Posts filed under ‘Kudos’
This year’s Pride Day 2016 ( Lorain County)- thankfully – found the volunteers not having to fight Mother Nature , unlike 2014
However true to form we had Lorain Rotarians continuing their mission
“Phil Dore, a former president of the Lorain Rotary Club, was part of a contingent that undertook the sprucing up of Settlers Watch in Lorain. He said that the newly minted park is just up the road from his home, but the rotary club has been deeply involved in the park since the beginning.
“We’ve been doing this now since 2009,” he said while taking a short break from his work. “
Charleston Village Society http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/ is very fortunate in the continuing loyalty of our volunteers to the area known as Settlers’ Watch,
This is a huge green space- taken out of the rubbish dump and tangled growth of vacant lots .
The transformation could not have been even remotely possible without the partnership of the City of Lorain , the help of Lorain County Solid Waste and community donations and the volunteers from the neighborhood, CVSI Executive Board and so many others who quietly give back, including our constant gardener. Without Joe and his love of the space we would be in dire straits. Another successful Pride Day 2016.
Thanks to all the people who continue to help in so many ways. Take a walk and “smell the roses”- and a special thanks to Joe our constant gardener!!!!
Photos are also a collage of Lisa Miller and others with their phones.
Antus said this year’s ”Light Up Lorain” promises to be the biggest event in its five years.
ED NOTE: Actually since the Morning Journal was part of the “1st Annual” event back in the day you would think they would have had a greater background knowledge of the who what and WHEN!!!! 😉
as to the correcting event history of LIGHT UP LORAIN took me back to the “first order of business” for the then fledgling “mainstreetlorain” organization ( Not to be confused with MAIN STREET Program – therein lies another chapter) ).
I had met, at the end of 1995, with Al Kirchner (Herman Kirchner Furniture) and members of the Downtown Merchants Association. Charleston Village Society,had at that time, been a somewhat viable organization representing Lorain’s oldest neighborhood for half a dozen years. The merchants had decided to move in a different direction wanting to be inclusive of the abutting neighborhood, after all you can’t have a healthy downtown without a healthy neighborhood, something that still holds true today!
It was a few months later I was asked to attend a meeting in the conference room at the Spitzer Hotel. The newly formed “mainstreetlorain” interested parties were in attendance . I only knew two personally- Gary Fischer (Arkinetics) and Al Kirchner ( Herman Kirchner Furniture). I had, of course, heard of the other attendees that morning in the spring of 1996. I was introduced to Joel Kruek (Lorain National Bank), Anthony Giardini ( Spitzer ) Dick Gieonopi (Crystal Clear Cleaners) Scott Beyers (Jax Mens Wear and Endless Summer ) Mary Smith ( Morning Journal) .
I sat and listened, during that first meeting, as to how they wanted to form an organization, following a plan to promote the “downtown area of Lorain” . A number of suggestions were discussed including Gary Fischer outreaching to the National Main Street group as to recommendations, looking at funding sources and so forth, contacting the city, designating the area which would come under the “mainstreetlorain” umbrella, contacting the Koziura Administation as to the intent of the organization and to keep them up to speed.
Just before the meeting was to end Anthony Giardini stated : (I am probably paraphrasing here a little.)
If we are going to promote the business area in Lorain then we need a kick off event . I am sick of those tattered lantern decorations that the city puts up every year. They need to go and be replaced. We need to purchase new decorations , we need them to go along Broadway on every light pole, we need to have a centralized location and light trees in front of city hall”
I am not sure who came up with the idea of Veterans Memorial Park, I think it may have been Al Kirchner , as the ideas were now coming fast and furious around that conference table, Gary Fischer was aglow:
“Fireworks!!! we must have fireworks, let us have the Mayor throw the switch, I will build the switch with a flash bang and when it is thrown the lights will come on that will signal the guys to light the fireworks , and the firework display will start.
There was some conversation about warning Mayor Koziura about the switch!
Dick said “
hot chocolate, lets give away hot chocolate and cookies, candy canes
someone else said
bands, carol singing, the library has “characters, Santa Claus, wait let’s get the Palace involved, let’s have a parade….. what shall we name it?
– various names were tossed around – Celebrate Lorain , Holiday Lorain and it was Gary Fischer who said
“How about Light Up Lorain!!!”
and everyone agreed!
And there I sat – wondering what all this was going to cost? I didn’t say a lot – I had been down this path before, lots of great plans and ideas that came to nought.
Finally calm was restored and Anthony Giardini said
are we all agreed we will have the kick off event for the organization the Saturday after Thanksgiving?
so that will be 1997 right
OH NO! it is going to be this coming Thanksgiving !!!
ERRRRRRRR do we have any money ?
No” we are going to have to raise the funds, we will meet next week.
In the meantime, Gary contact American Fireworks and get quotes, we will contact the city and get their thoughts and how this will work with their programs- Mary, talk to Kevin Walsh (the Journal Publisher) about publicity, Loraine we will need Charleston Village to act as our non-profit so donations will be tax-deductible, Joel talk to the bank etc. etc.
and off they went out the door leaving me somewhat dumfounded. I honestly didn’t think they stood a hope in hell getting this off the ground – you see it was already the end of May.
The next week’s meeting had the same people gathered , excitement filled the air, quite overwhelming my caution. There were some new faces ( Rich Robbin ( my co-chair of CVSI- I definitely needed a cooler head to back me up in case I had to be a negative! That idea went south when he agreed to be Santa Claus.
Vivian Alexander, was there representing the City of Lorain, she had come with the quote for the lights , with the discount it was about $59,000 dollars for the wreaths, holders, lights in the trees and standing decorations.
Gary had a quote of $3,600 for a fifteen minute display of fireworks. The hotel would provide the hot chocolate , Tom Boyer and family would man the tent with chocolate and baked goods and provide the tent! The Morning Journal would run a story, the Palace would be on board with Billy the Clown and a parade as well as the Lorain Police Department and Lorain Fire Dept.
Mayor Koziura would see to it the Street Dept and Chuck Camera and crew would hang the lights and wreaths along Broadway and in Veterans Memorial Park. Jimmy Dillion, from the Electrical Dept would see to it there was power in the park and at City hall. Lorain Public Library and Terri Fredericks would bring in “characters” and Frank and Carolyn Sipkovsky from Black River Historical Society would help liase with the museum , coordinating holiday displays at the museum and canned good donations etc.
The only fly in their ointment that first year was the Lorain City Schools thought it would be too cold for their choirs and band. However Clearview Band had no such problem and Bobbi Emery stepped up to the band stand ( literally). Elvis would entertain. We had a commitment from Alan Spitzer to pay for the fireworks!
We had our MC Gary Fischer who two years later was joined by his assistant Natalie Fischer although she wouldn’t be talking for a while yet 🙂 – the program for the night was set, the food, fireworks all seem to be in hand. BUT the nagging little voice kept saying
errrrr what are we going to light up because the “lighting vendor” wanted to be paid before they delivered and I didn’t have 59,000 hanging about in CVSI accounts
We were now in June- Once again it was Anthony Giardini –
we will have a Christmas in July fundraiser at the hotel, Mary and Loraine you take care of decorations, the invitations etc. etc.
And so the fundraising started , there were afternoons spent at Scott Beyers’ store ( since he had multiple phone lines) calling donors , getting pledges it was a busy few months.
“mainstreetlorain” had its first “member ” Alan McCartney ( SQP) Print Center, he more than paid his dues as I was always running in for “can you print this please….” It was well deserved his family became front page as they watched the fireworks on that November 30th night of 1996 and the 1st Annual Light Up Lorain!
The funds were raised and the lights delivered however to our amazement over 100,000 light bulbs needed to be screwed in , hundreds of thousand of feet of wire had to be stretched out , every display needed to have their bulbs attached. Frantic calls to Frank and Carolyn, their volunteers, the girl scouts, the boy scouts, the school kids, Alan Spitzer donated the hotel and lunch but due to hotel commitments it had to be done in three hours. The Spitzer Hotel ballroom and hallways were filled with wire , bulbs and laughter but the volunteers came through and they got it done in time .
There were some difficulties along the way even then, the test run saw one exploding reindeer in front of City Hall- and George Koury commenting
in every battle at least one soldier must fall.
I was concerned it may be the mayor and that exploding switch!
And lessons learned – As the Fire Dept rushed to the scene during the fireworks extravaganza ( as we lit them on top of city hall- a place well known for fireworks”) the ensuing smoke was sucked into the air vents setting off alarms throughout the building- I do believe that was the 1st and last time for fireworks on the roof!
Since THAT 1st Annual Light Up Lorain Event the “mainstreetlorain” organization became Lorain Growth Corporation and has seen directors come and go, new committees have succeeded those of the original group they have added a great deal to the Light Up Lorain, Santa has a wife and a kitchen, window displays and more lights, there are bonfires and icesculpting planned, rocket rides but along with Gary Fischer the one and only constant from those days in the 1996 it is about celebrating the holiday Lorain style!
So you see when publicity for the Light Up Lorain event has been promoted as the first annual, or the 3rd annual and recently the 5th annual as the headlines last week; I took exception!
Yes! I had my own brand of fireworks going off because I can still remember sitting around that conference room table in 1996 thinking OMG these people are off their trolley this will never happen by November 30th 1996… but it did because they had a vision and a passion and a willingness to work together for Lorain!
THIS YEARS LIGHT UP LORAIN CELEBRATION IS ALSO NOVEMBER 30TH 2013
Three Times the charm??? Apparently the lady first went empty-handed after the Lorain Tornado- then to vandalism !
You can find a saga from yesteryear here from Dan Brady’s Blog:
and now thanks to volunteers Ed and Karyn Ferraro of Buckeye Sheet Metal, and the hard work of Art Schwan and the Lorain Elks club who have adopted Victory park-
The V is back in Victory and the winged lady has her sword back – the palm frond will follow
ED Note- I did find through the internet a tid bit from a forum page – If anyone can verify it would be a great help and in the continuing mystery – does anyone know when the V was erected and by whom ?
““My name is John Weinbrandt and I live in Lorain, OH. It is to my knowledge that the so called “DARK ANGEL” was sculpted by my great grandfather Valentini. My great grandfather was commissioned from Italy sometime in the early 1900’s to work in Washington D.C. sculpting angels and other statues of that nature. After finishing his work in D.C. he got a job with Lorain Monument, and the “DARK ANGEL” along with all of the other angels (which are the similar only smaller in size) in Calvary Cemetery and the larger than life angel that heads Victory Park here in Lorain”
They came with their rakes, their shovels, their brooms , their wheelbarrows , brushes , gloves, ladders and laughter .
These members of Century-Link- Lorain Rotary- Lorain Lion’s Club,Kiwanis, Charleston Village Society and Lorain.
And Admiral King’s Tribute site gets its gold!
Some photos- Lisa Miller – Ernest Ritchey- Nikki Beres. ( click on photo to enlarge )
Note someone is missing a wheelbarrow- I have it – contact me
Although there weren’t a lot of participants, for once we the citizens could not say we weren’t given any input. The information about the project was in the newspapers, blogs and electronic media ( using email lists) BUT apart from that every resident received a hand delivered notification as to the project and the meeting .
The Chronicle Telegram covered the meeting and their article is here:
Copies of the plan and tree types were handed out to those attending :
The pdf files for the master plan and types of trees
can be found here
Tree Planting March 2012
Types of trees:
Too many times we focus on the negative happenings in what is Lorain’s oldest green space, the public green from whence a city was born now known as Veteran’s Park.
However fellow blogger Lisa Miller ( Buster’s Momma) called me on Saturday morning to say
Did I know what was going on at Veteran’s Park
not more vandalism and less than desirable activity- No I said cautiously what now?
There are all these little girls and mums and dads cleaning up!
I bet it is the Girl Scouts- Lisa can you ask their troop leader if we can take photos – and can you take some please
All photos- ( click on to enlarge) Lisa Miller
The Girl Scouts are more than about cookies that is for sure- they came prepared
Charleston Village thanks you and the neighborhood and all that love that little park!
Well done ladies-( and mums, dads and little brothers too!) You did us proud!!!!
Lisa told me they were so proud of their work and smiles were evident everywhere!
Lisa, of Busters House would like to know if anyone has any information as to who was the artist- any ideas?????????
As with any project there are always hiccups. As most are aware there isn’t any electricity at the site so therefore we had to go solar in order to light the flag at night. We had to use a bucket truck and the Electrical Dept. to get the solar panel and light up to the cross arm of the flag pole. However, in the blustery winds the solar panel moved and was pointing the wrong way – a readjustment and tightening up had to be done. Now it turns out we have to adjust the light direction as it is hitting the bar.
The problem is we can only do the adjustments in the day time which makes “light direction” a bit difficult but there is a light on the flag and we will sort this out.
The weather also played havoc with pouring the concrete around the flag pole the week before the flag raising ceremony.Thanks to John Falbo and Terminal Ready- Mix Inc after a week of rain delays they have poured the ocean, lake, sky blue concrete around the base of the flag pole. Our gratitude goes without saying
It takes many, many hands, expertise and talent to get projects like this up and running. I also wanted to share some photos taken by another photographer last Saturday – following photos were taken by
ROGER BROWNSON and appear with his permission: