Posts tagged ‘Charleston Village’
Part One- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/money-where-your-mouth-is-part-one/
Part Two- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/money-where-your-mouth-is-the-process-part-two/
Part Three- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/money-where-your-mouth-is-part-3/
Part Four- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/money-where-your-mouth-is-part-4/
Part Five –https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/11/15/money-where-your-mouth-is-part-5/
In Defence of the Fence
Clean up along the front half of the new lot (1125)aka “Lower Deeping Gate” was done and we began to see a problem. We always knew our house at 1127 sat higher than the lot next door, it being on the edge of the old ravine, but once the brush and trees were removed we found the drop off to be not a couple of feet but at one point -6 feet.
Instead of coming all the way to the front of our house with the fence and across we decided to fence and meet the original fence( ( as we already had a gate to access the property at 1125) about 80 feet. And there the trials began. First – a decision on the type of fence, then the problem of getting the fence delivery truck down the 16 foot alley was no easy feat.
Then it was just a matter of putting the fence up up BUT this was not going to be as easy as we thought. Starting at the back of the lot ( after getting the required city permit) all was well. Although the neighbors ( gun on his hip and “f” king of construction) were daily measuring and having conversations as to the size of the lot etc. ( more on that later)
The back of the lot was pretty flat and even so 32 feet of fence being flush to the ground was not an issue, apart from digging the post holes and hitting rocks galore. The long section of fencing running down the lot we soon found out, when trying to stay even at the top, was dropping at an alarming rate.
The men from Tactical Home Services Unit” http://www.thsunit.com/ knocked on the door to tell me there would be a “gap” as we came across the front of the lot as the land was dropping.
Thinking to myself ”
Oh well we will just fill in with some dirt or a couple of little boards”
I told them to go ahead. I wondered why he looked a little perplexed and with a
“well- OK! if you are sure?
My answer as to their skepticism came as the front of the fence went up , what I thought would be a few inches became 4 feet. Our lovely fence looked like the great wall or a billboard, the 6 ft fence became 10 and up in the air. In fact, the land rapidly dropped 4 foot in the last 40 foot of fence and closer to six foot as it met our old fence at the corner of the house and continued to drop the further down the lot you went.
Obviously we couldn’t leave a fence up in the air 4 feet or more but what to do? We had to get three dump truck loads of “in fill” dirt for the property behind the “great wall” ( more expense)so that the 6 ft fence sat evenly on the ground ( Upper Deeping Gate). Since the in -fill dirt was dumped in piles we had to get help, other than Gavin and Braedyn, to move it.
It was during this day when, as I was watching the two earth-movers, the “little guy with the gun on his hip” started cutting down the tree on the edge of our property and the hurling of insults and rhetoric began screaming at me the Building Dept had given him permission.
( Photo Source : http://www.rcosf.com/anger-management-do-you-need-a-psychologist/ )
It was then I knew there was going to be an issue with the neighbors and where one’s property ended. I knew the fence was thirty two feet and since it came off of our garage, which obviously was on our original lot, we were well within the lot line ( the newly purchased lot was 34.5 ft. by 157 ft. ) The trouble is (and was) the two neighbors had decided where their lots began and ended and were feeding each other erroneous information.
I stopped the neighbor from cutting down the tree just in time. It isn’t a great tree but in summer blocks the view of another less than desirable property from our balcony. The tree is probably irrevocably damaged and if it falls it will be down to the “little guy with the gun on his hip”
Another expense, because we then had our original lot and the lot next door surveyed and yes! the tree is on our property.
Back to the fence, as the contractors kept digging they met all sorts of rubble and huge tree roots, not entirely unexpected . I had always known there was a water source ( stream) running under the lot so hitting water was also not unexpected. What we hadn’t banked on was the ravine ( seen on the map below) had been filled with the debris of the 1924 tornado , the people back then must have just bulldozed everything into that ravine and covered it with dirt.
The decision to build a retaining wall/planter box across the front of the fence to hold back the newly filled dirt and to stop further erosion even added more angst and expense. This lot was becoming a money pit but we couldn’t have a fence in the air!
A change of design a change of plan . engineering , more building , more top soil to fill and planting
Definition of Deeping -Extending far downward below a surface- underground water source.
To be continued………..
The Tree Phase One of the Plan
It took a few weeks, after we were notified, we had been successful in our bid to purchase the lot at 1125 aka ( Highway 1125) for the property to transfer .
The first thing we did was to ask for bids to remove the gigantic tree close to our house. We had stated in our “plan” to the city this would be done. The tree almost 90 feet tall was failing, it was less than 10 feet away from our house and if it had fallen it certainly would’ve taken out at least two homes. Estimates came in from nearly $5,000 to the lowest at $2,500. We went with a local company Tree Pro.
the loss of this gentle, yet worrying, giant was also going to be missed. I knew we would no longer get the benefit of shade on our balcony and mum’s flowers would have to be changed out and air-conditioning would be cranked up come summer, the tree provided so much shade to our lot and home. I love trees, always have done, it breaks my heart to lose them.
What I hadn’t realized , this tree with its huge trunk and outstretched branches, some of which could be trees themselves, blocked from my view, through the den window, from all manner of issues in the neighborhood. How secure and serene my view whilst the maple had stood guard. The lifestyles of others hidden from me. I was lost in a world of bark, butterflies , leafy limbs, squirrels , birds and living things – my non human neighboring so much more pleasant than reality!
“What the eye doesn’t see and the mind doesn’t know, doesn’t exist.” D H Lawrence
All of a sudden – windows were opened to more than just sunlight and heat. Stark reality invaded my home, no longer could I sit at the desk in the den -protected from view and protected views- as fingers pounded the computer keyboard on a daily basis . The goldfish bowl of life opened me up to view, it was and is intrusive to my little world . The bamboo blinds helped but still there was a nakedness to the views which I hadn’t experienced in the 40 years of living here all because of the absence of the tree.
I knew the tree was a hazard, I knew it was dying slowly, I knew it had to go but I didn’t know how much that tree had added to my happiness and how desolate the outlook when it was gone. It softened and protected .
The wood hauled away the stump ground down leaving the “ashes” of what was once there.
But even in its death throes still it made its presence known, gigantic roots extending throughout the lot next door, reaching for the water source we knew was to be found beneath. The trunk and upper branches lost to the chipper and lumber yards but the roots would not give up so easily . The clearing of the lot and new landscaping would be compromised. My only hope to replicate the privacy , beauty and well-being that had been taken away by the chainsaw would be in some ” creative” plantings”. The tree was so large it will take many, many months if not years to retrieve the ambiance and peace of mind the old maple afforded us ……..
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 am a transplant from a sea faring nation. I always wondered why Lorain did not hold her “inland seas” connection dearer to their historical hearts.
“One of the captains Dore shared information about was Capt. Thomas Wilford. She referred to him as the “steamboat master” and explained how he saved his family from a ship wreck on Lake Superior.
Dore said she learned about Wilford 10 years ago, and is in part how she became interested in the history of the Black River and those who helped establish Lorain, formerly known as Charleston Village.
As I read Rene’s remarks I remembered the night she introduced us to Captain Wilford
and his connection, how this led to a continuing journey through the seas of Lorain’s maritime history and her lights along the shore …
Words: Henry Burton, 1877.
by Loraine Ritchey
He has become “my” captain,from the moment Renee Dore came through my front door with his story, this man of the inland sea captivated my imagination and part of my heart.
It all started in frustration and anger -this romance. Charleston Village Executive Board were holding a meeting in my home- we were under threat of blight and had been told that the little park that had been a public green space for two centuries was to make way for “condos”. We were meeting to plan a course of action . What could we do , this small band of neighbors, to show the worthiness of Lorain’s history and this oldest neighborhood, from which Lorain eventually grew, to those that only saw limited revenue for the short term?
As we sat there, Renee mentioned that she had received some papers from a contact at Bowling Green University. Renee, who loves this old neighborhood, played as a child on her streets, and has given back to her three fold, including building a “new” home –
hoping to restart a community, had gone in search of a man- a ship’s captain. Her captain may have lived in the house where she lived as a “wee bairn” and in her search through the archives of the Black River Historical Society and the Lorain Public Library, in order to document the stories and the worth of Portside – before it went to the wrecking ball-
click to enlarge
had come across a story of a ship’s captain who had saved his wife, children and crew from a shipwreck.
I remember Renee coming in that evening, full of excitement, even though the meeting was going to be “dour”, as we started reading the old news paper accounts; I came to the overwhelming realization ,that inspite of what we were facing ,I had to chronicle this man’s tale. It is a tale of love, bravery, adventure and humanity, one that my grandfather would’ve described as a “cracking good yarn” .
I persuaded Renee to leave me the documents and started to piece the tale together, my theatrical background switched into overdrive, in my mind I saw the play , the movie that could be made from this…. my creative instincts saw so many possibilities.
I kept studying the old black and white photo copy of the man in question,
I was experiencing deja vu – I know this face, his eyes -why? I am not even from here originally; he was originally from England , but nowhere near where I had lived. Why was this face amongst the old newsprint so familiar? I asked my mother who came over the next day as I was typing “Her Book“
“Mum look at this picture what do you think?”
He certainly reminds me of someone but who? – well lets get on with “my memories” since you have nagged me to do this for decades”
and the Captain stayed on the desk.
The days went by and the Captain’s face haunted me, as I typed my mum’s memories of her childhood and young life. I would take a break and look at the photo on top of the printer
“you know me- you know – you know me “
it seemed to accuse but I just couldn’t make the connection.
I eventually got lost in the problems facing Lorain,
when a phone call took me back to The Captain. It was my very good friend, fellow actor Dave Cotton. Dave and I have gone through the good times and the bad, we laugh and moan together. It was one of those dreary days –
“tell me something good”
Dave, I have just been putting together a story about a sea captain , it would make a great play even a better movie- the visual , the romance , the tragedy, the bravery I just can’t get this guy out of my mind.
Dave hadn’t heard of such a significantly adventurous tale from Lorain’s past and he and his family had lived in the area for generations.
I then went rabbitting on about this Captain Wilford,
my great grandmother’s name was Wilford
THE FACE – of course that face -it was David- the moustache , the hair was a little different but the eyes – it WAS DAVID!!!!!
Dave IT IS YOU!!!
David who has known my penchant for the dramatic, laughed and said
” I have never heard of this guy in our family stories or documents” Dave.this is just too coincidental ! You have to look and see
after a couple of days research it was confirmed the heretofore unknown Captain Thomas Wilford was Dave’s great,great uncle.
Dave had passed his home on his way to meetings at the Black River Historical Society , never knowing that he had a connection.
From there the tale continued to grow, in order to raise funds for the Charleston Village Cemetery, Dave, his theatrical talent blessing us, started telling the tale of the shipwreck, and in order to make sure his facts were correct embarked on a journey of his own discovery .
Not only was a remarkable piece of Lorain’s history found, more was uncovered , his wife-Fanny who had had his arms protectvely wrapped around her as the large Canadian ship came out of the fog to slice into their schooner) her own connection to the Civil War
, her family and Lakeview Park , the worth of a rental,
the people who laid this towns foundations, once again living and breathing as we celebrated the two hundred years .
The fact that the State of Michigan deems the story of the shipwreck and the preservation of the wreck as important to the history of the Inland Seas and the archiver of the Titanic- Ken Marschall has also archived the Osborne but Lorain knew not the worth of her people to the maritime history………
Note to access the photos of the Osborne as she rests at the bottom of Lake Superior – near White Fish Point click here and scroll down
to be continued……….
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 ……….