Archive for February, 2013

Do YOU believe??? Punderson Manor- The Haunting Question?

Ashes to Ashes- dust to dust-
“”Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return” (Genesis 3:19)”

As regular readers will know from the previous post, our little jaunt to Punderson State Park and Punderson Manor was cut short with a family emergency.

You can read all about Punderson Manor and the facilities here”
One of the highlights of our stay was the fact there was a ghost tour scheduled for one of the nights we were staying . Punderson Manor has the reputation of being “haunted”. There have been many documented cases of apparitions etc. in the old part of the hotel- the original manor house.

The park’s namesake died under mysterious circumstances, with one of the more colorful rumors involving his reportedly committing suicide by drifting into the lake in a bathtub, pulling the plug and drowning.”

You can find some of the information about the history of the haunting here

Our trip was because we needed a break ( I needed a break truth be told) and to celebrate my mum’s 94- it was purely a coincidence they were having a “ghost tour”. However, I had taken my camera , made sure it had new batteries to take pictures of the kids in the pool etc. in order to document our stay for the blog and the Lorain Dudes segment .

After a leisurely swim in the pool; we enjoyed an early supper . Gavin “shopped” the gift shop for rubber snakes , sweat shirts and candy, games for himself and Braedyn. Seeing the oldest ( 94 years) and the youngest (1 year) were feeling tired and maybe needed their beds 🙂 Nikki and I decided to join the ” ghost tour” at 8:30 pm.

This aspect of the stay fascinated me, as although only a half a dozen people were actually staying at the hotel – two couples had come especially for the tour and came equipped with cameras etc. – the rest literally had driven through slush, ice and snow ( including people from Lorain County) to attend . There were, by my count, nearly 60 people in attendance .

The tour was hosted by Nick Fischbach– Nick who is the current Mayor of Burton-has a very reputable reputation”

He was the chief ranger for Geauga Park District 1979 until 1989. He served Ohio Department of Natural Resources parks division for nearly 25 years, employed at Punderson State Park in various capacities 1974-1975 and again from 1989 until his recent retirement. Other experiences in law enforcement include service to ODNR, Geauga County Sheriff’s Department and Thompson Township Police Department


Nick, as he asked to be called, recounted the personal experiences that had happened to himself and others during his employment at the park. Nick began his employment in the 1970’s as a huge skeptic of the “super natural” and now gives tours recounting his unexplained occurrences.

We started the tour at the bottom of the staircase where a large glass cabinet holds many pictures of the various people who lived and owned Punderson Manor.

Cleveland Punderson

In and amongst the older black and white photos is a colored photo of the staircase- the lower part of the staircase. The framed photo is of a transparent like figure. The photograph, as I understood it, was taken by a professional photographer doing publicity shots for the park. He couldn’t explain what had happened in this particular shot so sent the negative etc off to the processing company for an explanation- they could not find any “technical reasoning for the shot”. He gave the shot to Punderson and it takes pride of place.

Apparently, according to Nick, a lot of activity centers around the staircase. As Nick was explaining, Nikki and I and another couple were on the fringe of the crowd.

I noticed the one woman using what is called an EVP/EMF meter that started flashing like mad- I asked Nikki to take a photo with my camera – ( I tend, as people know, to point the thing backwards or cut people’s heads off) only she couldn’t –the brand new batteries were dead.

How annoying I thought to myself- how was I going to document Lorain Dudes and Punderson)
As she mentioned our battery problem , the husband of the lady with the EVP/EMF meter also tried to take a photo- no luck –his batteries were dead too. Hmmmm well coincidence maybe the purchase of a bad batch of batteries.
We continued with the tour, immensely enjoying Nick’s presentation, as well as seeing the rooms of the old manor house. Nikki had just two days previously upgraded to a new phone.

Let it be noted I don’t even send text messages ( so I know nothing about smart phones with cameras) I know my phone has a camera option because I must press the wrong thing at times as I get pictures of my ears, video of floors etc.

A feature on this particular phone ( Sam Sung) ( like most I am supposing in my smart phone challenged thinking) shows the shot before you click the photo. Apparently, according to Nikki, she was seeing orb like phenomenon streaking across the screen.

NOTE:I don’t believe we are talking dust particles here- although you can see those too and they tend to float and blow in the drafts – they don’t tend to come through walls and continue on through another with lightning fast “speed“.

Nikki tried to show me ( but I needed my glasses) I just wasn’t quick enough to see what she was talking about. By this time we had lost the tour and were standing at the top of the staircase – Nikki was glued to her phone screen and started talking to the “dust’orbs’ atoms”Oh dear I thought what are the tour people going to think?

There was my daughter – usually perfectly sane matter of factly talking out loud to a phenomenon she caught on a phone screen. Well I thought they might think she is just one of those rude people who talk loudly on their phones.

“I can see you “

she said

come back do it again-

and apparently it did -more than once. Finally I stood behind looking over her shoulder ,glasses and all, to see what she was looking at and then – I too experienced what she was seeing. She started taking pictures but it moved so fast by the time she clicked it was gone. Still talking out loud to the “subject ” saying come back – try over there – she finally caught it

NOTE*****This first photo has not been retouched in any way just resized to fit the blog upload.

NOTE*****This 2nd photo HAS been HDR ENHANCED and of course the arrow added

punorband aroow

Continuing her one-sided conversation she tried to captured the lightning quick “dust?” asking it time and time again to pose she then captured the following picture? NOTE ** the only change made was resizing”


Again I HAVE enhanced the photo with HDR in this 2nd jpg

I have added arrows in this third shot for a couple of reasons you will see the green arrow and what is commonly referred to as an orb and the bluish blur at the bottom (pink arrow)

this blur caught was right by the cabinet holding the famed photo of the apparition on the stairs – you can barely make out a person seemingly looking at the photos ( very difficult to make out but he is casting a shadow so I believe this was one of the tour people who had left the tour.) The bluish blur could possibly be light reflected off the glass but coincidentally at that very exact moment the “stair case photo” fell over the bluish blur is at the exact spot on the cabinet where the photo resides-

Did the “onlooker accidentally nudge the cabinet ? none of the other photos moved, none fell just that one of the many that were in the case.

Finally, the tour came back from the library and Nikki followed Nick and his entourage into the Windsor Suite ( formally the master suite) .
windsor suite

Nick had lost some of the tour by this point but had gained ( according to Nikki’s phone screen) some other intelligentsia 😉 . The lady with the EVP was back and it started up again – she and Nikki and her husband were trading occurrences near the bathroom area and a lot started happening with EVP and Nikki’s camera phone .

As they were discussing the happenings, their conversations drew people over to the area- oohs and ahs as they could see what was happening on the phone screen. The tour finished and Nick was called over to look at what was happening on the phone screen and he and others watched as supersonic dust particles came on cue.

I had watched on the phone screen as he was giving his talk, one orb circling up and around him , darting back and forth like a frustrated gnat- it would have been large enough to be seen by the naked eye in reality as in comparison it would have been the same size as a sparrow.

We had to leave bright and early due to the emergency so we were unable to do any more investigating !

Does Punderson have something going on there

I would say yes! IF NOT- they have some of the most intelligent dust and dander particles on the planet!

intelligent dustbunny

February 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm 10 comments

From Hotel Room to ICU – The ghosts that haunt – the costs ?


You should have been reading about a lovely little get away at Punderson Manor . You should have been reading about tracking the ghosts of Punderson Manor and was anything experienced by our merry group and all being well you will in a later post.

You see we didn’t get to spend the allotted time at Punderson as the trip was cut short. Once again drives through the early morning ice and freezing rain to get to the emergency room to find what the monitors would tell us. I followed my daughter ( yes we had taken two cars- thankfully) as she and the children and my mother fought the terrible road conditions that morning.

I arrived at the hospital , through the emergency room doors , ushered into the cubicle- the identical beds , identical monitors , IV lines , chairs that made you sit up right – I flashed back to my son lying in similar rooms and bed at Elyria- EMH- the Cleveland Clinic, and MD Anderson– the smells are the same, the squeak of rubber soles on polished floors, low monotone voices escaping from surrounding cubicles , someone’s family members crying , some smiling , a groan as someone reacts to their pain.

My son-in-law, standing by the bed, trying to ease my way knowing that hospitals are the very last place I ever want to be and my penchant for “emotional incontinence” . I saw once again a face of someone I loved scared as to what the prognosis would be , looking for a comfort I couldn’t give, my stomach churning , holding on so as not to flee the worst place in the world .

I didn’t think of the cost, what the insurance would cover – how much each transfusion would be- would he be able to “afford” his healthcare- where would I get the money to pay…. you don’t….. you just want everything to be OK. The internal bleeding could the Drs. stop it , what was causing it- these were the questions on Friday morning..

I was not asked about insurance thankfully, that had probably already been done before I arrived. I would say in my “state” it was just as well – as I would not have been responsible for my answers or the manner in which they would have been given.

Brad Anderson
You shouldn’t have to think about if you can “afford” to save one you love- but it happens more than you may realize . This blog appealed to people just a few short months ago- Brad Anderson needed a liver transplant but first he had to come up with the cash – $100,000.00

His family and friends and local media took up the challenge and they raised the money and I am glad to say in December they were celebrating a successful outcome- but should a man in desperation have to beg for the money to save his life in this country- it is done every day- how many fundraisers do we attend so a child can live or get treatment- this isn’t a third world country or is it ?

Cash on Demand for healthcare – your life depends on if you can pay- can you afford THAT deductible? Time Magazine 4 days ago published an article
The story of a young man from Ohio going to MD Anderson in Texas for treatment of non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – sound familiar ? Yes! my son also went that route

only unlike the family in the article I did not have to come up with cash in advance for treatment – just the air fares
From Time Magazine :

Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.

Stephanie was then told by a billing clerk that the estimated cost of Sean’s visit — just to be examined for six days so a treatment plan could be devised — would be $48,900, due in advance. Stephanie got her mother to write her a check. “You do anything you can in a situation like that,” she says. The Recchis flew to Houston, leaving Stephanie’s mother to care for their two teenage children.

About a week later, Stephanie had to ask her mother for $35,000 more so Sean could begin the treatment the doctors had decided was urgent. His condition had worsened rapidly since he had arrived in Houston. He was “sweating and shaking with chills and pains,” Stephanie recalls. “He had a large mass in his chest that was … growing. He was panicked.”

Nonetheless, Sean was held for about 90 minutes in a reception area, she says, because the hospital could not confirm that the check had cleared. Sean was allowed to see the doctor only after he advanced MD Anderson $7,500 from his credit card. The hospital says there was nothing unusual about how Sean was kept waiting. According to MD Anderson communications manager Julie Penne, “Asking for advance payment for services is a common, if unfortunate, situation that confronts hospitals all over the United States.”

So what was the difference between Sean and my son Chris – I will tell you that even my son’s “trial” at MD Anderson was covered by the health insurance he had- his “wife” was a resident Dr. within the Cleveland Clinic Angela (Lombardi) ritchey DO well her insurance was a beaut- 100 percent coverage and no cap – they had no such worries – we were met with smiling faces and the VIP treatment.,

Had Chris been under his work insurance at the time he would have met his million dollar cap halfway through the stem cell transplant – I wonder what they would have done?

How do you face the loss of the one you love and still be reminded every damned month as the bills for the “failed” treatments come through your door as another Hodgkin’s fatality family deals with after the loss of their Hillary. Hillary fought with her dying breath for coverage – She had to fight the cancer and the health insurance potentates

You are first – before you get to the Drs. a commodity- you are an insurance number – you are a $ figure and a patient 2nd to the “adminstrative potentates” and can you pay- this in the land of :

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

BUT make sure you bring your health insurance card and coverage !

Hillary in her short lifetime also published a book to help children understand cancer –
zand the cancer meanie and I am sure the proceeds will help her family pay for her treatment the payments continue even though the treatments failed.

February 25, 2013 at 12:53 pm Leave a comment

A Novel- idea- the words with in – a secret unwritten SHHHHHH

cow cove book
They say that everyone has at least one book within us to set to paper and print. My son Chris, even managed in his short life to produce one.

During the course of Chris’s education (Cleveland Institute of Art) he wrote a book- yes! a book!

The brief as I understood it – limited the number of words to be used ( under 30 ? ) – using different fonts to emphasize each word – texture of the paper / colours etc also to give visual emphasis to the reader. Subject (of one’s choice) telling the story with a beginning , middle and end- evoking at least two emotions from the reader.

and as
Frank Warren of Post Secret stated:

Every single person has at least one secret that would break your heart. If we could just remember this, I think there would be a lot more compassion and tolerance in the world.”

keely  sagert
I know my friend and neighbor Kelly Boyer Sagert has published more than one book.
Oh! to have her talent and ability to start upon the journey she undertakes every time she starts another book. I can start but then ………….

In past years my thoughts , words, observations and conclusions have been published in magazines and periodicals but I can’t seem to get my plethora of thoughts together in a beginning – middle – and end– no matter the writing technique used- to actually write a nonfictional or even a fictional novel.

I did start a category on this blog on my family and my son . I have “saved” the categories and downloaded them as I wrote them in order that Gavin and now Braedyn will “know” their family, especially Chris, and the history of the events as they happened to us.

( Cover by Chris Ritchey)

My mother wrote her book ( selectively published) MY Book about her youth, the war years (WW2 Britain) and her life . I know the sons, daughters and grandchildren of my mum’s extended family were pleased and I hope in years to come her own great-grandchildren will enjoy her memories

One of my previous publishers has offered to take my writings about my journey and publish BUT I have to clean up the grammar, the run on sentences and edit my writing in order that a copy editor can take a further look- SIGH- easier said than done. It is asking a lot because I would have to edit my thoughts and sort them into some sort of order- the story is jumbled as is my life and my brain is fragmented . Where do I begin ?

I suppose I could start by telling my “secret“. Is there a book in that? Yes! I would say most definitely – but I hesitate –

there is the burning question does the world really want to know my secret…

Am I not being a hypocrite when I say I am all about truth when I am holding back a truth ( even if it a truth as I see it – my truth). And for whose sake am I holding back – mine or the readers?
alchemist PHOTO SOURCE

For instance, remember that old conspiracy theory about having a magic pill or process that would turn water into gasoline?

Ask yourselves IF you really had the knowledge of turning water into fuel simply and without a great deal of cost- Would you share that secret IF – it would mean the world’s economy would crumble- institutions would dissolve stock markets crash – the haves would definitely lose out , countries would fall( middle east in particular) would you share that knowledge? Would it mean the world’s water supply would face further annihilation what would be the trade-off?

There is a dire responsibility in secrets……

Generally, says Von Reiche, “secrets do create a lot of separation from other people, and they also prevent you from feeling truly authentic.”

“If the world were ready to be accepting of everyone, it would be a better place,” McDonald said. “In an ideal society, we would have no secrets. Do I think that’s likely in your lifetime or my lifetime? No.”

Will my “novel” idea become fact or fiction? That remains to be seen………….but I can tell you whose artwork will be on the cover 🙂

February 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm 7 comments

The Cowboys of Lorain- No more shooting blanks !-Part 7


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six


So what is a community to do ? Here we sit in the older neighborhoods of Lorain slowly dying. We are a community that is fueling its own destruction – we are the enablers of our own plight .
more dumping

We are a city whose main big business ( in my opinion) has become the business of rentals – it is not unusual for property owners to own not just 2 or three rentals but we now have people owning dozens and dozens of properties – if not hundreds such as- George Schneider.

Why because they make money – just like any other BUSINESS hopes to . We have Kent Sutton, himself a mega property owner stating to the newspaper

We (Lake Erie landlords Association) simply assure housing providers that they are running a business not like any other business,” Sutton said. “The housing should be kept up to some condition of the neighborhood.”.

It has been shown ( I hope) through my blog the landlords are determining the health and the condition of these older neighborhoods .

Why even the City of Lorain ‘s previous administrations such as the Foltin – Miller administration brought in Mr. Sutton to determine how rentals should be inspected- that was a “brilliant idea’

I wonder who benefitted??? surely not my neighborhood.

We have over 10 thousand rentals properties in our housing stock of around 29,000 of those 10,177 are occupied rental.
( Note)These are not you high-end rentals the average rental costs are approximately $550.

Our vacant properties around $3,600 ( since some have now been demolished). According to the census in Lorain our numbers add up like this
of those 29,000 homes over 50 percent 15,953 were built before 1959 over half century ago in fact we have only had 755 homes built AFTER 2005.

Our housing situation is the stuff of nightmares in some streets.

Landlords, who do not apparently care or do due diligence when checking references ( tip one – please check the court files- will give you an idea of their “worthiness” and reliability of your prospective tenants)
Far too many landlords have given succour to criminals who ply their trade in our neighborhoods: You want to help out these individuals fine put them in the house next door to you!

The individuals coming from incarceration are told which communities have the social service agencies readily available and into which neighborhoods they can assimilate – a neighborhood where apparently there are no lace curtains from which to be noticed- as there are either no windows and / or they are boarded up- leaving them free to do business from these “homes”.


Take the recent case of Joseph Worthy and what can happen in these vacant homes- a drug deal gone bad , very bad in this “vacant home”. He was out on the parole- Joseph has been before had been before Lorain Municipal Court 55 times– and before Lorain County Court of Common Pleas 10 separate times – he has given his address on a number of occasions as the homeless shelter and a rooming house (Broadway) and Catholic Charities on 8th Street.

Police now say the victim knew her attacker, 36-year-old Joseph Worthy. They believe the victim went willingly with Worthy to a vacant home to take part in a drug deal. Police do believe a sexual assault took place during the drug deal. Worthy was arrested on rape charges.The investigation continues.

Photo Source: Bobel – Morning Journal
fire housejpg

These homes also keep the Lorain Fire Dept. busy ( emphasis mine)
and from an earlier article –

“The city of Lorain has a problem with vacant house fires,” Lorain Fire Chief Tom Brown said. “We have absentee landlords and homeowners. People get into the houses and cause crime. We don’t have any witnesses or descriptions of suspects. We need help.”

City Council wants to know the cost to the city of putting out the fire especially when it looks like nearly one-third of fire calls to homes is for vacant and abandoned house of late .

NOTE: speaking to Chief Brown he stated the LFD responded to 14 vacant house fires last year and 2 gas leaks.
also he stated that if he had the ability to charge for recovery ( as with Hazmat)) he would for have to apply for a minimum $1,000 per hour just for per vehicles and man power to be covered.-

Councilman-at-Large Dan Given asked for an analysis of the cost per call to understand how different calls affect the budget for the city.

Brown said he is working on a reply for council.

It is possible to divide the department budget by the number of calls to get a dollar figure per call, Brown said.

The figure would be “astronomical,” Brown said. “People are going to fall out of their seats, and I don’t blame them,”


Our very school system depends upon a healthy community- our quality of life depends upon our neighborhoods. The survival as a viable community depends upon “quality” – The bar has to be set higher – we can’t have the mend and make do mentality- and drive by inspections that only get the bare minimum accomplished. 500Oberlin


Since the “business of rentals” is becoming Lorain’s largest business it is time to treat them as a business, to set a standard in Lorain and for judges to do more than fine someone a few hundred dollars and let the eyesores continue.


I see the need for more emphasis on the older properties. However, as we have learned in this series the City of Lorain Inspectors ( unless asked to Oh do come in) cannot do interior inspections . Changes NEED to BE Made in Lorain. Since in a previous post I referred to the City of Lakewood and their way of dealing with nuisances and older homes-
I checked with them as to interior inspections and point of sale. Let us look at Lakewood Building Dept. emphasis mine !


The department is made up of one Dept. Administrator, one Assistant Building Commissioner for Residential, overseeing a staff of five residential inspectors, one Assistant Building Commissioner for Commercial, overseeing a staff of four commercial inspectors, one Litter Control Agent, and three Administrative Support Staff. This staff has over 300 years in combined professional experience with inspections, engineering, contracting, and support, plus 30 hours of continuing education every 3 years for each state certification an inspector holds (avg. of 4 certifications each)

The chief priority of this department is enforcement of commercial and residential building codes for every structure in the City. This task is accomplished through the following processes:

NOTE::::: Complete Interior Inspections

1.Annual inspections consist of COMPLETE INTERIOR , exterior, and yard area inspections of NON- OWNER OCCUPIED structures on a street by street basis. Streets are assigned until all of the above properties have been inspected. When completed, the inspection rotation begins again.

marshalled 2
Now how do they get to perform these INTERIOR inspections when we apparently are on a “do come in basis ” or relying upon the integrity of the rental / landlord property owner. According to the Lakewood Building Dept. they send a letter with an appointment- and if they are not welcomed they go before the prosecutor because this is a codified ordinance with the City of Lakewood! YES! for Lakewood!

Now Lorain? we need to treat this business of rental as Mr. Sutton ( whose advice was to dearly sought by the Foltin Administration) as the businesses he says they are and treat them as such.

back to Lakewood:


2.Exterior inspections are performed in all non-Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) areas. These are external only inspections and are assigned by complaint and on a rotational street-by-street basis.

3.Zone Check inspections are the responsibility of inspectors assigned to a specific ward of the City to ferret out the “eye sore” properties and to issue a correction notice to the property owner.

4.Exterior/Interior Complaint inspections are triggered from various sources including citizen calls, councilpersons, “report-a-problem”, police or public works referrals, etc.

5.Certificate of Occupancy Inspections are mandated for all non-owner occupied rental properties that are on the market for sale. This inspection includes the interior, exterior, and yard areas of the property.
6.Prior to Sale inspections are for owner occupied properties. Should an owner request it, an inspection is conducted on the interior, exterior, and yard areas when they are marketing their property for sale.

7.Lakewood First Time Homebuyers Program inspections are initiated by the property owner and are required for participation in the program.


Lorain is literally feeding upon herself!
citylorain feeds


No More Fudd for thought we need action!!!


February 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm 15 comments

The Birthdays- 94 to 1- Happy Birthday Mum!

thefouresNo those aren’t the odds- they are- as my daughter says

the age spread in her life-

Braedyn who just turned one and her Nana – my mum- who is 94 today!


whose bucket list, she tells me is, she now wants to learn to drive a car— errrrr well maybe Braedyn will have to teach her- he has mastered his Lightning McQueen ( Chris MissChristmas Present)


He is still having a little trouble with his fourwheeler – the Chris MissBirthday Present – but big brother Gavin is doing what he can- hmmmmmmm maybe that helmet would have been a good idea for the indoor obstacle course. Mickey Mouse can throw you you know!

It maybe a while before Braedyn can belly up to the bar with his guests though-


even the cake was no compensation …..messone

But “did you think I would leave you crying when there is room on my ( 4 wheeler) for two —–Two little boys !
gavin braedyn4wh

still even with all of those years between Nana and Braedyn , they still manage to get around ( even on shaky legs ) and to the cooler for a “nip”


February 12, 2013 at 12:38 am 8 comments

TRUTH IS THE DAUGHTER OF TIME! A crying Shame – Dr. Cheryl Atkinson

I have been involved with truths somewhat this week- my own struggle with “truth” 😦 more on that later)— the truths of the inadequacy of the “system” that is Lorain Property Maintenance Code ( the ‘orrible truth”) —–

and will we ever know the truth???
DR. Cheryl Atkinson came to Lorain (2007) – she was touted by one and all as the saviour of Lorain City School system. Her accolades rang from the lips of members of the educational community- the Lorain Board of Education- ( the fact is at one time -then President of the BOE Tony Dimacchia gave her a glowing recommendation- albeit to go elsewhere and then was shocked 😉 )

-the ethnic community rallied around as did support from so many organizations and people of this community , the City of Lorain- the administration and her council people , even to the editor of the local newspaper ( Tom Skoch, Morning Journal). Dr. Atkinson had a plethora of resources upon which to draw. This community desperately looking for the way forward and offering her the help she needed. Lorain and her schools wanted Dr. Atkinson to succeed – her success meant our success!

In fact, in hindsight, we were so desperate for someone to lead us “quickly and efficiently” out of the quagmire that had become Lorain City Schools, to bring in a fresh perspective, to be able to do the “tough love” as she presumably had no “relationships or agendas” ( but hopefully the one ) which should’ve been “the health of a failing school system”, we did not see the tree for the forest of hope in this woman’s ability.

The story that started well with co-operation and hope soon became a community in conflict with itself- derision on the Lorain Board of Education- armed guard ( Lorain Police) protecting the superintendent from the public at School Board meetings escorting her to and from those meetings . Questions as to favouritism, spending that seemed superfluous to education. It was precisely that concern that led me to a public records request

This above post and request led to a meeting with a meeting with Cheryl Atkinson and I must say a “staff of people” .

I remember well that day I was shown into a conference room – I must admit I was a little flummoxed at the amount of staff required for a relatively simple Q and A meeting with Dr. Atkinson,

Superintendent Atkinson, Mr. Stewart, Mr. De Nicola, Mr. Woods, Ms Sanchez, Ms Tansy on December 6th, 2010

I looked at the amount of yearly compensation paid to them for their expertise as we gathered around that table and smiled inwardly – all for the benefit of answering my fairly simple and straight forward questions from me?? a blogger?? I was flattered. 😉

NOTE: You can find the answers to those and links to the previous posts on the subject here

But one question answered itself for me at that meeting – and Cheryl Atkinson answered without saying a word. On three occasions as I asked questions, that weren’t particularly “hard” but needed a clarification, Cheryl left the room those three times in tears in response to those questions – One question asked was about the relationship of Lorain City Schools and Compassion Baptist Church expenditure-

4. Compassion Project. Compassion Baptist Church

PO#303647 – $10,000.00

The accounts(s) from which the PO was paid. Please give an itemized breakdown of this PO exactly what this money was used for from what funding source or granting authority was used to pay this PO what are the parameters of the funding or granting authority and can the funding source be used for other services. I further request a copy of the service contract for services provided in the 2010-11 school year under said project.

this had a red flag to me because HUD was requesting records of their expenditures
HUD seeks more Lorain records on Compassion Baptist Church

Another question I had was about the expenditures for mentoring which included her husband and then money going to religious organizations for events – what was the criteria for these events to be subsidized by the Lorain City School system. Simple questions and only needed a straight- forward answer – one would have thought

I was not attacking – I didn’t raise my voice- I was not abusive and quite frankly any CEO or head of any organization would have dealt with me and my questions as nothing but a minor irritation.

In my opinion, Cheryl Atkinson was not a CEO, not a leader with strength of conviction and certainly knew how, with tears and emotion shaking in her voice, to ” derail” any further questions”

Her staff looked on with concern for their boss, showing the discomfort they felt for her with long looks as she left the room, yet again excusing herself time and time again, with a catch in her throat – apologizing for her emotions.

Mr. Ron Stewart a consultant to LCS – shook his head sympathetically offered her a tissue as she left the room- He looked at me his eyes almost “brimming”

“Oh she has a great heart, she puts this system first in all she does , she will call me late into the night at my home with her concerns”.

I looked at this man, for whom my taxpayers money was paying a nice sum, and thought- excuse me but why is a CEO calling you at home late at night- surely this is business and should be conducted as such- I wondered whether we were paying extra for late night reassurances on his bill? ) but I kept my thoughts to myself – it was not the time or the place to get into personalities.

However, with those “tear breaks” Cheryl managed to stop the momentum of the questions – smiles all around as I left – I never did get a satisfactory answer to those questions 😉

Were the tear breaks a manipulation by a woman who knew the result of such behaviour to have on the meeting or was she truly such a “weak and weedy ” individual worth the quarter of a million and more we paid for her expertise. ( In hindsight a crying shame!)

Either way, I left that meeting knowing Lorain City Schools, no matter what the answers to the questions, they were in big trouble with such a person at the helm- a fact of which I made mention to more than one BOE member and supporter of Lorain City Schools – and that is the truth!

Dr. Cheryl Atkinson left Lorain for Dekalb School System where it seems history repeats itself……..

for more money and greater exploits although some would argue “exploitation”….

“At times, she seemed more interested in her county-issued car, her personal security and her text messages (requiring the services of yet another taxpayer-paid attorney, Mike Bowers, former Georgia Attorney General!) than any kind of real work focused on educating children. We believe it is these ‘missing’ text messages that caused her to vacate her post. She exited quickly and quietly, slipping away to tend to her ailing father, and the details of his reported January 23, 2013 death, but never returning, instead sending her (taxpayer funded) attorney – literally imposing a checkmate on the Board and leaving a school system of nearly 100,000 students without a leader. Nice lady!

February 9, 2013 at 6:15 pm 22 comments

The Cowboys of Lorain- (PT. 6) thoughts from the corral – drive-by and fix

Part One –

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

I was naive in my beliefs of accountability for older housing stock. I admit it – I sit in my den typing and looking out at my neighborhood- I watch the deterioration on a daily basis.
2th and Hamiton

My icon house sits and reminds me of the “process” nearly 40 years of watching the inadequacy of the PROCESS that is the City of Lorain, the Building Department and Inspectors rights as per the property Maintenance Code of Lorain-

Property Maintenance Lorain ( seems to be an oxymoron). You would think I should have realized, after the decades of watching, the Process is PHUTT!!!!! The guys in the white hats have no ammunition

marshalled 2

My conclusions after reviewing the answers ON THE INFAMOUS PROCESS is as following:

1. To have work inspected on this glut of poor housing – we are dependent upon the honesty and integrity of people who allow this:


2. We are dependant upon side walk inspections or having a kindly neighbor let us have a look from their property- Some of the Neighbors 😉


3. We are a drive- by community in more ways than one.


4. The cry of we need more inspectors( under the current system ) is as laughable as the restrictions under which they have to “inspect”.

5. To inspect property in this way may “pretty up” the outside to a standard that is lacking but “fixed”???? as per the fix after the latest drive by of the historic property on our main thoroughfare owned by


This former home of another of Lorain’s Mayors was inspected by the drive by inspectors ( presumably ) and it was fixed to the minimum of standards – YOU BE THE JUDGE!!! If you ask for the minimum that is what you get!

Click on to enlarge

You can powder and paint an old whore but the insides are still rotten – and it is those rotten insides that cause the health and safety issues for those that dwell within these homes. It is dangerous but hey! we have gutters at least !

511 gutters

Like many of you who are not in the “Business of Rental” I thought we had some accountability , a system in place to hold those that do this to properties to a higher standard. I was wrong….


The current “way forward” is laughable at best and killing this community at worst.

To Be Continued….

February 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm 2 comments

February 3rd – Impervious – Chris Ritchey

Self Portrait – Christopher Ritchey

Oh she’s back! or glad to see you are getting on with life and moving forward-

the comments made as I write on this blog about “happenings ” other than you, my son. I meet their words with a watery smile- not that they notice – they- for the most part, the people are relieved . I may no longer make them uncomfortable as has been my presence in their community. They can relax , can forget and move on dealing with life and all its facets without having to acknowledge the pain of grief of one who moves within their circle.

It is an enigma really – for the most part people think your death ,the crippling grief and the missing of you “enters ” the life I live and we all live. They, not having lost their son or daughter , usually feel as time goes on the world of grief will enter my life less and less as days become weeks, months and now years – . They, the lucky ones, know not time stopped that December day, the very moment in time when your heart stopped.

it will get better- time heals

such is the belief – but actually that is not what happens – it is in fact, for me at least, the other way round- life enters my world of grief – flashes in and out and the robot, that is me, does her best to carry on . Those who watch are relieved feeling I am “finally” dealing with my grief– but in fact I am dealing with my“left over” life( and not too well) but well enough to get by.

You are in my world- waking and sleeping. I awoke the other morning having written the following in my dream: Not the best poem in the world no matter which world but it is my world a world where I still see your face before me .
Mask-Mist – Chris Ritchey

Impervious Defined:

Impervious – laughter
Impervious- sunshine
Impervious- life
Impervious- death
Impervious- war
Impervious- weather
Impervious- man and womankind
Impervious- troubles
Impervious- health
Impervious- sanity
Impervious- criticism
Impervious- society
Impervious- hope
Impervious- forgiveness
Impervious- religion
Impervious- changing seasons
Impervious- time
Impervious- caring

Impervious- ME – I am impervious

February 3, 2013 at 12:16 am Leave a comment



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February 2013