After the mass shootings in Paris and San Bernardino, just about every Republican presidential candidate and governor went on record refusing to accept any Syrian refugees into the United States. But President Obama has said that the United States will accept only 10,000 of the refugees from Syria and the Middle East. So far, Germany has accepted more than ten times that number. Gaining asylum in the United States as a refugee is not easy. There is a very long process to screen those seeking refugee status in the United States. In fact, our borders are far more secure than the borders in Europe.
Whether we are looking to improve a city's commercial districts or residential streets, when it comes to neighborhood walkability, it is difficult to overstate the importance of a healthy and abundant tree canopy. In fact, it may be one the best investments a city can make. Just ask Jeff Speck, a city planner committed to smart growth and sustainable design. In his book Walkable City, he states, “Because they have such a powerful impact on walkability, street trees have been associated with significant improvements in both property values and retail viability. Since this enhancement translates directly into increased local tax revenue, it could be considered financially irresponsible for a community to not invest heavily in trees.” Not surprisingly, he also observed that while rich and safe streets had good tree cover, poor and dangerous streets did not.
It was with great disbelief that I read the article written by Lee Kamps entitled “The Phony War on Christmas” in the December edition of the Parma Observer. I find it very hard to understand how Mr. Kamps can really believe that there is a “Phony War on Christmas." I cannot conceive how he can be so totally unaware of what is happening around him. Does he not read all the articles and listen to the media about cities and schools distancing themselves from Christmas in order to be “politically correct?”
In early November, the voters of Parma, Parma Heights, and Seven Hills, voted down the School District's Technology Levy (Issue 5). It seems that the defeat has inspired our School Board members enough to mail out in late November a postcard that outlines a "New Plan" to deal with this defeat. Their plan touches on new purchase plans, review technology staffing, to keeping and maintaining current technology, just to name a few points.
Rubbish. This seems to be a word that doesn’t inspire a great deal of interest. Who would not discard such a concept? It is an area where very few wish to dwell. Yet to broach such a concept, as undesirable as it may be, is a necessity. Once again, when presented with the present collection of trash, commitments of no increase in finances would be necessary to maintain the program. The concept was that the recycling would off-set such a cost. What a surprise when the administration presented the idea of charging a separate fee for the service. Government will deny that this is a tax increase, but it merely is disguised as a separate charge for services. Let me see, how do we deceive the public again without using the tax word? If it is not a tax, do the residents of the city have the option of opting out of this particular program? At the present time, there is so little trash to be removed from my particular home that with an additional charge it is not the most feasible alternative from my perspective.
Normally, I’d write about data, cross-referencing studies that prove that all lethal deer control measures are ineffective and result in rebounding populations. But this time, I’m writing from the heart.
Cleveland, Ohio's a gem of a city,
I am writing in response to John Lee's article in the November issue. Mr. Lee is obviously a Republican, because all he did was bash the Democratic Party in Parma. First off, my wife and I attend most city council meetings in Parma, and to say that our representatives don't care about the residents in Parma is totally inaccurate. Actually, they have been working hard through millions of dollars of budget cuts due to the Republicans in Columbus to balance our cities budget, provide services, and keep us safe. He also mentioned that property values are down in Parma due to our elected officials, but a look around the county will tell you that property values have gone down all over, not just in Parma.
The crisp crunch of snow underfoot. The silence that only the insulation of falling snow can create. A vacuum. As if we are living in a fanciful Parma themed holiday snow globe. Having friends over for drinks and desserts. Visiting family members near and far. This is the time of year to guiltlessly dive into tins of homemade cookies and drown in ooey gooey gobs of great grand pails of spiced based ales, creating decadent bubbly holiday tales! As an appetizer, Fat Head's "Holly Jolly" is a fun spiced ale to take to any friendly FUNction! Dressed up in big spicy notes of cloves, cinnamon, and allspice, "Holly Jolly" features sweet notes with a kick that could have you dancing like the Sugar Plum Fairy faster than you can say "Eight Percent Alcohol by volume!" At $10.99 a six pack, it is a bit pricey. But this seems to be the going rate for most IPA's these days.
Every year as the Christmas holiday season approaches, we hear from the right wing about a "war" on Christmas being perpetrated by leftists and those who believe in "political correctness." Every year we hear about challenges to cities and villages setting up Nativity displays on public property and court orders to remove those religious displays. We hear about people refusing to say "Merry Christmas" and to say "Happy Holidays" instead. But what difference does any of this make?
During November, a quilt exhibit at Metroparks Westcreek Watershed Stewardship Center entitled "Piecing Together A Changing Planet" proved to be an eye opening display of incredibly imaginative imagery woven into a medium not usually associated with higher forms of visual art. Quilting in this manner certainly transcends the prevailing notions held by most people concerning this traditional craft. The intricate designs and themes, focusing on how our 401 National Parks are affected by pollution and other human caused factors, were truly a thought provoking and inspiring experience upon viewing. This was a juried art show featuring 26 original art quilts created by 22 Florida artists. I hope that many people took advantage of this unique show and I anticipate more art events such as this one to occur at this most ideal venue.
Fragmented And Complex System Of Health Care Drives Up Cost While Doing Little To Improve Quality And Outcomes
In the 42 years that I have worked with Medicare, Medicaid and private health I have been saying for a long time that the fragmented nature of health care and health insurance in the United States is the major cause for our nation's high cost of health care. Health care is the actual delivery of health care services by doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. Health insurance is what actually pays for health care. It is impossible to separate one from the other since only the very wealthy can afford to self insure for their health care costs.
Do you like living in Parma? Are you happy with where the city is headed? A small group of write-in candidates hopes the answer is no. Candidates as diverse as Mary Galinas, a former councilwoman; Denise Geschwender, a pit bull activist; and Steve Bayt, a cat sanctuary advocate, have their own ideas about what will reverse the current trend of decline facing the city and hope that voters are willing to take a chance on their long-shot candidacies to make Parma great again.
After reading two recent stories in the Parma Observer, one by Lee Kamps and the other by Jeannie Roberts, I have to laugh and continue to be amazed by the lies and misinformation (or lack of information) that these two have pointed out.
Marijuana is also referred to by those who use it as weed, reefer, pot, dope, ganja and grass; seems to be entering more and more into the public debate in Ohio. The reason is that a political action committee named “Responsible Ohio” has brought it to the voters in the upcoming election. Issue 3 will legalize recreational use of Marijuana for adults 21 and over. That may sound all well and good, but is it really? Let’s consider the facts as related to the individual user.
The active drug in the marijuana plant is THC. Its primary and secondary effects are numerous. Let’s start with the brain. Short term memory loss is a well-documented effect. While under the influence of this drug, visual perception difficulty is also a well documented effect, especially as it relates to driving. Students that begin to use Marijuana regularly experience a drop in grades and the ability to recall information as efficiently as the non-user. Marijuana use also causes sleep disturbances, making it very difficult to drift off to sleep while impaired. A secondary effect of the short-term memory loss produced by the drug is the tendency to misplace items. Though harmless, this poses a continual challenge to the chronic user. Paranoia and self-isolation are some other common behavioral patterns seen in regular users.
Let’s now look at the habit. Marijuana is touted to be non-physically habit-forming; however the psychological addiction is powerful. It’s no secret that the high is a pleasurable feeling. One of the reasons why it’s so popular is because we are an ever increasing “sensate culture,” that craves to make ourselves feel good, as much as and as often as we can! “It’s all about me,” is a popular cliché. Individuals who live by such a philosophy find that marijuana use fits well with their way of life. When users run out of the drug, they will often scrape their pipes with a paper clip in order to remove the thick, black resin that has formed on the inside. Then they will put the resin ball back into the pipe and smoke it. This is a much more concentrated dose of THC, as one can imagine that resin ball being lit on fire and then re-deposited into the lungs of the user. Again, the force of habit and expected sensations will always override the user’s natural inclination toward safety and health.
Some of the effects of marijuana use on the body are as follows: The active compound THC is a vasodilator, meaning is produces an opening of the blood vessels and pupils of the eyes. Reddening of the eyes is also a pronounced side effect with use of this drug. Hypersensitivity to light is another side affect; with users often preferring low-light areas, shade and use sun glasses when outdoors to compensate. Increased appetite is a pronounced effect. The effect of increased appetite can be so strong, that users are given to eating at all hours of the day or night, thus throwing off a normal 3-square-meals schedule. Although there are exceptions, the combined primary effects mentioned above often lead to an increasing sedentary, indoor lifestyle. Other secondary effects such as loss of motivation and lax personal hygiene cause the regular user to become frustrated with themselves and the way they look when the are straight; so they naturally prefer the way they feel while stoned.
Since the regular user of the drug marijuana prefers to remain high, that powerful psychological draw, makes nearly all other personal and social priorities take a lesser position. Work becomes something they no longer feel like doing, unless it is viewed a means of producing income needed to maintain a supply of marijuana. Generally speaking, when given the choice, an impaired individual will choose to lounge around, instead of work. They tend to get drawn off task, and begin focusing on even the minutest details around them, that non-user would ignore. Motivation is not a word used to describe the regular user. The user’s thoughts are now focused on the sensation or “high,” as responsibilities drop off the radar. A lack of concern for one’s physical appearance and personal hygiene, as previously mentioned, becomes apparent. What does this say about the regular user’s workplace performance? I submit that the regular user of the drug is, by far, a less productive and less self-directed employee than the non-user.
Like birds of a feather, marijuana users tend to flock together, usually small groups. As individuals transition from being a non-user to a user, there are certain social changes that occur. Old friends tend to drop off and new friends arrive on the scene, or old friends are themselves influenced to become users. Users tend to unite around the common goal of getting high and passing time feeding the five senses, which are in a heightened state. Along similar lines, marijuana also seems to create exaggerated perceptions of what is funny. So often the impaired individuals will laugh at things that the straight world sees no humor in at all. They are observed laughing and giggling at socially inappropriate times, simply due to the effects of the drug. The group of impaired users can laugh and joke for hours, finding endless humor in each others quips and clever remarks.
Finally, safety is a major concern in marijuana use. Today’s hybrid strains of the plant are the result of intentional, careful growing that utilizes advanced horticultural methods in order to produce extremely potent forms of the drug. Lacing of marijuana with toxic substances like ammonia, are not uncommon. The second paragraph described how that impaired users experience problems with visual perception as related to driving. Studies have shown a significant crash risk, directly related to the concentration of THC in the user’s blood. When marijuana and alcohol are used in combination, both in quantities that produce serious impairment, the combined level of impairment is compounded to the extent that serious safety hazards are created. Operating a motor vehicle while in that state is extremely dangerous. It is a fact that marijuana users tend to share social networks with users of other drugs. Users of cocaine, crack, opium, hashish, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and heroin tend to cross into the same social circles where marijuana is found. The same can be said about synthetic drugs and illegal prescription narcotics. After all, don’t all of these drugs alter sensory perceptions and appeal to the same inherent demand for that type of experience in individuals? Many of the named substances circulate in the underground drug markets where violence and crime are present. Although small-time users of marijuana would not be considered a violent offender; the supply networks just a couple levels up, will require the use of violence to secure their monetary interests and enforce their market territory. You may have heard it said, “Who could a marijuana user possibly be hurting?” Hmm…
This paper seeks to explicate sound reasons for comprehensive reform of the Ohio Division of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife (ODOW) based on the principles set forth in “A Conservation Institution for the 21st Century: Implications for State Wildlife Agencies,” co-authored by Cynthia A. Jacobson, as well as independent, scientific research and observation by Lucy McKernan concerning Ohio white-tailed deer.
What's wrong with the trees?! They seem to be infected with some sort of disease which makes their leaves yellow and fall! Disgusting. Should I apply ointment or salve? This, surely, is a mark of fall and means we are approaching,"Turkey time!". There is one important thing to remember when pairing wine to Thanksgiving dinner. No matter how well cooked, turkey is a dry meaty dish which requires tasty liquidity to make it rise to perfection! Gravy is okay, but wine makes a turkey fly! Which wine should you choose? A Pinot Noir is a fine choice. The juicy flavor aromas of red fruits like raspberry strawberry, and red cherry make a nice addition to turkey or cranberry sauce. While the earthier flavor notes of mushroom and,"forest floor" match the brown gravy and potato elements of any harvest dinner table. (For the curious..."forest floor" is an actual aroma marker for Pinot Noir's wet oakiness which resembles a downtrodden wet oak filled forest floor.) Pinot Noir is one of the most adaptable red wines for pairing with food. The juicier ones match many food flavors. While the slight oakiness can pair with truffles or mushroom sensations.
Six years is a decent stretch of time in the life of anyone or anything. Just think about your own life during the past 6 years; the time goes by so fast, but when you look back, so much has occurred and a lot of changes have taken place. The same is true with the Tri-City area of Parma, Parma Heights, and Seven Hills. When the Parma Observer came to life in October of 2009, the three cities all had different leaders than they do now, there were businesses and institutions that today are no longer here, just as there were brand new entities just coming into existence, especially the Parma Observer. Although our paper wasn't the first Observer in the Cleveland Area (it was the 4th), the very concept of citizen powered media was, and in many ways still is, completely unique to our particular section of Cuyahoga County.
Ever since the first days of our government, politicians have used whoppers to get elected and stay in office. Our history is rife with examples of how politicians have used myths, lies and appealed to the worst elements of the country to get elected. In fact, the men who wrote the Constitution believed that the mass of voters were not intelligent enough to vote directly for an office as important as President of the United States. That is why they created the Electoral College in which the voters voted for “electors” who would vote for president.
The deer issue may be just the tip of the antler as far as the Cuyahoga County Mayors/City Managers Association (CCMCMA) is concerned. Though CCMCMA formed a subcommittee addressing the “deer issue” on a regional basis, including Parma and Seven Hills, and which demands that Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) take responsibility for urban deer, it’s listed as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) lobbyist group that employs a powerful Squire, Sanders & Dempsey attorney to lobby at both executive and legislative state levels.
Some of the fondest memories of life are in the time of going to school, now that it is in the past, some not so fond also; learning how to socialize, without realizing it, learning the three r’s, at times with some serious effort. The meeting of new classmates and the renewal of old classmates was an exciting time. Getting dressed appropriately for school, and not in play clothes, because you not only represented yourself, you represented your family. You leave home neat and clean, which changes quickly after fifteen minutes of recess. Now that my personal formal learning has slowed considerably, noticing what the schools and the administrators accomplish is something to take notice of. For instance, Parma Senior High School Principal Chad Coffman held the superintendent position since August 1, and made five hundred dollars a day in addition to his contract.
Following the 2012 presidential election and Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama, Louisiana governor and current presidential candidate Bobby Jindal said that the Republican Party should stop being the “stupid party.” Now that there is another presidential election on the horizon and President Obama is not on the ballot, the Republican Party has gone from the “stupid party” to the “crazy party.” A common definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing, but expecting different results. The Republican controlled House of Representatives had voted more than fifty times to repeal the ACA or Obamacare. Yet each time the bill has died in the Senate. So, according to that definition, perhaps the Republican Party is insane.
Former Senior Orca Trainer at SeaWorld, John Hargrove tells the story of his childhood dream of wanting to become an Orca Trainer at SeaWorld, how he got his dream job, and his heart-breaking decision to quit in 2012 after 14 years. After being interviewed for the movie, “Blackfish,” a documentary of orcas in captivity, John decided to write about his experiences working with orcas and SeaWorld. Working for SeaWorld, he came to realize that it is a corporation that cared about profits more than people and the animals.
There are many things that evoke sadness. There isn’t enough room on this page to cover the various situations that fall under this umbrella. One of the areas is that of politics. What is so sad in one instance is that the City of Parma doesn’t care about the City of Parma. Neither the Administrators nor the residents, as a whole, want to expend any effort into improving the city. It appears that neither care for anything but their own advancement, whether it is financial or social or anything else.
Regional Solution, Or Another Division Of Wild"Death" Loophole To Kill More Deer, Lie To The Public, And Keep The Profits?
As of the July 6, 2015 Seven Hills council/caucus meetings, it was decided that bow hunting would not be put on the Seven Hills ballot.
I was living in Lexington, KY in 1986 when a coal company headquartered there was acquired by BP and they wanted to transfer their executive and management personnel to Cleveland. Most of those affected that I met were taking the outplacement services rather than accept a transfer to Cleveland. Their impression of Cleveland was very negative.
During the fifties and sixties, recalling the quality of American made products actually made you proud to be a part of this country. Appliances were sturdy, would operate efficiently, for that time, and nothing would cause them to break down. Automobiles were made of steel with a sturdy frame. They had sturdy chrome bumpers that wound not only protect the vehicle from damage but the people inside. Now when there is an accident they fold up like an accordion and the entire car is scrap. They were made with vent windows an inside vent and you could choose the color that you wanted. The choice of color of the vehicle was yours, not only on the outside (which may have been two- tone) but also the color of the interior. Whatever the customer wanted the manufacturer would try to please. We came a long way from Henry Ford who said you can have the car in any color as long as it is in black. The biggest joke was Japanese merchandise that permeated the market as throw away junk that would be cheap to purchase, wouldn’t last very long and was cheaper to replace than to repair.
“Only when the last tree has died and the river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.”
Recently, Parma Area Kiwanis was very busy continuing its mission to "Serving the Children of the World." The Parma Area Kiwanis has arranged for Ridge-Brook Elementary to establish a "Buddy Bench." The buddy bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. It is believed that peer support is a critical factor in combating school bullying and aids in suicide prevention. The hope is that students who are playing at recess will go to the buddy bench and include the children who are sitting there to play or talk with them. It is a learning opportunity to show care about others when we ask others to play. It also is a hope that new friendships will be made because of the buddy bench.
The cat said to the little mouse who was peeking from a hole, “Let’s be friends and go that extra mile!" The mouse’s tiny pink nose kept twitching while the cat’s tail was swishing. But the cautious little mouse sat calmly nibbling on a small piece of chunky cheddar cheese.
At a time when our national debt is more than $18 trillion, it is more important now than ever that Congress makes the tough but necessary decisions to get our country back on a path to fiscal sustainability.
Last month, my column focused on how some for-profit colleges are abusing the system by enrolling marginal students, then getting them government guaranteed student loans to finance their tuition and often few of those students complete the program. Then, those young adults are saddled with student loan debt to repay, but without any hope of a good job that could give them the money to repay those loans.
By definition: sorry means to have sorrow or regret. This is mentioned because it is not infrequent that this word is directed toward me. For those of you who rarely walk anymore, or never did, walking is the movement of one foot in front of the other and traveling to a specific destination either out of necessity or for the pleasure of the movement. In my instance, most days the car doesn’t leave the driveway. That must startle many of you who are reading this. For the most part, for most of us, should there be errands to run or another destination in mind, the first reaction is to get the car keys and get into the car and go. The habit of using the car was a habit that was used by me, for many years. Now walking is my main mode of transportation. The habit was borne out of a report of high blood pressure and supplemented by the price of gas when it was close to $4 a gallon. Walking was never foreign to me, but increased with these influencing factors. A concerted effort was made to walk a certain distance on a daily basis. It would be pleasurable to see more walkers, for you get to greet and perhaps chat with those you may encounter. Driving does not possess that possibility, unless giving hand signals is considered chat. Chat does enter into driving, however. You see many drivers chatting on their cell phones and/or texting on a regular basis when you walk. The reason you notice them talking or texting is because you readily can notice the errors they make while operating their vehicles. Such errors include not stopping behind the stop sign and thus blocking the crosswalk and not stopping by the wide white stripe (or where logic dictate one should be) at intersections, usually those with traffic signals.
A number of years ago I was asked by a business associate to teach a course in Basics of Insurance at a local business college. He told me that the class met for three hours a week over a thirteen week semester with a final exam in the 14th week. I felt that this would be a nice challenge as well as an opportunity to earn some extra money so I accepted this offer. In addition my undergraduate degree is in education and I have taught insurance courses at Cleveland State University previously.
It has been said that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The litmus test for this caliber of sleaze can be found in the half-lies regularly spun by the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW). Always one step ahead of its critics, while conning the public at large, our state wildlife agency’s officials take whole truths and twists them to suit their murder for profit agenda.
The poorest man may, in his cottage, bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter; the rain may enter; but the King of England may not enter; all his force dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement. — William Pitt, in the House of Commons, 1766.
We often see contests and businesses with advertisements “The Best.” This often has been puzzling to me because there were thoughts as to how this was determined, who determined it, and when it was determined. If it concerned food, for example, was it voted on by the entire area, city, state, country, or world? Was it a result of the most populated establishment getting the vote out or the establishment with the most relatives or simply the establishment with the most tech savvy individual to submit the vote electronically? Were there allowances for the different taste buds? As you search your memory, back in school wasn’t there a division between tasters and non-tasters? The “Best” advice is to let your taste buds decide for you.
It was on March 23, 2010, that President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, into law. Since that date, just about all the provisions of the act have taken effect. The act has survived a Supreme Court challenge and the court upheld the act as constitutional. It has survived repeated attempts, 56 at the last count, to repeal it in congress. So after five years, how is the act working? Here is a five year report card on the ACA or Obamacare.
As we approach the City of Parma elections, it's time to reflect upon the State of the City. Recently, Mayor DeGeeter addressed a roomful of citizens with his State of the City Address, which he discussed the city budget. I'm amazed when I hear a Mayor cutting safety forces to balance the budget. The Mayor's salary, plus total compensation, equals $147,422 (one of the highest paid Mayors in our area). Parma has 9 City Council members and a Council President, combined salaries of $205,400. Does Parma need 10 people on City Council? Eliminate 4-5 Council members' and the President's positions, a savings of approximately $134,982. Council President doesn't even have the ability to vote on issues unless there is a tie. We have 9 Council Members. Do the math.
After a long hard winter, like we've had, with mounds of snow, brutal cold, and slippery walks and driveways, as mailboxes begin to fill with those colorful garden catalogs, we long for the warmth of the sun, the chirping of the birds, the lush green of the grass, and the multicolors of a floral garden. When that happens I also think of lawn ornaments, gnomes, gazing balls, ducks and geese, but most of all I think about pink plastic flamingos. So I spent an afternoon researching these flamboyant feathered friends, and here is what I discovered.