Posts filed under ‘a Cow -elle opinion’
“If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol
The lights decorating the houses blurred through tears, were wished away. No Christmas cards were opened as they lay on the mat intermingled with sympathy cards- my mother became the keeper of the cards . I wished the merriment over, I wished it all to go away. I had lost hope , my son, my belief in kindness in death (thanks to Tim and Sue Lombardi, their daughter and their “priest” , their “will of control”- that wickedness not forgiven.
What faith I had was taken with his Chris’ last breath and as I saw the faces of his church- going holier than thou in-laws , the look on his brides face, no grief there just a relief there would be no long term dealing with his illness. The haunting of a Christmas past not forgotten as lights twinkle and candles burn.
And yet Christmas comes again and again and once more I am caught up in its intrusiveness . I still “visit” Christmas – how do you deny the children, my grand children, their excitement, their belief in goodness , the love for all the trappings- they refuse to “tone down” Christmas. Christmas for them explodes with laughter and happiness- as it should be.
Christmas has been “managed in this house” – no tree adorns the living room, my mother sends and receives cards decorated her Christmas grotto in her little living room. Gone are the Christmas Past, Christmas present but the world of children’s wonder is visited.
Still the cry – Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, fought over as to the “greeting- the dogma of belief that your “holiday of religion” is the “real one” and Christian or not you should be caught up in Merry Christmas continues to wreak havoc around the world. .
I shop for little ones on line- and venture out only to get my daughter her special present , the children will receive their over the top present from Chris- the “Chris-miss- present”
On this latest trip to “holiday” as I waited in the line of ” holiday traffic” the radio started playing the “holiday happy music” as I reached to turn it off I realized this wasn’t one I had heard before ( maybe I had and had just forgotten). The song fitted my mood. I listened for a bit then traffic and horns of a different kind were blaring. I came home and went to the computer pulled up the song ( now forty years old )- another decade indeed another century – Vietnam- the Middle East the death and dying continuing. The song topped the UK charts – maybe it didn’t get played here in Lorain – it was controversial- this “Christmas Song” was one that struck home .
“I Believe in Father Christmas” is a song by English musician Greg Lake with lyrics by Peter Sinfield. Although it is often categorized as a Christmas song, this was not Lake’s intention. He said that he wrote the song in protest at the commercialization of Christmas. Sinfield, however, said that the words are about a loss of innocence and childhood belief. Released in 1975, the song reached number two on the UK Singles Chart.
They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin’s birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire
They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
’till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in father Christmas
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes
’till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise…………………
And so another Christmas comes and the questions linger along with the pain…..
The Clean Up:
The tree was down and now the clean up –
I didn’t realize the amount of chippings that would be left, also my husband had decided he wanted some of the wood for the fireplace. Now, I would have a fire every night and did so when we could acquire coal but I know the arguments all to well from the “master of the house” _
too late to light a fire (5:pm)- real meaning- I can’t be bothered to go out to the garage to get the wood.
That is the last of the stack real meaning- there is more but I don’t want to chop wood today.
The wood isn’t dry enough. real meaning -it is cold and snowy out there – I don’t want to go and get it
Never had that argument when I could put on a couple of pieces of coal but I certainly wasn’t going to look at that pile of wood all summer, I have had enough of eyesores!
Anyway, knowing how good intentions and ‘I am going to get to that” become irritants in my life, I offered up the left over wood to those that would move , chop and benefit. The great pile of sawdust was moved by two little boys
I, obviously, could not use grandchild enforced labor for the whole clean up. A trip to the internet turned up some handymen/ women . I have to say the quotes from 40 to 85 dollars an hour were surprising.
Finally I found a company “Tactical Home Services Unit” http://www.thsunit.com/. I was so pleased I did .
They were amiable to not only clearing the shrubs and brush , digging holes for my “planting idea” for the front of the lot( wrought iron arch and gate providing a frame work for climbing roses , similar shrubs to tie in ( eventually ) with the front evergreen hedges in front of our original lot)
building a fence and to take on whatever else we required as time went on and then the history of Charleston Village came back to haunt.
To be continued
October the month of ghosts, witches, goblins and ghouls . The fun time for most, a religious celebrations for some Samhain
The interest in ghostly happenings is at an all time high. Witches and superstitions, black cats with arched backs are everywhere
The problem is black cats can be at risk at Halloween or at least a spike in cruelty has been known to happen
And now thanks to the Ghost Hunters extraordinaire television shows etc. we have a plethora of “ghost tours” all around the world, the darkness becomes a “beacon” for those with cameras and phones hoping to catch a glimpse of the world beyond the veil ( the unknown state of being after death)
There are tours of houses, buildings, cemeteries you name it, participants expectant of meeting someone or something and capturing a glimpse of the unknown. There are thousands of them.
Recently Charleston Village Society was contacted re yet another Ghost Tour of Lorain’s oldest cemetery. The cemetery is on city property but as readers know we have been the historical and figurative “keepers” of the cemetery. We declined to enable this event.
There are many reasons NOT to have one of these tours but mainly the headstones are in a very delicate state some are flat on the ground a misstep and another damaged headstone, the cost of replicating these headstones is around $700 to $800 dollars each. Money we don’t have. The ground is very uneven.
Who is responsible for damage done , who pays should someone fall in the dark , does the group have insurance? This cemetery is in the middle of a residential area do the neighbors want 30 or forty people under their windows all October late at night ? The concerns and lack of respect to those whose bones rest there does not sit well .
So unless someone wants a guided “historical” tour during daylight hours we are not in favor of “ghost hunters” traipsing over the graves of Lorain’s pioneers and founding families.
There was yet another “ghostly tour” last week – and we strongly objected before that tour took place and afterwards. The upshot is the cemetery will now be signed “closed at dusk” along with the no pooping dogs.
The tour company said we would donate! No this isn’t about money – hard to believe since we are desperately needing donations to keep the cemetery stable- it is about respect. Respect that is long overdue to those who lay beneath the green trees.
So by all means grab your cameras , follow the guides to beyond the veil somewhere else – UNLESS you want a tour of Lorain’s oldest cemetery and the stories of how a group of people loved, lived, sailed the inland seas, their contributions to this city and this land , then we would be most happy to oblige ( before dusk)
And then ,as I sat one day on the balcony trying to enjoy a summer morning, the vehicles were once again using the lot as their personal cut through, construction vehicles parked, dump truck full of debris, the noise and even more vehicles finding a place to park, peace shattered. I realized I did not want to spend my last remaining days looking at this situation? Since the city has very little accountability for those that do what ever they want – we had decided we at least needed some control over what was happening to “Highway 1125” . We started the paperwork……….
I could just imagine our life with vehicles and construction equipment parked under my windows – the continued “cut through” from the alley to 4th with other visitors too lazy to go to the alley entrance way. The situation would be untenable . The decision was made to try to purchase the lot next door as another vehicle used the lot as a cut through to 4th from the alley.
The City of Lorain can’t enforce any damned one of their ordinances IF the people cited just continue to break them. I don’t know why we bother with anything but new build inspections!!!!!!
The Broadway Building a case in point. 11 years of inspections on a building that sits and rots covered in tacky netting , a community angered by the deteriorating state of the place and the fine just $2,172 in 11 years just over 50 cents a day by my math. Not enough revenue to buy an inspector a cup of morning coffee!!!!!
According to Lorain Municipal Court records, Spitzer Great Lakes Ltd. has since paid the housing court fines totaling $2,172 for its building violations.
The lawn mowers on Jaeger still there and can be seen from space . Fines paid and the process starts all over again!!!!!!!
The tax payers KNOW piddly little ordinances such as vehicles on lawns, eyesores galore, a derelict house that takes 40 years before it is finally demolished are ignored through lack of accountability!
Lorain and her enforcement is a joke and the people laughing are the ones that pay the fines as a cost of doing business. It is the law- abiding that follow the rules or try to at least.
It was obvious if we didn’t want to put up with the nuisance factor on 1125 we were going to have to have control over what would happen with that land.
The first item to start the process was the application :
On July 13th 2015 the City of Lorain land reutilization policy parcels of city-owned land offered vacant lots for sale .In the program, potential purchasers would apply to the city’s Department of Building, Housing Planning indicating which lots they want to buy and how they would redevelop the property.
The city will not sell land to anyone delinquent in real estate taxes or city income taxes, or anyone violating city zoning, building, health or property maintenance codes of Lorain. Buyers also may not be delinquent in on city utility bills and must not be in arrears on any payments owed to the city.
The Application PDF found here vacant_parcel_purchase_application_and_instructions
There were of course time lines and rules to follow- applications starting October 1st 2015 and then through the 1st to the 15 of the month. Applications were time stamped , fees to be met.
And here is where thanks to the “Inspection of our property” by the Dye Tribe. Our donspout disconnect
and having to paint my garage by a certain date didn’t have the outcome Dye Inspections were looking for. The red door on the garage chosen to match the ever-present dump truck – a design by Lorain ….
Dye and her family did us a HUGE service. You see because of her “timely ” complaints this family had a lovely official abatement of letter from the Chief Building Inspector Klinar to add to our application package showing we were in fact in compliance with the codes . Thanks Mrs. Dye 😉
That letter we included with our application along photos of nuisances associated with the property, the history of the lot from 1834 and the plan for bringing back 1125 fitting to the historic ambiance of this oldest neighborhood.
As soon as the 5th floor opened on that October 1st 2015 – our application containing all relevant paperwork was submitted and time stamped. There were only two other people in the waiting area and they were there for different parcels.
After a few weeks we were sent the letter our application had been accepted and so began the revitalization of “Highway 1125” to be continued …..
I will admit to being pretty naïve as to how government worked and the tools( aka “study/s”) needed by the City of Lorain. In the early 90’s. Charleston Village Society http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/ was pretty new as a 501C3 back then. You see CVSI did it backwards we became a neighborhood organization without anyone’s help or dollars. We did the ground work ourselves , tried to make a difference.
We were ridiculed (as the village idiots) and yes even Community Development for the City of Lorain tried thwarting us at every turn – “the middle class clique “ their term -Chuck Urindrisky and Sandy Prudoff possibly concerned about their ” HUD cash cow” . We became an organization over which Community Development had no control – we were the loose cannon.
Finally, we were recognized and our input was required. We were asked to attend a series of meeting with the “movers and shakers” ( I kid you not that was the term used) at the then Lorain High School on 6th.
We were , Rich Robbin and I, excited- maybe something would finally get going in this old neighborhood and Lorain.
We printed out our newsletter, at the time, with the facts and figures from government sources and handed out the newsletter to the movers and shakers – with the headline of 20 odd years ago FOR RENT ONE CITY – LORAIN. Our figures showed Lorain heading from an owner occupied city to 60 percent rental. Not much has changed over the ensuing decades except the “quality” of the rental market took a downward dive in the older neighborhoods(in my opinion) .
Back to our naivety . We duly attended the meetings , the flip charts , touting Lorain’s assets – the Palace , the Lake, the people , the parks , organizations, business opportunities, history etc. After the third such meeting back in the early 90’s I dared ask –
So what happens to this Plan and when do we start implementation?
Oh well we have the facilitator gather all our recommendations, ideas and issues they will make a report and take it to the Mayor’s Office and Community Development for them to find a way forward.
Oh so we won’t be actually “doing anything ” just telling he powers that be what we think- we won’t be implementing anything?????
No! this will just help determine the city’s way forward……….
Source Dave Brown
of the Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/us
A way forward???? that very term has haunted me and made me nauseous ever since. I don’t know what happened to the “PLAN” from the 90’s and then again the “Visioning Plans of the rest of the decades that we still kept attending. I have the county plan from 1991 ) Vision 20/20 ( total misnomer in my opinion)
We did attend the “plan for the port” and yes! in fact that was one of the very few “plans that have seen implementation in the past 15 years- but one has to wonder if that would’ve succeeded if the Lorain Port Authority had not been accountable directly to the Lorain taxpayer for operating revenue through levies etc.
I attended, on behalf of Charleston Village Society the “Big Idea ” session held at the Lorain Port Authority conference room. This latest study and its outcome apparently will focus on the “zoning ” requirements for this city and determine future zoning/planning based upon the study results . You can find the project schedule the time line – meetings etc. here
There were representatives from a few organizations at the table for this session with Senior Planner Justin Robbins AICP
there were the obligatory flip charts , not much has changed there and it was the “Opportunities ” Page that took me from
Oh well we were asked I will go and listen once more as we go through the motions to help with tools in the box
to the old curmudgeon !
As the people around the table, only one of whom I have ever seen attend any of these previous decades of “plans”, told of the strengths and the opportunities……. I was transported BACKKKKKKKKKKKK to a time of long ago and a plan far away…
OK! I admit all my good intentions of say nothing went west as I looked at the same “opportunities” being written down on yet another flip chart. The same damned things that were written down in the first planning / study strategy I attended those many years ago.
So I forgot my good intentions and said my say ( on the negative side ). Apparently after 20 odd years of Visions and Plans the positives remained the same so not much to ADD there .
I had my say about Lorain’s largest business – the Rental Business
( As a real estate agent and landlord painted a more than rosy scenario” and Yes there is a lucrative business in Lorain!
10 MILLION 800 THOUSAND A YEAR or 900,000 A MONTH coming from the voucher program alone into the coffers of the landlords , a majority of whom live outside Lorain.
I am sure those stats haven’t decreased probably increased since the post
“Right now ( 1991) you’re giving Lorain away a house at a time , a piece at a time and no one seems to care”
Ward Two the ward that has the Lake, the opportunities for development, itself glutted, decaying and home to even in worst shape now than when the “movers and shakers” held that round table at the Lorain High School cafeteria.( also gone and re planned)
One thing did change the plus side held Lorain City Schools but although the buildings are newer they now find they are in the negative. Back in the time that Lorain forgot ( along with her tangible history) Lorain Schools held many studies and discussions on their way forward – attended more than one – Ironically the last one I wrote about
5 Years ago the Goals for Lorain City Schools coming from http://www.ode.state.oh.us plan
1) Goal 1: By the end of the 2011-12 school year, 78% of all students will meet or exceed proficient level on the OAT and 90% on the OGT in the area of reading.
2) Goal 2: By the end of the 2011-12 school year, 78% of all students will meet or exceed proficient level on the OAT and 90% on the OGT in the area of mathematics.
3) Goal 3: By the end of the 2011-12 school year, the Lorain City School district will meet or exceed state minimum attendance standard of 93%.
4) Close the socioeconomic, ethnic and gender gaps in student achievement
5) Adult Basic and Literacy Education and EL/Civics
6) Expand college preparation course offering at the high school level
7) Career-Technical Education
8. FY 2010 Increase student achievement (Reading/Language Arts, mathematics, and science)
– Improving Teacher Quality, Title II-A
THE OUTCOME 2016 Sept.
We could say no more studies , no more plans but these are part of the government hoops and showing the money boys of government – a way forward and community buy in. I suppose it would be cheating to just update the old studies and plans???
Oh and that Lake it also has to go on the negative and plus ( which cancels it out somewhat) because 1/3 of the area that would normally draw in business is water and that water is usually frozen for 5-6 months of the year and rough for a least a couple of months as well – there goes your “boat” people .
Entertainment District/ Downtown and maybe see the area jumping on weekends for 3 months or so BUT will not support a thriving downtown area or gentrify the neighborhood in order to have foot traffic. It has to be part of a much “bigger idea” and I am not sure I have seen that yet….
So this latest “input from the public” is How do we want our community Zoned ?
Updating Lorain’s Zoning/Planning:
An Entertainment zone?( year round???)
Zoned Historical ( better get on that fast we have very little historical bricks and mortar left)-
Residential ( up market zone)( down market)
Recreational Zone – lawn parking of Rv’s
Light Industrial – street parking of construction vehicles ( note these can be grandfathered in as it happens every day)
Heavy Industrial – and so on and so forth……..
” EQUALITY/ACCOUNTABILITY ZONE- SUB ZONE NO ROLLED ROOFS On PITCHED ROOFS ZONE
Yes that is what I would like an equality/ accountability and no rolled roof Zone – where everyone has to follow the ordinances we already have! With “Zone inspections rather than complaint driven ”
But for right now……. I am completely ZONED OUT
Every time I read of accusations on facebook , social media etc I do so with a wariness. I wouldn’t have had a few years ago. In my last post
I mentioned our 11 months of hell caused by an elderly neighbor who truly believed her accusations. Before her dementia she had been a good neighbor, wanting to help with the community and did so , her talent as an artist used more than once with neighborhood events .
The family made no effort to help and so this neighbor literally took down her favorite tree, glass blocked her windows and put up fences . She was scared , frightened and alone in the fact she did not get the help she needed and that fact rippled through our lives. Due to her actions, we could not help – our attorney forbade any contact- so we had to leave her to her own terrifying nights until at last, after being found by another neighbor wandering the street in her night attire, something was finally done. The damage to our family was already done-
I wrote about that time on another blog The WoM Blog 10 years ago – I would like you to read this tale of accusation – 11 months of proving innocence- this could happen to you –and the years between have not erased the helplessness and yes anger at the family we felt.
J’Accuse- The Cost of Innocence
It is 6:00 am. in Lorain – Do you know where your attorney is?
John Paul Sartre got it right when he stated in his play – No Exit
”HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE!”
The accuser and the accusations:
A neighbor, elderly and alone (who fully believed in her accusations) and since she wasn’t a known trouble maker or on anyone’s radar was totally believable- so the complaints made to the various authorities seemed reasonable.
1. a male neighbor throwing things at her house
2. male footprints in the freshly fallen snow leading to her front door from the neighbors
3. weapons being hidden between the houses
4. a male neighbor exposing himself through the fence
5. a neighbor opening the fire hydrants on the street
6. a male neighbor pointing a gun at her through the back door
7. a male neighbor hiding in the shrubs
8. intruders in her basement
9. intruders inside her house
10. up on her roof at night
11. neighbors cutting her phone lines
So I would ask you – you are the Lorain Police Department – you are getting these calls from an elderly woman, all alone- starting in June and carrying through to May of the next year. You send patrol cars -you check – you wake people from a sound sleep at all times of the night to make sure they are home and not harassing an elderly woman.
You respond when a citizen complains, it is documented. The elderly woman tells the rest of the neighborhood what it happening to her, enlisting their aid. The “family” of the accuser calls the accused family “perverts”-among other insulting remarks.
ARE YOU FEELING SYMPATHY AND OUTRAGE FOR THIS POOR WOMAN?
The REST of the story :
1. the things being thrown -tennis balls- coming across and into her yard as the kids in a neighboring home are playing ball.
2. footprints in the snow- the mail carrier coming from one house delivering to another
3. weapons ( supposedly being hidden to hit the neighbors on the head) – fallen tree limbs from her own tree
4. THE DE -FENCE NO. 4 -in the Accusations list
Oh! and the “exposing of a male part of the anatomy through the fence (from two properties away I might add)
It was the first accusation – I remember it so well another neighbor phoned,
NB. where is your husband?
ME: He is at the store –
NB: Oh good Sally phoned to say he was putting his penis through (another neighbors fence) ( two doors away)
ME: WHAT???? Is this some sort of a joke??
NB: No she is claiming your husband is sticking his penis through a knot hole in the fence….
AND SO IT BEGAN –
The elderly lady was fixated with the knothole and the penis and called out the police on another fine summer day. I asked the officer who was a little sharp with me at first to please come and look at the fence. He reluctantly did so – I showed him the knot hole and its position in the fence and then I said
“officer if you can put your penis through that hole I will personally put the handcuffs on my husband “
A little grin did flicker across his face as he remarked ”
” No thank you ma’am I am more endowed than to fit that opening.
I then took him to the other side of the fence where we have a pond. and where in order to expose oneself you would have to lay on your side half in the water.
The officer wrote up a report which was pretty laughable- the Chronicle Telegram and their reporter saw the police report, thankfully we were spared our names in the article – Shawn Foucher wrote the article : If The Fence Don’t Fit You Have To Acquit!
5. Opening Fire Hydrants – The fire dept. was called by the accuser, and the LFD were very irate, it was in fact the Lorain Water Dept. as they had a water line burst on Oberlin Avenue. So when the Fire Dept then turned off the gushing fire hydrant the water dept. guys from the Utilities Dept came running down the street waving their arms as they were now having to deal with gushing water .
6. The gun , after three such calls and reports it turns out, when questioned further, that the “gun” was actually a “RAY GUN” and this wonderful invention (invented apparently by the accused) could make her steel back door disappear for 8 seconds at a time and she had to blink to get it back!
7. The shrub – was an over 70 foot maple tree, which not only did the accused manage to climb, in the dark – but did so in a DRESS. (ouch!)
8. The intruders (now there were two) the accused and his wife- apparently getting in through the vent in the glass block window
9. Picture this if you will. The police are called the “intruders” (we now have two again) are in the house, armed . One officer arrives, he has called for back up however there is a serious problem elsewhere other officers are tied up on another call. With caution the officer calls to the intruders to come out of the closet. Nothing, silence- weapon at the ready he throws open the door to a closet???? no one
Ma’am are you sure they went in here?
What is the matter with you ? Can’t you see them- they are hiding under that lampshade!
Call for back up was cancelled!
10. Up on the roof (raccoons and squirrels using her roof as a route from one tree to another )
11. The phone lines were cut as a truck making deliveries to More for Less caught the overhead lines and ripped them down.
NOTE – pretty funny isn’t it??? but these plausible complaints were harrowing to us at the time and terrifying to her – AND WE HAD TO PROVE EVERYDAY – EVERY COMPLAINT THAT WE WERE INNOCENT!!!!
The EFFECT😦 Due to these accusations):
1. Hundreds of dollars were spent by the accused on lawyers letters, dealing with the accusations, building higher fences . Family members of the accuser making insulting and damning remarks (rather than seeing the problem- again lawyers letters)
2. Months of harassment, being woken from a sound sleep at all hours of the night with the police at the door responding to the accusations. Not being comfortable and able to relax in your OWN home.
3. Documenting your every move for over a year. Because when someone makes an accusation that you were doing something at a certain time you better have proof that you were elsewhere and have a reliable witness.
So you keep a daily/hourly diary, where you were, who was with you, if you go to the store alone -you keep the time stamped receipt. You cannot even go into your back yard without a witness or companion. Your reputation is shot! Your life becomes about PROVING YOUR INNOCENCE every day, just because “J’Accuse”.
4. The embarrassment is bad enough but the stress takes its toll, infact this living on the accusatory knife-edge ( and people will say – hmmmm where there is smoke…..) effects you emotionally and physically you become ill. You can’t sleep, you are on the defensive, your life is turned upside down and the lives of your family, you are angry, bewildered and hurt .
YOUR HOME, YOUR SANCTUARY BECOMES A PRISON
Everyday you have to prove innocence because someone made an accusation, that on the face of it, was believable. You spend your days “explaining” and your nights waiting for the next phone call or knock on the door wanting to know what you are doing and where you have been .
It is only when you look into the “rest of the story” that you realize that as ridiculous as these accusations really were the suffering, expense and the toll on a family -wasn’t funny.
AND NOW – the hedges are grown deliberately- so the daughter and husband who had their say as I was screamed at by the “construction king ” and ironically wanting MY HELP in their “estate court case” can no longer peer into my garden- let them inspect the alley–
You see the grandfather also had issues before he passed only at that time it was another neighbor who bore the brunt of his “visions” – those ” good ” neighbors eventually moved…… So before accusations are made – and believed remember sometimes all is not so cut and dried…………………………THIS PROVING OF INNOCENCE CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE ……….