Lost faith in the system! Oh Her Again!! Lorain

Sitting in my drafts is a very long post about “Money where your mouth is”
, something I have tried to live up to all my life. You will see this neighborhood/ block in a different light than the historical aspect than I usually present.

I have lost faith in the system, maybe because over the years I have “used” the system and found not only do the wheels turn slowly but the accountability is nothing more than a slap or a letter!

Lorain’s policy of the

“we want to abate the issue not punish”-

All well and good but although the violators know this the majority of Joe Public (JP) is unaware. JP on the whole thinks there is accountability for the issues that contravene the laws.

You see we think that when an arsonist is caught he won’t be coming back to the neighborhood; not here – back home in two days and “community service”- the stench of the burning rubber still hanging in the air. We (JP) think we call with a” valid “complaint the situation will be taken care of to the satisfaction of the complainant but……. life in Lorain is not Home and Garden TV! Far from it we have had an instance where a business woman on a city board threatened a city official and the Mayor with “bean spilling” if he didn’t follow her wishes- only for her to get elected a precinct person ( a liason between the party and the city) for her chosen party – how wonderful the thinking in parts of Lorain is totally mind boggling imho.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/city-officials-caught-between-a-ritchey-and-a-dye-place/

How many times have I heard when grumbling out loud and on facebook as to situations-

call the city – call the inspectors-

It is a shock when you realize the hoops that have to been gone through. The complaints resolved are usually done so by people who care , who have respect for the system . BUT what happens when they are ignored – Prime example
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/the-housing-court-and-you-lorain-part-one/

“on August 5th I noticed that one homeowner in Lorain was cited for his outdoor showroom. He was found guilty and the terrible punishment after 4 YEARS of citations and a plethora of lawnmowers $150.00 and court costs.

3200 Jaeger Road 01
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/outdoor-showrooms-lorain-by-don-the-downspout/
3200 Jaeger Road 02

3200 Jaeger Road 01

I drove past two weeks ago even MORE vehicles were stored than the above pictures from August. …..
Or the retaliation game comes into play- after this post I had better add more cameras !!!

window
My recent go around, chasing my tail, is with neighbors who wish to put an above ground pool in their front yard ( garden to the English readers)
I got very upset when told of their plans ,as you will read in the draft post when published. I was told by all and sundry from bottom to top-

No! not allowed, can’t do that, etc. etc.

You would think I would be relieved by those words, EXCEPT I have lived here too long seen the lack of respect breed more lack of respect and why not we haven’t had any real accountability with their next door neighbors.

DSCF0002
Why wouldn’t my neighbors of the “planned pool” believe they can have a “water feature ” when for the past nearly two years their neighbor has used city property for storing construction vehicles, Rv’s on the front lawn.

Oh! there were complaints made for the parking of these vehicles around the neighborhood and they were told to move them. They did to other parts of the area and when it seemingly calms down the Construction LLC with apparently nowhere to park their equipment moves back. What is the point, can’t legislate respect for others or the codes? This young man and his family “know the codes” know they are contravening those codes but in my opinion have no respect for those codes or the neighborhood.

This “business” being run from a neighborhood zoned R3 , they can run a business from their home office – lots of people do!
http://www5.sos.state.oh.us/ords/f?p=100:7:0::NO:7:P7_CHARTER_NUM:2418413

BUT this construction business is using the neighborhood as their construction vehicle “garage/ parking area” and have done.
11226061_10205137488018048_8352066394168332905_n

One has to ask themselves is this fair to other construction companies in the city of Lorain whose overheads include storage and parking??? Shouldn’t a business ( commercial/ industrial) setting up in Lorain meet certain requirements- like storage, parking etc. Maybe they do and that is being ignored as well- who knows just another system??? So once again the view from the den window is what it is ‘ just bloody lovely!!!! ( that is me being sarcastic)

So why vent once again….. it doesn’t do any good…. Well Lorain will not get any respect from outside Lorain when her citizens do not respect the codes , others in the neighborhoods.. and USE and ABUSE the system.

This area of Ward 2 is one of the only locations in Lorain that can expand and has available land – a developer worth his salt coming down the street seeing out-door showrooms , non compliance and general lack of caring by the residents will be less than impressed. We paid a lot of money in 2008 for a lovely report DUH!!!!!
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/there-is-a-surprise/

The Staubach Company

Get rid of the Urban Decay –
Clean up the entranceways and gateways to downtown
Fix the existing commercial and building facades on Broadway

Uniform signage
Get rid of the Transmission Lines
Move the sewer plant
City Hall is taking up valuable real estate
Take advantage of your “history”
Bring in the Arts
Get rid of the eyesores
Camouflage the existing industry on the river and lake front
HAVE A TIME LINE for completion, a plan and how it will be financed

Maybe we should turn this area and downtown into a RV park!

And when you are told “call the city” – no point…..no accountability at the end ….. just another day of chasing ones tail…….

April 29, 2016 at 3:31 pm Leave a comment

Lorain Development Corp- the revolving- evolving story!

http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2016/04/26/city-cuts-ties-with-lorain-development-corp/
A further update: Lorain cuts the cord with Lorain Development Corp:
http://www.morningjournal.com/general-news/20160424/lorain-cuts-ties-with-business-development-loan-board
UPDATE: The President of the Lorain Development Corp states the Board view

http://www.morningjournal.com/general-news/20160415/loan-program-does-good-for-lorain-review-board-president-says

A year ago April 15th, 2015 I wrote the post “Money for Old Rope – A Taxpayers Question”
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/money-for-old-rope-a-taxpayers-question/
I had once again been to a City Council Meeting and I didn’t like the report being given to City Council on a loan with regard to the Lorain Development Corporation
prime_industries

The exchange between council and Director Rangel can be found here- page three
3-16-15regmin https://thatwoman.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/3-16-15regmin.pdf

“Unfortunately I remembered $100,000 dollars with much hoopla being given to Prime Industries. http://www.loraincounty.com/manufacturing/feature.shtml?f=12666
prime_industries and media success stories such as the Morning Journal article October 2010- ALL “SOUNDED” VERY PROMISING
http://www.morningjournal.com/general-news/20101003/prime-industries-prospers-by-going-after-niche-markets

Local customers include amusement park Cedar Point, which turns to Prime Industries for safety harnesses for its gravity-defying rides.
In addition to making new parts for Cedar Point, Prime Industries refurbishes safety harnesses after thousands of roller-coaster passengers have worn them out…..
… Other local customers include Invacare Corp., in Elyria; Bettcher Industries, in Florence Township; Nordson Corp., in Westlake; and Latanick Equipment Inc., in Huron. Prime Industries also makes parts for missiles built by Lockheed-Martin for use by U.S. armed forces in Iraq. With more than 500 customers, the company started as a division, called Advanced Foam and Plastics, of Kindt-Collins Co., based in Cleveland
The headline is a bit misleading( prospers???) because halfway through the article the history states:

Advanced Foam and Plastics was created to serve the foundry industry, but by 1984 it was known as Prime Design.
In 1997, Prime Design received $292,000 from Lorain to relocate here from Cleveland, creating 22 jobs.

A $100,000 loan from the city in 2000 helped expand, but by 2002 Prime Industries was up for sale
AND THEN
First, Rich and Joe Persico paid off the $292,000 loan from 1997, and then put up $145,000 of their own capital.

“Then” the city of Lorain loaned them $400,000 and a Warren bank also loaned them $400,000 in 2002 Prime Design became Prime Industries.
In May 2008, Lorain loaned the company $100,000 to gain new contracts. That is $600.000 by my calculations we have had some back in the employee income tax but still money for old rope imho.

leon
Eight months earlier, August 28th Lorain appointed a new Director of Building, Housing and Planning Department- Leon Mason .


The name of the department had changed from Community Development Dept (headed for decades by Sanford Prudoff) to Building Housing and Planning
http://www.morningjournal.com/article/MJ/20130614/NEWS/306149982


In three decades under former director Sanford “Sandy” Prudoff, Community Development grew into a overly large department with too little accountability to city leaders and providing too little benefit to Lorain, Ritenauer noted…………..
Prudoff controlled the agenda of how to spend CDBG money in the city with the administration and council seemed to have little say about what projects the city should do or skip, Ritenauer said.

Those determinations were “completely opposite of chain of command and hierarchy,” Ritenauer said.

It appeared the department grew to maximize the salaries for administering federal CDBG money granted to Lorain, Ritenauer said.

30 years , missing paperwork, things getting lax, housekeeping by the way side, the paperwork is either non-existent or “lost”, not complete in some cases.And it appears certain developers( who shall remain nameless in case I am accused of chasing him out of town again)😉 getting a great many trips to the ATM that was seemingly Lorain ? How many jobs have been created???

speak the truth
Trust– comes into play here , in my humble opinion:

TRUST– the employee that his “boss” knows what he is doing and is aware of legal ramifications !

TRUST – by volunteer boards the items brought before them are “above-board!

TRUST – by the Administraton -their departments heads, hired for their expertise, know what they are doing and are working with one goal in mind to better the City of Lorain!

TRUST by a City Council they can act upon the advice of those department “leaders”.

One area breaks down in that circle of trust and the ripple effect finally hits the shore with a great crashing sound, as it did last night in City Council Chambers .This morning’s headlines read :
Lorain Council Rips into Business Loan report by Rick Payerchin – Morning Journal
http://www.morningjournal.com/general-news/20160411/lorain-council-rips-into-business-loan-report

and ” Lorain revolving loan program has $600,000 in write-offs- by Katie Nix”

Lorain revolving loan program has $600,000 in write-offs

As Mr. Mason stated, the issues with the revolving Loan fund came to him from the State Auditor

I got an email from the state auditor who wanted to know why the city of Lorain had over $600,000 in loan write-offs,” department director Leon Mason said. “My response was that I didn’t know what he was talking about, and when he sent me the information, I was able to pinpoint some of the loans, but I did find some that were troubling, to say the least.”
Mason said one that stood out to him was a $250,000.01 loan to the South Shore Community Development Corporation.

Lorain works to save center, and its tenants

South Shore took ownership of the St. Joseph facility in 1997 after St. Joseph Hospital merged with Lorain Community Hospital to create Community Health Partners. An $800,000 federal grant was used to get the building ready for its new tenants. Additional grants and loans were secured to bring it to its current condition.
The state has $1.4 million in loans invested in the community center, while the county and the city each have $700,000 in loans tied to the center. If South Shore files for bankruptcy, the state, county and city will be on the hook for those loans. Gilchrist said the city’s payments on its loan would be about $50,000 a year. Lorain is currently $1.3 million in the red.

After the loans are repaid by recipients, the money is intended to go back to another business.

prudoffres
With the notoriety gained by the Federal Investigation of Sanford Prudoff and Lorain Community Development is it any wonder the State and Federal Government are “checking” what has been happening?
Prudoff sc

Lorain works to save center, and its tenants

Federal Funds have certain rules which must be adhered to and Lorain has to be stringent in following those rules- other wise we are in trouble.

Should Lorain have to pay back those monies in question then the General Fund takes a huge hit and we can’t afford even that one dollar hit!
budgetres
cash-cow
Hopefully, the program changes, the rules are followed and the “iffy factor” becomes totally transparent.

Although, due to a possible investigation in the loan for South Shore Development Corporation,
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/st-joes-community-center-three-legged-stool-one-missing-leg/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/st-joes-community-center-lets-get-fiscal-physical-lets-get-real/
not a lot was said ( under the Krasienko/ Gilchrist era) that money $250,000,and ONE dollar would give our General Fund a huge hit. Let us hope the Administration, Law Dept. and City Council will support each other on this and get to the very bottom of the “pot of gold- for some”

I remember under the Foltin Administration and Prudoff those “allowable ???” expenses paid to wine and dine the Shawnee and Capital One “tribe” initially, before I asked questions and then after??? well it was rolled over into a bond and I could no longer get the breakdown of all the monies spent but this country club of cash sure sent my red flags flying at the time- Dinner was literally on us!!!!!!

Casino expensesre

Lorain Development Corporation did respond to my post last April and it can be found here :

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/lorain-development-corp-lorain-op-ed/
Logo%20and%20Heading%204-11(1)
1)I prepare a loan write-up that provides a background of the project with financial information and the justification for approving the loan.

(2)Once I have completed, I provide this to the loan board for their review and approval.
We do this process just like bank’s credit teams do and have discussion and if everything is okay, loan approves the credit. They can also reject loan requests or modify them though these do not happen too often.

The loan board are various professionals in insurance, banking, law, small business owners, etc. who all live in, work in or own businesses in the City of Lorain. This board has been a self-appointing board since its inception and they are not appointed by administration or council. Board tries to keep a mix of professionals on board so it is not all bankers or attorneys but a mix. They are an all-volunteer board and most of these individuals have been on board from a few years to one person who has been on board since inception over 25 years ago.

Once the board approves the loan credit, all loans are submitted to Board of Control for approval as they will eventually sign for the loan.
http://www.cityoflorain.org/mayor/

Once board of control approves, we move to documentation of loan with all documents reviewed and approved by City’s Law Department. At that time, we also open a purchase order to commit money and submit check requests when we receive necessary documentation requesting funds.
hudimg
Loans are derived from two sources, one through HUD http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD and the other through the Economic Development Administration.
http://www.eda.gov/

You can find the PDF files of Director Mason’s report here:
Economic Development Final
http://destinyhosted.com/loraidocs/2016/CCREG/20160404_68/628_Economic%20Development%20Review%20FINAL%20PDF.pdf
LDC Conflict of Interest Policy
http://destinyhosted.com/loraidocs/2016/CCREG/20160404_68/628_Lorain%20Development%20Corp%20Conflict%20of%20Interest%20Policy.pdf
LDC Subrecipient Agreement
http://destinyhosted.com/loraidocs/2016/CCREG/20160404_68/628_LDC%20Subrecipient%20Agreement%20PDF.pdf
Portfolio Quality Report
http://destinyhosted.com/loraidocs/2016/CCREG/20160404_68/628_Portfolio%20Quality%20Report.pdf
EDA Title IX Plan
http://destinyhosted.com/loraidocs/2016/CCREG/20160404_68/628_EDA%20Title%20IX%20Revolving%20Loan%20Fund%20Plan.pdf

April 12, 2016 at 3:06 pm 11 comments

Plump Lady Plummets – and the housing trip continues

Update : I received the following communication from Kaja Holdings/ Vision Properties as to the fact I had linked Harbour Portfolio with his clients Please see below :

Dear Ms. Ritchey:
It was a pleasure meeting and speaking with you on Wednesday. It is important for every community to have concerned citizens that care enough to voice their opinions on important issues. As a lifelong resident of Lorain County, I appreciate your efforts to preserve the history of Lorain. I especially appreciate your work for Charleston Village Society.

I write to kindly ask you to correct an inaccuracy in your April 7, 2016 blog post. In your post, you state that I may be able to assist the City of Lorain in serving Harbour Portfolio with complaints for Housing Code/POS violations, stating that my clients (Kaja and Vision) are all “part and parcel of the same grouping”. You brought up your suspicion that my clients and Harbour were related entities when we met on Wednesday and I observed Councilman Flores delivering the same message to Assistant Prosecutor Holmes in Court.
I have conferred with my clients and they have confirmed that Kaja and Vision are in no way related, whether directly or indirectly, with Harbour. They share no common ownership, staff, office space or other connection. One is not the subsidiary of the other, they are not sister companies and they do not work together in any fashion. Harbour is a competitor of Kaja and Vision. I respectfully request that you alter your post, print a retraction or otherwise clarify that the companies are not related.

Thank you,
J.R. White James R. White, Attorney at Law

Wurmser house 031716-001

Yesterday, I once again made my way to Lorain Municipal Housing Court, as readers know, I have been there a couple of times. In 2009 Lorain County Photographer’s blog ran a series of thoughts from Judge Pianka from Cleveland’s Housing Court https://clevelandmunicipalcourt.org/judicial-services/meet-the-judges/judge-raymond-l-pianka
http://www.locophotogblog.com/?p=304 http://www.locophotogblog.com/?p=305

“Gee, there are people using the civil side of the court to evict people, but on the criminal side they were ignoring our summonses and complaints. So, it caused some cognitive dissonance on my part. So, we decided that you can’t just come into court and use one side of the court, the civil side, but ignore the criminal side of the court”


In 2009 this Lorain County blog – Lorain County Photographers Blog http://www.locophotogblog.com/ was feeling the frustration some of us, in the City of Lorain, had been feeling and documenting for years. There were hundreds of photographs taken, words written trying to find a way to keep our older neighborhoods free from blight from 2005 onwards. The time line for the above series was, of course, right in the middle of the Sub- Prime Crisis caused by banks and idiotic mortgages.

8 years have passed since the sub-prime mortgage debacle and Lorain is still feeling the ripple effects, Fannie Mae , Deutsche Bank , Freddie Mac etc. all selling off those write off mortgages to the LLC’s, a number out of state , such as Kaja Holdings, Harbour Portfolio, Vision Properties . You can find my thoughts here:
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/the-follow-up-a-tale-of-two-houses-city-council-loraine/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/the-housing-court-and-you-lorain-part-one/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/housing-court-and-you-lorain-continued/

You can also find the article from the New York Times on this group of LLC’s here on the what is happening .

Market for Fixer-Uppers Traps Low-Income Buyers By MATTHEW GOLDSTEIN and ALEXANDRA STEVENSONFEB. 20, 2016

One of the larger firms in this market, Harbour has bought more than 6,700 single-family homes in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and a handful of other states since 2010 — most of them from Fannie Mae, according to the mortgage finance firm and the foreclosure research firm RealtyTrac.

Ten of the more than 50 homes Harbour bought in Akron have been torn down after being condemned and two others are slated for demolition

Harbour and its founder, Charles A. Vose III

I was at the court to see what was happening with the Point of Sale Icon House 1348, West Erie now owned by Kaja Holding/ Vision Properties etc etc etc.

I was curious to see what progress had been made if any or where the “abatement” stood. Pictures of the front steps etc taken a few days before court left me a bit wary as to “tripping hazards”. Turns out I should have been wary of the concrete lip outside City Hall.
Wurmser house 031716 door
As I entered City Hall- well not quite entered- as I fell flat on my face – I went down with an almighty thump. There is some good that comes out of being on the plump side – my fat shock absorbers , absorbed. It was so embarrassing as my chin hit the concrete and I went flat out. I was mortified, especially when the policemen ( running security at the door) rushed to my aid and it took two of them to hoist my “knocked the breath out of me frame” to vertical once more.

“I am fine really , just help me up, no honestly I am fine . she said hoping to salvage some dignity

Now why should I have felt ashamed and embarrassed , it was not my fault just one of those things, but I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. However, my mood and the pain in my head and neck from the jarring of the hitting the concrete left me less than tolerant when it came to Housing Court that afternoon .

snooty
Now the main purpose of taking people and LLC’s to court is not to punish ( so I am told) but to “abate the conditions as cited by our housing inspectors Well that makes sense .

Maybe it was the pain, the left over mortification from the half an hour before but I can say that some , actually three of the “supposed to be working for the city ‘s best interest” employees left me wishing I was a caricature artist. They would do well to remember they are working on the taxpayer’s dime , I was wondering if my dimes were being spent well.

The one, who decidedly made the most impression in my pain addled thoughts, was “Miss Looks like she is smelling bad fish” – nose so far in the air it is a wonder she didn’t trip over herself. Can you tell this in my opinion officious official really , as we say in England , got right up my nose!!!” But then I remembered I was not there to critique theatre but then again………….
Joe Koziura
You see, I am totally frustrated and fed up! Some of us were bleating on about the city and her housing long before the sub prime crisis.

One Mayor ( Joe Koziura) literally lost his campaign for re-election due to coming down hard on housing. I wonder if things would’ve been different had he succeeded instead of the loved by the landlords candidate Craig Foltin who backed off an aggressive stance by the Building Dept 2000 and look where we are NOW!!!!

article found here brokehomes
BROKEN HOMES
How abandoned houses are hurting Lorain, and how the city is trying to fight back

Dan Harkins and Shawn Foucher
The Chronicle-Telegram

It’s not hard to find examples of crimes linked to abandoned or all-but-abandoned homes in Lorain. The crimes are an extreme example of the kind of “negative effect on the neighborhood stability and economic vitality of the city” that state auditors warned Lorain of a year ago.
“By not administering its code enforcement, property maintenance and building programs, it is difficult for the city to preserve its housing stock,” auditors wrote in their report.

Now Lorain, which had not come close to matching other cities its size in the vigor of its housing enforcement, has acted on recommendations made by the state auditors to hire two additional housing inspectors. The new inspectors started with the city in April………….

……Beyond that, the new housing inspectors have gotten only a lukewarm endorsement from Mayor Craig Foltin, who defeated his predecessor in 1999 in part by making an issue of what he characterized as an overly aggressive Building Department…….
craig_foltin
“We feel that if they don’t have a successful plan and aren’t self-sufficient and nice to people, then we will not continue with them,” Foltin said recently of the inspectors…..

down spoutres
Some of us are tired of fixing our properties and “ABATING” without going to court – doing the right thing because we should take care of our property. No matter if it was “vindictive” behavior that caused the inspections in the first place😉

Some of us are really angry how the “playing the system” works for multi property owners, who “prostitute the homes , buy cheap ,rent them out, and don’t pay property taxes and then walk away or dump them on some poor unsuspecting sucker in a rent to own scheme. The out-of-town LLC’s clustering together, confusing the cities and counties where they form like blobs of greed growing bigger with each added LLC. .
lexington

Why should the little guy in this city suffer when the MEGA property owners are, in my opinion, prostituting these properties.

Why should our property values decline because of trash housing?

Why should we be punished our neighborhoods looked at with scorn ?

It infuriates me when people I have been writing about for years just keep gathering more and more , paying less and less and in some case not even bothering with the property taxes walking away or even dying – leaving the trapped tax payer holding the bag and looking forlornly at what has happened to their neighborhoods. Sixteen years on and we are still on the same trip!

To be continued …………….

April 7, 2016 at 11:42 pm Leave a comment

April 3rd- As lovely as a tree- Chris Ritchey

tree collage
My life lately has been about trees, or at least one this week.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/a-tall-tree-tale-ends-lorain-dudes/
In some respects I was so sad to see it taken down. I thought it had saved your life at one point.

christr
It was a January morning 2008, when there was an almighty crash, jumping out of bed, I ran to the bathroom window to see branches twisted into the railings, I rushed to your room but you had already made it to the balcony-I will never forget your face standing there knowing what might have been.

oldtree
I was so scared- I remember looking at the tree that had deflected the main body of the fallen limb knowing, if it hadn’t, the weight would’ve fallen across your room. What would’ve happened then would have been dreadful. I didn’t realize that a month later there would be nothing to deflect the danger of the cancer growing in your body and the unthinkable happening.

And so , as the tree came down this week a bit of my already shredded heart went with it. Trees , they have been so important in my life.
ficus1-400x600

When your sister was born I purchased a small Ficus tree ( no more than as foot high. However it grew and grew. Every spring we would take it outside for the summer months, eventually too big for the living room, it would winter indoors in the kitchen, growing too big for the kitchen , repotted, it would be dragged into the den. The leaves and branches literally took over the back wall; anyone trying to sit in the chair felt like they were living in a tree.

There were many complaints and grumbling as the heavy pot and tree, and by now it really could be called a tree- had to be manhandled in and out of the house twice a year. I really couldn’t get rid of it , it reminded me of a tiny baby girl I never thought I would have and all the happiness she gave me. img105-1

However, finally it was just too big and although trimmed back every season the pot of earth could no longer be managed. Chris, you had just moved into a barn of a place in Cleveland for your final year at CIA-

I will take it mum, and then you won’t see its demise.

And off it went that August day in back of your truck, branches and leaves waving what I thought was its final goodbye. Thirty years of nurturing that tree and there it went bouncing down the road in the back of the pick-up. I wasn’t sure it would even survive the journey!

The house to which it went ( later put on a Cleveland demolition list) must have had something positive, or maybe it was the “liquids” that ended up in the pot but that June , the tree, came back- bigger , sturdier than ever. I couldn’t believe you and your house mates hadn’t killed it.

It was so big that Nikki said she would take it; they were living in Maumee at the time with a large kitchen with huge windows and tall ceilings. Once again the tree took a trip in the pick-up truck . And then just months later , a job change, and the tree came back to Lorain once more – this time to my living room with other items for storage until a new house was ready. I literally fought my way through the jungle of plants that now made up my living space. However, I was happy because it reminded me that my “baby” girl was going to be here again.

ficus tree

The Ficus tree took another journey to the new house. It still has to be manhandled out of the house for the summer and wonder of wonders started bearing fruit two years ago. It sits in the windows through the long winter months, bearing silent witness to life and lives,
eggs

has been a little boys delight as they have played miniature farming in the pot, made patterns with its leaves with their “artworks” and it has finally become the hiding place or the “big foot trap”.

bigfoot trap
I love that tree it reminds me there was a time of great happiness, and the thought of what must have gone on in that Cleveland dwelling can still bring a smile…… I love and miss you so much…………

April 3, 2016 at 11:49 am Leave a comment

A Tall- tree- Tale ends- Lorain ( dudes)

the neighborhood  after tornado

the neighborhood after tornado

The Tornado of Lorain
http://ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/swio/pages/content/1924_tornado.htm
took down homes, and with it lives as well as beauty . The people living in Lorain in the early 1900’s cared- they cared about quality of life of beautification, they were proud of their homes , we don’t see a lot of that in Lorain’s old neighborhoods nowadays.
Admiral King Home back in the day-

Post Card Admiral King's home

Post Card Admiral King’s home


The Gillmore’s https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/general-gillmore-a-portrait-of-a-man-a-home-at-last/
at the end of my street, their home, now well over 100 years old , planted a tree . That particular tree grew through the decades, spared by the tornado, but age took its toll just as it does with all of us. The tree became a hazard and one day after a particularly bad storm in the early 2000 ‘s the tree fell across Oberlin avenue. Peggy Gillmore, was extremely upset about the loss of that tree planted by members of her family long passed.
403 Oberlinres
403 Oberlin
When the little park at the end of the street, now known as Veterans Park
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/veterans-memorial-park-fini/
was cleaned after the tornado. The community planted trees to once again add ambiance and to honor those lives lost in the tornado.

On the right side of my property ( next door) to the west was a huge Maple tree- actually tied with iron rods at some time in its history)You can see it in the photo from the Lorain County Auditors site –
1131

I believe that tree must have been young at the time of the tornado. The circumference of the trunk took up over a third of the small back yard- 33 feet . The property to the east side of my own 33 foot lot stood another very large maple – not as big as the one to the west – but gigantic in its own way.

This tree was probably planted after the tornado or perhaps grew from one of the maple seeds. Nevertheless , I could literally see it up close and personal from my den window, as it stood no more than 8 foot away. There have been times as I have watched “life ” in that tree. It hid a lot of “less than pleasant” sights through the decades as the properties on that lot and the one next to it deteriorated.”

Finally , the very large “pre tornado” tree to the right gave up and split where the crown met the trunk – sent one third of its branches crashing down.

IMG_0105
This one “branch”- bigger than most trees- fell across our property and landing with a bang onto the house next door, which was luckily vacant and abandoned . The huge maple, on the lot to the east , just feet away from my home took the force and redirected the fallen limb away from my home leaving the tree damaged and lopsided.

treeres
That was January 2008falling-tree
11254th
A great deal has happened since then, not of all of it good. We put up with a lot of issues from the lot next door. The little historic house was killed by “pimping landlords” https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/for-rent-one-city-who-dictates-the-health-of-your-neighborhood/ who saw that little house as only a way to make money for the least possible outlay –
grass
and the tree from two doors down finished the job. The house, after a few years, was finally torn down. A sigh of relief , no more vagrants and critters of the 4 and two legged kind hiding out.

Then it began -the parking lot from hell- lack of respect for another’s property- dump trucks, overflow parking and then the shortcut route from the alley to 4th- a cut through for traffic.

red truick

11226061_10205137488018048_8352066394168332905_n

overflow
How many times did I watch the lot become a road way ( even as recently as last week) ? Luckily , the Maple tree, dangerous as it was, as it too suffered over the years, was large enough to stop two-way traffic and large vehicles from making it an even more convenient roadway.

That did mean however the reversing into the alley by the dump trucks etc. We would be woken by the sound of backing up construction vehicles – no bird song here. NOTE: it seems to me if you are running a business from a residence then you should have legal parking for your construction vehicles .This block is R 3.

Fortunately we were , at last , able to purchase the lot. This meant the tree which I had complained about to the powers that be and insurance company as a hazard had to come down.

Down it came yesterday to the delight of my two little boys( Lorain Dudes) – loving every minute of watching the cranes, the “axe men ” in real life and all that taking down that tree involved.
dudesres

two dudeslunch
The view from the window has changed – the Maple tree , by the very size of its trunk blocked a less than perfect view. I will have to do some creative landscaping so I see green once more and appease the birds and squirrels who are definitely NOT happy with the humans here on 4th!

I am extremely happy with the difficult job Tree Pro of Lorain ( 440-288-tree) did in taking down the tree. I would recommend them highly and you know readers coming from me that is not given lightly!
2016-03-29 16.04.14

treres

tree collage

March 30, 2016 at 6:17 pm 1 comment

General Gillmore- a Portrait of a Man- a home at last

General Gillmore portrait

General Gillmore portrait

Readers will remember the tale of my dilemma of the portrait of General Gillmore.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/general-quincy-a-gillmore-the-dining-room-dilemna/

The portrait, in my opinion, was obviously important and significant in the fact it seems to be a family piece of the General in his later years. Bearing in mind he passed away at the age of 63 in 1888 – I would say this photographic portrait was probably of the General in his 50’s. This portrait, in all likelihood is one of a kind or one of very few.

The wavy glass in the portrait is pre 1900 , this portrait could well be 130-140 years old. There is foxing and some condition issues with the photo itself . It had for many decades been in the sun and probably in an area of damp in Peggy Gillmore’s residence, which is over a century old home.

original photo  Gillmore House  403 Oberlin Ave.

original photo Gillmore House 403 Oberlin Ave.


Of course the first thought of the family was to donate such a proud piece of Lorain’s history to the now Lorain Historical Society- ( used to be the historical society known as Black River Historical Society) in Lorain where of course the Gillmores were one of this city’s founding families.
lorainhist http://www.lorainhistory.org/

However, Lorain Historical Society was less than enthusiastic and turned down the donation (sight unseen) . The family gave me the portrait and to the Charleston Village Society . Therefore, I approached and was approached by other historical societies and interested individuals as soon as the series of the General and his portrait hit the internet . A few out-of-state societies were very interested due to General Gillmore’s Civil War and engineering career which was of importance to so many
.

Elyria Historical Home  http://www.lchs.org/

Elyria Historical Home
http://www.lchs.org/

http://www.lchs.org/

I reached out to the Lorain COUNTY Historical Society in Elyria, the Elyria connection being General Gillmore was also of great importance to the County of Lorain, he went to school in Elyria and indeed it was his nephew Attorney Quincy Alanson Gilmore ( of Elyria) who owned the portrait in the first place- maybe through his father Edmund –

Attorney Quincy  Alanson Gillmore of Elyria

Attorney Quincy Alanson Gillmore of Elyria

“He was the son of Civil War General Quincy Adams Gillmore’s brother Edmund (named after his grandfather one of the founders of this settlement ( owning approximately 1,000 acres). This Edmund married Miss Adelaide E Gillmore daughter of Alanson(also a son of the original Edmund of Lakeview) and Evelyn ( Jones) Gillmore.
Edmund and Adelaide’s only child was Quincy “ALANSON” Gillmore , who ended up a prominent attorney in Elyria (Page 728- The History of Lorain County)-

Since Lorain itself was less than enthusiastic as to keeping the portrait and the documentation of events / clippings, the Executive Board of Charleston Village Society
http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/
and interested parties/members were asked to vote on the new home of the General’s portrait- 100% of those voting decided on the Lorain County Historical Society . It was felt they did not want to lose the portrait to an out-of-state historical society or to individuals but to keep the portrait locally .

On January 27th 2016 Charleston Village Society, to whom the portrait was donated by surviving family members, donated the Portrait of General Quincy A Gillmore to Lorain County Historical Society

Gillmoredonres

Also donated is an 1890 print of the Storming of Fort Wagner (note the mention of General Gillmore in the small type underneath the print). This print was also found in the items donated to CVSI. This event was part of the movie “Glory”

fort wagner print
1. We have also donated to your organization various photos from Peggy’s papers such as the “Genealogy of the Gillmore family” – the New Hampshire Line ending in 1954.
2. Various loose photos of the family the Gillmore farm in Massachusetts, the Gillmore home on Oberlin Ave and Washington Avenue and various correspondence
3. Folders of various family cuttings (some are repeats)
4. Commemorative Newspapers regarding the Civil War etc. (delicate condition)
5. Two maps depicting Lorain’s early days (in very poor and delicate condition)
6. A copy of the Lorain Centennial Program 1834-1934.
7. Two CD’s- one containing the posts written by Loraine Ritchey about the Gillmore family, the General and various posts on Peggy Gillmore. Also a CD with information on Geo. Wickens from a newspaper cutting found in the box from 1894. (The paper literally is in pieces) but scans are included in the posts in the CD. NOTE: Quincy Alanson Gillmore was Mayor Wickens attorney in the lawsuit.

NOTE: You can find the whole series of posts on the Gillmores linked in this post https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/generally-gillmore-the-last-post-lorain-part-12/ the family went on to be a very important part of not only Lorain’s history but that of a fledgling nation.

There were individuals who wanted us to remove the photo from the frame so that it could be scanned, however I felt, as did the Executive Board of Charleston Village Society , we could not take the responsibility or risk due to the unknown condition of the photo beneath the glass. That decision will be up to the Lorain County Historical Society

The portrait, has at last found a home as well as many interesting bits and pieces from Peggy Gillmore’s “scrapbook” of Lorain’s early history. The basket and storage bin that arrived to this old house contained a love of Lorain by one of her founding families .
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/history-mystery-lives-of-lorain-gillmore/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/ch-ch-ch-changes-herstory-lorain-history-part-2/

Some items are still being researched by two or three of our members, then they too will find an appropriate home!
basket
Items that have already been donated include :

The damaged Pulpit Bible (Lorain Tornado) was returned to Christian Temple Disciples of Christ. A photo of the 1914 Lorain High Graduating Class was given to the Lorain City Schools. A panoramic view of the building of Terminal Tower was given to Dennis Lamont of Lorain’s Historic Railways (Street Cars). The architectural plans of Mayor Braun’s home 5th and Oberlin were given to Gary Fischer a local architect who is one of Lorain’s “history” people. A pencil drawn map of the early Village of Charleston / Black River was framed and donated to the City of Lorain- Mayor’s Office.

Gilmore mapframed

The General has found his home – no longer the visitor to my home, having said that, I will always thank him for providing me the energy and desire to document his story and that of his family. I hope Peggy would have been pleased.

Photo Laura Watilo Blake

Photo Laura Watilo Blake

March 20, 2016 at 6:43 pm 2 comments

Windows on Lorain- The Neanderthals- a “tornado” history

before

Readers will remember that last August a cretin of caveman- like behavior decided to take out their anger against me and this blog by sneaking through the shrubbery in the dead of night and hurling a chunk of concrete through the leaded glass front living room windows and ripping down a “don spout”
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/ode-to-a-downspout-named-don-lorain/
window
another view
2015-08-23 08.16.03

Such lack of intelligence knows no bounds.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/hurled-through-the-window-retribution-who-done-it-lorain/
Not only did they take out the front window but by venting their anger on the downspout left their calling card – in my opinion-

downspout two

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/outdoor-showrooms-lorain-by-don-the-downspout/
if I ever saw one , as to the sender of the concrete message !

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/the-case-of-the-curious-lorain-neanderthal/ However, no finger prints on the concrete so I am left to my own suppositions and opinions BUT
neanderthakl
This was not the end of the tale. After sweeping up the shattered leaded glass ( thankfully the lead in the windows had held the concrete’s forward force ) the glass shattered 20 feet into the dining room the repair had to be done . It could’ve been more dangerous with the flying glass, someone asleep in the chair – doesn’t bear thinking about – although in all honesty “thinking” wasn’t part of this particular crime .

Fast forward after the police had left ( along with my suppositions) and the installations of many cameras recording the comings and goings around the house, alley and property , it was time for the insurance.

The insurance company had no problem with gutter/downspout repair but did not have anyone listed who could fix 90-year-old windows. Eventually they came up with a list- none of whom were close to Lorain.

I contacted a craftsman in Hinckley Ohio –



Jim Ascherl,Ascherl Studios,1616 Center Rd. Hinckley Oh 44233 330-278-4964 shop 440-223-4111 cell


and the tale of 6 degrees of separation unfolded:
A tale of a tornado hitting Lorain in 1924- the rebuilding of a community and new housing . Yes back in 1926- this old house was brand new – as were her windows.

fronthouse

This was our “lot” the day after the tornado ,

mylotres

The lot was originally 66 ft wide with one house which was destroyed. History has it, a mother and daughter rebuilt two houses on the lot – sub dividing the lot to 33 ft each. The two homes have “all leaded glass windows ”
1131res

The time of rebuilding sent a young man to Lorain to repair the leaded and stained glass windows of the churches damaged by the tornado.
http://ascherlstudios.com/History.aspx

Michael Ascherl 1928

Michael Ascherl 1928

At age 13, Michael Ascherl began working as an apprentice glazier in southern Germany. At age 16, Michael obtained Journeyman status before confiding to his boss that he wanted to learn stained glass. His boss dismissed it stating, “You’re too old to learn a new trade.” A few months later, Michael quit and promptly obtained employment with a small stained glass studio, The J. Gross Company. Michael’s duties included walking from town to town in southern Germany repairing windows. The glass rack and tool box, called a “Kraxze,” that he carried on his back over 100 years ago is proudly displayed in our showroom.

Michael immigrated to New York in the early 1900s where he met his wife before moving to Cleveland Ohio. Michael Ascherl landed employment with a commercial glass company until 1924 when a devastating tornado wiped out the downtown area of nearby Lorain Ohio. Due to extensive damage to downtown churches, Michael’s employer immediately sent him to their Lorain Ohio branch where a stained glass division was hastily set up.

first congregational chuch

For four years Michael spent his days rebuilding all of the damaged windows in the downtown churches.

In 1928, the daunting task of repairing all of the local churches was nearing its end. Michael Ascherl decided that he needed to focus on starting his own studio. Briefly named Sunset Studio, Michael later changed the name to Ascherl Studios.

This young man was Jim’s grandfather( the very artisan I had called – not knowing the connection) for my repair ; the craftsman who also used his talents to make the windows in this old house.

I was fascinated to think 90 years ago Jim’s grandfather standing in the rooms of what is now my home crafting with care these special windows. It was these windows that reminded me of England and home when I first came here, the brick and leaded “dickens windows “, as my mother calls them, drew me to this house.

Jim duly arrived and the consensus was the windows were in all certainty the work of his grandfather!

photo Dan Brady

photo Dan Brady

Also Jim has been working on the stained glass windows damaged etc when the fire totaled First Lutheran Church on 6th Street, so he was familiar with this area . This fire has been ruled arson , another Neanderthal destroying something beautiful and reverent

http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/2015/02/first-lutheran-church-directory-1966.html

A Tornado= a craftsman= leaded glass/stained glass windows= a grandson= a neighborhood church=and this old house and sometimes even destruction can bring about a good thing………

Tornado photos courtesy of Ohio Historical Society

http://ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/swio/pages/albums/1924_LorainTornado/1924_albumPage10.html

March 10, 2016 at 4:16 pm 3 comments

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