Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

We Need to Know what Teachers and Students Face in Cleveland

without comments

 

Today, on Facebook friend MaryBeth Matthews shared something that not only shocked me but saddened me. My thoughts and concerns about the threat of a teacher’s strike and the recount of the school district’s handling of assaults on teachers.  Violence begets violence, and if consequences are not given if the “assault” does not meet an arbitrary definition what lesson are we teaching our children?

At first, it seems offering condolences to a grieving family for their son being coupled with a discussion of the definition of assault seems incongruous but on deeper refection had a deeper meaning for me.

I have been told by a young man who knew the family that apparently the altercation may have been caused by a difference over a girl.  How sad that a young man would turn to a gun to settle a difference, but then if he has witnessed assaults without consequences how far does a young person’s mind need to travel to using a gun which appear to readily available.

For a student to learn, he or she needs to know they are safe and secure. That usually means that they not only see the man or woman standing before them as a teacher but as a protector, a confidant, a trusted adult.  Read this, and see if you think our children can believe that when they are in their school  they are in a safe and secure place where they can learn.

I was a teacher in Cleveland for 5 years two of the years "threat of strike" was part of my summers and in a third year "all state money is spent we cannot pay you again until January" was a reality. (This statement was shared with us on November 1 so we could prepare for our holiday season.

Throughout that time, the relationship between management and staff was contentious to say the least, but every day we continued to do what teachers do-we taught.

In all negotiations, the highest and best for children should be the goal. And, the community needs to be engaged ALWAYS for that to happen.

"Our message is clear: The members of the Cleveland Teachers Union – teachers, paraprofessionals, psychologists, nurses, speech language pathologists, OTs, PTs, sign language interpreters, and substitute teachers are united in that fight for a contract that is good for kids and fair for educators."

Here are MaryBeth’s thoughts:

“Since 1988 I have worked hard for the students of Cleveland. Typically, I publicly stay out of the politics. There is a lot that is good happening in Cleveland schools and those things need to be shouted from the rooftops, but there are also some awful trends happening to public schools nationally and locally that most people don’t hear about either. This summer our contract is being negotiated, things are not looking good and we may be going on strike for the only time in my lifelong career. This week the CTU president spoke to the school board. I am posting his speech since it begins to explain, but is just the tip of the iceberg. Read to the end about teacher assault.”

and please take the time to read Cleveland Teacher’s Union Board President David Quokle’s speech to the Cleveland School Board:

"Good Evening, I am David Quolke President of the Cleveland Teachers Union. On behalf of myself and the entire Cleveland Teachers Union, I want to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Diamond Russell. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his family, Diamond’s classmates at Ginn Academy, his teammates at Glenville, his coaches, teachers, and the entire Glenville community as another young life was taken far too soon. We have a saying in the education community that “to teach is to touch a life forever.’” Our thoughts, our prayers and our support are with everyone whose lives were touched by Diamond Russell as they begin this healing process.
My comments tonight are directed more to our board members and our community members.
Tomorrow is the last day of school for students. This means that the clock is ticking for this school district to ensure a smooth start to the next school year. The sooner that the school district comes back to the table to negotiate a contract that is good for kids and fair for educators, the sooner that we can all focus on the new school year and the impending school levy.
This contract is not just about money….this contract is about treating these members with respect and dignity. This contract is about fixing what is broken in the Cleveland Plan so we can move forward with Educating Cleveland’s kids. This contract is about reducing the excessive amount of testing our kids must go through and it is about providing valuable electives and career tech options for our kids. This contract is about ensuring that evaluations will be fair for all our members. This contract is about recognizing the incredible work our paraprofessionals do and elevating them to a livable wage. Our message is clear: The members of the Cleveland Teachers Union – teachers, paraprofessionals, psychologists, nurses, speech language pathologists, OTs, PTs, sign language interpreters, and substitute teachers are united in that fight for a contract that is good for kids and fair for educators.
I was disappointed that you went to such great lengths attempting to discredit the fact finder in your annotated version of her report. I have told everyone that I have talked to, to read the report and to heed the fact finders words. She was accurate in saying… “Trust and collaboration between the parties so essential for a healthy labor management relationship, has been on a downward spiral and has reached a new low.” She was accurate in saying…”As a result of administrative actions, bargaining unit members feel among other things, disrespected as professionals, tyrannized by an unfair and inequitable evaluation system, and subjected to administrative decisions which sometimes have little, if anything, to do with improving their practice, much less the learning, growth and welfare of students. “ Those are pretty powerful statements, by a neutral third party, who was mutually selected by both the CMSD and the CTU, not just this year but three years ago as well. She gets it and sees how educators in Cleveland are being treated.
But she wasn’t the only neutral third party arbitrator to be critical of this district’s administration.
Last year, after Carl Monday questioned how grant funds were used for a school’s trip to Puerto Rico, you allowed your leadership team to engage in a witch hunt on one of our teachers… you allowed them to recommend discipline for something she was never charged with…. you went into your “Executive Session” and came out not only agreeing with that recommendation but allowed your Chief Legal Counsel to write a damning letter about our member to her staff, and you stood by as he tried to get her license suspended by the state. We knew it was a sham and earlier this year not only did a neutral third party arbitrator overturn the suspension and order CMSD to contact ODE rescinding that letter….he also made it a point to state in his award that quote…“The letter from the Districts Chief Legal Counsel (Wayne Belock), to clarify what the Greivant had written, on the other hand, was not only a disrespectful attempt to get the last word but a clear violation of the Districts Code of Ethics.” This is the kind of behavior our members are up against every day and this is the kind of behavior you…our board members ….are allowing and encouraging.
But it doesn’t end there. On the same day the fact finders report came out, another, neutral third party arbitrator issued a ruling on assaults…staff assaults…when your employees are getting assaulted doing their job….I can’t even begin to express my disgust with the position you allowed Eric and his team to take….
THE CMSD STATEMENT SAID THAT IN ORDER FOR A SERIOUS ASSAULT OR BATTERY TO OCCUR, THE CTU MEMBER MUST SUFFER
* PHYSICAL HARM THAT CARRIES A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF DEATH,
* PERMANENT INCAPACITY OR PERMANANT DISFIGUREMENT; OR
* PSYCHOLOGICAL ILLNESS THAT WOULD NORMALLY REQUIRE
HOSPITALIZATION, TO NAME A FEW
In fact, under oath, Chief Legal Counsel, Wayne Belock acknowledged that if a student punched a teacher in the face and left a bruise on the teacher’s face, it would not necessarily be a serious assault.
Really!!!!!! Our educators are there for our kids day in and day out and this is what was posted on your website for principals to use when a CTU member gets assaulted. That is how your principals were directed to view an assault…and worse yet this is how they have been acting. I hope you are all embarrassed with the position you let your team take. Thankfully, a third party neutral rejected the districts outrageous position, ordered the district to rescind its statement on serious assault and notify principals and chapter chairs that is has been rescinded, but unfortunately, we had to go to court this morning because Wayne Belock wouldn’t comply with the order. It was only after we filed in court that the district took action and rescinded the posting.
You may want to discredit CTU, ….and the fact finder, ….and these arbitrators, the list goes on. But the issues we brought to the table are real. These rulings paint an accurate picture of the type of problems we need to fix. We need to get back to the table, fix the broken promises and begin treat our members with the dignity and respect they deserve… and to repair the strained labor relations so we can move forward together in passing a levy.
If you think that the slogan on our shirts are an idle threat…you’re wrong. Our members are united and believe me….we don’t want to strike….but we will….Thank you."

Written by Gloria Ferris

May 27th, 2016 at 10:58 am

Businessman Harry Farnsworth Envisions Emerald Necklace

with one comment

 

At the March Stockyard, Clark-Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Community Advisory Council I learned that Brooklyn Centre businessman Harry Farnsworth along with William Stinchcomb envisioned the Emerald Necklace and served as park commissioner as property was acquired for our beautiful park system. He suggested that “huge strips of land” be joined to make a “great 40 mile sweep of boulevard.  Here is a link to the historic timeline. http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/Timeline.aspx

I am so proud of the wealth of knowledge that our members of the SCFBC council bring to the table. I am so often pleasantly surprised, and this time was no exception.  Alan Forman shared with us that Mr. Farnsworth started the endeavor to build the emerald necklace. 

Some of you may recognize the name Farnsworth because it is the name associated with the historic building at the southwest corner of Archwood and Pearl Road where The Brooklyn Savings and Loan Company had their offices. Although Mr. William Prescott served as the president of the bank, the building became known as the Farnsworth Building after its Secretary-Treasurer Harry Farnsworth.

Mr. J. Milton Dyer designed the building originally.  This name is well-known to architects and historical preservationists because he designed some well-known structures in our area-mansions, public and manufacturing buildings, and military installations.  He designed the Edmund Burk Mansion on Magnolia Drive that now houses the Music Settlement, the Warner and Swasey building at East 55th and Carnegie, Cleveland City Hall,  Cleveland Athletic Club on Euclid Avenue and the Cleveland Harbor Station of the U.S. Coast Guard and much more here and in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The building was saved when in foreclosure by Dr. William Donahue, a well known businessman and podiatrist in the area. In the early 1980’s, the Farnsworth Building survived a horrific fire that destroyed its roof and a founding village made its future precarious.  Thanks to Reverend C. Neil Wilds, the pastor of Brooklyn Memorial United Methodist and his Board of Trustees the building was secured until Ohio Renal Care purchased and renovated as a dialysis care center. Rencare LLC has owned it since 2000 and presently the site  is occupied by Fresenius.     

The Farnsworth Building and The CPL-Brooklyn Branch, Riverside Cemetery and a few other remaining structures exemplify the history and character of Brooklyn Centre.  Now, as this historic marker of a founding village of the Greater Cleveland are enters the next phase of its existence we look forward again to it being a beacon to the future.

Written by Gloria Ferris

March 6th, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Posted in general

What wearing Red Means To Me

with one comment

Red has always been a favorite color of mine since a good friend convinced me that as a redhead I could wear it proudly. Years later, the red in my hair has faded and much of it is replaced with gray, and today I wear red for a very different reason.

Today is Wear Red For Women to raise awareness of the threat of heart disease to us. It seems it is as good a day as any to share my own personal journey with my heart. 

On November 17, 2008 I went out to dinner with friends for a celebration and 21 days later I woke up in the MetroHealth Cardiac Intensive Care Unit unable to talk, walk or fend for myself. This next part of the story was told to me by family and friends. I have no recollection of any of it. My husband tells me that when the paramedics arrived I was as limp as a noodle. One of them commented that this was the worst case of flu they had seen this year.

They put me in the ambulance and took an EKG. That paramedic didn’t like what he saw and said go! go! go!. Luckily, we live five minutes from MetroHealth so that when I began to scream “Help me! Help me!” the people I needed came running.  

During the next five days, I had three cardiac arrests, three strokes, and two stents finally placed successfully. But, then it was a time of wait and see. My cardiologist explained to Tim and our daughters that there was nothing more that could be done-if they tried I certainly would not survive.  That was the day that a DNR was placed at my bedside.

When I woke up I had missed my daughter’s birthday, my baby granddaughter and her parents who had celebrated Thanksgiving with friends and family who brought it to the hospital, days of friends sitting by my bedside reading to me, telling me stories, and holding my hand. And, I had missed my wonderful family being told that I had a  negative 17 per cent chance of surviving and if I did survive I would probably end up spending the rest of my short life in a rest home.

But as you can see I beat insurmountable odds and I am here today to tell you don’t be like me, don’t rationalize away the signs like me. When your normally low blood pressure begins to climb, when you become so fatigued by afternoon that a two hour nap becomes routine, when you have flu-like symptoms off and on that linger for weeks, a sense of impending doom that becomes overwhelming, when you dread walking to the end of your street or when climbing the stairs causes shortness of breath and a pounding heart go to the doctor. Be smart, be proactive, be a partner with your body. Acknowledge that these subtle changes that seem to come and go have become part of your routine. You know your body be its friend not its naysayer. When it begins to tell you that your “normal” is not normal, listen to it.

Here six signs of a heart attack. Remember that a woman’s signs are often not the classic signs of those experienced by men. Remember that most tests and  treatments are based on studies conducted by men for men.

· Chest pain or discomfort. Chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom, but some women may experience it differently than men.

· Pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw.

· Stomach pain.

· Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness.

· Sweating.

· Fatigue.

My symptoms included a knot in my back.  There was no elephant sitting on my chest.   My RIGHT arm felt like a band tightening and tightening. And then the band, moved to around my chest.  I thought I had the flu-I was chilled, my teeth chattered. Twenty minutes later I was burning up, sweating, throwing up and so weak I could not stand.  My husband stood over me telling me he was dialing 911. I was insisting we should wait a few more minutes because I was starting to feel better.

I am lucky my husband didn’t listen to me. I am supremely fortunate that I live minutes from a Trauma 1 hospital that sees it all and knows that quick reaction is often the difference between life and death. And I am extremely blessed with a family and friends that have faith and believe in the power of prayer.

But I am hear to tell you that this is certainly not the way to take control of your health.  Do it when you aren’t in crisis mode. Do it when you feel those subtle changes happen. Don’t rationalize away symptoms. Move forward. Make a doctor’s appointment. Find out just what is going on in that body that has worked  so hard for you every single day of your life.

Don’t be like me.  

Written by Gloria Ferris

February 5th, 2016 at 6:56 pm

Posted in general

Pinwheel Kids to open in former Sunbeam space – The Heights Observer

without comments

I wasn’t aware of this—this news piece dates from 2013. This used to be the best place to buy things for little kids. This is Tim’s old neighborhood; he used to live on Ashurst.

There is a quaint little cluster of shops in Cleveland Heights on Fairmount Boulevard, between South Taylor and Queenston roads. One of them, Sunbeam–A Shop for Children, has been offering clothes and gifts for children in the Heights at this location for nearly 17 years, and in the community since 1915.

Earlier this year, Vocational Guidance Services (VGS) Sunbeam Board, the nonprofit organization that ran the shop, decided it was no longer within its mission to run a retail shop and announced it was closing Sunbeam. The board is redirecting its awareness-building and fundraising efforts to special events and activities, such as Fiesta on 55th and its holiday boutique. Members of the Sunbeam’s board of directors will continue to provide support to VGS, but without the shop.

Fortunately, longtime manager Janet Nelson decided to purchase the store and carry on its tradition. “It was a bit scary,” she said, “but I have 30 years of experience and many loyal customers.”

Pinwheel Kids to open in former Sunbeam space – The Heights Observer

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 15th, 2015 at 6:56 am

Posted in general

New I-Open Blog Articles Featuring We’ve Got A Problem Bring Out The Fine China by Cavana Faithwalker

without comments

Mine is the third blog article mentioned by Betsey in this morning’s email:

 

Hello I-Open Friends!

I wanted to share our latest #Blog articles with you:

We’ve Got A Problem Bring Out The Fine China by Cavana Faithwalker
Why is brainstorming rolled out like fine china for special occasions? Suppose brainstorming was the new problem solving? Let’s rethink the brainstorm definition and see what can be used daily.

A Short Story About Brainstorming by Tom Romito

Cavana Faithwalker’s thoughtful analysis on brainstorming (above) brings to mind a similar story about my own experience as a facilitator assisting community change.

Engaging The Community In New Ways by Gloria Ferris

This story outlines how groups of individuals can strengthen engagement to generate transformative solutions and self-directed, empowered communities.

Join us! Become a member or make a donation by clicking on a link below:

Thank you! Happy Innovating!

Betsey Merkel

Co-Founder & Director

I-Open Directors

The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open)

Email info@i-open.org

Website http://www.i-open.org

PS: Would you like to learn about I-Open’s Entrepreneur University launching Spring 2016?

Add your information, check your interest and we’ll add you to our growing network list! Go Here.

PPS: In case you missed it, read our #1 story last week Diversity For Growth by Richard T. Herman. Richard makes the case for ushering in a new conversation about immigration as an economic driver of population growth, entrepreneur attraction and American job creation.

The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) is an educational organization sharing new practices and tools in Open Source Economic Development. You’re getting this note because you signed up for I-Open updates. Your privacy is important to us. We will never sell or give away your information. Forward this email to a friend

Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open), 2563 Kingston Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118 United States

Powered by YMLP.com

New I-Open Blog Articles Featuring We’ve Got A Problem Bring Out The Fine China by Cavana Faithwalker

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 1st, 2015 at 8:01 am

Posted in general

1.5 Million Missing Black Men – The New York Times

without comments

This article is quite sobering. Be sure to look at the age band tables that show when the disparity begins and how it widens.

1.5 Million Missing Black Men – The New York Times

Written by Gloria Ferris

July 2nd, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Posted in general

If You Have a Question about What and How to Recycle in Cleveland?

without comments

One Simple Act Cast Sheet explains what is and what isn’t acceptable.

 

http://www.city.cleveland.oh.us/CityofCleveland/OneSimpleAct

 

Reading the cover page tells you no need to bag your recyclables, just use the blue container.

Click on How to recycle correctly and there are the do’s and don’ts.

A few months ago we were told “no plastic bags” and  many neighbors including my husband thought that meant not to “bag” the recyclables in plastic.  I told them “no” plastic bags are not acceptable. We still need to take them to the grocery store. Now many grocery stores will not accept them.  We are trying to shift our thinking to toting organic and reusable bags back and forth to the market.  When we shop a the West Side Market, this is not a problem since we having bringing our own bags for 30+ years.

For some reason, we constantly walk out without them when going to Heinen’s.  Now, we are being overrun by the many options of “what to buy” when we forget. I am hoping that soon, very soon we can remember them. The other option is to keep them in the car, but then the car will be overrun with “totes.

 

Again,  here it is in black and white.  Plastic bags &  wrap, plastic toys outdoor furniture and PVC piping a re on the “don’t list.

Written by Gloria Ferris

June 14th, 2015 at 4:02 pm

Posted in 44109,Environment

Tagged with , ,

Please Bring Clarity to this “Class Divide” article

without comments

Channel 19 shared Stephen Ohlemacher’s Associated Press article Report: SOcial Security overpaid nearly half on disability. citing a government study which says Social Security overpaid nearly half of those on disability.

The copyright says : Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.  Therefore, I am not sharing, but you can find it most anywhere-ABC NEWS, CNN, AOL just Google Stephen Ohlemeyer social security.

Here are my questions: Who was overpaid, why were they overpaid and how has this been corrected?  From personal experience I am flummoxed to see that these overpayments seem to be made year after year.  In my opinion, this kind of reporting does little else expect put fuel on the fire of “class divide” between those who fund and those who receive. Where is the outrage for those charged with administering these funds? Why are corrections not placed into the programming to “catch” these mistakes?

In my mind, this type of article does more to promote a "class divide" instead of shedding light on how a government agency with so much technology at its beck and call cannot figure out the "right" benefit to give. Making it so funders and recipients alike are left with inadequate data.

For a short time in 2009, I received disability payments. It took just 6 months to get approval on what I would receive, when I would receive it and how long I would receive it. The government wanted to divide it into 3 payments. I asked to have it in two since I had already waited six months. After submitting expenses for those six months, I received the first of two payments. It was cut and dried. I have a friend who receives payments as well. Each year adjustments are made- the first in January when her check is increased- this year it was $10. In July, her rent is recalculated-it will go up $2; therefore, she will be able to use the $8 to pay the increase in her phone bill because she is still forced to keep a land line for life line (the discount has expired because supposedly soon she will be able to have a cell phone instead). With this kind of micromanaging which is neither here nor there, I just want to know HOW the government has overpaid these people for supposedly years.

A study is cited but I have been unable to find a link to that specifically. The article says ”according to a government watchdog”.   The next sentence says “in all, Social Security overpaid beneficiaries by nearly $17 billion, according to a 10-year study be the agency’s inspector general.  Who is the government agency and who is the inspector general?  Lots of questions, few answers. 

 

This link is provided: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/

Written by Gloria Ferris

June 7th, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Coloring Makes the World Go Round

without comments

So glad that coloring is seen as acceptable for adults. I believe those of us who know what is important already had the advantage.

When I was blue as a kid or things just weren’t going right as a kid, my Aunt Dadie would say we need to get out the crayons and coloring books. After an hour of spending time coloring with her never saying a word, I usually forgot what had been making my world less than perfect.  I did the same for my daughters and now we all do it for my granddaughters. Coloring soothes the soul and rebalances the world.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/14/mandala-coloring-book_n_7057932.html

 

and consider buying this coloring book  “Coloring Flower Mandelas”

 

I am think there should be a coloring book of nautilus chambers soon.

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 14th, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Posted in art,design

The Whys and Wherefores of “I Will Buy Your Insulin Test Strips”

without comments

For months,maybe years, my husband Tim and I have been seeing signs plastered on utility poles that say “I will buy your Insulin Test Strips” around the neighborhood with a proliferation of them around the MetroHealth Campus.

Today, I finally thought to ask my Facebook friends to help me out with the reason why. Thanks to those friends and others I now know a bit more of the story behind the signs. It appears there is a black market for insulin test strips. Some diabetics may need to test 5 to 10 times a day to help them control the disease. It would be my supposition that some one needing to test that frequently may be what is called a “brittle” diabetic but may be not. According to my sources, it is not uncommon for these test strips to bring $1.00 a piece on the black market.

So, who sells these test strips on the black market? Apparently, many people do-relatives of people who have died, criminals who steal them from friends, neighbors and relatives who need them, and others who should use the test strips themselves but find the reselling of them too lucrative to pass up. Imagine my surprise to find out that this black market item is as lucrative as prescription  pain medications.

There is a bit of misinformation out there that I believe needs to be cleared up-“Medicare and Medicaid patients can get all they can use for free”.  I have a friend on Medicaid whose doctor requested that she get the number of test strips needed to enable her to test twice a day. Medicaid denied the request allowing her one a day. Now, Medicaid usually follows the lead of Medicare guidelines so although I do not KNOW what medicare allows or does not allow, I do know that not every Medicaid patient gets whatever amount they need and if I were a betting person I would probably bet that Medicare probably has strict guidelines as well.

I understand that Medical Mutual is a company that will ship strips, glucose tabs, and other testing stuff quarterly if you sign up for one of their programs and you dot the i’s and cross the t’s just so. I am sure other insurance companies have similar plans, but many of them, as some of my sources say, are very expensive.  There is also the option of going to the company involved directly. Pharmaceutical Company Foundations will often supply prescriptions and supplies to people who do not qualify for other help in getting the medications they need.

 

But back to the issue at hand, the unsuitability of these signs on utility poles in my neighborhood.  Kate Dupuis, an employee of the Stockyard, Clark-Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office has declared war against the unsightliness of these signs as well as “Free Roofs”,”We Buy Houses Cash”, “Poor Credit, No Credit We Have Cars”.  Take a photo of the sign, its location, the utility pole number if possible, and email it to Kate at kdupuis@dscdo.org.  She is compiling a list to bring to the City so that action can be taken against the parties responsible.  There is a fine for each sign posted. If we can multiplying the number to make the fine significant, action can and will be taken.

Somehow, a black market for test strips seems so wrong given the recent event of a 36 year old man dying because he was unable to buy insulin when needed because his prescription expired.  http://www.wkyc.com/story/news/health/2015/02/11/emergency-insulin/23276399/  We live in a messed-up world, and it is up to us to change it.

Overused, but no less true .    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

–Margaret Mead

Written by Gloria Ferris

February 16th, 2015 at 8:41 pm