Some thoughts after the May 5th election. If I didn't believe what I was attempting to do was the right thing to do and if I thought there was a good alternative I would not have spent so much time and money on what you have been reading on this web site. And when you get beat by the opposition so soundly as we, those of us who were making an attempt to dissolve the Village government, were yesterday you have to examine why you lost. That is unless you just want to fold your tent up and go home. There is nothing I would like better than to do exactly that! But it would seem that after this thumping we took as a group we became more determined than ever not to disappear! We had simply won too much during the course of the entire campaign to just leave the field.
But we do have some choices to make and for that it will take some time and planning. So don't give up on using this site to find information as you have in the past. I need to do a number of things before the next round is started. I have stacks of public records to sort and file. I need to make the indexing better so that you can find information easier. And I also need to evaluate what people are most interested in so I can concentrate my efforts on those issues. So come back around the 15th of May and by that time I will at least have the after May 5th edition started.
Thanks for your support and your interest and I will be seeing you all soon.
John M Toren
I believe that most folks have made up their minds about how they are going to vote on May 5th so as far as any more articles are concerned I see no reason to be in a hurry to post more until after the election.
What I would like to do is just talk a little about the journey I have been on since last August 11th and what I pray will happen on election day. For the most part I am finished with the truth about the Amelia Administration for now. All the articles that I have written speak for themselves.
In many ways this has been a terrible journey and in many ways it has been a wonderful journey.
I want to get the terrible side of this journey finished first because I want the wonderful side of my journey to be the last thing you remember on this visit to this website. The terrible side can be seen in and among most of the articles that have been posted on this website. There are over 180 articles on this part of the website and if you go back to last years there is a total of 279. As of this morning since February 17th when I began to keep track this website has had 18,436 page views. As far as good news and bad news that could go either way but I will tell you this. The article on how Mr. Menz got his job was read 377 times since I posted it. I have a lot more articles that I simply didn't have time to finish and post so as they say in the movies "Nuff said" about the terrible side!
On the wonderful side of my journey:
I have met some of the nicest people that you can imagine on both sides of this issue. Now when I say met it may have just been by phone, or email and not just direct contact. Those who wanted to keep Amelia made their feelings known to me in a respectful rational manner and we communicated with each other like adults trying to resolve our differences. I even have plans to meet with some after the election when I have more time.
I have visited two out of the three Fire Stations on the Batavia side and in addition to Fire Chief Riley I met a number of Fire/EMS personnel. What a wonderful group of people! I have had several meetings with chief Riley and I was impressed with his honesty and his persona.
I have met people at the Clermont County Communications Center who were most helpful in my research. Not only helpful but extremely competent in their work.
I visited the Board of Elections and I will tell you this! The people who work there and are in charge are wonderful hard working people who are extremely competent and very very good at what they do for a living. They are pleasant to talk to and treat you with great courtesy in spite of the fact that at election time they are as busy as bees in the hive! Just to give you a little idea of what I mean I recently received a phone call from the Board and it was a lady who I had talked to probably three months earlier and who I had asked for some information about how many registered voters there were in Amelia. They didn't have the latest information available at the time and she had told me that when it became available they would inform me. Three months later she calls me to tell me that the information was available and she gave me the statistics! It had been so long that I had forgotten about it but they didn't! How's that for government that works!!!
Dr. Brooks, the West Clermont School Superintendent is as responsible a government employee as you will find anywhere! His honesty and integrity are above reproach! He proved this by his actions after he became aware of the children's flyer incident! During our time in working out the details of this issue we also came to find out that we had some things in common. His aunt was my English teacher at Anderson High school during my senior year, 1959! The talk we had turned into a little history lesson about our two families who both lived in the Anderson Township area during that period of time. We plan to have coffee together and talk about those times after the election.
One of my recent feedbacks was from a resident who did not want to dissolve Amelia but he did want to get rid of certain members of the Administration and try to fix the problem rather than to dissolve the problem. He told me about his families history in Amelia and one of the interesting things he mentioned was that his uncle's name was on the WW II memorial in front of the elementary school! He told me his uncle's name and that he was part of the "Band of Brothers". It immediately peaked my interest because I am very interested in the Band of Brothers and have done a lot of research about this brave group of men. I had a list of all those members of the 506th PIR (parachute infantry regiment) killed in WW II because year before last me and a buddy of mine, whose is a crusty old Marine vet, made a trip to Taccooa Georgia where the 506th PIR had taken their initial training. I wanted to make it to the top of Currahee Mountain on foot following the same trail the paratroopers took during their training. My buddy and I also wanted to say a prayer for each of the fallen and put a memorial stone for each on the side of the mountain so their spirits would always be remembered. That is what the list was for. Well I checked our prayer list and sure enough his uncle's name was on it! It just seemed so ironic to me that a neighbor of mine had an uncle who I had prayed for down on Currahee Mountain and at the time I didn't even know this connection existed. To me it was wonderful and amazing. I intend to post this sometime after the election with some pictures as well. We also plan to get together after the election!
I met all the Trustees of Batavia Township at a meeting I attended so that I might get some answers to what the ramifications would be if we dissolved Amelia. Both the meeting itself and the demeanor and judgement of the trustees was a great surprise to me after what I was used to living here. The trustees seemed like mature, sincere individuals who we in Amelia helped elect and gave honest and reasonable answers to all the questions asked. They seemed very pleased to see us and were very friendly and cordial. I also talked to the township Secretary who had spent I believe she said 18 years in the BMOP Fire/EMS Department. Although I didn't remember her she was with that wonderful department when they saved both my house and at the time my brother's house from burning down! With a minimal of damage I might add! She was also on the EMS run the day my brother passed away. He was dead when we called but the respect that all the personnel who showed up that day was unforgettable! She was on that run and so we had a wonderful conversation about all the things BMOP had accomplished on my family's behalf.
I also visited a Pierce Township meeting as well. Talk about a great way to run a government. You just will not find a better way anywhere in the world! Public input was so different that what we are used to living here. You could hold up your hand at any time and ask a question about the issue being presented. They even provide a podium and a microphone for you to speak from! The Trustees, who you in the Pierce Township side, already help elect are similar in nature to those in Batavia Township. They are mature individuals who seem to know exactly what they are talking about and are not afraid to give out reasonable and direct answers to any questions presented. There is by no means any attempt to cover up their decisions. They take the heat, provide rational answers and move on. I had an opportunity to talk to Police Chief Smith face to face while I was there. I had contacted him a number of times to try to find out what response the Pierce Township Police Department would provide if the Village were dissolved. Chief Smith was honest in his answers and I came away with great respect for Chief Smith and his department. The other thing that impressed me was the work that the Village Administrator had put in the planning should the Village be dissolved! These people know what they are doing. No doubt about it.
I also met on a number of occasions with the Village Solicitor Laura Abrams. I was impressed with her seemingly honesty the first time we had a direct conversation and that impression proved to be true. I have through a number of phone conversations as well as direct conversations come to believe that she is honest and professional and can be trusted. We have had some interesting conversations believe you me and we have had to agree to disagree on quite a few issues but the nice thing is we can still communicate openly in spite of our disagreements. I like and respect Laura and I am glad I have met her. She invited me to have lunch after this is over and I am looking forward to this. I told her we need to add Chief Sucher to our lunch party! If I ever need a good lawyer I know where I can find one!
As long as I am talking about Chief Sucher I may as well say that I also like and respect Chief Sucher. Although we have had issues that could have turned nasty we were able to go man to man over these issues and resolve them. I told Chief Sucher that I believed him to be "a good man in a bad position" and I meant it. I cannot say much about the Officers themselves because I don't know a single one of them except Rick and I don't know Rick that well. But my son does know Rick and has for years and he has nothing but praise for him.
Then there is the Dissolve Amelia committee crew. When I first became involved not only did I not know a single member or employee of the folks at 44 W Main Street and I only knew one person involved in the dissolve group and that was a person who I known for decades! I trusted this person without question! I then met some other members who as far as I can tell are the people I would best want as my neighbors and friends! Every one of them! I believe our comradeship in this crusade has turned into loose friendships that over the years will grow into something closer. At least I hope so. These are wonderful feelings about wonderful people. For the most part I also believe them to have a sense of responsibility and honor that meets my standards. They have never, to my knowledge, made mistakes in all the verbiage that we have put out into the arguments that they haven't corrected when they found it was wrong. And they have shown great courage in standing up for what is right! I am proud of all of them and I admire them all for their courage. And some have shown that they are true Christians by telling me that their prayers are for people on both sides of the issues! Mine are also! I would never have met these fine people had it not been for this crusade.
In my quest for the truth I have also discovered that I really didn't know a lot about the County and the Townships that we live in terms of things like services, parks, concerts and events and even restaurants! Each of you should go to their respective websites and look at all the things available from Clermont County, Pierce Township and Batavia Township! You will be impressed! I donít want to go over all the delightful things I uncovered but I would like to tell you about a few that really stood out to my wife and I. We go to the parks a lot, mostly to either use the walking trails or picnic. The one we use the most is probably one of the Pierce Township parks down on Locust Corner. It is a beautiful well kept area that has all you could want in the way of taking a nice walk or having a picnic. It has beautiful flowers and trees and is always well maintained. It also has toilet facilities 365 days a year which are extremely important. The second park we use is the Helicopter Park down close to Eastgate. I believe it's real name is Veterans Memorial Park but we always call it Helicopter Park. This is one of the best in the area if you are looking for a long walk on a paved surface. There is ample parking and toilet facilities 365 days a year. We love the pond and the ducks that frequent the park and enjoy just sitting and watching them when they are busy scrounging for food! It really is a nice place for an extended walk. However, all the parks that we have been to none, and I mean none, are as impressive to my wife and I as Sycamore Park over near Batavia. What a gorgeous place! Huge, with more than ample parking, more things like tennis, softball, swinging and kids stuff, walking trails, picnics, and I mean huge picnic areas and much much more including toilet facilities 365 days a year. If you haven't been there you need to go take a look!
I didn't know that Clermont County had a philharmonic orchestra either. Most of their performances are free and they perform a lot of their concerts at UC Clermont College which is great for people our age who cannot sit in the grass to listen to good music. They have many concerts throughout the year and the wife and I will be attending some soon. The Philharmonics also has an Educational Outreach Program that assists organizations such as the Northern Kentucky Youth Strings which were a special guest of theirs during a recent concert. What a wonderful feature of our county this organization presents.
Then there is "a restaurant" that we never knew existed. I am not sure how we came to see this but we were driving towards the entrance to 132 to go down to Eastgate and we were talking about the old Hardees restaurant the we used to go to quite often. We were curious to see what happened to the building and as we passed it the place looked like it had been another type of restaurant but it looked closed. A few days later we were passing by it again and there were some cars in the parking lot so since it was lunch time be pulled in and found it to be open! We decided to give a try and we had such a great lunch we added it to our eat out list of places! Just yesterday we went over a little later, about 6PM, and had dinner there. This time they had two individuals who were playing and singing and it was our kind of music! The place is called the "Carriage House" and you should at least go there once and try it! Restaurants of course a matter of opinion and taste but I think you owe it to yourselves to try this one at least once, preferably after 6PM when the music starts.
I learned so much about so many things I can't possibly post them all here and expect you to read them! Just too many! But there is some interesting and significant information that I think is positive but it is not my intention to make this statement a political statement but what my journey was all about. But I can say that I learned so much more about Village, Township and County government than I ever would have had this crusade not been necessary. I learned so much more about the people who govern us. I learned so much more about the financial condition of the respective governments. I have learned so much more about the character of the residents of Amelia. I have learned so much more about how the media works when it comes to government officials versus the private individual. I have learned so much more about the laws governing the forms of government that are involved with this issue. I'm quitting here, there is just too much. Needless to say I received an education that I wish I would have received a few years ago!
I did find out some history about my family along this journey. While I was out gathering petitions I was talking to an old time Amelia family that my wife and I have known for the 43 years we have lived here. When we were talking they told me that the old CG&P railroad had come through their backyard which was a farm in the day and that the railroad had stopped at their place to pick up containers of milk for the trip to Georgetown. My Grand father was a conductor on that railroad and I have some pictures of him and the crew. As a matter of fact I have one from 1898 showing all the crew in front of the old steam engine before it left Georgetown to return to Cincinnati! They still had the milk cans!!! It struck me that my grandpa probably picked up those very same cans and put them on the train! At the least he probably drank some of the milk!!!! What a great time I had talking to these people. The place where the track was laid is still visible even today! They even told me that the old station building still exists. It is in bad shape but it is still there. I walked down to take a look at it because my grandpa without a doubt left his mark there. I need to get some pictures before it is gone.
I could ramble on forever but I need to get going on my last before election project so I will leave you with this information. Dissolve the Village or not I am going to keep this website open for the residents of Amelia. I will change the format but how depends on if we dissolve the village which is what I am hoping and praying will happen. If that is the case most of what you have read will be delegated to history just as last years was delegated to "What Happened Last Year". I also have some surprises in store for you so please keep coming back!
May your Creator bless and protect you and yours regardless of which side you are on.
John M Toren