Readers' Opinions

Browns, don't use the first pick to draft a quarterback

Now that the Cleveland Browns' season is over, we can expect all of the local sports media to mandate that the team use the first pick in the upcoming draft on a quarterback. The expectation for this quarterback will be to lead this team to the Super Bowl and win it. I'd like to explain why I believe that is not the best use of the pick, especially this year when there isn't one that stands out above all others.

The Browns have five picks in the first 65 selections to be made this year. They need to use the choices wisely and come up with impact players to become the foundation of the team going forward.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:40 AM, 01.24.2017

Past and present Westlake / Bay Village lawn mower maintenance hot spots

As an adolescent in the early '70s the first lawnmower I tried to maintain ended up throwing a connecting rod through its engine block. If there’s much to learn in one's failures I must’ve learned quite a bit during that episode.

Since that time I’ve managed to get one or two lawnmowers to run past their prime. For that reason I’ve appreciated several businesses in the Westlake/Bay Village area where one could acquire lawnmower parts. With one of those being Cricket Yard Equipment, I was especially interested to find in the Dec. 13, 2016, edition of the Observer that after more than 37 years of serving the lawn care equipment sales and maintenance needs of our community, owners Craig and Nan Baker are selling the business to E&H Ace Hardware, where it will be relocated to their store at the corner of Dover Center and Detroit roads.

The sale of Cricket Yard Equipment leads me to reminisce of past businesses that sold and serviced lawn and garden equipment but are now closed, leaving Cricket a sole survivor, of sorts, in the Westlake/Bay Village community.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:12 AM, 01.10.2017

Taking time to enjoy each holiday

We can hardly wait to get the Halloween candy off the counter before rushing in with Christmas candy and all that goes with it. This came home to me when on Halloween morning I went to the store to buy candy to hand out at the door that evening. Imagine my surprise when I was told there was none. They had a big weekend sale and it was all gone. The only candy on the shelf on Halloween day was for Christmas.

It seems everything is geared toward "what’s next." Hopping over one holiday, pouncing on the next. I thought of all the past holidays spent laughing and talking around the table. If I could do it over again, I would listen more and talk less, especially when my great-grandmother was at our table.

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Volume 8, Issue 23, Posted 9:39 AM, 11.29.2016

Pondering Dec. 7, 1941

The rat-a-tat-tat of the “Little Drummer Boy,” had that song been in existence as Christmas music played on radios in Pearl Harbor on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, would have been wiped out by the very real rat-a-tat-tat of machine guns on Japanese Zeros attacking the people, planes and ships at the U.S. naval base in Hawaii. The Empire of Japan had viciously declared war on America. (Germany and Italy declared war on us just days later.)

Just 17 days before that date which still lives in infamy, we had expressed our gratitude on Thanksgiving Day. (The last time it was celebrated on the third Thursday in November.) It would take four years, as sung in a 1943 chart-topping song, for “the lights to come on again all over the world.” The world would never be the same again. The shock for those of us not alive or of age at that time must have been like what we experienced as a nation with the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

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Volume 8, Issue 23, Posted 9:35 AM, 11.29.2016

The story on an interesting Bay Village address

While the address 492 Bradley Road in Bay Village might sound familiar to some people, many may not know of the various reasons for its notoriety. 

The most obvious and current reason is that it’s the location of Bay Lodge. More about that later in this story. 

Though many historically minded folks are likely already aware, I was surprised to recently discover former Bay Village Mayor A. Horace Wolf (serving in that capacity from 1910 to 1916) lived in a house previously standing at that address. According to a Dec. 29, 1931, Plain Dealer obituary, Mr. Wolf was born, raised and passed away on a farm at 492 Bradley Road.

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Volume 8, Issue 21, Posted 10:06 AM, 11.01.2016

Appreciating the right to vote

Margretta was a strong, independent woman in an age when that when that was a rarity. When she received a small inheritance, she used it to attend Cornell University. Her father, a farmer and church elder, stood up in a grange meeting and announced to all how embarrassed he was to have a daughter who was going to college.

In college, she met other independent women, and marched with them for women’s suffrage. When the Great War broke out, the men were leaving school. Either they enlisted, or went home to their family farms to grow food for the nation.

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Volume 8, Issue 21, Posted 10:00 AM, 11.01.2016

From NextGen navigation to rumbling engines

Having possessed varying degrees of interest in aviation since childhood, I was particularly drawn to Conda Boyd’s informative article in the Sept. 20 issue of the Westlake | Bay Village Observer titled “WCOG mayors host FAA Metroplex project discussion.”

In her story, Ms. Boyd discusses the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) NextGen Metroplex project and how the agency has been seeking input from local officials, along with the public, as an integral part of the Cleveland-Detroit NextGen Metroplex initial design phase.

Utilizing Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology, the FAA’s NextGen project will bring our nation’s aviation radio-navigation infrastructure into the 21st century. While GPS is already widely used to assist with aircraft navigation, it is currently being adapted to an underlying routing system designed around decades-old, ground-based radio-navigation technology. NextGen promises to take full advantage of GPS accuracy and flexibility while at the same time offering pilots vastly more information regarding their in-flight situation.

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Volume 8, Issue 19, Posted 9:07 AM, 10.04.2016

Watching TV once took some effort

As summer blends into autumn, with the weather turning cooler and daylight hours getting shorter, folks tend to spend more time indoors and often place more emphasis on television viewing than during the warmer months.

These days, the main challenge of TV viewing seems to be following circuitous plot lines and enduring long blocks of commercials. Conversely, while rather young at the time, I recall when watching television was much more challenging, both technically and physically.

Going back to a time when most families shared their viewing on a single television set (and that most likely being black and white) one could tune in any channel they wanted – as long as that channel was numbered three, five or eight on the original VHF band in the Cleveland market.

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Volume 8, Issue 17, Posted 11:08 AM, 09.07.2016

First Monday in September

On June 28, 1894, Congress made the first Monday in September a legal holiday called Labor Day. We celebrate with a day off from work, by going to parades, eating a picnic lunch, or having an evening cookout. The weekend of Labor Day is a sign that summer has ended and a new school year has begun. 

All fun and sun of the day aside, I would like to take the time to thank everyone in the Westshore community for all their hard work which improves the quality of my life and makes this area a functioning, healthy, and beautiful place to live. 

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Volume 8, Issue 16, Posted 9:44 AM, 08.16.2016

Pursuit of Happiness

The Fourth of July is a major summer holiday with cookouts, baseball games, swimming, visiting friends and family, and of course fireworks at night. However, what we need to remember and celebrate is the birth of the United States and our declaration of independence from a major power who, our founding fathers believed, was taking away our precious, inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

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Volume 8, Issue 13, Posted 9:25 AM, 07.06.2016

Looking for a leader

In this year of important elections, it is wise for voters to look to men and women of the past who exhibited integrity and strength – special men and women who helped guide people and countries through difficult times.

June 24 is the feast day of one such man, John the Baptist. John was a cousin to Jesus of Nazareth and yet John, despite this important relationship, remained humble and kind. He lived a different lifestyle wearing plain clothes and eating plain food, teaching and baptizing – constantly helping others find peace and contentment.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 9:34 AM, 06.21.2016

Farewell, Betsy

Sometimes we don’t know what to say. Words, even if the right ones miraculously present themselves, are not enough. I'm trying in my inept way to tell you that I am sad. My friend, Betsy Martin, is gone. The whole village misses her. She was so much a part of Bay Village as are the oak trees and the flowering pears.

I met Betsy two decades ago while her husband, Dick, was busy building the Bay Village Foundation and I was a trustee. She was generous with her time and shared many ideas.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 9:47 AM, 06.07.2016

June 14 and a flag in all its glory

June 14 is Flag Day ... a day to display “Old Glory,” “The Stars and Stripes,” or “The Star Spangled Banner,” as our colorful national symbol is alternately known.

Regardless of agreements and disagreements, likes and dislikes, and so much “noise” surrounding us down below, our nation’s flag flies proudly above, representing the struggles, sacrifices and accomplishments that formed a mighty nation. It reminds us of the greater whole of which we are all a part.

Flag gazing should also remind us that our freedom and rights should be preserved and never, ever, taken for granted.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 9:47 AM, 06.07.2016

Memory Day

This year Memorial Day falls on May 30. On this day we remember and honor those Americans who died while serving in the armed forces.

Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971. Perhaps late May was chosen because it is in the springtime that we can go out to the cemeteries and lay flowers and wreaths on the graves of these heroes. A moment of silence is to be observed at 3:00 p.m. so we can think about and pray for the men and women who died serving and defending the United States.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 9:52 AM, 05.03.2016

Round and round we'll go!

I’m not a traffic “expert” but with over 62 years of experience driving in many cities, most states and several countries, I have learned something about coordinating the movement of vehicles on streets and roads – the good, the bad and the ugly systems.

Westlake’s mayor and city council seems to be “going in circles” in considering a roundabout (traffic circle) at the intersection of Center Ridge and Canterbury roads. If they decide to build one, I hope they also put in some bleacher seats so we can watch the fun as drivers try to navigate around it. They are merry-go-rounds without the merry.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 9:48 AM, 05.03.2016

We're all in this together

During the beautiful month of April we celebrate Earth Day, which this year is on Friday, April 22. We take this time to think about how much the Earth really means to us: not only her grace and beauty but the very life she gives us – from the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food provided, the plants and flowers that brighten our days, and of course, all the amazing animals that help us, sustain us, and give us fond companionship.

Everyone plays a part in creating life on Earth and making our planet beautiful. We make delicious food from the harvest, we take care of the plants and animals, and we have children who become the next stewards of the planet so they and future generations may appreciate and also benefit from the gifts of the Earth.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 10:09 AM, 04.05.2016

Change is a way of life

We all know that change is a fact of life. With time, everything and everyone changes. Winter snow gives way to spring leaves then summer shine and then to fall. Similarly people also change in their lifetime. They grow from sweet, cooing babies to youngsters full of energy to middle-aged couples and then seniors.

I realized this amazing fact about humans the day I met an old friend of mine after 15 long years. We used to know each other as kids, from kindergarten to high school. We had big plans for changing the world. We used to believe we could move mountains and turn rivers. We were strong believers that good things happen to good people and bad always get punished. I used to fight big kids bullying little ones in school. I once saw someone beating a dog and I fought with him standing on the street. And I didn't even know them.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 9:39 AM, 03.01.2016

What is a saint?

A saint is someone who led a holy and virtuous life on Earth and is now believed to be in Heaven. Christians pray to saints for help and guidance. A famous saint is St. Patrick, whose feast day is March 17. He brought Catholicism to the Irish in the 5th century. He is greatly revered and loved by both the Irish and Irish-Americans.

There are many saints and feast days for them. We honor these men and women for their holiness and good example. Some were very sinful and came to the faith later in life like St. Augustine and others led blameless lives and died young like St. Philomena and St. Therese of Lisieux.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 9:37 AM, 03.01.2016

Glowing tubes on a winter night

On a cold winter night many people enjoy the warm glow of a fire in their fireplace. As a kid spending his formative years living in Bay Village, on such an evening I instead found myself drawn to the warm glow produced by the vacuum tubes incorporated in my hand-me-down stereo system.

The reality of this year's winter actually producing winter-like weather conditions after teasing us northern Ohioans with a rather mild start, combined with other events in the news, has created a sense of nostalgia in me for listening to album-oriented rock over FM radio with my old tube-powered stereo set.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 10:06 AM, 02.16.2016

Why I love Bay Village

I love Bay Village because I think we are a community of really good, kind people. 

Recently, I read a story online about a Bay Village school bus driver who found something that a student had left behind. He dropped the item off at the student’s house, on his way home. Where else would you find a bus driver that would do this? It made me think about how lucky we are to live in such a nice community.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 9:33 AM, 02.16.2016

A new place called home

We human beings have always heard from our parents and grandparents that a home is a place that's familiar. Home is filled with our old memories and things. We also believe that house of brick and stone will be called home by us only when it has warmth and cozy feelings of familiarity.

I also used to believe that until now. Two months ago, when I was living in India, I felt home was my flat in Mumbai. Then we planned to move to the United States. I was very skeptical about the change. I am not a person who likes changes a lot so such a big change like this started bothering me every day.

I used to lie awake every night worrying about how I would ever manage everything. But when I looked at my son, who has special needs, my fears subsided momentarily as I had heard that Ohio is great for special needs kids. Still, the feeling of nervousness was there always.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 9:55 AM, 02.02.2016

What is a president?

Presidents Day is Feb. 15. Every American president started out as a citizen who wanted make positive changes to our democratic society. We are right to celebrate this important office and all the men who rose to the challenge of leading the United States.

Yet, we too influence and help lead society. We, as citizens, make a difference in our community. How do we do this? By belonging to civic organizations like the Historical Society, the Green Team, or the Garden Club, or by being a volunteer in a literacy group at the library, coaching a sports team, or participating in community theater. When we buy items from a farmers’ market, or help raise money for a noble cause, or volunteer in a hospice, or in our church – in these ways we are making positive changes in the world around us.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 9:55 AM, 02.02.2016

Proposing an educational shift

People are like birds; all are unique and flourish in different environments. In today's society, however, everyone is considered the same, especially in schools. People should be educated based on each one’s special learning style. In an effort to correct the faults of the current system, the school system would ideally establish two different types of schools for different learners: the School of Logic and the School of Creativity.

In today's system, all students are forced to sit in rows of desks, carry a flimsy hall pass in order to use the restroom, and face a constant bombardment of standardized tests. All students are graded in the same way and school buildings are unfit for learning; there is limited climate control, failing infrastructure, and outdated technology. No student learns in the same way; some prefer writing, the arts, and creative thinking. Others prefer a standard routine and objective, multiple choice-based evaluations.

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Volume 7, Issue 24, Posted 9:44 AM, 12.15.2015

Bay Village kennel advocates renew call for new structure

In 2011, a family from Bay Village offered to donate funds to build our city a brand new kennel. Their offer is still on the table. Friends of the Bay Village Kennel have been advocating since 2011 to have this matter placed on the City Council agenda so that there could be an open public forum allowing citywide input.

We have also advocated for a part-time animal control officer or Bay Village Police Department liaison so that all domesticated pets would have safe harbor. In August 2015 Governor Kasich signed into law a state budget that includes the language that all police officers will be trained on how to humanely engage with all domesticated animals they encounter daily.

The Friends of the Bay Village Kennel support and believe, as does our benefactor, that the best idea is Mayor Sutherland’s recommendation to have a kennel of similar size to the current kennel attached to the back of the police garage.

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Volume 7, Issue 24, Posted 9:41 AM, 12.15.2015

A day that will live in infamy?

Most people know why Feb. 14 is a special day, and March 17, and of course July 4. Most of us know that Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, but few connect it to the armistice – the end of World War I. And when I say to someone on Dec. 7, “Today is a day that will live in infamy,” they respond, “Why?”

Dec. 7, 1941, was the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 2,500 people died, 1,000 were wounded, and 21 American ships and more than 300 airplanes were damaged or destroyed.

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Volume 7, Issue 23, Posted 9:49 AM, 12.01.2015

Love is winning

On June 26, the United States Supreme Court narrowly ruled (5-4) to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. This is something that I was sure that I would see in my lifetime, but not quite this soon...

That said, I feel that the decision is long overdue.

Over the past few years, this issue has been hotly debated; both sides have been very strong in their opinion on the matter. However, the one side of the argument that states that two men or two women joined in matrimony does not constitute a family is old, tired and, frankly, outdated.

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Volume 7, Issue 14, Posted 9:22 AM, 07.21.2015

Lincoln's farewell to friends

It will come as no surprise to anyone knowing me that Presidents Day for me is “Lincoln’s Day,” with all due respect to other great leaders who held that office.

I’ve been a student of Abraham Lincoln for a number of years. I’ve come to love the old guy – “Father Abraham,” as he was called by the public. The more I read about him, the more I like him, warts and all. He was not a perfect man, but surely was the best man our country could have had in the Civil War era. He saved our country, making it the nation that grew into the wonder it is today in the world. And he gave his life in doing it.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 9:12 AM, 02.17.2015

Hearing police radio calls with a twist of the dial

"Calling all cars… Calling all cars…"

That’s a phrase one in the Cleveland area may have been able to hear on the family radio set in late 1929 or early 1930, provided they happened to have just the right model.

In September 1929, the Cleveland Police Department initiated operation of radio station WRBH on a frequency of 1,712 kilohertz (kHz), which was just above the upper frequency edge of the AM broadcast band. The Cleveland Police Department’s (and region’s) first foray into the then-new world of radio communication with their patrol cars was supposed to be unavailable to the ears of the general public.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 9:59 AM, 01.20.2015

Keep the holidays happy and stress-free

Thanksgiving is over and now the fun begins. Just around the corner is Christmas and shopping, wrapping, baking, writing cards, entertaining, etc. – whew, I am tired already! Sometimes we push ourselves to the limit trying to create that perfect Currier and Ives or Dickens holiday. 

As many of you know, with age comes wisdom. At some point in time, we realize there is no such thing as the “perfect” holiday. Someone or something always seems to pop up to spoil it. So how do we avoid ruining our holidays and keeping peace in the family? Good planning and letting go of those ideas of a picture-perfect day – and, keeping things simple.

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Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 9:41 AM, 12.09.2014

Waiting for Santa

As part of Bay Village’s Christmas celebration last year, Santa Claus rode in a fire truck down Parkside Drive, where my daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Dave Barker, live. My eight-year-old grandson, Daniel, who is a true believer, waited outside for Santa to pass by. Santa stopped at the curb and called Daniel's name and Daniel was thrilled. He spoke about it all year long.

Thankfully, I read in the Nov. 25 issue of the Observer that Santa would be returning to Bay Village on Dec. 7, and his route would take him down Parkside again. I emailed Santa and he asked Daniel's name and address and said he had remembered his little face and it had touched him so he would definitely stop.

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Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 9:34 AM, 12.09.2014

A Stranger's Gift

Christmas giving time is here. Mary Varadi wanted to make and donate bows for the sheer curtains in the Knickerbocker apartment building's main hall. She and some other ladies went shopping for the bow supplies in a local drug store. When Mary got to the checkout counter and reached for her purse, she discovered it was gone. They checked the car and nothing was there.

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Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 9:46 AM, 12.09.2014

Westlake once played host to an important radio station

As far as I know it never broadcast any music, sporting events or talk or variety shows, but the Village of Dover, now being the City of Westlake, was home to a once-vital radio link to ships on the Great Lakes.

While researching a different matter on the internet I stumbled upon mention of a radio station with the call letters WCY being located in West Dover, Ohio, to which the western part of Dover Village was once commonly referred. It indicated WCY was a coastal radiotelegraph station providing wireless communication services to commercial shipping plying the lower Great Lakes.

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Volume 6, Issue 23, Posted 9:58 AM, 11.11.2014

CB group prepares for emergencies

In late October 2012 when Hurricane Sandy roared through northern Ohio my mother and I were without power for five days. Fortunately we have a whole-house generator and were able to weather the storm in relative comfort. However, many of our neighbors and friends in Bay Village were not so well-off. Attempting to locate accurate information regarding warming centers, power outages, and storm updates was difficult to almost impossible for many residents.

After experiencing Hurricane Sandy firsthand I was ready to explore how I might be better prepared to handle similar situations in the future. Several months prior to the storm I had read an article in the Observer about a disaster-response CB radio group that had recently formed to address various emergency scenarios.

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Volume 6, Issue 23, Posted 9:52 AM, 11.11.2014

The perfect season for a trip to Amish country

A couple weeks ago, the residents of the Knickerbocker Apartments took a trip to Amish country. Fall in northern Ohio consists of beautiful leaves falling to the ground. You can't beat the colors of this season.

The bus pulled up to the front door to let the seniors board with no problem. A cheer went up when we left the driveway. The first stop was a huge hardware store carrying wood-burning stoves and all types of hand tools. One room was filled with hand-carved wood scenes of rivers flowing by old farm houses, trees in the front yard, farm animals and barns. I could not believe all the detail in the various depicted scenes.

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Volume 6, Issue 22, Posted 9:26 AM, 10.28.2014

Communication keeps relationships strong

I must confess I like and respect women even more as time goes by. Last weekend my younger cousin had a great clam bake and huge cake for his birthday party. Living alone since my wife passed away many years ago, there have been very few phone calls between my extended family members. We would call for weddings and children's birthdays. The only time we would get together was at funerals. I've missed out on so many good times.

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Volume 6, Issue 21, Posted 10:09 AM, 10.14.2014

Bullying not welcome at any age

I was recently reminiscing about my childhood when I realized that even though I'm a senior citizen, some of my friends and acquaintances still act like children. Comb-over hair styles are big in the senior circle. Bald is big, as we don't have to shave our heads anymore. We older folks are still concerned with size and weight just like younger people. Some things don't change.

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Volume 6, Issue 20, Posted 9:44 AM, 09.30.2014

Bay Village steps up again

On Sept. 3, it was made known that an autistic teen from Bay High was talked into taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, only to be duped into being doused with a mixture of water and bodily fluids. Of course, everyone knows this. The entire nation knows this, due to the horrific nature of the crime.

This event has cast an ugly light on our town. However, its students and residents have risen to the occasion to disparage that light and prove that, in spite of the acts of a few, we, as a community, truly care.

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Volume 6, Issue 19, Posted 10:05 AM, 09.16.2014

An Interesting Experience

I had a technological problem recently which took two months to resolve. My telephone and internet service decided I did not have an account with them. Even though the bills were paid on time, my landline was turned off.

After numerous calls to my service provider on my son's cell phone I finally got through to a customer service rep. I was offered a chance to sign up with the phone service for the second time and receive a phone which worked from the internet. I signed on.

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Volume 6, Issue 17, Posted 9:49 AM, 08.19.2014

Content creation changes with the times

In his "Director’s Column" appearing in the August/September issue of Westlake Porter Public Library's Notes newsletter, WPPL Director Andrew Mangels, in introducing his facility’s "Make Event" program set for Aug. 23, explains how libraries are transitioning from being strictly providers of content to additionally being places in which to facilitate the creation of content.

A very cool concept, in my opinion, and a logical extension of Director Mangels’ continuing philosophy of libraries being providers of all sorts of content, going well beyond traditional printed material.

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Volume 6, Issue 16, Posted 9:43 AM, 08.05.2014

Bay's community services director bids farewell

I have a quote by Dr. Clarissa Pinkole Estes tacked to the bulletin board in my office. It says, “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”

In the 10 years that I served as the Community Services Director for the City of Bay Village, it was an honor and privilege to serve residents, collaborate with community groups and work with a great team of employees within the city. Bay Village is an extraordinary community with residents who are generous with their donation of time and money to help their neighbors.

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Volume 6, Issue 15, Posted 9:40 AM, 07.22.2014