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Anonymous letter lambastes Medina business owner’s ‘Hate has no home here’ sign

December 21, 2018

Anonymous letter lambastes Medina business owner’s ‘Hate has no home here’ sign

MEDINA – The tiny sign in the window of Thomas Flood’s small business was meant to be welcoming, to encourage empathy and kindness.

Instead, it has led to a police investigation over an anonymous letter that savaged Flood for placing the sign there.

Flood owns the Medina Family Practice and Wellness Center, near State Route 18 and Interstate 71, where he treats patients for minor illnesses and provides student physicals as a nurse practitioner. When he opened his business in July, he put the sign, which is the size of a license plate, in the lower corner of his front window. It reads, “Hate has no home here.’’

The signs are somewhat common and have sprouted in front yards, homes and businesses across Northeast Ohio. They were created by a nonpartisan group of residents in 2016 in the North Park neighborhood of Chicago to promote diversity and denounce hate speech.

Last Friday, Flood checked his postal mail and opened an anonymous letter. It began: “I am a coach in Medina, and this letter is representing quite a few coaches, as well as the response of the athletes’ parents.

“We had discussed physicals and wellness for many of our athletes, but due to your political sign in your front window, many of the parents have advised us not to send our athletes to you. I do not understand how you can impose political views…. This will cost you in the community.’’

Flood said he gave high school athletes mandatory preseason physicals last summer, charging just $18. It was more an attempt to introduce the business to the community than to make money. He said he never meant for the sign to have any political connotation. He said he simply wanted it to be a message that hurtful acts against others are inappropriate.

“I wouldn’t have put this in the window if I thought it was political,’’ he said. “It [the letter] shocked me. I didn’t think people did that. I’m walking around now [looking at people] wondering, ‘Is that the person who wrote it?’ ’’

Pamela Miller is the leader of the Medina Diversity Project that formed a few years ago to embrace and promote cultural differences in the city. She called the letter “a black eye for this community.’’

“In most cases when you get an anonymous letter, you just ignore it, but, in this case, it is just so troubling,’’ Miller said. “It’s just distressing and cowardly.’’

Medina Township Police Chief David Arbogast said his office is investigating the letter, although he admitted it will be difficult to track down the writer.

“I was really surprised that this would happen here,’’ Arbogast said. “Those signs are everywhere. It’s not just him.’’

Flood also is surprised it would happen in the community where he and his wife are raising their three sons.

“Everything that I’m trying to do here is to be inclusive,’’ he said. “I thought that’s what the sign was supposed to be about.’’

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