Archive for June, 2011

Port Fest and Post Office

Changes = “fireworks”

Lorain Port AuthorityPort Fest is this Sunday changed to coincide with the fireworks for the 4th of July

Pairing Port Fest with holiday festivities a good idea for Lorain -Morning Journal

So this year, the port authority decided to hold a one-day Port Fest on Sunday, July 3, as a prelude to its popular fireworks display and pack it with several waterfront-related activities, tours and festivities.

There are “fireworks in South Lorain” of a different sort

In their infinite wisdom the United States Postal Service has decided to close the South Lorain Post office as Kalin Stipe mentioned on Lorain County dot Comthis affects the 9,000 households in South Lorain

The USPS has announced that they are closing the South Lorain post office by the end of the year. They admit that it is not based on performance, but on logistics. We are a city of 70,000 people and 3 zip codes. Do you oppose the closing as I do? Then, if you haven’t had a chance to sign the paper petitions being circulated, please sign the online petition:

Kalin and the supporters of keeping the South Lorain Post office have petitions available and also an on-line petition started-

June 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm Leave a comment

Fleet Admiral King – continued

Part One

Fleet Admiral King

Lisa, of Busters House would like to know if anyone has any information as to who was the artist- any ideas?????????

A Night View

As with any project there are always hiccups. As most are aware there isn’t any electricity at the site so therefore we had to go solar in order to light the flag at night. We had to use a bucket truck and the Electrical Dept. to get the solar panel and light up to the cross arm of the flag pole. However, in the blustery winds the solar panel moved and was pointing the wrong way – a readjustment and tightening up had to be done. Now it turns out we have to adjust the light direction as it is hitting the bar.
The problem is we can only do the adjustments in the day time which makes “light direction” a bit difficult but there is a light on the flag and we will sort this out.

The weather also played havoc with pouring the concrete around the flag pole the week before the flag raising ceremony.Thanks to John Falbo and Terminal Ready- Mix Inc after a week of rain delays they have poured the ocean, lake, sky blue concrete around the base of the flag pole. Our gratitude goes without saying

It takes many, many hands, expertise and talent to get projects like this up and running. I also wanted to share some photos taken by another photographer last Saturday – following photos were taken by
ROGER BROWNSON and appear with his permission:

Preparing to raise the flags


June 29, 2011 at 3:14 am 4 comments

Flag Raising – Fleet Admiral King

photo E. L. Ritchey

Others have covered ( with video) the ceremony on Saturday and their posts are listed :

Mark Teleha (Lorain County Photographers Blog) – photos and videos
The Morning Journal
(text and videos)

Daniel Brady

However, from my perspective as I stood to the side – I saw all the people in the crowd those that made this possible- from the donors – those that helped smooth the way – in some cases literally by laying the walkway-those that photograph and keep the record and publicize. .

Lorain Fire Dept – TAPS- and Flag unfurl Photos Tracy Isenberg

The people who always say yes and always have the ideas….Black River Historical Society who continue caring -not just about history but about Lorain and also her present and future-

Frank Sipkovsky – who not only cared for the flag pole from the old American Ship , but painted and refurbished the same. In fact in the very beginning of choosing the site we had him “be the flag pole” 🙂

Renee Dore– who has a vision and a pride for her neighborhood and is Charleston Village’s Port Side Chairperson. Renee’s excitement is infectious .

Gary Fischer– a man of many hats 😉 who ALWAYS comes through for us- his love of his city is apparent -his designs are there from the Charleston Pioneer Cemetery,(Lorain County Beautiful Award 2007)

Settlers’ Watch – Lorain County Beautiful Award 2010

Photo Mark Telela

and now the Fleet Admiral King Tribute Project.

A tribute that started on my living room floor with Renee saying

we should at least have a flag pole to honor Admiral King in his neighborhood

and so it began……….

As I watched the respect shown to a man, an ideal , a country and her flag on that windy Saturday – you couldn’t help but feel pride and a sense of community.

photo- P. Tobias

As Gary Fischer ( also our MC) introduced his father – who was a serving member under Admiral King and the choking in his voice , the men in uniform that have given and those that continue to give I was glad the wind ( although cold off the lake) was making her presence known- she lifted aloft not only the flags but also the words, emotions and thanks to the heavens.

Everyone will be officially thanked at the formal dedication of the site in September but Frank, Gary and Renee thanks for saying YES!

Photos- Rich Robbin from the Black River Bicentennial Celebration 2007 and they still say YES!!!

Frank Sipkovsky

Renee Dore

Andrea and Gary Fischer

June 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm 2 comments

Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King- Tribute Flag raising

On Saturday – June 25th 2011 at 11:00 am. corner 1st Street and Hamilton Avenue- 55 years after Fleet Admiral King passed away – we will raise the Flag of the United States of America out of respect to the man who from humble beginnings went on to hold the highest rank in the United States Navy.
Photo by Lisa Miller

This tribute is not finished- this is just Phase One -but Black River Historical Society and Charleston Village Society thought raising the flag on this day would be fitting.

To complete Phase One we have had donations of in kind, labour , materials and money. Another post will be thanking all who have contributed.

We had a dress rehearsal this week to make sure all the flags would fly , and the solar light would light.

Our thanks has to go to the City of Lorain Administration and Lorain City Council , the Lorain Utilities Dept, Lorain Street Dept for their patience , help , advice and for agreeing to have this tribute on their property.
Dress Rehearsal:
Fitting the solar light

Frank checking the signal flagsthey spell K I N G

Checking to make sure all would fly right!

Making sure the flag is folded correctly

The ceremony will be simple on Saturday -all are welcome- remember this is still a work in progress and we have a long way to go before the final dedication at the end of the summer ( date to be announced) but it is one phase of three……

To Be Continued………….

June 23, 2011 at 12:11 am 6 comments

Three Coins in a Fountain -HARDLY!!!!

The Romance of Rome , three coins in a fountain as compared to the


What do we have in common- not much no golden coins to wish upon in our fountain –

I know we are a meat and potatoes town BUT really tossing pizza and potatoes, underwear , bottles and robe belts- (now that is worrying because somewhere around the park is an individual with his robe not tied.. conjures up all sorts of visuals ..perish the thought!!!!

the act of throwing potatoes, bottles , underwear, assorted meat products and old shoes or even bodies into our fountain will not get your wishes answered- sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Just so you know let me spell it out for you – those of the socially challenged………


June 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm 4 comments

Yin- Yang of Lorain –

AHHHHHH Lorain, this week finds the Lorain International Festival a community coming together to enjoy the diversity of its population and our “differences”. Tonight Veterans Park will celebrateSOURCE MORNING JOURNALPHOTO NATE PARSONS

Monday, June 20, 2011

Band Concert at Veteran’s Park
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Veterans Park, West Erie Avenue Washington Avenue in Lorain.

Cost: Free

A wonderful evening of Greek inspired music, performed live by the Ousis Band.

The 2011 International Princesses will be present to greet and dance along with you. Feel free to bring your favorite lawn chair and stay awhile.

This event is free to the public and held at Veteran’s Park on the corner of West Erie – Washington Avenues in downtown, Lorain.

Not all differences should be celebrated though in my opinion- added decoration to that same park last week and those enjoying the ambiance were of a decidedly different nature and NOT to be celebrated
A Tale of Two…..

Last week Dennis Flores sent me photos of what had been happening in Veteran’s Park in the preceding evenings

I was even more upset to get more photos later in the week of more destruction by a group of young men .

Now these “writings of chavs” seem to be by idiots with magic markers-
Our retaliation for such behaviour – my poor efforts on my blog – letters to the editor of the Morning Journal:

LETTER: Lorain needs to enforce curfew, curb vandalism

photos, complaints, law enforcement is certainly not having the desired effect on these “socially challenged” individuals –

I am not sure what can be done because the behaviour is there along the societal chain, from the “chavs” to the “educated and professionals” -like writing on the wall to be seen by those that are frustrated, angry and hurt by such behaviours.


BUT then you see people trying their damnedest to make things better to give back – to “be good neighbors”

On the street where I live we are now only 35 percent “owner occupied” . The little house next door has been the subject of more than one blog post in recent years on more than one blog – the latest
just a few days ago

This little house, once belonging to the big blue house ( until some twit on a planning committee decided it would be good to split the lot SIGH- another story), both have been foreclosed upon.
One of the renters who had lived in the blue house had to move elsewhere.

He and his wife were lovely gentle people and were living pay check to pay check- no money for extras or even sometimes necessities.

I lost touch during these last months of my self- imposed house confinement- but the other day a knock on the door-

The husband stopped by, he was worried and concerned about my husband and I and wanted to know how we were. I guess I didn’t assure him that I was fine.

The day Dennis Flores sent me the photos and as I was typing the blog post, I heard the lawn mower next door.

The bank which owns the blue house and the city which now owns the brown house have the grass cut -badly – but cut.

The day was hot and the lawn mower not a large one was being pushed by my old neighbor. I watched as he carefully trimmed , picked up the twigs, raked both properties and bagged the clippings. I knew that even the gas for the mower was to them a luxury.

I ventured across and he said

the lawns looked so bad and there isn’t much we can do to help you but I thought at least Loraine will have a nice yard to look at from her window – it was the only thing my wife and I could think of to do to help – we are so sad for you and your family. We just wanted to do something to help

Yes! there truly is another side to Lorain and sometimes it will also knock on your door – we just have to open it.

As for Veterans Park

If this park is to continue to please families of today as it has done for more than two centuries then something has to be done.

I have somewhat of a band-aid approach at best at the moment but possible a deterrent – the LPD having an officer walk through – staggering the times- every day / night might send a message and possibly the parking of a police car in front of the Washington Avenue address where the little darlings live might send a message Security provided in the plaza provided by the owner may also help with the panhandling.

I have no answers- I just have the writing on the wall …………

June 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

Fathers Day 2011- Time passes


I have reprised the post I wrote last year- because “nothing has changed” – the pain hasn’t lessened of losing Chris- we have not had our closure- our goodbye- the wound is still raw and bleeds – It is an injury only known to those that have lost their son- their child- their reason for being

The anger at the Lombardis and the control of 19 and Angela ritchey DO is still there because their deeds like death are still there. You don’t get over deceit, greed and selfishness easily when it is combined with the death of your son.

But by the same token love does not diminish either and this year another ride into the wilderness on the 4 wheeler remembering his son…………

Chris and his Dad

This is a man who may stumble and fall but this is a man who tries”

(paraphrasing King and I)

This is very difficult piece for me to write, I want to pay homage to the man, the father of my children, without touching on the boiling . raging white-hot , beneath the surface anger I am feeling towards those that have hurt and robbed him of his peace.

I am not sure if I can do that considering I am a “writer who writes through my emotions and life experiences.”

What I see this week leading up to Father’s Day is a man aging beyond his years, his face creased with pain , scarred by loss and bewilderment , hair that was turning silvery now shot with white. Shoulders that were broad and held his children aloft at parades and festivals now bowed with the great weight of worry re the cancer and compounded by the grief he now carries. He is changed -this man- this father.

He was the quiet parent, never the disciplinarian and the few times he would try to raise his voice to naughtiness his efforts were met with giggles and mock contrition. He never spanked and always put both his children before anything and anyone else.

I look at the pictures as each in turn entered his world.

He seemed too young to be a father, but in actual fact was in his 30’s . We had been married 8 years before Nikki made her presence known- from that day forward this quiet and gentle man was there for his children , always in the picture and never taking center stage.

He was given a son , who was more like his mother in temperament , a temperament never quite understood by the husband but the father tried very hard to understand his son and his ways. He accepted the child, the boy, the man for who he was and was so proud of him.

He treated both children the same – always_ loved them both intensely” .

Never one to be overt with showing his emotions or feelings he expressed his love by always putting them first. Every Sunday the Dad and his two pride and joys would go to McDonalds for breakfast- it was their special alone time and every Father’s Day Nikki and Chris would take him to McDonalds.

He “gave away his daughter” on a cold December day to the young man she had fallen in love with – however he could not hide his emotions that day – although filled with happiness for her he knew that life would never be the same as she left our home but not his heart. Both the bride and her father walked down the aisle with tears of joy and sadness.

He danced with his daughter at her wedding to the music of the pipes- The Skye Boat Song– ironically it was the tune I hummed and sang to Chris in his last hours– I didn’t realize that until I started writing and remembering .

He lost his son on another cold December day, not to happiness and a new life but to the finality of death. He stood wordless in that room of unbearable sorrow looking quietly out of the window to the street below. He had come to that hospital overcoming the phobia he had to be with me and his son. He, since his father died when he was 11, has had a morbid fear of hospitals. We all knew that and Chris knew that for his father to go to a hospital was never good news .

“As long as Dad doesn’t show I know everything is OK- it would take a crisis to get him back to the clinic.

So when the crisis came we kept him away so Chris wouldn’t worry and continue to fight.

For a couple of days he stayed just in the waiting room- he was there as my “emotional punching bag” – I called him back to the hospital just an hour after he had left. I was so tired , very little sleep in days , exhaustion and worry had taken their toll -the waiting room gypsies with their inane chatter becoming more and more a problem for me.

I told the father of Chris’ bride why my husband was coming back- I thought, stupidly, that he would recognize the distress being caused.- maybe he would do something. I told him

“he was coming back because I needed him to be my “emotional punching bag” as I had to be able to let go of my feelings” before I “let go ” period!

“You have to do whatever you feel you need to do to get you through “

I just sighed and said :

you should all be thankful he is coming back because I am not sure how much more I can take and continue to be polite’

Whether it went over his head or whether he is the type that only sees what he wants to see, or a gutless wonder – I don’t know – but he is one father that I will not be wishing has a great day after what he enabled his child to do to Chris’ father.

( ED Note: sorry I said it was going to be hard to suppress the anger)

I knew I couldn’t keep my tenuous hold on politeness much longer- I had to release the feelings building up and I knew Chris didn’t need me to vent at them-

just get through this and when Chris is OK we will talk.

Chris’ Dad spent the next days being my “sounding board – emotional punching bag” and keeping me together for Chris’ sake.

He would do anything for Chris including bearing the brunt of my pain as well as his. He too tried making the deals with God – take me not Chris – don’t punish Chris – etc. – I know -I heard him when he thought he was alone.

He lost his only son too- and out of a self-righteous, sanctimonious self-serving spite he was punished two fold- he lost his son – those not of his blood took his closure – his chance to say goodbye and they dishonored Chris’ father – this kind quiet gentle man who never hurt or did anyone any harm in his whole life.
Punished by “control”

He chokes now on emotions that overwhelm him at times , feelings he can’t express , a wound that does not heal. His Drs. ,in sympathy, worry about his condition and the heart they repaired that is breaking but their medicine cannot help or cure.

Every morning , as I make the bed, I adjust the last picture taken of him and his son that sits on the bedside table , each morning it is turned toward the pillow where he tries to find a relief in sleep and fails, eyes fixed upon a photograph. remembering his son.

Last year Chris planned a Father’s Day weekend for this weekend- four wheeling in West Virgina- even that was tried to be taken from him (imho) out of calculated greed ( more on that aspect another time).

He too received a note in his dead son’s clothes- one he never saw – one he will never see – gone into the flames to protect what is left to him of his son. I couldn’t do much to ease his grief but I certainly was not going to have it added to by the “thoughts of conceit by one who claims to have known his son”She didn’t !

She wasn’t there at his birth, through his 3 am feedings, his first smile, his first steps, his first words, all the years of school and sports, and Sunday breakfasts, the tears and picking him up when he fell , the successes, the days of big wheels, riding a bike, the day the bike was stolen, karate, soccer, camping in the back yard, riding a camel in Morocco, playing “catch me if you can” in a hallway at Windsor castle, learning to swim , to fish , to pull a bow, shoot, sharing lobster rolls at the Piping college Prince Edward Island, racing down the ski slopes in Vermont, learning to drive, the talks under starry skies, a man and his son exploring life’s adventures together-

She only knew a tiny fraction of “Chris” – the husband for so short a time – but he was a son first and last.

So this father , who continues to stumble and bleed for his son will go on the trip , taking the four wheeler still caked with mud from Chris’ last ride and with him will be a silent rider that is carried in his heart and soul- HIS SON

Christopher David RITCHEY

June 19, 2011 at 12:01 am 5 comments

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