Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Elyria 67°


Off The Beat, Aug. 25, 2007


You’re a good spud, Charlie Brown
ELYRIA — Some people think they see images of Jesus or the Virgin Mary in their food. But Loretta Clowers, of Elyria, said she sees cartoon characters and animals.

You will have to use your imagination, but Clowers said this summer she has grown an Idaho potato that looks like the “Peanuts” character Charlie Brown. In Clowers’ opinion, his right hand is in a boxing glove.  Her unusually farming feats do not stop there. Clowers also boasts that she has grown a potato that looks like a turtle with its head cocked to one side and a potato that looks like a manatee.

But don’t discount her as seeing something in everything. The avid gardener, who has grown zucchini, green onions, tomatoes and sunflowers, said she has never grown weirdly shaped vegetables before. She’s just a woman who loves to garden and loves animals.

No word yet on if a biblical find is in the midst of her creatively grown garden.

— Lisa Roberson

Knowing when it’s over

A few weeks ago, 89-year-old Dick Miles made a candid and heartfelt admission at the Thursday noon meeting of the Elyria Kiwanis.

“I’m ready; I’ve had a good, long life, but it’s time to go,” the longtime area businessman quietly told fellow Kiwanis member Kari Foreman.

Foreman, a personable woman who knows a missed-opportunity-in-the-making when she sees one, didn’t miss a beat as she responded, “Well, Dick, before you go, would you be willing to speak to the group? You can tell us about your life and maybe share some tips on how to live a long and happy one.”

She didn’t have to ask him twice. He was 89 but still sharp as a tack. He would do it.

So, on Thursday, Aug. 16, Dick Miles regaled the group with stories of his past, a past that included an Army stint at Pearl Harbor, a dozen years managing lumber businesses and a decade renovating houses; a past that included raising three children and traveling to 22 countries with his wife.

He was a hit.

Afterward, he went back to his home at The Abbewood, where, during dinner, he boasted to all his friends about being the speaker at the Kiwanis luncheon.

And then the next night, perhaps with his last earthly task tended to, Dick Miles went to bed and never woke up

— Patti Ewald

Princess becomes a queen

Giovanna Scaletta said there was no question who to thank after being named this year’s Lorain County Junior Fair queen. It was her parents.

The 18-year-old Grafton resident said she would never have had the inspiration and determination to put her heart and soul into the Junior Fair if her business-owning parents, Joe and Leslie Scaletta, had not taught her to work hard.

“My dad has always trusted me with a lot of stuff for the business (SDC Homes and Neighborhoods), and I have taken those things with me to the fair board,” she said, donning her new crown and sash Thursday night at the fair.

Giovanna has been a member of 4-H for 11 years and when she learned she was named Junior Fair Queen, she admits she was a bit overwhelmed, but she is convinced she can handle her new title — just as she handled working 90 hours between the family business and Junior Fair Board in the two weeks or so before the fair kicked off.

“I will be sad (when this year is over) but I will return to be an adviser,” she said, noting she will be heading off to the University of Cincinnati this fall to study finance and real estate. “It has helped me become a better person and stay out of trouble.”
And, as a side note, this year’s Junior Fair king, Myles Bremke is Giovanna’s boyfriend on and off the fairgrounds. But naturally, the couple met two years ago — at the fair.

“I joke because I used to have him call me ‘Princess,’ and now I tell him he has to call me ‘Queen,’ ” Giovanna said laughing while Myles blushed.

— Melissa Linebrink

‘Get it?! You’re old!’
LORAIN — Sometimes employees give their bosses cake and ice cream on their birthdays. Employees at the Lorain city auditor’s office took a nastier approach this week.

When Auditor Ron Mantini walked into work Wednesday morning on his 60th birthday, he found that his staff bought him a wheelchair, antacids, a large-print crossword puzzle book, a huge magnifying glass and dozens of signs telling him how old he was.

“I guess we’ve got a lot of comedians around here,” Mantini said, unable to contain his laughter. His employees did buy him a cake as well.

— Adam Wright

Moth flakes vs. fleas
An Elyria woman has a suggestion for the Colonial Oaks Mobile Home Park family whose yard is full of fleas from wild critters living in the abandoned trailer next door: moth flakes.

An easy, inexpensive and effective remedy to deter critters and take care of flea problems in your yard is to sprinkle moth crystals around the perimeter of the yard and around the outside of your house and storage building, Brenda Vaughn said. Vaughn cautioned against using moth balls, saying they take more time to dissolve and a child could mistake them for candy or a toy.

“I use moth crystals around my property and I have not seen a flea on any of my five cats in years,” she said.

Jim Boddy, director of environmental services for the Lorain County Health Department, said he’s heard of people putting moth balls or flakes under porches to discourage skunks and other wild animals. As for the fleas, Boddy said, “I do not believe the active ingredient in moth flakes is effective in killing fleas.” But logic tells you that if the critters carrying the fleas keep away, maybe the fleas won’t be so plentiful, Boddy said.

David Oakes of the Elyria Health Department said he tried to use moth flakes to discourage skunks that were burrowing under a patio.

“That didn’t work very well,” he said. “Some people may find it works.”

For more on moth flackes Oakes said people can search for an online scorecard listing that evaluates their usefulness.

For more yard and garden tips, go to and look for yard and garden, he said.

— Cindy Leis

Don’t miss your flight, errr, court date
The last thing you want to be late to is your own court date. Court schedules at the Lorain County Justice Center may soon resemble displays used in airport terminals if a proposal under consideration comes to pass.

Two 40-inch, LCD flat panel monitors would display the dockets of the common pleas judges, and give those who had in the past been frantically searching for tiny names on pieces of paper a much easier time finding out where they’re going, according to county special projects manager Karen Davis

“Instead of your flight number and arrival time, it would have the judge’s name and courtroom,” she said. “It would be a pretty cool system.

— Stephen Szucs

Big check is hot item
Opening Day for teachers at Elyria City Schools on Friday was rife with tangible — and audible — excitement.

A pep rally of sorts in Elyria High School’s auditorium that morning included a passionate presentation from Elyria schools Superintendent Paul Rigda encouraging more than 800 teachers and school employees to reach out to just one more student in hopes of making a difference this school year.

But the event also featured Michael Shoemaker, Ohio Schools Facilities Commission’s executive director, presenting a $21.6 million check — about the size of a throw rug — to school board members as state Rep. Matt Lundy looking on.
Shoemaker, as it turns out, has impeccable timing.

As Shoemaker handed the giant check to Lundy and the school board members, the building’s fire alarm was accidentally triggered, filling the auditorium with the cranium-rattling sound of the alarm. 

Schools spokeswoman Amy Kren said the moment was meant to be: Bells and whistles and fanfare, while Lundy said later it was like a classic moment from the “Price is Right.”

— Shawn Foucher



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