Two downpours since March 29 have frayed the nerves of Parma residents and frustrated city leaders as they deal with the ongoing dilemma of regional flooding. “Fixing a city’s infrastructure requires research and money. Flooding is a complex regional issue because all the municipal sewer systems are interconnected, which means a problem in one city contributes to issues in another community. We have been working with Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) and West Creek Conservancy to find solutions,” said Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter.
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Many have reached out stating how terrible it must be that in very my first few months of becoming Mayor of Seven Hills, I have had to deal with a global pandemic and the resulting economic disruption. While I’m deeply saddened that so many are suffering and it is stressful dealing with budget tightening, I tell them fret not. Adversity does not build character it reveals it. I was put into this role at time this for a reason. We are all getting a trial by fire that nobody could have predicted. As Mayor, my focus has pivoted toward protecting our residents and employees from COVID-19. Back in March, I instituted numerous emergency measures to help the City navigate these uncharted waters. As we head into June, some of the emergency measures have been lifted; our recreation center has been re-opened with the staff working diligently to create a safe environment for our residents and members.
A COVID-19 survivor who spent 57 days in the hospital had a strong lesson before his recent discharge from University Hospitals Parma Medical Center: "Wear the mask and stay six feet apart. I'm telling you, this disease can kill you." Jerry Gustin, 74, of Parma left UH Parma Medical Center on May 27 following intensive rehabilitation in UH Parma Medical Center's Acute Rehabilation Unit. He underwent at least three hours of occupational and physical therapy every day to regain his strength to walk and care for himself again. The nurses, therapists and physicians became a second family to him, as no visitors are currently allowed in hospitals due to the pandemic. Jerry began every morning with a call to his wife, Linda, and received extensive support from his four children and eight grandchildren, who called and sent signs to motivate him.
Randy Hayne, 68, meticulously packs and then folds the tops of 30 brown paper lunch bags in the nearly empty dining hall of the Donna Smallwood Activities Center, located behind Parma City Hall. Retired from his Borden Dairy supervisor job one year ago, the Parma resident started working at the Smallwood Center in January, pre-COVID and before it shuttered in early March. The West Ridgewood Drive multipurpose center, which serves Parma area seniors, closed before the governor’s directive, a proactive move to protect its vulnerable 6,000 members. Two other workers, whose faces are partially hidden with face masks, physically distance themselves as they pack lunches with gloved hands. In the kitchen, three staff members fill and then seal food trays for hot meal deliveries. After all the meals are packaged, half the staff members stay to clean the kitchen, while the other three leave to deliver meals.
In March when Gov. Mike DeWine was telling Ohioans to stay home, the deadline to submit city income taxes was extended to July 15. With the warmer weather, restaurants and retail reopening, and some activities resuming, it's easy to forget that taxes are due if they were not filed by the initial deadline this past April. As a safety measure to prevent people from congregating and waiting in long lines, the Parma Tax Department will continue to help residents prepare city taxes via mail. A resident can mail a tax return to: Parma Tax Department, 6611 Ridge Road, Parma, Ohio 44129. A W-2, along with other information needed to prepare city taxes, should be included in the envelope. The Tax Department will then mail the completed tax return back to the resident and will indicate if any further action is required.
With school buildings closed, activities canceled and distance learning in place over these last few months, many local families are concerned about skill regression and are seeking academic, social and/or emotional support for their child this summer.
O From Cleveland Rape Crisis Center:
>> It’s now offering their extensive list of prevention/education programs to schools, student groups & community members via CRCC Virtual Classrooms. Platforms include, but are not limited to: Zoom, MS Teams, Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Go To, etc. Go here https://clevelandrapecrisis.org/prevention-education/request-an-education-program/ to view programs offered & to complete the online presentation request form.
>> For assistance and/or to make an appointment for any service, contact the hotline 24/7: Call or Text (216) 619-6192 or (440) 423-2020, or chat online at www.clevelandrapecrisis.org/chat
O From All Faiths Pantry….Considered an essential service, AFP continues to respond to the increased need for home delivery of groceries to low-income seniors and those with mobility challenges. Requests for services have increased significantly and additional volunteers are needed to expedite deliveries. Call 216.496.4329 or go to www.allfaithspantry.org to learn more about the program & how you can help.
O From OCALI (Ohio Center for Autism & Low Incidence - https://www.ocali.org/ ):
>> For parents as well as professionals, visit their web site where you’ll find a whole host of resources addressing issues related to working w/youth on the autistic spectrum and for folks who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired.
>> HIGHLY RECOMMENDED….Click on the “#HearToHelp” link on the home page, scroll down to the “Connected” section & click on the “Inspiring Change Podcast”. Here you can listen to any one of, currently, 10 episodes of folks sharing their experiences during this lockdown period. Number 10, in particular, was fascinating to listen to.
O From Ibn Sina Free Clinic (6055 W. 130th St, Parma; http://clevelandibnsina.com )....If you’re not already aware, ISFC is now set up to handle virtual appointments “…so patients can continue to see their physicians, get medications refilled, obtain referrals & get any sort of pharmacist assistance they may need.” To schedule an appointment call 440.644.0511.
Operation Happy Pups is the story of a little guy on a big mission. Lucas Woronischtsche’s story begins in October of 2018. To a 4 year old, Halloween is a very special time. It’s magical. You get to choose a costume, dressed up as whatever you want to be. It can be the latest super hero from the comics, or something funny, like a clown, or whatever you want to be when you grow up. Lucas chose his policeman costume with care.
Prama Artspace & Gallery, 5411 Pearl Road, will be reopening on June 1, 2020 with new hours. For dates and times check their website for details, at www.pramaartspace.com. Visual Hallucinations, the next exhibit, with open on June 26, 2020, featuring the works of Samantha Vickers of Intentions Studio, Jennifer Gleason and Shawn Sloburn. For details check the web page or follow Prama on Facebook. Prama also has a small boutique with unique numerous items at a reasonable cost. They have an assortment of face masks available in many patterns. During this health crisis, health and safety protocols are in place for your convenience.
CLEVELAND IBN SINA CLINIC - Located in the great city of Parma, Cleveland Ibn Sina Clinic is proud to announce its new telemedicine program that will allow physicians to continue to see patients in the comfort and safety of their homes. Through avirtual set-up, patients can maintain communication with their physicians, obtain medication refills, and receive public health education, including information on how to deal with anxiety and stress during this pandemic. We have expanded our clinical pulmonary services to address the additional burden of respiratory symptoms in our fight against COVID-19. We also offer appointments for an expansive network of physicians in the fields of endocrinology, cardiology, internal medicine, allergy/immunology, behavioral health, and more.
We can be apologists for only so long, before we become excusists. Whether you realize, choose to, or not, your deeper wisdom matters more significantly right now than you could ever imagine; not merely in the many ways you intend to impart a favorable life and legacy unto your family, community, and conscience, but moreover in how we honor what we know to be morally right and just, lest we reside in the thin sticky film of our very own grimy hypocrisies.
As relentlessly as we may try, we cannot think one thing and experience something else. Everyone that sincerely loves others is borne of God. If the wind will not serve, take to the oars. If there is disagreement between what the secular world says and what God says, there is no contest. It is better not to live than not to love. It is not easy to understand what people might become. Let our conversation be without covetousness; be content with such things as we have.
Life is not a holiday but an education. Life is the gift of God and enjoyed most by those who obey God’s commandments. Love is the universal language that is understood by all.
Thousands of Patients Connect with Health Experts through Webinars From the convenience of your living room, now you can talk to the experts. University Hospitals has transformed its popular health seminars, which previously took place in person at the hospital and at community locations, into a virtual format. Patients can now sign up quickly online and watch free physician talks, with an opportunity to ask questions. Thousands of patients can access these webinars, offered on Zoom and reaching far more people than was possible in the previous format.
Sadly, many folks have lost their jobs or their hours have been reduced due to the pandemic. So, I thought I would provide some money-saving suggestions in this month’s column. In fact, these tips can help anyone save money, including those on a fixed income. I should begin with a disclaimer that everyone has their own unique needs, wants, acceptable levels of risk, etc., therefore, the suggestions below might not be right for everyone.
Hundreds of Ohioans every year are diagnosed with brain cancer and, for the vast majority of brain cancer patients, this disease is unfortunately a death sentence. Few that are diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor survive beyond 16 months and the survival rate after five years is even more grim—only 5% live to see the five-year anniversary of their diagnosis. We can and must do more to fight back against this terrible disease. This is the reason why I support “Going Gray in May” to support Brain Cancer Awareness Month and this is why last year I proposed formally recognizing the month of May as Brain Cancer Awareness Month in Ohio with House Bill 230.
COLUMBUS- - Last month, I hosted a virtual town hall to provide Covid-19 updates to her constituents. We was joined by Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan and state Representatives Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland), Jeff Crossman (D-Parma), and Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood).
On the evening of Thursday May 21, I was jolted out of my sofa by a police siren followed by the loud horn of a fire engine. Something was going on, so I went outside to look. What I saw was amazing. The police car and fire engine were followed by a long parade of cars decorated up with the Valley Forge High School graduating class of 2020. Unlike previous graduating classes, the class of 2020 could not have their traditional graduation ceremony or a senior prom.
June’s Asset Category: BOUNDARIES & EXPECTATIONS
Well, we are certainly living history and maneuvering our way through this time is not always easy and often confusing. As things change on a daily and weekly basis, the City of Parma Heights strives to share information with our residents, businesses, and community in as many ways as possible and I am grateful to the Parma Observer for the opportunity to communicate here.
In early March, Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter and city council members were looking at a balanced budget for 2020. Then COVID-19 hit. Most state governors took drastic measures. When Gov. Mike DeWine gave the Stay-at-Home order, forcing many businesses to close, the balanced budget was not immune to the economic impact. “It’s all based on projections,” said Parma Treasurer Tom Mastroianni. “The closures are going to impact the city. Cities mostly rely on income tax. Our projected income will be down $5.5 million, of which $4 million is collected from income taxes.” The other $1.5 million comes from income obtained through court costs, traffic citations, building permits and recreation registration fees. “We are still getting requests for building permits, but with the courts temporary closed, less traffic on the streets and rec sports suspended, that income is not coming in at the same rate,” said Parma Auditor Brian Day. “In a normal year, we can project for the year. We are still looking ahead, but it is hard to determine where we will be. This is such a moving target.” Mastroianni noted that the city will know much more at the end of July when more people file their city income taxes. Federal, state and city 2019 income tax deadlines were extended to July 15, 2020.
Family-owned Legacy Health Services, which operates 10 skilled nursing facilities and three assisted living communities in Northeast Ohio, hosted a parade in tandem with “National Superhero Day” to honor its company heroes working to keep their residents safe. Called “Honk for Heroes,” the parade was held on Tuesday, April 28 – “National Superhero Day” – and featured local firefighters and their trucks, city leaders, including the mayor and city council members, plus families and community members who wanted to show their support for the Legacy staff.
Even though Norris has the help of his wife and Home Instead CAREGivers at home, he understands this is not the time to bring in family members who live outside the home or visit with friends like he might have done just a few weeks ago. By now, we all know social distancing is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. But one downside of doing that is the emotional impact of isolation, which has become a real danger. And seniors, many of whom live alone, are at higher risk of serious health issues indirectly caused by loneliness and isolation.
More than two dozen emergency vehicles from eight different fire departments quietly pulled into the lot at University Hospitals Parma Medical Center on Wednesday evening, April 22. They weren't there to drop off patients. Instead, they arrived to show their love and support of UH health care workers. The Western Reserve Fire Museum and Education Center approached the Parma Fire Department with the idea a week earlier. The two organized the event and invited local media. The participation was larger than Parma Fire Chief Mike Lasky anticipated. Firefighters from Parma Heights, Broadview Heights, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, Seven Hills, North Royalton and Independence joined Parma firefighters in the noisy celebration. Mission BBQ, which regularly honors veterans, police officers and firefighters, added health care workers to its list of local heroes and sent two trucks.
O From Cleveland Rape Crises Center (CRCC)….Telehealth Services are now available to include counseling, victim assistance & Project STAR (Sex Trafficking Advocacy & Recovery) services. Chat online at https://clevelandrapecrisis.org ; Hotlines continue to be monitored 24/7….Project STAR: 885.431.STAR (7827); Crisis & Support: Call or text 216.619.6192 or 440.423.2020.
O The Center for Community Solutions…. has compiled information about things like how have benefits changed, how to get food assistance, unemployment benefits & also how to give back to our local foodbank during this crisis. Check it out here: https://tinyurl.com/CCS-Covid
O From Islamic Center of Cleveland (6055 W. 130th St., Parma)….Has reinstituted its fresh produce food pantry for low income families. It takes place the 1st Saturday of each month from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Please bring ID & your own bags. No admittance to property before 10:30.
O Local Hospital Systems Coronavirus web sites & phone numbers:
>> University Hospitals…. https://www.uhhospitals.org/services/coronavirus; Ph: 440-703-8121.
>> Parma Medical Center…. https://www.uhhospitals.org/locations/uh-parma-medical-center Ph: 440.743.3000
>> Cleveland Clinic…. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/landing/preparing-for-coronavirus; Ph:855.697.3750.
>> MetroHealth…. https://www.metrohealth.org/infectious-disease/covid-19; Ph:440-59-COVID (440-592-6843).
May’s Asset Category: COMMITMENT TO LEARNING Commitment to learning doesn’t happen naturally in all young people. Instilling this important trait involves a combination of values and skills that include the desire to succeed in school, a sense of the lasting importance of learning, and a belief in one’s own ability. This commitment is strongly influenced by the school environment and relationships with family and peers. The more committed a child is to learning, the more likely it is that she or he will grow up healthy.
UH Parma Medical Center received a $500,000 community challenge grant from Parma Hospital Health Care Foundation to support the hospital’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will help support the unanticipated costs of the health crisis, including extensive patient care, medical supplies and research as well as providing for the protection, wellness and resilience of UH Parma caregivers.
One positive result of the COVID-19 pandemic is the fact that I get to spend a lot more time with the people I care about most – my wife, Deena, and my children, Colleen and Patrick. Colleen is about to graduate from the University of Akron in hopes of becoming a high school English teacher. So, I invited her to collaborate with me on this month’s column. We decided to write about things to do in Parma during pandemic. Colleen’s suggestions center around what to do inside the house, while my focus is getting outside, as you will see below.
I’ve always thought of Parma as a big city (7th largest in Ohio) with a small town feel. Our neighborhoods have a sense of community. When bad things happen, neighbors step up to help. Covid-19 has confirmed my belief that Parma is a good place to raise a family. On several Facebook pages I’ve noticed so many different individuals doing lots of good deeds. Like donating food, or cheering on those working so hard in the medical community. Many are just small gestures that mean so much to the recipient. Some are large donations of supplies to those that need them. I’ve heard of neighbors donating their stimulus money to food banks too, to help those that need it more now. All in all it warms my heart to see our community come together to help one another.
In the past five weeks nearly one million Ohioans have applied for unemployment as the state has grappled with life under quarantine. According to some estimates, Ohio’s jobless rate is 17% and, if that is true, that is higher than Ohio experienced at the depths of the Great Recession when Ohio’s unemployment rate peaked at 11.1% in January 2010. According to Ohio Jobs and Family Services, it has been receiving approximately 500,000 calls per day to address the unprecedented demand which has still not been sufficient to address the various delays and issues with obtaining unemployment funds.
I recently read an article in April 21st The Nonprofit Times that really caught my attention. Covid-19 has had a devastating economic impact on America’s arts sector. Thousands of arts organizations across the country are reporting a $4.5 billion loss to date to their bottom line with an impact of $10.7 billion to our economy. Additionally, 94% have had to cancel their events. This data was culled from a Covid-19 Impact Survey by Americans For The Arts.
While being confined to home the past several weeks except for an almost daily walk in the park and some visits to the grocery store, keeping proper social distancing, I have had plenty of time to read many columns and articles from different sources. One item that has become very clear during this coronavirus pandemic is that fact based, decisive and coordinated leadership from our government, especially our elected officials, is essential. This is not the time for boasting, campaigning or blaming others.
There is no playbook for mayors to guide us through a global pandemic and statewide Stay at Home order. Over the past three weeks, information has changed daily, sometimes hourly, but that is to be expected when federal, state and local governments are dealing with a crisis. The city motto is ‘Progress Through Partnerships,’ and that could not be more evident than now as I observe Parma residents and businesses working together. Parma Area Chamber of Commerce is assisting area small businesses. Some non-profits are providing groceries to residents who are suddenly unemployed. Council members are staying connected with residents in their wards and running errands for elderly neighbors. I have also witnessed neighbors helping neighbors throughout the city. Additionally, council members and I are promoting a new social media campaign, #SupportParmaTakeout, to help sustain our locally owned restaurants. Many of these restaurant owners had to quickly pivot so they could provide takeout or curbside service.
University Hospitals has secured two clinical trials that will provide the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir to hospitalized adults with a pneumonia due to the novel coronavirus. One trial will focus on COVID-19 patients with moderate illness. The second will focus on patients with more severe illness who may require care in the intensive care unit (ICU).
UH is committed to helping our community understand and manage their health and wellbeing. However, given the rapidly evolving situation regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), including the newly confirmed cases in Ohio, we are taking proactive preventive precautions to protect our community.
Since the start of the Coronavirus crisis here in the United States, Ohio’s state legislators have been hard at work crafting solutions to problems created by the public health crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. As the number of infected patients have grown, members of the Ohio House Democratic Caucus, including Parma’s Rep. Jeff Crossman, have been proposing legislation to help every day Ohioans through this crisis. Legislators plan on taking up this legislation when the Ohio General Assembly returns to Columbus.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created shortages of personal protective equipment worldwide. University Hospitals is working diligently and innovatively to assure we have the supplies necessary to continue to safely and effectively care for our patients, while protecting our caregivers.
Anticipating the short supply of surgical masks, UH has designed a uniform mask prototype that can be sewn by volunteers. This is a proactive way to assure the protection of our caregivers and patients under the most extreme situations. UH Parma Medical Center will be a drop-off point for these masks.
UH will continue to follow CDC guidelines for the use of personal protective equipment. Masks sewn by volunteers are not intended for direct use with patients who have or are suspected of having COVID-19. It’s important for volunteers to follow the UH-specific design.
It seems that our world has been turned inside out, doesn’t it? Residents of Parma Heights, like every other community, are feeling the effects. But hopefully you’ll find this information helpful as we all continue to adjust to our new normal of working at home and social distancing.
Parma Councilwoman Debbie Lime, Ward 2, Polish Village, was one of six, honored by the Polonia Foundation of Ohio, Knights and Grand Ladies, on Sunday, March 8, 2020 at a banquet held at Holy Spirit Party Center in Parma. She was awarded for her accomplishments to promote Polish culture and ideals through her commitment to support the Polish Constitution Day Parade and After Party, which takes place in Polish Village Parma annually in May. Also honored for their accomplishments were, Andrew Bajda, Jacqueline Jaros, Agnieszka Kotlarsic, Cara Florence Milcinovic, and Fr. Robert Ramser.
The president was pressured the third week of March to 'enable' the Defense Production Act - which commissions domestic manufacturers to ramp up productions of emergency items needed during wartime, like the automobile industry switching to building airplanes practically overnight during WW2.
In our case now, mobile hospitals, ventilator beds, masks, and general PPE were the war effort.
Further, DPA measures would have initiated the Army Core of Engineers to full capacity - specifically designed for logistics needed now.