Posts filed under ‘Lest we forget’

Freedom- The Pride- The Glory – Remember

Who  I  Am - Chris Ritchey

Who I Am – Chris Ritchey

The sky was robin egg blue this morning, the lake kissed with silver and gold. The air cooling to those of fevered brow. A day of glory, when all young men and woman who have given their everything are to be thanked for giving us the peace of this day with the freedom to enjoy. Their voices are stilled , their presence hidden from our world and yet they speak and are heard in the laughter of each child who is without fear of living in this city on the shore. Their presence can be felt when the voices of debate are raised in opposing ideas.


This is their gift to us who remain- we must not forget , we must cherish the gift of life they have given to us and maybe just maybe if we are quiet and still in our reflection as their symbol of country is flown against the robin egg blue sky they will hear our gratitude and know their sacrifice was not in vain.
Eric Barnes Heroes Walk

rasing the flagcol2014
Admiral King Tribute Site- Purple Heart recipient Don Fugitt United States Army raises the flags with Ernest Ritchey US Air force

Bruce Horner

Army 1st Sgt. Bruce Horner – Son of Ed and Betty Horner
Died June 1, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom assigned to the 127th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Support Command, Fliegerhorst, Germany; died in Seddah of wounds sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire.


Airman 1st Class Eric Barnes – Son of Tom and Shary Barnes
Died June 10, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom assigned to the 90th Logistics Readiness Squadron, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.; died as result of an improvised explosive device attack on an Air Force convoy about 100 miles south of Baghdad.

Marine Lance Corporal David Hall son of Delmar and Lulu Hall
Died August 31, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Aug. 31 in Garmsir, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.

Marine Lance Corporal Joseph “Ryan” Giese son of Larry Giese and Connie Wascovich
Died January 7, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Jan. 7 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.
Louis Torres

Sgt. Louis Torres son of Albert Torres and Armanda Ellis. who was fatally injured Aug. 6 in Afghanistan Sgt. Torres lost his battle with his wounds on August 22, 2012 .Torres was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.


May 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm 2 comments

History View- Lorain- Can you see what I see

Very early handwritten map of Lorain ( then Black River Township/ Charleston Village)

I can’t explain it to those that don’t have “past vision”- it isn’t 20/20 and it isn’t demo vision. Lorain’s history isn’t my history per se my Lorain history is very recent 1st generation- I too, was an immigrant from Britain. Actually Lorain was built upon “immigration” and had an influx of immigrants coming here for work in the last century . Lorain’s history is pretty recent history for those whose grandparents or parents settled here to work at the steel plant, Ford Motor etc .

They settled here because of work. A number of different groups Italians, Polish, Irish, Hispanic apparently clung to their “cultural backgrounds” and although they built homes, worked for the all American dollar, they celebrated and still celebrate their traditions and their homelands heritage. The clubs where they gathered now have for the most part gone the way of Lorain’s older “history” .

In fact, I marveled when I came here as a young bride and was taken to the Royal Canadian Legion as that is where the Brits gathered. Although there weren’t many English, as I remember, some of the “old guard” at the Legion had come as War Brides etc. 1939-45. And in fact only the post commander Jake Verroni (sp) and I had any “Canadian” affiliation whatsoever.

I was welcomed into the Ladies Auxiliary being very young not yet 24 I was totally confused as to what this was all about. Fresh from London and a “happening London” to Lorain was definitely a culture shock. This was not my scene at all but I didn’t want to be impolite to the neighbor that introduced me to “culture” club :)

drill team
Marching down Broadway for parades in a kilt and velvet jacket and very unflattering argyle socks was even more of a shock too my system but you try to fit in in a new country and community and celebrate the traditions of that country and community . I will say the kilt, jacket and socks were soon left behind and community theatre and a small repertoire company in Avon Lake – Chef Henri took up more of my time.


However, the Pipe Band appealed to my husband and we dug up some Scottish ancestry for him in the way back and beyond ( His name was Ritchey after all) .

Ironically when the Scots were being spotlighted in , I believe 1983, I was the one they approached to chair the Scottish Spotlight Committee for that year. I politely pointed out to the “committee” having an Englishman ( woman) head the Scottish committee and Scottish Culture would be frowned upon by true Scots!

My family and I did get involved and a wee girl( my wee girl) rode upon Nessie as it pulled the float with castles, golf courses, covered in bluebells and heather, dancers and pipers, the front and sides covered in tartan. Only to lose the trophy to the Polish float with a huge picture of the Pope on a flat-bed truck – as the All American judges ( who obviously knew very little about Scottish culture said

there wasn’t enough representation of Scotland.

AHH ethnicity – depends whose is most prominent in the diversity of a community :) Note to the International ( old Guard) Now you know why there was never another float like Nessie-;)


One day the little girl was asked if she would like to ride on top of the Loch Ness Monster in a parade (the day of the parade the temperature hit 102, a drummer plopped his Glengarry on the little girls head as she rode 10 foot in the air on top of Nessie. (What was that mother (me) thinking?) The resulting photo did win a National award for the photographer Tom Whittington). Would she also like to learn a dance called the Fling? Everyone thought this sounded like great fun. So began the little girl’s journey of the dance


Today , there is no longer a Canadian Legion and a lot of the ethnic based clubs have also gone . I could never understand why this community and now indeed the USA needs to be hyphenated – Polish- American, Scottish- American – Mexican- American what is so wrong with just being American?This was strongly brought home to me when taking my citizenship three years after arrival that according to the Department of Immigration and Naturalization there is no such thing.

My thinking is back in the early days of Lorain the settlers were content in just having people of any nationality around to help build the cabins , cut the trails and hunt for food, prayed to their God all together in a little meeting-house, sent their children to learn from one another and with one another. Those early were not a hyphenated community – they couldn’t afford the luxury of being “hyphenated” .
Lorain still celebrates her ethnic diversity each year with the Lorain International Festival. More and more I have noticed the diverse ethnic clubs and churches of the past have in the Bazaar itself been replaced by commercial concerns and the selections have narrowed .

Ironically at the Celebration of Trees for the Light Up Lorain , as CVSI were decorating the “Lorain” tree with lilacs and heritage of Lorain’s past

I was taken to task by the lady trimming one of the Hispanic trees for not following the international flavor of the trees -

Lorain 365

Lorain 365

What nationality of tree is that she asked – you are supposed to be celebrating Lorain’s ethic community.

I smiling pointed out to her without the settlers and captains etc carving a community ( as one people) -the “sufferers” -there would not be an “International Community” at all to trim trees

to be continued……….

May 1, 2014 at 7:52 pm 6 comments

NOV.11th- Flanders Fields -Remembering War


I use this video in most of my November 11th posts it tugs at my heart and my conscience. The Great War - 1914-1918 – my grandmothers and elderly aunts called it. When they spoke of the Great War it was not with the same camaraderie my mother and younger aunts and uncles who had fought and been “blitzed”. They, the aged, didn’t seem to have the same national fulfillment of achievement in their voices the attitude shown by those of the next generation.

Uncle Jim- lost two  legs RAF Pilot WW2

Uncle Jim- lost two legs RAF Pilot WW2

“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be” Winston Chruchill

The pride of watching the skies above as the Battle of Britain Pilots as they defended their “sceptered isle.” seemed missing as they talked of bombs and carnage, although on the side of victory , there was somehow something hollow in their remembrance of those years of World War 1.

This was a war that was so horrible, unthinkable with so many men lost, a generation lost , never had there been such human destruction on such a scale before or since. It was supposed to be the war to end all wars The Great War in Europe started in 1914- the 100 year anniversary will be noted in Europe next year.

man to  war

The number of men mobilised by both sides: the central powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey), and the allied powers (Britain and Empire, France, Belgium, Russia, Italy, USA), totalled over 65 million.

When the fighting was finally over, no-one could tell exactly how many had been killed but historians estimate that up to 10 million men lost their lives on the battlefield – and another 20 million were wounded… is perhaps best remembered for the staggering loss of human life. In the decade following the Great War many had the firm conviction that it should be “the war to end all wars”. …

I wasn’t born during either of the “World Wars” but I do remember my grand dad who lived to a ripe old age . I remember his whiskers, the smell of beer ( which wasn’t that unpleasant) and of sweet-smelling tobacco, although I can’t remember him with a pipe or a cigarette. The roughness of his jacket on my cheek as he held me on his lap toasting bread by the fire .

He was an old reprobate (I later learned) but to me he was the one who would come home from the pub and always had a present in his pocket for me , sometimes sweets, sometimes a few pennies and on one brilliant occasion a kitten named Jimmy!
gradad ages and me

I was the youngest girl grandchild and he would tease me unmercifully ( or so it seemed) but I knew he loved me even if his nickname for me was “maggot”.

In fact I was just married when he died , he had been to my wedding just weeks before with his fancy woman as my one aunt called her. My grandmother had died 10 years before .

We received a call he was in hospital and asking to see me . I went. I remember his little old face as white as the hospital pillow case upon which his head rested . He smiled , the twinkle had gone out of his blue eyes- he told my husband you take care of my little maggot in those United States of yours, squeezed my hand and said

come back tomorrow

and I said I would. What I didn’t know , he had told my aunt, who was a nurse at the hospital, he couldn’t die until he had seen me and then he could go.

As we drove down the country lanes in Suffolk to get to my other aunt’s, I could not shake the feel of his hand squeezing mine, it stayed with me the whole journey home. When we arrived my aunt told me he died not 5 minutes after I had left the room. He had made my grandmother’s life miserable, had given her 6 children , three sons and three daughters, and many, many hardships.

But as I read articles and history such as the Diary of Harry Drinkwater:

After five days in the trenches, we’re thankful we can still walk. I’ve had approximately an hour’s sleep a day – always standing up.

Often, when from sheer exhaustion I doze off, I’m awakened by a fat squeaking rat on my shoulder or feel it running over my head.

Most of the rations fail to arrive – because the communication trenches are water-logged and being continually shelled. We eat with hands caked in mud, which has caused many cases of acute dysentery.


Deluged: Three members of Harry’s company can be seen here posing in a trench flooded with mud almost to waist height

In common with others, I’ve done regular turns at the firing line. It’s a very creepy business looking over the top, imagining every noise is a German. A rat skirmishing among empty tins in no-man’s land is sufficient to attract all our attention.

Each morning, one hour before daybreak, every man stands in the trench until daylight. This is in case the Germans follow the old custom of attacking just before dawn. The same happens an hour before sunset.

Last night, I had a narrow squeak. I was wedged in the mud when I heard a shell coming. Unable to move quickly, I crouched when it burst on the parapet and got covered in dirt.

Later, we marched to our billets [for rest days]. This morning, Christmas Day, I took my shirt off – thick with dried mud – and had a wash. We had one tub and no soap between about 50 fellows.

Friday, December 31

Back on the firing line, and nearly up to our waists in mud. We’ve found a new diversion — at dusk, we put a small piece of cheese on the end of a bayonet, wait for a rat to have a nibble, and then pull the trigger.

I think of my grand dad as a young man , a career soldier, who fought in those trenches, slithered in muck, covered with lice and blood , fodder for cannon and rats alike , living the horror of trench warfare, and ultimately being “gassed ” and shot. I am sure this had to change a man. He sent three of his sons to war 20 years later, and according to my mum they too came home different men, as did my father
and millions of young men from around the world through the wars to follow .

Lyrics to I was only 19 at the end of the post

Today, more young men are returning home battle weary and scarred both physically and emotionally. And yet we count them among the lucky ones for many will never see the shores of home and we should never forget …………..

Photo Roger Brownson

Photo Roger Brownson

and grand dad this one is for you – Maggot

Lyrics to I was Only 19

Mum and Dad and Denny saw the passing-out parade at Puckapunyal
It was a long march from cadets.
The sixth battalion was the next to tour, and it was me who drew the card.
We did Canungra, Shoalwater before we left.

And Townsville lined the footpaths as we marched down to the quay
This clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean.
And there’s me in my slouch hat with my SLR and greens.
God help me, I was only nineteen.

From Vung Tau, riding Chinooks, to the dust at Nui Dat
I’d been in and out of choppers now for months.
But we made our tents a home, VB and pinups on the lockers
And an Agent Orange sunset through the scrub.

And can you tell me, doctor, why I stil can’t get to sleep?
And night-time’s just a jungle dark and a barking M16?
And what’s this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only ninteen.

A four week operation when each step could mean your last one on two legs
It was a war within yourself.
But you wouldn’t let your mates down til they had you dusted off
So you closed your eyes and thought about something else.

Then someone yelled out “Contact!” and the bloke behind me swore
We hooked in there for hours, then a Godalmighty roar
Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon,
God help me, he was going home in June.

I can still see Frankie, drinking tinnies in the Grand Hotel
On a thirty-six hour rec leave in Vung Tau
And I can still hear Frankie, lying screaming in the jungle
Til the morphine came and killed the bloody row.

And the Anzac legends didn’t mention mud and blood and tears
And the stories that my father told me never seemed quite real.
I caught some pieces in my back that I didn’t even feel
God help me, I was only nineteen.

And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can’t get to sleep?
And why the Channel Seven chopper chills me to my feet?
And what’s this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only nineteen.

November 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm 5 comments

Proclamation Lorain- Purple Heart Day


History of the Purple Heart Medal

The first precedent for honoring servicemen in American history, which involved the awarding of medals, goes back to August 7, 1782. On that day, General of the Armies George Washington, created “The Badge of Military Merit,” using cloth pieces of a purple sash he wore across his uniform, cut in the shape of a heart. That was our nation’s first military decoration. It was awarded to three Revolutionary soldiers for their actions in capturing the accomplices of General Benedict Arnold, in his attempt to turn over Fort West Point, to the British, during the American Revolution. The records show no others.

The philosophy behind military decorations has always been: since honor is something which no Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman likes to talk about, those who sought to honor these warriors, should give them a token of that honor, which they could wear without words. America’s present military decorations system has evolved from this single act by General Washington.
Although never abolished, the “Badge of Military Merit” was not issued again for 150 years. It was renamed the “Purple Heart Medal for Military Merit,” commonly known today as, The Purple Heart, on the 200th year of George Washington’s birth (22 Feb., 1932), with War Department Order #3. The first Purple Heart was awarded to General Douglas MacArthur, then Army Chief of Staff. War Dept. Order #3 also retroactively awarded the Purple Heart to WWI veterans.

During WWII, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9277 on December 3, 1942, that decreed the Purple Heart would be issued to all branches of the military and differ from all other decorations in that an individual is not “recommended” for the decoration. Rather the individual is “entitled” to it upon meeting the specific criteria of: “wounds received while engaged in combat against an enemy of the United States of America.”

On Monday a proclamation by the City of Lorain will proclaim August 7th as Purple Heart Day. The ceremony will take place Sept. 16th 2013 at 6:00 p.m. ( City Council Chambers, Lorain City Hall, 200 West Erie Ave. at 7:00 p.m. All Veterans are invited to attend.
You can find media coverage with video on the Morning Journal link by Rick Payerchin

Don Fugitt Commander of Chapter 473 announces a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser for October 27th


September 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm 1 comment


soet 11

As for those that carried out these attacks there are no adequate words of condemnation. Their barbarism will stand as their shame for all eternity.
–British Prime Minister Tony Blair

September 11, 2013 at 12:47 am 5 comments

Veterans MEMORIAL Park- Fini?

WashinremNOTE: Click on images to enlarge

Part One \

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six
Part Seven

So we come full circle in 2013- two hundred and one years after the little park was deeded as a park. In part one of this series I touched upon how John Cole and Co stated the “piss park” had outlived her usefulness – Mayor Craig Foltin, John Cole, Jon Veard – Jack LaVirha called up their forces for Condos in the park but unfortunately for them their plans came out before they were ready to go public- the ducks were in the row BUT one little duck quacked too soon!

You see Mr. Veard just happened to come over to the table where Renee Dore and I were sitting at the now “defunct” Pagani’s and quacked! Excerpt from Letter sent by CVSI to Mayor Foltin and the City of Lorain

….[Veard} him mention to two representatives of Charleston Village Executive Board on Jan 6th his “plan” as we were eating lunch in a very public place. There was no mention of the need for discretion, if anything the impression given was one of the plans for the park being a “done deal” and that all obstacles such as the Gilmore family restriction was and I quote “not a problem, I have been assured that isn’t an issue any more”.
I believe he was truly shocked when his plan did not meet with favor in our eyes. According to Mr. Veard, “you are the first ones that don’t like it” we were then informed, during that conversation, that other public officials, and non profits had been made aware of the plan to put condos in the “Veterans Park”, such as some members of the Lorain Port Authority, “ the veterans are on board”, the city, including Mayor Foltin and yourself (Sandy Prudoff), as well as the editor of the Morning Journal, John Cole.

Checking further, later that day, I could not find any of our elected council representatives that were so informed. Unfortunately the perception of the “inner circle” (Plain Dealer March 6th 2005)Found here

Foltin Cole and Casino
has raised its head once again. This was especially worrying to us after being promised “No surprises!!” by your Chief Planner, Don Romancak not an hour previously during our meeting with ERA.I can only assume, he too, was unaware of the proposed plan that will indeed impact greatly upon our community and neighborhood.

This plan by a private developer does NOT fall into the category of “business” between two private entities but from a “public usage” and “public” land for PRIVATE development. Therefore we maintain the public has the right to be informed through our elected representatives of ANY plans to privatize PUBLIC USAGE LAND prior to being discussed and dissected by a select few in order to find favorable and expedient passage through City Council. We firmly believe this situation merits more input in the initial stages by our elected representatives

money  money  money


It was a hard battle for those of us who cared about worthiness of her history , the romance of her , the fact that maybe she had outlived her use to the Lorain Veterans Council,( circa 2006) whose 1980′s committee had been given direct “design” of this park and the money to implement such design and then walked away only to return once a year apparently. Some of us were insulted , ridiculed on the front pages of the Morning Journal and in letters to the Editor – “village idiots and boneheads of history” were two of the most used :) I was personally accused on the front page of said Morning Journal of driving Developer Jon Veard from town hmmmmmmm?

You can find links to the unfolding media story here story here “
New home eyed for veterans park
Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2006
”It’s still premature,” Foltin said. ”(Veard) still has a lot of hurdles to get over before we figure out what can and cannot be done with the (Veterans Memorial Park) land.”

Developer unveils plan for new veterans park

Mayor Craig Foltin has said the future of the project depends on the veterans. He said the park, which is owned by the city, belongs to the veterans and only they can decide what to do with the proposal.

Veterans want written proposal for new park
Published: Friday, February 17, 2006

published 21st February 2006
Veterans Park will likely stay put

Lorain’s City Council shouldn’t be so quick to reject downtown condos (John Cole)

Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2006
But how can city leaders trumpet the need to save the park, when they have stood by and let it become such a vandalized dump? Lorain’s veterans barely use it anymore because it’s so seedy and because all the ceremonial action in Lorain these days is at Black River Landing.

Veard got the idea for his project after learning that the veterans didn’t use Veterans Memorial Park, holding all but one annual ceremony at Black River Landing instead.The town’s veterans organizations took an interest in Veard’s proposal for the same reasons, though they were still seeking more details in writing when City Council pulled the plug.

The Chronicle Telegram
Condos planned at vets’ park site by Shawn Foucher by Shawn Foucher
The Chronicle-Telegram document found here

Park Chronicle
LaVriha said:
“We’re going to present it to the Veterans’ Council, and we’ll have a discussion about it. Naturally some of them will be opposed, but we’ll knock the hell out of their arguments


ED NOTE: As an aside the meeting held with the Lorain Port Authority during this time Jack LaVirha was asked ( and I have the tape of that meeting ) what happened to the previous honor roll monument ( pictured???) at that meeting which also included Warren Finkel ( also now deceased – the architect of Lorain City Hall ) Jack LaVriha stated it was in his garage!

Thanks to city council and the community the little park was saved and the area from becoming more (imho) design by desperation and bad urban planning.
Collage VP 2006
Photos Scott Bakalar
Lorain Lions Club, The skateboarders of the day and Girl Scouts cleaning and getting the park back into shape 2006
August of that year found members of the community – Lorain Lions Club- volunteers from CVSI, BRHS , Girl Scouts, skateboarders getting the park back into shape . ( some groups though were conspicuous by their absence ) You can find the article from WOM Blog here

Life returns to a Memorial Park


Bic collage

In 2007 this community held the Bicentennial Celebration and just as the settlement that became Lorain so the celebrations radiated out from the park to involve all of Lorain. (Note: not publicized or covered by the Morning Journal thanks to the direction of Mr. Cole ;) Dignitaries graced her stage and people once again enjoyed the camaraderie under her trees. All photos found here

We are now back in the present, the park has seen 50 Mayors walk into various buildings surrounding her boundaries in the 206 years she has served as a public square and 201 since she has been a deeded park. She has outlasted all the buildings, she has stood as a testament to a settlement on the Black River from those burned out and a brave pioneering spirit of 1776 . She has been ravaged by man but not my time ! Com VP

Today , I received two announcement of community events in August in the park, people sitting on those chipped concrete steps, near the light poles of shame and those “benches honoring lives lost “

So what now? Does anyone have any information as to the “official naming of Lorain Memorial Park- 1966 officially became Veterans Memorial Park???
Who will see her significance and worth? ANYONE???????


August 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm 5 comments

Veterans MEMORIAL Park- thanks for the memories

Vetname collage
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge

Part One \

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

After a great deal of talking, the Veteran’s organizations under the umbrella of a Lorain Veterans Council entered into a contract with the City of Lorain for a further $346,500.00 to renovate Washington Ave Park/Lorain Memorial Park.

Interestingly enough even the contract language can’t seem to make up its mind as to the “name” of the park – front page of the contract-
Washington Park- Under the “money agreement” it is -Lorain Memorial Park- and farther down in the language- Veterans Memorial Park.
Maybe the funding was for three different parks ( sarcasm abounds)
The PDF file of the 1983 contract is to be found here :

It also seems questions were once again being asked at city council meetings on May 21st- 1984

May 21 1984 min

(PDF File Here)

Now we jump forward back in time to the Plain Dealer article of 1990 ( full article found here )Veterans park

PD opening

Apparently the Park ( whatever its name)
was “finished” in 1987 and then “died by 1990″ according to Jack LaVirha.

We were also dealing with the “skateboarders” back 23 years ago vandalizing the park not much has changed apparently. . The newly installed benches found Jack complaining as to their condition just THREE YEARS after the “finish”.

“Veterans raised money to install benches and dedicated to the memory of a deceased person

bench collage

Those benches are still there today .

Could it be after spending a total of $463,526.00 from 1983 through 1987, changing the whole look and feel of the little public square,


the organizations, under the umbrella of the Lorain Veterans Council , threw up their hands and walked away after they declared it dead!

Did the Veterans Council of the day( and also of today ) relieve themselves of all responsibility to that little historic park after they “renovated it? ? Was it and is back to the tax payers to revive her once again?

Apparently, according to then Parks Director Steven Bailey the Parks Dept were never consulted in the design etc

:”LaVirha complains about the park, but Bailey said it was the veterans who hired and worked with the architects [ Ron Cocco of Clark and Post]to “design the park and settled on the concrete foundation and amphitheater.

ED NOTE: It is apparent to me that number 7 in the contractual requirements

No 7: Establish a design that can be easily and economically maintained by the City of Lorain

and number 8

No 8 Utilize products and materials that are durable , easily maintained and resistant to vandalism

weren’t strictly adhered to-


The question begs to be asked, of the powers that be back in the 80′s- why did we lose the integrity and ambiance of ‘public square- into what it has become today?

Was it lack of oversight by administrations – councils- giving an organization free reign without follow through accountability- poor architectural design, which in the opinion of many changed the this little park into a concrete clump! We are seemingly stuck with the decisions of those involved back in the 1980′s- the 1980′s known as the “Decade that Made Us “ certainly left its mark on us!

This little park who is now supposedly born out of the “Sufferers” need for settlement after the War of Independence – See Part Two:

The western end of the reserve included the 500,000 acres (2,000 km2) Firelands or “Sufferers Lands,” reserved for residents of several New England towns destroyed by British-set fires during the Revolutionary War

vets sign

and whose signage states “for those that have served our nation” and whose monument also states

” In grateful tribute to the Lorain men and women who served their county in ALL WARS”

has been a silent witness to the wars of this nation:

War of Independence 1775-1783 25,000
Northwest Indian War 1785-1795 1,221
Quasi-War 1798-1800 20

1812 Public Square became a “deeded park”

Barbary Wars 1801-1815 35
War of 1812 1812-1815 20,000
1st Seminole War 1817-1818 30
2nd Seminole War 1835-1842 1,500
Mexican-American War 1846-1848 13,283
3rd Seminole War 1855-1858 26
Civil War 1861-1865 623,026
Indian Wars 1865-1898 919
Spanish-American War 1898 2,446
Philippine War 1898-1902 4,196
Boxer Rebellion 1900-1901 37
Mexican Revolution 1914-1919 35
Haiti Occupation 1915-1934 146
World War 1 1917-1918 116,708
World War 2 1941-1945 407,316
Korean War 1950-1953 36,914
Vietnam War 1964-1973 58,169
El Salvador 1980-1992 20
Beirut 1982-1984 266
Persian Gulf (Support) 1987-1988 39
Invasion of Grenada 1983 19
Invasion of Panama 1989 40
Persian Gulf War 1991 269
Somalia 1992-1993 43
Bosnia 1995 12
Afghanistan 2002-2011 2,229
Iraq 2003- 4,488

Oh what IF forethought had been utilized in 1983 and the trouble saved in hindsight. vandilsmt

The little park limped along until another Mayor- Craig Foltin , Jack LaVirha ( who was still in favour of spending yet more money and walking away) , The Lorain Veterans Council, another architect Warren Finkel ( designer of Lorain City Hall ), Jon Veard, and Morning Journal editor John Cole rallied round and decided in 2006 to “bury” this little park once and for all- that is until “an Englishwoman cometh” ;)

Thank you once again to Nancy Greer and the City of Lorain Mayors office for the documentation and of course to Dan Brady for the newspaper archives

To be continued……………..

August 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm 7 comments

Veteran’s MEMORIAL Park- a neglected disgrace AGAIN!


Part One:

What is it about this park the citizens , government and even the veterans ( who claim this space, at least by the signage) continually let this oldest park in Lorain, the place from whence Lorain was “born”, become so forlorn time and time again? She has a history, this first and only remaining public green space from “days of settlement) 1807

This little park, who should be taking pride of place in a downtown shows the unhealthy attitude of decay and dereliction with just a few sparks of her former glory just as the buildings of downtown we are exploring.”>

public square

This park the first town square- public meeting place- the living part of Lorain’s history. This park should be like a polished gemstone of culture pride and longevity . She is the icon of how this community struggled from 1807 .

When in 2006 Jon Veard, Sandy Prudoff, Craig Foltin and John Cole wanted to rip her guts out and put up “Condos for Cole” I, along with others, fought for her. At the time Cole’s main argument was she had become a “piss park”.

“On the 7th of September 2006 I wrote – Silent Witness
silent witness

“Nothing but a place for deadbeats and bums!” “ It has outlived its purpose” There is nothing historical about that park!” The city can’t afford to keep it up” It is a “piss park!!Nobody uses it, it is worthless!

So said John Cole and his editorials

It seems the usage of Veteran’s MEMORIAL Park has once again been allowed to deteriorate.

Under the Krasienko Administration I walked through the park with Service Director Gilchist , we were assured the benches would be taken care of , the park always ready for events such as Lorain International- Concerts in the park , Light Up Lorain etc. but the benches and the lighting never did get fixed…WHY???

This pride of historical place was being used as recently as September 2012 as an example of what we didn’t consider a good fit for our downtown with the addition of a Family Dollar store on its east corner-

Can you imagine my chagrin and shame walking the representatives through the park explaining how “their design would not make good planning and design and therefore not a good fit” for this historic park when I saw what they were seeing the benches, the graffiti, the damage , the vagrants who had gathered for their evening slumber party ?

This bench is NOT an example of the ‘SHABBY CHIC” Design
VP4 weathered bench

As for the rather “dangerous” what is left of the light poles VP11 light post 1

well we could turn them into planters I suppose


I was ashamed I had to defend her past glory to these gentleman who obviously were taking into account the neglect and destruction they were seeing as we walked along as I was babbling about history and its worthiness. I could see by their faces they were probably putting me into the same category as John Cole once did. “history bonehead”

I am going to explore how we got to this shameful place – it seems one group or another over the centuries have had “ideas” and we will start with the most recent history and work back

vets sign
The Veterans Council in 2006 wanted to walk away and head on down to Black River Landing . You see they took ownership at one time but in 2006 with wheeling and dealing behind the Foltin curtain said

“no we don’t want the park anymore , Veard will move our monument and you can have the park for condos.”

The Veterans Council at that time seemed to forget they were not the “owners” of that green space; we the community of Lorain , the government of Lorain who were given the responsibility of her but back in the day when Washington Park was renamed ” Veterans Memorial Park” there were “promises made” which we will explore . Are we sitting comfortably – then we will begin……

***1812 recorded Lorain Public Square (According to Lorain County Recorder Judy Nedwick, the park has been a part of the plat of Charleston since 1812. Since that time, the county records show, the park has remained property of the city. Morning Journal Jan 19th 2006

Minutes from City Council at the time of the “dismantling” for Condos for Cole-
Minutes Vets Park City Council June 5th

Given: I received a few emails this week regarding Veterans Park across the street. Residents of Charleston Village still believe the administration or other parties are still involved in conversations to demo the park or sell it off to outside interests. I would like to hear comments on that and also have an explanation on why the fountain has not been turned on.

MAYOR FOLTIN: Did you get the letter I sent to the rest of Council a few weeks ago? It summarized it and I will paraphrase it for the audience. It isn’t in the city’s hands now, there has been no formal proposal brought to us. The Veteran’s Council, if they like what is being worked upon with Mr. Veard, then Mr. Veard at the appropriate time will bring it to this Council for some discussion. Unless I hear anything different from them, it is going to be as it is. I probably will contact the Veterans Council, they meet the third Thursday of the month and after that meeting I will call President Work and see what direction they feel they are heading. If they do not feel it is even worthy to discuss with Mr. Veard and present to Council, then we will come to Council to fix the fountain. There are some pumps broken at a cost of $20,000 and we will move forward with the cost of fixing the pumps, we didn’t want to move forward with that if there was any chance of discussion about switching of Veterans Park.

MR. GIVEN: This Council unanimously made a decision with comments that we would under no circumstances entertain giving that park to Mr. Veard or any developer. It was also clear during that conversation that although we call that park Veterans Park, it is still a city park. If the Veterans choose to pick up their monuments and move them down the road, that would be fine and we would assist them in any form or fashion we could. However, that park would still exist as a city park open as green space for all the public to use. To have any conversation that any plan would be sufficient for us to move forward, I think is misleading to all parties involved especially since this Council voted unanimously to not allow anything to happen to that park.

MRS. TAVENNER: As Chairman of Parks Recreation Committee, a unanimous vote was taken. It is Veterans Park but is also is a city park. We heard the cry from the community and they don’t want that park rezoned, changed, sold, etc. and want it to remain a city park. I think the administration or who ever is working on this should stop it or nix it now. We have spoken and I don’t think this Council will change our stance on this matter.

MR. SCHUSTER: As Vice Chairman, I also support her sentiments and my vote will also be no.

MR. EDWARDS: We took a stand and if he wants to lead the developer down the road it is up to him. If he wants to bring it back to us – it is dead before it even gets started.

MR. GIVEN: To end this conversation, since Council is stating we will not allow the park to not exist, I would like to hear the Mayor’s position on how he will get that fountain running. It is my understanding it is not a fountain issue, it is a waterline issue.

MAYOR FOLTIN: It is a plumbing issue. I believe there is money in the Parkland Trust and I think we discussed it last year. I do want to at least give the respect to our Veterans Council and ask if that is in fact their choice. If they want me to present the case to you, I respect the Veterans Council for all they do in this community and I would do that for them. Before we go forward and fix the fountain, I will make another contact with the Veterans Council and if they feel strongly they would like this proposal to come before you and have them plead their case, I will do so. However, if they are content and do no foresee that happening, I will fix the fountain.


MR. GIVEN: Mr. Foltin, I think one thing you need to take back to the Veterans Council is that City Council does not agree with the dismantling of that park. That was Washington Avenue Park prior to calling it Veterans Park and putting in the fountain. If the Veterans wish to have their park somewhere else, that is fine and we will try to assist them in their endeavors. However, Washington Park in its current fashion will continue to exist under the auspices of City Council. If you are going to take anything back to them, you should take that back.
MR. EDWARDS: I ask that the Mayor get his repairs for the fountain to Council so we can look at that. It is still our park regardless if the Veterans move out or not and we must repair it.
MAYOR FOLTIN: I think everyone is in agreement they want the fountain fixed and it is under $25,000 threshold and money is appropriated in the Parkland Trust. Let me talk with the Veterans Council and we will get right on that if they do not want to pursue.

MR. GIVEN: I don’t understand your rationale but will let it go since I do not feel I can clear that up with you this evening. About the fountain, it is my understanding it is not the park or the pump, it is the waterline. If that is the case, I don’t think we should pull money from Parkland Trust, it is a utility function. Before we fix it, this Council would like an unbiased view of what the cause of the problem is.

MR. MILLER: The $20,000 was a quote from a local plumber to subcontract out the work. We reviewed the blueprints with the water distribution department. The problem is on the wall closest to the Antlers and West Erie. About 12 feet down is plumbing and it has settled down and come apart from the outer joints and is leaking. In order to repair it, it looks as if we need to remove an entire section of that concrete, dig down, raise the plumbing up, and redo it. I hope that we can pick up that wall, put it back, and do it in-house. I don’t know if we can and may end up subcontracting it out. I hope that the $20,000 is a good price but I wish to be clear on what the problem is and we will obviously do it the best and most economical way we can.

Moved by Mr. Given, supported by Mr. Schuster and Mrs. Tavenner, to authorize the Clerk to forward a copy of these minutes to the Veterans Council to allow them to better understand City Council’s position on Veterans Park. Motion carried.

ED Note – it WAS the water line…….
“Planned Blight”???????by the Foltin Administration


AHHHHHHH the Fountain in its 3rd reincarnation….

To be continued…..

July 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm 9 comments

Memorial Day- Charleston Village – Heroes Tributes

Artwork Chris Ritchey

Artwork Chris Ritchey

It was a beautiful cool and sunny morning today as we walked our neighborhood placing flags and ribbons to honor those who have given so much in so many conflicts. We placed the “RED WHITE and BLUE ribbons and I thought not only of the history of the colors but of those that have walked these streets in the decades before in this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood . I thought of those that had given all they could give in the name of freedom.

The history of the red white and blue:

pride-day-heroes-walk-soldier (photo Lisa Miller)

The Continental Congress left no record to show why it chose the colors. However, in 1782, the Congress of the Confederation chose these same colors for the Great Seal of the United States and listed their meaning as follows: white to mean purity and innocence, red for valor and hardiness, and blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice. According to legend, George Washington interpreted the elements of the flag this way: the stars were taken from the sky, the red from the British colors, and the white stripes signified the secession from the home country. However, there is no official designation or meaning for the colors of the flag.

The official meaning of those chosen colors may have been lost in time but they are the colors of freedom and many lives have been cut short so the colors of freedom can fly proudly in our neighborhoods.

Eric Barnes Heroes Walk

Marine Lance Corporal David Hall


Marine Lance Corporal Joseph “Ryan” Giese

Army Sgt. Louis Torres

Sgt. Bruce Horner

Fleet Admiral Ernest J King

Airman 1st Class Eric Barnes

L-R Veterans Park Civil War - Christian Temple  disciples of Christ(5th Street) Veterans Park  Lorain Fire Dept

L-R Veterans Park Civil War – Christian Temple disciples of Christ(5th Street) Veterans Park Lorain Fire Dept

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep…….,

May 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm 1 comment

The History Park- 1812- 201 hundred years – a recorded city park – Veterans Park Lorain Ohio

ED NOTE_ I wrote this last year as the park now known as Veteran’s Park was celebrating 200 years as a recorded park- I am not sure why I didn’t publish at the time – maybe I was in one of my “dark places in my other world where apathy for this life reigns supreme” – I don’t know but as we are coming up to Pride Day and Memorial Day I would hope there is no apathy from any of us for this little green space -

Two hundred years a deeded city property since 1812 – HAPPY ANNIVERSARY????

I started, yesterday afternoon, to write the recent history of veterans Park aka settlement meeting space, Lorain Public Square, Washington Park and Veterans Park , Lorain Ohio. – Oh! how easy it would have been to have gone back to January 2006 archives on the WoM Blog and list the links but that has disappeared and with it a record of a fight by a community to hold what was deemed worthy.

In the closing months of 2005 the Foltin Administration along with Community Development Director Sandy Prudoff, Jon Veard and Morning Journal editor – John Cole, in their infinite wisdom, decided the historic park should be condos. Foltin and Co started the wheels in motion to make this little park unworthy of its heritage .

Mayor Foltin quietly stopped work and maintenance on the park so that after a period of months the park and its infrastructure started to rapidly deteriorate. The fountain no longer was turned on, said to have major problems ( which turned out later to be a false statement)- graffiti wasn’t removed – only the grass was cut – the vagrants were allowed to use it as John Cole’s editorial stated as a “piss park”. In truth Craig Miller the Safety Service Director told me the park would be “blighted”. Events happened when Jon Veard let the plans out of the bag prematurely and I, along with others, started fighting to stop this fiasco of finance.

It was a nasty fight pitting Veterans groups and the community- I was the subject of editorials and nasty letters , name calling and ridicule but we fought for that park.

Thankfully city council ( who had also been kept in the dark about Foltin and Co’s plans ) stepped in and saved the park. Foltin tried to say the pumps weren’t working on the fountain and it would cost thousands to repair, walls would have to be taken down this was not the case. He tried to use the veterans as a tool to sway city council . You can find the council minutes here …..
Minutes Vets Park City Council June 5th

I have been down this path once before - No more turning a deaf ear and a blind eye and doing just enough- The maintenance on the park, the safety of this park the heart of this oldest neighborhood, an integral part of the port area and Broadway development should be a showcase. People and organizations have cleaned painted and honored their citizens in this park for centuries . We have to stop the rot NOW!!

Children should play under those trees not have to worry about who is doing what disgusting thing , people should sit on benches without having to move bedding , I should be able to sit a listen to a fountain and smell the perfumed breezes of flowers not of human excrement . ( check comments after the previous post). This little park is in fact not very large , some “upmarket” properties have more land mass. It is manageable!
On the 7th of September 2006 I wrote – Silent Witness

Nothing but a place for deadbeats and bums!” “ It has outlived its purpose” There is nothing historical about that park!” The city can’t afford to keep it up” It is a “piss park!!Nobody uses it, it is worthless!

So said John Cole and his editorials

The year is 1807 Azariah Beebe and his wife becomes the first family to settle in Black River Township. Nathan and Horatio Perry erect a house at the mouth of Black River and open a store for trade with the Indians. The area begins to be known as the Black River settlement.

“Of the first settlers, some men walked the entire distance from Connecticut and other places, some rode horseback part way, sharing the horse with others. Some rode in ox carts; some drove oxen; some came part way by land, and the rest by water; some came on sleds in mid winter; some plowed through the mud of spring or endured the heat of summer, some had bleeding feet and some serious illness.

Sometimes it was a bride and groom who started alone; sometimes it was a husband, wife and children; sometimes it was a group of neighbors who made the trip. Children were born on the way and people of all ages died and were buried where they died.
But after they arrived, their experience was almost identical.

A removal into the depths of the Ohio woods, where a man was directly placed face to face with primitive conditions, brought him at once to the practical contemplation of his problem and the solution was in his own hands; food, shelter, raiment. Here was the earth, whose soil was to furnish bread and clothing, but it was covered with a thick growth of great trees to be removed before it could be planted. Their trunks and barks must be converted into houses.

A temporary supply of food was carried by the immigrant with him. In making his way to his purchase he pursued the trail that led nearest to it, and, with his ax, opened the rest of the way. The point gained, the same implement cut down and prepared the tree trunks for the first cabin, which the hands of the whole party, women and children as well, helped to place in the low crude walls of the primitive structure, while the bark of the basswood and elm made the cover. Doorless, floorless, windowless, chimneyless, the pioneer eagerly took possession of his cheerless cabin.

Thousands of them within 70 years were built and occupied in the Lorain woods. Men and women lived in them there; and children – all the elders of the new generation – were born in them. Death came in them there; and there young women became brides and dwelt the happy wives of happy husbands
Of all the dwellings in the woods, scarcely the site of one can now be identified.
Next to the erection of their own cabin, the most important event was the arrival of another family in the woods and the erection of their dwelling received the joyous help of every male within 10 miles of it
No one born of later years can comprehend the strength and warmth of the bands of sympathy and fellowship, which united the first dwellers in the woods in wide neighborhoods.”

A History of Lorain J.B. Nichols 1924

In the next 5 years the little settlement grows all the while they struggle the new nation continues the birthing process.

1807 UK Leopard fires on the US Chesapeake and impresses 4 men
1807 September 1 Burr is acquitted of treason
1807 December Congress passes TJ’s Embargo Act banned all US trade to keep it neutral. Failure. Manufacturing N benefited. S and shipping hurt bad
1808 US bans the slave trade
1809 March 1 Non-Intercourse Act. repealed Embargo, open trade but not with UK&Fr
1810 Macon’s Bill #2;if 1 country accepts US neutrality US would trade
1810 Napoleon falsely repeals the Berlin and Milan decrees
1811 November WH Harrison’s troops ambushed by “the Prophet”
1812 state of US troops: ~12000. Commanders political appointees, weak
1812 June 18 US declares war on UK
1812 July William Hull (US) tries to invade Canada. rooted. Hull sentenced to death for cowardice. Madison pardons
1812 August-December the US Constitution and United States win sea battles, raise morale
1812 December Madison reelected. (every wartime president has been reelected)
1812 December UK blockade of Chesapeake and Delaware Bays

and in the little settlement , now Lorain, Ohio, they also contribute to the founding of a country , of a state of a city
1808 Ferry charges across Black River: hog and sheep (each) – two cents; footman – six cents; man and horse – eighteen cents; loaded wagon and team – sixty cents; and all other carriages – thirty-seven cents. On July 22, 1808 local groups petition Geauga County Commissioners to have Lake Road continued on toward Sandusky. Lake Road is surveyed by Amos Spafford.

1810 John S. Reid arrives to build a house, then returns to Newburgh (near Cleveland) to get his family. Daniel Perry and family settle west of Black River in early March of 1810. The Shupe, Quigley, Lyon, Kelso and Seeley families settle in or near the Black River Settlement. On September 24,
1811 John S. Reid’s family moves to the area. William Martin establishes a farm, three miles west of Black River, on the little stream once called “Martin’s Run” (which runs through what is now Columbus Park). Quartus and Aretus Gilmore join the Black River Settlement.

1812 Edmund Gilmore and family move to Black River. Edmund Gilmore builds county’s first barn. John S. Reid is commissioned Postmaster for “The Mouth of the Black River Post Office”, October 23, 1812. John S. Reid builds the Reid House Inn and Tavern. John S. Reid builds a ferry opposite his block house. Judge Nathan Perry, Sr., (from Cleveland, Ohio) passes away while visiting his son, Nathan Perry in Lorain. Azariah Beebe and his family left the Black River Settlement, relocating on the Huron River to the West. John Lyon is born. He is the first White child born in the Black River Territory. On August 15, 1812 the news of Hull’s surrender to the British fans rumors of a British invasion of Ohio. A “War Scare” is started by a false report of the burning and capture of Fort Huron by Indians. A Militia post is established at Black River to ensure citizenry that they could safely return to their homes and cabins.

***1812 recorded Lorain Public Square (According to Lorain County Recorder Judy Nedwick, the park has been a part of the plat of Charleston since 1812. Since that time, the county records show, the park has remained property of the city. Morning Journal Jan19th 2006
Battle of Lake Erie
1813 Guns of the Battle of Lake Erie can be heard at Black River on September 10,

1813. Legend has it that Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) planted apple trees in this area and informed settlers of the results of the Battle of Lake Erie.

The decades roll by; those who form this community are born and die, are greeted and mourned, are forgotten or are remembered in the pages of dusty history books. They all contributed, those who sat beneath the trees, played in the grass, watched as horse and buggy gave way to automobiles.

All through the wars and trials and tribulations stood a little place of green, sometimes forlorn, sometimes beautiful and cared for and then in the year, 2006 insulted and deemed worthless.

This silent witness who cannot speak for itself and so has to rely upon the sons and daughters of those that now call this “settlement “ home. Those who see the beauty and the living green memorial to those who through the years have founded a Nation- The United States of America- silent yet in it’s own way a testament of all that has gone before.

Lorain will not have any “formal ” celebration this year of the Battle of Lake Erie , as will other lakeshore communities, but the City of Lorain and her citizens can at least make sure the little green space who witnessed America’s struggle in 2013 is worthy of remembrance

May 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm 7 comments

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