The Parma City School District is stronger when we all work together. We have several initiatives, programs, opportunities and plans in place that are making a positive impact on our students and our community. And, we have already accomplished so much, together.
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For many Parma residents, June 30, 2017 will never be forgotten due to the tremendous rains, some of which ended up in their basements. Parma’s Ward 9 Councilman Jeffrey Crossman is among those that will not soon forget, “I wasn’t so much driving in the rain that day-I felt like I was white water rafting home,” said Crossman. “Parma had a tremendous—seemingly biblical amount of rainfall, as did surrounding communities. I was just trying to get home safely while it was raining like I’d never seen before.” The rains ultimately caused widespread flooding in Parma and throughout Northeast Ohio, as storm water exceeded the capacity of sewers, rivers, and creeks to absorb the water. In addition to flooded homes, the Ridge Road exit off I-480 was temporarily closed and the Sam's Club on Brookpark Road in Brooklyn was literally under water as the adjacent creek overflowed its banks. Residents subsequently appeared at City Council meetings to ask what the City was doing to address their flooding concerns and the City engaged its partner agencies to address resident concerns.
Parma’s annual Safety Fair, a community family event for area residents to learn valuable safety information, is scheduled for Saturday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Parma Justice Center, 5555 Powers Blvd.
A mother cannot unlock all of life’s doors for her children, but she can help them find the keys. A smile is an inexpensive way to improve one’s looks. A train is free to travel only when it remains on the tracks. An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
O The Parma Hts. PACT Unit’s Youth Group is active, doing well and continues to meet every other Wednesday from 6:00 – 7:30 pm usually at Cassidy Theater. Their next meeting will be April 4th. Find various sign-up documents for PACT Unit programs, i.e.: the Senior Knock and Talk service, and follow its progress at www.facebook.com/parmaheights.police
O Saturday, April 28th from 9 – 4 pm -Baldwin Wallace University Center for innovation & Growth in Berea will be hosting “Girls In Motion” – a free, fun filled day of empowerment for young ladies grades 8 – 12. Questions: Contact Teresa Stafford at firstname.lastname@example.org, ph: 216/658.2786.
O College Colleagues is offering free tutoring for 9th – 12th grade students. This local, for-profit tutoring business has stepped up to offer two free hours of walk-in tutoring/coaching on a first come-first served basis on Thursday evenings from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, now through May 10th. Call 216.978.6524; email: email@example.com. Also, keep in mind that Homework Help is available Mon – Thurs from 4 to 5:15 & 5:15 – 6:30 at the Parma Branch Library (Powers Blvd) for students in grades K – 8….for details: http://www.cuyahogalibrary.org/homework.aspx
MARCH HIGHLIGHTS - PACT Town Hall in Parma Heights: Tuesday, March 6 was a great informational night for residents of Parma Heights. The town hall meeting, sponsored by PACT (Police and Community Together), focused on opportunities available in the Parma Heights area. Representatives from PACT, Parma Heights Library, Tri-City MyCom, Parma Area Young Professionals and the Parma Area Family Collaborative shared about their programs.
The city of Parma Heights was well represented at the annual Parma Area Chamber of Commerce President’s Gala, March 10 at Holy Spirit Party Center. Among the notables attending were semi-retired Plain Dealer Sports Columnist and WJW-TV Sports Anchor Dan Coughlin with his son, Joe Coughlin, owner of Kwik Car Wash at West 130th Street and Pearl Road. Coughlin shared that he is working on his fourth book, which is to be titled “Last Call,” and is due out November 4. It will feature many of the “great characters” that Coughlin said he’s encountered in his more than five decade career covering Cleveland sports. Coughlin, who resides in Rocky River, turns 80 on September 17. His son, meanwhile, continues to be considered an up-and-comer in our community because of his civic involvement.
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.
APRIL’s Asset Category: EMPOWERMENT. Young people need to feel valued and valuable. This happens when youth feel safe and respected. As a parent, you are already one of your child’s key asset builders. Letting your kids be responsible for their own outcomes (even if they’re not necessarily what you want) is challenging, but remember that empowerment is important. This month’s column will focus on: Asset 7: Community Values Youth
Recently, I was contacted by my friend Jeff Fowler, who is a dedicated member of All Saints Episcopal Church. Jeff and I have known each other for several years, often crossing paths in our various volunteer activities. He kindly invited me to his church where I was inspired to write this latest rendition in my running series on Parma’s wonderful places of worship.
A few weeks ago, my daughter, Kathy, invited me to stay the weekend at her new residence. Her move to a recently developed area of new homes proved to be the catalyst for quite an entertaining experience. The mood was set when the early evening arrived. She called me to watch ten wild turkeys select their high perch in the edge of the forest adjacent to her back yard. I sat like a little kid waiting for Santa. This breathtaking occurrence has happened about three evenings every week since she moved in. Thick vegetation and tall trees provided a panorama of wildlife as we watched the turkeys select their haven for the night.
The Young Professionals of Parma (YPOP) held a public meeting at the Parma library branch on Powers Boulevard on February 22. The group invited the public to come and learn about its newly formed purpose and initiatives, including committees and becoming a non-profit.
Jessica and John Griffin tried cutting calories, restricting carbohydrates and limiting their food intake. At more than 300 pounds each, the young couple were held hostage by obesity and its accomplices of weight-related health problems like numbing foot pain, sleep apnea and diabetes.
Before she tried to fly around the world in 1937, Amelia Earhart’s family wanted her to study medicine. The woman who would become everyone’s favorite lady pilot actually enrolled in Columbia’s pre-medicine program before taking a plane ride at a California air show. Shortly after, she began flight lessons and bought a used plane.
In his seventh State of the City address Monday evening, Mayor Tim DeGeeter touted Parma as a great location for people looking for a safe community and a good quality of life. During his speech at the Sheet Metal Workers Local #33, DeGeeter also highlighted Parma as a city on the rebound and highlighted rising housing values. “Over the past three years, our housing values have increased by 25 percent,” he said. “In 2017 alone, those values jumped 6.6 percent. The median sales price is now nearly $107,000 – up from a low of $85,000 in 2015.”
As I mentioned in last month’s issue, I have a huge announcement to make about a project I have had in the works for months. This project illustrates my deep love for Parma and everything about it. It will also give everyone who feels the way I do a space to illustrate our deep pride for our community.
The calendar tells us that spring officially arrives later this month on Tuesday, March 20. It’s also a time when things naturally get more busy in our community. People start spending more time outdoors in our city parks and in the Cleveland Metroparks which run right through the middle of Parma Heights. We start actively planning for our many summer activities like the annual “Kids in the Commons” weekend, held each August, along with the Ohio Flags of Honor program, which honors those who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention beginning to prepare for our Youth and community recreation programs, including baseball, softball, tennis and learn-to-swim lessons.
Pleasant Lake Villa, is a 5 star, deficiency free skilled nursing facility that offers physical, occupational and speech therapy. Along with respiratory therapy, cardiac and nephrology programs are available for short term and long term patients. A medical model assisted living provides compassionate and individualized care tailored to meet the unique care and daily living needs of each resident. Pleasant Lake Villa is proud to be serving the Parma community and schools for the past 30 years. Throughout the years, Pleasant Lake Villa has offered various opportunities for students from Normandy, Padua, Valley Forge and Strongsville High Schools help enrich the lives of our residents.
O For residents of Parma Hts., plan on attending the Parma Hts. Police And Community Together (P.A.C.T.) community policing Town Hall meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 6th, from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm at Cassidy Theater. Officers will report out on progress and representatives from the Parma Area Family Collaborative, Tri-City Parma Area MyCom, Young Professionals of Parma & the Parma Hts. Library will share information & answer questions regarding the many services they provide to residents (adults & youth) of our community. The next meeting of the PACT Unit’s Youth Group will be 6:00 – 7:30 pm, Wednesday, Mar 7th at Cassidy Theater. Find various sign-up documents for PACT Unit programs and follow its progress at www.facebook.com/parmaheights.police
O If you’re a local organization looking for data to support your program or justify a position, consider visiting NEOCANDO (http://neocando.case.edu/) for a suite of innovative data tools of CWRU’s Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development (the Poverty Center). There’s no charge to access the site but you do need to register. The site has recently been redesigned and is well worth a visit.
In this edition of the Parma Observer, we are offering our readers something different: a new column from Rick Haase, a name familiar to many of you for his many years as a print journalist in the communities we serve. Haase will bring his inimitable writing style as a columnist to our pages each month, where he is already a regular contributor in his job handling public relations and special projects for the city of Parma Heights.
Tragic events such as the recent mass shooting at a Florida high school are difficult for anyone to comprehend and process. Locally and across the country, we collectively mourn the loss of life every time such a senseless tragedy occurs. In addition, our own sorrow, fear and despair can be heightened as we watch and hear about the plight of grieving students, teachers and the affected community on the nightly news.
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. Young people who can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and focus on positive attitudes. Research shows the more personal skills young people have to interact with others and make decisions, the more likely they are to grow up healthy.
West Creek Conservancy announces the recent election of a new member to its Board of Directors and the re-election of four incumbent board members. New director John Daters is Director of Digital Strategy at Ripple Effect Interactive in Cleveland.
CASA of Cuyahoga County, a program of Child and Family Advocates of Cuyahoga County, recruits, screens, trains, and supports volunteers who act as independent fact-finders for the court in cases involving child abuse and neglect. CASAs collect information that helps the judge make the best decision for a safe, caring, and permanent home for children involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. CASAs are everyday citizens who are trained and appointed by the court to advocate for the safety and well-being of children who are victims of abuse or neglect. CASAs are assigned at the earliest stages of a case, and continue to be an advocate for the child through their time in the court system. CASAs work collaboratively with all parties on the case, for the best interests of children. CASAs are only assigned to 1-2 cases at a time and spend approximately 10 hours a month on a case.
Bill Veeck, Indians owner during the 1948 World Series championship season, understood passionate baseball fans. “There’s two seasons,” he once said. “Winter and baseball.”
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.
Innovative approaches to expediting care for stroke patients were shared by University Hospitals neurologists at the recent International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles. Neurologist John Andrefsky, MD, of UH Parma Medical Center, told the international audience about the success of the telestroke program piloted at UH Parma – the first program of its kind in Ohio. UH provided training and equipment to Parma Fire Department paramedics to livestream their stroke assessments from the field to the ER physician. By watching the pre-hospital assessment, the ER can alert pharmacy to mix clot-busting medicine and ensure the CT scanner is clear for the incoming patient.
The Western Campus of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) will celebrate fashion with a five-week exhibit showcasing the work of Kent State University faculty.
A major benefit for our local community theatre is happening this spring and you’ll want to be a part of it. “A Night at Club Cassidy,” a benefit evening for the Cassidy Theatre will take place from 6-11 p.m. Saturday, April 28 at the Theatre, 6200 Pearl Road, in the Greenbrier Commons complex. The evening will raise funds to improve the theatre’s lighting and sound systems and finance future production design. Honorary co-chairs of the benefit are Parma Heights Mayor Michael P. Byrne and Cassidy Theatre Managing Director Bob Stoesser. The evening will begin with cocktails and a Silent Auction with food stations and heavy hors d’oeuvres at 6 p.m. in the newly-renovated community rooms on the lower level of the theatre, which will be transformed into a night-club atmosphere.
Impacting Stroke Guidelines
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.
A recent trip to Alaska proved to be a remarkable experience for me. Invited by my son, Mike and his two teenage children, Jessica and Joey, we flew to Anchorage where our wonderful journey began. We spent two days in this flowering city where the environment seemed to welcome us. We enjoyed the visitor center and went to watch a movie to acquaint ourselves with this marvelous state. The important message we heard was to stay still if coming upon wildlife if in the open.
February Highlights Three area youth attended Advocacy Day 2018 at the Statehouse in Columbus on February 22.
Giving children allowances is one way to begin teaching them how to save money and budget for the things they might want. It is not what we do not understand about the Bible that is a problem. It is what we do understand and do not do. Morality (rules of right and wrong) is indispensable to the maintenance of America; without it our country will collapse. Not all disabilities are physical or visible. It doesn’t hurt to assume that everyone is hurting in one way or another.
Mayor Tim DeGeeter will offer his 2018 State of the City address on Monday evening, Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. Continuing the trend started when he entered office in 2012, the mayor will showcase a community partner by taking his address outside of City Hall. This year, the address will be delivered at the offices of the Sheet Metals Workers Local 33 at 12525 Corporate Drive. “I am grateful for the Sheet Metal Workers’ accommodation for the speech, and I look forward to Parma residents seeing this impressive facility,” the Mayor said.
Due to increased seasonal influenza activity, University Hospitals Parma Medical Center has temporarily revised its visitor policy. Effective immediately, we will restrict visitors to all patient areas, including the emergency and maternity departments. The restriction applies to anyone under the age of 18, or anyone (of any age) who exhibits flu-like symptoms. This policy will remain in effect until further notice.
Police Chief Daniel D. Teel has announced his retirement effective April 1, 2018. He was appointed Chief of Police for the Parma Heights Police Department in August 2006. Teel graduated from Brooklyn High School in 1981 and began his law enforcement and Air Force ROTC studies at Akron University. In 1985 he started serving the City of Brooklyn as a part time police officer where he remained until his appointment in 1987 as a full time officer with the City of Parma Heights. After serving as a patrol officer, sergeant and captain, Teel was chosen as acting chief January, 2006. He was named Chief of Police on August 3, 2006.