April’s Asset Category: EMPOWERMENT. Young people are empowered when they feel valued, valuable and safe. They need to believe that adults like and respect them. Finally, they need plenty of opportunities to contribute to their communities through volunteering, working in paid jobs and sharing their ideas, knowledge and creativity. One of these days, the young people in your home, school, neighborhood and workplace will be in charge – in charge of their own lives and in charge of the world. You can help young people get ready for their future role by empowering them now.
The recent scandal regarding wealthy people and celebrities bribing people and gaming the system to get their children into prestigious colleges has made the news. Wealthy families were paying “consultants” to help their children take the exams, even going so far as to hire a “ringer” to take the exam for their child. Others were trying to portray their child as an athlete when they never played the sport. This doesn’t surprise me one bit that this scandal hit the news.
Open up a newspaper or your search engine and the news is laced with violence and destruction. Walking into a restaurant, attending a University, or even waking up in the morning can make anyone apprehensive about the events that lie ahead. Personal safety has become a priority to everyday living.What can be done about your day to day safety? There are many options available to those who are looking to improve their safety. Some options include weapons such as, guns, stun guns, mace, and knives. There are laws and regulations associated with every type of weapon and weapons are not always the answer to your safety solutions. For instance, training is needed in order to use any weapon. Guns need to be cleaned and taken care of. There is always the chance of premature discharge or loading the weapon in time for immediate use. Stun guns may have to be charged or need batteries replaced in order to ensure effective use. Mace has to be in a prime location handy for quick access and be pointed in the right direction when released. Knives are weapons that require a professional touch, but amateurs try their hand at using them. Taking a knife from an attacker requires professional training. Considering the chances of surviving a weapon attack, taking some type of self-defense, karate, or martial art should be number one on your list. Students not only learn skills to fend off an attacker, but they gain insight into how to become more aware of their surroundings and ways to increase personal safety measures. No matter what type of weapon you use to defend yourself, there is a chance of failure. Self-defense techniques are not full proof, but when weapons fail your techniques will not.
Asset Corner #111 SHOW KIDS YOU CARE: TELL THEM STORIES IN WHICH THEY ARE THE HERO. March’s Asset Category: Social Competencies Learning social skills is a lot like learning to play the piano in that you need to learn some basic competencies and you need someone to teach you those skills. You need time to practice, guidance as you gain experience, and feedback along the way. Social competencies are the skills and life perspectives young people need to develop into healthy, competent adults. These skills are important daily, but they’re even more crucial when young people encounter the tough times in life. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset 33: Interpersonal Competence
This month, on March 15 the buzzards will make their annual return to Hinckley signaling the beginning of spring. But do the buzzards actually return every year on the same date? Do they actually migrate south for the winter, and how did this story begin? Well, the story behind the famous buzzards of Hinckley is based on some history as well as some folklore. Two hundred years ago most of northeastern Ohio was a forested wilderness, inhabited by many wild animals including some that would like to make a meal of livestock as well as humans. The forests of northeastern Ohio were teeming with game as well as wolf packs, bears and mountain lions. Following the end of the War of 1812, the threat from hostile Indian tribes was ended in much of Ohio and more settlers arrived in northeastern Ohio. Many had been granted land by Connecticut for their service in the War for Independence since this part of Ohio was originally the Connecticut Western Reserve.
The Pure Food and Drug Act passed in 1906 due to the fervor of Harvey Wiley, chief chemist in the Department of Agriculture. He studied food products and educated the public about adulterated food. Formaldehyde was added to meat and dairy products, borax, copper sulfate, sawdust, floor sweepings etc. were added to food products. A plethora of products simply weren't what they said they were, contained toxic substances or flat out gross stuff. The book goes into shocking detail about this and the fight between manufacturer's and legislation for safe food, authentic food, and labeling such. The poison squad was a group of men that volunteered to ingest substances believed to be toxic to record the results. For decades Wiley battled for legislation to ensure authentic food and proper labeling as well as to eliminate toxic substances in food. Frustrated, he left public office to write uncensored for Good Housekeeping and eventually published, 'The History of a Crime Against the Food Law,' venting his frustrations of a corrupt government that bent to industry pressure and ignored public welfare. Despite the numerous poisonings and deaths over the years, it wasn't until over 100 people died, many were children, from a cough syrup containing diethylene glycol (found in antifreeze) that legislation greatly expanded the previous act and replaced it with the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938. It corrected deficiencies and gave real authority to what we call the FDA, Food and Drug Administration. The mid-nineteenth century marked the beginning of Europe enacting protective measures and banning many American food products. Today, the EU, Russia and many other countries have banned Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's). They dominate our groceries, yet are banned for sale within and import to those countries which have bans in place. Much of the American food supply is still tainted, not just with GMO's, but an abundance of chemicals, preservatives, dyes, fertilizers, fungicides and herbicides that are known to be toxic, so there is still work to done to purify our food supply.
Deep in the dark arid jungle mountains of the world’s first black republic, there beats a distant drum. Pulsating low-frequency rhythms known as Petwo, Ibo, and Kongo, complimenting murmurs that heighten into shrieks and shrills of song, and swirling plumes of dust underfoot in near bare-body dance.
What is the meaning of your name? Have you ever researched it? There are numerous sites that you can visit to learn about the history, characteristics and statistics by state. After researching the meaning of Kim, I learned that over 200,000 babies have been given that name since 1880 and that it's derived from England. However, this is not what this article is about.
This month of February marks the 109th birthday of the Boy Scouts of America. It was on February 8, 1910, that the Boy Scouts of America was chartered. The first Boy Scout troop was organized in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then more than 110 million boys have participated in the Boy Scouts.
How much thought do people put into the perennials planted in their yards? Some people put great thought into it and certainly some do the opposite. Simple research can greatly assist in creating a wonderful landscape even in the small forty foot Parma lots. Planning a makeover with select perennials can create a beautiful yard that will not just last a few years but several decades.
February’s Asset Category: POSITIVE VALUES. You are what you believe. Values shape young people’s relationships, behaviors, choices, and sense of who they are. Although positive values help young people avoid risky behavior, they also help guide their day-to-day actions and interactions. Thus, values inspire, not just prohibit. Young people who have positive values are more likely to listen to their conscience, help others, be independent, tell right from wrong, and feel happy. Ultimately, positive values help young people make their own decisions rather than imitate friends or follow trends.
SHOW KIDS YOU CARE: DEAL W/PROBLEMS & CONFLICTS WHILE THEY’RE STILL SMALL. January’s Asset Category: Positive Identity
After growing up in Parma and spending my life living in northern Ohio, I was suddenly transferred and promoted to manager of a field office in Spartanburg South Carolina. Spartanburg is in the “upstate” region of South Carolina in the piedmont region about an hour’s drive southwest of Charlotte. I was also a half day’s drive from the coast. Best of all, I was away from the snow and cold of northern Ohio. It was the first week of February and there was more than a foot of snow in my backyard with the temperature in the mid teens when I left northern Ohio. When I arrived in South Carolina, it was cloudy and the temperature was around 50 degrees with no snow on the ground. I was beginning to like this already.
When Spring and Summer return. enjoy the sun, along with a cold beverage and good meal on one of Parma's many patios.
December’s Asset Category: CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME. The pace of everyday life varies depending on the activities young people participate in. These fluctuations are normal, even healthy. As long as young people don’t consistently have too much to do or not enough to do, they’re right on track. Problems arise when the balance begins to tip too far to one side or the other. Too much involvement can lead to stress or anxiety. Too little involvement can be a sign of depression or isolation. Ensure that young people constructively use their time for both fun and learning. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset #18 – Youth Program
The movie A Christmas Story about Ralphie’s quest for a BB gun for Christmas and growing up during the early 1940s has become a classic. But we all have our unique Christmas stories and here is mine from growing up in Parma during the 1950s. I grew up near the intersection of Pearl and Ridge Roads in Parma and attended Ridge Brook Elementary School. I walked to and from school because my family lived only two blocks from the school and my mother was usually home then. It was usually on a Friday during December that we had our big Christmas adventure. That was a shopping trip downtown to the big department stores and to see Santa Claus. During the Christmas season downtown Cleveland was a wonderland for a boy. When we went downtown, we dressed up. That meant that after coming home from school, we had to change out of our school clothes into our “church clothes” that were nicer. My mother never wore slacks shopping. She always wore a dress, especially when she went downtown.
Two months ago, I visited the JFK Museum and Library in Boston. There I saw a short movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis which included conversations from the President with his generals and advisors.
A real danger to this country was exposed by the Kavanaugh hearings and it seems to have been completely overlooked. Had Feinstein chosen to act when she originally received Doctor Ford's letter, it could have been investigated privately and Ford's desire for anonymity could have been honored. Instead, at the end of the hearings the letter was leaked, and liberal Democrats demanded to hear Ford's testinony during which she was asked how sure she was about her memory. “100%,” she replied. We were then told that her story was corroborated by other people she had told it to and that a polygraph test also proved she was telling the truth. Or so they said.
When Brett Kavanaugh was nominated recently to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court due to the retirement of Justice Anthony, it appeared that his confirmation by the Senate would be a slam dunk. Now two women have come forward and accused Mr. Kavanaugh when he was in high school at an exclusive prep school of trying to take advantage of them at a party where they were drinking. His supporters are saying that this was long ago and he was a young man doing what young men often do. But really? Should he get a pass on this because that was more than 36 years ago?
October’s Asset Category: SUPPORT Many studies over the years confirm that caring, supportive relationships with adults are critical for raising young people who are healthy and resilient. Support means freely giving young people love, affirmation, and acceptance; surrounding young people with caring families, guardians, friends, teachers, neighbors, and other adults; and helping young people know they belong, are not alone, and are both loved and lovable. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset #2 – Positive Family Communications
In 2017 in the U.S., at least 39 people lost their lives to attacks by dogs. Of those 39 reported cases, pit bulls contributed to 74% (29) of these deaths. This shocking statistic comes from the website dogsbite.org, which has conducted extensive research into media reported fatal attacks from pit bulls in order to advocate for victims of these attacks and to provide a factual counterpoint against pit bull apologists. From extended research into the 13 year period from 2005 to 2017, dogsbite.org has found that pit bulls were involved in 65% of 433 deaths in the U.S. alone. These statistics, as well as my personal experience having to defend my dog from a sudden pit bull attack, are why I support Parma's existing ban on pit bull dogs.
When President Donald Trump recently declared that the some news media is an “enemy of the state”, he was echoing the words of dictators. One of the first things that a dictator does upon assuming power is to shut down any opposition press. Autocrats and dictators cannot tolerate any criticism of their rule.
Anna Widowski came to the United States during the 1880s from what is now Poland with her family as a young woman. They settled on the plains of Kansas as wheat farmers. When she was 16 years old, she went to work as a “Harvey girl” at one of the Fred Harvey shops that were common at railroad stations where she met a young man who worked for the railroad. They got married and in March 1896, at the age of 17 she gave birth to a son who became my grandfather. Her husband’s railroad job took the family to Cleveland where they settled on the west side.
Over the Memorial Day weekend I attended the Jimmy Buffett concert at Blossom Music Center. I have been a big fan of Jimmy Buffett for a long time and have attended many of his concerts and thoroughly enjoy his concerts. I paid good money for a pavilion seat so I could see the show and one of my favorite performers. But my enjoyment of the show was marred by the behavior of the people in front of me who insisted on standing for most of the show. When I politely asked them to sit down, they continued to stand. Then when I asked again for them to sit down, they complained to the usher who did nothing. So where do people think that they are the most important person in the universe and no one else matters?
There has been another school shooting in the United States with more "thoughts and prayers" for the victims of this latest mass shooting. But as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow morning, there will be another mass shooting in the United States. Whether it is at another school, or a place of business, a church, a shopping center or just out in public; this is an epidemic that must stop! Most of the time when mass shootings happen in other countries, they are usually isolated incidents or are acts by terrorist groups.
June’s Asset Category: BOUNDARIES AND EXPECTATION Boundaries are important to young people because they give clear messages about what’s expected, what is approved and celebrated, and what deserves censure. By the same token, caring adults who expect young people to do their best help them to learn good judgment. Every day young people face many options and choices. Boundaries and expectations provide young people with the support they need to choose wisely. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset 14 Adult Role Models
Earlier this month, I volunteered at the Cleveland International Film Festival and while I was there I saw many movies. The film festival showcases many movies from independent film makers, documentaries and foreign movies. This year’s film festival featured almost 500 full length movies and shorts from 72 different countries. It also attracted more than 105,000 people during its 12 day run at the Tower City Cinemas and several neighborhood screenings, making it one of the largest film festivals in the world.
I am very impressed with the passionate protests and actions by the students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. On Valentine’s Day, a troubled young man entered the school armed with an AR-15 semi automatic assault weapon and killed 17 of their classmates and teachers. Rather than mourn the dead and comfort the families, many students have taken to political action demanding sensible controls on guns so this action is not repeated.
Twelve year-old Parma resident Abdel Bashiti, an innocent bystander, was shot and killed in Cleveland on November 25, 2017. I did not know him or his family, and I saw very little in the news about Abdel himself. It seems he was shot, killed, and largely forgotten. The recent school massacre in Parkland, Florida, has generated a huge amount of national news about in-school safety. What is not being discussed is gun violence outside of schools.
The International Monetary Fund was formed in 1944 to ensure exchange rate stability. Today it consists of 189 member countries “working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.” Each member country has a seat on the Board of Governors which elects a 24 member Executive Board to oversee the organization. The Managing Director since 2011 has been Christine Lagarde who was previously Minister of Economic Affairs, Finance and Employment in France.
I decided to take a break from the political issues and write a different kind of column this month. This past week I have been enjoying a much needed break from winter and work along the coast of South Carolina at Hilton Head. I have come here often and this region, the “low country” of coastal South Carolina is rich in history as well as a unique culture. I spent a day in Savannah Georgia, just across the border. Savannah is where the colony of Georgia was founded. The city has preserved its old historic district and it was the setting for the movie Forrest Gump back in the 1990s.
You may be thinking you still have several months of learning ahead of you before your next progress report or report card. You can take it easy for now since most of the projects are due in May. Well, think again…because Spring Fever is right around the corner. The weather will begin to warm up, the birds will chirp again, and the days will become longer.
February’s Asset Category: POSITIVE VALUES.
The shutdown has come and gone. However, we're still hearing a lot of spin, innuendo, half-truths and lies about it. And since the shutdown was ended with temporary funding that expires February 8, it will undoubtedly rear its ugly head again. Consequently, it's time to lock and load some facts about shutdowns in general and this one in particular.
Recently some members of congress suggested requiring “able bodied” adults whose income makes them eligible for Medicaid should either be working, engaged in a full time job search or pursuing education that would lead to gainful employment. Such an idea may have a great appeal; but in practice it would be an administrative nightmare and will not remove many from the Medicaid rolls.
President Donald Trump said that he wanted to “roll back regulations to 1960 levels”. Of course, this would undo most progress that has taken place over the past 58 years. I am old enough to remember what it was like back in 1960. Let’s take a trip in the “way back machine” that was a feature on Sherman and Peabody, a cartoon segment on the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show that was popular back in 1960, and return to 1960.
To repay this great nation for all it has given me, I am devoting my golden years to improving the quality of life for everyone in it by exposing the spin, innuendo, half-truths and lies that continuously come from the liberal elite and are blindly repeated by the little liberals who are unable to think for themselves. It's a hot, dirty, never-ending job so I'm always looking for ways to be more efficient.
In December of 1773 a group of Bostonians, upset about the British imposing a higher tax on tea and fueled by whisky and beer dressed as native Americans and boarded several ships in Boston Harbor that were bringing tea to Boston. They then dumped the tea into Boston Harbor in protest of the tea tax in what became known as the Boston Tea Party.
Sometimes liberals have good intentions. At least that's what I tell myself. But they screw it up in the end and then argue to the death that they saved all us little people from ourselves. For example, they decided we needed “comprehensive health care reform” so they gave us the ACA and now they keep arguing how great it is because fewer people are uninsured. But the ACA did not reform healthcare. It made it easier for a minuscule percentage of the population to buy health insurance and penalized everyone else. But having insurance and getting healthcare are two different things and having insurance does not mean you can get healthcare. Just one obvious example is all the people who were required to buy insurance under the ACA but can't use it because they can't afford the deductibles.
In last month’s Parma Observer, Carmen Luna wrote an open letter to me and accused me of selectively lifting selected passages from President Lyndon Johnson’s and Donald Trump’s speeches to the Boy Scout National Jamboree. His “open letter” was in response to my column from September where I compared the speeches of Lyndon Johnson at the 1964 Boy Scout National Jamboree and Donald Trump’s speech from this past summer. To answer Mr. Luna, space limitations prevented me from including more excerpts from those speeches. But I did provide links where any reader with internet access could go and read the entire speech from each President. Even without the links I provided, anyone with internet access could do a search and find the texts of those speeches.