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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Columns & Editorials

Home Columns & Editorials

Good Grief

If it isn’t one thing, it’s another…how’s that for original thought? I went to my computer, the desktop, which is one of the newer dinosaurs, as compared to the iPads and tablets and such, intending to turn it on and get started on my weekly offering of deathless prose and witty repartee before journeying off into the wilds of assembled...

At Home Spa

If you’re feeling the effects of the ice and snow of an unusually cold Northern Ohio Winter, you’re not alone. And now that all the major holidays, including Groundhogs’ Day are over, you can spend a little extra time pampering yourself. There’s no time like the present to give yourself the gift of a few at-home spa treatments. First, let...

Peace, Love, and Little Donuts

They say you can’t buy happiness. But, you can buy donuts, and it’s hard not to feel happy while eating a donut. The folks at Peace, Love, and Little Donuts seem to agree with that statement. Since 2009, when they opened their first donut shop, they’ve grown to 10 locations of, “the grooviest donut shop this side of the...

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...

Turnpike Proud!

Well, that was interesting...and informative...and fun too. The Ohio Turnpike had an Open House on Saturday, October 24, celebrating its 60th Anniversary; it officially opened on October 1, 1955, all 241 miles of it.  The construction took 38 months, in sections, employed some 10,000 workers—and 2300 bulldozers—at a cost of some $326 million, give or take.  It connected to the...

Comet ISON

AND…just in case you’ve been obsessing about the Comet ISON(International Scientific Optical Network—used by some Russian astronomers to first locate this fast-moving wonder) the one thing that most astronomers actually agree on is that it is highly unlikely to slam into the Earth, smashing us all to smithereens…that and the fact that nobody around right now is likely to...

“What used to be built near the falls in Newton Falls? Was there a mill or anything like that?” 

We were able to find a lot of information in “Fragments of History of Newton Falls and Newton Township, Ohio,” compiled, edited, and annotated by Wendell F. Lauth and the Friends of the Newton Falls Public Library and “History of Newton Falls,” compiled by Ella A. Woodward. “Fragments of History” even included a picture of the falls, circa 1900, with the Hoyle Woolen Mill on one side and part of the Eagle Mills on the left.

What can your wine tell you?

There are a few things, though, that you can learn about a white wine by looking at the color. First, when you are looking at the wine, make sure you have a white piece of paper or a white tablecloth as the background. Then tilt the glass at a 45 degree angle in front of the background. If a wine is golden or amber it may mean one of a number of things...

The Old Farmer Says….

The Old Farmer says of the month of March (and I quote), “In like a sea lion, cold and wet with fishy breath. Rain to snow and snow to rain—di-si-do and back again!  This month can’t be trusted; the hinge of spring has rusted.” Well, D’ya think? Good Grief!  If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.  The bit of doggerel above...

Trying To Embrace The Dating Dot Coms Part 5 of a Series

The Dating Dot Com phenomenon came on the scene in the 1990s and since then has developed exponentially into a massive industry.  You can’t watch evening TV or pick up a popular magazine without encountering advertisements touting this or that dot com which all but guarantee that they will find the right person for you.  Many of us, from...

Investing in Our Future

Parents generally don’t have to be convinced of the value of a college education for their children. Studies show that college graduates not only earn more but are healthier, more satisfied with their jobs, and more likely to remain employed during tough economic times.1 But paying for college becomes more challenging every year. Over the last decade, undergraduate in-state tuition...

The Long Ascent of the S&P 500

No one knows what will happen tomorrow on Wall Street. Even the most esteemed analysts can only make educated guesses. As the old saying goes: past performance is not indicative of future results. All that said, the market has had many more positive years than negative years. The history of the S&P 500 is worth considering in light of recent...

Curiouser and curiouser…

Curiouser and curiouser…as Alice said during her adventures in Wonderland…. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)’s Mars Science Laboratory has just succeeded in landing the spacecraft Curiousity on Mars, the culmination of more than three decades of planning and building, theorizing and research, not to mention scrounging for money. The possibility of finding evidence of life on Mars is a motivator,...

Ideas for Your 2013 Tax Refund What could that money do for you?

Is a tax refund coming your way? If you have already received your refund for the 2013 tax year or are about to receive it, you might want to think about the destiny of that money. Here are some possibilities. Start (or add to) an emergency fund. Many people don’t have a dedicated rainy day fund, only the presumption that...

“What makes a rock maple table different from a regular maple table?”

“What makes a rock maple table different from a regular maple table?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff began their investigation in the library’s woodworking books. We found a complete list of various woods with photographs and descriptions in The Complete Manual of Woodworking by Albert Jackson, David Dan and Simon Jennings, p. 26. There are two kinds of...

“I’ve heard the expression ‘like white on rice,’ but I’m not really sure if I’m correct in understanding what it means. Can you find me the information?”

English has some very unusual phrases that the patrons and staff of the Newton Falls Public Library have found to be interesting. Our search began in the library’s reference collection.  On the cover of Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang by Jonathon Green, which is, according to Evening Star Standard  reviewer Jonathan Meades says “. . . a terrific piece of work...

Someone who has your back when it comes to families and mental illness

Amanda speaks thoughtfully and softly. She is very wise for one so young. She has been through more than her share of heartache, with mental illness in her family and recently a cousin completed suicide. She’s strong in her knowledge about how to help her family and she’s sharing that education as a teacher for the Portage County Family-to-Family Education...

“What happened to the recycling bins which used to be by the Community Center?”

Over the last few weeks this has been a frequent question at the Newton Falls Public Library. “What happened to the recycling bins which used to be by the Community Center?” Our staff confessed we didn’t know, but we would find out. We contacted the Newton Falls City Manager’s office and asked their staff. We were informed that because the...

A Market to Be Thankful For Could 2013 end up being the best year for stocks since 1995?

In financial terms, 2013 has been a very nice year – a year in which the economy, the housing and business sectors and the stock market have all improved. Looking back over the year to date, it is particularly amazing to see how stocks have soared in the face of many challenges – some of which proved tougher than...

Notes from the vineyard

I know many of you are sick and tired of seeing the snow, the gray clouds and having to deal with the colder temperatures. But as I mentioned in last week’s column there are some sure signs that Spring is around the corner. First, aside from it being pancake breakfast season it is also Girl Scout Cookie Season! As the...

Hibernation

The first frost of the fall occurred on October 27 at my house. This was considerably later than in past years. Since then, we have had several more heavy frosts but the recent warm and sunny days of “Indian Summer” may have pushed the thought of winter from your mind (technically, Indian Summer is a warm and dry period...

By The Numbers

1. TWO MONTHS - The S&P 500 gained +6.6% (total return) during the first 2 months of 2013, 67% of the average annual total return achieved over the last 50 calendar years.  The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the US stock market (source: BTN Research). 2. ANOTHER YEAR...

Where the rubber meets the road…….

Since the inception of the Nearby Nature column, we have strived to enlighten our readers with what is going on in the natural world around us.-- trying to point out why certain events happen, what to watch for during the various seasons, how to identify what you see with useful references or field guides, and interesting bits of trivia...

Women, Longevity Risk & Retirement Saving: Statistics point out the need to save early, save consistently & stay invested.

Will you live to be 100? If you’re a woman, your odds of becoming a centenarian are seemingly better than those of men. In the 2010 U.S. Census, over 80% of Americans aged 100 or older were women.1 Will you eventually live alone? According to the Administration on Aging (a division of the federal government’s Department of Health & Human...

“Don’t stir up the hornet’s nest!”

“Why go looking for trouble?” Dad would ask. “Some trouble is sure to find you at some point in life, but only a fool makes himself a target by intentionally causing a commotion.” Don’t stir up the hornet’s nest is a familiar idiom, likening hornets to angry humans, dating back to the first half of the 1700s. In case you...

“Where do I go to vote?”

Several of our patrons have been unsure of where to go to cast their ballot on November 8. Fortunately, the Ohio Secretary of State website has made that information easy to find. To find out where to vote, go to http://voterlookup.sos.state.oh.us/, type in your first name and last name, and select your county. It will bring up your polling location,...

Wild Hikes

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

1031 Exchanges: Deferring Gains on the Sale of Real Property

For investors who seek to defer capital gains on the sale of investment property, one complex yet effective option is a 1031 exchange (also known as a Starker exchange). Named after Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, 1031 exchanges became more popular and accessible after a key ruling by the IRS in 2002, which for the first time allowed...

“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...

Lions and Tigers and Bears oh my….no dear it’s just a coyote!

I can still vividly remember the first time I saw a coyote; it was at the gravel pit where I worked during the summer behind the Red Fox housing development in Shalersville. The game protector informed the plant manager that a coyote had been killing young calves on a neighbors beef farm. He gave us permission to kill the...

Whadda Prize

It’s awards season just about all of the time now.  There are awards in television, for the theatre, for movies, for sports of every stripe and description, for just about every genre of music that one can think of( and some that I don’t really classify as music, but, rather as “entertainment”)—country, pop, rap, classical, you name it.  But...

Game Nights

One thing I have learned over the years is that wine tastes the best when shared with friends with some friendly competition. On any given Sunday night you can find us hanging out with the owners of Sharon James Cellars (11303 Kinsman Road, Novelty, Ohio – www.sharonjamescellars.com) enjoying some wine and playing a variety of board games. Between Apples to...

“I am looking for a knitting pattern for a poncho that has cuffs…”

“I am looking for a knitting pattern for a poncho that has cuffs. I saw one online, but now I can’t find it again.”  The Newton Falls Public Library staff had trouble imaging what the garment looked like, so we asked for clarification. “It is a poncho you pull over your head, but along the edge there are cuffs...

A Fungus Among Us

The computer strikes again!  Here I am typing away  at my keyboard-in-the-corner, writing  what I’m hoping will be more-or-less reproduced below and—WHAM!  It all disappeared.  Gone! Gone!  Nowhere to be found(Not that I could find it anyway, technological klutz that I am).  Nearly a page of deathless prose lost into the ether of cyberspace.  What’s REALLY irritating about it...

Oxford English Dictionary and then some

The Oxford English Dictionary has just come out with its quarterly revisions and additions.  Some nine hundred new words and phrases have now been deemed worthy to grace its pages, some of them pretty far out there.  How often do you wish to know the meaning of Empedoclean? ( Don’t go there.  It’s about some Greek philosopher dude named...

Excitement!!

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...

Apocalypse?

Latest signs of the Apocalypse : O.K., so I’m listening to the radio, some story on economics and financial trends and I hear the money guru on there talking about the latest thing in supermarkets is  cupholders in the supermarket carts, sometimes known as “buggies”.  And I’m thinking, “What?  We need cupholders to circulate around the grocery aisles?  Refreshment is...

Getting It All Together for Retirement

PixaBay https://pixabay.com/en/piggy-bank-save-money-finance-coin-661969/

Before retirement begins, gather what you need. Put as much documentation as you can in one place, for you and those you love. It could be a password-protected online vault; it could be a file cabinet; it could be a file folder. Regardless of what it is, by centralizing the location of important papers you are saving yourself from...

Makin’ A List…

Now that the clock tower lights are lit, Santa has made the first of his (many) local appearances…for lunch, for breakfast, for pizza, etc….it’s time to get down to some serious shopping—preferably local, but wandering off into the exotic every so often. So, in pursuit of exotica (Try looking that up on the internet some times; Sears & Roebuck ,...

Puppy Tails

As the moon goes to bed, the sun comes up And here we meet a sleepy pup, Who was walking through G-ville one bright sunny day, Then saw The Villager and decided to stay. Steam rose from the pavement covering the street outside the office window and little drops of dew that happened to plop on the sidewalk sizzled away within seconds. Summer...

Thinking Spring!

Another weekend, another home & garden show! Getting to the John S. and James L. Knight Center in downtown Akron is not real tough, although the predominance of one-way streets does sometimes make it a little tricky if you should happen to miss a turn.  There’s a parking garage nearby too but I won’t even tell you how many turns...

Key Considerations for Your Family’s Financial Future

What is the sign of a good decision?® It’s educating yourself and your children regarding finances to prepare for future financial needs. In today’s economy, families are facing increasing pressure to provide for their every day needs. It is important for parents to teach children in a way that gives them a chance for a better future than many parents feel...

Become a Master Gardener

The Ohio State University extends itself into every county in the state--all 88 of them.  These are called--what else--extension offices and they offer information, advice and services to local residents.  This can cover agriculture & natural resources, community development, nutrition, family & consumer science, 4-H programs--a whole bunch of things.  It’s the largest non-formal education system in the world. ...

Getting Old is NOT for Sissies!

Just dealing with the medical and insurance issues is enough to send a rational individual(That would be me…no snickering out there) around the bend. I will be the first to admit that my medical and insurance issues are--knock on wood--WAY less fraught with difficulty than many other folk out there who have to deal with catastrophic situations and illnesses.  BUT…...

Puppy Tails: The Ongoing Adventures of Doodle Dog

https://pixabay.com/en/grass-blades-of-grass-nature-meadow-383284/

  Chirp, chirp, cheep, chirp! Doodle Dog poked his nose into the open window, pressing against the tight wire screen. He thought he could hear a bird talking to him, but he couldn’t quite see it from this angle. A little twist to the left and a little scootch to the right and the frame of the window seemed to jump...

Notes From The Vineyard

It’s been a good year, actually, let me rephrase that – it’s been a GREAT year! Sure, this year has definitely put up a good fight...

Financial Considerations for 2015

2015 is less than two months away. Fall is the time when investors look for ways to lower their taxes and make some financial changes. This is an ideal time to schedule a meeting with a financial, tax or estate planning professional. How do economists see next year unfolding? Morningstar sees 2.0-2.5% GDP for the U.S. for 2015, with housing,...

Damsels & Dragons

Recently my son was photographing nature by our pond; he photographed several different types of dragonflies. This got us wondering just how many different types there were. So the search began. When you see a dragonfly, the images of a large fierce flying insect quickly flitting from place to place come to mind. Though dragonflies/damselflies are excellent predators and...

Say Cheese

This weekend, I had the opportunity to make some homemade mozzarella and ricotta cheeses with some friends, and the results were simply delicious. Although ricotta cheese can be made using basic ingredients most of us have in our kitchens, I chose to use a cheese-making kit, which includes everything needed to make either ricotta or mozzarella -- you simply...

“Why are wedding showers and baby showers called ‘showers’?”

It’s a good question. We couldn’t find a definitive answer in either R. Brasch’s “How Did It Begin?” or William S. Walsh’s “Curiosities of Popular Customs.” However, we’ve always heard the explanation that showers are so-called because the guest-of-honor is “showered” with gifts. Several websites second the theory, including BrideAndGroom.com. (It also gives the legend for the origin of...

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