To Ashley Bunton:

I have not only read all articles you have written for the Washington Court House Record-Herald but I want to highlight and review important (to me) parts. First a little of my history and background. I am a registered but retired pharmacist. I have been so for over 63 years. I worked my way through college — Ohio Northern University. Worked 60 hours per week and carried 19 hours per quarter. Got married with two years to go. We lived in a trailer camp that had been condemned for at least five years. You could not even lock them and our cooking stove was a two-burner hot plate. Why did we do that? It is called motivation and discipline to do better in life to the best of our ability. No financial help what-so-ever, none. We came to Washington C.H. 62 years ago with $100 in our pockets. When we retired we owned our own pharmacy, serviced 600 nursing home beds with all pharmaceutical needs, had a DME sub-corporate business as well as the retail Rx part.

I have read about your formal education and formed an opinion which I will not elaborate on.

These people you have written about — do an article in about six months on them and check their progress in being productive tax-paying citizens. There is no Utopia and never will be. We receive what comes from our endeavors. The harder we work the more successful we become. These continuing wars on poverty and addictions will never be won. History proves that. No matter how many billions we spend on these glaring problems the more it takes out of the pockets of hard-working people via increased taxes.

“Vanishing cities” — You cannot control that. Has been going on for years. A lost cause at best. Downtown Washington C.H. will never recover. Yes we are inundated with poverty and will continue to be so because of those that won’t work. Why should they? When you consider their entitlements why in God’s name would they work? We have many jobs available here. Our economy would increase 10-fold if we had a labor force willing to work. We even have a drive on to build a new jail as the one we have is too small to house all the druggies. Same for treatment centers which have revolving doors. You have to want to beat the problem yourselves. Is it the only way to success.


Verne Haugen


Dear Verne,

Thank you for submitting your letter to us here at the Record-Herald and for taking the time to share with us the issues that are important to you. I was excited to read your letter because I feel that open dialogue, reader-feedback, and community conversations are the driver of awareness, the change-maker to societal issues and the successful foundation of community-empowered news.

As you mentioned, “The wars on poverty will never be won,” I would like to take a moment to discuss this. For those who are fighting those wars, I encourage to help wherever needed. Today there are at least 13 million American children growing up without enough food to eat three meals a day. We may not be able to end poverty and child hunger and starvation in the United States right away, but we can certainly work together to understand the issues, provide context with information and resources, and help those who are fighting this good fight to success, because those who are living in poverty, and those who do not work, and their children, are not the cause of poverty.

The economic ascertainability to levy taxes was established more than 100 years ago. There are other options for you if you do not wish to pay taxes because you don’t want your tax dollars to be used for programs that provide $5-$10 of food each day for a malnourished American child to have a daily meal. Some people don’t pay taxes and look at facing the consequences as less risky than allowing children to grow up malnourished, but others, myself included, believe that an investment in the health and lives of children today will prevent tomorrow’s epidemic and wars. And yet I am most impressed by the people who do small things everyday to improve the lives of those in their communities: starting a community garden, teaching workshops about growing food, educating people about how to cook healthful meals, or volunteering at a local food pantry, for example. When an individual makes a commitment to improve their community, no matter how small the change, it has a far-reaching impact that I believe can change the course of the world, especially if the individual dedicates a significant portion of their life to the commitment of completing small acts of kindness in their community each day.

I’d be happy to talk with you more about the issues that are important to you and I invite you to participate with us in our future community forums on hunger, poverty, jobs, and the drug epidemic. We will update the community in the future with information about these up-coming forums. We’re all in this together.


Ashley Bunton