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Iva Walker

Iva Walker
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Garrettsville-Hiram Rotarians were treated to a  local small business success story at their noon meeting on Monday, October 20 as Jessica Brokaw described the commercial progress of her husband, Doug Seaman, of Doug Seaman Decorating, LLC ,recently one of the local contractors involved in the work on the addition to the James A. Garfield Elementary school.  The painters always get the last walk-through and their commitment to quality is evident all over the building.  Doug began painting with his dad ( and now with his father and son) and other contractors then decided to take the leap into being an independent business upon landing a contract with Applebee’s, Inc.  An LLC (limited liability company) is a flexible form of enterprise that combines features of partnership and corporate structure; Doug Seaman Decorating, LLC was formed in 2013 with help from Tanay Hill, of Huntington Bank’s Garrettsville office and has a learn-as-you-go attitude toward business, a philosophy of hiring quality workers and a commitment to giving back to the community, developing  and deserving trust.  Doug Seaman Decorating, LLC is a prime example of how a skilled tradesman can fit into the larger economy and support family and community prosperity.

Also making a presentation was Colleen Steele, head teller at the Middlefield Bank and a member in good standing of the Garrettsville Silver Creek Garden Club.  Wearing the latter hat, she invited the Rotarians to be a part of the community  photo calendar being offered by the Garden Club to finance the flower baskets hanging from streetlights throughout the village.  The opportunity to give the community advance notice of regularly-scheduled events such as the Reverse Raffle (November 19th  this year, coming soon; get your tickets) and Family Week (2015, February), even regular meeting days at Cal’s II was too good to pass up.

Personal invitations to the upcoming Reverse Raffle have gone out to state and local officials of every stripe to be a part of the evening coming soon.  Members need to turn in tickets and payments as they go

Tom Collins reported on the progress –and success—of a local re-imagine and rebuild Garrettsville project focusing on the Headwaters Trail as a development focus for health and well-being as well as the local economy.  The District(6630) and local clubs have chimed in for matching funds; plans are in the works!

Further discussion bubbled up  concerning the possibility of having a Community Giving Christmas  Tree on the open space downtown, possibly in conjunction with the People Tree.  More to come.

Roadside Clean-up of State Route 82 between Garrettsville and Hiram will be on Saturday, October 25 (a busy day all around); any volunteers should meet at 9:00 at the Carlisle barn at the bottom of the hill.  Lunch will be at McDonald’s.  Y’ all come, now.

Some cartoons, political or otherwise, are SO nail-on-the-head right that they ought to be required reading…er…viewing…er…whatever, for aware citizens.  The AB-J had a pip just the other day in a series called “Pearls Before Swine” (Think about that for a while) which is a little off-the-wall at the best of times , into lame puns and sight gags but this one could be considered a voice of prophecy, in a way.

First panel : a bald, semi-shaven guy with dark glasses, a broken nose, a “wife-beater” undershirt and black vest walks in and says, “Repo man here.”  Rat, standing there next to Pig (recurring characters with definite personalities in the strip), says, “Repo Man?  I’m not behind on my car payments.”

Second panel : The guy carries a ballot box—locked—away in the same direction he came from and says, “Not here for your car.  I’m taking back your democracy.  Too few people bother to read or stay informed or even vote.  So off it goes.”  Rat and Pig watch him go.

Third panel : Rat turns to Pig and says, “I hate it when that happens.”

Me too.

I’ve been serving as a poll worker for about seven years now and it always makes me proud to see a former student come in to cast a ballot; wish that I’d see even more of them.  It used to be a regular thing in the seventh grade to take my classes down to the Precinct A polls on High Street to observe the voting; the poll workers were always helpful and welcoming and happy to explain the procedures to the kids. Pity we can’t do stuff like that anymore.  The curriculum has changed so that civic education of that sort doesn’t really make an appearance until junior or senior year.  Cultivate interest early, I say.  Build on it.  Encourage it.

I remember telling classes that I was really excited about turning twenty-one (The dinosaurs and I had a party—right in front of a glacier.) and someone said, “Yeah, then you could drink!”  The thought never crossed my mind.  I could vote!  That was way more important.

It IS neat that young adults can now register to vote in government classes.  The risk is that they will become like all too many older adults and fail to live up to their responsibilities as citizens.  People will loudly go on and on about their “rights” and just sort of whisper about the other side of the coin, which would require them to actually DO something.

Like voting, for instance.  The polls are open thirteen hours—thirteen hours! For goodness’ sake, how many of us have to be tied down, nose-to-the-grindstone for so long  and at such a vital activity that we can’t arrange for the time to contribute to the fate of the Republic?  The date  of Election Day is determined far ahead of time(First Tuesday after the first Monday in November) so anybody who cares can work it into the schedule.  Absentee ballots are easily available to be put in the mail.  The Board of Elections office is open on weekdays at the county seat.  Think of the posters and advertisements around promoting seatbelt use—What’s Holding You Back?  Equally important, folks.

It would probably be a good thing to have some idea about what you’re voting for, too.  Pay attention.  Don’t just  reflexively pick a party and vote for everybody of that particular persuasion.  Investigate a little.  Read…on both sides.  Listen to what they’re saying.  Check out ratings and non-partisan assessments.  “Due diligence” can make a difference in what you actually see and understand.

And for goodness’ sake, don’t just vote “no”…or “yes”… on everything without understanding what the question is.  Emergency medical services( or fire & rescue or law enforcement), for instance, are something that we have to support all of the time or they won’t be available when we do need them.  Do you figure that saving a couple of bucks on your taxes is worth watching a neighbor gasping for breath trapped in a collapsed ditch on the back forty?  Will your money show up at a football game to take a kid with a broken leg to the emergency room?  The services of the Portage County District Library may not interest you but the programs that the various branches(Aurora, Garrettsville, Streetsboro, Windham) offer boost our schools(and home schoolers), provide for nursing home residents, give the  non-computer public a place to interact with information and opportunities on the web. That’s a bargain, any way you look at it.  Small money, big rewards.

Taxes are the price we pay for the things that we could not do alone : roads, bridges, parks, armies, navies, air traffic control, libraries, health departments, regulations of weights and measures…a whole raft of things that we seldom see but would certainly notice if they were gone.  And, sure, nobody wants to pay more than they need to (Arthur Godfrey said, “I’m proud to be paying taxes in the United States.  The only thing is—I could be just as proud for half the money.”) but doing your part to keep the “ship of state” afloat is a pretty important responsibility, at least as important as premium cable and/or top-of-the-line phone plans.  We might ponder the words of Will Rogers, “Thank heavens we don’t get all of the government we pay for.”Or, on the other hand, Henry Ward Beecher said, ”The worst thing in the world, next to anarchy, is government.”

Think about THAT. And vote!

Columbus Day reduced the ranks of   Garrettsville-Hiram Rotarians but the Rotary spirit carried on.  Discussions covered the following topics :

*Dictionaries are here to be distributed on Thursday to third graders at James A. Garfield Elementary

*The organization needs to update and improve its presence on digital media.  To that end, G-H Rotary will be trying out the services of “ClubRunner”, a commercial operation that has a base integrated with Rotary International and the capabilities to handle photos and directories, planning and calendars and much more.  The investment could help broaden local appeal as well as promoting outreach and connectivity.

*The possibility of a Cash Mob/Flash Mob inviting the fifty-three clubs of District 6630 to come to Garrettsville for the Christmas Walk sponsored by the James A. Garfield Historical Society on the first two weekends of November could be a real boost to the local economy and spirit.  The horses will be there for rides around town, on November 8 and November 15—Thank you, Sam, thank you, Pete.  Diners will want to scope out the possibilities. Entrepreneurs will want to scope out the opportunities of coming to a historic village making a comeback.

*The Reverse Raffle is rolling.  Anyone interested in being a sponsor or donor for the occasion should contact Trish Danku or any other Rotarian to get in on the good karma…and good advertising.  Tickets are available now; get your table companions NOW, look for a good time with a great bunch.

*Tom Collins gave an update on the application for a district matching grant focusing on the enhancement and promotion of the Headwaters Trail as a community asset for health and  economic activity.  Looking good…specifics are working their way through the planning stages.

*Ideas concerning a Community Christmas Tree downtown at the Chic & Shabby lot or the Buckeye Block space are being floated.  Things will begin to sort themselves out when there is more input.

Things are happening in Rotary.  Join them at noon on Monday at Cal’s II in Sky Plaza.

So I went to get new license plates, since my old ones were still on the poor , pitiful “Revolution Orange Metallic” car that got totaled, and this meant a sojourn in the local(Ravenna) office of the State of Ohio   Bureau of Motor Vehicles…turned out to be quite instructive, in a decidedly eccentric sort of way.

First off, one is required(Well, that is if you actually want to achieve your objective of getting license plates or  renewed driver’s license or stuff of that ilk) to take a number—just like at a busy deli or bakery– from a gizmo mounted on a pole right at the entrance doors.  It’s always a shock to look at the number you’ve got and at the crowd of people sitting there already waiting.  My number was 26; the first number called after I got there was 7.  O.K., this is going to call for settling in.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring any reading material—I usually do bring something on expeditions like this—so I whipped out my trusty pen and paper and took notes; people looked at me funny.

First of all, the set-up is better than it used to be; whatever it is that you want, when your number is called, you step up to the counter and the clerk who called will deal with your request.  Once upon a time, specific clerks dealt with specific operations and the issuer of license plates might be snowed under with people waiting  and waiting, while the driver’s license clerk was able to sit at her leisure to examine the new nail color that she had chosen and  tempers tended to shorten as the wait time lengthened.  Well, that’s done with…and none too soon.

The décor is quite enlightening, consisting of old Ohio license plates—predominantly in red, green or  blue, with  some yellow or black thrown in( For awhile there, the idea was to use the colors of the principal state universities—OSU, Miami, Ohio U, BG, Kent, etc.—as they were celebrating their centennials or sesquicentennials or whatever, but then the field expanded and budgets faded and who knows what the  Bureau of Motor Vehicles is thinking now?); 1933 was orange. The earliest date that I saw on the wall was from 1916; there was a1920 next to a 1921 and from then on it was consecutive to the present day. Most were for your standard passenger car but historical vehicles, trailers, farm conveyances, dealers, vanity plates, government vehicles and school buses were also represented.  Then there were plates from all of the states, from Alabama to Wyoming on the lintel above the service desk.  I must say, the design that the BMV has come up with for our Ohio plates is certainly lame, compared to some of the others on display.  I remember  several years ago we( or the BMV, anyway) got all in a snit when North Carolina beat us to the license plate slogan “First in Flight”  commemorating the Wright Brothers exploits at Kitty Hawk.  Somebody was asleep at the switch down in Columbus, probably.  “Birthplace of Aviation” doesn’t have the same ring to it.  “Ohio, the Heart of It All” was pretty good but somebody dropped that one  and currently it’s just sort of nondescript, a barn and an airplane or shadowy words about accomplishments or something behind the numbers; definitely forgettable.  Their whole design concept is less than arresting, that’s for sure. The chairs are black and lined up in rows of four across and there are what look like army surplus church pews running along one side(So you can pray for a lower number?).  The walls also have framed vintage automobile ads(I think that I remember some of them from the LIFE Magazine; that tells you just how vintage they are).  I spotted Dodge Plymouth, Ford, Mercury, Chevrolet, Jeep and Nash(How’s that for a blast from the past?);there was an Atlas Tires  blurb too.  There is also an  antique Ohio Driver’s Manual, some temporary tags, a reminder about  being an organ donor—don’t forget that one—and a display of the old paper driver’s licenses; I remember those too.   Somebody’s bad typing and my own ineptitude caused me to be driving for a whole year on an  expired license.  The last number was typed right on the line on the right side of the little box and I thought—having looked at it carelessly—that I had another year before needing to renew.  WRONG!  It was a nerve-wracking time between when I turned myself in and when I could  get an appointment to retake the driver’s test—written and driving.  Good thing I was still walking to work then and didn’t get into any high-speed car chases.

And speaking of displays….  Everybody’s got a tattoo.  The variety is stunning.  Everything from names inside of hearts—Mom, Emmy-Jo, USMC—to skulls and dragons and Disney characters to Maori designs, spider webs and faeries.  I knew a guy once who had a fly tattooed on his big toe; at the time, this was pretty far out; he’d be a wuss now.  Lots of the displays were on phone screens, everybody seemed to have someone to contact by text, the talking was not a factor.  The big TV screen was being mostly ignored.  The game show that was on was not real inspiring and nobody seemed to be paying much attention…including the contestants.

I must say that the clerks seemed very helpful.  One poor gentleman showed up with no I.D., no passport, nothing attesting to his place of residence; I think he was connected to the University and didn’t have the drill down yet.  The young lady helping him sent him to another office across the hall to figure all of that out; he came back and got through it, chop-chop.  Good thing, since another sign announced that  the whole place was appearing on closed circuit TV and there was an audio monitor in use.

So eventually my number came up , I had all of the necessary papers—including my checkbook—and I now have a new set of plates that I have to remember to put on the car before my 30-day tags run out.  This means that I will have to learn a new set of numbers and letters…oy!…and update my insurance…the fun never stops!

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary continues “full speed ahead” toward the big fall event, the Reverse Raffle and Silent Auction coming up at Sugar Bush Golf Club in November.  Sponsors and donors are still welcome; attendees from across the community can begin lining up their tickets now. See any Rotary member.  It’s an enjoyable evening with friends, old and new, and  great food.  Don’t miss it.

Items of business included Lisa Muldowney’s announcement that the Dictionary Project books are in.  They will each be outfitted with a sticker outlining the Four-Way Test and giving the name of the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club as the dictionary sponsor.  They will be distributed, classroom by classroom, to third graders at Garfield Elementary School as soon as they get their stickers.

The last home soccer game of the season will be on Tuesday; it’s Senior Night and the local Rotary Student Exchange guy in residence, “Zad”, has been part of the team since his arrival, making some major contributions.

The program for the meeting came from member Tanay Hill, of Huntington Bank, who started off with a clever quiz, designed to encourage focused observation by bank personnel and others who might be at the scene of an untoward event at a bank…or anywhere.  Observation  works to protect customers as well as bank employees when situations are out of the ordinary and may need investigation.

Ms Hill has one daughter and graduated from Youngstown State University in 2003 with a degree in accounting; her scholarship from Sky Bank led to her employment there and  when Sky Bank became part of Huntington, there she was.  She started in Warren, has risen through the ranks and has spent 9 years in management.  She is a past president of Business Network International, is involved in Junior Achievement and heads up a team of eight—with many years of experience– at the Garrettsville branch of Huntington Bank.  Her special field of expertise is in business development, which fits well with Huntington’s recognition as a #1 Small Business Administration lender.  Her branch has been a proud supporter of the Friends of Melana organization and is becoming more involved with the Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce.  She asks the right questions and gets good answers

The welcomed guest for lunch was Josh Prest, a regional representative for the state treasurer’s office.  His contribution to discussion was to mention that the Youngstown Business Incubator has recently been ranked #1 in the world.  Rising from the ashes is good for the region and good for the state treasurer’s office

Well, that train left the station without me aboard.

I had been planning to take the Portage County Farm Tour but it turns out that it was held on Saturday instead of Sunday and my schedule was all wrapped around the Aurora Band show, Thunder Over Aurora, so it was a setback to open the Record on Sunday and see that I had missed the whole thing.  Too bad.  Those tours are really quite enjoyable and one gets to learn a lot of stuff when going on them.

The Mackenzie Creamery was a big “draw” as far as I was concerned; the cheese they make is amazing and the goats which are part of the operation are always a hoot.  I like goats; they are characters, they have personalities.  You can’t go to the fair and  go through the sheep and goat barn without seeing(and hearing) at least one of them with feet up on the rails of its enclosure, looking around, and giving a loud and raucous “Baaaah”   to express whatever it is that goats think about all of the rest of us.   I understand that the billygoats have some disgusting personal habits and the bad rap that they have concerning body odor is often well-deserved, but the creamery itself was clean enough to perform surgery in when I saw it on the last tour.  The possibility of exotically-flavored   cheese samples may have entered into the desire to go there again.

Then there was a stop at the Sand Hill Stables, which I’ve been itching to get a look at for quite some time– the demos by the farrier(They’re the ones that work at shoeing horses, not blacksmiths) would have been instructive, I’m sure, my feet being what they are ,tours of Beckwith Orchards, Inc, that venerable fruit emporium in Franklin Twp, Brugmann Farms on Frost Rd. in Mantua(They’re not all about sand &gravel), and Lazy B, an apiary ( a place where bees are kept; a collection of hives or colonies of bees kept for their honey)on Ryder Rd. in Hiram Twp.—we all ought to know more about bees and what we can do for them, since they’ve been having a rough  time lately, what with the “colony collapse disorder” and the  profligate use of insecticides in agriculture   and shrinking  areas of wildflowers—or flowers of any kind—for them to forage for food.  The little buzzers have been having a time of it and we should pay attention because a very high percentage of the crops that we raise to eat depend upon the honeybee (genus : Apis ) and their cousins(seven species, 44 subspecies) of all sorts for pollination. And I missed it all!  Bummer!  Watch for it next fall; there aren’t that many farms/agricultural enterprises in Portage County any more.  We should support them  whenever we can; that’s what the Farm Bureau is all about doing in organizing these tours.

Which leads me to think that I’m going to actually get down to learning how to do things with my new phone…like keeping a calendar.  I have a calendar at home with space to write things in, which I try to do religiously(I’ve been excommunicated a few times) but if I don’t scribble a note somewhere when I’m out and about, then transfer it to the calendar when I get home, It’s anybody’s guess whether I’ll remember or not.  Notes on the grocery list are just not very reliable.  My brilliant plan for getting this phone thing accomplished is to take it to the next QuizMasters practice and have the kids instruct me on everything from calendar set-up to weather aps.  Heck, I could probably take it to the sixth-grade girls’ volleyball practice and get the same kind of help.  Ditto for the car; it does things I haven’t even discovered yet.

Missed World Pet Day on Sunday but the pets here are doing pretty well anyhow, except one of the original trio is heading for that last Big Lap in the Sky.  There’s only one cure for old.

I did go to the Thunder Over Aurora band show, which was fine and loud, as usual.  The official T-shirt this year was designed by a member of the Aurora flagline, utilizing caricatures of the  mascots of the participating schools—NDCL Lions, Southeast Pirates, Riverside Beavers(Riverside Regiment), Jackson Polar Bears(the Purple Army), the Garfield G-Men and the Aurora Greenmen .  There were the inevitable redundancies, two different bands playing the same tune, but the arrangements and instrumentations were so different that sometimes you could hardly tell.  Choreography abounds–on the flaglines and dance corps, by the instrumentalists, among majorettes(The Purple Army had a much-awarded feature twirler, she was really good)—everybody is “tripping the light fantastic” at the least provocation.  Calls to mind a line from an ancient ’40’s tune : “It must be jelly, ‘cuz jam don’t shake like that.”  Or maybe “Shake a Tailfeather” from the ‘60’s (It got into  the Disney film “Chicken Little in 2005, as well); there were plenty of shakos on the field.  There was—as occasionally happens at large gatherings–a little lost boy at intermission, a young sprout just sort of dripping tears, not sobbing yet but clearly in danger of heading that way.  A kind  young woman—she had a light green hoodie, so I assumed that she was an Auroran got him to the concession stand and the guys there relayed a call to somewhere to help find Mom ; everybody was very reassuring so the little fellow didn’t lose it, even after Mom did appear.  Actually, by that time, she was probably more likely to be teary than he.  And , Finally, I think that I shall  prod our athletic director (Look out, Mr. Pfleger) to find an equipment sponsor which will provide an “OFFICIAL golf cart” for big events at our school.  Those Greenmen have all the cool stuff…and the event was very well organized.  Thank you, Booster Parents!

Oh, and I saw T-shirts : Fear God. Love Your Neighbor.  Hunt Ducks…. Eclectic Genres…What does this mean?

Ya know…ya can’t make this stuff up.

Some dude, a financier with AGI Capital in San Francisco named Jesse Herzog, has come up with something that he calls the “Suitsy”, which is a “onesie”—familiar to the parents-of-infants crowd—for adults, specifically, adult male business-types.  He claims it will appeal to guys who appreciate “class, convenience and comfort”. “Imagine looking professional but feeling like you’re wearing pajamas.”

The Suitsy is a jacket connected to a shirt, attached to pants with fake shirt cuffs showing at the end of sleeves and a zipper(hidden beneath the fake button placket; tie, belt and shoes are extra) running the length of the front exposure from neck to crotch.  Aye, there’s the rub, to shanghai Shakespeare, and “Hamlet”, into the conversation…in a one-piece garment—coveralls, anyone?–this critical location, the crotch (or “crouch” as Mama calls it in “Music Man”) tends to move in concert with the shoulders, up, down, whatever.  So anyone wearing a Suitsy should think twice about ever raising his arms, or even doing a major shrug.  Either that or have a specially-crafted one made with the crotch somewhere south of its customary position.  And you don’t think that anyone would notice that?

The other concern out there is about the whole zipper issue.  Think about it.  Ladies wearing Spanx have had to do this for quite some time.  It can make “intestinal distress” into a category 5 disaster.

One commentator remarked that it was as though a business suit and a jumpsuit had produced a lovechild.

Anyway, anyway…this dude is touting his invention/device/garment on a website called Betabrand(the promo says “Better Than Fresh Camel Milk”, so you just know they’re about serious stuff) that apparently kind of does market  surveys to see if some new ideas are worth considering for manufacture and distribution…and funding, of course.  At last count, the Suitsy had 375 votes.

And Jesse Herzog has had previous business experience; he once ran a hot dog shop in San Francisco named Zog Dog which put the first hot dog into space.  What?  You missed that?  Gotta get with the program if you’re going to get rich.

***And you might get rich if you’re into Sumo, Sumo wrestling.  Yes!  The United States is the biggest venue for amateur sumo wrestling outside of Japan.  As a matter of fact, the U.S. Sumo Open was just recently held at Cal State–Long Beach and was quite an event.  Yeah,  there were videos with big pounding drum sounds from a drum corps   considerably different from what we might see on a Friday night football scene, ads for sumo equipment, sponsors—Sapporo Premium Beer, Hazutsuru Sake (couldn’t read the Japanese last one)—cheering crowds…the whole enchilada—or sushi roll, if you want to go in a different ethnic direction.  They do weight classes, both men(70) and women(15) and it’s certainly something to watch those very large persons tossing each other about in the middle of that ring.  Clearly, though, it’s not just weight that carries the day.  A competitor must either push/pull/maneuver the opponent out of the ring or cause them to hit the canvas surface.  A lot seems to be about redirecting momentum to bring about the desired result, rather than simply overpowering and outweighing.  And speaking of weighing…do they use a truck scale or what?  Those folks are BIG!

The current reigning champ is—get out your Spellchecker—a Mongolian dude named Byambajav Ulambayar, who’s won the last seven titles.

Sumo may be becoming popular because it is QUICK, sometimes as little as 5 seconds for a match; no commercial breaks, no breaks in the action.  Scoring is simple : is he down? Is he out? No seventh-inning stretch needed.  The uniform sales might be a bit problematic, since the standard garment is pretty much a precision-folded loincloth( 30 ft., linen or cotton or silk); not something the average  Joe-Sumo would be likely to wear to the local adult-beverage emporium.  Oh, some individuals wear what looks sort of like bike shorts under the mawashi or mokko-fundoshi (literally, “earth-basket loincloth”) which is the usual attire, but there are several styles to suit personal preferences Where would one put the college/team logo?

*And finally, check out the bunch of teens that were in an SUV automobile accident when one of their number (the dumbest one) used a lighter to set the driver’s armpit hair on fire.

Like I said, you can’t make this stuff up.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot?

Nah.  Come to the  James A. Garfield Alumni Banquet and remember all that good old stuff with good old friends AND good food .  Yup.  It was a good one.

The organizing committee members—Helen Louise Paul Bouts, Elaine Lange Duffield, Ruth Becks Herrington, Bonnie Ball Oliver, Kit Younker Semplak, Judy Davison Toth, Carolyn Lange Unaitis, Sherri Seals Collins, Tom Collins, Christine Lumbert Pitsinger and Ted Lysiak—put together a fine meal catered by Guido’s, floral décor by Art N Flowers, reminiscences by all sorts of folks and an introduction to the new addition to the Garfield Elementary building which had just had its official ribbon cut at ten o’clock that very morning.  The James A. Garfield Marching Pride made a cameo appearance to greet the early arrivers before heading off to a band show at Stow-Monroe Falls High School, where they wowed the crowd in the name of the district.

Classes of special recognition—1944(Yay, Dick Davis and Helen Lewis Manlove), 1954, 1964 and 1994)were presented with some memory-joggers about the prices of things like gas and houses during their salad days.  Board of Education president Guy Pietra was the Peerless Speaker and board vice president David Vincent offered the blessing.  The look at the new addition, built through the $5million Straight A Grant (The only application to receive unanimous approval) to produce a Campus of Excellence, was an eye-opener and a source of pride…mingled, no doubt, with amazement.  Any food not consumed on the spot was donated to the Center of Hope as a community outreach.

It was a fine old time with friends and family (note the number of Collinses and Andrewses, among others, in attendance) and the date has already been set for the next one.  Mark your calendars for September 19, 2015, same time , same place.  Everybody learn the Alma Mater!

There’s a story about that.

Garrettsville – The James A. Garfield Local School District cut a ribbon on Saturday, September 20 marking the amazing (120 days!) completion of the addition to the James A. Garfield Elementary School, bringing about the relocation of the district’s fifth and sixth graders to the Campus of Excellence, with all of the system’s students sharing the same venue.  This was made possible through a $5million Straight A Grant from the State of Ohio(The only application to have received unanimous approval) and through the outstanding efforts of a blue-ribbon design and construction team—including local firms  Scotchman Electric(Scott Russell), Doug Seaman Decorating and Rocky Gardens Landscaping(DeanHorvath).  The application process opened one year, to the day, before the ribbon-cutting ceremony and was a total team effort, spearheaded by Superintendent Ted Lysiak and Treasurer Tracy Knauer. Board members, administrators, educators, staff members, students and a community advisory group all played a part in the final concept.

With the awarding of the grant, the clock began ticking and the race was on!

Bob McCullough of Hammond Construction, Melanie Friedman of FMD Architects spoke briefly of the challenges faced.  Charlie Fury, superintendent of the whole construction project, was praised.

Guy Pietra, Board President, and Rick Patrick, Mayor of Garrettsville, offered thanks and appreciation to key players who were major factors in the co-operating elements which made the timeline work—Don Long, Carrie  Dornack, principals; Ellen Rybak, GEA president; maintenance and custodial staff; students and teachers; village maintenance crews and permitting bodies.  It was an over-all effort, one illustration of which was the newly-waxed floors   of the building, done early that morning by Elementary head custodian, Judy Gyulai, since “her” building is now “our”  building and she’s proud.

The refreshments and the tour were icing on the cake.

It’s not just about the building.  It’s about BUILDING for the future.

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Ladies….  Ladies….  Ladies….

There’s still time…still time to sign up for the 1st Annual Women’s Retreat being held at the Garrettsville United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00p.m.  The event will feature varied sessions ranging from Bible stories presented by God’s Circle, a Christian Women’s Storyteller group, to cooking, knitting or Yoga instruction, through estate planning, bow-making, book discussion, card-making, spiritual conversations with Rev. Chris Martin and simple fellowship opportunities.  The basic fee is $20, with materials charges for craft sessions.   Information is available through the church office or by calling Stephanie Byrne at 330-527-4772.  Lunch—catered by Anne Haynam, owner and chef of On the Spot Gourmet and presenter of the cooking instruction–is included (not to mention desserts by Tracy Garrett of Top Tier Pastry,   LLC).

Check it out.

Do something relaxing, fun and uplifting for yourself.  It may be a retreat but it will move you forward.

Garrettsville – Fourteen members and guests of the James A. Garfield Historical Society met on September 25 at the historic Mott Building, Main Street, Garrettsville for their regularly-scheduled monthly meeting.  The main topic of discussion was the upcoming Christmas Walk.

Plans for the refreshments to be offered at the Mott Building during the reservation-only Candlelight Tour are in the capable hands of Cindy Matson, Becky Moser and Lynn Fry.  They outlined the plans for the items to be served and invited additional contributions in the same general menu framework.  Inquiries were made as to the specifics of the champagne punch recipe.

Valorie  McCullough, chairing the participation of the Nelson United Methodist Church in celebration of its bicentennial, reported that decorating had begun, with some overlap of fall and winter décor.  The keynote for the over-all theme of “Heavenly Host” is an angel by local artist-in -wood, Mike Kortan, and is currently having wings refurbished.  The menu for meals to be served in the church dining area will be posted in the program but will include a turkey dinner with homemade gravy, and pulled pork sandwiches, among other things.

Deadline for submissions for the programs/tickets, either information or advertising, is September 26.   These are currently in the works and proceeding as scheduled

Other items of business included notice of the Ohio Local History meeting approaching on Oct 3,  note that an inspection of an outflow valve in the basement, as required by the BPA, was imminent, the Mott Building will be open as usual on the first Saturday of the month, October 4, the annual tour by the third grade students of Garfield Elementary School will be on October 10, preliminary information from the Chamber of Commerce holiday promotion encouraging local shopping at Christmas…and anytime.

Donations from Tim Perkins including a number of antique garments from his mother’s family, the Kelkers, were received, looked at, commented upon and referred to Delma Mishler for expert laundry care for their preservation.

The JAGHS meets every third Monday of the month at 7:30 in the Mott Building.  Meetings are open to the public and new members are welcome at any time.

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary met on September 22 at Cal’s II and closed the meeting  by voting to make this their regular meeting place—at noon—until further notice.

Guest speaker for the day was Mark Tripodi of Cornerstone of Hope, a counseling center for grieving children, teens and adults, located in Independence, Ohio, with a new facility opening in Columbus.  The center offers many programs : grief counseling, art therapy, support groups, school programs, bereavement camps, memorial ceremonies, education and training of grief counselors, a lending library, volunteer opportunities–all available on a sliding financial scale.  All ages and need situations are welcome to interact with their licensed clinical professionals and/or peers, whatever brings the most support and healing.  Summer youth support camps, crisis intervention team training, weekly and monthly sessions, a variety of therapies are all available.  The group and their Tree House have appeared on Animal Planet.

After suffering a devastating family loss, Mark and his wife and family were unable to find help and support that met their needs with a schedule and a financial situation that fit their capabilities, they set out to establish a group, a community and a facility that would do for others what they wished had been available for them.  Cornerstone of Hope has been the result, a light in the darkness of despair which overwhelms so many.  Mark was accompanied by Francine Artiste a new-on-the-job facilitator for the group.

In other business, Tom Collins reported on Zad, the resident exchange student, who got to attend the recent climate change rally in New York, see Times Square, be amazed at the 300,000 people in attendance at the rally (“There is NO planet B”, “It’s getting hot in here.  Take your coals off.” “Save the Humans”—message from a Panda)…AND score the winning goal in the Rootstown soccer game.

Tom also gave an update on the continuing consultations with the Mantua-Shalersville Rotary Club, the Garrettsville Garden Club, the Mayor of Garrettsville and the Portage County Park District for expanding and promoting the Headwaters Trail for the good of the entire community.

Rich Brown attended as a guest.  He is a business contact of McCumbers-Brady Realty doing vital title work.

The Rotary-sponsored Roadside Clean-up will be on October 25.

G-H Rotary meets every Monday at noon at Cal’s II,  Check them out.

Garrettsville – The Cupboard is all about Community and its offering a new service for families   still working hard to regain their feet; it’s called the Weekend Snackpack Program.  It’s being made available to eligible students in the James A. Garfield Local School District on a monthly basis and provides a bag of healthy and easy-to-prepare snack foods sent home on the third Friday of each month; this would be approximately 15 healthy  between-meal snacks for after school and on weekends to supplement regular meals.  Food allergies will be taken into account in selection of snacks.

There is no cost to families and distribution will be handled with the utmost discretion.  Participation is strictly confidential and arranged by school counselors.  Names and information will not be shared with anyone else.  Applications for participation in this program are available from school counselors.

This program is being made possible through the co-operation of the Nelson-Garrettsville Community Cupboard and the James A. Garfield Local School District and a $10,000 nationwide grant originating with Massachusetts Mutual Financial Group, whose local representative is Christopher Perme of the Perme Financial Group, Garrettsville.  Over one hundred students are enrolled so far and there is room for more.  The community cares.

Well, actually, it wasn’t all that wild but it definitely was interesting and fun.  The Portage County Park District is offering opportunities to scope out some of the features of the newly-funded (THANK YOU, VOTERS)county parks with knowledgeable  and  entertaining volunteer naturalists (or  one, at least, Thank you, Joe) to get a good look at just what’s out there.  There is a lot.

We got to see the fall flowers—goldenrod(several varieties), asters(lots of  colors and sizes), lobelia, to name a few.  We got to see lots of mushrooms, from decorative turkey tail shelf mushrooms to cute little red-topped poisonous ones (Amanita muscaria, red fly agaric, which contains the toxic, psychoactive alkaloid, muscimole which used to be left out in dishes to kill flies…probably bumped off a few  curious others as well)  and the  little, filament-like “fairy fingers”.  We got to see frogs and toads and spiders, mostly little-bitty guys.  We got to see an abundance of trees (What? You thought the place was paved?)and shrubs, both native and invasive species, a couple of stages on the succession of forests and the remnants of vernal pools.  No wild animals to speak of appeared to cross our path but a few had clearly been there for a woodland picnic because the bones of their appetizers were spotted in a couple of places and the odd one or two stray turkey feathers indicated that somebody was celebrating Thanksgiving early(and it wasn’t the turkey).

The day was perfect for an exploratory amble through field and/or forest.  Our ever-resourceful guide had fortified himself with a GPS app to make sure that we’d be getting back to where we’d started and not still be out there looking for a fenceline.  He also helpfully passed out laminated plastic cards describing the local tick population and what to do about them.  They certainly are ugly little buggers and they hang out with a murderer’s row of diseases—Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis(that’s always mentioned in the papers that you have to read before giving blood),Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, Heartland Virus—not warm fuzzies that one would like to invite home.  Cats are about the wildest things that I can stand.

So….  That was Sunday.  On Saturday, the band—the James A. Garfield Marching Pride—went to the Solon Band Show and for the first time in recent memory, the evening was dry and , while cool, was   bearable, temperature-wise.  Mirabile dictu!  I tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve been on a bus packed full of band kids soaked to the skin and unable to get any concession-stand food that wasn’t drenched by the run-off from under the spectators’ seating.  Not a pretty picture!

Kudos to the Windham band, also in attendance, for showing what a rebuilding program and a lot of spirit can be capable of.  They did their school and their supporters and themselves proud.   The big  schools—Solon, Hudson, Kenston, for example—can blow down the walls but small can be MIGHTY mighty too.

The Marching Pride exemplified this as well, with a display of energy and enthusiasm and musicianship that captivates audiences.  One dude in the announcer’s booth said, “I love this band; they’re always so ON!”  That’s what I thought too.

And the kick-off(Ha!  That’s a joke, son.) to the weekend was—as always—the football game , with our first look at real football weather for this year.  Truth to tell, it wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the weather people were hinting prior to the first whistle.  Several times I heard dark hints about the  temperatures plunging after the warm week that we had earlier…incipient Polar Vortex, for sure!  More on that later; I now have both the Farmer’s Almanac and the Old Farmers’s Almanac, which, I have noticed have both hedged their bets by saying that this could all be a pile of brown stuff if the El Nino weather pattern kicks in…or pigs fly…or hell freezes over.

And speaking of cold….   It’s a tad chilly out in space, right?(Is this a segue or what?) And there are radiations of various sorts, right?  Well, fear not, Japan’s cartoon favorite feline and exemplar of the Kawaii (“cute”) culture, Hello Kitty (Her real moniker is Kitty White; the other is just a stage name), is whirling around way up there with a special space suit and paint job designed to protect from  UV and cosmic rays.  Yes.  The little white cat with a pink bow is cruisin’ in the Japanese nanosatellite(It’s really little), Hodoyoshi 3 and getting messages from various earthbound fans—one of said messages will be drawn by lot and broadcast every day, a different one every day, from space.  She went up on June 19; it was announced on August 12, probably to make sure that no misfortune came to the little 4cm  model   which was celebrating her 40th birthday.  Somebody spent $40million on this to boost Japan’s education and science industries.  I could have got them a much better deal to celebrate MY birthday for a mere $10 million.

Cake would be extra.

The Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club began and ended with the Four-Way Test this past week.  Is it the truth?  Is it fair to all concerned?  Will it build good will and better friendships?  Is it beneficial to all concerned?  President Delores McCumbers opened the meeting by extolling this as a rubric for conducting everyday life.  The recitation of the test was, and has become on a regular basis, the last item of business.

The report from Rachel Schwan in Thailand was good; she is settling in, learning to cook, getting used to insects and gekkos.

Zad, the in-residence exchange student, is getting along famously and playing a key role on the Garfield  boys’ soccer team.  He will be getting a team warm-up suit from the club.

Trish Danku next took the spotlight, giving a brief background picture of herself as from a large, loving , strict Irish-Canadian family who transitioned from being a wallflower to a real bloomer.  Her  employment at the Canadian Consul’s office led to her meeting and marrying a Yank, Greg Danku, and becoming involved in the community of the Parish of St. Ambrose, which has been a stay in time of trouble.  Her current employment in the funeral industry–Carlson Cremation Services and Funeral Homes—meshes with her mission to give back.  One aspect of this is her work with creating life stories on line and facilitating pre-planning for end-of-life situations. On October 13 the club is invited to join Dr. Mike Carlson in a tour of the local facility—Mallory-DeHaven-Carlson, on Center Street, Garrettsville—for a better understanding of the business.

The club’s principal fund-raiser, the Reverse Raffle, is coming up in November.  Members will be contacting potential sponsors and donors soon, emphasizing the beneficial activities and programs that Rotary offers to the community.  Contributing to and attending the bash are helpful ways that many businesses and individuals can support the community through Rotary.

Family Week, another big local Rotary project, will be coming up in February, 2015 and is in line to be getting a major re-vamp, across the board.  Stay tuned.

Jim Irwin brought more historical items and there  is talk of creating a Rotary scrapbook with copies of the newspaper articles on the club dating back to ancient times…well, the 1950’s, anyway.

G-H Rotary meets at noon on Monday at Cal’s II.  Come see.

Well , it’s not just about football, ya know.  Or volleyball or baseball or cross country or golf or soccer or any of those sports where you get all sweaty.  Much more refined than THAT.

Specifically, it’s the Sinquefield Cup Chess Tournament.  Held this last week in St. Louis, MO, the event saw a stunning  performance by Fabiano Caruana, a twenty-two-year-old Italian grand master(He became a grand master at the ripe old age of fourteen.)  Prior to this occasion he had been ranked third in the world by the FIDE (Federation Internationale des Eschecs…sort of the NFL of chess)but he took care of the number-one-ranked dude, Magnus Carlsen(age 23) of Norway (Who is also a model for advertising campaigns and was named one of the “sexiest men of 2013” by Cosmopolitan) in short order and went on to best such big names in chess as Veselin Topalov and Hikaru Nakamura.  He finished with seven…SEVEN…wins(in a row) and one draw in the tournament and won $100,000.  This is unheard of in chess competitions, where winning frequently is decided by the number of draws and losses—it’s soo hard to win outright against all of these “brainiacs”.  Judging from the ages of the top two finishers, it could be the beginning of a fierce competition   to go on for some time.

Then again, you never know.  Two competitors at the Chess Olympiad held in August in Norway kicked the bucket while the event was going on.  One, from the Seychelles had a heart attack at the venue, one, from Uzbekistan, was found dead in his hotel room.  Pressure’ll get to you.

No sweat!

And then, of course, there’s the Spanish Vuelta.  What, you’re not following the Spanish Vuelta?  It’s one of those European bicycle road races that we all care so much about at this time of year. (  Since Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France deceptions we’ve lost all interest.  They could –totally–be riding unicycles and wearing clown suits for all we know…or care.) Anyway, the latest stage winner (Not sure what that means either) is a speedy dude named Przemyslaw Niemiec.  Nice Irish kid, right?  Imagine first grade, being a little tyke riding to school on your bicycle—probably in a Polish neighborhood—and having to learn to write your name on your school papers.  Imagine being his teacher and having to pronounce the tiny tot’s name on the first day for roll call.  Whoooeee!  I survived Viggiani, Chaykowsky and Gruchewski but this guy might have given me pause for refection.

While you were on the road, should you have been traveling in Canada, you might have run into—oops! poor word choice—you might  have encountered hitchBot, a robot designed and , presumably, programmed by David Harris Smith of  McMaster University and Frauke Zeller(Who also produced an art critic robot named kulturBot) which was   hitchhiking across the country from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia.  Beginning on July 27 at the Institute for Applied Creativity at NSCAD (formerly Nova Scotia College of Art and Design),  it traveled 6000km (4000mi.) relying on the kindness of strangers and arrived  on the west coast on August 16.

It was originally plunked down by the side of the road at the airport in Halifax and within five minutes got a ride with a couple heading to camp in New Brunswick.  It then went on to crash a wedding celebration, join in a First Nations gathering, show off dance moves by doing the Harlem Shake at a festivity of some kind in Saskatchewan and become an international celebrity of sorts.

hitchBot can talk and has GPS capabilities.  Creators Smith and Zeller refer to it as “her”, so that’s what that’s about(Girls can do anything).  She survived having a cracked LED shield protector and by the end of the adventure her speech patterns had become a little more random (Heck. I get that way by the end of the DAY sometimes).  She’s got a beer barrel body(Been there, done that), yellow gloves—with one thumb up—for hands,  blue arms and legs, multicolored boots and red eyes—they wink –and she can smile.  She can carry on a conversation( with a brief quotation from Robert Frost) about as well as a lot of people I can think of.  She’s part of an investigation concerning the question of whether or not robots can trust humans and the functionality of Artificial Intelligence(The “real” kind seems to be getting pretty thin on the ground lately).  Her last ride around was with a gentleman named Steve Sxwithul’txw(Yup, that’s his name; he’s of the Salish Tribe  on the Pacific coast) who is a film producer, so we’ll probably soon see a documentary on hitchBot’s  trek across Canada.

I’d have picked her up

It’s that time again.

School has begun and so have a number of other activities.  Most of them could use some volunteers to keep things moving along and produce the best outcomes for all concerned.

Booster groups of every stripe need help in their fund-raising  activities.  Picture yourself hustling hot dogs at a game or topping off a root beer float for sale to a thirsty customer.  Statisticians and scorekeepers are frequently in short supply—the season gets longer with every game gone by and more looming into the winter. The chain gang at football games is NOT made up of elves who live under the bleachers, you know.   Somebody has to help with and/or supervise the clean-up—indoors or outdoors, a mess is a mess.  Tickets must be sold and accounted for.  Merchandise, ditto.  Elementary schools have activities going on all of the time that could use a little adult supervision and contribution…of course, it behooves one to act like an adult and actually be a  desirable role model in addition to counting coupons or putting up pictures, or whatever.  Act responsibly so kids can see how it looks; they get enough of the bad stuff on TV.

Community groups—Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, Eagles, Masons& Eastern Stars, church folks, etc.—are always looking for help and support.  New in town?  Show up to make new friends and get all of the latest on what’s happening around and about(The jungle telegraph has direct lines to many of the most active).  Have you a hobby?  Dollars to doughnuts there’ll be someone around who shares your interest, or would, if you’d get out and promote it(I’m still mulling over an offer to take up horseshoes).

There are things to do, places to go, people to see.  In the immortal words of Auntie Mame, “Life is a banquet and most poor fools are starving to death”.

You could at least try an appetizer.

 

Well…seasons have started…football season, soccer season, volleyball season, cross country season,  interscholastic golf season (The regular duffers have been going at it all summer), marching band season…you name it, the season has started.  School is like the opening gun for all sorts of stuff.

There are, however, plenty of competitions out there which we “wot not of”.  Such as:

Amazon has just agreed to pony up a ton of money–$970 million—for some outfit called Twitch which makes it possible for video gamers to watch—just watch, not play themselves—other video gamers play…what else?…video games!  This is causing great commotion in the online world for some reason and many of the big names—whatever they are, in the online gamers world are all a-buzz about it.   I am not one of these people.

Let us get this straight; people can get on their computers to watch other people play video games.  Just what IS it that these watchers DO?  They don’t have to even move their fingers, just barely their eyeballs.  Do the actual players get any feedback on their play?  Are there electronic/digital cheerleaders chanting algorithmic encouragement from the in-the-cloud sidelines?  Any rain delays when a server goes down?  The questions have only just begun to roll in.

On the other hand, there will be no ambulances with emergency medical staff standing by in case of injury.  The playing field, such as it is, acts as its own scorekeeper and referee, so there will be no overheated spectators booming out insults about the officials’ suspect ancestry or eyesight.  No more trekking to the concession stands for sustenance, you can set up your screen to watch next to the refrigerator and/or microwave and never have to brave the cruel outside air.  You can watch in your Jammies and who’ll be the wiser.  And as evolution marches onward, humankind will devolve into creatures with two  myopic eyes, three fingers on each hand(Those two on the ends don’t do much on a keyboard or controller anyway)and enormous butt-ends to sit upon in front of the ubiquitous screens that are part of the sports scene.  What a picture!

On the other hand, there are the World Tug-of-War championships presented by the World Tug of War International Federation (more than one; divisions by weight class—in kg—and gender) drawing participants and spectators from all over the world.  This past weekend the big competition, sponsored by the United States Tug of War Association, was held in Madison, Wisconsin, the fourth time that it has been staged in the U.S.(Oshkosh, WI—1984, Rochester, MN—1998, 2004).

Pretty much the opposite of the abovementioned sport (?) competition, this features teams of eight pullers per team who have to be weighed in—and stamped on the wrist and thigh—before the contest to ensure the weight requirements are met.  All pulling is done bare-handed—oy—no sitting is allowed( there are officials who issue cautions if this does occur and three cautions equal a disqualification and a loss of the match.  In  the videos on YouTube, the teams sort of resemble sixteen-legged insects with  uninspired choreographers; legs on the left, step, legs on the right, step, everybody LEAN BACK.  The noise is pretty visceral too, mostly uuuhhh, uuuhhh, UUUHHH—in unison.  Coaches (called drivers) can stand alongside their team, sort of like a coxswain in front in rowing( or wrestling coaches yelling “Chicken wing!  Chicken wing!), and  speed up the count or direct the lean or whatever—all pretty sweaty work    from the look of it.  Not where one might expect to see ladies’ teams but they’re on deck too and just as determined.  Ladies don’t sweat, they “glow”.

Actually, the tug of war was part of the Olympics when the modern games restarted in 1896 and had a considerable history from as far back as ancient China and classical Greece…not to mention tales of the Vikings pulling animal skins over pits of fire to decide who got what share of the plunder from hapless European peasants.  After the 1920 games the number of sports was reduced and the tug of war got the ax.  It is regularly  a part of the World Games, where teams from Egypt, Cambodia, Japan, Sweden, Ireland, Scotland and everywhere else get into the act.

Injuries resulting from accidents in tug of war can be rather gruesome, back strains being the least of a participant’s worries.  Not so much concussions as amputations ,caused by the ropes snapping or getting wrapped around the wrong thing.  Uh-oh!

Makes one pine for the good old days of Tiddly-winks

…and speaking of winks ….

We haven’t  yet seen a bikini coffee bar in the neighborhood.  It’s the latest thing in some locales.  Somehow the thought of a “Peek-A-Brew” or “Natte Latte” in Portage County isn’t really flying in my imagination but you never know.

 

Not one of my better weeks; suffice it to say that I’m now looking for a new car and not a rehab facility.  That’s the good part.  Time to move on.

The rollercoaster begins again : school is starting!  Whooeee!  Anyone got an office/coffee klatsch/bowling league/civic group/ neighborhood betting pool going on whether the newly -added-on-to Garfield Elementary School will make it to open in time?  Well, it’s GOT  to, of course.  Time and tide and fifth graders wait for no man.  There will be, undoubtedly, opportunities for volunteers to step up to the plate and help move all of the miscellaneous stuff stashed all over the district buildings into its appointed places in the Elementary School.  Stay tuned on that one.

The Portage County Randolph  Fair is on–on the same week as the Lorain County Fair in Wellington, Ohio( often still referred to as the “Wellington Fair”).  They have similar histories, actually.  Once upon a time in each of the counties there was a county fair and the Randolph  Fair / Wellington Fair.  Folks took their prize-winning peach pies or their fattest hogs to whichever festivity was closer or had the best prizes (or the least competition).  Then the real estate prices got to rising to the point that there was NO point in using prime acreage just once a year for the fair and so the “more rural” location became the de facto county fair location and the state of Ohio Agricultural Society declared that it would only support and sanction the awards given at official county fairs.  A couple of fires on the fairgrounds might have contributed to the switch as well.

Some years I can make it to both of them, some years, not.  The Lorain County Fair is my old stomping grounds.  In my misspent youth I garnered a 4-H pin that attested to the fact that I had made the best apron—brown and orange print, it was—in the county .Take THAT, Martha Stewart!  It was stunning, I’m sure.  The dress that I made, not so much. (All of my handmade items—potholder, tea towel, whatever,   tended to have kind of brownish edges  where I had to take out and re-stitch with my grubby little hands; laundering was another skill learned at this time.)  It was an interesting twist of fate that one summer  when I was young and foolish(I’m older now; we won’t go into the rest)and recently moved to Garrettsville, I consented to assist in being the advisor to the girls’ 4-H sewing club in town.  Mrs. Ford was the real advisor, I think that she just wanted help with crowd control.  At least I don’t remember anyone sewing through a body part as I did with the edge of my thumb.

I also have a cherished set of three GENUINE Swiss cowbells that I, or, rather, my livestock won in the cattle competitions over the years.  Trophies be darned, we were showing Brown Swiss cattle and the Brown Swiss Breeders Association wasn’t handing out some chintzy plastic trophies.  Two of the bells came mounted on little wooden  cradles, the other one came on a leather strap that a Swiss cow would wear up on the mountain.(Anybody remember Heidi?  She did goats, I think.  Same principle, you can’t milk the creatures unless you can find them; that’s what the bells were for.  To be honest, cows OR goats will usually head home when it’s milking time.  Like looking for a rest stop on the turnpike, there’s a certain discomfort factor involved, if you get my drift.)  Anyway, they do make a really, really loud noise at a football game…or anywhere else for that matter.

Now-a-days, I notice there are camping set-ups all over the fairgrounds in designated areas for the kids and their parents to stay overnight to keep an eye on their animals.  Back in the day when I was one of the 4-H ‘ers with a project, only the BIG boys were to be found around the barns after, say, ten o’clock and they were usually sleeping with the cows…which is O.K. if the cows are sleeping too but getting stepped on in the middle of the night by a half-ton milk-producer-in-training is no picnic, I’ll tell you.  Cozying up to the livestock doesn’t do much for one’s personal hygiene ratings either but this was trumped by the “cool” factor of getting away with hanging out at the fairgrounds basically unsupervised and the subsequent opportunities for making up big fat lies about whatever it was that the guys did there.  There are, at least, shower facilities available at most fairgrounds which allow overnight stays.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to stay upwind until the campers can be checked out.

Other exciting things can happen at the fair too.  Thursday evening used to be the Junior Fair Parade, where the kids showing livestock of all sorts—calves, cows, goats, sheep, horses, ponies (Not many chickens were in the parade)—would bring their animals to one entrance to the racetrack, walk them past the grandstand(To frenzied applause of relatives and friends) and exit out the other side entrance and, thence, back to the barns.  One fateful year the affair was going on, even as big purple clouds were gathering …and gathering…and piling up…and darkening in the west.  The wind picked up and we were hustling along, hoping to get to the other side before all hell broke loose; a vagrant breeze caused the blue ribbon on my calf’s halter to flutter, the lightening cracked, the thunder rolled and that headstrong bovine decided right then and there that she’d had enough and was heading for home …NOW!  Rain or no rain, she was outta there.  I was hanging on to the halter strap for dear life and running as fast as I could, considering that she had four feet and I had only two ,which were only touching the ground on a part-time basis.  Luckily, my dad had anticipated a fiasco of this nature, was at the exit and managed to get a hand on both of us to slow things down just a tad.  We were soaked, of course, by the time we reached the barn—much faster than we had left it—but at least we got back there; there were others attempting to round up critters for quite a while after that.  Long live the fair!

Apropos of nothing at all except the virtue of proofreading is this notice in a newspaper about a 4-H fundraiser : Small Animal Pancake Breakfast.  So…are these pancakes made in the shapes of bunnies or pygmy goats or chickens…or do the pancakes contain hamster toes or duck eggs or goose grease…or are the foods being made by sheep chefs or a pony maitre patissier or an alpaca cook at the grill?

Make you think…right?  Somebody get Disney on this.

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotarians were treated to a surfeit of riches in the area of interesting and relevant speakers  at their meeting on August 18, 2014.

They heard first from District Governor Mike Devanzo from the Medina club  who thanked members for being a part of the great sharing  of time, talent and treasure which is the spirit of Rotary.  His encouraging vocal exercises led him to announcements about the upcoming “Dine to Donate” event on October 23(the day before World Polio Day) co-ordinated with local Bob Evans restaurants, and the District 6630 foundation day on November 9.  This led him to Rotary’s new focus on increasing membership and boosting Rotary Foundation contributions.  In aid of this, Rotary Days, with featured activities in area clusters will be highlighted this year.  Rotary offers many opportunities to serve, locally, statewide, nationally and internationally.  The sum is greater than its parts.

Next up was Chris Scheuer, “the Y Guy”, who will be co-ordinating programs and activities out of the former Garfield Intermediate School on Park Ave., Garrettsville.  The roll-out will be accomplished “with all deliberate speed” based upon the expressed desires of the community.  So far, the flag football, youth soccer and Jr. Cavaliers have been well received.  Child care registration is on-going; information is available at childcarereg@clevelandy.org or by calling 216-263-6860.  Active adults will be next  on the menu and their ideas and requests are being sought; the website www.clevelandymca.org could be helpful or the local operations director, Kim Curry is also a resource (kcurry@clevelandymca.org/ 330-367-9720).  More input, more volunteers are being welcomed.  There is an open house on Park Ave. on Thursday, August 21.

Third presenter of the meeting was Michael Charney, candidate for the State Board of Education in District 7.  He is an experienced educator with insights not only in his field but into the workings of the political and legislative processes which go into the functioning of the State Board of Education.  The current member  representing District 7 is not a graduate of public schools and is, in fact an advocate for private schools, charter or for-profit.  Mr. Charney proposes shining a light—lots of light—on the workings of the non-public, non-accountable schools receiving public money and wasting it.  He has also been active in the formation of the Cleveland Teachers’ Institute aiming to expand the capabilities of educators in Northeast Ohio.  Accountability is an across-the-board goal.

After all that, the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club voted to sponsor the Dictionary Project in the third grade of the Garfield Schools to give every third grader a dictionary of their very own.  What an encouragement!

The James A. Garfield Local School District has got a TON of things—programs, activities, competitions, etc.—coming up.  Here’s a quick look; check the district website for more info or watch for stories in The Villager.

8/20—the Elementary School addition is to be finished – Frantic activity

8/21—the Steering committee tours the facility –   Frantic activity

8/23—the State Superintendent inspects the facility – Frantic activity

8/25—Faculty and staff arrive to gird up their loins for the coming year – Frantic activity

8/26—Students(grades 1-12) return, full of p&v and potential  – Frantic activity

8/28—Kindergarteners enter, wide-eyed and wondering

9/1—Labor Day, no school  – Deep breath

9/15—Waiver Day, no school for students, teachers pause to reconnoiter

9/16—Onward and Upward!

9/20—Saturday, 10:00a.m. Official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new James A. Garfield Intermediate School, with various IMPORTANT PERSONS (That would be the Garfield public…and officials of all sorts) in attendance.  Garfield Alumni Banquet opens at 5:00p.m.  for meet-n-greet, 6:30 p.m.for dinner (Reservations due by September 1).

And that’s not even counting the additions and corrections to the athletic facility—new fencing , new goal posts, etc.—and the BIG GAME with the Harlem Ambassadors vs the Garrettsville Inspectors (Garfield alumni) on the basketball court on October 25 to support continuing improvements on Main Street & the athletic field.

Stay tuned.  Get involved.

 

204

Arrrooooo!

Arrr00000!

I saw a coyote out in the wild western edge of Portage County.  It’ll be bucking broncos and tumbleweeds next, by gum!

The occasion was a “two-fer” local attraction activity, as the Kent Lions held their annual corn roast at Beckwith’s Orchard and farm market ( I’m a die-hard Monroe’s Orchard and Farm Market customer myself, so it was all about new horizons)AND the Portage County Park District was inviting the public to step off on the Portage Bike and Hike Trail which just happens to pass near there off Lake Rockwell Rd.  Great opportunity to chow down on an iconic summer treat—not to mention the fresh-baked peach and apple pies—then walk off a few calories and learn a few things along the popular(and now supported) trail.  Such a deal!

So, we’re off from the information board at the trailhead, led by our intrepid volunteer naturalist, Joe Malmisur, heading for another info board near Breakneck Creek(complete with a display explaining how the stream got its name); it was about a two-mile trek in store for us.  We’re getting the lowdown on what kind of trees are along the trail, what kinds of flowers are in bloom, which ones are invasives, which are not, the various insects whizzing or fluttering by, miscellaneous tidbits of information on the whole outdoor scene.  Somebody said, “Is that a deer?”  Somebody else said, “Is that a dog?”  Somebody else said. “Is that a coyote?”  Just about everybody said, “Whoa! It is a coyote!”  So, of course, we all looked—the creature in question was maybe a hundred yards to the west– and the coyote looked back and crossed the trail a couple of times, not particularly alarmed, but apparently not interested in forming any lasting relationships with a bunch of pale faces in his territory.  Joe got out his binoculars and we could all try to get a better look before Mr. Wiley eventually decided that he had important business elsewhere.  Pretty cool!  How do you top that?

Well, it wasn’t exactly a downhill slide, even then, with few more fauna to accompany the flora.  We got an explanation for the behavior of the “Quaking” Aspen, a look at some galls; a couple of turkey vultures circled overhead checking to see if we had expired yet, ready to have us over for dinner—or just HAVE us for dinner.  We saw blackberry and black raspberry bushes, we listened for birds, we dodged bikers (What?  They think that they get to use this space too?), we looked at—and avoided– the poison ivy.

Ah, yes, the dreaded Toxicodendrons radicans, (also known as Rhus toxicodendrons or Rus radicans)…poison ivy to us rubes.  It sure is a healthy-looking plant, vigorous, even, and growing everywhere (It particularly likes edges of cleared spaces  where there are trees and shrubs to climb and more sunshine than deep in the forest, but anywhere will do).  Nobody got into that greenery but we did get some admonitory snippets of doggerel verse : “Don’t be a dope, don’t touch the hairy rope”, “Hairy vine, no friend of mine”, “Berries white, danger in sight”, “Leaflets three, leave it be”.  I do usually get at least a couple of itchy bumps per year but they’re almost certain to be little gifts from some cat or other who has spent time out frolicking in the shrubbery by the creek bank then wants to cuddle up with somebody inside.  That somebody is frequently me.

So…anyway…there will be more hikes of greater or lesser distance and difficulty over this late summer and fall—throughl November, I think—sponsored and led by the Portage County Park District and its volunteers (Joe Malmisur, Principal Factor)through six of the trails in the system(Some of them get  used more than once).  It’s the Wild Hikes Challenge, a program designed to encourage healthy recreation in the park system’s parks and trails; it’s a showcase for Portage County’s rich natural and cultural heritage.  It’s also likely to be  fun.  Individuals who complete 8 of the hikes—verified—will earn a hiking staff crafted by workers at The Hiram Farm.  Donations are suggested to cover costs.

Get the good on you.  Give it a try.   Take a hike.

 

So…I’m thinking that my gardening endeavors are in need of divine intervention—for the fungus or whatever it is that’s devastating the hollyhocks  and the tomatoes, the slugs and/or whatever is feasting on the berry bushes, the infant poison ivy that seems to be popping up all over the place, the ”sweet violets”, AKA Chameleon plants that are sending out their smelly but vigorous roots everywhere but in the “dead zone” where I’d like them to move in—and I was reading a murder mystery involving a public garden with a statue of a holy fellow called St. Fiacre(Irish–Fiachra, Latin—Fiachrius) patron saint of gardeners (…and maybe cab drivers…who knew?).    Why not give him a shot?

Well, maybe not.  There’s more to the guy than one might think.  He’s not just a second-string St. Francis.  Mercy, no.

So, the saints tend to have specialties.  If you want to sell your home and the bids aren’t coming, you can appeal to St. Joseph; bury a statue of him in the back yard—upsidedown– and first thing you know you’re calling the movers.  ‘S’truth.  St. Jude specializes in lost causes, just ask Danny Thomas, that’s why he named that hospital after him.  St. Genevieve is the patron saint of cats because she was originally invoked to protect  grain stores against rats and mice( I need to speak to her).  St. Patrick watches out for snakes, engineers and Ireland.   St. Wenceslaus looks out for brewers.  St. Isidore of Seville has even been called upon to take an interest in computers and the internet; the list goes on.

So St. Fiacre (That’s St. Fiacre of Breuil, not the other two guys), whose feast day is approaching on August 30, has some , shall we say…interesting…areas of consideration.

St. Fiacre is, number one, the patron saint of gardeners, those who raise vegetables and/or medicinal plants.  Statues of him often depict him with a staff , masses of blooms and a bunny.   He was granted as much land as he could entrench in one day to build an oratory for the Blessed Virgin and a hospice for travelers.  Instead of digging , as the grantor no doubt expected, he simply dragged his staff along the ground and the soil turned itself over—the ditch dug itself!  Anyway, the good man dealt with all manner of travelers’ complaints and seemed to specialize in urology and proctology, particularly sufferers from venereal diseases (Probably why his name is seldom given to helpless children).  Also, riding distances on a horse, mule or donkey , or camel, for that matter, was certainly no easier then than now, so the good man’s intercession was implored for those afflicted with hemorrhoids (known in medieval times as “St. Fiacre’s figs).  Do we want this guy hanging around?  Sounds like his expertise is not really focused on fungus and slugs.

And, besides that, I think that I might have a word with St. Ambrose; Saint Ambrose is the patron of beekeepers.  Not sure whether he has any influence with the non-honeybee (genus : Apis) critters but I was sure in need of somebody who had some recently.

I had placed an out-of-service litter box on the back porch in hopes of encouraging a semi-feral momma-cat in the neighborhood to have her litter there where we could get a hand on them and socialize just a little.  No such luck.  So the box sat there, upside-down facing the wall, abandoned, for all intents and purposes.

Sunday I went out to clean up the porch for expected company—sweep, straighten up, that sort of thing—took a broom with me; good thing.  When I bumped the box, what I had thought was just an idle bee or two buzzing around exploded into a swarm of really, REALLY angry critters that thought I was attacking their homeland and THEY were going to put a stop to it.  Whooeee!  Sure did!  I beat a hasty retreat, swatting all the way, and got the heck out of there.  From a somewhat safer spot I looked back to see what the situation was then fetched my broom to get the box, the rug and the bees off of the porch an out onto the lawn where they could be dealt with a little more safely.  Not a one-shot deal!  Took about three tries, slapping as we went, to get the box and rug out but some of the bees…yellow jackets, whatever they were…were sticking around, just hopping mad and itching for a fight, flying around their former location, stingers at the ready.  Finally, what did the trick was the garden hose.  I washed what was left of their real estate out of there and brought out the insect spray to convince them to look for new digs.  Still took them about an hour to give up and move on.  The remains of their apartment building are out on the lawn until I’m sure they’ve gone for good.

The adventure was not without injury.  I got stung about four times but only one seems to be actually swelling up.  The last time I remember and event like this, I was stacking hay on a wagon  when the baler ran over a nest on the ground.  Zoweee!  Those bees were just as mad  but I was a lot faster then.  We—my sister and I—shot from of that wagon and took off for parts unknown, shedding our long-sleeved shirts as we went.  Finally wound up in the creek, dropped trou’ and put mud on the stings where the bees had gone up our pants and shirts.

Who says that living in the country is boring?

 

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club members wished their local Rotary Student Exchange participant, Rachel Schwan, good luck and Godspeed on her adventure in Thailand for the coming school year.  They also welcomed visitor Skip Schweitzer,  columnist for The Villager.

Current items of business included : Carol Donley’s certification as a local student exchange co-ordinator, the Kent club is seeking volunteers for their yearly assistance to arriving foreign students at Kent State University, Tom Collins reported attending the Rotary Day ball game at the Cleveland Indians’ Progressive Field on August 1, with a special welcome and recognition by the Tribe announcer , updating of signatures on financial documents for banking purposes, reminder about the invitation to tour the new Garfield Elementary School project on August 11,checking steak orders for the steak fry on August 11 at 6:00.

Tom Collins reported on the Headwaters Trail project grant application to District 6630, citing assistance from Steve Zabor of the Mantua-Shalersville club and possible involvement of other clubs in the undertaking.  Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary is already working on beautifying the signs at the entrances to the village of Garrettsville as well as encouraging the increased use of the Headwaters Trail.  At least one of the project submissions by Kent State University students focused on promoting walking in the village and this might be something to build on and present to developers to keep the “small town feel” of the village.  There will be a meeting with the planners on the Portage County Park District and G-H Rotary will bringing input and ideas.

Dues are due.  Membership is open to all.  Meetings are held on Mondays at noon in Cal’s II.  Come check out the locals.  You could be the spark To Light Up Rotary.

 

In addition to pareidolia, I occasionally suffer(if that’s the right word) from bouts of mondegreen; I don’t think that it’s covered by any reputable insurance(though it’s likely on the docket for some fly-by-night, blood-sucking outfit from the late-night TV)but it can be sort of debilitating when you’ve got it.  Pareidolia, as you must recall, is usually seeing significant images in totally random contexts, like the guy down in Louisiana who cut open an eggplant and beheld the word “God” spelled out in seeds.  Elvis and the Virgin Mary are apt to turn up anywhere, from a toasted cheese sandwich to pictures in mildew on old walls.

Mondegreens, on the other hand, are audio rather than video effects and have only been defined since 1954, when the word was coined by Sylvia Wright in an essay which appeared in Harper’s Magazine.  It’s even in dictionaries now.  The Wikipedia definition is : a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony(sounding alike) in a way that gives new meaning; most often created by listening to a poem or song  but not hearing clearly, substituting words that sound similar to the misheard lyrics…sort of making sense.  The columnist in the Record who mentioned this the other day cited his mishearing of the ‘70’s song “Chuck E.’s in Love” as “Chuck Easy, Love”.  Not real intelligible, but close.  He gives a couple of other examples, like “very close veins” for “varicose veins” and “old timers’ disease“ for Alzheimer’s disease.  My contribution to these slightly-skewed interpretations     was my confusion over a ‘60’s tune by Elvis (See, I said he was everywhere) titled “Return to Sender”;  for years  I puzzled over why Elvis was singing about “The Prisoner of Zenda”.  Not that I actually knew anything about “The Prisoner of Zenda”—it was written in 1894(Just a tad before my time—maybe I was channeling Grandma) and made into movies in 1913, 1922, 1937, 1952 and 1979 (a Peter Sellers flick, must have been interesting).  I wasn’t that into Elvis, truth to tell, so I probably didn’t listen too carefully.

Anyway, some other examples of the phenomenon are :

“Surely Good Mrs. Murphy shall follow me all the days of my life….”  from the 23rd Psalm, “Gladly, the cross-eyed bear” from the hymn “Keep Thou My Way” and “O Say Kansas City” opening the “Star-Spangled Banner”.  Pop songs, possibly because of the really poor enunciation found among the groups singing them,  are frequently episodes of mondegreens, for instance, the Creedence Clearwater Revival line “There’s a bad mood on the rise” morphed into “There’s a bathroom on the right”.  The original “Twelve Days of Christmas” had “four colley birds”—not any more understandable than “four calling birds”, really—until the early twentieth century.  The cartoon feature, “Olive, the Other Reindeer” had its origin in the song “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”.  One of my personal favorites was  the line from the Catholic rosary, where the line hailing Mary (See, I told you she was everywhere too)”amongst women” became “a monk swimmin’” and some little kid looking at a Nativity scene at Christmas trying to find “Round John Virgin”.  I even had to participate in a reverse mondegreen in the third grade when we had a music program and sang a novelty song, popular at the time, “Mairzy Doats”; the immortal lyrics were : “Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey; A kiddley divey too, Wooden shoe?”  Great stuff, eh?

And there are examples of the same kind of wordplay in lots of languages, not just English; one mentioned  was the Hebrew song, “Hava Nagila”(Let’s be happy)—always showing up in Jewish wedding movies where everyone goes around in a circle and they all end up stamping and yelling “Hey”  at the end.

See, they’re everywhere.  And don’t get me started on soramimi—songs that produce unintended meanings when translated homophonically into another language.  I always wonder about the ones in the Methodist hymnal that have versions in Cherokee or Japanese.  What if we pronounced them wrong and sang something scatological? Might even have some connection to the urban legend that the Chevy Nova had to have its name changed when sold in Latin America because competitors  claimed that it “No Va”—“Doesn’t go”  Or on eggcorn…or mumpsimus (That one makes me crazy).

Malapropism is another story.  Time for bed.

 

Garrettsville – Rodger Pettit was a visitor and, unexpectedly, the program for the evening at the July 21, 2014 meeting of the James A. Garfield Historical Society.  His original intention was to present information on the proposed and planned Nelson Veterans’ Memorial, its history and current status.  The memorial is to be placed on the grounds of the former Nelson School on the east side of the Circle.  It will consist of an octagonal patio/plaza with a square gazebo surrounded by upright plaques representing the Armed Services of the United States, engraved with the names of service personnel from Nelson (Criteria for  such markers vary with each venue.  In this case, eligibility is extended to those that have lived in and/or were born in Nelson Township.  The patio/plaza area  will be composed of pavers of several sizes which may be purchased with an engraved message, the committee retaining editorial  final decision on the inscriptions.  (see drawing on display in Villager window)

Donations are being sought.  Grants and the possibility of government support are on the radar.  Anyone who would like to be a factor in the effort is welcome to make a contribution.  Two individuals from the township—Garland Randall, descendant of the founding family of Nelson, and Bob Rose– have been mentioned by Rodger as part of the inspiration for the current push to complete the monument at this time.  Monuments are built to last; the heroes they commemorate cannot be with us as long.  Now is the time to get this done.

THEN, in his inimitable style, Rodger went on to display an antique map of the school districts in Nelson Township prior to the pressure from the State of Ohio Department of Education to consolidate and, eventually, to be joined to the school system of Garrettsville.  He was able to find only one structure of that era still in place—his mother’s house.  Topics then ranged from Amish schools in the area to the abandoned church on Silica Rd.(Two types of church law got tangled up in that one), the doors on the Nelson Central School being constructed so as to open out  because of the tragic Collinwood School fire in the Cleveland neighborhood in 1908.  Fascinating tales of local lore prompted reminiscences and questions and interest in a host of topics.  Plans for the memorial are on display at the Weekly Villager.  The society will be making a purchase of an 8×8 paver for the monument.

Members reported a good turn-out during the open hours of the SummerFest( Next regular Open House hours are on August 2 from 10:00 to 2:00).  Permission has been granted to use the Municipal Building for the craft show during Christmas Walk.  Brochures are on the to-do list.  The annual summer picnic is scheduled for August 18 at Nelson Ledges, 6:00—potluck at Buggy Pass, depicted on an antique postcard (Remember them?). In case of rain by 4:00, the rain date will be Tuesday, August 19.  A picnic pavilion may be available.  Stay tuned.

Youngest member, Grace Edwards, suggested that some thought be given to a Historical Bake Sale for next SummerFest…sounds possible…and tasty.  Jim Mayer raised the possibility of a new line of historical postcards , using the society’s photo archives and possibly some from the recent fire.  JAGHS currently has twenty-five members; you could be one of them.  Meetings are held on the third Monday of the month in the Mott Building on Main St. Garrettsville, 7:30 p.m.  Y’all come, now!

 

Busy time for the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club at their meeting on July 28, 2014 at Cal’s II.  The monthly list of program responsibility was reviewed.  President Delores  McCumbers spoke of the benefits of the PETS (President Elect Training Sessions) program and of a Rotary Honors Vets event coming up in central Ohio.  Facilities-use papers have been filed for Family Week 2015 activities  February 22-28, at Garfield High School and Elementary School—Caitlin Lawless will be the Trail Boss.  August 18 is the date  for  Chris Schuerer  to appear to be the” face”…and the “ears”… of the YMCA   which will be opening its new facility and operations at the Park Avenue building, formerly the Garfield Intermediate School (which has now moved to the St. Rte 88 campus).  He will be seeking input on desired programs for the community and giving a brief outline of what has been planned so far.  Rotary pins for the soon-departing (August 6) exchange student, Rachel Schwan, have been received, with banners to follow.  On the horizon for the club are the October trash pick-up between Garrettsville and Hiram and the Reverse Raffle in November…never too soon to begin planning.  And in that same vein, some possibilities for new/re-thought activities for Family Week were proposed and existing features reviewed.   Thoughts about local projects circulated, including community walks,  ideas for promoting use of the Headwaters Trail,  pitching in with the Kent club to assist incoming international students at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store,  a Portage Cluster joint project of some sort—plenty of opportunities.

Jim Irwin came with pieces from his collection of historical documents—photo, newspaper, club program folder, handwritten thank you note—for all to peruse and enjoy.  He also had memories of some of the individuals making up the club in the past.

The annual Steak Fry will be on August 11 at 6:00.  The noon meeting will not be held but there will be a tour of the new Intermediate School addition and Elementary School renovation which WILL be opened on August 20.  Lunch-on-the-fly…dinner in the green.

Lisa Muldowney was the program for the meeting, giving a brief personal  picture of herself as a Garrettsville native, a Rootstown resident, the mother  to six, a member of significant local boards (Ravenna Chamber, Coleman Services) and the head of the Garrettsville Branch of the Middlefield Banking Company.  The bank was founded in 1901 and prides itself on being community-oriented and capable of creative thinking and operation in financial matters.  Not every bank can take loans for Amish buggies in stride.   She has a community-involved staff which can be seen, not just behind the counter but also out interacting with the people the bank serves.  It offers basic banking services for home, commercial and personal financing, as well as having a “green” outlook on emerging business possibilities.  Coming soon—home mortgage with a 30-day turnaround.  How’s that for horse-and-buggy dealings?

Next meeting August 4.  You’re invited.

The Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club welcomed several guests at the July 21 meeting at Cal’s II—Erin Koon and Jessica McKnight from Huntington Bank, sitting in for Tanay Hill, Evelyn West, local delegate to RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) and  her mother, Sandy West.  The club also welcomed the return of Kim Kohli after an inactive period.

Items of business included dues invoices, discovery of  stored materials long thought to have disappeared, a reminder that   the by-laws should be reviewed, the upcoming “Rotary Night” with the Cleveland Indians on August 1—special ticket prices, activities for the whole family and fireworks(See a Rotarian to get in on the fun), annual Steak Fry on August 11 at 6:30, recently ordered, redesigned flags and pens for Exchange Student Rachel Schwan to take with her to Thailand, a Mrs. Santa suit may be available for the traditional Rotary Santa gift delivery (It’s never too early to be thinking about these things.  There’s no costume shop at the North Pole), Tom Collins has met with Steve Zabor of the Mantua-Shalersville Rotary Club, past District 6630 Governor, to discuss a possible co-operative project dealing with the Headwaters Bike and Hike Trail and application for a Rotary grant—more discussion planned—deadline approaching, possibility exists for incorporating Eagle Scout projects into the overall picture.  Jim Irwin brought in some historical documents, old Garrettsville Journals among them, for perusal and enlightenment.

Evelyn West described her experience at RYLA as a “fantastic experience.”  This included interacting with over forty other award-winners from all over District 6630 in both co-operative and competitive experiences, an “eye-opener “  of a mixer to start getting acquainted and plenty of fun.  Some of the activities were, basically, unstructured challenges to creativity and organizational skills, like the talent show which turned into a sort of wing-nut TV format.  Others hinged on a craziness car-wash enterprise called “Swooosh”. And “Fish” was about making work fun, entertainment as a motivating force , and “make your own” attitude to make your day…or anyone else’s day.  One of the speakers who made a very positive impression was Bob Dean, the Hiram College women’s soccer team coach.  Evelyn will, no doubt, be putting to use the many skills and insights she has acquired to make her senior year a great success.

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary meets at noon on Mondays at Cal’s II in Sky Plaza.  You’re invited .

 

gmen-garfield-localGarrettsville – One more meeting of the Campus of Excellence Oversight Committee on August 21 (D-Day plus one), the day AFTER the Garfield Elementary School Addition and Campus Enhancement project is scheduled for completion.

The roof is on.  The windows are nearly all in.  The door frames are ready for installation.  Despite the vicissitudes encountered in any construction project with this kind of timeline and this kind of retrofitting involved, the light is on at the end of the tunnel. It’s coming down to the wire and all systems are GO!

Savings were realized in the bidding process and have been re-invested in upgrades throughout the James A. Garfield campus, for all buildings.  This includes more efficient windows, security upgrades (also utilizing funds raised initially by Dee Synnestvedt for parking lot security cameras), digital signage for the high school and elementary school campus—5’x8’, wireless, , kitchen  improvements, carpeting in the new elementary band room, furniture upgrades…the whole shootin’ match…looking good.

So when would you like to hold the official ribbon-cutting ceremony?  In September some time?  Before a home football game?  On my birthday?  Whatever your suggestion, get it to a committee member or to the district office ASAP and, in any case, plan to mark your calendar and be there because heaven only knows how many dignitaries will arrive to see this amazing accomplishment marked by the community and all of the folks who made it possible.

And don’t forget that your YMCA is also reaching out to the community for input concerning the types of programs you would like to see offered out of the Park Avenue building.  They will soon begin having one-day-a-week open hours for registration leading to participation in fall programs.  Ditto for the PCESC which will be operating a pre-school program out of that building.  The YMCA contact person is Chris Scheuer; his number is 914-443-0043 and he’d like to hear about your interest in programs for all ages, K through Old-Enough-to-Know-Better.  Let him know what you’re interested in.

We’re ALL interested in this.

One to go!

Garrettsville – Anyone with some spare time and a sense of humor should make a beeline for the Iva Walker Theatre this weekend for the final performances of “Little Shop of Horrors” by the thespians of the Garrettsville Curtains Up Theatre company.

The plot revolves around an alien plant that just happens to wind up in a Skid Row florist shop (Likely, eh?) being tended by a nebbish named Seymour who’s smitten with the shop’s other employee, Audrey, who’s constantly being abused by her sadistic dentist boyfriend (Are you following this?).  Turns out the plant is a ‘way more advanced version of the Venus Flytrap and doesn’t dig plant food, just blood (Any type, dentist, shop owner,  girl friend, whatever). Customers are impressed by the exotic greenery. Chiffon, Crystal and Ronnette are the doo-woppy Greek chorus   that helps the story line along and wind up being about the only ones on the stage that don’t become a main course for the hungry plant.

Good cast, fun music—especially if you’re old enough to catch the pop culture references—a very menacing plant voice and a pleasant way to spend an evening.

 

Garrettsville - The Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club meeting on July 14, 2014 at Cal’s II began with the “Passing of the Pig”  to celebrate significant events of the preceding week; these included : a son’s attainment of The Order of the Arrow in Boy Scouts, marvelous mileage in a new car, the good life and a guest in attendance, a mortgage fulfilled, a baby brother’s birthday, a return from a successful family vacation, progress on the new school construction, the passing and appreciation of a beloved mother-in-law, a graduation/family reunion.  The “Days of Our Lives”.

Guest Steve Jenkins, with the Funeral Directors’ Life Insurance Company spoke briefly about    the topic he knows a lot about, pre-need planning for end-of-life situations.  With the actuarial disruptions caused by lengthening life spans, too many people are likely to misjudge their needs in terms of long-term care and funeral expenses.  The MedicAid  spend-down required is not well understood and unforeseen consequences can throw a monkey wrench into even  seemingly well-planned situations.  The issue of closure for the bereaved often takes a backseat to money when planning is done but it does not necessarily go away.  The FDLIC encourages pre-planning to mitigate the disruptions which can come about through lack of understanding between   family members.

Steve Zabor, of the Mantua-Shalersville Rotary Club, representing the District6630 grants committee, issued an invitation to a meeting—August 6 at Jake’s– being organized by Edie Benner for consideration of a possible joint project among the G-H and M-S and Aurora clubs focusing on the Headwaters Trail, its community and economic  potential.  He also brought a heads-up about “Rotary Days”, a point of interest for Rotary International and President Gary Huang, inviting communities across the globe to participate in activities, especially outdoor activities, with Rotarians to foster appreciation of the great outdoors, physical pursuits and   good neighbors.

Rachel Schwan is anticipating a 6-hour flight to Thailand, beginning on August 6 (Guess she’ll miss the meeting).  She can brush up on her language skills, learning Thai.

The Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club will be sponsoring a hole at the G-Men Football Golf Outing coming soon AND contributing to a fabulous New York learning experience for the Candance Academy, involving master classes, a lesson with the Rockettes and the new version of “Cinderella” on Broadway.  Supporting the community is what it’s all about.  Light Up Rotary!

 

“Back in the Saddle Again…Out where a friend is a friend…Where the longhorn cattle feed on the lowly Jimson weed…We’re back in the saddle again….” (Was that Gene Autry?.  Gene had a sidekick named Pat Butram,  I think, who always says said his name so that it sounded more like “artery”. Made him sound like a medical condition. I know Roy Rogers did “Happy Trails to You”.   Roy had a horse named Trigger and a dog named Bullet. Where did Gabby Hayes come in?)  But I digress….

It’s good to be , once again, bringing you the latest news flashes.  The paint has dried!

I don’t know about anybody else on the ol’ Villager Ranch, but I spent a good deal of the “down time” between   the end of SummerFest and the Fourth of July being asked about the results of various competitions and contests (My pies did well!); unfortunately, I had no idea how things all came out.  This week’s edition should enlighten everyone about those basic facts.  The next time this happens—SummerFest being piled upon the Fourth, all higgledy-piggledy—I’m just going to make things up.  In matters of fact, I cannot be trusted.

It WAS quite a stretch there, getting things organized and set up (Thank you crews of every stripe, you were golden.  The seating, the electric wizards, the clean-up forces…ya dun good)as well as the actual events (I’m talking the Garrettsville SummerFest and the Hiram Fourth of July) ;everyone pitching in made a BIG difference.

Kudos to the Eagles, who’ve made their corner of downtown an attractive focal point.  Ditto for Mike Maschek, who’s made an amazing improvement to the “face” of the village by cleaning up the eyesores in back of the old gristmill and gutting the structure so that it can be restored.  The reseeding of the Buckeye Block space is looking good too (The Eagles went ballistic and sodded their territory.  Primo!)  Hiram’s “Old Fashioned Fourth” has lost none of its appeal and even keeps on growing, with the Bloodmobile available and activities for everyone(Music and strawberries are an awesome combination).  The Community Band had a good, solid brass section that tooted and oom-pahed through a varied program with a remarkable cast of all ages. Think about dusting off that old high school instrument yourself for next year(The regular bass drummer needs support and some of the other players—Sax-y Anna is 84—would love to have some too).  It’s really fun.

Good fireworks, both ways  …and a shout-out to Newton Falls for that big time production of lights and sound on the 4th.

And maybe that everyone was all wound up after such a stretch of celebration, but there were sirens—police, ambulance, fire, who-knows-what-all—going off lately at all times of the day and night.  Just wanted to get in on the excitement, maybe.

More Cruise Nights and a Peach Social still on tap for the rest of the summer.

Saddle up, Pardner.

Shhhhhhhhh

(Trying to avoid jinxing the project.)

Photo: Denise Bly, Contributing Reporter

Photo: Denise Bly, Contributing Reporter

The latest report on the big school construction project adding Garfield Intermediate onto Garfield Elementary and locating all of the James A. Garfield Local School District buildings on a unified campus, thus saving time AND money in the educational process…the report is that things seem to be holding pretty well to schedule and looking like the—extremely tight–deadlines will be met.

The latest update, delivered June 19 in a presentation and walk-through to an interested and inquisitive group disclosed the various contracts and contractors involved, from sitework and concrete through structural steel, lockers, HVAC, building electric(Scotchman Electric),painting and wall covering(Doug Seaman Decorating), technology and paving.  Not to mention kitchen equipment, carpentry, flooring and plumbing.  Every one of these contracts was bid out and issued keeping both the cost and the time constraints in mind.  The intricacies of scope in such construction are quite amazing, involving the “breathability” of a building combined with    building efficiency, updating of the utility functions for the entire campus,  the element of “Seek and ye shall find,” in discovering an Insinkerator in the bus garage attic, brick types and so much more.

So far….  Looking good.

The weather has had its usual effects and, no doubt, will continue to do the same but once the roof, and the drainage thereof, goes on, it’ll be, “Bessie, bar the doors” and full speed ahead.

Also at the meeting was “The Y Guy” who complemented the entire community on the excellent condition of the Park Avenue building, indicative of the level of use and maintenance given priority over the years.  He indicated that the menu of services and activities to be offered out of the headquarters there will be developed over time, beginning with youth sports and expanding to adult programs and leagues, as needed.  This will be a methodical, step-by-step process, ensuring quality and demand, with high standards set for supervision and equipment and program design.  He mentioned the YMCA’s association with the Junior Cavaliers program and Adventure Guides as being part of the long-range outlook for sponsored activities.  Kim Curry, formerly part of the local soccer organization, will be the part-time co-ordinator for this new enterprise.

The Portage County ESC will be operating a community pre-school in their portion of the building.  All systems are GO.

Shhhhhh.  It’s going to happen.

Are you tired of tooting your own horn?

Here’s your chance to try playing your own pipes.  Well, not YOUR pipes exactly, but they’d be yours if you’d like to stop by the Garrettsville United Methodist Church and pick up an octave or two.  Here’s the deal :

When the abovementioned GUMC recently renovated, refurbished and updated its vintage (circa 1913) pipe organ, there were pieces/parts removed to be replaced by new musical apparatus…apparati?…stuff.  These pieces/parts were just too COOL to be pitched( although some of the REALLY long ones—eight -footers– had to go to that Big Recital Hall in the Sky) and they’ve been stashed away in the church basement since that time.  But now, “the time has come, the Walrus said”, to do something with these artifacts to free up some space  and move on…but they’re STILL just too COOL to pitch, if that can be avoided.  There are bunches of these antiques in boxes waiting to be re-purposed, re-used, adopted by somebody.

There are metal pipes that sound like tin whistles—look sort of like them too—or like steamboat whistles, with the same heft.  There are wooden pipes that have the mellowest tone imaginable.  The metal pipes are round and heavy-ish (mostly lead); the wooden ones are square and lighter than one might think.  Some are only about ten inches long, some are shouldering up to the  departed eight-footers.  They have the   tone that they are supposed to sound engraved on the lip somewhere, so you could assemble a sort of giant Pan-pipes affair on your back porch, should you, being handy, choose to do so(Take THAT, you wussy wind chimes!).  They’d make a one-of-a-kind accent piece in your music room or over the mantel.  I’m not sure what kind of wood  the wooden ones are made of but it’s older than most of us around here and might well be made into something neat if there are any interested woodworkers around.  Right now every one of them is really grimy and in need of some cleaning (I never  want to overdo it in the cleaning department.  “Cleanliness is next to godliness” ?…I say it’s next to impossible) and a little TLC.

Anyway, anyway, anyway…anyone who’d be interested in acquiring one—or more—of these treasures should inquire at the GUMC (office open 9:00a.m.—1:00p.m., Tuesday through Friday) .  A donation would be appreciated but not strictly necessary (Even new organs have to be maintained, y’know).

Toot toot!

 

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary entertained their soon-to-depart Rotary Student Exchange ambassador, Rachel Schwan at the regular  noon meeting  at Cal’s II on June 9, 2014 for questions about her preparations for the big adventure.  This included getting through the visa process and a convention of exchange students coming up at Otterbein, the daunting challenge of learning the Thai language, contact with her host family via Facebook—with pictures—the current political climate in Thailand( It’s quieter in the north where she’s going), the pervasiveness of Buddhism in the culture and the unknown factors that make it all so exciting.

The other guest at the meeting, Mr. Rich Brown, was introduced as “the Closer” by Delores McCumbers, who is acquainted with him through his working with McCumbers-Brady Realty as an agent of a title company.  His brief description of the duties of title companies was interesting and enlightening.  He’ll be invited back, no doubt.

Also on the docket : possibility of supporting a program encouraging first and second graders in mastering basic math skills—more consideration and discussion will be coming; reservations are due by  July 21 for attendance at the Indians’ game on August 1 for Rotary Night—“Dollar Dogs” and more; reading of the letter sent to the District regarding a possible grant enableing the local club’s participation in a rebuilding project; the village sign beautification crew will be mobilized on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

More next week; Garfield athletic director, Jim Pfleger, will be on hand to outline the plans and progress of the upgrades coming to the Garfield athletic facilities.

You know those orange and white saw horses that the ODOT crews used to have marking off forbidden territory when the summer construction season started? (They have up-dated all that now with tall, skinny cones and plastic tape)  An ironic gentleman of my acquaintance once proposed that they   should be designated the state animal…probably because they spent even more time in the road than the white-tailed deer which IS our state animal (The deer’s encounters in the road often end badly).

Anyway, the whole construction thing figured prominently in my most recent highway happenings, beginning with venturing off to the wilds of Huron County to the (very) small town of New London to attend an estate sale.  The sale was O.K., in the end but getting there was an adventure in itself.  I had no recollection of where New London was, even though the high school there had been one of the big rivals that Wellington High School had.  So I went to Wellington (I 480, St Rte 10, U.S. 20, St. Rte 58), picked up my mom and prepared to follow my sister, who had directions.  Only she wasn’t planning to be followed and took off for parts unknown with us tracking  as closely as possible.  You know that Army song, “Over hill, over dale, as we hit the dusty trail”?  It was sort of like that—two-lane county highway, up and down, up and down, trying to keep a small red car in sight.  The auction barn was not that hard to locate—in a park, by the school.  Looked over the merchandise and the crowd—both a mixed lot—then the bidding started and my Scots genes kicked in and I only bid on one item.  Time to go home,(sans Mama, she stayed with my sister) but how?  No need to go back through Wellington.

Whipped out the GPS, punched in my home address and listened in astonishment as it directed me to go in exactly the opposite direction from what I was expecting.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?  So I was off.

St. Rte 60 to U.S.224, bear left to U.S. 42 & U.S.224—OOPS—the GPS lady didn’t mean us to stick with U.S.42.   RECALCULATING.  Turn right onto Holden Rd.,  turn right on Sullivan Dr. turn left onto U.S.Rte 224—OOPS—she didn’t get the memo about that road being closed.  Back up, turn around  . RECALCULATING.  Turn right onto Colby Rd.  Turn right on Fairhaven Rd.  Turn left onto U.S. Rte 224, O.K., we’re good.  Lovely farm country, four-lane highway, out-in-the-country high school…cruisin’. Take exit whatever  to I 71.  All righty then, making good time, interstate speeds.  Take exit whatsit to I 271, still rolling along.  Look!  Up ahead, it’s the turnpike.  Do I have any change or small bills?  Whatever.  Off in Shalersville.  St Rte 44, St Rte 303, St. Rte 88…home.  Total time—even with the detours—just about the same as the usual from Wellington, MPG , a remarkable 42.

Next, a medical run to University Hospitals’ Orange Place facility for blood work (That I just found out can be done now in Garrettsville).  Not wanting to  do a long stretch on the grooved pavement we went from St. Rte 88 to St. Rte 305 up St. Rte 700 to U.S. 422.  ERROR, ERROR.  U.S. 422 is also under construction; two of the four lanes are nothing but a memory, one lane, WITH grooved pavement nearly into Solon.  Not going there again if we can help it.  On the way home, after a successful shopping experience, I decide to take  Chagrin Blvd ( St. Rte. 87) all of the way out to Burton/Middlefield  and come home that way.  WRONG!  The sign, about half of the way out of the big city says “Road closed.  Local traffic only”.   I always want to try those just to find out what the definition of “local” is but not at the risk of winding up in some stranger’s driveway.  So next, we’re turning south, heading east,  turning south heading east, roads sounding familiar, but not really.  Finally emerged onto St. Rte 306 and the edge of Aurora.  Hallelujah.  Grooved pavement ahead but at least it’s going to be familiar grooved pavement.

Then the surprise!  Road crews are working like navvies on the road (St. Rte 82) from the bottom of Derthick’s hill all of the way through Hiram.  Yay!  First thing you know it’ll be real road through Garrettsville all the way to the Trumbull County line.

One last thing contributed to the adventure of it all.  The hatchback lid of the trunk had been a little ”iffy” lately, not latching properly when closed—a little red light comes on on the dashboard, looks sort of like a bug, a car silhouette in red with little doors open on both sides, meaning that something is not secured.  So, the last time I shut the thing, I gave it a significant smack-down.  ERROR, ERROR!  When I attempted to open the sucker next, it was having none of it, not budging, not even jiggling a little bit.  Crawling over the folded-down back seat got me to the lock panel but it was no help either.  The internet revealed that this was a hanging offense for the Honda Corporation a while back, so I’ m hoping that this will be a freebie when we jaunt off to get it fixed this week.

Did the pioneers have these kinds of transportation difficulties?  At least with an ox wagon you could eat the problem.  Of course, next planting season, they’d have to hitch up the oldest child…or the wife.  No, thank you.

 

Photo courtesy of Michele Elias

Photo courtesy of Michele Elias

Well.  Don’t miss the next one.

The next “do” at the Candlelight Winery, that is.  The recent evening featuring food trucks and other festivities was an unqualified success, with  only the Premier Crepes truck left standing by the end of the evening—the others had run out of food, they were so popular.  Entrees were available, so were dessert items, there was seating inside and outside, good reviews of just about everything were floating around.  There was a raffle supporting #GarrettsvilleStrong ; there was music—Steve Howell finished up the evening to general acclaim (There were inquiries about the good doctor’s next CD), mellow and entertaining.  Early on, the Fox Channel 8  TV crew was out to see how we country folk get on…very well, thank you.  The new landscaping focused on a pond with a fountain, gravel paths, strategically-located tables and firepits, a mix of sun and shade locations for the early evening  (The spanking-new coop and the chickens were a bonus).  Both locals and outlanders  looking for a good time seemed to be having a fine night out.  It got the Sheri Johnson seal of approval and Patrick Hayden’s celebration put an end to any dissent.  It was a swell occasion.  Watch for announcements of any future celebrations.  You don’t want to miss this much enjoyment this close to home.

Photo courtesy of Michele Elias

Photo courtesy of Michele Elias

Community EMS  and Chief Chris Sanchez put on a nifty little down-home parade on Saturday, May 31 which showed off some of the equipment used in life saving situations—squad vehicles, for instance—and the individuals charged with running the affairs of the EMS district(Mike Elias, John Zizka, Jeff Kaiser, Tracy Brunner) as well as units of the Garrettsville/Freedom/Nelson Volunteer Fire Department and visiting units from the Windham Joint Fire District.  The James A. Garfield Marching Pride played rousing tunes, the Grand Marshal, Fire Chief David Friess and the Garrettsville Police were all part of the show as well.  The whole extravaganza wound up at the Community EMS headquarters on Forest St., where hot dogs, beans, salads, chips and beverages were part of the picnic atmosphere.  There were even inflatables—a slide and a bounce house—for the kids.  Adults could participate in health screenings offered by the local University Hospitals staff.  It was all about our health—not simply emergencies.  Watch for it next year.

Then it was on to the Village Book Store, where author Laura Peskin was available to discuss and/or sign a copy of her new paperback book, Deep Cover Cleveland (Vol. I).  It’s an interesting book, chock-full of tidbits of history, prehistory, illustrations and even geology.  Since the State of Ohio has pretty much abandoned the serious study of Ohio’s history and geography, this is a nice little catch-up on the points that you might have missed.  Lots of local names dropped throughout keep the reader looking for more and learning along the way.

Photo courtesy of Village Bookstore

Photo courtesy of Village Bookstore

Village Book Store no doubt has more copies available for purchase, as well as other eclectic choices and you can find just about any special-order items that you might fancy.  Stop in and check out the selection.  There will be more authors making appearances through the year.  Stop and inquire.

Graduation was inspiring, as usual, and touching this year, as a memorial  diploma was awarded to the dad of Nick Stock, who died in a tragic auto accident.  “Gone but not Forgotten” about says it.

O.K., now that the ugly old asbestos siding is being removed from the 150+ year-old building downtown in preparation for its restoration, the advertising on the antique siding underneath can now be seen.  Pretty cool, actually, but I can’t make out all of the words.   I got, “CARRIAGES, WAGONS and SLEIGHS” on one space, “SEEDS and POTATOES (I think) on another and “FARM IMPLEMENTS” on the third but I think that there are at least two other words that I can’t decipher.  Anybody want to clue me in?  I think that it would be neat if “the look” could be maintained and the words restored “as is”.  It’s  a formidable old building—a survivor, so to speak– and as soon as the wreckage in the back is removed( More parking?), it may become the symbol of a rejuvenated downtown.  Not that carriages are likely to make a comeback….

And speaking of carriages…the improved situation for “horseless carriages”, all the way from Hiram  through Garrettsville to the Trumbull County line, due to the completion of the resurfacing of State Route 82 is a welcome change.  Should make SummerFest more enjoyable.   ROCKIN’ to REBUILD, indeed.  Now if the Liberty St. bridge could  just be finished a little bit ahead of schedule—the decking seems to be on right now—so that the World’s Largest Tractor Parade can be routed around there to disperse, we’ll be good to go.  TOTALLY!

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary will be entertaining their Rotary Youth Exchange student, Rachel Schwan, next week to hear more about last-minute preparations for her departure for Thailand to spend a year as an informal ambassador of our community under the auspices of Rotary International.  What an adventure!

Evelyn West will be the local delegate to RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly) this summer at Baldwin-Wallace.  Laura Wilburn was the recipient of the Rotary scholarship awarded to a senior Interact member; it was presented at the Senior Awards Night on May 28.

The Wadsworth Rotary has issued an invitation to their “Gear Grinder” bike tour coming up on July 19.  Information is available.

The G-H club will be doing some beautification work at the signs marking entrance to the village as part of a Rotary contribution to ongoing rebuilding efforts.  Hostas and daylilies figure in the plans, as well as several work sessions.  Contributions from other regional Rotary clubs have totaled over $3500 and await a formal project launch.

Programs of ten to fifteen minutes in length are being sought, with members taking one meeting per month to outline their professions to acquaint the entire group with the make -up of the membership.

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary meets Mondays at noon in Cal’s II.  Come check them out.

 

dday2014It’s not “Saving Private Ryan” or “The Longest Day” or “Band of Brothers” but it is a commemoration of one of the greatest military operations in the history of warfare, which we all know, to our sorrow, has stretched across millennia.  D-Day, June 6, 1944 brought together Allied forces from the United States, Canada, Britain and the Free French partisans to storm ashore to begin the liberation of France and the end of the Axis presence in western Europe.  It was preceded by months of code-breaking, prevarication (Operation Bodyguard) and preparation.  It culminated on the beaches (Operation Neptune) — Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword—as part of Operation Overlord.  The greatest seaborne invasion in history is being remembered by world leaders, politicians, royalty, historians, and survivors (About 300 American veterans are expected to attend);  those survivors are growing fewer every year, by the seventy-fifth anniversary of the event, virtually all will be gone.

We have some local “skin in the game.”  Airborne Infantryman Alex Gerez, James A Garfield High School graduate, is  a part of the group that is involved in the  re-enactment scheduled to take place on this historic occasion, probably the last commemoration of its kind.  There will be a mass parachute drop, memorial services, tributes , speeches and remembrances.  Some  650 American military personnel will be taking part in various events.  One of our own carries on his broad shoulders the pride we all feel in the events and outcome of that momentous day so many years ago.

D-Day, June 6, 1944

D-Day, June 6, 2014

 

Pretty generally, my cats are NOT about excitement.  Mostly, they’re about conserving physical resources, i.e., lazing around, with as little movement as possible.  Oh sure, there is the occasional wrestling match, when one of the “guys” has to show how tough he is(This is the same one who is afraid to go outside when the door is open; he simply likes to beat up on the rest of them.), there’s the one guy who LOVES to play with things and will carry the jingle-balls around to entertain himself with and actually hauled a boxed light bulb up from the basement so that he could chew on and play with it; the three old ladies each have their own sphere of influence—upstairs, downstairs, outside—to hang out in.  Just the other day, Bob, he of the partly-missing tail, smallest of the lot of ’em, had a genuine outdoor adventure.  Well, I describe it as an adventure, he’d probably call it a “near-death experience”.

So, I’m returning home from some expedition or other, just about to turn in to my driveway, when I spot a large dog on the east side of the house, a dog which I’d never seen before, a large dog, with big hair.  As I watched, the dog took off in pursuit of something and out of the corner of my eye, I saw that this object of interest  was Bob, who had been out for his first constitutional of the day before I left.  Whoosh!  Around the back of the house they went, the dog barking, the cat running like a bat from the bad place, between the Brock house and my garage, past the car , across the front lawn, down the sidewalk and by the time I got out of the car, the marauder dog was at the base of a tree, barking, and there was a black cat with a stump of a tail and a ratty, jingle-bell collar up in the tree, rump-first, looking back to see if that big beast was going to follow him up there.

Well, no.  A young man from the family who had just moved in across the street came running up, carrying a box of dog treats (Always keep these handy in certain neighborhoods and with certain pets) and attempting to entice the  dog—I never quite got the name—to return home.  This wasn’t real effective, as the dog was having a fine old time and probably thought that this was just the best game ever since she—I think it was a she—had moved in to this new place.  Every time the young fellow zigged, she would zag, when he went forward, she went back.  Great fun!

Finally, he attempted a grab and she took off; he followed.  I and the other spectators—Alicia and Matthias Witte from down on the corner—went back to rescue Bob, who was still up there.  Easier said than done.  Nobody even thought about calling the GFNVFD, they have better things to do.  I briefly considered the extension ladder; we all just looked up at Bob, who wasn’t going anywhere.  Then Alicia said,” I can get him down.  That tree would be easy to climb.”  And it was too; there was one low-ish, good-sized branch just below where Bob was still hanging on for dear life.  So…up she went and held out a hand to him.  But Bob had had just about enough excitement for one day; he took the short-cut—straight down…and out.  He landed on his feet (Don’t they all?) and took off for parts unknown, not to return until considerably later that evening when the coast was clear and there were no more threatening visitors.  I tried calling him several times( He really does usually come when called) but he waited until it was pretty dark and he had scouted out the territory, besides, he was probably hungry.

Well, it didn’t merit a YouTube sensation like the surveillance video of the cat who saved the little boy from an attacking dog ( The cat later got to throw out the first pitch at a minor league baseball game, not easy when your claws catch on the stitching, I’ll bet) but it was more excitement than we usually get…if we don’t count the uproar the other night around ten o’clock when a strange, wandering dog (Boxerish? Pit Bullish?)with a collar but no tags showed up and drove the two eastside neighbor dogs into a barking/growling/yipping frenzy  (That’ll set   you right up at that time of night, uh huh).  Sounded like somebody was being massacred, no foolin’.  So here I am in my jam-jams, barely shod, clutching a flashlight(Remarkably enough, it had working batteries) hustling out of the house to see who had just died or been horribly dismembered—it was pretty quiet again—and found the Wittes, Alicia and Dad, Mark, holding on to the aforementioned dog  who, basically, wanted to play…or at least go for a run.  Somebody had taken in the other dogs who had been involved in the commotion and we were back to as close to normal as it gets here.  Called the police at my house, they said no missing dogs had been reported.  I kept the dog while the Wittes went home to be sure that their dog, Max, was in and quiet, then let the intruder go, hoping that she’d head home.  Apparently she did; we heard no more that evening.  Hope she did not enjoy the experience and will not return.

Other than that, the biggest excitement has been all of the transplanting and lawn work and the fact that I finally got the kitty condos off the front porch and the people-seating on.  The usual.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The Earth laughs in flowers.”

Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha !!!!!

 

 

Garrettsville – The May 19, 2014 meeting of the James A. Garfield Historical Society was focused on three main items :

***The Mott building will be open on May 24 during the Main Street CAR SHOW and on June 7 for the regular, first-Saturday-of-the-month Open House from 10:00 to 2:00.

***Many of the surviving documents—maps, abstracts of land titles and transfers, etc.—which had been in the Mishler office, which survived the Buckeye Block Fire, will be coming to the society.  There are records dating back to the establishment of the Connecticut Western Reserve, a treasure trove for research and historical interest.

***Christmas Walk is coming!  The signs need repainting.  The advertising should  begin to be organized, with special emphasis on local and senior groups.  Questions arose as to whether it would be worthwhile to attempt to make transportation arrangements, when these were not fully utilized in 2012.  Valorie McCullough asked if there was a count from 2012 regarding the number of meals and refreshments served.  Inquiries will be made.  The Nelson United Methodist Church will be on the Walk this year in recognition of the celebration of their bicentennial.  All in attendance expressed    appreciation and thanks for the excellent refreshments  donated by the church following the recent historical marker dedication.  They were a great addition to the event.

The winner of the society’s scholarship will be announced at the James A. Garfield High School Senior Awards program on May 28.

 

Garrettsville - Take THAT, Creepy Karpis! A northeast Ohio tornado watch didn’t stop interested folks from turning up at the Iva Walker Auditorium on Wednesday, May 15, 2014 to get the low-down on “Two Grants, and Three Giant Leaps” for the James A. Garfield Schools and the Garrettsville Communities.  Perhaps they were reassured by the tommy-gun toting G-Man at the door.  Persons of note from across the county and a gubernatorial representative from Columbus were on hand, as was Mayor Rick Patrick and a spokesman from the Ohio Historical Preservation Office.  Hiram College’s departing president, Thomas Chema bade the district farewell and acknowledged the coming of the college’s first woman president,  Dr. Lori Varlotta, and the willingness of the institution to participate in  the rebuilding after the “Buckeye Block Fire”.

It had all begun with a welcome from Julie Thompson, historian and recent Hiram College graduate, who had organized the evening, and the playing of the National Anthem by the James A. Garfield Band(It was at least partly about a national event, after all).Superintendent  Ted Lysiak gave opening remarks and thanks to the participants and the custodial staff which always finishes up the parade.  Rick Patrick acknowledged the outstanding services provided by the First Responders, from GFNVFD and mutual assistance communities, on the occasion of the fire and recognized the members who were in attendance.  Congressman Dave Joyce was introduced by JAG student Mark Butto and gave remarks of encouragement and support.  Kit Semplak, president of the James A. Garfield Historical Society, greeted the crowd and  offered a glimpse of the history of the lost Buckeye Block; the youngest member of the historical society, Grace Edwards, presented a summary of the Last Great Train Heist and its national     effects.  Then came the re-enactment of the event itself as narrated by Julie Thompson, based on the book by Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, gang leader.  The Garfield drama students in period attire brought the event to life and even hustled some celebrity  hold-up victims across the stage.  These were none other than the current county commissioners—Kathleen Chandler, Maureen Frederick and Sabrina Christian-Bennett.  These worthies, at the conclusion of the re-enactment, unveiled the fact that the Village of Garrettsville had been awarded a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) to the tune of $75,000 to aid in the re-development—streetscape, lighting, parking, etc.—of the business district.

The wrap-up of the event came after brief remarks by Jonathan Vimr of the Ohio Historical Society when the new state historical marker(which had been draped in a Garrettsville bicentennial throw) was revealed with a flourish by Kit Semplak and Portage County Auditor, Janet Esposito.  Ta-Daaah!

The JAG band played the Garfield Alma Mater.

The great variety of tasty and timely refreshments after the ceremony were graciously provided by the Nelson United Methodist Church.

Thanks to all.

 

If Jack-in-the-Pulpits are any indication, my yard is a veritable vegetation revival!  Nothing in the bulletin  tells  what the message is.  They’ve popped up in the front, the back, the side lawns.  They’ve out hustled even the ferns.  They’ve beaten the trilliums, hands down.  Wonder what got into them all of a sudden.  Maybe the ferocious cold that knocked off a bunch of the other stuff (at least one azalea, a rhododendron, my “Little Henry”—Itea  virginica—Virginia sweetspire, and who knows what else), has inspired the Jacks to new homiletic heights.  “Preach now!” I say.

Anyway, aside from letting the lawn get to near baling-height, I really have been out there putting in new stuff and trying to root out—literally– some of the unwanted stuff that has shown up.  I even spent time the other day over at the village maintenance building—after supervising the bridge reconstruction(How do those people manage without me?)—pulling out some of that invasive garlic mustard down along the creek.  There are places along there that are just a tad too steep for a refined type who will never see early middle age again but I did cause quite a lot of it to turn up little green toes and, presumably, die…we can only hope.

In my own patch, I’ve been digging out Sweet Violets.  They were an effort to cover up the ugly foundation of the old garage which must have been built somewhere in the late nineteen twenties or thirties ( I haven’t asked next-door neighbor John whose grandma lived in this house when it was first built.  She must have been a martyr)because it was only about as long as a Model A and had been added on to so as to accommodate a Nash Rambler or something.  The foundation, such as it was, featured refractory brick rejects from Harbison-Walker and a near-immortal forsythia bush and all of its relatives.  I thought violets would cover a multitude of sins and, besides, there’s that song, “Sweet Violets” that Dinah Shore—among others—recorded (Sweet violets, Sweeter than all the roses, Covered all over from head to toe, Covered all over with Sweet Violets)in 1951.  Not that a mere slip of a girl that I was at that time would remember.  A slightly raunchy version used to be sung on athletic team buses(girls’ teams…boys don’t sing stuff like this on buses) and it stuck in my mind, O.K.?  Be that as it may, when the new garage arrived and the addition to the house went up, dirt moved everywhere; I figured that that greenery was a goner and we’d start from scratch.  WRONG.

The violets showed up unannounced and proceeded to make a nuisance of themselves.  They’re NOT your usual “shrinking violet”.  THOSE violets are just fine with me.  The new guys have variegated leaves and they smell bad.  Variegation I can countenance, the smell bad part, not so much.  So they’ve been relegated to a patch on the east side where something is needed to anchor the slope and crowd out the  really weedy weeds, invasives and such.  The only thing that keeps them from sneaking back to their old haunts is to go after them with a trowel and take out as much root (They’re all interconnected) as possible.  Makes your hands smell bad.

The forsythia is resurrected as well but is so far under control.

Meanwhile, I’ve been plugging in some new plants, several of which I’ve never heard of or seen before, Tricyrtis Tojen and Tricyrtis Blue Wonder, for example.  Guaranteed to grow, it says on the package.  We’ll see about that.  It also says partial to full shade, which is just about all of my yard, especially in the back, and it says blooms late summer.  That makes them good to fill in between the tulips and the fall foliage.  All too often there’s kind of a lull when there’s nothing but green…which IS good but kind of boring.   The pictures on the packages make the blooms look almost orchid-like.  Whoa!  This is going to be big time competition for the Spring Beauties and the mystery flowers that look like disappointed tulips.

I bought some Lady’s Mantle at the Garden Club plant sale.  One of the reference sites called it Alchemilla mollis and one called it Alchemilla vulgaris; both of them said that it had medicinal properties but neither one was real specific about what it was supposed to be good for(Maybe the vulgaris part was a clue). Hang-overs?  Toothache?  Female troubles (Aren’t they men?)?  Anyway, it should have chartreuse flowers and perk up a boring spot.

My tomato plant looks promising.

The Eastern Wahooo that I got from the PCSWCD looks to be doing fine; the witch hazel should make it; the sassafras and Carolina beautyberry may soon be receiving last rites.  This “back-to-nature” bent can get kind of complicated.  The birds had just better appreciate the effort here next winter.

And speaking of birds….  DO NOT kiss your chickens.  The CDC indicates that this practice seems to have been the source of a number of outbreaks of Salmonella across the country, particularly in small-time ,backyard flocks (Perdue doesn’t kiss its chickens, I’ll bet…I sure wouldn’t).

Do chickens have lips?

 

Garrettsville – Sunday, May 18, 2014 was the BIG SHOW (Anybody remember Ed Sullivan?  Never mind). Opened with the High School Concert Band’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” and proceeding through the presentations of the Intermediate School Fifth Grade Band, the Middle School Concert Band and the Intermediate School Sixth Grade Band to the big finish with the High School Concert Band, it was an excellent finale to the year in instrumental music.

The selections ranged from “Attack of the Slide Trombones” through “Old Time Rock & Roll”, a “Philharmonic Phun Phest” and “The Low Brass Brigade” by the younger musicians to “Disney at the Movies”(Surely fitting after the band’s trip to Disney this spring), “Flight of the Bumble Bee”(featuring  Nick Crawford, percussionist extraordinaire), an “Instant Concert” with iconic melodies from all over, “The Stars and Stripes Forever” with a somewhat steroidal piccolo contribution by tubist Michael Ebie and an absolutely lights-out number, “Voodoo”, a sonic tour de force  of jungle beats and hypnotic sounds—great stuff!  Finishing up the program was the Garfield “Fight Song” segueing into “Hang On, Sloopy” and a tremendous drum corps display of percussion mastery.

Congratulations to the directors,  Theo Cebulla and Joe Gaither, who have put together a music program everyone in the district can be proud of.  Thanks to all of the boosters and contributors whose time, efforts and patience  have helped to make it all possible.  Thanks to the musicians who have given it their all, all for a good cause.

 

Garrettsville – The  Campus of Excellence steering committee met on May 15 (third Thursday of the month, MS Library/Media Center) for a progress report and quick look at the construction of the new elementary school addition to house the fifth and sixth grade, come August.

The first question had to do with the weather and its effect on the situation.  Can we say “wet”?  Things are moving along as quickly as possible, given the precipitation, and once some drying takes place, it will be full steam ahead…and then some.  The design-build company overseeing the project has built in contingency planning and is prepared to put “pedal to the metal” when it is necessary and feasible to meet deadlines…seven days a week if need be.

Color schemes.  Who thought about them? Paint? That’s all  in the works—field (background) colors, accent colors.  Carpet tiles and floor tiles, walls, work areas, the clinic, restrooms, public meeting space, hallways—all in the mix; different requirements for different uses.  Don’t even THINK about Fifty Shades of Gray.

The block walls are about to go up (see : weather). The structural steel is waiting in the wings.  Concrete trucks will be bringing in some 18,000 cubic feet of the base material—20-25 truckloads—for the foundation.  New valves and hydrants for the water system, campus-wide, will be added.  New schematics for the power supply will be added, individualizing the buildings, and requiring a power shutdown as well as a water supply interruption at some future point.  Summer school will be moved to the Middle School this year in consideration of the requirements of the situation and the safety of students.  Timmerman GeoTech has been and will continue to monitor construction details that most of us would never think of—soil moisture, concrete standards, etc.—testing as we go to ensure compliance with highest standards of construction , health and safety.  The building will be grounded to lessen the dangers of lightning strikes.  Who would have thought of that?

And all of that stuff in the Park Avenue building that has to go somewhere until it finds a new home in the new building?  Through the good offices of two local, school-involved guys, board member Deral White and perennial coach and booster, Larry Roach, those materials will be stored in two semi trailers, which will be loaded by the football team…and probably unloaded too—good body-building exercise.

It’s a GO, folks.  To (mis)quote a famous American admiral(Farragut), “Damn the weather reports!  Full speed ahead!”

 

The new, Cal’s II meeting place for the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club is proving popular and conducive to getting things accomplished.  Those things at the May 19, 2014 meeting  include :

Planning for the presentation of a wreath at the cemetery on Memorial Day

Invitation to celebration of Dr. Lynn Newman’s steadfast  60-year participation in Rotary programs with the Andover club

Invitation to the Cleveland Indians Rotary Night on  August 1 boosting the Rotary project, “End Polio Now” and featuring many activities as well as fireworks

Possible participation in the Rotary initiative Dictionary Project, wherein third graders at any given school are presented with a paperback dictionary of their very own…suggested by the Portage Mental Health & Recovery Board as a worthwhile project

The Portage Cluster—Garrettsville-Hiram, Mantua-Shalersville, Aurora, Kent, Ravenna—is considering a joint project, possibly involving Habitat for Humanity

Might G-H Rotary be spiffing up the signs at the entrances to the village?

Invitation to participate in the Boy Scouts’ beginning clean-up project on the Headwaters Trail on Thursday, with McDonald’s to follow

Jim Irwin presented a brief program—with pictures and readings—on the history, both commercial and cultural, of the Buckeye Block.  The street level businesses varied over time and the upstairs level housed a private, subscription library and the Buckeye Hall, where meetings, lectures, dramatic and musical productions had taken place.  There were quotes from an 1868 diary of Eugene Case, one of the laborers on the construction of the building.  Interesting.

Dues are due.

There will be no meeting on Memorial Day

 

Garrettsville - The Friends of the Garrettsville Library (PCDL) met recently—May 13—to confirm the dates of the next Big Book Sale, which will be held from June 16 to June21.  Monday , June 16 from 4:00 to 7:00 will be the Preview Event for Friends members ( to pick up hot titles on their must-read lists).  The public can rush in to get the juicy remainders on Tuesday from 11:00 to 7:00, Wednesday from 10:00 to 6:00, Thursday—closed, Friday from 10:00 to 6:00 and Saturday from 9:00 to noon.  It all gets packed away on Saturday from noon to 5:00 and goes to that Big Bookseller in the Sky.  If you are a member of the Friends, feel free to come in and volunteer, get scheduled for this regular fund-raiser.  If you’re not a member, feel free to sign up now.  The more, themerrier.

Friends of the Library T-shirts will be available this summer, for regular patrons of the library—and shouldn’t we all be—and especially for the participants in the popular summer programs.  The theme for these programs will be : “FIZZ ** BOOM  **READ” !!!  Sounds like a science focus.  Come see.  Check them out.

There are still Friends cookbooks available; they make great gifts and remembrances for family members and cooks of all sorts.  The May garden-themed raffle is winding down (You can still get in on the chances) but a new one for October will be organized around fall reading.  And, just in case you’ve missed it, there is a continuous book sale going on at the library so no one has to wait all year for the Big Book Sale.  Bargains galore!

The Friends of the Garrettsville Library (PCDL) will have their next regular meeting on August 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the library.   Good cause…short meetings…what’s not to like?

 

Well, now, THERE was a week!

Elections on Tuesday.  It was heartening to see that our precinct (Garrettsville A) was up over the prediction of the Board of Elections, not much,  but every little bit helps.  I think that Garrettsville B was over too but I didn’t check.  It’s also neat to see so many former students whom I exhorted in the seventh grade to step up to their civic duty and vote(“If you don’t vote, you don’t complain.”)  Not that I can take all of the credit, their parents were there too.  So that was good…and the parks issue passed too…Whoopeee!

Then Wednesday I finally found an auction that I could get to, a biggie.  So, as it turned out I was NOT the only one who got that memo.  The cars and trucks were parked  on the side of Sheldon Rd. for probably three-quarters of a mile on either side of the driveway to the auction site.  The driveway itself was likely a quarter mile long, so anyone going to the sale got in a fair amount of exercise just getting there.  The notice in the paper said that the folks who had lived there were collectors and the notice did not lie; those people had a little bit of all kinds of things and a whole lot of some others.  Antique furniture,  pictures of horses, pictures of long-gone relatives(of somebody, who knows who), pictures of landscapes, there was even an advertising picture of “the Peerless Girl” (in driving attire—hat, duster, glasses—very elegant.)  one of a set of possibly twelve young ladies.   A new girl appeared every year with the new model Peerless automobile  until the Cleveland , Ohio company succumbed to the Great Depression.  Each one was a pretty spiffy-looking young lady just waiting for someone to come by in a Peerless automobile—Barney Oldfield, maybe?  He drove their Green Dragon racing car.  People collect the antique prints of the gals but no one has ever found a print of # 12, so she may not be out there.  Anyway, somebody got this one and it wasn’t me.

There were two auctioneers going at the same time which means that one has to scout around to try to determine where the most interesting stuff is located.  Plenty of evidence that the owners were, indeed, collectors.  I did spot some wooden boxes, some little stools and side tables, miscellaneous knick-knacks (Oh yeah, I need more of those!)worthy of some attention and just kept circulating.  One of the attractions of estate sales like this is that a person can wander around in somebody else’s house.  This was a very large new house, built to look like an old one.  One look at the bathrooms( Yes, more than one), the kitchen and the closets (One walk-in per bedroom, plus linen and storage) and it was totally clear that this was NOT an old house.  I paid no attention to the two or three tractors and/or garden tractors OR the Honda Element and went back to the watch on boxes.  The pile I had my eye on also had a wood and brass antique level in it.  That’s what caused the mix-up.

The auctioneer picked up the level, described it and started the bidding.  I thought that I was bidding on the whole pile.  HE was selling me the level.  Oops!  When I went to take away the pile, after having won the bid, it was pointed out to me that I had the level, not the boxes, and another bidder had purchased the boxes.  Awkward.  The auctioneer was good enough to cancel my transaction and resell the level; he didn’t have to do that, and later I approached the guy with the boxes and managed to get him to part with three of them that I wanted.  Look on my kitchen shelf for a container with the words “cultivated dew worm farm” printed on the side.

Then it was off to the band banquet and recognition ceremony on Wednesday evening and the school groundbreaking on Thursday.  Friday was open.  Whewww.

Saturday I was out and about taking pictures of the various demolition/construction projects around town—the Liberty Street bridge, the curbs on St. Rte 82, the Buckeye Block fire clean-up.  That last one did me in.

I’m walking around the back by the truncated former parking lot, outside the fence, when the reason for those heavy boots that the demo guys wear became crystal clear.  Yup, a nail—a rusty, grungy-dirty nail—came through the bottom of my tennis shoe.  Luckily, it just grazed the bottom of my foot but the red mark was not clearly distinguishable as either a wound or a bruise.  When was my last tetanus shot?  Good question.  Got no time for lockjaw.  Well, then, it’s off to Urgent Care.

Do not trust your telephone book in looking for such a facility.  They lie.  When friend Becky found the correct information online, I got the hours and took off…after having washed my foot and doused it with peroxide.  “Urgent Care” seems sort of like a misnomer.  Nobody there seemed to be into “urgent” at all.  The receptionist was totally pleasant, gave me papers to fill out, some people left; I was glad that I had brought the Reader’s Digest.  Nothing moved.

I was eventually ushered into an exam room which had the approximate temperature of a meat locker and eventually a diminutive South Asian-type physician came and looked at my foot , asked a few pertinent questions and went off to write a prescription for an antibiotic and to send in somebody else to give me a tetanus shot.  Have to say, the shot-giver was good at her job.  Minimal hurt.  No lingering ache.  Good to go.

Called my mother on Sunday.  Heard about the demise of her refrigerator and its imminent replacement.  Planted flowers.

I don’t think that the meeting of The Friends of the Library this week can hold a candle to all that.

We’ll see.

 

Garrettsville - The James A. Garfield Marching Pride has been having a spring banquet since the year 2000 and this year was no exception, a great evening of awards and recognition…and some pretty fair food, prepared by Guido’s Catering and presented through the good offices of Marianne Norris and Dorothy Sheller.  And it was another occasion where rank has its privileges—the seniors got to go first through the buffet line.  Faculty and administration got demoted to coming through last.The Middle School jazz band, the Jammin’ G-Men and the High School jazz band, the Big Swing Machine, provided music for the preliminary “meet-n-greet” time but everyone got to the gold-covered tables with their gold-colored plates in time to enjoy the meal…and the cakes!

The awards table was full of items to be handed out—blankets, medals, patches, letters, caps, pins, umbrellas, fancy bags with mysterious contents.  The dining tables were full of band members, parents, grandparents, siblings and even some miscellaneous alumni band people.  The awards went out after the band directors, Theo Cebulla and Joe Gaither, took a few moments thanking  the many booster members who had made such great contributions to making 2013-2014such a great year for the Marching Pride.  The Mesdames Curry, Crawford, Everett, Hoffman and Jones headed up the Band Boosters operations for such necessary considerations as chaperonage, travel, uniform maintenance and fund-raising.

National award winners were announced : Junior Arion Service—Nick Crawford, Semper Fidelis—Dan Anders, Patrick S. Gilmore—Andy Lininger, John Philip Sousa—Michael Ebie.  The local Leanne Brosius-Osbourne Scholarship winner will be announced at the annual honors ceremonies on May 28.

The photo-ops were many and varied, as were the images presented in the senior video show and individual awards.  The 2013-2014 band officers were recognized and  officers for 2014-2015 were announced.  The evening’s program detailed the activities throughout the year and the seniors gave a behind-the-scenes look at very many of them .

And they’re ready to do it all again next year.

Go, G-Men!

 

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary, at their meeting on May 12, 2014, entertained Ms Evelyn West as an applicant for attendance at this summer’s RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award)activity to be held in June at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea.  She is a participant in Interact, does volunteer work at the James A. Garfield Elementary School and at Hattie Larlham.  She also participates in musical and theatre activities and the St. Ambrose Youth group.  She is considering a career in musical therapy and the G-H Rotary group will be stepping up to assist this very capable young lady in sharpening her leadership skills in furtherance of her goals.

Jim Irwin described his experience  visiting the Rotary Club of Milan and brought back some new ideas for projects and programs.

Kit Semplak gave a brief outline of the program to take place on May 14 at 6:00, dedicating the official Ohio State Historical marker commemorating the Last Great Train Robbery in the United States, which took place in Garrettsville in 1935 at the now-gone Erie Railroad station.  The Ohio Historical Society furnished a grant and local funds were raised, primarily through the James A. Garfield Historical Society and the local schools.  Hiram College graduate Julie Thompson, has researched and organized the event, incorporated local and state officials, a reenactment of the event, the origin of the local “G-Man” nickname/logo for the school system teams and even the appointment of Hiram College’s first woman president.  A panoply of historic events!  The meet-n-greet begins at 5:30, featuring tasty treats from the Nelson Methodist Church, with the program to begin at 6:00.

G-H Rotarians will be sponsoring a $500 scholarship for an Interact student at this year’s Award ceremonies on May 28.

Tom Collins invited all to join Boy Scout troop 4262 in performing a clean-up along the Headwaters Trail on May 19 at 6:00.  Rotary will be buying gloves.  Y’all come, now.

Vice President Delores McCumbers, presiding at the meeting, read  a letter to the grant-making body of the District 6630 in preparation for the possibility of applying for  project funding to rebuild Garrettsville’s downtown with a Rotary recognition.