratic rights to select leadership. Do your part, and show up to make your informed choice part of the results of this exercise in freedom.

Would you like some endorsements or recommendations? Keep on reading, but first. . .

On Veteran’s Day, Tuesday Nov. 11, at 1 pm, a grand gathering will be held at Evans Park on Refugee Road to dedicate a memorial to those out of the Hebron school who have served their nation. Many, many veterans names are on the plaques across the front of this monument, with three flagpoles standing behind. If anyone out of the Hebron schools who have served from WWI to the present have been missed, it’s not because the committee hasn’t tried to find them.
If you can join us for a program and ceremony that hallowed day, please come on out; you’ll read more on the cover of this paper next week.

Since my colleague Jimmy is taking a break, your Hebron correspondent snuck over the line into Buckeye Lake last week for the Buckeye Lake Youth Association Hallowe’en Party. They had hoped to have celebrity judges, but settled for who they could grab at the door. You don’t care about the judges, you want to know who won, right? Here they are:
For 13 and over, Breanna Jordan as HulaGirl; in the 10 to 12 category, Steven Hunt’s Mummy and Neal Sayatovich’s Lizoman won; among many 7 to 9 year olds, Victoria Diehl was a fine Cat Lady, and Darby Lasure had hand-made an amazing SpongeBob costume (yes, we sang the song).
For the 4 to 6 age group, Kelsey Atkins was an Angel (mom was silent on this point), and Zack Marlo was truly Zombie-like; in the youngest bracket, Amelia O’Neall was a convincing Dora the Explorer and Britanny at 6 months was a very quiet Kitty.
Over 100 kids got a great evening of fun, food, and activity out of the work of the Buckeye Lake Youth Association: congrats to all!

Hebron Elementary School’s PTO concluded their Fall Fundraiser with $10, 424 made for the activities and extras they support. At a pre-schoolday assembly, the top sellers were honored: Joshua Eastwood, Joshua Ricket, and Devin Chafin, with Mrs. Wagner’s class as the top selling room. Also winning recognition for their participation were Andrew Bransfield, Cassie Evans, Cameron Norman, and Jared Treadway. Good job to all involved!

Looking at the Hebron Gym and taking pictures for the PTO yearbook, I couldn’t help noticing that, even with quite a few students not at school yet, the stands were filled, end to end. I remembered that, in Donna Braig’s history of our area schools, she tells the story of how the School Board that built the Hebron School in 1914 was almost entirely voted out of office the next year for building too big and too nice a structure. Many of the same names were on the board when discussions began ten years later of how Hebron would expand the already cramped facility.
Did they regret their words in 1915? Had the irony occurred to them as they worked to build additions in the 20’s and the permanent structure they built in 1937, now that same gym?
I can’t help but wonder about those stories from our past as we prepare to make another chapter in Hebron’s history on Nov. 4. Some folks have chosen to run for village office claiming they can “stop growth.” For whatever your correspondent’s experience and knowledge is worth: anyone telling you that village officials can stop growth and freeze time in and around Hebron is either kidding themselves or not telling you the truth.
We do have a choice right now. The choice is between healthy growth, or unhealthy growth. We can have high-density, poorly-built housing, along with high-turnover marginal businesses as our future, or we can have a mix of housing types and designs for all income levels and putting a solid base under our property taxes, along with a diversity of industrial, distribution, and service-related businesses. That’s the choice. No growth presumes that the many purchases of frontage on US 40, the options and easements and proposals far to the east and west of Hebron’s village limits, let alone the already approved plans in Heath just north of Beaver Run and in Buckeye Lake just south of I-70, can be stopped by mayor and council.
Not gonna happen. We can’t stop the wave washing out of the maelstrom that is the Columbus metro area, but we can prepare, negotiate, and redirect developers and investors in the best interests of the Hebron that is and the Hebron that will be.
So this citizen, veteran, parent, and voter will be casting a ballot for Clifford Mason as mayor, and for Mike Halter on council. Jan Yocum has shown some awareness of these realities and issues, and I believe she can be an asset to council in the next term as well, but Cliff and Mike have shown a clear track record of controlling and managing growth, and have a clear picture of the challenges ahead.
Along with two choices for council, you can vote for two of three on Lakewood School Board, and the good news is that we can’t go wrong: pick two and promise to help the ones that win, and our students will benefit regardless. Good, clean, fair campaigning from Pam, Tim, and Forrest is appreciated by all of us in the district.
Our other village candidates have a “go back” agenda which I quite candidly think would be swamped and overturned by the coming wave, a surge that they seem to quietly imagine will pass us by. If you wonder at my endorsement, just consider driving around Pickerington, Reynoldsburg, Groveport, or Hilliard, and you’ll see my point. Will we stay ahead of the game, or just let it happen to us?
Or you can call me at 928-4066, or e-mail, and let the Hebron Crossroads know what you think!