Wellington resident Valerie Fields, featured in a Chronicle-Telegram story in September after trying to collect medical scrubs for her doctor-son in Iraq, is at work again.
Fields said she`s teaming with Elyria VFW Post 1079 Friday to host an informational session for local residents who want to know how the donated items are shipped out, and what the entire process entails.
Fields, a medical professional,Â recently began organizing a scrubs drive after her son, Army medic Sgt. Joseph Stanberry, 35, said he and his coworkers were in dire need of medical scrubs for field work.
Since her story appeared, Fields has managed to collect about 76 sets of scrubs for her son and his comrades. However, she says she`s still in need of money for postage.
"We had two checks sent from people, and some members of VFW donated," Fields said. "Mostly, it`s been word of mouth."
To show people exactly what it takes to send a barrage of packages to troops stationed overseas, Fields is hosting an informational event at 2 p.m. Friday at the Elyria VFW Post 1079 on South Abbe Road.
"It`s Christmas, and we have 36 boxes to put together for (Stanberry`s) whole platoon," Fields said. "Plus we`re doing community boxes that the guys can all share. "I`ll be there to tell people what is going on, and they can see that we`re actually doing things - not just talking about it."
And it`s not too late to donate to the troops` Christmas boxes. Fields said the shipment will be sent Dec. 3, so anything donated up until that date can be placed in the community boxes for the entire platoon.
Fields sent a small refrigerator to her son`s platoon, so they can keep their drinks and medical supplies cool in the desert heat.
But not every donation has to be so extravagant. Personal medical supplies are in great demand among the soldiers in the medical divisions, Fields said.
The soldiers are dealing with MRSA infections, a bacterial infection that can be deadly.
Fields said the dirty conditions in the desert make it nearly impossible to avoid the bacteria, and soldiers are dealing with severe cases of acne and boils that have to be lanced.
"It`s a little more than just scrubs they need, nowadays," Fields said. Among the items that can help the troops avoid the bacteria: sanitizing wipes like Hibiclens towelettes, which can be purchased at just about any local drug store.
The Elyria VFW post can be reached at (440) 365-8000. Fields has set up a P.O. Box for anyone interested in donating funds to help purchase and ship items to her son`s platoon. The address is: Scrub mom, c/o Valerie Fields , P.O. Box 343, Wellington, OH 44090.
Downtown jeweler heads east -- a few blocks
After five years operating at its Broad Street address in downtown Elyria, Vandemark Jewelers is moving to a refurbished building on East Broad Street.
Owner Jim Vandemark said the lease on his current location will soon expire, so he`ll be moving to 244 E. Broad St. sometime in late February or early March.
The jeweler`s new location will be in a building that`s undergoing a stylish makeover, including the installation of white pillars, mason work and a new parking lot. The new digs will also offer more space and it will be in a free-standing building, not a shared building with other stores. Vandemark is hoping the new spot will be more visible, and he`s already receiving positive feedback about the idea.
The business just celebrated its fifth anniversary, although Vandemark himself has worked in the jewelry business for about 25 years.
Elyria Charities: More than one way to bingo
Elyria Charities founder Bill Speidel and his wife, Rachel, donated more than $21,000 to Elyria`s three junior high schools for a one-day camp next year that will promote friendships and interaction among the three schools, because the students will be joined as classmates in high school.
Speidel said his organization`s main fundraisers are on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Elyria Roll Arena on Cleveland Street.
The Monday bingo starts at 11 a.m., with doors opening at 10 a.m. The Wednesday bingo starts at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 5 p.m.
Speidel, the executive director, said his organization was started by him and friend Joe Buga. Elyria Charities focuses on funding educational programs at Elyria schools, and it was a strong advocate for passing the EHS bond-and-levy issue in May. To contact Elyria Charities or make a donation, call (440) 365-0205.
Free holiday concert with 32-piece orchestra
First United Methodist Church on Third Street will host a holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, featuring music by Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and others. The event will include a 32-piece orchestra conducted by the newly appointed assistant director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Julian Kuerti. Solo harpist Megan Levin also will play, and an exhibit of jewelry and other works by artist Leigh Bennett will be on sale.
And not to worry about those toddlers breaking up the performance - the church will offer free child care as long as you call in advance. The number is (440) 322-6622, and the church is located at 312 Third St.
Food pantries, charities amassing food for drive
With area food pantries witnessing a record number of requests for assistance from Lorain County families, some organizations in the county are teaming up for an annual coupon drive that could help alleviate some of the strain.
The annual Holiday Cheer campaign, spearheaded by Second Harvest Food Bank, Burger King and others, will run now through Christmas Eve.
Second Harvest Food Bank officials estimate that 9,400 local families could benefit from the program, as funds raised will be used to help stock 35 different food pantries in the county.
Two kickoff breakfasts will take place, one from 7 to 9:30 a.m. on Thursday at the Cooper-Foster Park Road Burger King in Lorain, the other from 7 to 9:30 a.m. at the Elyria Burger King on Broad Street, across from the new municipal courthouse. Coupons will be sold for 25 cents each, or five for $1, while contributions also can be made at multiple Burger King restaurants in the county.
Elyria Masonic Lodge wins prestigious award
The Elyria Masonic Lodge was among just 105 of more than 530 Masonic lodges in Ohio that received the Grand Masters Award this year, the first time the lodge has won the award since 1995.
Robert Kozlowski, worshipful master of Elyria Masonic Lodge 787, said the last time the Elyria lodge won the award was when Eric Schau held his position. To receive the award, a lodge must meet at least seven of 10 critical items on a list, such as increasing its number of lectures and activities and bolstering community service.
The lodge also had to increase its charitable donations by at least 5 percent from the previous year, and increase the amount of scholarship donations.
MLK group seeks nominations, writers
The Elyria Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission is seeking nominations for the 2008 King Holiday Awards, recognizing strong service and commitment to Elyria`s citizens and community organizations.
The nominations seek to recognize people in five categories - community building, community service, economic opportunity, healthy equity and youth leadership - who foster King`s principles of nonviolent social change and commitment to social, racial and economic justice.
Nomination criteria and entry forms are available in room 301 in Elyria City Hall, with a deadline of 4 p.m. Dec. 14.
The King Commission also is seeking entries for its annual King Holiday Essay and Poetry Contest, open to students in fourth through 12th grades.
Students must be from Elyria. They are encouraged to focus their essay or poem on the topic "The Dream is Alive." Awards of $50 and $100 will be given to students at various grade levels.
Program winners will be recognized during a community-wide celebration at Elyria High School at 11 a.m. Jan. 21.
Zero-proof Mix-off: Lots of fun without any rum
Lorain County Community College and Lorain County General Health District will host the annual Zero-proof Mix-off on Dec. 6, where residents can learn great recipes for alcohol-free holiday drinks.
Local businesses and community organizations all show up to brandish their best brandy-free mixtures, all in an effort to promote safe, sober driving during the holiday season.
Attendees can cast votes for the people`s choice award, while judges will also choose the best drink. Competitors in past years included the Lorain County prosecutor`s office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which won an award for best drink. The event is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at College Center Mall, with a makeup date scheduled for Dec. 7 in case the Dec. 6 event is snowed out, as it was last year.
Food donations will also be accepted for local food pantries. For information, call (440) 322-6367, or
New Christian book store on North Ridge Road
Three Crosses Bible and Gift Shop is its third week of operation, and owner Jeannie Howard is hoping her longer business hours and special stock of Thomas Kinkade items will appeal to holiday shoppers.
Howard said she opened the business too late to have it listed in the county phone book, so at the moment it`s a lot of word-of-mouth advertising. It`s her second foray into the Christian bookstore business - her former location was in Amherst - and she`s holding out hope that her new location on North Ridge Road, next to the Dog `n Suds restaurant, will fill an open space in the local market.
"There aren`t a whole lot of Christian bookstores in this area," Howard said. "And we take special orders."
Her key feature, however, is a special stock of items made by artist Thomas Kinkade, though she also sells books, Bibles and gifts. The address is 2044 North Ridge Road, and the phone number is (440) 324-2228.
Red Cross offers babysitting basics
As mom and dad head out for their holiday shopping, there`s a little tinge of apprehension in their heads: Will the babysitter be able to handle our rambunctious child? The American Red Cross says yes - if they take advantage of a "Babysitting Basics" course being offered at the Red Cross West River Road office.
The $35 course includes a textbook and workbook, and teaches prospective babysitters how to deal with choking emergencies, first aid, infant and child care, and activities that are appropriate for certain age groups.
The courses are a weekend series, offered the weekends of Dec. 1 and Dec. 8, as well as the weekend of Dec. 27. They run 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day, and the target students will be any babysitter age 11 through 15. To preregister for the course, call (440) 324-2929, or visit the Lorain County Red Cross office at 2929 W. River Road in Elyria.
Marketing pro offers advice for job seekers
Business networking group Transitions will host a workshop Monday at Lorain County Community College, where marketing and business pro Fed Andersky, of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, will discuss a method called "Message Mapping."
Andersky says message mapping is used by effective communicators to stay on target during media interviews, though he has adapted the method for people to use during job interviews to help them develop great responses for any question that gets fired at them.
The workshop is free and will be 7 p.m. in LCCC`s Employment and Career Services Office. To register, call (440) 366-4076 or visit www.lorainccc.edu/careers.