Archive for March, 2008
I watched the sun come up this morning, the day is still wintery, although the birds are back to singing , where Oh where is spring? It should be here by now- I am hoping that it will wash away the trials and tribulations of the past weeks with a blaze of an “earth bound rainbow” –
Today is another turning point, after over 30 years of doing a job and in a career field, he truly loved, my husband has retired from the City of Lorain.
I have been reminiscing a lot lately about life and Lorain and people. We hadn’t meant to settle in Lorain, I wanted Boston ( having an international airport with direct flights to London and within a days drive to New Brunswick) and he wanted Montana (big sky – open places ), but until we could decide ( east or west) he needed a job .
So fresh faced and just out of the US Air Force we ended up in his hometown of Sandusky . He had an interview in Cleveland and since we hadn’t purchased a car as yet -he hopped the bus- and the bus broke down in Lorain! So while he was waiting he made a few calls from the bus station………….. and there’s the reason Loraine came to Lorain.
I can’t say I was overly impressed- London it isn’t- but it was going to be temporary , a stopping off place, we purchased the “starter home” -another temporary,
recession came another “breakdown”( the oil crisis) and then children and before I knew it I have spent more of my life in my “temporary ” home than in the land where I was born. My husband had given his expertise, not to the FAA or the Federal Government as planned, but to a city – that for the most part didn’t even know he existed- in a dilapidated old building on 18th street- But this City of Lorain became “home” and temporary became permanent and the starter home will hopefully be where we “finish”
And in the case of Lorain we out ran and lasted “Greyhound” in Lorain
by Loraine Ritchey Contact info firstname.lastname@example.org
It has been a long winter. I thought 2008 would be a time of winding down. I have had trees falling, starting a blog, horrible news, and preparations for my husband’s retirement “TODAY” and a wedding to prepare for- and NO! the diet isn’t going well at all – even when I didn’t eat for three weeks- please explain how I could gain weight and not eat?????- but I digress. If the stress hormone causes weight gain then I am a walking example!
I had hoped – since I tend to plan my time and events -that March would find the preparations for Eric Barnes “A soldiers Tribute” Sculpture being moved to its new home.
But like everything else, life has tended to get in the way AND Mother Nature has to share some of the blame – more snow on the way today – will someone please inform Mother Nature that it is supposed to be Spring!
However , thanks to Gary Fischer of Arkinetics we have a concept of the landscaping for Phase One of the 2nd Street project.
All that remains to be done is
1. Talk to the City Administration to get their approval of the plans
2. Talk to City Council for their approval of our plans
3. Check with First Energy to make sure all trees and shrubs meet their criteria for plantings under the transmission lines
4. Get the volunteers together
5. purchase and plant
6.Talk to Mother Nature and get her co-operation.
We hope to include in the landscaping some lilacs, since Lorain was the lilac city, lavender bushes ( drought resistant) , perennnials ( native to Ohio) planted for color and fragrance, tall grasses for movement and ambiance, ivy for the old stone walls, reminiscent of the “olde country ”
We envision a place of green where you can walk or sit a spell and enjoy , fraqrant lake breezes, the art work and what the past has meant as well as to reflect upon those such as Eric Barnes who gave their “all” for this community . Then you will hopefully be able to wander down 2nd street to see more of Bud’s work.
We are starting very soon on the next carving ( watch this space) . The good news is that we are hoping the idea “ripples out” it seems that you will be enjoying more than ice cream at K Cream Corner -Daffy is leading the way for all the K Cream characters to come.
In the meantime Charleston Village Society ( a 501C3) is taking donations towards the cost of the sculptures . Your sponsorship is carved into the sculpture. 100% of all monies collected go toward the sculpture. If you are interested please contact me Loraine email@example.com .Click on the photos of the brochure to enlarge and for more information
in the meantime- have a word with Mother Nature if you see her !
ED note:Guest Blogger is known to me in their “real” personna and to protect “mom’s” privacy- Guest Blogger is using a “pen name”. I believe in this day and age with our “aging” population this story needs to be told. It is difficult when job and or other commitments take you “away” from your aging parents. The morals and ideals of the previous generation sometimes makes them naive as to the world today .
It Starts with a Phone call by Neeceness
Why is it ….it all starts with a phone call? Wife calls husband, she’s in labor….boy calls girl for her first date…
sister calls sister, and says dad has passed…doctor calls patient and says to come in as soon as possible…
the phone with all the ring tones, the bearer of news, uncertainty, joy, dismay…
My phone call:
ring ring…”Hello, is John there”?
women says..”No he’s not”.
“Well I was just trying to reach him…I called where he said he works, and they have no record of him. Do you have anyway to reach him”?
Woman:”No, I do not…his cell phone is disconnected”.
“okay, thanks” click….
But it even starts before that….
A young man befriends your mother..who is 80 some years old. She can’t see because she has macular degeneration and she is alone. After her husband dies, she finds herself in a deep deep depression. Her daughters not knowing exactly what to do for her, admit her into a hospital,she stays there for a bit, then the mom now finds herself in an Assisted Living Facility the daughters believe that she is safe, and looked after.
The daughters feeling better that mom is getting better and spirits are a bit brighter, and the depression lessens. What an unbelievable turn around…mom is back to the person she used to be before dad had died…there is hope..there is a smile..and I am feeling that I can breathe again, and remove the pillow that has been suffocating me for about a year.
Mom meets nice looking, clean cut young man of about 49, that works at the assisted living as a handy man, she asks him if he knows how to fix a door bell?
A smile, and handshake, and they spend alot of time talking, and he tells her all about his mom that is my mothers age, and how they share a duplex, and he is her caretaker…
Wow!, what a God send for my lonely mom, as now she has someone to talk with and share things, as he would certainly know of such trials, after all he takes care of his elderly mom.
Mom tells daughter she wants to move back to her home and is bound and determined to make it work, with the help of her friend John and her daughters. The young man loads up the truck..and wala, she is back into her home and so very very happy to be there-with her new puppy …plus a new friend..and he is handy and caring…what a find…for her and for the daughters that worry about her.
Time passes for about a year and John is doing a fine job, fixing this and that, taking her out for some dinner, and sitting in the chair across from her, listening to every word she speaks.She offers John some of her deceased husband’s jewelry, a watch, a few gold rings -he is so worthy of her kindness, as he has made such a difference her in her golden years. Mom has again found some joy! I am elated as well, to see her happiness, and desire to make a go of things.
John had suggested he and his “mother” maybe move in with my mom, so that they would all be together, but when he was supposed to bring his “mother” to meet my mom, she apparently fell and twisted/broke her ankle, and spent the day in the hospital……….
So that phone call that starts the water colour to run, into colours and shapes that make no sense. Or is it the tears in my own eyes, that is blurring me from the truth.
You make the call to John and a woman answers the phone, you ask if John is there..she says “no”…you tell her who you are, and she is aware, as mom had called there once before looking to speak with him. I am confused, her voice is young…but this is his mother? Right? you ask….
“Are you John’s mom”?
“No, I am his wife, he left 3 months ago, and I have not seen him since.”..
Your hand and voice start to tremble,
Oh my God…he has been lying to my mom! What…this can’t be so…please tell me it is not true.
You get to the phone straight away, and call the attorney who handles your mothers affairs, and tell him of this deceit.
What do I do? How do I tell mom that this man that was her caring friend is a liar…and maybe a thief..How do I break my mothers heart again. She was finally starting to smile again…how in God’s name do I take her happiness away, and replace it with fear and confusion. What kind of daughter am I?
You call mom, and pretend all is ok, but she is concerned that she has not heard from John for days now…and is oh so worried about him…what to do, what do to..think quick…she is making herself sick with worry….
You tell her what has happened, and you hear her heart hit the floor, and you can’t pick it up because you are so many miles away. She cries, and your tears are in harmony with hers, but she can’t hear you..all she hears is that he has lied, and you better change the locks.
It all starts with a phone call.
by Loraine Ritchey Contact info : firstname.lastname@example.org
Robbie Burns said
Oh wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursel’s as others see us! It wad frae monie a blunder free us, And foolish notion”
Cleveland has had the opportunity lately to have the gift to see how the world is seeing Cleveland and the “muddled and befuddled midwest”
There has been a lot of talk about the “state of Lorain” and how this community is effected by poor decision making. My friends and family in England are continually berating me as to how this area is now effecting their “world” . I believe they think I can launch myself at “The Powers That Be” in Cleveland and show them some sense, after all to those in Britain, it is by comparison to European cities a rather a small town, surely- ( they think) I can rouse the sleep walkers of commerce. ( ah if they only knew -I can’t even get the basement cleaned!)
CAUSE AND EFFECT EQUALS?????
LORAIN photo Henery Hawk
This past weekend two newspapers covered the situation that has rocked the banks and the world of finance in the financial capitals of the world. Saturday the Daily Mail – Britain -although they weren’t the first to cover the “Cleveland Connection”
Welcome to Cleveland by David Jones
As Britain teeters on the brink of full-blown recession, it is Cleveland, an unloved city on the shores of Lake Erie, that will be remembered as the Ground Zero of this financial meltdown.
Welcome to the sub-prime capital of America. The unwanted title was conferred after the discovery that during the second quarter of 2007, when the crisis first began, there were more high-risk mortgage foreclosures per capita here than anywhere in the United States.
And in recent weeks, all manner of damning statistics have emerged to confirm that while the seeds of sub-prime doom may have been sown on Wall Street, it was in this Mid-Western outpost that they first took root, and spread most virulently.
In 2007, for example, there were 17,000 foreclosures in Cleveland and its surrounding county, a conurbation roughly the size of Manchester; five years ago there were just a few hundred. During the first 11 weeks of 2008, there have been a further 3,132, sparking fears that this year will be the worst yet. ……………….
Sunday, we had the culprit and subject of the worlds ire,( Cleveland ) Cleveland Plain Dealer’s article
The Credit Crisis byTeresa Dixon Murray and Mark Gillispie and lets us see what has happened in Lorain, Ohio in the past 7 years…….
Year — Sales — Median price
2000– 1,194 — $73,900
2001 — 1,206– $78,000
2002– 1,160– $79,900
2003– 1,217– $80,000
2004– 1,427– $75,000
2005– 1,606– $83,165
2006– 1,429– $81,000
2007– 1,132– $55,000
The median home sale price in Lorain for 2007 was down 33.87 percent from 2005, typically the peak year for sales prices in Northeast Ohio.
So we can talk and complain and come up with ideas as to to how we can change Lorain, but it really is ALL CLEVELAND’S FAULT so maybe instead of focusing in on Lorain we should be talking about changing CLEVELAND!
“that unloved city on the shores of Lake Erie”
Note all emphasis mine.
Disclaimer: I do my best to highlight subjects and report accordingly, if I’ve missed something or put it in the wrong context please let me know.
BTW the City Hall has WiFi, I could go online and research during Council discussion and keep in touch with my Editor!
Minutes from March 10th Police & Fire Committee can be found here:
The agendas and minutes of all Lorain City Council and Committee meetings can be found here
Foot Note: I have found that not all words are included in the minutes. This is not a negative comment towards the Clerk, the recording equipment and people’s conversations are not always caught on tape (I think).
And I can’t stress enough the body language that makes the meetings all that more interesting. Please attend!And when are we going to begin televising?
Line Item Questions I had:
Parks and Rec Personal Services increase total $120,181 to PY Salaries and Benefits.
Auto Lease for Mayor – Zero? I hear they bought his car, where is that expense listed?
Auditor Personal Services increase $46,939 Salaries and Benefits
MIS Personal services increase $49,709 Salaries and Benefits
Law Director Personal Services increase $62,912 Salaries and Benefits
Building Inspection Decrease? $129,819 does this mean less service/inspections?
Safety Service Director – Legal Services Decrease $249,120 how/why? Don’t we still have pending litigation against the city or was this due to the Miller trial?
Street Repair increase $193,225
Materials Supply how can it decrease?
Bitmat Supplies $57,960 a decrease ??
General Sewer Contractual services decrease $167,128
General Sewer projects decrease $122,360
Garage decrease $56,088
Water works General Admin – Data Processing Reimbursement increase $14,169
Accounting Equipment increase $16,600 and $12,890
Water Distribution Decrease in petro and auto parts labor $5,352 and $30,418
Street improvement decrease of $130,437
Water Works Engineering increase Personal Service $60,071 for what?
Water Works Debt Service Consulting Services $643,527 CT consultants
Water purification Consulting Engineers increase $67,443 CT consultants?
Water Pollution Control decrease in gas and electric utilities $4,141 and $15,298
How would utilities decrease from prior year?
Increase in automotive equip and electrical equipment $10,000 and $14,136
Black River Personal Services increase $336,113
PQM plant facilities improvement increase $686,792
Where did these numbers come from? Isn’t this due (by law) March 31st?
$676,000 increase in personal services that I saw that stood out.
Look at your checkbook. Where your highest priority is will be the area you spend the most money in. I took the total salaries for 2007 by Department, the number of employees and figured the average salary per employee for that Department.
ED NOTE !!!!I UPLOADED THE WRONG CHARTS .NEW ONE FORTHCOMING – HUMBLEST APOLOGIES LORAINE
THE RIGHT CHARTS!!!
CLICK ON TO ENLARGE
MARCH 24TH SPECIAL COMMITTEE CALL
First item on the Agenda this evening:
Public Hearing to rezone and allow Ely Enterprise to relocate.
They were welcomed to the City, it was nice to see everyone in council and admin introducing themselves. I like the positive attitude towards business, it will make them feel at home.
Streets & Utilities –
Ordinance to Recycle/Remove steel mill by products (300 acres, millions of tons of garbage, 80-100 years worth of junk).
We can make some money from “recycling” based on size and weight of what is found. Per Mr. Timko: /Bergessford will shield us from the hot spots, clean / remediate for us.
They have some grants to help with the cost. Here’s an EPA website that might help: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/
3-3 year intervals in the project (to review) = 9 year period
They will start building the Water Plant in 5-7 years; they’ll begin cleaning the area the plant will be built on first.
Mrs Molnar brought up the fact that documents are sometimes brought in last minute, they would like as early as possible.
Next Item: Use of plastic service lines and connectors. Mr. Timko:
Lines are prone to corrosion and failure as is. They’ve experimented with plastic, works with copper and other lines. Copper leaches, Plastic are better, but it must have proper bedding and back filling.
2 inch plastic pipe tested for 1-2 yrs in the city, they said its o.k.
Mr. Given has a study saying it’s a great product we need to embrace technology.
My thought, wouldn’t the plastics industry have great test results for their product? I see it as a possible quality choice: example would I rather have my house dry walled or plastered? Plastic is cheaper it would benefit the builder first. And the long term is based on the proper installation, who will be there to assure? We have issues now with enough people to inspect and assure proper installation.
Mr. Given asked: “Would we want to drink a can of pop with a hunk of copper or a plastic straw”,
Unfair analogy in my opinion.
How many homes will benefit from this? The city already has so many copper pipes, some day all the build up in those pipes (from the chemicals) is going to start letting go and aneurysms city wide from these clots will occur.
Agenda Item discussion of the Budget: (Line by Line starting at page 65-92)
Mrs. Molnar asked about the publication of the Water Department yearly report. Mr. Timko said last year they spent $ 3-4 K previous year, this year there is an increase in cost. Mr. Given asked if it even has to be mailed, post on the website.
Nice creative ideas to help, I still believe employees are great sources for efficiencies, ask their opinions
Discussion of lower budgeted gas usage, Administration’s looking into GPS system, plus less “idling”, and less usage of city vehicles. Mr. Given asked where the expense for the GPS system is, Administration is still looking into.
GPS is an expense that Admin doesn’t know the cost of, gas prices continue to soar. I would like to see the cost of City leased/owned vehicles; I would like to see the list of exceptions granted by Mr. Gilchrist as to who is still taking city vehicles home and their responsibilities.
My comment to make this Budget Process easier next year; is it possible to insert comments into the excel cell what the item is for Ex. Capital improvement – carpeting or new air system. Council could sweep the cursor over and see the explanation for the expense.
We left at 8:45 PM as there were still 15-20 pages to go through line by line and then a council meeting. It was late for me and my Editor wants my story ASAP.
Letter to Editor, we need to sit down and negotiate my contract, I want more monopoly money, a get out of jail card and that piece of property called Park Place and I want to remain the Top Hat too in this game.
On a serious note, this Budget by State Law is due in 6 days. I have a bad feeling about what may happen in many areas this year. When making budget or personnel decisions
please remember the City’s number one priority in Paula’s Perspective: The Citizens.
By Loraine Ritchey and Paula Tobias: contact info: email@example.com
When I was very young in England, my “wealthy” grandmother who was a “hard woman” but very beautiful would “expect” my father and mother to take her on “Sunday drives”. We would pick her up in the morning, my mother and I relegated to the “back seat” whilst my grandmother would sit in the front with my father driving. I remember her in a swirl of silk scarves , auburn hair, furs and jewellery and Channel No 5. I hated those drives, because I would get car sick, but it was the age of children should be seen and not heard in her world.
My grandmother would mellow somewhat on the drive back home – maybe it was the “liquid libation at “supper” in one of little places we inevitably stopped.The journey home through the dusk would find her joining me in the back seat singing songs and telling stories about highwaymen and romance.
As we would start coming into the town from the countryside , the windows of the houses would become alight with life, some of the homes we drove past were very large and very beautiful and I longed to join the people I could see through the windows, I envied ,what to my child mind, seemed to have been fairy tale existences with their large homes and sweeping lawns.
My grandmother on more than one occasion said to me:
“Child never look with envy at the lighted windows, behind every counterpane there is a story and they all have their troubles no matter how brightly the light shines and beckons”
I have never forgotten that and recently trouble and pain has darkened my own lighted window, as it has done for countless others. I have asked Paula to share with us the story behind her counter pane
that of Pancreatic Cancer. The disease that has been so much in the news the last few days due to Patrick Swayze, but Paula’s thoughts and experiences, I believe can help anyone who is dealing with a serious disease.
Paula Tobias –
Let me begin with the Disclaimer:
I am not a Health Care Provider (Doctor , Nurse etc)
This is from my own experiences and does not represent all and every experience anyone might have
Frank , my husband, was experiencing indigestion side effects: beginning Christmas Day 2001, I just “felt” something wasn’t right and took it to the next level, a specialist. Thus began our long journey through Pancreatic Cancer.
At the same time I had been helping my mother in finding a home for my father who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
I had begun my education in Health through other family members’ illnesses. Two years prior my 42 year old sister in law had died of a brain tumor she struggled with for four years, leaving my brother and two nieces (4 and 8 years old) behind. So I had been in ER and in the Squad and to University Hospital many times and learned a lot from watching how they handled it.
My father died 7 weeks after Frank’s surgery and my cousin died of Spina Bifida 9 weeks after his surgery, then my boss called asking when I was coming back,
“it’s been long enough”…..
Work was a distraction, but it was hard to leave each day. I wanted to be the one to care for him. I was allowed a lot of paid time off, but wanted more.
I remember the times when I would look around and realize it could be worse.
o-The time I saw a Downs Syndrome Child receiving chemo with the parents sitting hopelessly by.
o-The mothers who generally took care of everyone; unable to care for themselves, their bodies ravaged from disease.
o-The Father with his terminally ill daughter.
0-The fact that the women who lost their husbands in the 911 tragedy never had the chance to say the real “Good Bye”.
0-The families I’ve met that have been touched by Pancreatic Cancer since 2002. One mother found her 21 year old daughter dead from PC; in her bed in her apartment after her office called and said she didn’t show for work that day. She had never been diagnosed, the autopsy showed it.
How to deal/cope?
I felt empowered when I had information or knowledge.
o-Some over inform, maybe have someone else do the research and bring a summary.
o-Get keywords from the Doctors, diagnoses and look up.
0-You need someone to work with the patient, take notes etc.
o-In the hospital if you can have someone with the patient to do the little things to free the nurses, water for the patient, linens, watch the machines, assure everyone has washed their hands….it’s a big help for the nurses and the patient.
Here’s what I think would be helpful:
o-A local support group – Contact Ireland/Community Cancer Center (social workers are available, use them) not everyone can “empathize” or tell you what they went through to get through it.
o-Research treatments to make the best decision for you/your family – Go to trusted sites National Institute of Health
How to work with doctors most effectively –
o-Interview! For all your Doctors, I intereviewed three OB/Gyns before I chose the one I have now and he brags to people about me coming in and hammering him with questions.
o-Be prepared ( I had a 3 ring binder to carry information and record the conversations) Get copies of all tests, scans etc and have with you. I found it interesting how some of the biggest Hospitals were not so willing in giving up their records (our records!!) especially if they caught wind of a second opinion being investigated.
Ask for help
o-The health care provider/supporter has to take time for themselves, care for themselves. You can’t make this disease a 24 hr thought process.
o-Ask for help from friends, family and get meds and counseling if it becomes overwhelming (you may not need them forever)
0-I would have had a daily / weekly list of things I needed and had one person go around and say:
o-“Paula needs groceries picked up here’s a list” (I’d pay of course).
o-Paula needs the sidewalks shoveled on snowy days.
o-Who can fix a backed up sewer? That one happened the night I came back from a week in Pittsburgh due to an infection he got after surgery.
Abief sumary of what happened to Frank was coverered by The Morning Journal.
And so on this Easter Monday when much of the world is remembering hope and Resurrection – may your windows be alight with joy and happiness- Loraine