Since 2016, NOPEC has instituted a recognition program to identify exemplary employees in cities throughout the Greater Cleveland Area. This year our Chief of Police Joseph M. Bobak had the honor of being singled out for this special recognition. As a lifetime resident of Parma, am I pleased and proud to learn that this has occurred? You bet. Am I surprised? Not even one little tiny bit. For even the casual observer, it is quite apparent that our police department is a top-notch organization, and our tremendous statistics making us one of the safest cities in Ohio and the nation is proof positive that the citizens of Parma enjoy a special relationship with their police department that people in other cities hope and wish they had. Our police officers are part of a highly functioning department that consistently achieves excellent results with what can only be described as limited resources for a city of 80,000 people, the 7th largest city in Ohio. A good part of the reason for that is the relentless training that is always ongoing, along with the prime effective leadership that is present from the top all the way down. Make no mistake- the performance of our police department here in Parma plays a major role in making our city a desirable place to live. Congratulations Chief Bobak.
I was very impressed watching the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the D Day Normandy invasion during the Second World War. The courage and dedication of those men as well as the entire country during that war was remarkable. The entire nation was united in a common cause.
SHOW KIDS YOU CARE: DELIGHT IN THEIR UNIQUENESS.. July’s Asset Category: CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME
While Northeast Ohioans revel in heady, self-congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the Burning of the Cuyahoga River – and all the things we’ve allegedly learned from it – our beautiful Lake Erie is worse than on fire.
Hello there Tri-City area friends. Many of you will recall when the 4th of July gave rise to a grand celebration for the Tri-City area while being dismayed and saddened when that ended due to financial / logistical issues.
There is GOOD news. For the past few years I have been speaking with Mayor DeGeeter , Mickey Vittardi and other leaders about doing something at Anthony Zielinski Park after the Parade ends at the Shoppes Of Parma about 11:30 AM. They all agreed it was a great idea but the City wasn't in the position to or really shouldn't bear the responsibility for organizing it. As a musician who is also involved in the business side of the industry I finally decided to take this on by hosting our first Parma Rocks Party In the Park featuring Live Entertainment and some Recorded music
Details TBA The party will begin at Noon on July 4th and last until a time TBD. The entertainment will be using the Pavilion closest to the Splash Pad and Roycroft at Anthony Zielinski Park. We hope you will join us for what we would like to see become an Annual event. Look for Updates and Event Flyers to be available soon along with Social Media posts. Remember PARMA ROCKS !
June’s Asset Category: BOUNDARIES and EXPECTATIONS: Boundaries are important to young people because they give clear messages about what’s expected, what is approved and celebrated, and what deserves censure. By the same token, caring adults who expect young people to do their best help them to learn good judgment. Every day young people face many options and choices. Boundaries and expectations provide young people with the support they need to choose wisely. Today, we’re going to be focusing attention on Asset # 11, Family Boundaries.
On May 10 2019 I attended the dedication ceremony for a Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Valley Forge High School. The ceremony was very moving and impressive as the community honored those 15 young men who gave their lives during the Vietnam War. Four of the men honored were from my class of 1966 and I knew three of them. Two I knew from my homeroom and one lived in my neighborhood and we grew up together at Ridge Brook Elementary School. That ceremony and memorial made me proud to be an alumnus of Valley Forge High School. It certainly epitomized the meaning of “Patriot Pride.”
If there’s one thing that defines the beginning of summer in Parma to me, it’s not the end of school or the increasing temperatures, it’s the Parma Rib ‘N Rock. Growing up, it was the perfect foray into summer vacation, going from the final days of school to a weekend of entertainment, rides, and of course, lots of food. The event started off at what was then Parmatown Mall, where for $4.00 you could partake in the festivities throughout the weekend. Yes, the price of admission is actually a dollar lower than it was back in the 90s. Now in its fourth year at Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus, it has continued to grow with its new location into the event we know today.
Many property lots in Parma are of a small size which creates difficulties in choosing appropriate sized trees. While most lot sizes in northern Parma are in the 40-foot wide range, those in the more southern area of Parma may have a little more room to work with. Colorado Blue Spruces (Picea pungens) and Norway Spruce (Picea abies ) are two evergreens that are easy to obtain but can grow extremely large in both height and diameter. As a matter of fact, in the wild both of these trees can grow over 100 -150 feet tall, although that height will most likely not be reached in an urban area.
I am old enough to remember some great speeches by national and world leaders. I remember President John F Kennedy’s inaugural address on January 20, 1961, when he began “Let the word go forth that the torch has been passed to a new generation” and concluded with “Ask not what your country could do for you, but what you could do for your country.” His strong words inspired a generation.
May’s Asset Category: COMMITMENT TO LEARNING These five assets have dual power: they are crucial in the long run for vocational success and engaged citizenship and they also play a prevention role, inhibiting some forms of health-compromising behavior. Commitment to learning has a number of sources in the journey through childhood and adolescents. Parental attitudes, encouragements, involvement, and modeling are all important. The quality of schooling – through its formal and informal curricula - also matters. Norms that encourage high attention to educational tasks, on the part of the peer group and community, are also instrumental and important. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset #22 – School Engagement
Leading Animal Law Expert: Repeal Parma’s Breed-Specific Pit Bull Ban, Adopt Breed-Neutral Dog Control Law Instead
Cities are trending towards humane, more effective solutions dealing with aggressive dogs. The purpose of this article outlines reasons to repeal Parma’s existing pit bull ban at the polls on May 7. It’s also a rebuttal to the article “Your Neighbor Was Attacked” in last month’s edition of Parma Observer. Rather than denying the pain and suffering described in the dog attack from last month’s article, residents should consider that repealing the existing pit bull ban would actually make way for a safer, more comprehensive ordinance.
April’s Asset Category: EMPOWERMENT. Young people are empowered when they feel valued, valuable and safe. They need to believe that adults like and respect them. Finally, they need plenty of opportunities to contribute to their communities through volunteering, working in paid jobs and sharing their ideas, knowledge and creativity. One of these days, the young people in your home, school, neighborhood and workplace will be in charge – in charge of their own lives and in charge of the world. You can help young people get ready for their future role by empowering them now.
The recent scandal regarding wealthy people and celebrities bribing people and gaming the system to get their children into prestigious colleges has made the news. Wealthy families were paying “consultants” to help their children take the exams, even going so far as to hire a “ringer” to take the exam for their child. Others were trying to portray their child as an athlete when they never played the sport. This doesn’t surprise me one bit that this scandal hit the news.
Open up a newspaper or your search engine and the news is laced with violence and destruction. Walking into a restaurant, attending a University, or even waking up in the morning can make anyone apprehensive about the events that lie ahead. Personal safety has become a priority to everyday living.What can be done about your day to day safety? There are many options available to those who are looking to improve their safety. Some options include weapons such as, guns, stun guns, mace, and knives. There are laws and regulations associated with every type of weapon and weapons are not always the answer to your safety solutions. For instance, training is needed in order to use any weapon. Guns need to be cleaned and taken care of. There is always the chance of premature discharge or loading the weapon in time for immediate use. Stun guns may have to be charged or need batteries replaced in order to ensure effective use. Mace has to be in a prime location handy for quick access and be pointed in the right direction when released. Knives are weapons that require a professional touch, but amateurs try their hand at using them. Taking a knife from an attacker requires professional training. Considering the chances of surviving a weapon attack, taking some type of self-defense, karate, or martial art should be number one on your list. Students not only learn skills to fend off an attacker, but they gain insight into how to become more aware of their surroundings and ways to increase personal safety measures. No matter what type of weapon you use to defend yourself, there is a chance of failure. Self-defense techniques are not full proof, but when weapons fail your techniques will not.
Asset Corner #111 SHOW KIDS YOU CARE: TELL THEM STORIES IN WHICH THEY ARE THE HERO. March’s Asset Category: Social Competencies Learning social skills is a lot like learning to play the piano in that you need to learn some basic competencies and you need someone to teach you those skills. You need time to practice, guidance as you gain experience, and feedback along the way. Social competencies are the skills and life perspectives young people need to develop into healthy, competent adults. These skills are important daily, but they’re even more crucial when young people encounter the tough times in life. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset 33: Interpersonal Competence
This month, on March 15 the buzzards will make their annual return to Hinckley signaling the beginning of spring. But do the buzzards actually return every year on the same date? Do they actually migrate south for the winter, and how did this story begin? Well, the story behind the famous buzzards of Hinckley is based on some history as well as some folklore. Two hundred years ago most of northeastern Ohio was a forested wilderness, inhabited by many wild animals including some that would like to make a meal of livestock as well as humans. The forests of northeastern Ohio were teeming with game as well as wolf packs, bears and mountain lions. Following the end of the War of 1812, the threat from hostile Indian tribes was ended in much of Ohio and more settlers arrived in northeastern Ohio. Many had been granted land by Connecticut for their service in the War for Independence since this part of Ohio was originally the Connecticut Western Reserve.
The Pure Food and Drug Act passed in 1906 due to the fervor of Harvey Wiley, chief chemist in the Department of Agriculture. He studied food products and educated the public about adulterated food. Formaldehyde was added to meat and dairy products, borax, copper sulfate, sawdust, floor sweepings etc. were added to food products. A plethora of products simply weren't what they said they were, contained toxic substances or flat out gross stuff. The book goes into shocking detail about this and the fight between manufacturer's and legislation for safe food, authentic food, and labeling such. The poison squad was a group of men that volunteered to ingest substances believed to be toxic to record the results. For decades Wiley battled for legislation to ensure authentic food and proper labeling as well as to eliminate toxic substances in food. Frustrated, he left public office to write uncensored for Good Housekeeping and eventually published, 'The History of a Crime Against the Food Law,' venting his frustrations of a corrupt government that bent to industry pressure and ignored public welfare. Despite the numerous poisonings and deaths over the years, it wasn't until over 100 people died, many were children, from a cough syrup containing diethylene glycol (found in antifreeze) that legislation greatly expanded the previous act and replaced it with the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938. It corrected deficiencies and gave real authority to what we call the FDA, Food and Drug Administration. The mid-nineteenth century marked the beginning of Europe enacting protective measures and banning many American food products. Today, the EU, Russia and many other countries have banned Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's). They dominate our groceries, yet are banned for sale within and import to those countries which have bans in place. Much of the American food supply is still tainted, not just with GMO's, but an abundance of chemicals, preservatives, dyes, fertilizers, fungicides and herbicides that are known to be toxic, so there is still work to done to purify our food supply.
Deep in the dark arid jungle mountains of the world’s first black republic, there beats a distant drum. Pulsating low-frequency rhythms known as Petwo, Ibo, and Kongo, complimenting murmurs that heighten into shrieks and shrills of song, and swirling plumes of dust underfoot in near bare-body dance.
What is the meaning of your name? Have you ever researched it? There are numerous sites that you can visit to learn about the history, characteristics and statistics by state. After researching the meaning of Kim, I learned that over 200,000 babies have been given that name since 1880 and that it's derived from England. However, this is not what this article is about.
This month of February marks the 109th birthday of the Boy Scouts of America. It was on February 8, 1910, that the Boy Scouts of America was chartered. The first Boy Scout troop was organized in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then more than 110 million boys have participated in the Boy Scouts.
How much thought do people put into the perennials planted in their yards? Some people put great thought into it and certainly some do the opposite. Simple research can greatly assist in creating a wonderful landscape even in the small forty foot Parma lots. Planning a makeover with select perennials can create a beautiful yard that will not just last a few years but several decades.
February’s Asset Category: POSITIVE VALUES. You are what you believe. Values shape young people’s relationships, behaviors, choices, and sense of who they are. Although positive values help young people avoid risky behavior, they also help guide their day-to-day actions and interactions. Thus, values inspire, not just prohibit. Young people who have positive values are more likely to listen to their conscience, help others, be independent, tell right from wrong, and feel happy. Ultimately, positive values help young people make their own decisions rather than imitate friends or follow trends.
SHOW KIDS YOU CARE: DEAL W/PROBLEMS & CONFLICTS WHILE THEY’RE STILL SMALL. January’s Asset Category: Positive Identity
After growing up in Parma and spending my life living in northern Ohio, I was suddenly transferred and promoted to manager of a field office in Spartanburg South Carolina. Spartanburg is in the “upstate” region of South Carolina in the piedmont region about an hour’s drive southwest of Charlotte. I was also a half day’s drive from the coast. Best of all, I was away from the snow and cold of northern Ohio. It was the first week of February and there was more than a foot of snow in my backyard with the temperature in the mid teens when I left northern Ohio. When I arrived in South Carolina, it was cloudy and the temperature was around 50 degrees with no snow on the ground. I was beginning to like this already.
When Spring and Summer return. enjoy the sun, along with a cold beverage and good meal on one of Parma's many patios.
December’s Asset Category: CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME. The pace of everyday life varies depending on the activities young people participate in. These fluctuations are normal, even healthy. As long as young people don’t consistently have too much to do or not enough to do, they’re right on track. Problems arise when the balance begins to tip too far to one side or the other. Too much involvement can lead to stress or anxiety. Too little involvement can be a sign of depression or isolation. Ensure that young people constructively use their time for both fun and learning. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset #18 – Youth Program
The movie A Christmas Story about Ralphie’s quest for a BB gun for Christmas and growing up during the early 1940s has become a classic. But we all have our unique Christmas stories and here is mine from growing up in Parma during the 1950s. I grew up near the intersection of Pearl and Ridge Roads in Parma and attended Ridge Brook Elementary School. I walked to and from school because my family lived only two blocks from the school and my mother was usually home then. It was usually on a Friday during December that we had our big Christmas adventure. That was a shopping trip downtown to the big department stores and to see Santa Claus. During the Christmas season downtown Cleveland was a wonderland for a boy. When we went downtown, we dressed up. That meant that after coming home from school, we had to change out of our school clothes into our “church clothes” that were nicer. My mother never wore slacks shopping. She always wore a dress, especially when she went downtown.
Two months ago, I visited the JFK Museum and Library in Boston. There I saw a short movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis which included conversations from the President with his generals and advisors.
A real danger to this country was exposed by the Kavanaugh hearings and it seems to have been completely overlooked. Had Feinstein chosen to act when she originally received Doctor Ford's letter, it could have been investigated privately and Ford's desire for anonymity could have been honored. Instead, at the end of the hearings the letter was leaked, and liberal Democrats demanded to hear Ford's testinony during which she was asked how sure she was about her memory. “100%,” she replied. We were then told that her story was corroborated by other people she had told it to and that a polygraph test also proved she was telling the truth. Or so they said.
When Brett Kavanaugh was nominated recently to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court due to the retirement of Justice Anthony, it appeared that his confirmation by the Senate would be a slam dunk. Now two women have come forward and accused Mr. Kavanaugh when he was in high school at an exclusive prep school of trying to take advantage of them at a party where they were drinking. His supporters are saying that this was long ago and he was a young man doing what young men often do. But really? Should he get a pass on this because that was more than 36 years ago?
October’s Asset Category: SUPPORT Many studies over the years confirm that caring, supportive relationships with adults are critical for raising young people who are healthy and resilient. Support means freely giving young people love, affirmation, and acceptance; surrounding young people with caring families, guardians, friends, teachers, neighbors, and other adults; and helping young people know they belong, are not alone, and are both loved and lovable. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset #2 – Positive Family Communications
In 2017 in the U.S., at least 39 people lost their lives to attacks by dogs. Of those 39 reported cases, pit bulls contributed to 74% (29) of these deaths. This shocking statistic comes from the website dogsbite.org, which has conducted extensive research into media reported fatal attacks from pit bulls in order to advocate for victims of these attacks and to provide a factual counterpoint against pit bull apologists. From extended research into the 13 year period from 2005 to 2017, dogsbite.org has found that pit bulls were involved in 65% of 433 deaths in the U.S. alone. These statistics, as well as my personal experience having to defend my dog from a sudden pit bull attack, are why I support Parma's existing ban on pit bull dogs.
When President Donald Trump recently declared that the some news media is an “enemy of the state”, he was echoing the words of dictators. One of the first things that a dictator does upon assuming power is to shut down any opposition press. Autocrats and dictators cannot tolerate any criticism of their rule.
Anna Widowski came to the United States during the 1880s from what is now Poland with her family as a young woman. They settled on the plains of Kansas as wheat farmers. When she was 16 years old, she went to work as a “Harvey girl” at one of the Fred Harvey shops that were common at railroad stations where she met a young man who worked for the railroad. They got married and in March 1896, at the age of 17 she gave birth to a son who became my grandfather. Her husband’s railroad job took the family to Cleveland where they settled on the west side.
Over the Memorial Day weekend I attended the Jimmy Buffett concert at Blossom Music Center. I have been a big fan of Jimmy Buffett for a long time and have attended many of his concerts and thoroughly enjoy his concerts. I paid good money for a pavilion seat so I could see the show and one of my favorite performers. But my enjoyment of the show was marred by the behavior of the people in front of me who insisted on standing for most of the show. When I politely asked them to sit down, they continued to stand. Then when I asked again for them to sit down, they complained to the usher who did nothing. So where do people think that they are the most important person in the universe and no one else matters?
There has been another school shooting in the United States with more "thoughts and prayers" for the victims of this latest mass shooting. But as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow morning, there will be another mass shooting in the United States. Whether it is at another school, or a place of business, a church, a shopping center or just out in public; this is an epidemic that must stop! Most of the time when mass shootings happen in other countries, they are usually isolated incidents or are acts by terrorist groups.
June’s Asset Category: BOUNDARIES AND EXPECTATION Boundaries are important to young people because they give clear messages about what’s expected, what is approved and celebrated, and what deserves censure. By the same token, caring adults who expect young people to do their best help them to learn good judgment. Every day young people face many options and choices. Boundaries and expectations provide young people with the support they need to choose wisely. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset 14 Adult Role Models
Earlier this month, I volunteered at the Cleveland International Film Festival and while I was there I saw many movies. The film festival showcases many movies from independent film makers, documentaries and foreign movies. This year’s film festival featured almost 500 full length movies and shorts from 72 different countries. It also attracted more than 105,000 people during its 12 day run at the Tower City Cinemas and several neighborhood screenings, making it one of the largest film festivals in the world.
I am very impressed with the passionate protests and actions by the students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. On Valentine’s Day, a troubled young man entered the school armed with an AR-15 semi automatic assault weapon and killed 17 of their classmates and teachers. Rather than mourn the dead and comfort the families, many students have taken to political action demanding sensible controls on guns so this action is not repeated.