I am old enough to remember the Watergate scandal. I was on my honeymoon in Canada when I first heard about the Watergate break in back in June 1972. I thought then that there was more involved than just a "third rate burglary". Later when I learned that two of those burglars in the Watergate break in were connected to the Nixon campaign, I knew then that Nixon was involved.
It was only yesterday that I received the devastating news that the Cleveland Monsters, formerly the Lake Erie Monsters, have officially lost their identity as a Cleveland sports team. We now have a new name (again!), and a new set of colors. What was wrong with Lake Erie Monsters as our name? I mean, doesn't our Monster supposedly live in a lake? Like Lake Erie, for example? The name change is irritating enough. But the color change from the edgy black and blue to the oh-so-Cavs-ish burgundy and gold is an outrage. It's bad enough that our hockey team's merchandise has been relegated to a back corner of the Quickenloans team shop in a space that's smaller than my walk-in closet, but now they can no longer even have the dignity of keeping their original colors. Did they not prove themselves as Calder Cup champions this year, before the Cavs had their victory? Yes, they did, and they deserve better treatment than this. Don't get me wrong; I'm proud that we have a successful basketball team, but it's time for the Monsters to be rewarded for their hard work.
On Thursday, July 7th, an absolute sledgehammer of a mobile app changed the world: Pokémon Go. It released to large fanfare and even larger media coverage. It doubled the price of the stock of Nintendo, the company owning its IP (Intellectual Property) and I have seen it played by…no exaggeration…ages 6 to 70. And beyond my own eyes, I am sure that number is larger.
In mid September, I received the Monitor, the Parma School newsletter. The first story is titled: "State Audit is Game Changer for Schools" The article was written by our Superintendent, Carl Hilling. In the article, Mr. Hilling starts outlining some of the changes he has made with staffing cuts. He goes on about saving money, everything was "running just fine", but at the end of April, the Treasurer left the district, so as a procedural matter, the district asked not only our State Auditor to check the books, but "brought in some outside financial experts" to also check the books. Well guess what? They found out there was no positive balance, but a 7 million dollar deficit!
Some people believe that the presidential election is a choice between the “lesser of two evils” or that their vote doesn’t make a difference. But elections ARE important and elections have consequences. Of particular consequence is the fate of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare and Medicare. The result of this year’s presidential election may have serious ramifications that could affect millions when it comes to their health insurance and access to health care.
If you saw the Republican convention in Cleveland and especially if you saw Donald Trump’s speech that he gave on the final night of the convention; you might think that the sky is falling and only Donald Trump could fix it. Throughout this campaign season, the Republican party and especially Donald Trump have been pandering to our fears while telling the nation that they hold the solution. But much of that fear is irrational.
In April, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both made campaign appearances in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky in the region known as “coal country”. For the past decade, the economy in “coal country” has been in a prolonged slump with many coal mines closed and many coal miners unemployed. Both candidates appealed for votes in that chronically depressed region.
Let’s get a quick perspective about him; he has access to great wealth, he has a narcissistic attitude, he likes to think of himself before others, he is arrogant, he concerns himself about others only to the extent it will benefit himself, he doesn’t think of himself as an employee but rather someone who can order others. On all these points, how does he differ from the vast majority of elected officials or those vying for office, so why is there all of this concern if he will be able to govern. This is not intended as an endorsement of anyone but as a comparison. It is rare an elected official, usually with a background in law, who is capable of operating a properly functioning government. Usually, the functioning parts are more capable, it is the heads of the administrative offices that are inept. An example of this would be the television program “Undercover Boss”. Invariably the administrator, the boss, has absolutely no clue on how to operate any level of the companies’ product and/ or production. They may have a degree, but no practical experience on how to create a final product. Politicians are similar, in that they have a life of privilege and a college degree however, if you have ever studied with a particular concern in mind, the actual function many times isn’t similar. The best manner in which you can understand how a company fully functions is to work your way up, gaining knowledge and experience on all levels. There should be very little if any variation in government. It is a rarity that a lawyer has had a position in which he/she has labored in any field which they defended in the legal arena, it would be pretty much impossible to have a functioning knowledge of all the areas which they defend, even with a staff that would do the research in these areas.
False data continues to proliferate mainstream and social media, overwhelm online comments, and spill from local officials and residents’ lips about the recently-passed bow bow-hunting advisory election. Although Cuyahoga County Board of Elections official/final results for all six communities show about 2 to 1 in favor of bow hunting, the majority of registered voters in all six communities did not vote.
Last month I wrote about wage theft by companies against their employees. That column focused on the ways unscrupulous employers cheated workers out of legally mandated overtime pay as well as hourly wages. However there is another form of wage theft that is also very pervasive in the United States right now. That is misclassifying employees as exempt or as independent contractors.
Early March, a retirement home in southern Yemen was the sight of yet more atrocities committed by ISIS extremists. The retirement home was founded by Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity. It was targeted by four gunmen who killed 16 people, four of who were nuns from this congregation. ISIS does not need to be contained – as this administration has stated – they need to be exterminated.
There is a feeling that the law is here to protect all. Should you follow the law, you will have no problems. Should you choose not to follow the law, you are in for trouble. Should you choose to follow the law, you may also be in trouble. All you have to do is watch the news and with some regularity you will see that someone was released from prison because they were wrongly convicted. How can this happen? It is not as difficult as you may think.
One of the most interesting courses I took in college and post graduate was a course in employment law. While just taking one law course hardly makes me an expert on any matter of the law, it did teach me that there are a host of laws and regulations in the workplace and that it can be easy for an employer to ignore or violate one of those laws.
“Hurrah, let’s go outside!” chanted my busy family of young children. Back then, this was fun time after their Saturday household jobs were completed. All of the kids loved the freedom and opportunities the outdoors offered which continued throughout their teens and adult lives.
What hits close to home this election if you are registered in Parma, Parma Heights, Seven Hills, Broadview Heights, North Royalton, or Strongsville is your “yes” or “no” vote on bow hunting in the form of on an “advisory” election March 15.
Valentine's Day is fast approaching! What will you do to make it memorable for your loved one? You shared a sparkling moment years ago that led you to choose each other to be with for years to come! There was a time when you looked at each other with vulnerable, sparkling eyes and trusted each other enough to ease up on time with friends and dedicate time to the other because the joy you gained from being together was so magnificent. Others haven't found their partner yet. It's an exciting time to not lose hope and realize that there is someone out there for you!
Now, we have entered into an area that piques people's interest. Whether it is in a positive or negative vein, everyone has at least one thought about cops. If you have had a negative encounter, such as receiving a citation for speeding, there is not much of a chance the attitude toward the police is positive. If they have assisted you in a time of need, they are then super heroes. Usually the feelings toward them are rarely lukewarm. When someone calls and the response doesn’t come, city hall will get a call. Even if the police were responding to a call like the one at Chuck E. Cheese or the robbery of a local bank.
As a 27-year member of the Adopt an Animal Program, I can assure you of all the great programs the Zoo has to offer. As appreciation for our support of this program, the Zoo staff invites my wife and I to an annual breakfast at the Zoo, along with many other 20+ year members. This is followed by a review of upcoming improvements and events, a behind-the-scenes tour of some of the animals living quarters, and a trip to the veterinary services.
Last week, I outlined our top priorities for the upcoming year – and we are getting to work immediately on one of them: renewing and expanding nutrition programs that ensure Ohio children don’t go hungry, particularly during the summer months.
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.