Residents of the Knickerbocker Apartments have been so fortunate in having our very own pianist, for many years now, who never forgets a birthday, and every single month makes sure that each person on the birthday list gets recognition. Frank Barkdoll has fought illness, been hospitalized many times, struggled with his illness, and by the grace of God just keeps on coming back to do his artistry on the piano, teach Bible study once a week, and show his courage to give others hope in recovery of their own problems!
In a past Westlake | Bay Village Observer recollection of the now-demolished Westlake Kmart, I mentioned automotive supplies being among the wide variety of products sold there. Indeed, in its original configuration the store stocked an impressive (for a discount department retailer) assortment of oils, fluids, cleaners, chemicals and parts employed in routine automobile maintenance.
As a recently licensed driver in the mid-70s doing his best to keep a more-than-10-year-old, hand-me-down 1965 Mustang on the road, I found myself in Kmart’s automotive department on a regular basis. Eventually, though, a Bay High School kid such as myself would have to visit an actual auto parts store to round up a more “hard core” item than could be purchased from Kmart.
If you happened to be one of the fortunate visitors last week who came to sample Miss Lydia's cabbage rolls and mashed potatoes, you left the Knickerbocker wishing you could take the whole kettle home with you! She is a straw boss in the kitchen, and informed activities director Cheryl, and all the wonderful volunteers, that she wanted it "her way or no way"! However the result was perfection.
Casper the friendly ghost, little ghouls, big ghouls, pretty princesses and lovely witches presented themselves when the Knickerbocker Apartments in Bay Village held their yearly Halloween Bash. Residents and staff members alike volunteered their time and talents to make this a really special and fun evening!
Two of our talented folks made delicious cotton candy and little ones were extremely happy. There were many refills of candy containers, a story lady, fun and games, and the kitchen was open if a very busy and tired mom and dad were accompanying their children and had not taken the time to eat dinner.
My son Mac, his wife Jaime, their two daughters and their two dogs and two cats escaped from what is being called the worst fire in the history of California. They had what I thought was an idyllic life in Redwood Valley, a small rural town near Ukiah. The weather is temperate and their neighbors included the Frey Vineyards and people who brought pies over to welcome them to the neighborhood. Isabella started kindergarten this year and was thriving; Lourdes was attending nursery school at the college where Mac works.
But on Monday morning, Oct. 9, at 1:30 a.m., a fire roared down the mountain behind their home.
I am blessed with many grandchildren but it troubles me to see them, all thumbs pounding their dainty little computer phones. I wonder, "Is this all there is? Will they be able to actually sit down and write a letter, using appropriate letters?"
And I fondly think of a simpler time, when most of today's seniors were learning their reading, writing and arithmetic, and we had to take those homework pages home and practice making circles, vertical lines, pronunciations, etc. Yes, indeed, times have changed, and yes, we need to " keep up with the times" and yes, I am computer friendly – because I did not want to be left behind with the many who decided not to change the format of their lives!
Seemingly reflecting the times, the shell of a formerly popular and important retail establishment in Westlake is in the process of being demolished as this is written.
In the first of a multi-phase modernization and redevelopment of the West Bay Plaza by owner DDR Corp., the large vacant building capping the north end of the shopping complex, which housed a Kmart store two separate times, is coming down (or has come down). The space created will then find a Sierra Trading Post and Fresh Thyme occupying it. Reportedly, at a time in the future, a second phase of the plaza’s redevelopment will focus on updating the western row of retail spaces. It’s also been reported the plaza's newer eastern row of shops will be made-over, but during which remain open and intact.
Perusing a recent online story regarding the Bay Village School District’s three-week STEM-Enriched Summer Study camp both interested me and launched yet another nostalgia trip.
Bay’s STEM-Enriched Summer Study appears to be a terrific opportunity for the district's students to gain valuable insight into potential careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics related fields. Owing to the camp’s technology component, the story almost instantly caused me to reflect back on two school years in which I attended both metal shop and technical drawing classes at Bay High School back in the '70s.
Metal shop teacher, George Meyers, had first-year Metals 1 students fabricate small parallel-bar clamps using only pieces of steel stock and hand tools as their primary project. A great deal of challenge was added to this project by requiring key surfaces of the parallel bars be perfectly square to their adjacent sides, or in the case of one end surface, perfectly round in profile. This was to be achieved by carefully hand-filing said surfaces.
Having had the privilege of accompanying my mother, Melba Wojcik, at the recent 90th & Over Birthday Celebration held at the Westlake Recreation Center on April 25, I was reminded of the wealth of talent and experience possessed by our older Westlake residents, as well as their friends and family members.
The 90th & Over Birthday Celebration is a recognition of the contribution of Westlake's nonagenarian citizens, very ably co-sponsored and produced by the Westlake Community Services Department and the Westlake Women’s Club.
Held in the recreation center’s Community Room, Westlake citizens aged 90 and over, along with one guest if they wished, were invited to attend the event. Tables seating eight were arranged throughout the large room and all tables appeared to be filled.
Since January, I have been writing about The Cleveland Browns and the upcoming draft. I have gone over why it would be a mistake to waste the first pick in the draft on a quarterback; along with the debacle of drafting Tim Couch in 1999 and the futility that has been with the Browns ever since. Additionally, I have reviewed the moves made (and missed) via free agency and have provided a defense-laden mock draft that could significantly improve the Browns' record this year and for years to come.
The one area that I did not address was the position of quarterback, although in some ways I did, by reminding everyone that offense wins games but it is the defense that wins championships. This means that the Browns shouldn't "force" a quarterback to be drafted, especially in the first couple of rounds in this year's draft. If one were taken that high in the draft, the fans and the media would be expecting him be the opening day starter... whether he was ready or not. This has been the proverbial broken record in Cleveland, happening over and over again. Focus on improving the team.
The NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and the Cleveland Browns have a great opportunity to obtain some cornerstones for their future. Browns left tackle Joe Thomas recently commented that he did not want to see the Browns use the first pick on a quarterback and that when you draft a quarterback who fails, you have wasted a pick. He went on to explain that if a position player fails, he still gets on the field for first downs or third downs or special teams. This means that he can still help the team and isn't a total wasted pick; whereas a failed quarterback won't make it on the field at all or possibly as the holder for field goals and extra points at best.
A recent drive on Lorain Road in Fairview Park managed to spark a feeling of nostalgia in me (not terribly difficult to do).
Traveling westbound on Lorain Road from Cleveland I happened to recall a very large amateur radio antenna, now long-gone, had once proudly presided over the northwest corner of Lorain Road and one of its intersecting side streets, near Fairview Park’s eastern limit. On my recent drive I didn’t recall the exact side street. Clearly recalled from a significant amount of time ago was the fact the amateur radio call sign of the antenna’s owner was prominently displayed on its support structure.
Using the same sort of research techniques I’ve employed in writing previous Westlake / Bay Village Observer submissions, I found just where the antenna once stood and that the amateur radio operator who owned it was once a very well known ham and long serving Fairview Park Fire Chief, of which I had no idea.
In the last issue, I explained that the Browns were headed in the right direction by adding high-round picks in this year's draft. Since then, free agency has been in progress and once again, the Browns have made a move that will enhance their draft positioning. This time it is for next year, 2018. They have added another second-round pick from the Houston Texans with a creative move. They used a technique that happens frequently in the NBA of absorbing an under-producing, high salary player contract and being compensated for it with the high-round draft pick. They now have their own first- and second-round picks for 2018, along with the second-round picks obtained from both the Texans and the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Browns do seem to have some problems in free agency though. This would be with their own players that they could have and should have re-signed. Last year it was offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz and this year it was wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. The loss of Mitchell Schwartz last year played a role in the numerous injuries to Cleveland quarterbacks and the resulting 1-15 record. Terrelle Pryor was one of the few bright spots on the team last year. He is sure to be missed this year.
A few issues ago, I wrote that the Browns shouldn't waste the first pick in the 2017 draft on a quarterback. Now, it's time to look back to the year 1999, when Cleveland re-entered the NFL and used the first pick in the draft on – what else – a quarterback.
Tim Couch was the first pick in that draft for the Cleveland Browns. It was a pick that was the start of the futility of the Browns going forward to current day. The issue wasn't with Tim Couch. He may have been a premier quarterback under better circumstances, but he was coming to an expansion team that had a horrible offensive line, no running backs to speak of and only one wide receiver that was any good, Kevin Johnson. KJ, as he came to be known, was the Browns second-round pick in that same draft.
The very phrase Valentine's Day stirs up a varied array of emotions inside every human being. A day for celebrating love, the day even brings hope for those are yet to find true love. Celebrations for the day are also unique for every couple. A college freshman celebrates it by a dinner date, a young couple plans for a nice romantic getaway while for an elderly couple the day is celebrated just by spending time together over a cozy meal at home.
No matter what the celebrations are for the day, the memory of a perfect Valentine's Day is always cherished and held close to the heart because what makes it a perfect day is true love. Being married to my college sweetheart and completing 18 years of a happy marriage, I have celebrated numerous such Valentine's Days till now. In these 18 years my hubby and I have gone through all the ups and downs of life. No matter how dark and grim the future seemed, especially when our son tested positive for a genetic neurological disease just after his birth, we always faced the challenges that life threw at us by holding each other’s hands.
Now that the Cleveland Browns' season is over, we can expect all of the local sports media to mandate that the team use the first pick in the upcoming draft on a quarterback. The expectation for this quarterback will be to lead this team to the Super Bowl and win it. I'd like to explain why I believe that is not the best use of the pick, especially this year when there isn't one that stands out above all others.
The Browns have five picks in the first 65 selections to be made this year. They need to use the choices wisely and come up with impact players to become the foundation of the team going forward.
As an adolescent in the early '70s the first lawnmower I tried to maintain ended up throwing a connecting rod through its engine block. If there’s much to learn in one's failures I must’ve learned quite a bit during that episode.
Since that time I’ve managed to get one or two lawnmowers to run past their prime. For that reason I’ve appreciated several businesses in the Westlake/Bay Village area where one could acquire lawnmower parts. With one of those being Cricket Yard Equipment, I was especially interested to find in the Dec. 13, 2016, edition of the Observer that after more than 37 years of serving the lawn care equipment sales and maintenance needs of our community, owners Craig and Nan Baker are selling the business to E&H Ace Hardware, where it will be relocated to their store at the corner of Dover Center and Detroit roads.
The sale of Cricket Yard Equipment leads me to reminisce of past businesses that sold and serviced lawn and garden equipment but are now closed, leaving Cricket a sole survivor, of sorts, in the Westlake/Bay Village community.
We can hardly wait to get the Halloween candy off the counter before rushing in with Christmas candy and all that goes with it. This came home to me when on Halloween morning I went to the store to buy candy to hand out at the door that evening. Imagine my surprise when I was told there was none. They had a big weekend sale and it was all gone. The only candy on the shelf on Halloween day was for Christmas.
It seems everything is geared toward "what’s next." Hopping over one holiday, pouncing on the next. I thought of all the past holidays spent laughing and talking around the table. If I could do it over again, I would listen more and talk less, especially when my great-grandmother was at our table.
The rat-a-tat-tat of the “Little Drummer Boy,” had that song been in existence as Christmas music played on radios in Pearl Harbor on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, would have been wiped out by the very real rat-a-tat-tat of machine guns on Japanese Zeros attacking the people, planes and ships at the U.S. naval base in Hawaii. The Empire of Japan had viciously declared war on America. (Germany and Italy declared war on us just days later.)
Just 17 days before that date which still lives in infamy, we had expressed our gratitude on Thanksgiving Day. (The last time it was celebrated on the third Thursday in November.) It would take four years, as sung in a 1943 chart-topping song, for “the lights to come on again all over the world.” The world would never be the same again. The shock for those of us not alive or of age at that time must have been like what we experienced as a nation with the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
While the address 492 Bradley Road in Bay Village might sound familiar to some people, many may not know of the various reasons for its notoriety.
The most obvious and current reason is that it’s the location of Bay Lodge. More about that later in this story.
Though many historically minded folks are likely already aware, I was surprised to recently discover former Bay Village Mayor A. Horace Wolf (serving in that capacity from 1910 to 1916) lived in a house previously standing at that address. According to a Dec. 29, 1931, Plain Dealer obituary, Mr. Wolf was born, raised and passed away on a farm at 492 Bradley Road.
Margretta was a strong, independent woman in an age when that when that was a rarity. When she received a small inheritance, she used it to attend Cornell University. Her father, a farmer and church elder, stood up in a grange meeting and announced to all how embarrassed he was to have a daughter who was going to college.
In college, she met other independent women, and marched with them for women’s suffrage. When the Great War broke out, the men were leaving school. Either they enlisted, or went home to their family farms to grow food for the nation.
Having possessed varying degrees of interest in aviation since childhood, I was particularly drawn to Conda Boyd’s informative article in the Sept. 20 issue of the Westlake | Bay Village Observer titled “WCOG mayors host FAA Metroplex project discussion.”
In her story, Ms. Boyd discusses the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) NextGen Metroplex project and how the agency has been seeking input from local officials, along with the public, as an integral part of the Cleveland-Detroit NextGen Metroplex initial design phase.
Utilizing Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology, the FAA’s NextGen project will bring our nation’s aviation radio-navigation infrastructure into the 21st century. While GPS is already widely used to assist with aircraft navigation, it is currently being adapted to an underlying routing system designed around decades-old, ground-based radio-navigation technology. NextGen promises to take full advantage of GPS accuracy and flexibility while at the same time offering pilots vastly more information regarding their in-flight situation.
As summer blends into autumn, with the weather turning cooler and daylight hours getting shorter, folks tend to spend more time indoors and often place more emphasis on television viewing than during the warmer months.
These days, the main challenge of TV viewing seems to be following circuitous plot lines and enduring long blocks of commercials. Conversely, while rather young at the time, I recall when watching television was much more challenging, both technically and physically.
Going back to a time when most families shared their viewing on a single television set (and that most likely being black and white) one could tune in any channel they wanted – as long as that channel was numbered three, five or eight on the original VHF band in the Cleveland market.
On June 28, 1894, Congress made the first Monday in September a legal holiday called Labor Day. We celebrate with a day off from work, by going to parades, eating a picnic lunch, or having an evening cookout. The weekend of Labor Day is a sign that summer has ended and a new school year has begun.
All fun and sun of the day aside, I would like to take the time to thank everyone in the Westshore community for all their hard work which improves the quality of my life and makes this area a functioning, healthy, and beautiful place to live.
The Fourth of July is a major summer holiday with cookouts, baseball games, swimming, visiting friends and family, and of course fireworks at night. However, what we need to remember and celebrate is the birth of the United States and our declaration of independence from a major power who, our founding fathers believed, was taking away our precious, inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
In this year of important elections, it is wise for voters to look to men and women of the past who exhibited integrity and strength – special men and women who helped guide people and countries through difficult times.
June 24 is the feast day of one such man, John the Baptist. John was a cousin to Jesus of Nazareth and yet John, despite this important relationship, remained humble and kind. He lived a different lifestyle wearing plain clothes and eating plain food, teaching and baptizing – constantly helping others find peace and contentment.
Sometimes we don’t know what to say. Words, even if the right ones miraculously present themselves, are not enough. I'm trying in my inept way to tell you that I am sad. My friend, Betsy Martin, is gone. The whole village misses her. She was so much a part of Bay Village as are the oak trees and the flowering pears.
I met Betsy two decades ago while her husband, Dick, was busy building the Bay Village Foundation and I was a trustee. She was generous with her time and shared many ideas.
June 14 is Flag Day ... a day to display “Old Glory,” “The Stars and Stripes,” or “The Star Spangled Banner,” as our colorful national symbol is alternately known.
Regardless of agreements and disagreements, likes and dislikes, and so much “noise” surrounding us down below, our nation’s flag flies proudly above, representing the struggles, sacrifices and accomplishments that formed a mighty nation. It reminds us of the greater whole of which we are all a part.
Flag gazing should also remind us that our freedom and rights should be preserved and never, ever, taken for granted.
This year Memorial Day falls on May 30. On this day we remember and honor those Americans who died while serving in the armed forces.
Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971. Perhaps late May was chosen because it is in the springtime that we can go out to the cemeteries and lay flowers and wreaths on the graves of these heroes. A moment of silence is to be observed at 3:00 p.m. so we can think about and pray for the men and women who died serving and defending the United States.
I’m not a traffic “expert” but with over 62 years of experience driving in many cities, most states and several countries, I have learned something about coordinating the movement of vehicles on streets and roads – the good, the bad and the ugly systems.
Westlake’s mayor and city council seems to be “going in circles” in considering a roundabout (traffic circle) at the intersection of Center Ridge and Canterbury roads. If they decide to build one, I hope they also put in some bleacher seats so we can watch the fun as drivers try to navigate around it. They are merry-go-rounds without the merry.
During the beautiful month of April we celebrate Earth Day, which this year is on Friday, April 22. We take this time to think about how much the Earth really means to us: not only her grace and beauty but the very life she gives us – from the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food provided, the plants and flowers that brighten our days, and of course, all the amazing animals that help us, sustain us, and give us fond companionship.
Everyone plays a part in creating life on Earth and making our planet beautiful. We make delicious food from the harvest, we take care of the plants and animals, and we have children who become the next stewards of the planet so they and future generations may appreciate and also benefit from the gifts of the Earth.
We all know that change is a fact of life. With time, everything and everyone changes. Winter snow gives way to spring leaves then summer shine and then to fall. Similarly people also change in their lifetime. They grow from sweet, cooing babies to youngsters full of energy to middle-aged couples and then seniors.
I realized this amazing fact about humans the day I met an old friend of mine after 15 long years. We used to know each other as kids, from kindergarten to high school. We had big plans for changing the world. We used to believe we could move mountains and turn rivers. We were strong believers that good things happen to good people and bad always get punished. I used to fight big kids bullying little ones in school. I once saw someone beating a dog and I fought with him standing on the street. And I didn't even know them.
A saint is someone who led a holy and virtuous life on Earth and is now believed to be in Heaven. Christians pray to saints for help and guidance. A famous saint is St. Patrick, whose feast day is March 17. He brought Catholicism to the Irish in the 5th century. He is greatly revered and loved by both the Irish and Irish-Americans.
There are many saints and feast days for them. We honor these men and women for their holiness and good example. Some were very sinful and came to the faith later in life like St. Augustine and others led blameless lives and died young like St. Philomena and St. Therese of Lisieux.
On a cold winter night many people enjoy the warm glow of a fire in their fireplace. As a kid spending his formative years living in Bay Village, on such an evening I instead found myself drawn to the warm glow produced by the vacuum tubes incorporated in my hand-me-down stereo system.
The reality of this year's winter actually producing winter-like weather conditions after teasing us northern Ohioans with a rather mild start, combined with other events in the news, has created a sense of nostalgia in me for listening to album-oriented rock over FM radio with my old tube-powered stereo set.
I love Bay Village because I think we are a community of really good, kind people.
Recently, I read a story online about a Bay Village school bus driver who found something that a student had left behind. He dropped the item off at the student’s house, on his way home. Where else would you find a bus driver that would do this? It made me think about how lucky we are to live in such a nice community.
We human beings have always heard from our parents and grandparents that a home is a place that's familiar. Home is filled with our old memories and things. We also believe that house of brick and stone will be called home by us only when it has warmth and cozy feelings of familiarity.
I also used to believe that until now. Two months ago, when I was living in India, I felt home was my flat in Mumbai. Then we planned to move to the United States. I was very skeptical about the change. I am not a person who likes changes a lot so such a big change like this started bothering me every day.
I used to lie awake every night worrying about how I would ever manage everything. But when I looked at my son, who has special needs, my fears subsided momentarily as I had heard that Ohio is great for special needs kids. Still, the feeling of nervousness was there always.
Presidents Day is Feb. 15. Every American president started out as a citizen who wanted make positive changes to our democratic society. We are right to celebrate this important office and all the men who rose to the challenge of leading the United States.
Yet, we too influence and help lead society. We, as citizens, make a difference in our community. How do we do this? By belonging to civic organizations like the Historical Society, the Green Team, or the Garden Club, or by being a volunteer in a literacy group at the library, coaching a sports team, or participating in community theater. When we buy items from a farmers’ market, or help raise money for a noble cause, or volunteer in a hospice, or in our church – in these ways we are making positive changes in the world around us.
People are like birds; all are unique and flourish in different environments. In today's society, however, everyone is considered the same, especially in schools. People should be educated based on each one’s special learning style. In an effort to correct the faults of the current system, the school system would ideally establish two different types of schools for different learners: the School of Logic and the School of Creativity.
In today's system, all students are forced to sit in rows of desks, carry a flimsy hall pass in order to use the restroom, and face a constant bombardment of standardized tests. All students are graded in the same way and school buildings are unfit for learning; there is limited climate control, failing infrastructure, and outdated technology. No student learns in the same way; some prefer writing, the arts, and creative thinking. Others prefer a standard routine and objective, multiple choice-based evaluations.
In 2011, a family from Bay Village offered to donate funds to build our city a brand new kennel. Their offer is still on the table. Friends of the Bay Village Kennel have been advocating since 2011 to have this matter placed on the City Council agenda so that there could be an open public forum allowing citywide input.
We have also advocated for a part-time animal control officer or Bay Village Police Department liaison so that all domesticated pets would have safe harbor. In August 2015 Governor Kasich signed into law a state budget that includes the language that all police officers will be trained on how to humanely engage with all domesticated animals they encounter daily.
The Friends of the Bay Village Kennel support and believe, as does our benefactor, that the best idea is Mayor Sutherland’s recommendation to have a kennel of similar size to the current kennel attached to the back of the police garage.
Most people know why Feb. 14 is a special day, and March 17, and of course July 4. Most of us know that Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, but few connect it to the armistice – the end of World War I. And when I say to someone on Dec. 7, “Today is a day that will live in infamy,” they respond, “Why?”
Dec. 7, 1941, was the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 2,500 people died, 1,000 were wounded, and 21 American ships and more than 300 airplanes were damaged or destroyed.