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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ralph Telfer and I met shortly after World War II, at a friend’s party in Rocky River. I was living with my mother on West 48th Street and teaching kindergarten at Almira Elementary School in Cleveland. Ralph was a teacher at Lakewood High School. Before we set the date for our wedding we searched the western suburbs for a home, determining that Bay Village, full of beautiful trees, was better than any we had observed.
Bay Village was small but already known to be a prestigious address. We found (with my mother’s help watching the newspaper ads) that a place on Glen Park was available at a price we could afford. We did not bicker with the owner – who needed more than two bedrooms for his growing family and had to move. We hurried here!
Everyone is familiar with Dr. Seuss and his book, "Green Eggs and Ham." This true story puts Green Eggs and Ham to the test.
My sister and I were having a late breakfast at a well-known pancake house. My brother-in-law joined us. He ordered eggs overeasy with blueberry pancakes. During the course of his meal I happened to notice his eggs had green in them. It was a concern so we called the waitress over for a look. She called over the manager and they remade his egg order.
Bay Village can boast that some of its school crossing guards have been on the job longer than most. Although officially a senior citizen, I’m a relative “kid” on the crossing guard staff, on the job less than two years.
Crossing guard duty seemed a good way to spend time – if even a brief time – with children. It didn't matter that they were somebody else's children, I like them all. (My grandfather was a school crossing guard in the '60s but he quit because, as it turned out, he didn't really like kids.)
My first memories of my mother were when I was about three years old. That was when the Great Depression was in full bloom. Times were hard and many people were out of work. My father found work wherever he could to make money to help support us during these tough times. Mum stayed home to take care of us kids.
My enjoyment of gardening comes from a passion for life. I look at gardening as I look at life. I start with all of the good that God gives me and, just like my garden, I use good soil, nourish my life with family, friendships, kindness and joy, and work diligently keeping the weeds of negative thinking out. I then plant the seeds of kindness and happiness that continue to grow and give life.
Valentine's Day was a very busy time at the Knickerbocker Apartments. Bay Presbyterian Church hosted a soup and salad meal for us which consisted of two kinds of soup and salad and red party hats that the children made. Everyone had lots of fun and we'd like to thank the group for coming out in this cold weather with a delicious meal, lots of goodies and a ton of enthusiasm.
On another day we we had homemade quiche prepared by the one and only Mark, one of our favorite cooks. He's a volunteer who lives at the Knickerbocker and gives freely of his time and talent for his neighbors. Well done, Mark. Great quiche. After eating the quiche we were treated to a wonderful barbershop quartet courtesy of the Bay Barbershop. Our festive meal was topped off by dishes of ice cream.
Making its debut during this year's Super Bowl, a new Radio Shack commercial commences with a store associate taking a telephone call from "the '80s, wanting their store back," followed by a number of iconic figures from the decade causing general mayhem while removing all of the store's contents.
After hearing some buzz surrounding that commercial I looked it up on YouTube and, being one who was a "twenty-something" throughout most of the eighties, enjoyed it quite a bit. Geeky as it may sound, that commercial reminded me of the days in the early 1970s, before earning my driver's license, when I'd look forward to any opportunity to check out what was new at Radio Shack, as well as a few long-gone area radio and electronics stores that existed back then.
Last month was a trial of faith for me. I was diagnosed with cancer again. The doctor found something on my shoulder which needed to be biopsied. He discovered I had a mild, common form of skin cancer which was treatable with surgery. When I heard the word cancer all I could remember was the last time I heard that word.
I like to think of Valentine's Day as Value Time Day. What a great day to spend some quality time with your children. Our family enjoys eating ice cream, cake and lots of chocolate on Valentine's Day.
Baking together for a holiday is a good way to get everyone involved. Even toddlers can drop red sprinkles on the finished cake. Sticky hands, frosting all over face and clothes, these are memories which last a lifetime. Be sure to take lots of pictures. Yes, being together with family is a great feeling and family is one of the most important parts of my life.