Archive for January, 2009

Civil War Letters revisted

    ED NOTE: Back in the day over at WoM I wrote about a young woman of Lorain ( a daughter of one of the founding families her name was Fanny Gilmore. I have decided to reprise this article here on my blog as we take the “Magical History Tour” of Lorain.

    Letters to a Young Lady (Civil War)
    This young lady, of what eventually became Lorain, had an interesting life. Fanny was the daughter of one of the “first families” of the community, wife of the hero of the steamer the John M Osborn– Captain Thomas Wilford, rescued from a sinking ship with her two little girls only to lose one child to typhoid-Fanny McQueen Gilmore (Wilford). fanny

    On February 12th, 1961 The Cleveland Plain Dealer -Sunday Magazine ran an article by Florence J Bartenfeld titled “Civil War Letters to a Young Lady”. The article is too lengthy to reprint here in its entirety however; I am pleased to give you a sample of the letters sent to of a young woman of this city from her family and friends as they lived through the Civil War.

    “Tucked away in an old chest on the third floor of the Charles F. Bartenfeld home on Washington Avenue Wilford-Bartenfeld Home
    for many years were bundles of old letters tied with ribbon.

    When grandchildren interested in stamp collections queried Grandma about old stamps, the letters and albums of picture post cards were brought out . A few faded pink stamps, bearing George Washington’s profile were removed and given to the budding philatelists.

    Excerpts from some of the letters: The letters are copied as written with no attempt to correct spelling.
    From Frank Shupe (Fanny’s cousin- Amherst) Camp Dennison May 19th-1861

    Dear Fanny
    “It has been one month since I enlisted and I aint ded yet. All I ask for is good health and I guess I will come home alive and kicking.
    Thare is not much excitement here but soldiers keep coming here. Within two days thare has 4 regiments of soldiers come here and now thare is about twelve thousand soldiers here in all. I wish you were here to see us drill. It would make your eyes bung out to see 12,000 men all together….
    A week ago I was up to town and see one man stab another because he refused to drink whiskey with him. What they done to him I dont know. That is all now. Give my best respects to all the folks and especly the girls…

    Fanny’s brother Byron, who enlisted in the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the summer of 1861 (19 yrs) wrote frequently

    Byron Gillmore– Cumberland River June 11th 1862

    Dear Fanny
    We are rite in the face of the enemy. They are on one side of the river and we are on the other. The rebels pickets and our pickets talk together and some time they fire at each other. The pickets have been firing ever since daylight….
    Maybe I will get a chance to draw a bead on a Reb. I shant fire until I am sure of my game so they had better look sharp and keep out of reach of my old musket…..
    June 1862 Cumberland River
    The night before last we crossed the river and slept there all night and then came back again. We forded the river both times. The water was rather wet but warm so it pleased the most of us. We had just got our pay that day and some of the boys in Co.K lost all their money. They pulled their pants off and throwed them over their backs and their pocket books dropped out. Mine is all safe……
    I guess Gen. Gillmore is not coming back here again….

    General Quincy Adams Gillmore, a first cousin to Fanny and Byron. Byron writes:

    “It is my opinion he would fight as long as there was a man left”
    Byron Gillmore Dec 12th 1862 Lexington Kentucky
    … The report was that there was 20 thousand rebels up at Big Hill about 50 miles from here…. I hope it is so and they will come and attact for there has got to be some fighting done and we might as well do it now as any other time and then we could see whether General Gillmore would fight or not. It is my opinion that he would fight as long as there was a man left. He is not only brave but he understands his business about as well as the next one

    January 23rd 1863

    No I told you a rong story I am not well I have a very hard cough at preasant ….I don’t think it would be a very good plan the one Celia proposes to come home and get married. I am not 21 yet and I said I would never marrie until I am 21 years old and I never will that-so

    June 11th 1863

    I dont know but I will go back to my company before long if Captain Burger dont stop swearing at me. He came down to our tent yesterday and commenced cursing because one of us wasnt up at the office…………… he said he would send us all back to our companys. He has told us that a dozen times. I dont care if he does.

    John Connolly -Strawberry Plains Tenn. Dec 31st 1863

    Friend Fanny ,
    Your letter of Nov 18 was received……………..but we have had some pretty hard marches and not much to eat and not much to wear. I know it has been a good while since Byron and I wrote but it has been a good while since we could write .
    Old General Longstreet has been around here with his forces so that we couldnt write or anything else. He came pretty near making us stop eating. I guess he would only for General Sherman with his reinforcements from Chattanooga. I hope you will excuse all mistakes and poor writing. This paper is poor stuff and it is the best we can afford down here in Tenn.

    Byron Gillmore December 10th 1864 Nashville Tenn.

    Dear Sister Fanny:
    I am enjoying myself here in Nashville very well only I cant get enough money to spend that is the only drawback….
    Old General Hood is still in our front, what his intentions is I dont know but I dont think that he is fool enough to attract us at this point. If he does he will get hoodwinked , I think

    Frank Shupe January 4th 1865 Camp Chase, Columbus

    I don’t want you to think I am discuraged but this is the worst place I ever saw. It has raned ever since arriving and the mud is knee deep. I have walered around like a brick mason and I shall be glad when I leave here. I had rather take the chances before Richmond than stay here….
    Thare is the biggest lot of thieves here I ever saw.Thare is pickpockets and cut throats from all parts of the world. …
    I wish you would send me your photograph you know you promised me one and if any of the good looking girls have any to spare you can tell them they can send theirs and I will be much obliged.
    I wish our regiment would be assigned to Quincy’s ( Gen Gillmore) command . …..

    Nelson Foster Bowling April 2nd 1865, Bowling Green Kentucky

    Friend Fannie
    … Our great privation is there is no good looking girls here that a fellow can sit and chat with and that you know is one of the greatest privations there is . When you see a good looking girl she wont speak to a soldier anyhow so that we are in a bad fix. The most of the girls around here are Secesh anyway (note Secesh a southern sympathizer)
    I only know two families around Bowling Green that are not Secesh and there is good looking girls in both families. But they live outside the picket lines and a fellow might as well go to Heaven on horseback as to get outside the picket lines so there I am again. But I am in hopes that I will not have to live so always.
    The way I write this letter is this. I have to lay flat down on the ground and my paper is laying on a small piece of board and that is the way I have to write my letters. Not always can I get a piece of board to write on. I have wrote a good many letters on a tin plate. ………
    …The fact is a fellow must not think of home a great deal for if he does he will be sick in less than a week. There has been a good many died in our Regiment and nothing else ailed them but homesickness.

    Charles Shupe: April 25th 1865 Camp Chase,

    Well I have just been to breakfast, had a military meal for the first time since I received furlow. I had hardtack, coffee, cold beef. You had better believe it went somewhat again the grain but I guess I can stand it for a short while 4 months perhaps.
    I have been around to examine the guard line and found a hole that I can slip through in case I want to take French (leave) and come home. If they do not give me furlow pretty soon I think I will do that.
    I have your picture with me and it is the only thing that keeps me alive but I suppose it will ever do me any good. Hoping it may sometime.

    May 7th 1865 – Columbus Ohio

    Oh Fanny, such a school is this. I shall be glad when it is out then I shall return home again a different man from what I was when I left home. Never to join military discipline again.
    Fanny this place is a second Andersonville GA. the vermine about as thick and closely guarded. So there is but little difference.
    There is one thing to console me, that is my time is nearly expired then I shall never enlist again or get married for longer than nine months. Then I can have a furlow and go where I please: Charles Shupe

    Although Fanny had letters from many young men she did not marry any of them. She taught in Lorain at a school house situated at the southeast corner of Fourth Street and Washington Avenue. In 1870 she married Thomas Edward Wilford. cptwilford

    She died a few days before her 90th birthday

    January 31, 2009 at 10:58 pm 13 comments

The Economic Development -Developing? Workshop

The Chronicle’s report
The Morning Journal’s report

paula by Paula Tobias

I try very hard to listen, think about what they’re saying, and write key points down. If I’ve missed something please let me know.

ED Note: Or the “Crappy Ordinance” according to Gilchrist
“Mr. Gilchrist felt it is necessary to market the city but said it was crappy the way it was written. Mr. Given suggested Mr. Gilchrist is in attendance at the work shops.

Paula Tobias once more ventured into the fray and frayed in Lorain City Council Chambers this evening and here are her thoughts and observations:

This evening’s Workshop.

The meeting began about 10-15 minutes late and was announced that it would end at 5:30 PM.

At the beginning the attendance was small: I, the MJ, Andy Drwal, and Richard Romero. (Richard?) A few more appeared during the meeting.
Council Members in attendance:

Melanie Szabo, Dennis Flores, Mickey Silecky, Anne Molnar, Dan Given, Mitchell Fallis and Eddie Edwards presiding.

Mr. Gilchrist asked that they discuss what council’s definition of Economic Development was, so they were on the same page.

Mr. Edwards related Economic Development to the Neighborhoods, better streets, better homes, and remove the blight.

Economic Development/Wikipedia:
“Economic development is the development of economic wealth of countries or regions for the well-being of their inhabitants. From a policy perspective, economic development can be defined as efforts that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating and/or retaining jobs and supporting or growing incomes and the tax base.”

The Ordinance in discussion is to establish a fund for Economic Development/Job Creation/Retention.

Where the monies will come from was debated. It sounds like some from the General Funds, New Business and the Water/Sewer Fund.

It’s legal to take from the Utilities as it would benefit from it (new business new water / sewer usage) per the Acting Law Director Jeff Smith.

Mr. Gilchrist mentioned his lunch meeting today with a developer and what they were looking for. One community had offered them first year’s rent would be paid. We don’t have that kind of revenue to offer.

Mrs. Molnar asked if he were alone, he said he was with Doug Rangle from Community Development.

Mrs. Molnar mentioned then and at the end of the meeting she’d like someone from Community Development with Mr. Gilchrist in all meetings such as this so someone can answer all questions.

Mr. Gilchrist felt he was capable and knowledgeable enough.
ED NOTE Gilchrist talks to HIS Community Development –

At 5:29 PM they opened the microphone to the public.
I noted:
This meeting is about an ordinance to decide the amount for Economic Development. I have a concern that we are going about this “Ready, FIRE, Aim!”
When I have a project I research and find out what it will cost and save accordingly.

We have paid Team Lorain County $80,000 to promote/market our City, what have we seen for our Dues Paid?

You will have a tough sell of a sewer increase; the citizens want the money to go to improving their sewers not to marketing the city.

Mr. Edwards explained/corrected that Mr. Timko has given a list of projects to Council of what the monies will go to from the increase.

I told him he’s preaching to the choir.
I reminded Mr. Edwards that perception is reality.

I understand -as I attend council meetings -but the citizens need to be educated (and their trust regained-I thought to myself).

“I didn’t know you were a member of the choir”. – Eddie Edwards commented after my minute at the microphone.

After the meeting was adjourned I started cleaning up the cookies and coffee I brought and heard Mr. Given mention, Mr. Gilchrist should provide his version of the ordinance.
ED NOTE : The signs are there BUT
what is the reality ???

January 31, 2009 at 2:19 am 5 comments

Paula responds to the Editor

by Loraine Ritchey
Paula Tobias has held Lorain in her heart . Paula has put her money ( and conviction) where her mouth is on more than one occasion. Paula attended council meetings faithfully for years before deciding to make a run for the Mayor of Lorainthere needed to be a choice and she stepped up to the plate . You can find her platform here

After the election, where she as an Independent candidate, pipped the Republican to the post, continued to be involved and attends various government and civic meetings and be involved in her ward and her city .

You can find her writings on this blog by clicking on Paula’s Perspective on the right hand side of this page.

Paula was mentioned in the local media for her comments at the mic at last Monday’s Committee meeting on Tax Renewal both in the Morning Journal and in Andy Young’s Editorial ( not on line) in the Chronicle Telegram


Resident Paula Tobias suggested that the city needs to run more like a business, adding that she doesn’t know of any companies that can run in the red and still exist. She also questioned how many of the 91 fewer employees were management.

Seven, she learned

Morning Journal

and so for readers who don’t get the hard copy of the Chronicle Telegram and Mr. Young’s Editorial who stated “When businesses fail, their owners, employees and customers suffer. When governments fail, we all suffer.”

Paula wrote to the Editor:

….”When businesses fail, their owners, employees and customers suffer. When governments fail, we all suffer.”

The Citizens of Lorain are the Owners/Stock Holders, customers of the city and are City Employees. That is how I equate government to business. At Monday’s Committee meeting I said, I don’t know of any business:
That pays employees not to take sick time
Mgrs receive overtime ( I meant anyone in a supervisory position aka Salary in Corporate America)
Or runs consistently in the Red
The City is trying to raise $50,000 to Market the renewal. A lack of Trust and Confidence in Politicians with the current Economy makes this a very difficult “Sell”.


Paula Tobias

January 30, 2009 at 2:03 pm 6 comments

HERE WE GO AGAIN ( Into the CRA (p)

You knew that your taxes and whey hey Amherst what is the school district doing with your taxes 🙂

Next lawsuit please, all others wait in the waiting room , the “lawyer will see you soon”

Here we go again -more Cha Ching Chandra and Co

Oh ! to be a lawyer in the CRA !!!! it is never ending and WE are the ones “paying” it is 7:42 am.

Do you know where your tax money is going next????

Amherst Schools Superintendent Steve Sayers expressed concern over the new abatement applications for the CRA and the residents who receive abatements. However, those homes were built before the CRA legislation was revised in spring 2006. He said he recently sent a letter to Krasienko, Hopewell and City Council President Joel Arrendondo about the applications, and the district will soon take legal action now that the county auditor has a list of this year’s tax exempt properties.

“It’s a fairness issue,” Sayers said. “I think it’s important to have a system in place that’s fair for all taxpayers of the Amherst school district.”

Ziance said the CRA program is perfectly legal and falls within what the state statute allows.

and the CRA(p) goes on and on to the legal delight!

Oh! and Linda Keys ( remember the disgraced Deputy Auditor “for conduct unbecoming an auditor” fame.. well seems now she has been staying on her own desk 😉 and reading –

Chief Deputy County Auditor Linda Keys said she noticed the delinquencies while reviewing the 355 abatement applications, which were placed on this year’s tax exempt list. Auditor Mark Stewart has sued the city of Lorain over the CRA program and was ordered to place the properties on the exempt list by the Ohio Supreme Court last August.

Keys said the auditor’s office must comply with the court order despite any discrepancies that they find in applications.

“I just review the information that I have here,” she said. “I think it’s good government … We’re just kind of a double check.”

Oh goody! wonder if she reads whole sentences now ?- lets hope –

January 29, 2009 at 1:00 pm 1 comment

Susette Kelo appears tonight


Susette Kelo and Jeff Benedict, author of “Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage,” will appear on Hannity tonight between 9 and 10pm EST on the Fox News Channel. As you know, Susette’s little pink house and the homes of her neighbors were seized through eminent domain in a landgrab sanctioned by the U.S. Supreme Court. New London promised to put a glitzy new private development project on the land, but now, nearly four years after the ruling and $78 million in taxpayer money spent, literally nothing has been built on the land; it remains vacant, the neighborhood bulldozed.

We hope you can tune in tonight to hear about Susette’s courageous battle that sparked a nationwide property rights movement.


Christina Walsh
Director of Community Organization
Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 682-9320

January 29, 2009 at 12:15 am 1 comment

Paula’s Perspective- City Council Committee

paula by Paula Tobias

I try very hard to listen, think about what they’re saying, and write key points down. If I’ve missed something please let me know.

First item of discussion in Council this evening; Nuisance Ordinance.

The Law Director wanted to change the wording in the existing ordinance only, but the Committee felt more information was needed and it was put in abeyance.

Second item was an Ordinance for Economic Development Fund (Business Incentive and Job Retention). Mr. Given has been a champion of this for the past two years and had constructed the Ordinance. Several members of Council felt it was a good idea but not doable at this time due to the money constraints. Mr. Gilchrist felt it is necessary to market the city but said it was crappy the way it was written. Mr. Given suggested Mr. Gilchrist is in attendance at the work shops.

Mr. Gilchrist had mentioned something about Council talking to “My Community Development”. Do I hear an issue about “chain of command”…. No Department Head should speak to Council/Anyone without approval of Administration?

Another interesting point I heard was $200,000 is owed to the General Fund out of this “Reserve” to pay for loans to groups such as Jiffy …….. As of this date there is about $60,000 in the General Fund and a suggestion was made to issue an Ordinance so these monies have a place of their own.

A work Session has been planned for this Friday at 4:00 PM to begin discussion on this.

Now for the main attraction of the evening: Renewing the temporary tax increase of ¼%.

First question to mind, how do you renew a temporary?

This tax will have been in effect for 10 years if passed, that’s not temporary to me.

People wanted to know the plan so it wouldn’t be needed again, something that should have been done in the past administrations if it were indeed temporary.

The Mayor began with the changes in personnel

(91 fewer to date, I asked how many were management, only 7).

From tonight’s packet:

Mr. Mantini had a PowerPoint presentation of where the monies come from and where they go. This information will be needed for the suggested Town Hall meetings in the Wards if they want to inform the public. But spreadsheets don’t read well in PowerPoint.

The City is using Special Revenue Funds to stay afloat, this is illegal by Ohio Revised Code but the State is turning its head, saying “You do what you got to do to stay afloat”. AKA “We don’t want you to go into State Receivership because we can’t afford to take care of you either”.

The City is advanced funds from Water and Sewer to meet payroll and other obligations, but that is legal according to THIS Law Department.

Mr. Mantini mentioned to Mr. Snodgrass he may be asking the Auditor for an advance on the County Real Estate Tax to the City as there are 3 pay periods this month.

When it was turned over to the Public I was the first to the microphone asking the City to be a Pioneer, begin running the City like a business.

What business:

Pays management not to take sick time – $102,000 in 2008

Certain Managers/Non Union receive overtime (aka Salary in Corporate America)

Continues to run in the red and exist

“If you keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll keep getting what you got”.

Mr. Becker went to the mic and when the Mayor started commenting he accused the Mayor of filibustering (did I hear Mr. Flores clap?)

Ways of containing costs, such as the cell phones were mentioned but it was suggested to stay on topic, put the renewal on the ballot and let the citizens decide.

It appears the renewal will be on the ballot.
SAMSON OF DEBATE – bringing down the house- Ashley Huntley 93

I left at 9:00 PM as it was late and the observations / pontification in some cases were painful.
Morning Journal coverage

January 27, 2009 at 6:38 pm 21 comments

The CRA(p) of Tax abatements

Things clarified ( well somewhat)
1. The abatements for the CRA in Lorain are on the buildings not the property .

There are people who believe that those receiving abatements ( particularly within area 4 ) do not pay taxes…..100% abatement. That is true of the building ( houses) but a quick comparison showed that comparing one “abated home” in area 4 was paying 1/3 AGAIN the taxes that I am paying on my property and home in “old Lorain”….

more than 50 percent more than a house and land on 32nd street

50 percent more than a house and land in the 6th ward.

around 40 percent more than a house and land on 21st street.

More than the Duane Building on Broadway

ANNNDDDD more than one third more than the eastsider who has filed a lawsuit against the city – yup that abated home is paying more than him!

that contrary to statements being made the property taxes on the CRA 4 “abated ” property went up by $309. due to the passed recent levy’s . That is one third of my total property taxes alone

So taxes are being paid on the 70 thousand it cost for the dirt in the one neighborhood than the rest of us are paying for our dirt and bricks and mortar……. except if you live in the even more “upmarket” The Oak Point Estates as does a Deputy Auditor and a Commissoner where they are actually paying less for their dirt 🙂

January 26, 2009 at 12:02 pm 4 comments

The Stuarts (Stewart) and what they have done for us

by Loraine Ritchey
The time passes slowly whilst waiting in hospitals, treatment centers- the mind numbed with fear looks for an escape from the situation in which it finds itself.

Most forays into other worlds only last a minute or so then it is dragged back into reality of the moment. However the program “What the Stuarts Did for Us” took me away for a small respite.

I was really no great fan of the Stuarts and as readers of this blog know I am no great fan of the other Stewart. ( The New King- of Spam a lot)
The amount of money that is clicking up daily to pay for lawyers and fees- thanks to the nonwillingness in previous months ( years even) to listen and talk is bordering upon obscenity in this time of economic disaster within Lorain and Lorain County .

Now it seems this whole idea of a “national debt “ was indeed the fault of another Stuart/Stewart

The name Stewart derives from the political position of office similar to a governor, known as a steward. It was originally adopted as the family surname by Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland, who was the third member of the family to hold the position. Prior to this, their family name was defined through immediate ancestors and changed from generation to generation; for example the first two High Stewards were known as FitzAlan and FitzWalter respectively. During the 16th century the name underwent a development and the French spelling Stuart was adopted. It was Mary Queen of Scots who adopted the change while living in France; this was to ensure that the Scots name Stewart was pronounced correctly.

AHHHHHH I knew the French had to have something to do with this eh? Mon Generale?

Now it seems we have a lot to be thankful for in relation to -“What the Stuarts did for us”

The Union Flag was designed for King James who united the kingdoms of England and Scotland into Great Britain.

Public transport was introduced to England by Captain Bailey who standardised fares and issued licences for London Hackney Carriage.

Road signs and the first road atlas by John Ogilvy further revolutionised the transport system and standardised the mile.

The seed drill allowed Jethro Tull to put his revolutionary new planting techniques into practice leading to modern agriculture.

The Fire Office of Nicholas Barbon led to the development of the first professional fire service.

The Bank of England founded by William Patterson led to the creation of paper money and the national debt.

It seems that back in the day the King needed money – set up the organization ( Bank of England) -promised to pay the investors back at a set interest rate and didn’t therefore we have the first instance of “national debt”
That same Bank of England has been making news again today – just three months ago it seems collapse was looming
Revealed: Day the banks were just three hours from collapse

Britain was just three hours away from going bust last year after a secret run on the banks, one of Gordon Brown’s Ministers has revealed.
City Minister Paul Myners disclosed that on Friday, October 10, the country was ‘very close’ to a complete banking collapse after ‘major depositors’ attempted to withdraw their money enmasse

Yes we have a lot to thank the Stewarts( Stuarts) for and I wonder how our legal debt is mounting in Lorain and County –

still all is not lost the “Stewart is talking”-

Stewart has been fighting with Lorain city officials and the county commissioners over those tax breaks for more than a year, but he said some progress is being made on working out a deal to end the costly legal battle that has already reached the Ohio Supreme Court once.

well to the media at least– but not about his key deputy and I am pretty sure it is still Chandra who is talking too!!!

Only history will tell the end of the tale!

January 25, 2009 at 5:00 pm 16 comments

Another Anniversay come and gone

Jan 21st 2008 was the first day I published this blog
I just really wanted to finish up a couple of things – tidy away and put to bed some thoughts, writings and information, such as the CRA, some of the history of Lorain etc.

Normally there would be a reflection of the past year, the accomplishments, the stats, the summary of before BUT on February 15th less than a month later I started screaming!

and unfortunately, on another anniversary date, it wasn’t a tree crashing into my heart and home but the news that treatment over the past year hadn’t worked so more aggressive and dangerous treatment will be tried.

Therefore my priorities have turned once again, away from the politics, the CRA, the infighting , the posturing to what is to me the most important role I have been handed.

I can’t write about this journey yet , my journey is day by day . I can’t be involved with the city, the functions, the taxes I will leave it to those who can and thank Paula and Kelly and Rich for writing for this blog and keeping it perking along . Mark for “picturing Lorain” in all her shame and glory .

Thank you my friends ( and you know who you are) who have supported and helped me through this latest blow to the heart and soul. Loraine

January 24, 2009 at 1:22 pm 12 comments


January 21, 2009 at 9:20 pm 1 comment

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January 2009