This morning, around 3:20, our power went out. A call to CEI told us that it was due to a car accident. A look out the front door validated that—there was a large cluster of emergency vehicles two blocks to the east of us on Denison Avenue.
Yesterday, December 3rd, was the birthday of Newton D. Baker. In the early 1900s, when he was the 37th mayor of Cleveland, he advocated that utilities be put underground on the streets or run above ground on utility alleys. Despite having passed legislation to effect this, the poles remain above ground in Cleveland.
Today, we depend more than ever on our electric power and our cable systems—strung on poles and fully exposed on our streets–to conduct our daily personal affairs; some of us rely on these utilities to make a living. Isn’t it time we limited our vulnerabilities and put the wires underground?
As an afterthought, when mature trees are no longer butchered to serve the interests of the utility companies, do you think that might improve the density of the canopy in a place that really can’t claim the name “Forest City” any more? Might we dare plant big trees again, something more robust than the honey locust?
My dad taught me early in life to count my blessings. So, on this day of Thanksgiving, I think it is quite appropriate to remember one of the boys in his life that he considered one of his “sons” and many of the others who were dear to his heart.
Today is my cousin Donnie Evans’ birthday-November 24, 1958. I still remember the day that his mom and dad brought him home from the hospital. My memory believes it was Thanksgiving Day, but sometimes, my memories have a way of evolving into a bit better story, so I may be off a day or two. He was such a precious little treasure.
He would be fifty-eight today. But you see, time stopped for Donnie on October 27, 2015. Tim and I travelled to Missouri and I will forever be thankful that he suggested it. I reconnected with some people that I had not seen for too long. My dad and Donnie too was there when we visited Mackie the concrete goose and picked pecans while birds and squirrels watched us plunder their winter food supply.
Louie, true to form, filled the pocket of my vest with pecans and told me to plant them in Cleveland just at the depth of squirrel would. I shared them with friends who are hikers and bird watchers asking them to plant them on their walks. I keep some for myself and planted them in some favorite spots. There is one nestled in my plaster fox curled up to my left as I write this post.
Strange how with family the years just melt away when you are together, and it always seems just like yesterday when last you saw them. That trip to say “Godspeed” to my cousin will remain in my heart forever. His funeral gave me the opportunity to spend time with my cousins who for years when I was young I saw them at least once a week, but hadn’t seen them in too many years.
Tim told me on the way home as we travelled on the Santa Fe trail that he had learned more about why I am who I am than he ever thought he would. He told me now I understand your love of nature and the woods a bit better because so do your cousins. It is in your blood. Yep!
Louie and Chuck were more like big brothers to me than cousins. My aunt lived next door and they would pop into Mom’s kitchen almost every day to see what Aunt Virginia was cooking. Jim and Jane Ellen did not make the trip but they were with us in spirit and their names were mentioned often during the stories shared.
Connecting to Julia and Larry as adults was a moment that seemed so surreal. Again, I had spent many days when I was young with them because they would stay the weekend with their uncle Harry and Aunt Virginia, my parents. Now, here they were with kids of their own grown, attending college, starting families, it was enough to boggle my mind.
And then there was Courtney chronicling events with her camera. Why do I think that someday somehow, we will all end up as characters in a book? Julia is so proud of her child, and so she should be, the girl is a treasure.
And Julia, is my Aunt Dadie personified one more time. She couldn’t look more like her if she tried. She is a strong, independent woman who means what she says and says what she means. Giving her mother Annie a hug was one of the best moments of the trip.
Alma is such a sweetheart and I am so glad my cousin has her in his life. She is a free spirit and enjoys life so much. Leesa fits in with “the boys” and her pink camouflage kind of says it all.
On this day, when we count our blessings I am so glad for my family. My parents made sure that both sides of my family became “our family” and to this day, they all remain so important to me.
My dad was born in 1926 during the height of the Roaring 20’s. It seems rather fitting because my dad always loved a party and had a way of becoming the center of attention without really trying.
He could be exasperating at times, but you could always count on that lopsided smile and twinkling blue eyes to turn your frown of frustration into an “oh well” shrug.
That smile is something I always remember about him. Whether he was turning the crank on the ice cream maker surrounded by hungry nieces and nephews or throwing a stick deep into the water for Goldie his Labrador Retriever that smile would accompany the action.
My dad was happiest when he was with people. He found those people in many places. One place was the American Legion where he found men who had experienced the same war he did. When I would ask him about the war, he would tell me about all the places he had been-Calcutta, India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka today), Karachi, Pakistan.
I just realized he never talked about anywhere else although he circled the world twice. One time, he did talk about the North Atlantic and how cold and dark it was and how the storms where brutal. He said that seeing the Northern Lights for the first time made up for all the scary times when he felt more alone than he ever had in his life.
He hopped a ride to Cleveland to Join the Navy but he was only sixteen and they wouldn’t take him. A recruiter told him that the Coast Guard took recruits at seventeen. When he got there, he lied about his age and said he was 17, filled out the paperwork and handed it to the recruiter. The man said “you are only sixteen”. Dad replied “Yes sir, but I will be seventeen when I finish basic training.” The man looked him up and down and stamped the form. I am sure that infamous smile made an appearance.
When he returned home his cousin John got him a job in a foundry called Wooster Products. A group of fellow workers convinced him to run for Union Steward because his smile could change anger into calm. He served for many years, but his heart was never really in it. He didn’t like always having to convince everyone that compromise had given them all the best contract available.
He began as a pattern maker and the only way to move up was to become a molder. It was hot and dangerous work. His nose was broken twice. After twenty years, he decided he needed a change of scenery and went from an inside job to working construction in the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter, but he loved it. I never heard him complain once about either job, but he never told stories about the first one. My father’s blue eyes would twinkle and a smile would cross his face when he talked about all of the men on his construction crew. This time he stayed far away from union politics simply paying his dues and exercised his right to vote.
He found friends and companions everywhere he worked, every bar he frequented and every barbeque or fish fry he and the guys threw for one cause or another. He and a group of fellow hunters and fishermen formed the Shreve Farmers and Sportsmen’s Club. They pooled their money and bought acreage from a farmer south of town.
It was centered in a beautiful oak forest perched on a ravine. They dammed a creek and made a pond stocked with fish. On the weekends, they built a clubhouse where they held monthly fish fries to defray the costs of buying more property around their ravine. He took every opportunity to show it to anyone who gave the least bit of interest in where it was and what it looked like.
He was always most pleased when someone wanted to walk the trails in the woods with him. He would point out the twisted trees that he was convinced had been used for marks on an Indian Trail. If the man had his kids with him and it was spring, he would find a plowed field to hunt for arrowheads. I would often tag along because walking in the woods with my dad is in my top ten things that I loved to do when I was young.
When I close my eyes, I can still hear him tell me “we aren’t lost Cat. We just don’t know where we are. We will know soon.” And we always did find our way back. I would be elated and he would reward me with one of those big smiles.
Now that I am closer to 90 than I am to that young girl I realize that that smile was probably because he had always known. Happy Birthday, Dad!
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.”
New I-Open Blog Articles Featuring We’ve Got A Problem Bring Out The Fine China by Cavana Faithwalker
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.
Cavana Faithwalker’s thoughtful analysis on brainstorming (above) brings to mind a similar story about my own experience as a facilitator assisting community change.
This story outlines how groups of individuals can strengthen engagement to generate transformative solutions and self-directed, empowered communities.
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This article is quite sobering. Be sure to look at the age band tables that show when the disparity begins and how it widens.
One Simple Act Cast Sheet explains what is and what isn’t acceptable.
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.