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Monday, April 24, 2017

Columns & Editorials

Home Columns & Editorials

A Stitch In Time!

Here’s one for the Village Piece Makers, you know, the dedicated quilt-makers who every two years come up with a lovely handmade spread to be raffled off at the Christmas Walk. I don’t know how they come up with the patterns—maybe they make them up themselves—but recently the AB-J ran a cartoon (It’s a regular series called Non Sequitur, usually pretty apt for what they put out there) that might get a rise from out local needlewomen, even Ellie Foster Monroe who does “Quilts for Causes”, contributing to efforts that she supports.

“A friend of mine died several years ago…”

“A friend of mine died several years ago and I was trying to find the death certificate. I don’t want to have to pay for a copy; is there any way you can help me find the information?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff began the online search. The USGenWeb Project had information about how to request documents from...

“Is there a reason why there is a specific finger for engagement and wedding rings?”

“Is there a reason why there is a specific finger for engagement and wedding rings?” asked the patron, who assured us that he had no immediate plans. The Newton Falls Public Library staff is aware of the custom of wearing these rings on the next to last finger of the left hand, but never considered the reason behind it.Knowing...

Memories of Christmas Past

Isn’t it funny how a smell can instantly take you back to a time and a place where you first experienced it? For me, when I smell crayons, I’m six years old, and back-to-school supply shopping. My mom would take me and my platoon of siblings to Kmart, long before the invention of the world’s largest retailer. There we’d...

Wine and the California Drought

As we finally start to experience Spring in Northeast Ohio, I can’t help but keep my focus on the drought situation in California. From talking to family and friends on the west coast it is amazing to see what they are experiencing and how they are reacting to limited water usage and just having to deal with no rain in the forecast.

Out Like A Lamb?

Out like a lamb?  Maybe a drippy-wet lamb.  Maybe a lamb looking up at the occasional flurries and possible thunderstorms lurking in the wings next  week.  Baaaa! Enjoy it while you can.  Quoting The Old Farmer’s Almanac here, “Showers often; the earth softens.  Sunny and sweet.  Watch out for sleet!” Sounds  like Winter : Lite to me; a sunnier version...

Ask The Librarian: Someone I know was purchasing a fish at Wal-Mart and the cashier told her that the security gates would cause the fish to die?

“I had never heard this before, but someone I know was purchasing a fish at Wal-Mart and the cashier told her that the...

Spam

Just in time for the summer cooking-out season, the Hormel company has now fessed up to producing ten--that’s 10 different kinds of SPAM.  Well, who’d a thunk it?  Yes! You have your regular old Spam ( which the company likes to call “Spam Classic”).  You have Spam Lite, Spam ”with real Hormel Bacon”, Spam with cheese, hot & spicy Spam...

“Mommy Juice” Controversy

Recently the Boston Globe did a story titled “Mommy Juice: Pushing alcohol on stressed parents” that has started a bit of controversy. The US wine markets are starting to see an increase in new wine labels that explicitly call out “mommy” on the label. For example, I recently had the opportunity to try a California wine called MommyJuice. While the...

Notes from the vineyard

I know I have said this in past articles this Spring, but this rain really needs to stop. While some rain is good for new vines, it is definitely not healthy for mature vines. Unfortunately this much rain is not good for any age vine. As most farmers will tell you, they have learned to deal with Mother Nature’s...

More One Tank Trips

In the last installment of Nearby Nature we discussed the Portage Park District and the idea of one tank trips where you can go out and discover and explore some of the plants, birds, or trees we have highlighted in the past year and a half. A few months ago, we also talked about “special places” and the memories...

The Psychology of Saving Money

Financially speaking, saving is winning. Sometimes that lesson is lost, however. To some people, saving feels like losing – “losing” money that could be spent. So assert Ellen Rogin and Lisa Kueng, authors of a recently published book entitled Picture Your Prosperity: Smart Money Moves to Turn Your Vision into Reality. They cite a perceptual difference. If people are asked if they can save 20% of their income, the answer may be a resounding “no” – but if they are asked if they can live on 80% of their income, that may seem reasonable.

Holiday Leftovers

By now you probably have had your share of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries and desserts! But if your family is like mine you also have enough leftovers from dinner to have a second Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you are serving turkey sandwiches, turkey chili, turkey soup, turkey frittatas or just plain turkey there are so many ways you can...

How’s your Easter Bonnet look with snow on it?

Good Grief!  Polar Fleece and long johns, peeps and bunnies with frost on their little noses…er…beaks…er …whatever.  Deep frozen chocolate eggs and jelly beans, rock-hard marshmallow anything.  How crazy has this season been so far?  This is Spring from the old days, the ones where hardy ancestors walked two miles to school every day, uphill both ways, rain or...

12 Tips for Spring Home Buying in a Seller’s Market

With spring finally here for most of the nation, prospective homebuyers can look at houses and condos without traipsing through snow and ice. Better weather, plus the traditional belief that families search for homes so they can move in between school years, makes spring a major homebuying season in much of the country.

Ya Shoulda Been There!

Ya shoulda been there! “There”, in this instance was actually two places where it was all happenin’ last week.  Not genuinely related places, really, but there were similarities, fo’ sure. The first one was the business-to-business open house at Facet Salon and Day Spa on Tuesday, August 6.  The parking lot at the TLC was hopping and they weren’t all in...

Will Social Security Retire Before I Do?

People have traditionally seen Social Security benefits as the foundation of their retirement planning programs. The Social Security contributions deducted from your paycheck have, in effect, served as a government-enforced retirement savings plan. However, the Social Security system is under increasing strain. Better health care and longer life spans have resulted in an increasing number of people drawing Social...

Notes From The Vineyard

It is an exciting time for us in the vineyard! We are starting to see some swelling in the vines which means that we should be seeing bud break in the next couple of weeks! The next couple of weeks are a perfect time to start planting a vineyard if you want to try grape growing! Planting and maintaining a...

“It is not fit for man nor beast outside”

Mice and voles live in the “subnivean” zone. The area between the snow pack and ground. The snow acts as an insulator from the cold temperatures and it also provides protection from predators.

The first time I heard that saying was when I was a little kid, it was 15 below, the wind howling, snow blowing and I was freezing. I wondered how the animals, insects, and plants were able to survive these harsh conditions. I was able to bundle up in layers, go inside and sit by the fireplace, or get...

Did you know that Ohio ranks in the top 10 of wine-producing states and employs more than 4,000 people in the wine industry?

Did you know that Ohio ranks in the top 10 of wine-producing states and employs more than 4,000 people in the wine industry? Anddid you know that Ashtabula County alone is home to 20 wineries, which are visited by nearly 500,000 people annually? Even more interesting (this fact surprised me!) northeast Ohio contains over half the wine grape acreage...

Hot enough for you?

Holy Schmoley!  It’s-a some kinda hot out there!  How much more of this is there going to be?  We get a sort of “teaser” when the temperature is just hot--not an inferno--and then the whole thing turns on us and you can start looking for the hinges of H-E-DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS again right across the road.  Wheww! Leaving aside the fact...

“How long is the Buckeye Trail Little Loop? Can you bike it?”

One of our patrons, an avid walker and biker, was making plans to spend a few weeks in late spring or early summer going around the Little Loop of the Buckeye Trail. The Buckeye Trail winds around the interior of Ohio. It’s made up of twenty-six sections and covers around 1,444 miles altogether. The Little Loop is comprised of the...

Notes From The Vineyard

Is anyone else sick and tired of winter yet? Spring officially sprang this week but unfortunately I think the Cleveland area missed that memo, so here we are surviving with cold temperatures and potentially more snow. The cold temperatures and extra moisture has lead to a very popular topic amongst the wineries – “how are your vineyards doing?” Thankfully, the...

“My daughter’s hair is straight, but my hair and her father’s hair are both curly. Isn’t curly hair dominant?”

According to “Ask a Geneticist” on The Tech Museum of Innovation’s website and “What causes people to have straight or curly hair?” by Robert Jones on www.howitworksdaily.com, curly hair is a dominant trait. However, if both parents actually have wavy hair, it’s possible for them to have a straight-haired daughter. Remember doing Punnett squares in biology class? CC represents...

When Investing, Make The Best Use Of Time

When you’re investing for retirement, it’s best to have time on your side. The sooner you begin investing, the more time your retirement fund has to potentially grow. Case in point Jill begins investing in a retirement account when she’s 30.* She invests $200 a month in the account for 35 years, until she’s 65, for a total investment of $84,000....

Party On!

Well, yes, it IS that season of the year when all sorts of disparate groups have their annual Christmas parties.  The barrage has begun already. Hiram College hosted a seasonal soiree last week for Friends (That’s Friends, with a capital F), faculty types and festive individuals of all stripes, featuring a number of  tours de force by AVI, their supplier...

Organic Wines

While this summer has not been the best summer for the vines, we are still getting ready to harvest our grapes next month. Between the wet Spring we had and minimal hot, sunny days this summer our grapes are a little behind schedule. But at least there are grapes on the vines and my pruners are being sharpened for...

Feedback and Food For Thought

We are some six weeks into this topic of 65 and Single Again. I have gotten a great deal of feedback about the articles via e-mail, over the phone, and more often than not, in person. A great many people seem to identify with this predicament of life. The column mirrors their struggle and they are searching for solutions. As well, it has generated a good bit of thought on my part, re-thinking certain things, postulating new, and contemplating where to go next.

Notes From The Vineyard

All of this talk about Champagne last week really put me into the holiday mood and the best way to celebrate the season was to go out and find some champagne to recommend for your holiday parties. I selected two bottles from the label of Domaine Ste Michelle which is located in the Columbia Valley in Washington State. During...

It’s A Failure!

A failure of Social Studies Education, I calls it. The recent election, that is…failure of turn-out, failure to understand the way government works(whether it’s supposed to work that way or not), failure to be informed on the issues and the candidates, failure to pay attention to the down-ticket contests…a whole bunch of things that we should all be thinking about but don’t. AND a prevailing, parsimonious attitude that makes a virtue of trying to do everything on the cheap. There’s a powerful big difference between wishing to do things in the most cost-conscious and efficient manner possible to do the best we can for the most citizens and trying to see how much we can get away with before the dreadful consequences which we have been outrunning finally catch up. The difference is the difference between “What’s the best we can afford?” and “What’s the cheapest we can get?” Strangely enough, there are cases in which quality actually does count.

Time Out!

Well…seasons have started…football season, soccer season, volleyball season, cross country season, interscholastic golf season (The regular duffers have been going at it all summer), marching band season…you name it, the season has started. School is like the opening gun for all sorts of stuff. There are, however, plenty of competitions out there which we “wot not of”. Such as: Amazon has just agreed to pony up a ton of money--$970 million—for some outfit called Twitch which makes it possible for video gamers to watch—just watch, not play themselves—other video gamers play…what else?...video games! This is causing great commotion in the online world for some reason and many of the big names—whatever they are, in the online gamers world are all a-buzz about it. I am not one of these people. Let us get this straight; people can get on their computers to watch other people play video games. Just what IS it that these watchers DO? They don’t have to even move their fingers, just barely their eyeballs. Do the actual players get any feedback on their play? Are there electronic/digital cheerleaders chanting algorithmic encouragement from the in-the-cloud sidelines? Any rain delays when a server goes down? The questions have only just begun to roll in.

Whole Life Insurance: An Overlooked Foundation of Business Succession Planning?

Many business owners realize that they will be forced to deal with issues such as business succession at some point, which is why they want to have a plan that’s guaranteed to be there when they need it. The versatility, guarantees, and permanence of whole life insurance can help solve some of these inevitable challenges. Whole life insurance can, for...

Getting Your Household Cash Flow Back Under Control

Where does your money go? If you find yourself asking that question from time to time, it may relate to cash flow within your household. Having a cash flow management system may be instrumental in restoring some financial control. It is harder for a middle-class household to maintain financial control these days. If you find yourself too often living on...

Puppy Tails

One look outside and Doodle Dog knew spring had apparently taken a detour or was suddenly lost and hadn’t bothered to ask for directions. The floppy-eared puppy is all for enjoying the scenic route but spring needed to hurry up and bring its warm weather with it. The mounds of snow grew taller than the little puppy by the...

Notes From The Vineyard: Sake is quiet different than South Korean rice wine…

In last week’s article I mention how I sampled a South Korean black raspberry rice wine. I had a number of people ask me why I...

Stupid Virus

So somebody on a slow news day—Newsweek was mentioned but the internet picked the mention up and ran with it—called it the “stupid virus” and implied that any lagging intellectual powers among us might be the fault of an insidious invasion by these viral marauders...

Recipes and Ramblings: Homemade Hot Pockets

Our summer has been filled to the brim with softball games, family road trips, and impromptu picnics around town. To make packing lunches a little easier, we decided to make some homemade sandwich pockets to keep on hand. They are a quick lunch or snack at home, and are an easy, healthy option to pack up for quick picnic...

Bald Eagles In Ohio

Since 1782, the mighty Bald Eagle has been the national emblem for the United States of America. Long before that it represented, and still represents, a spiritual symbol for Native Americans. Now that our July 4 celebrations are over, I thought we should learn a little more about this spectacular bird that reminds us of independence.

“I don’t understand everything that goes into Ohio’s school ranking system. Could you help?”

Up until the 2013-2013 school year, Ohio public schools and school districts were given one of six ratings: Excellent with Distinction, Excellent, Effective, Continuous Improvement, Academic Watch, and Academic Emergency. The ratings were based on attendance, high school graduation rates, how many students passed the state tests and how well they scored, and the value-added calculation, which is meant...

Notes From The Vineyard

Valentine’s Day has come and gone and while we celebrated with wine we still have some special bottles to open. Thankfully, there is still one more holiday in February that will force us to open our special bottles. I am really looking forward to my favorite holiday this month...Open That Bottle Night (OTBN). The concept behind OTBN is exactly why...

The Latest on Social Security: Recipients get a raise in 2015. Ideas for reform are numerous.

Social Security benefits are increasing 1.7% in 2015. This marks the fourth straight yearly cost-of-living adjustment, following a 1.5% COLA for 2014.1  The average monthly Social Security payment for a single retiree increases by $22 to $1,328. The average retired couple will get $2,176 per month in 2015 (a $36 monthly increase). A single retiree claiming benefits at the full...

Notes from the vineyard

How many of you will have to give a toast at the holiday party this year? Or maybe you have some other great party before the holidays you need to have a toast prepared. What do you do? What do you say? How do you give a toast? Well, thanks to stores for the reminder the first thing you need to do to give an excellent toast is to be prepared and give yourself ample time to write your toast. So, since the stores are preparing for the holidays, maybe now would be a good time to start thinking about that toast.

Making Your Money Work Harder for Retirement Little things you could do that could help you leave work a little sooner.

Little things matter. When planning for retirement, people naturally think about the big things – arranging sufficient income, amassing enough savings, investing so that you don’t outlive your money, managing forms of risk. All of this is essential. Still, there are also little financial adjustments you can make at mid-life that may pay off significantly for you down the...

It Must Be February

Must be February, the Easter candy is on the shelves. And the “cabin fever news stories” are circulating.  That’s what appears when all of the news outlets are sick and tired of going hysterical about the weather—record-high snowfall, record-low temperatures, funny (or not-so) pictures of people digging out, names for the storms (How about Hortense?  We haven’t seen that name...

Wineries

I am amazed at  how many wineries have opened the past few years – especially the number that have opened in Northeast Ohio. When we opened almost 11 years ago there were almost 125 wineries in the state. We are expecting to pass 200 wineries by the end of this year. Sure, we have a lot of people that stop...

“I’m planning a trip. Is there a way to find out beforehand how much the tolls will cost?”

If you’re planning a trip in this last stretch of summer and you want to plan ahead and find out how much cash you’ll need to pay the tolls, you’re in luck... For answers to your questions, visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal Street, Newton Falls or phone 330-872-1282. For information about all the free library programs or hours, visit our website at www.newtonfalls.org or our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NewtonFallsLibrary.

Vintage Ohio

Save the date – Vintage Ohio is August 3rd and 4th this year. What is Vintage Ohio you ask? It is Ohio’s largest wine festival held at Lake FarmPark in Kirtland, Ohio. Enjoy the day sampling wines from over 25 Ohio wineries, see over 30 over vendors in the fine art and craft show all to the background beat...

By The Numbers

1. LOOKING BACK - Over the 300 months ending 2/28/13 (i.e., the last 25 years), the S&P 500 has been up 64% of the months and down the other 36% of the months.  The period includes the 2000-02 bear market (down 49%) and the 2007-09 bear market (down 57%).  The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely...

Like A Frog Trying To Ride A Bicycle

“Hey Dad, why don’t you think about taking some courses at Kent State.  You are a senior citizen so you could take them free.  You would meet some people and you might just like it.” So said my daughter Carrie who is also a Professor at Kent.  Yeah, but I’ll be far older than anyone else in that classroom,...

What’s Your Financial Health Score?

In the future, will you become wealthier or poorer? Who knows, right? It seems like you would need a crystal ball to really answer that question given life’s up and downs. What if the answer is right in front of you? What if you can determine it from your present financial behaviors? Two economists present a brief questionnaire – and...

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