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Iva Walker

Iva Walker
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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.

 

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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.

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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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?

 

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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.

 

Garrettsville - Six shiny, brand-new TRUPER shovels.  Hard hats.  A pile of dirt brought in and lined up especially for the occasion.  Students, educators &  administrators, township trustees, construction officials dignitaries interested citizens.  Photo opportunities—with or without dirt—of all sorts.  A backdrop of soil on the move, big machines, flagged stakes, safety fencing, a changing façade of the elementary school as its addition takes shape.  The Marching Pride.

They were all there on the official groundbreaking ceremony held on May 8, 2014 at the James A. Garfield K-6 Elementary School Addition. Board president Guy Pietra managed introductions and recognitions  The governor sent a liaison, Tim Ross, with a proclamation.  The superintendent spoke of the challenges of the construction, the expectations and resources as part of the project overview.  Grace Edwards, a 5th grade student, brought a historical viewpoint and an appreciation of the Park Avenue school.  Andy Lininger  and Laura Wilburn spoke of the skills learned , mentors encountered, groundwork laid in the elementary school for future success.  Mayor Rick Patrick offered the description of the occasion as a milestone.  Bob McAuliffe, Jr. of the Hammond Construction Company made reference to the teamwork involved in the whole enterprise. Superintendent Ted Lysiak encouraged all in attendance to cherish the memories and remember the path of the changes  leading to tomorrow with educators as builders.   Board vice president David Vincent gave closing remarks and thanks.  Then it was on to the shovels!

And refreshments, of course.

The Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club met at Cal’s II on Monday, May 5, 2014, inducting two new members, Trish Danku and Ted Lysiak.  The ceremony included a short exposition of the significance and activities of Rotary, both local and worldwide.  Rotarians and their works are admired and emulated in the furtherance of their motto, “Service Above Self.”  There was also a brief discussion of the Rotary Foundation and how it awards matching grants at the local, national and international levels.

Information on the incoming Rotary Youth Exchange student was made available for the first time.  The new visitor is coming from Hungary and his name is Lenart Zsadany.  Step right up and say hello.  He currently attends Verebely Laszlo Szakkozepiskola es Gimnazium—probably doesn’t have any T-shirts with that on– and enjoys informatics; he would like to be a computer programmer and plays soccer.  He will be staying with the Brown family, the Schwan family and the Collins family.  Make him welcome. He likes to be called “Zad”.  We can do that.

Next meeting will entertain students in the junior class hoping to attend the summer RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly) at Baldwin-Wallace College.  It’s a selection interview.  Good Luck to students and selectors; it’s not easy making these decisions.

Various thoughts and ideas about fund-raising  to make possible a matching grant from the Rotary Fund for the Garrettsville reconstruction efforts.  Specific projects are required for disbursement of funds and a focus on Rotary contributions to the community is highly favored.  More thoughts later.

Open your mouth and say , “Aaaah”

Do physicians even DO that any more?  Well, according to an item in the Akron Beacon-Journal, you should not hand over your money before the doc sticks anything in your mouth.  That’s because  some researchers at New York University have discovered an absolutely stunning collection of bacteria,   viruses (Or viri?  Nope, virus has no plural in Latin), fungi (Now there’s a plural!) and plant pathogens on dollar bills… not to mention traces of anthrax and diphtheria.  YUK!  They uncovered—so to speak—all of this by using high-speed  gene sequencing and computerized data-base analysis on about 80  $1 bills from a Manhattan bank.  That George Washington you’re carrying around may have more than 3000 kinds of bacteria, your gateway to skin infections, stomach ulcers and other assorted afflictions of the flesh.  They found some 1.2 billion (Yes, that’s Billion) segments of DNA, about half traceable to humans.  Of the remaining material, about 20% could be identified.  O.K., that leaves 30%, give or take, not attributable to anything in particular.  Are we seeing  ALIENS panhandling on the corners here?  Yetis?  Abominable whatevers?  We’re talkin’  DIRTY money.

And in that same vein…you should pardon the expression… the latest news in competition sports is the Tough Mudders.  One description of the “sport” goes like this : “Tough Mudders are hardcore 10-12 mile(18-20 km) obstacle course challenges designed to test strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie—probably the toughest event on the planet.”  Oy!

A  couple of guys founded the whole thing in 2010, got about 4500 nutjobs to participate and it’s grown from there.  A rough estimate of the number of crazies having taken part so far hovers in the neighborhood of 1.3 million.  In 2013 the number of players reached somewhere around 700,000.  The company (What, you thought it was just a bunch of guys—it’s always guys, right?—who get together to get “down & dirty” crawling through mud and ice water?) which organizes and officially sanctions events is worth $70 million and has classified the competitions as Arena, Backwoods, Open Range, Off-road, , Mountain and Muscle.

The twenty to twenty-five different obstacles are presented as challenges to some of humans’ greatest fears—fire, water, electricity, height.  About seventy-eight per cent    of competitors finish the course.  Depending upon the course, a player can be facing dangling live electric wires, vats of ice chunks, water and other substances you don’t want to know about, greased monkey bars over ice pits, walls to scale, pipes to crawl through, planks to walk.  Oh, it’s a lot of fun!

Both individual and team competitions are part of the deal; male and female “Tough Mudders”   get into the thing but the predominance goes, of course, goes to the guys(Female “mudders” are already tough).  There are sponsors sometimes—Under Armor, Degree (Wouldn’t you know a deodorant would get into it?), Bic (What?  To take notes?), Wheaties (These pictures will NOT make the front of the cereal box), Dos Equis, Clif Bar—and usually some kind of a charity affiliation, often military-related.  Prizes are popping up occasionally.

And how’s all of this like the money?  All good clean fun, right?

Well, there seems to have been an outbreak, O.K. maybe more than one outbreak, of some really, really ugly intestinal disorders, caused by norovirus, for one.  This may have something to do with the fact that at least one of the competitions was WAY too close to an agricultural installation  and the mud involved was, shall we say, enhanced by unplanned substances.  Then, of course, you never know what that dude suffering next to you was infected with before the two of you were submerged in ice water.  DO NOT swallow the mud!

And, lastly, on the medical front– SPOILER ALERT for Prince Charming—it is now possible  to get what some podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons are calling “Cinderella surgery”.  “If the shoe fits, wear it,” has gone to a whole new level.

Women—wealthy ones, anyway– are having surgeries to make their feet fit their shoes, not the other way around.  Manolo Blahnik, Nicholas Kirkwood, Christian Louboutin, all high-end shoe designers, have opened  economic horizons for the medical profession by designing shoes that women cannot wear without either pain or reshaping of their feet.  Got “high heel foot”, “hitchhiker toe”, “toebesity”?  This can be dealt with  by getting a Perfect 10 (toe shortening), a Model T (toe lengthening) or a foot tuck(fat pad augmentation).  Don’t EVEN call it a bunionectomy any more.  It’s a “facelift for your feet” so you can fit into heels.  Don’t go for toe liposuction or pinky toe removal, those are stepping pretty close to unethical.  The originator of these procedures, Dr. Ali Sadrieh, says that it’s about a lifestyle choice and projecting confidence; a hallux valgus correction with osteotomy and screw fixation means that one can put on and wear a shoe that did not fit comfortably before.  What IS a stiletto after all, but a knife?

Ugly stepsisters, here’s your chance!

 

Garrettsville – There will be a benefit concert in conjunction with an art and craft silent auction on Saturday, May 17 from 6:30 to 9:00 at the Garrettsville United Methodist Church.  The goal of the People Tree’s fire fund is to aid those merchants and employees  affected by the March 22 downtown fire in Garrettsville.

Featured for the evening will be local Christian singer and songwriter GAIL MANGERI, who will be performing from 6:30 to 7:30 , with an auction break for rest and refreshment, then a closing round of music and inspiration to conclude the event.  Gail will be joined by other talented family members in inviting the community to sing along and raise prayers of thanks that no one was seriously injured in the fire. Prayers for healing and restoration for the community and the historic downtown will also be offered.

Admission is by donation.

Donations may be directed to Maureen at 330-527-4674…questions as well.

It’s about rebuilding people too.

 

Once, many years ago, I ran across a book with the title, Hollywood Is A Kosher Nutburger.  I think that I read it but who knows.  At any rate, it struck me that it was a fine shorthand for “This place is nuts!”

Well, the news lately—internet, the comics,  the news pages, magazines—all of it, is proof that  while time may march on, things are still really STRANGE!  For example:

New research has revealed that , monthly, Google has been used to find out “how to hide a dead body” at least 1000 times; “how to get away with murder” came up 1900 times and… the winnah is…40,500 queries on “why did I get married?”  Now there’s a “Dear Abby”  moment for you!  Might want to pair these pieces of information with a new app called Cloak which will alert you, via your cell phone or other mobile device, that your ex-friends, ex-lovers, bill collectors or other personally undesirable individuals are in the neighborhood.

Also having to do with, the internet, I got some kind of a scam thing going on which, when I hit the “information” button, took me to a website for Hildegardisschool, a Dutch elementary building in the Netherlands. Nothing wrong with little Dutch boys (Don’t they make paint?) and girls(She did cleansing powder, right?) but their connection with Bank of America must be tenuous, at best.

There’s a model somewhere out in La-La Land who’s suing Playboy Magazine and a Los Angeles radio host for “pain, suffering, worry and anxiety” because the dude was, apparently, not quite the golfer he thought he was when he attempted to hit a golf ball teed up on the young lady’s nether parts…he missed   and left her good side in bad shape.  She protests that she never thought(Well, duh, that’s obvious) that he would actually try to hit the ball.  Playboy sponsored whatever very refined event it was where this exhibition took place.  She’s seeking $500,000, according to a snippet in The Week magazine.

Here’s an interesting heads-up from aol news oddments about some of the more unusual names being given to children recently.  I’d read   the “Nevaeh” (Heaven, backwards) before but this one was ‘way past that.  What was it? Zzyxz.  Yup, Zzyxy.  How about them apples(That’s what Natalie Portman  named her little child, isn’t it? I think her other one is Moses.  Not so bad).  There’s a teacher’s nightmare, having a kid with a name like that show up on the roster with no clue how to pronounce it.  Now, personally, I would guess that Zzyxz would be pronounced “Zicks”, but the entry for this particular christening curse is to be “Zay zix” .  That better for you?  Good grief!  The things that people will do to poor defenseless children!

How about deep sea diving in a wheelchair?  Got to give the lady doing this particular challenge credit for guts but I’m a little confused as to the point of it all.  Sort of falls into the “Annie Oakley” song “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” category, I would think.

And the things that you can find in the dictionary!

How about emetiphobia?  Wikipedia defines this as “an intense, irrational fear of or pertaining to vomiting.  Well, there you go!  Who hasn’t wrestled (sometimes   literally) with that one while waiting in the wings to do something that you got finagled into or foolishly agreed to (Just like the model above) never dreaming that it would come to THIS.  Sub categories include being at a VERY posh occasion with a touch of “Delhi Belly” or “Montezuma’s Revenge”.  What’s so irrational about that?  One researcher says that some people afflicted thus have trouble “comfortably leading a normal life .”  D’ya THINK?

And finally, I’ll bet that al most everybody out there has, at some time, suffered through a bout of sphenopalatine  ganglioneuralgia.  And you didn’t even know what it was!  You did know that it hurt, however, as you slurped up that ice cream cone after winning the ballgame or bit into a big chunk of DQ ice cream cake or chugged  a Slurpee from the Seven –Eleven.  Yup.  It’s the brain freeze, caused by super-cooling the back of your throat where there’s a whole pack of nerves that go straight to pain receptors in your brain.  Just like the express line, no waiting!

There’s more where this all came from.  Stay tuned.

This could be a vegan Bar-B-Q

 

Garrettsville - The James A. Garfield Historical Society met on April 21, 2014 in the historic Mott Building for a full slate of official business and some interesting highlights.

Ed Perdian made a cameo appearance to propose  an activity  that the group might consider offering during SummerFest this year: a tour of historic homes in the village via horse-drawn Amish surreys.  This  elicited considerable interest and discussion of insurance, scripted information and permission of organizers.  More to come.

Pam Montgomery described the #GarrettsvilleStrong project which she has undertaken, seeking memories of the destroyed Buckeye Block from everyone in the community.  Broad outline of the project include the history of the structure, memories specific to the location, the fire event itself, recovery.  Advertising opportunities will be available to help defray the costs.  Submissions may be sent to Nelson United Methodist Church, Box 210, Garrettsville, OH 44231.

Changes to the organization’s by-laws were voted on and approved.

The Christmas Walk is coming.  Maureen See will be organizing and overseeing the craft show.  The location is still uncertain but the Village Hall is the hoped-for  venue.  Sites for the Walk itself were announced : The Countryman home in Rolling Meadows, the Kontur home on the State Route 303, the Renner home on South Park  Blvd., the Kissel home on St. Rte 82.  Nelson United Methodist Church will be the featured house of worship this year, in honor of the celebration of their bicentennial (Actual celebration will take place in July; they’ll probably be baking from then until November).

The next big event this spring will be the dedication of the new historical marker(sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?) to be held on Wednesday, May 14 in the Iva Walker Auditorium at 6:00 p.m.  All manner of local and regional dignitaries will be on hand, from the newly-chosen president of Hiram College Lori Varlotta, to congressman David Joyce, to retiring Hiram College president, Thomas Chema ,to local-girl-made-good State Representative Kathleen Clyde, to James A. Garfield Local School District superintendent Ted Lysiak AND the Garfield Marching Pride and re-enactors of the Last great Train Robbery in the United States, which the marker commemorates.  The Nelson UMC will be providing refreshments for the gathering. It will be an evening.  The public is invited.

Next open house at the Mott Building will be on May 3 from 10:00 to 2:00.

A DVD, maybe two of them, is in the works as a fundraiser for the society and #GarrettsvilleStrong, featuring  video by Rich Teresi and with help from Carlson Funeral Homes and Crematory Services.

Gene Semplak and Joe Fry were credited and thanked for refurbishing the historical society’s sign, which was approaching antique appearance itself.

There have been fourteen applications for the James A. Garfield Historical Society scholarship award ($500).  Selection will be made in time for the Awards Day at the high school.

Donations were accepted :  a framed letter from Orson E. Ott to the reunion class of 1957, books and papers belonging to the late Thelma Paul from Roetta Moore, newspaper clipping from Stephanie Byrne, historical pictures.

The meeting closed with a reading /history lesson by Edith Sampson recounting impressions of a tour of the Buckeye Block in 1999.  Where’s the water tank now?

 

Participants of Rotary's Roadside Cleanup. Photo courtesy of Tom Collins

Participants of Rotary’s Roadside Cleanup. Photo courtesy of Tom Collins

Garrettsville - Garrettsville-Hiram  Rotarians met at their new venue at Cal’s II at noon on Monday, April 28, 2014; it was a good meeting, model for many more.

Ted Lysiak reported that the construction of the new intermediate school is—so far—on track to be completed as scheduled, on August 20.  Consultations  with the YMCA are ongoing, regarding which spaces at the Park Ave. building will be used by them and which will be the domain of the PCESC.  Teachers from that building will be packing up their accumulated materials to be moved to the new digs by the high school football team, after storage in some donated semi trailers over the summer.  Whew!  Demo models of the tech component of the grant—Google Chrome book and HP laptop—circulated  and the 4C’s aspect of their acquisition—creativity,  collaboration, communication and critical thinking—were brought out.  He also invited all to the Wednesday, April 30 presentation by the Portage County Drug Task Force at the Iva Walker Auditorium.

Carol Donley reported on the latest developments in the ongoing adventure of the group’s sponsored international exchange student, Rachel Schwan, who will be heading out to Thailand in August.  Carol was able to participate in the district investiture program   when the exchange students got their Rotary blazers (and pins)to identify themselves when they speak to international Rotary groups.   Rachel will also be receiving local club banners and pins to use when making presentations.  So far, no word on an exchange student coming to the Garrettsville-Hiram community.  Also mentioned was the generous impulse of district Rotarians making #GarrettsvilleStrong donations at the conference.

Tom Collins reported on the recent roadside clean-up between Garrettsville and Hiram with the assistance of the Garfield Interact Club and the Boy Scouts AND Jim Irwin and John Crawford.  Interesting things turned up in the highway waste collection.  Lunch, furnished by McDonald’s, was enjoyed by all.  Also from Tom, mention of his visit to the Mantua-Shalersville club meeting to hear a presentation by Portage Park District head, Chris Craycroft, explaining and urging support for the county parks levy which will be up for passage on May 6.  The system could be an economic engine for the county and for the Garrettsville/Mantua area, located at either end of the Headwaters Trail.  Possible co-operation between the clubs to promote the trail is a thought for the future.

Rotarians are everywhere and many of them were in evidence at the “Garrettsville Day” in Blazin’ Bill’s rib celebration recently.  As a business owner who in the past suffered  a fire of total destruction and a Rotarian, the owner/operator graciously turned over a percentage of that evening’s profits to the recovery efforts.  Plenty of locals and plenty of Rotarians from far afield attended to support the cause.  Plans for the Rotary contribution to the rebuilding effort will be taking shape soon.

The club voted to make a contribution to the Garfield after-prom committee.

Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly will be coming up this summer.  Candidates are being sought.

Garrettsville - The Twentieth Century Club of Garrettsville met on April 24, 2014, at Cal’s II in the Sky Plaza for the annual Spring Party.  This will close the club year until the Summer Outing in July or August.

Members and guests were graciously  welcomed by outgoing president, Carol Torda; member Jane Bell offered grace before the meal.

The program for the evening was author Nancy Pennick, whose book series, Waiting for Dusk, includes Waiting for Dusk, Call of the Canyon and Stealing Time.  She described her retired teacher situation and  the origin of her foray into writing as a sort of past/present interface that set her on a course that she could hardly have imagined at one time.   Her work has been self-published, working with a small publishing house (Melange Press) and catching some lucky breaks(The big companies—there are six of them—do much in the way of marketing and promotion but are super-hard to connect with).  She did some marketing on her own, giving away bookmarks, magnets and copies of her book to the local district library and lucky winners in the group.  It is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Her advice : Follow your dreams…but always have a back-up plan.

Outgoing officers of the club—Carol Torda, Joyce Fashing, Karen Miller, Leah Schultz– then took up candles  for the installation of new officers, passing the light to Pat Amor, president; Jane Bell, vice president; Mary Furillo, secretary; Leah Schultz, treasurer.  Next, longevity recognition went to members Connie Crate and Gay McCoy.  Lastly, the program committee for the 2014-2015 year –Karen Miller, Bonnie Oliver, Carol Torda, Joyce Fashing—distributed  questionnaires on program suggestions and entertaining options for use in setting up next year’s activities and locations.  Pictures were taken, congratulations were offered.  Encouragement  in finding new members was offered.  Goodbyes were said.  New adventures are on the horizon.

 

garfield-hall-of-fameGarrettsville - A select but cheerful crowd was in attendance at the James A. Garfield Schools Hall of Fame celebration on Saturday, April 26, 2014.  The Middle School Jazz Band and the High School Jazz Band provided preprandial (Look it up; it means “before a meal”) musical selections for everyone’s listening pleasure and a number of high school athletes were on hand to assist with serving and clean-up.  Joe Malmisur ably handled the duties of master of ceremonies.  Sheri Johnson and Annette Carlisle were the organizers of the event.

The all-star line-up included :

Faber (Rusty) Kearney  -  Introduced  by his old friend and classmate (’76) Joe Malmisur, this Garfield grad has made it a point to be all about serving.  After finishing high school— football letter-winner, National Honor Society, Academic Challenge team, the usual—Rusty went   on to serve in the U.S. Navy, gain a degree in nuclear technology, advance in recognition and respect in the nuclear industry(Currently with Excelon Corp.) and volunteer in community organizations(e.g. Big Brothers and Sisters) wherever he and his family have resided.  Applause rose spontaneously when he shared the fact that his kids are currently on active duty in the U.S. military. The appropriate quote might be, “We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.”(Winston Churchill)

Harry Kraft – Honored for his service to the district, Harry recounted some of his best moments in coaching, predominantly in track and field.  He credited much of his success to the fact that he was privileged to be on the scene when a strong and dedicated cohort of young people was present in the system.  His introducer, Matt Pfleger, was one of these; he and his brother, current athletic director, Jim Pfleger, testified to Coach Kraft’s service as a mentor and role model.  Records set and good times were part of the reminiscences, heads nodded  .  The coach acknowledged the part played by a wife who allowed a prolonged engagement with adolescence and adolescents.  As an 80th birthday gift, this was a winner.

Nick Rogers – Having traveled up from Texas, where he is a well-regarded and successful director of recruiting at Medestar in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, proficient in staffing and recruiting skills, Nick   was introduced by his friend and nominator , Jamie Ward, sports writer with the Geauga County Maple Leaf.  This brought forth a whole litany of Nick’s accomplishments  on courts and fields, and the revelation that he had won an additional letter in baseball, playing on the fly, as it were, when the boys on the diamond fell below required numbers.  Nick was an outstanding performer from an early age and a leader always , an example for athletes across the spectrum–boys, girls, older players,  younger teammates.  He was the straw that stirred the brew.  Nick graciously acknowledged the influences on his life, beginning with his parents, who were always supportive, through Coach Bennett and Coach Morgan and other families which were part of his life.

Jeremy Vecchio, the fourth honoree, was unable to attend.

Socializing and tours of the updated, refurbished, renewed and remodeled  high school were also a popular part of the evening.

 

Garrettsville - April 14 ~ Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club moves to new location, time.  Beginning on April 21, the club will be trying out a change to meeting at noon in Cal’s II to accommodate today’s busier schedules and altered commercial circumstances.  Give it a try.

The president-elect, Delores McCumbers spoke of her visit to the Kent club to observe proceedings at a club which meets at noon and how things are organized.  The times, they are a-changin’.

John Wolfe will be the official elector at the District Conference—April 25-27 at Quail Hollow where changes in by-laws will be discussed and voted on.  Local clubs should be doing this as well, every five years.

The annual roadside clean-up is scheduled for April 26, with Boy scouts and Interact students on board; there is a track meet on that same day but adjustments will be made.

The club gratefully accepted a generous contribution from the Aurora club, to be funneled through the district coffers for use in activation in conjunction with the #GarrettsvilleStrong effort to rebuild after the disastrous fire and highlight Rotary contributions to the community.  Similarly acknowledged was the “Garrettsville Day” fund-raiser  (April 23) to be held at Blazin’ Bill’s as a fellow Rotarian sponsors a benefit for the rebuilding, having undergone a comparable disaster, once-upon-a-time.  Many thanks.

Reconstruction talk ebbed and flowed.

April 21st ~ Newness flowed at the inaugural noon meeting, attended by members, guests and speakers and combinations of those categories.  Introductions were in order.

Mayor Rick Patrick spoke on the latest developments on rebuilding information, endeavoring to maintain his customary positive attitude and touching on the clean-up progress involving the individual owners & insurance concerns, permits from various agencies (Rep. Dave Joyce helping with EPA matters)and plans for summer activities( i.e. Summerfest, Cruise Nights, etc.) and how they might be affected by issues of sidewalks, parking, utilities relocation, fencing, etc.  He also directed attention to the Garrettsville People Tree which is collecting funds for individual tenants displaced by the fire.

James A. Garfield Local School District Superintendent Ted Lysiak gave a brief overview of the Straight A Schools  Fund Grant project going on in the district which will re-locate the fifth and sixth graders to the Central Campus of Excellence in a brand new $4 million building AND supply all students in the district with laptop computers, as well as re-purposing the Park Ave. building in partnerships with the Cleveland-area YMCA and the Portage County Educational Services Center.  Ground was being broken even as he spoke.  Also on the calendar,   an official groundbreaking ceremony—with pomp, circumstance and high-powered officials—on May 8 AND  the dedication of the new historical marker, initiated by Julie Thompson, commemorating the 1935 train robbery in Garrettsville; ceremony and other activities to be held in the Iva Walker Auditorium.

It was a good meeting.  Come and check out Rotary.

 

Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys…and Girls!!!

This is no time to be falling into disputes that could derail the downtown reconstruction efforts before they get truly off of the ground.

#GarrettsvilleStrong has been up front about the purpose of the financial efforts being made from the very beginning.  It’s all about rebuilding, moving on, emerging bigger and better than ever before.  It is not , repeat, NOT, intended to compensate the individual owners and/or tenants of the buildings which were destroyed.  That is a can of worms (see :Megascolides australis) that no one in their right mind would choose to open when things need to move along with all deliberate speed.  Why?

Well, first of all, who and what qualifies?  Owners?  Tenants?  Fully insured? Under-insured?  Value of stock?  Cost of replacement?  Value of the commercial “draw” to the community?  Value of the “ambience”?  Contribution to the community?  When questions like these morph into who likes who better and whose merchandise was cuter, full-scale war fare is likely to break out and the cause of progress takes a back seat, waaaay back.

Second, when is this going to happen?  Empty the coffers right away to ease the immediate pain of disaster?  Hand out dribs and drabs at a time to whoever has the saddest story (Fierce competition here)?  Wait until it’s all rebuilt and help cover the cost of the grand opening?  Put it on the village Christmas wish list?

AND…how much? Offer a percentage of the insurance coverage?  Equal amounts to everyone? More for property owners?  More for business owners? Base the payment on the previous year’s tax duplicate as representative of the business’s contribution to the local economy?

Folks, this way lies madness…not to mention a tidal wave of frustration and hard feelings that would do no one any good and probably negate much of the good will and community feeling that has been evident in the widespread reaction to the event itself and in the way we all carry on as a community.  #GarrettsvilleStrong!

If individuals would like to make contribution to the folks, bless their hearts, who lost everything and are   only now beginning to emerge from the shock of the actual event to the shock of contemplating what the REAL losses were and what could be involved in coming back, make your directed contributions to the Garrettsville People Tree.  Community is the focus there and the burned-out ones are part of our community.

#GarrettsvilleStrong  is about REbuilding.  It’s about the nuts and bolts, the nitty and gritty, the down and dirty details of what has to come back : parking, fence removal, sidewalks, streetscape, utilities replacement & relocation (underground  electrical service would be nice), landscaping, design proposals, architectural features, specific donations and dedications (civic groups and individuals), plenty of things we don’t always think about, but have to BE thought about.  And, of course, what’s going to  come back in that space?

Here’s where we can all make a contribution.  Have you been thinking about having a small business of your own?  Might it be a ”niche” business that could draw customers from a wide area for your specific expertise? (Bless you,  Shaker Tree.  Bless you, Clock Man  Bless you, T&B Tools)  Do you know someone who fits this description?  Have you a hobby or collection that could form the basis of a business downtown?  Get thinking, out there!  We DO NOT need another  place to buy pizza, but a pastry shop might make it, especially if folks could watch the chef make gorgeous  icing roses or fabulous brownies or ice cream.  Think something connected with the Headwaters Trail.  Think about it.  Think Chagrin Falls.  Think Hudson.  Think Garrettsville into the future.

The place has been a commercial hub since its founding in 1804.  John Garrett had the foresight to not only bring a mill to serve the local farming community, but to bring a blacksmith, one Abraham Dyson, the equivalent of Lowe’s and Home Depot rolled into one, at the time he came over the mountains from Delaware.  The maple syrup business was huge at one time, over 50,000 gal a year by one account.  The Root Store (Chic & Shabby building) was the county’s first “department store” in 1850.  The village had the first paved main street in Portage County (The mud had got pretty deep in the rainy season—bad for business).   This is a village that can think big.  Think about it.

#GarrettsvilleStrong!

 

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O.K., it’s Thursday, this must be springtime.

Holy cow!  What a wild one!  Haul out the long johns, Maudie, the daffodils done froze!  And what does the Old Farmer say?  Not much.  But you’ll be happy to know that on April  18, 2009, Aaron Caissie set a world record by balancing 17 spoons on his face.  Now there is a skill set!

I went out last week —one of the times when it was warm, remember—to poke around in the back yard to assess what might need to be done, and  I have decided that this place is a big-time cafeteria setting.  There are nut trees in the back, so the squirrels, when they’re not raiding the bird feeders, are sitting on various branches( front OR back yard) to chow down and fling their remainder nutshells all about; they litter.  But HOW do they get those shells open?  Walnuts, butternuts, hickory nuts…they’re all pretty tough to crack without the use of an iron anvil and a major hammer.  Yet the squirrel, and maybe a chipmunk or two, can get those buggers open using just their little, spidery fingers/toes…in addition to some prodigious teeth.  What’s THAT about?  Lots of the shells show up with gnawed      holes in them but plenty are just perfectly halved with the insides gone.  I often save them, just because I think that they are so elegant-looking.  What a design!  Rough on the outside, smooth on the inside, curved and mysterious.  Had I any rustic craft chops, I would surely mount some sort of a display but so far, I’m just collecting.

Anyway, I’m out pulling up invasive plants—there are more of them all of the time, it seems, result of “global connections”, no doubt…that and STUPID people, the same ones that have Burmese pythons as pets then when the reptiles get too big(that would be about six inches, in my book) they turn them loose in the Everglades, where they have no predators and proceed to terrorize and devour the native flora and fauna and grow to enormous size—and a mosquito(family : Culicidae) who had waked especially for the occasion settled down for a sip of my vital fluids made the mistake of stomping his feet hard enough that I actually noticed him.  Smack!  End of meal.

The forget-me-nots are coming out to take the place of the crocuses, which are on their last legs.  The snowdrops must be chuckling at the recent turn of events…either chuckling or shivering.  The spring beauties are showing up in singles and pairs, scattered around.  Some little blue-flowered spikes have appeared in places that I did not put them.  The two volunteer Easter lilies have just peeked their shoots up to get the lay of the land but they are surely not going to make it to see The Bunny any time soon.  There seem to be some ex officio excavations around where SOME critter has dug up bulbs for a midnight, or mid winter, snack of some sort.  Not much like cold pizza but, hey, no delivery charges.

The flowering crabapples to the west of the drive apparently were not to the taste of any of the local scavengers; the deflated fruit is lying around on the ground.  SOMEBODY must eat them eventually, otherwise, I’d have little tree-lets all over the place.  So far, this has not happened but I’m keeping my eyes on the possibility.  The berry bushes must be supporting  wildlife of some kind, because I sure didn’t get a single pie’s worth last season.  Some of them were attacked by a mosaic mildew infestation, which I hope to get rid of at some point.  In the meantime, I’m still looking for pick-your-own patches to restock my freezer.

Pussy willows are showing their catkins .

Speaking of which…anybody want a kitten?  One of the porch kitties is doing a calico caricature of the Goodyear Blimp and looks as though we’re going to hear the pitter-patter of little paws pretty soon.  She’d love to sneak inside to make her maternal donation but so far I’ve managed to shut the door fast enough to forestall that ambition.  The local candidate for paternity seems to be mostly black but there are also gray tiger and pale orange/ginger ardent swains in the neighborhood.  Heck, she could have been hooking up on Face Book, for all I know.  Adoption line forms to the left.

Not long ‘til May.  Go to a track meet.  Plant a tree.

 

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This is about the Portage County Park District, first in what will probably be a series of rants.

Portage County DOES HAVE a park district. CATCH : Over 800 A of the land comprising the district are currently inaccessible because of a lack of funds.  The budget has been severely cut, with the 2014 revenues projected to be only $99,500 to manage 1300 A of parkland and 14 miles of hike and bike trails.  To paraphrase Barney Dyer who witnessed the famous Ravenna Glassblowers’ Wreck, where two trains got on the same track, heading for each other, with predictably disastrous results, “That’s a helluva way to run a park system!”

Our neighbors to the north in Geauga County have a marvelous system, with programs for all age and mobility levels, seasonal attractions and programs, inviting trails and structures, professional staff.  To the west, Summit County co-ordinates with the CVNP (Cuyahoga Valley National Park) to offer its citizens a multitude of outdoor experiences and programs, managed and protected by a professional staff.  Further to the west, in Lorain County, my home stomping grounds, there are parks from the Lake (Erie) to the southern flatlands along the Black River, with lodges available for local activities and varieties of programs.  People USE these.  They hike, they run, they camp, they picnic, they fish, they canoe/paddle around, they learn and enjoy.

Portage County could do the same but it must provide reliable financial support for the system.  One full-time (the remarkable director, Chris Craycroft) and two part-time employees cannot do everything that needs to be done…but they’ve already done an amazing amount, working with volunteers and garnering grants from all over the place to keep things going.  Even such efforts cannot carry the whole load forever.

What is the load?

1.Towner’s Woods  2. Dix Park  3. Portage Bike and Hike Trail  4. Headwaters Trail  5. Breakneck Creek Preserve  6. Chagrin Headwaters Preserve  7. Walter Preserve  8. Camp Spelman  9. Gray Birch Bog Preserve  10. Seneca Ponds Park  11. Dix Preserve  12. Morgan Preserve  13.  Berlin Lake Trail  14. Red Fox boat access—Upper Cuyahoga State Scenic River  15. Frank lin Bog Preserve

Some…most… are open only for guided tours.  Some contain biologically important water features and significant vegetation found   in not very many places.  Some have most of the features—picnic shelters and grills, special events, fishing, cross-country skiing, trails for all seasons, etc.—that encourage participation in outdoor activities.  There could be more, but not unless there is a reliable funding source.

Not to put too fine a point on it, our governor and legislature have about  sprained their collective arms giving themselves a pat on the back for “balancing the budget” and giving Ohio a “rainy day fund” but they have done this by slashing local government funds(Ask your township trustees, county commissioners, mayors & councilpersons… or school boards, they got stiffed too), so that the state of Ohio is sitting on about $8 billion while all of us out in the fly-over country are looking at constant   requests for passage of levies for things that we want and things that we  had thought we would get help for from Columbus.  Nope.

So…If we could just see our way clear to give up, maybe one, maybe two pizzas over the course of the year, WE COULD DO THIS!  Sounds like a deal!

We could even get out and USE this asset as it expands.  And maybe we wouldn’t personally expand the way we have been.  Right, Wide-Load?

For Fun…

For Health…

For Life…

PARKS,

YES!

May 6, 2014

 

It’s that time again.  The Garfield Hall of Fame is coming up on April 26 and the Class of 2014 is being announced.   Ticket for the dinner and awards ceremony are available to the public.  Call Sheri Johnson 330-527-5384.

The honorees for 2014 are :

*Faber A. (Rusty) Kearney, ’76 –Varsity letter winner in football, student coach of girls’ softball, National Honor Society, Quiz Bowl/Academic Challenge team ; six-year tour in United States Navy, Bachelor of Science, Nuclear Technologies, Excelsior College; Senior Reactor Operator license, Perry Nuclear Power Plant, First Energy; Exelon Vice President of Mid-West Operations, Site Vice President, Byron Generating Station, Exelon Generation; Bd. of Directors for Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Decatur IL; volunteer science lecturer in Garfield science classes and science fair judge; community volunteer (with his lovely wife) in several communities where they have resided, still have a home in Garrettsville.  A Powerful career!

*Harry Kraft—A graduate of Hiram College, Coach Kraft has given great service and made outstanding contributions to the James A Garfield Local School District, most notably in the area of coaching track & field at the middle school and high school level.  Multiple P.C.L. and P.T.C. championships have been the crowning achievements of his dedication to kids and education.  Countless hours of time and expertise spent improving the track facility—such as it is—and volunteer service in management and equipment have made his contributions invaluable.  He has been a solidly positive influence, having a favorable and indelible impact on many athletes across the years.

*Nick Rogers, ’99—Holder of ten varsity letters at Garfield (football—4, track—4, basketball—2), twice  All-PCL running back, 1st team All Northeast District running back, 1997; special mention all-Ohio, 1997; PCL Most Valuable Player, 1998; team captain; rushing yardage, 1271 yd. (jr), 1302 (sr).   Three-time state qualifier in track (1999, 5th place, 4×100).  Four-year scholarship fullback at the College of William and Mary; National Honor Society at Garfield. A model student athlete.

*Jeremy Vecchio, ’97—Varsity letters in basketball and track, to wit : basketball ,three-year letterman; PCL Player of the Year, 1997; All-District 1st Team, 1997; All State, 1997;  track, four-year letterman; PCL Championship team, 4×400, 1997, state qualifier; PCL Champion, long jump, 1997; team championship, 1997;Akron Touchdown Club Player of the Year, basketball, 1997; Plain Dealer Player of the Year, basketball, 1997; currently serving as a law-enforcement officer, a role model and a force for good in the community, 14 years and counting.

 

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotarians have continued discussions on the Great Buckeye Block Fire in Garrettsville, the effects and the future actions that could be taken by both the local group and  Rotarians across the district who wish to make contributions.  Any funds raised will likely be channeled through the 6630 District to be utilized in  specific projects denoting the Rotary presence in the community.  One of the more interesting ideas was the possibility of a Flash/Cash mob to aid merchants and businesses on Main St.  More to come.

Rachel Schwan , Rotary International Youth Exchange student for 2014-2015, was in attendance.  She has had contact with at least one host family and is hoping to hear from others sooner rather than later.  She will be going to Thailand for the year.  Exciting!

The Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club will be sponsoring a girls’ softball team again this summer.   The local club has also sponsored bowlers at Sky Lanes this winter.

Dr. Neely may be on the program for the April 21 meeting at Cal’s II at noon.  The public is invited to join the Rotarians to hear about the new University Hospitals facility in Garrettsville, on South St.

 

community-prayer-buckeye-block-garrettsville-strong-fire-rebuild

Garrettsville - A full complement of Pastors and Elders from houses of worship across the Garrettsville area, came together with members of the public on Friday, April 11 to join in seeking guidance and help in the renewal, rebuilding and restoration of the business district and the community affected by the March 22 fire in downtown Garrettsville.  The Prophet Jeremiah and the Prophet Ezekial were called upon, the story of Shadrach, Maschek and Abednego in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace was recounted and a repetition of the psalmist’s request to “revive us again” was offered.  Memories, dreams , prayers and emotions, embodied by Michael Mascheck, were all part of the  gathering, which closed with all joining Gail Mangieri in singing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”  It was moving.

Garrettsville is on the move.

#Garrettsville Strong

April showers bring May flowers, eh?

Somebody alert the providers of floral items.  They’re either going to be left twiddling their thumbs because the general public is inundated by blooms of exotic sizes and descriptions springing up along every highway and by-way or their own backyards…or…there will be wholesalers of flowers lurking around corners trying to off-load cheap orchid and baby’s breath that they just happen to have a truckload of in a back alley somewhere.  “Hey, little girl, want some real cool Dianthus barbatus?  Try it, you’ll like it.  Give it to your friends.  I’ll come back tomorrow.  Bring your lunch money.”

So this week you could celebrate the one hundred forty-second anniversary of the first Arbor Day, begun in Nebraska—where they really needed trees—in 1872(If you don’t count Villanueva de la Sierra in Spain in 1805).  J. Sterling Morton was the organizer of that first event and over one million trees were planted in Nebraska.  Later, Major Israel McCreight of DuBois, PA, after listening to Theodore Roosevelt’s speaking of his interest in conservation and a national park system, declared that the speeches shouldn’t be directed  only at businessmen, but at schoolchildren.  Gifford Pinchot, head of the United States Forest Service, picked up that ball and ran with it.  On April 15, 1907, Roosevelt issued         the Arbor Day Proclamation to the School Children of the United States about the importance of trees.

You might want to try planting a bald cypress.  They like moist soil.  We’ve got that.

Anyway, check with your local county Soil and Water Conservation District(Every county’s got one, I think.);they’ve got evergreens, deciduous trees, shrubs, flowering & fruiting trees( lots of native plants) at good prices.  Some get sold out early, some get left over and can be picked up for a song.  Last year I got American Chestnut whips and a subscription to the Ohio Nut Growers Association magazine, “In A Nutshell”.  No smart remarks, please.  Just reading about the plants and their characteristics is really interesting.

You can get fish too.  Might need them for the back forty.

 

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club will be moving its time and venue for meetings to Cal’s II at 12:00p.m. Yet to be decided is whether it will be on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday on a permanent basis.   Check it out and get involved with an active, community-oriented group seeking new members.  Everyone is invited to the first Monday noon meeting ( It’s been Monday evenings since about 1926…life goes on…things change.) on April 21st. Give Rotary a try.

G-H Rotary’s most recent meeting at the Hiram College Dining Hall was prefaced, as was just about every meeting in either Garrettsville or Hiram that week,  by discussion and reminiscences about the Buckeye Block and the rest of historic Garrettsville that was destroyed in the fire on March 22.  There was some interest in how to deal with possible donations from other clubs to aid the Garrettsville recovery efforts and the community food bank.  Matching grants may be available.  The district may be the way to go.  Is another reverse raffle the preferred fund-raising avenue? More discussion.

The group chose to endorse the upcoming Portage Park District levy on the ballot in May, with Tom Collins spearheading the effort and producing a letter-to-the-editor for local news media.  This is an issue of conservation, health and fitness, economic growth, community benefit; what’s not to like?

The subject of reviewing local by-laws on a regular timetable came up.  The president will be investigating this; Bob Jackson may be the fount of wisdom on this topic.  Additionally, the possibility of donating the club’s records and historical documents to the James A. Garfield Historical Society or to the Portage County District Library (branch office at Garrettsville)came up.  Digitizing these might make such an offer more appealing.

The semi-annual roadside clean-up is approaching.  Interact members and the local Boy Scout troop will be contacted to participate.  Their help is always appreciated.