Year #20 Kay, Karen, Carolyn, Margy, Judy

Year #20 Kay, Karen, Carolyn, Margy, Judy

They said it would never last. There were five teachers who got together to follow the footsteps of Bob Vogel into the Grand Canyon. That first year it was Judy Brookhart (4th grade, Admissions Director), Carolyn Howell and Karen Goodwin Patterson (OTS History Department), Kay Burdette (Curriculum Director), and Sandy Yocum (Art Department).  Aside from working at Old Trail we were and are very different personalities but we had, and still have, one thing in common. We love to hike.
We all trained that first year not knowing how strenuous the hike would be but we switchbacked  down to Havasupai Village in the Grand Canyon with ease. And we proved that we got along with each other very well.

Since then we’ve hiked in many National and State Parks around the US and Canada: Zion, Bryce, Olympic, and Monument Valley to name a few. For year 10 we hiked in Banff.  In 2015 we hiked at the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Eventually, Sandy Yocum left the group and Margaret Liske (OTS Librarian) joined us. We also went from Bed and Breakfast housing to renting our own house (making sure we had a hot tub and plenty of wine glasses!).

Maybe it’s the outdoors, the meals, the shared giggles or tears that have kept us together. But certainly walking on narrow paths has taught us to watch each other’s backs both figuratively and literally.

 

Coming or Going?

In July Scene magazine featured an article about the houses that needed to be demolished in Cleveland. As of July 2015 159,000 parcels of land in Cleveland have been evaluated from the street level.  That was about 25% of the properties.  The survey currently shows that about 8,000 structures in Cleveland will require demolition.  It is estimated that this is a $100 million problem. Of course, the number could go much higher when the survey is finished.

Rehabbing houses costs more than building new but either way, there is not a lot of interest from private investors to build or restore buildings in many blighted neighborhoods.  Often the houses are torn down and what is left is a vacant lot. To partly solve the problem the city has stepped in.

When I drive from our place to University Circle I pass a lot of new housing on both Cedar and Carnegie and some on Euclid as well.  I also see that the Opportunity Corridor is coming through to the Cleveland Clinic. The Forgotten Triangle will be getting new life and, for those of us who travel from University Circle to points south, the new boulevard will be a welcome addition. Most of this building is paid for through taxes and grants.

Some of those empty and abandoned houses in the triangle will be replaced with new housing and, hopefully, small businesses to support the neighborhoods.

Although the campus district, where we live, is not the same as those areas from 55th to 105 St, we live and work in an area that was long forgotten and neglected. Now our empty buildings are attracting interest from investors who want to convert these old factories and light commercial buildings to housing for students and others. Many people, including myself, have written about this resurgence before. Now people outside Ohio and outside the country are taking notice.  We talked with a building inspector who was busy inspecting part of 500 houses in a neglected part of Cleveland. Why? Middle Easterners have bought up the houses and are going to resell them.

So while more than 8,000+ houses in our city need to be removed, many are being saved and rehabbed and whole neighborhoods are coming back.

 

Making steel

Making steel

In another observation about the growth, Dave and I recently went on a water taxi ride on the Cuyahoga River from Merwin’s Wharf south to the last stationery bridge where the river is no longer dredged. I was heartened to see all the working factories and river traffic. The taxi is owned and operated by Cleveland Metroparks.  Someday, after I90 is completed the water taxi will travel north and ferry people from one side of the river to the other. (I’m not sure why this is a Metropark enterprise and not a private enterprise).

Like many Clevelanders, I had no idea that there was much heavy industry left in our city along the river. Somehow I thought most of our steel and cement was manufactured in Southeast Asia and shipped here. Maybe it still is. But, by gosh, there were huge cranes moving ore, and piles of sand, gravel, and salt piled up along the banks, and even boat houses for sculls and their crews. It’s not just restaurants, clubs, and bars along our river.

 

When the Republican debate was here the before debate TV coverage showed Cleveland as a “Tale of Two Cities.” If you look hard enough, that is true of every city. There is always a “wrong side of the tracks.” But I guess I’m a glass half full kind of gal. I see Cleveland as a city of young hopeful people with lots of ideas and ability to take some risk. But there are generations of people who have lived here forever who are also supporting these changes even through controversy.  Hooray for their vision.

 

I’ve been at the beach several times. The best beach for clear water has been Mentor Headlands State Park. The drawback? You have to walk across about 10 feet of baseball sized rocks to the water’s edge then another six feet of rocks underwater, then sand! By then you are up to your neck and the waves are rolling into your face. Still you don’t have the rocks and debris at water’s edge at Edgewater Park.

Greg in front of sand sculpture

Greg in front of sand sculpture

 

With my joints wearing out, I’ve gone to a more upright position on my bike. I took my Cannondale road bike to Joy Machine Bikes and got a handlebar that is closer to my body and allows me to sit more upright. This is perfectly fine for the riding I do on the towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

 

Walnut Wednesdays are still popular. There are about 20 food trucks that pull up along 3 sides of Ralph Perk Plaza . You can sit on the grass under the shade to eat your burger or burrito. We’ve had a mild summer so far and being outdoors has been a pleasure despite more bugs in the woods.

Slide the City came to Akron. It missed Cleveland due to bad weather. This is a giant water slide with 3 lanes. Participants must register ahead of time and get a backpack with a blow up float ring and a mouth guard. In Akron the slide started at Broadway and went downhill two blocks to Main Street. Most people signed up to slide 3 times. It was a perfect day to be wet. It was 88 degrees.

Slide the City Akron

Slide the City Akron

 

For our 15h anniversary Dave and I hosted 15 friends and family on the Cleveland Cycle Tours. It was a two mile trip that lasted 2 hours and had 3 stops at restaurants in Ohio City. You can read about that in my Neighborhood Series. It’s a really fun activity for those sunny days but be sure to reserve ahead of time.

Trainwreck

Trainwreck

Summer movies are a favorite type of escapism for me. We’ve seen Mad Max, Fury Road, Jurassic World, Trainwreck, and The Young and Prodigious TS Spivet. Another escape: reading. I’ve read and listened to lots of books this summer and I recommend  Euphoria by Lily King, Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, and In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides.

Night Market

Night Market

We added a new venue to our summer festival spots. It is only one block away on Rockwell. It’s called the Night Market and features LOTS of food, favoring Asian flavors. It happens once a month on the first Friday night.

 

There is still lots of summer left. I still haven’t been to a ball game yet. Hummmmm. Maybe that will be next.