Archive for May, 2013
This past week, in this oldest neighborhood of Lorain, Charleston Village has seen the arrest of an alleged arsonist, who twice returned in the same amount of days to a brand new elementary school’s playground to destroy.
The video in the article shows the aggression of such an act and the aftermath
Photos LORAIN 365
Yes, this “alleged arsonist” is just the latest escalation of anti social behavior in Ward Two, Lorain Ohio.
We hear the cries of citizens take back your neighborhoods. Oh! and some of us we have tried to do so in many ways in the past two decades, but we who are still left in these older neighborhoods are as burned out as our playground .
For two decades a group of volunteers in the Lorain’s oldest neighborhood known as Charleston Village Society have tried to preserve a quality of life in our neighborhood. We have worked to preserve Lorain’s history and heritage, to maintain a neighborhood , started the block watch program 20 years ago. We were and are very involved in community but we are weakening fast.
We watched with sadness as our two large school buildings in this Lorain oldest community- Irving and the “old” Lorain High/ Lorain middle school- sat empty and forlorn. We rejoiced when a new elementary school was built and named after one of Lorain’s national and internationally recognized hero Fleet Admiral Ernest J King and Constellation Charter Schools saw the old Irving as an asset rather than a demolition .
We have also watched the “allowed” deterioration of our housing stock even as the State of Ohio asked of this community we preserve the historic aspects of this neighborhood . We have watched the loss of our merchants in our downtown area, a quality of life deteriorating with each placebo policy that came down to us. Some died , some left and some “exist” afraid in our streets.
However, we also see hope with the new policies being developed by the current Ritenauer Administration and a refocusing of efforts along Broadway , 100 percent trash pick-up and inspections. BUT if we are to stop the rot we will need “MORE”! We need teeth in our ordinances and accountability
We have tried to honor Lorain in all our efforts, with the help of the City of Lorain’s administrations/councils , Lorain City Schools and our sister organizations to feature in a unique way Lorain’s maritime history, honoring the fallen of the Iraq/ Afghanistan War as well as Admiral King’s birthplace.
Over the years we have , pleaded, pointed out the problems hoping we weren’t tilting at windmills, fought ideas we deemed detrimental not only to this neighborhood but to the city herself e.g. Condo”s in Veterans Park
An Eastern Shawnee Casino founded upon the desire of Craig Foltin to get a ” seat at a table” and our tax money spent for his cause – this was the “diversion” , the carrot to dangle in front of a desperate community that was never ever going to go anywhere the “hype of hyperbole” costing thousands and thousands
Casino deal raises doubts; Foltin slammed on cost of tribe negotiations
SOURCE: The Chronicle-Telegram Shawn Foucher September 13 2005
We have partnered with various groups ( 40 individuals in a Community Safety Forum ) to focus on a target area in order to turn the tide such as the Pilot Program for Community Safety, eventually centered in South Lorain under Father Thaden .
However, that particular pilot program failed after an initial success . The approach was one that needed a five pronged approach for success , Lorain Police Dept, Lorain Building Dept ( City of Lorain) Clergy and Social Service Agencies Lorain City Schools , Community ( neighborhood) surrounding the target area at the center of which was Lincoln School.
Sub police station – Lorain City Police
Pre School – Lorain City School
Information and Referral – El Centro
Employment – El Centro
Financial Literacy/ Housing program – El Centro
Senior program – El Centro
Youth Leadership program – El Centro
Once again the effort failed due to the lip service of the then City of Lorain Administration- Mayor Craig Foltin and the withdrawal of the Lorain City Schools bricks and mortar.
Just over a year ago, the Lorain Schools allowed the vacant Lincoln Elementary School to be transformed into a community center set up to honor a teenage girl who was fatally shot by a stray bullet while she was in her living room.
On Monday, the Lorain school board voted to reclaim the building.
Lincoln Community Center Director Leon Mason said he found out about the board’s intentions to terminate the lease on Friday and called the move a shock. Violent crime has drastically decreased since the center opened, and Mason said he’s worried that the board did not give him enough time to find a new location.
The effort died aborning but the talk the talk continued :
Lorain officials look to youth programs to decrease violence http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2009/07/05/news/mj1274020.txt
Lorain City Schools has called a “community meeting “ Wednesday May 29th at 6 at the Admiral King Elementary School – apparently to last 1 hour !Here we go again !!!
In response, school administrators have scheduled a one-hour community meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the elementary school as a way to engage the public on how to better the schools’ playgrounds. Morning Journal May 24th.
We have also over the years witnessed the pressure cooker release meetings
Give the outraged whatever the situation a chance to sound off, have their say , limited their time to two or three or five minutes , nod in agreement , smile yes we will work toward an end , all will get on board all smiles and shaking hands at the feel good scenario. And in a few weeks all this will be old news and we can get on with the whatever the particular powers that be were doing before so annoyingly interrupted.
LIP SERVICE has become the reaction. The cynic, I have become, waits to see the latest “talk the talk” outcome.
Well no matter, this is just an old ward with a plethora of social service agencies , major multi rentals, dilapidated buildings along our main thoroughfare , crime , a dumping ground for the Registered Sex Offenders and those on parole (90 parolees alone in the 44052 zip code and 138 RSO in 115 locations). Smugly referred to by those in better wards better communities as “Low – rain”.
L-R Veterans Park ( toilet?) Historic Mayor Kings Home Washington Ave ( owner 64 other properties) and Business on Broadway ( owner owns over 200 properties)
To you that have discounted this ward and her ills let me just say this – so goes Ward Two “Low rain” so goes Lorain. The lack of enforcement of building ordinances( such as they are)- the lack of accountability by those that use this ward to line their pockets while prostituting her housing, the lack of “judicial intestinal fortitude”, the “politics that drive decisions, the LIP service has culminated in what you see in this ward today.
HOWEVER Lorain, this ward is also the ward where Lorain can turn into a positive direction
Photos MARK TELEHA
Photos DAN BRADY
We have reached a tipping point – our “alleged” arsonist – a resident within two blocks of the school, lives in a rental whose owner lives in California , they also own another home on the same street- which is another “nuisance” to those that still try live here in this neighborhood. The drug dealer arrested just three months ago
Suspected drug dealer near Admiral King Elementary school arrested
also owned by a multi property owners.
To you council representatives you need to stop the rot here and now!
We are the only ward where development can take place. Ward two has the lakefront, we have the river front, we have the business/ commercial district, we have the seat of government , the port, we are the on the scenic highway and byways trail, Lake Erie circle tour, theatre and we have Lorain’s history!
There will be no rebirth of a downtown whilst the neighborhoods along the Broadway corridor are decayed and only fit habitation for miscreants , vermin and thugs, where the only profits being made are on the backs of nuisance housing.
It is all very well for the churches and social service agencies to have compassion for the indigent in this area
however the compassion has to have accountability to the population who wish to get a book from the public library, attend a church service, to go to the bank, to walk into a jeweler or a print shop. attend a festival on our river front , to be able to sit on a park bench in Lorain oldest park enjoy her fountain without the stench of human feces.
Your compassion has responsibility to those individuals as well.
Our “worth” or lack thereof is spreading to your neighborhoods – homes derelict or selling for less than an automobile – has already caused a significant monetary loss to the “newer homes” in the “good wards”. The neighborhood issues of safety along with a failing grade has already caused Lorain City Schools distress, loss of students and monetary damages you can ill afford. .
Lorain YOU are perceived by those outside this community by what is happening here in Ward Two – we can either make or break you. It is time you ALL pay attention to what is happening here because we are the symptom of a greater terminal disease. !
It is UP to Lorain’s government, Administrative, Legislative, Judicial to focus on this ward. It is up to the Social Service agencies the churches to also take responsibility for their compassion. It behooves the Lorain City Schools to listen and see what is happening in your neighborhoods because like it or not you are part of the system- your decisions affect our community too!
It is up to you to get involved and find the intelligence and guts to sort out the problems because we who still try and “live” here are reliant upon just a “few ”
It was a beautiful cool and sunny morning today as we walked our neighborhood placing flags and ribbons to honor those who have given so much in so many conflicts. We placed the “RED WHITE and BLUE ribbons and I thought not only of the history of the colors but of those that have walked these streets in the decades before in this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood . I thought of those that had given all they could give in the name of freedom.
The history of the red white and blue:
The Continental Congress left no record to show why it chose the colors. However, in 1782, the Congress of the Confederation chose these same colors for the Great Seal of the United States and listed their meaning as follows: white to mean purity and innocence, red for valor and hardiness, and blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice. According to legend, George Washington interpreted the elements of the flag this way: the stars were taken from the sky, the red from the British colors, and the white stripes signified the secession from the home country. However, there is no official designation or meaning for the colors of the flag.
The official meaning of those chosen colors may have been lost in time but they are the colors of freedom and many lives have been cut short so the colors of freedom can fly proudly in our neighborhoods.
Marine Lance Corporal Joseph “Ryan” Giese
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep…….,
The last few days have found even my “auto pilot” the part of me that takes over in my “present life” having issues. I usually rely upon my auto pilot to see me through the days when my brain has me elsewhere in the past.
However something is amiss, I have waited to have it “clear” or like some kind of emotional pacemaker kick in . Not happening.
Pride Day, Settlers’ Watch, reading about “circumvention and diversion ” which is ripe for a post, Success for All fiasco, transparency in the hierarchy of Lorain City Schools, Cheryl Atkinson and her 76 trombones, scholarships and how Thomas the Tank Engine and the Cuyahoga Valley trip “tanked”, arson and cretins of Lorain
any number of subjects I am in a sort holding pattern
As I walked back from Settlers’ Watch last night knowing that I had a post half-finished to put up for this morning I started to feel quite unwell. I wondered
is this it? Am I done with this planet?
I wasn’t too concerned, I admit it, after all I had had shower and clean underwear but the thought crossed my mind if I tanked the last post on my blog would be the last thing written, my last words so to speak. Oh! I have my obituary half written – after the dreadful obit with regard to my son no other bugger is writing mine so that has to be finished so it can be the “last post” 🙂 . I wonder if you know how weird it is to write your own obit?
People eating and laughing and sharing news of the day in the ICU waiting rooms whilst waiting for my son’s last breath left me disgusted and full of anger. The Gypsy Caravan that attended my son’s last days was to me abhorrent and tasteless and not of my culture or his and robbed death of dignity .
I read his Obituary on Saturday in the local paper. Was this my wonderful young man whose life was put into so many cents a line? Was this MY Chris – I could not let that be the last words written about my son so I have composed a letter which I hope will be a more fitting epitaph to one whose passing has broken a mother’s, father’s and sister’s heart.The Unbearable Pain of Being
My mum – lovely, gentle lady whose love of me and strength of purpose I have with me everyday. Sitting on the beach at Catawba last week, whilst her daughter granddaughter and great-grandchildren played sand castles, diggers , roads, she laughed at the efforts to fill a beach pond. No matter how many buckets of water were dumped or how quickly they were never enough. I watched as she wiped sand from little hands, held the precious shells collected, was the keeper of the water bottles and watched with love two little boys as they discovered a sunny spring day.
I remember my grandmother , another beach, another country, as a little girl splashed merrily in rock pools and brought sea weed to pop and buckets of water to cool tired swollen legs – caused by the harshness of her life .
I remembered other beaches with my two children , not so long ago , other sand castles , more buckets of water, and jumping the waves waves as I watched my daughter jumping the waves with her two little boys .
Today we went to Pandy’s to pick up flowers for my mother and her balcony and for Gavin and Braedyn to get their mummy “pescial Mother’s Day surprise”
We looked and looked until just the right flowers were found.
Braedyn, on the other hand was more interested in bringing home a cat for mummy .
Gavin’s little face turned to me with the smile so reminiscent of another smile on another Mothers Day.
The women of this family will celebrate motherhood but will remember another son , one who is missed beyond all tears.
ED NOTE_ I wrote this last year as the park now known as Veteran’s Park was celebrating 200 years as a recorded park- I am not sure why I didn’t publish at the time – maybe I was in one of my “dark places in my other world where apathy for this life reigns supreme” – I don’t know but as we are coming up to Pride Day and Memorial Day I would hope there is no apathy from any of us for this little green space –
Two hundred years a deeded city property since 1812 – HAPPY ANNIVERSARY????
iS THIS HOW WE CELEBRATE – LORAIN??????????????
I started, yesterday afternoon, to write the recent history of veterans Park aka settlement meeting space, Lorain Public Square, Washington Park and Veterans Park , Lorain Ohio. – Oh! how easy it would have been to have gone back to January 2006 archives on the WoM Blog and list the links but that has disappeared and with it a record of a fight by a community to hold what was deemed worthy.
In the closing months of 2005 the Foltin Administration along with Community Development Director Sandy Prudoff, Jon Veard and Morning Journal editor – John Cole, in their infinite wisdom, decided the historic park should be condos. Foltin and Co started the wheels in motion to make this little park unworthy of its heritage .
Mayor Foltin quietly stopped work and maintenance on the park so that after a period of months the park and its infrastructure started to rapidly deteriorate. The fountain no longer was turned on, said to have major problems ( which turned out later to be a false statement)- graffiti wasn’t removed – only the grass was cut – the vagrants were allowed to use it as John Cole’s editorial stated as a “piss park”. In truth Craig Miller the Safety Service Director told me the park would be “blighted”. Events happened when Jon Veard let the plans out of the bag prematurely and I, along with others, started fighting to stop this fiasco of finance.
It was a nasty fight pitting Veterans groups and the community- I was the subject of editorials and nasty letters , name calling and ridicule but we fought for that park.
Thankfully city council ( who had also been kept in the dark about Foltin and Co’s plans ) stepped in and saved the park. Foltin tried to say the pumps weren’t working on the fountain and it would cost thousands to repair, walls would have to be taken down this was not the case. He tried to use the veterans as a tool to sway city council . You can find the council minutes here …..
Minutes Vets Park City Council June 5th
I have been down this path once before – No more turning a deaf ear and a blind eye and doing just enough- The maintenance on the park, the safety of this park the heart of this oldest neighborhood, an integral part of the port area and Broadway development should be a showcase. People and organizations have cleaned painted and honored their citizens in this park for centuries . We have to stop the rot NOW!!
Children should play under those trees not have to worry about who is doing what disgusting thing , people should sit on benches without having to move bedding , I should be able to sit a listen to a fountain and smell the perfumed breezes of flowers not of human excrement . ( check comments after the previous post). This little park is in fact not very large , some “upmarket” properties have more land mass. It is manageable!
On the 7th of September 2006 I wrote – Silent Witness
“Nothing but a place for deadbeats and bums!” “ It has outlived its purpose” There is nothing historical about that park!” The city can’t afford to keep it up” It is a “piss park!!Nobody uses it, it is worthless!
So said John Cole and his editorials
The year is 1807 Azariah Beebe and his wife becomes the first family to settle in Black River Township. Nathan and Horatio Perry erect a house at the mouth of Black River and open a store for trade with the Indians. The area begins to be known as the Black River settlement.
“Of the first settlers, some men walked the entire distance from Connecticut and other places, some rode horseback part way, sharing the horse with others. Some rode in ox carts; some drove oxen; some came part way by land, and the rest by water; some came on sleds in mid winter; some plowed through the mud of spring or endured the heat of summer, some had bleeding feet and some serious illness.
Sometimes it was a bride and groom who started alone; sometimes it was a husband, wife and children; sometimes it was a group of neighbors who made the trip. Children were born on the way and people of all ages died and were buried where they died.
But after they arrived, their experience was almost identical.
A removal into the depths of the Ohio woods, where a man was directly placed face to face with primitive conditions, brought him at once to the practical contemplation of his problem and the solution was in his own hands; food, shelter, raiment. Here was the earth, whose soil was to furnish bread and clothing, but it was covered with a thick growth of great trees to be removed before it could be planted. Their trunks and barks must be converted into houses.
A temporary supply of food was carried by the immigrant with him. In making his way to his purchase he pursued the trail that led nearest to it, and, with his ax, opened the rest of the way. The point gained, the same implement cut down and prepared the tree trunks for the first cabin, which the hands of the whole party, women and children as well, helped to place in the low crude walls of the primitive structure, while the bark of the basswood and elm made the cover. Doorless, floorless, windowless, chimneyless, the pioneer eagerly took possession of his cheerless cabin.
Thousands of them within 70 years were built and occupied in the Lorain woods. Men and women lived in them there; and children – all the elders of the new generation – were born in them. Death came in them there; and there young women became brides and dwelt the happy wives of happy husbands
Of all the dwellings in the woods, scarcely the site of one can now be identified.
Next to the erection of their own cabin, the most important event was the arrival of another family in the woods and the erection of their dwelling received the joyous help of every male within 10 miles of it
No one born of later years can comprehend the strength and warmth of the bands of sympathy and fellowship, which united the first dwellers in the woods in wide neighborhoods.”
A History of Lorain J.B. Nichols 1924
In the next 5 years the little settlement grows all the while they struggle the new nation continues the birthing process.
1807 UK Leopard fires on the US Chesapeake and impresses 4 men
1807 September 1 Burr is acquitted of treason
1807 December Congress passes TJ’s Embargo Act banned all US trade to keep it neutral. Failure. Manufacturing N benefited. S and shipping hurt bad
1808 US bans the slave trade
1809 March 1 Non-Intercourse Act. repealed Embargo, open trade but not with UK&Fr
1810 Macon’s Bill #2;if 1 country accepts US neutrality US would trade
1810 Napoleon falsely repeals the Berlin and Milan decrees
1811 November WH Harrison’s troops ambushed by “the Prophet”
1812 state of US troops: ~12000. Commanders political appointees, weak
1812 June 18 US declares war on UK
1812 July William Hull (US) tries to invade Canada. rooted. Hull sentenced to death for cowardice. Madison pardons
1812 August-December the US Constitution and United States win sea battles, raise morale
1812 December Madison reelected. (every wartime president has been reelected)
1812 December UK blockade of Chesapeake and Delaware Bays
and in the little settlement , now Lorain, Ohio, they also contribute to the founding of a country , of a state of a city
1808 Ferry charges across Black River: hog and sheep (each) – two cents; footman – six cents; man and horse – eighteen cents; loaded wagon and team – sixty cents; and all other carriages – thirty-seven cents. On July 22, 1808 local groups petition Geauga County Commissioners to have Lake Road continued on toward Sandusky. Lake Road is surveyed by Amos Spafford.
1810 John S. Reid arrives to build a house, then returns to Newburgh (near Cleveland) to get his family. Daniel Perry and family settle west of Black River in early March of 1810. The Shupe, Quigley, Lyon, Kelso and Seeley families settle in or near the Black River Settlement. On September 24,
1811 John S. Reid’s family moves to the area. William Martin establishes a farm, three miles west of Black River, on the little stream once called “Martin’s Run” (which runs through what is now Columbus Park). Quartus and Aretus Gilmore join the Black River Settlement.
1812 Edmund Gilmore and family move to Black River. Edmund Gilmore builds county’s first barn. John S. Reid is commissioned Postmaster for “The Mouth of the Black River Post Office”, October 23, 1812. John S. Reid builds the Reid House Inn and Tavern. John S. Reid builds a ferry opposite his block house. Judge Nathan Perry, Sr., (from Cleveland, Ohio) passes away while visiting his son, Nathan Perry in Lorain. Azariah Beebe and his family left the Black River Settlement, relocating on the Huron River to the West. John Lyon is born. He is the first White child born in the Black River Territory. On August 15, 1812 the news of Hull’s surrender to the British fans rumors of a British invasion of Ohio. A “War Scare” is started by a false report of the burning and capture of Fort Huron by Indians. A Militia post is established at Black River to ensure citizenry that they could safely return to their homes and cabins.
***1812 recorded Lorain Public Square (According to Lorain County Recorder Judy Nedwick, the park has been a part of the plat of Charleston since 1812. Since that time, the county records show, the park has remained property of the city. Morning Journal Jan19th 2006
1813 Guns of the Battle of Lake Erie can be heard at Black River on September 10,
1813. Legend has it that Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) planted apple trees in this area and informed settlers of the results of the Battle of Lake Erie.
The decades roll by; those who form this community are born and die, are greeted and mourned, are forgotten or are remembered in the pages of dusty history books. They all contributed, those who sat beneath the trees, played in the grass, watched as horse and buggy gave way to automobiles.
All through the wars and trials and tribulations stood a little place of green, sometimes forlorn, sometimes beautiful and cared for and then in the year, 2006 insulted and deemed worthless.
This silent witness who cannot speak for itself and so has to rely upon the sons and daughters of those that now call this “settlement “ home. Those who see the beauty and the living green memorial to those who through the years have founded a Nation- The United States of America- silent yet in it’s own way a testament of all that has gone before.
Lorain will not have any “formal ” celebration this year of the Battle of Lake Erie , as will other lakeshore communities, but the City of Lorain and her citizens can at least make sure the little green space who witnessed America’s struggle in 2013 is worthy of remembrance
Your special place beckons warmth, light and beauty to come once again. The land is sleeping, the trees just stirring, their broken branches have fallen to the earth in the winter winds, dried leaves, so vibrantly green in all their summer hues, now fallen, brown, crumbling , spent, giving back to replenish the earth for another season.
Yet there is life, amongst the sleeping woods, heralding the life which will soon come back to this special place that you so loved. The planting of this early spring life was not part of the natural order of things, anymore more than a parent outliving their child is supposed to be part of the natural order .
The spring bulbs planted in remembrance of you once again push through the bracken , their blossoms yellow with sunshine and green with life reaching up to the warming sun. A reminder we live and remember you and the daffodils nod in agreement they too, will enjoy their brief time in the sunshine but will fade all too quickly.
Since you were taken from us we have been left with despair, doubt, anger, a loss of wonder , hope but with a love for you that continues. Chris, you have also left me with an understanding of a strength, I marveled at you through those awful months , your will to survive, the love you had for your family , how you tried to protect us from your pain and anguish.
I am not as strong as I once thought I was , but you have given me an immunity of sorts.
I have bottomed out in my life, I have no fear of death , I have no fear for myself of terminal disease. I too am spent past worrying about “me”. I live with the most untenable pain every moment of these days but there is a strange sort freedom in this world I now live
I no longer have to tolerate people or situations I don’t want in my life . I can choose now the people I welcome and want in my life , those that give not those that take. I no longer have to tolerate , even for politeness sake , I am not beholden to anyone or anything thing. I can speak my truths without fear of offence or retribution for they can never cause me the depth of pain I live with every day.