Like so many in our county, we are getting excited for September! September kicks off the fall season (maybe — you never know with Ohio weather — it could be winter), but more importantly, September equals our fair! We will be back, of course, in our usual spot in the Merchants Building, so please make a point to stop out and say “hi.” As always, we will have a fun activity for the kids to celebrate being drug free.
If the fair is around the corner though, that means summer is coming to an end. We had another amazing year with Schiffel’s Safety Scholars. We distributed over 210 safety-themed books to our community. We also chose a winner for our “You Be the Artist” billboard contest — be sure to drive by the billboard on northbound U.S. Route 23, just .2 miles south of Shanahan Road — and give a honk for our youth winner, Reese. It will be displayed from Aug. 7 to Sept. 3. Our “You be the Author” contest ends Monday, and we will be announcing the winners soon. We were also able to partner with all of our county libraries and read to many young kids all summer long. Thank you to everyone who came out — connecting with our parents and youth is one of the best parts of my jobs.
It’s also been an extremely busy time in the courtroom. For a complete rundown of what we’ve been up to, you can check out our Facebook page where we routinely post “Court Updates.” We’ve also had our fair share of trials. From public indecency to domestic violence to another recent “win” for our special victims’ prosecutor, Sayje Brown, on a child sexual assault case — it is never a dull day in our world!
And those are just our cases that have “ended” in the courtroom. Our gas pedal is fully down in the areas of appeals and grand jury as well. This month alone, we have 697 active cases representing all stages in the criminal justice process. Just this week we had another child-sexual assault case sent to our office and, sadly, a homicide.
I do have to sit back and take a deep breath sometimes though — do you know what I get asked about most these days? Theft and destruction of political signs. If you haven’t noticed, there is a special election on Aug. 8, and the sign wars have really heated up. As a candidate myself every four years, I understand, political signs are property, and earned money was spent on that property, so when it gets stolen or destroyed, it feels personal. And to a certain extent, it is. So, this is your friendly public service announcement — yes stealing political signs is a crime. It can even be a crime if you trespass on someone’s property to steal the sign. And arguably, defacing the property of another is a crime. Now, this isn’t a crime my office would prosecute, necessarily, as they would normally be misdemeanors, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Until next time, let us not forget that kindness matters. Respect matters. We can agree to disagree without acting like jerks. And, most of all, remember our kids are watching. Future generations are learning from our behaviors, and, personally, I want them to remember a summer filled with playgrounds, ice cream, Schiffel’s Safety Scholars (smile) … and most of all — love and kindness.
Melissa A. Schiffel is the Delaware County prosecutor.