Commissioner twisted the point


Recently, Trumbull County Health Commissioner Dr. James Enyeart responded to my letter to the editor regarding the situation at Bontragers’ Grocery Store in West Farmington.

He accused me of ”railing against basic public health measures such as sewage abatement.” Never in the original letter to the editor nor in any of my columns nor in any public statement have I ever ”railed against … sewage abatement.”

Surely, with all of his education, Dr. Enyeart knows that a person can be for a certain goal while being against the extent of the goal or certain methods for reaching that goal.

The point of my letter was not really about sewage abatement at all. It was about the targeting of one business simply because the owner happened to speak against the way that our Health Department operates.

Dr. Enyeart also says that my letter contained misstatements, but never actually points out what those misstatements are.

Dr. Enyeart alleges that the Bontragers have been locked in a dispute with the Ohio EPA since 2010. In 2010, the OEPA wrote a letter to Kevin Bontrager asking for evidence that West Farmington Village was actively pursuing a sewer project. Mr. Bontrager complied with that request and never heard from them again until the inspection in February – hardly an ongoing dispute.

The inspector told Mr. Bontrager that had there not been that original anonymous complaint, the Ohio EPA would not have bothered to inspect or revisit the septic issue until a later date – probably after the sewer project slated to begin in 2015.

Dr. Enyeart said that I minimized the impact of the Bontragers’ sewage production. I was making a comparison for the purpose of illustrating that the store had indeed been singled out when most of the homes in the village have noncompliant septics and produce many times the waste than the Bontragers.

Remember, too, that the village is getting a sewer system within the next few years. It would be a waste of time, energy and resources to require the Bontragers to upgrade their septic when it will only have to be abandoned so soon.

Dr. Enyeart calls my suggestion that the health department would deny anyone their fair treatment repugnant. What is truly repugnant is that over and over in the last few years, the Trumbull County Health Department has done just that to people who dare to speak out. Just ask Berry and Deanna Meadows.

Facts are stubborn things; he can try to obfuscate those facts and even be arrogantly dismissive of those who bring them to light, but the facts are still the facts.

Martha Yoder


Yoder is a Farmington trustee.