Opinion

What Made America Great, And Could Make It Great Again

I have been reading an excellent book, Once in a Great City by David Mariniss. This book tells about Detroit during the time period from the autumn of 1962 through the spring of 1964. This was a time when the auto industry was booming and Detroit was selling more cars than ever. It was also a period when Motown was beginning to take the music of Detroit out to the world. With good wages, strong labor unions and plenty of good jobs, the working men and women of Detroit enjoyed a higher standard of living. 

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:24 PM, 03.01.2017

Dating In Our Golden Years

“How about a dinner date?” His eyes twinkling and filled with hope that I would accept his invitation. This was to be my first date with someone other than my late husband in over forty years. 

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:24 PM, 03.01.2017

Food

At present we have over three hundred million people, and growing, living in the United States. Not that long ago it seemed like two hundred million people were more than the planet could support with food. Ralph Nader wrote a book about population growth called Zero Population Growth concerning the expanding population. It is simply wonderful how the agricultural and scientific communities have combined to increase the food supply. With a little manipulation of genes and introduction of a chromosome here or there it is overwhelming as to how the scientific community created answers where once there was only concern. Production per acre compared to only a few decades ago is unimaginable, not only to the layman but to the farmer as well. Nothing is all good or all bad. Is there a cost to the increased production of food, remembering that it is done with gene manipulation?  Up to this point there is no published research to indicate that there is any harm in the genetically modified produce. But then look at cigarettes and the amount of time it took to publish cigarettes’ harmful effects. This is information that the tobacco industry was aware of and buried. They attempted to protect their income and not the people who used their product. If their information had been released to the public it would have affected the sales of tobacco. Could a similar scenario be in play with the food we consume? The unscientific observation that brings this question to mind is of how many people are adversely affected by what is produced on most farms. One of these is the peanut allergy. Not that long ago it didn’t seem as though there were many people allergic to anything. It was unusual to have allergies before G.M.O.s. And let us not forget the steroids and antibiotics that are injected into livestock.  Today it seems that wherever you go you see warnings about peanut exposure. There are those who, if they are in the same room with anything made from peanuts, have a reaction. 

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:22 PM, 03.01.2017

Enough Is Enough

Last November, Lee Kamps wrote a piece for the Observer titled We Are The United States Of America in which he said we're all Americans and so (he concluded in roundabout way) we should all get behind our newly elected president and other representatives. Obviously the piece was written before the election and anyone who has read just about anything Mister Kamps has written understands he wrote it because he believed his candidate, Clinton, would win. If you have any doubt of that, read some of his past Observer pieces. For example, last February, he wrote that Republicans, especially Trumps, are Xenophobic. In August, it was Republicans, especially Trump, are only pandering to our fears. My personal favorite came in October when he wrote that electing Trump would guarantee that we would have another Watergate.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:22 AM, 02.01.2017

Change for Change’s Sake Sometimes Is Not Good

The final number of the musical Hairspray is a rollicking number involving the entire cast titled “You Can’t Stop the Beat”. It is performed after the Corny Collins show, a teen dance show like American Bandstand, becomes integrated. The setting of this play is in Baltimore in 1962 when the civil rights movement was gaining strength. The song is about how no one can stop the movement of progress no matter how hard they try.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:22 AM, 02.01.2017

Introduction Of Plans For West Creek Quarry District

In December, Derek Schafer from West Creek Conservancy along with representatives from studioTECHNE architects appeared before Parma City Council and presented their plan for the West Creek Quarry District, part of the Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative. What they proposed is a plan to support and adopt complete street initiatives, create bike/pedestrian safe access and facilities, support economic development through place-based transportation and land use recommendations, and connect these proposals with existing assets and investments. They would further integrate principles of accessibility and environmental justice ensuring the benefits of growth and change are available to all members of the community, integrate and link recreation assets, and provide people with safe and reliable transportation choices that enhance their quality of life.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 1:53 PM, 01.05.2017

Is There A Future For The ACA And Your Health Insurance?

With the election of Donald Trump as the next President and with the Republican party in control of congress beginning this month, is there a future for the ACA or Obamacare? While the Republican party has made a lot of noise about repealing this act, actually undoing it will be much more complicated and could have serious and unintended consequences.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 1:52 PM, 01.05.2017

Demonstrations

When people are dissatisfied with an outcome or ruling, usually of a political nature, they demonstrate. With the proper permits from the area that is of concern to make their point is not only a legal but also an impressive manner to make their voices heard. Without documentation, that is illegal assembly and the activists are subject to prosecution under the law. Kowtowing to those who do not follow this procedure is merely encouraging them not to follow the law, not only in this instance but other instances as well. Rules are made for a reason. The reasons are supposed to be for the public good and safety. The rules, at times, are not always valid, in which case they can work to change the laws governing them. While the rules exist, follow them and there will be no consequence; don’t and there are and should be consequences. It has become commonplace that demonstrations are often accompanied by violence and rioting. If this is done to emphasize a point this rationale should be rethought. 

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 1:52 PM, 01.05.2017

Christmas 100 Years Ago

One-hundred years ago, World War I was still going on and most of the attention was about the War. If you asked a kid what they wanted in 1916, this would be their normal response: candy, nuts, rocking horse, dolls, mittens or gloves, toy train, oranges, books, handkerchiefs, ice skates. Generally, each child was given only one item on this list so they would only ask for one thing. Everything here with the exception of the skates could easily have been made by hand or purchased for a small amount of money.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 6:54 PM, 12.04.2016

Engineering

A highly regarded and intellectually revered occupation is that of engineer. There is a great deal of study, time, and energy involved in acquiring such a degree. The requirements are above the norm. A great deal of math and science are the surface of study for those who wish to become proficient in this area. Detail is the code word for working in this area of expertise. Should you glance around, you will marvel of the accomplishments of engineers. All that is constructed must have architectural drawings and structural engineering input. The coordination of the fields is a symphony when in concert. The wise engineer also listens to the input from all parties involved. Details gleaned from those with knowledge of what is practical and functional are a portion of what a quality engineer takes into consideration when undertaking a project. Individuals with day-to-day experience in what is to be utilized when completed, is how designs become most functional, and to dismiss this input would be a grave error. Recent constructions are examples of how attention to detail can create a completely successful task or one that is lacking. 

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 6:54 PM, 12.04.2016

What A Year 2016 Has Been In Cleveland And It All Was Made Possible By A Key Vote In A Local Election Long Ago.

This year certainly placed Cleveland on the map in a very positive way. In June, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship and more than one million people came downtown to celebrate. Then, in July, the city hosted the Republican National Convention and again received national exposure. Finally, over the past month, the Cleveland Indians surprised the sports world by almost winning the World Series in a monumental seventh game.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 6:54 PM, 12.04.2016

Reflections On A Great Sports Year

November 4th, 2016, would have marked the day of our parade, a parade of champions, yet we still have a great deal to celebrate as winners. 

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 6:53 PM, 12.04.2016

We Are The United States Of America

Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America — there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America…..We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 9:56 AM, 11.03.2016

Drop That Smartphone, Or The Turkey Gets It!

Every year I swear that I’m not hosting Thanksgiving. And I always change my mind, knowing that it will take me three days to transform my tiny apartment into a place fit for human habitation. Though it’s almost certain that I will die of exhaustion after giving the turkey its once-in-a-deathtime butter massage before gently placing it into the roaster, there’s nothing quite like a turkey dinner that attracts rarely-seen family to my door.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 9:56 AM, 11.03.2016

Proud Of Our Students

I am writing this story because of what I observed at the October 4th Parma City Schools meeting. It was amazing to see the students of our district come together and fight for something they believe strongly in. 

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 9:56 AM, 11.03.2016

Is The United States Ready For Another Watergate Scandal?

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. 

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 7:01 AM, 10.03.2016

Monster Mash- The Monsters Lose Their Identity

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. 

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 7:01 AM, 10.03.2016

Church And Pokemon Go

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 7:01 AM, 10.03.2016

A Vote Of No Confidence For Parma Schools!

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!

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 7:00 AM, 10.03.2016

Health Care And Medicare In The 2016 Presidential Campaign

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 9:12 AM, 09.02.2016

Donald Trump’s Message: Be Very Afraid And Only I Can Fix It

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:17 AM, 08.02.2016

Telling The People What They Should Hear

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. 

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 12:50 PM, 06.03.2016

Trump

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. 

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 12:50 PM, 06.03.2016

Money For Hunting, And The Tricks For Free

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 8:47 AM, 05.03.2016

Miclassifying Employees; Another Form Of Wage Theft

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 8:46 AM, 05.03.2016

Congress Continues To Work To Defeat ISIS

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 4:38 PM, 04.06.2016

Law

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.  

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 4:38 PM, 04.06.2016

Wage Theft Is A Serious Problem In The United States

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 4:37 PM, 04.06.2016

Outdoor Dad

“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.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 9:56 PM, 03.08.2016

Bow Hunting On The Ballot March 15

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 9:56 PM, 03.08.2016

Chocolate Valentines And Red Wines!

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!

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 9:54 PM, 02.02.2016

Cops

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 9:54 PM, 02.02.2016

Help The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 9:54 PM, 02.02.2016

Summer Break Shouldn't Mean Going Hungry For Ohio Children

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 9:53 PM, 02.02.2016

Xenophobia Is No Solution To The Nation's Problems

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 9:53 PM, 02.02.2016

Trees Provide Many Benefits: Financial, Environmental, And More

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:49 PM, 01.03.2016

“The Phony War On Christmas” – Really?

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?”

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:48 PM, 01.03.2016

Memo To Parma School Board

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. 

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:49 PM, 01.03.2016

Rubbish

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:49 PM, 01.03.2016