It's been more than five years since the Geauga County Sheriff's Office acquired Midge, the rat terrier-Chihuahua mix known for being the world's smallest law enforcement work dog.
Early on, she was pursued by the likes of Geraldo Rivera and Ellen DeGeneres for their TV shows, after word spread about her. (The media frenzy followed an article by former News-Herald correspondent and resident dog lover Diane Ryder.)
It appears that time has failed to diminish adoration for the diminuitive drug-sniffer, now nearly 6 years old.
Part of the sheriff’s office appears to have become a shrine to Midge. A larger-than-life statue of her sits in one corner. A pillow with her likeness is across the room, along with a cabinet covered with pet trinkets sent in by fans, testifying to her continued "pup"-pularity.
The media hound never fails to steal the show when seen around town with handler Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland.
He's used to it: "I always say, if she could drive and open doors, I wouldn’t have a job."
The International Space Station over The News-Herald
The International Space Station passed over the U.S. on Monday evening, and I capture part of its journey on video. It's somewhat difficult to see on the video, so expand it to full screen and look for the flickering light toward the middle of the screen.
Visit iss.astroviewer.net to see the International Space Station's current position, and click here to find out when you'll next be able to see it over Cleveland.
Late Sunday night, @newsheraldinoh received an at-reply on Twitter from Lake Catholic student Jesseca Keller (@killer_keller17) asking if we had covered the flash mob at Lake Catholic's Freshmen Welcome. She sent me the link to the video, and I posted it on News-Herald.com. With so many schools in our coverage area and so many activities happening on any given day, it's impossible for us to cover it all. But sites like YouTube and people like Jesseca can help us expand our coverage by sharing what they see going on in the community.
Here's the video Jesseca shared with me:
I was expecting to see anonymous negative comments in response to the flash mob - mostly because I expect to see anonymous negative comments on every story posted on our website. But what surprised me was that several of the comments were arguments about whether the activity was actually a flash mob.
Some definitions of a flash mob:
Merriam-Webster: a group of people summoned (as by e-mail or text message) to a designated location at a specified time to perform an indicated action before dispersing
Cambridge Dictionary: a group of people who agree to come together suddenly in a place and do something funny or silly and then move away
Oxford Dictionaries: a sudden mass gathering, unanticipated except by participants who communicate electronically
Dictionary.com: a large group of people mobilized by social media to meet in a public place for the purpose of doing an unusual or entertaining activity of short duration
Depending on which definition you prefer, the event was or was not a flash mob. I'm not sure the exact methods in which the participants communicated prior to the flash mob, so I can't say if this incident fits any of the definitions perfectly. Given the way teenagers tend to communicate electronically, I'm sure that somehow fit into the planning of the performance. It was something fun and silly, and unexpected except by those who were anticipating.
Flash mobs are not illegal. Planning and gathering for flash mobs in which the purpose is to commit an illegal activity is illegal.
In June, a flash mob of mostly teenagers robbed a Sears department store in the Greater Philadelphia area (link has video of surveillance footage). I think it goes without saying that that sort of activity is illegal. More recently (and closer to home), a flash mob broke out at Coventry Fair in Cleveland Heights and turned violent. Cleveland Heights Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson told Cleveland Heights Patch:
"I use the term flash crowd. I don't use flash mob because these gatherings are crowds of kids getting together, and the vast majority of them are good kids. But there's always going to be a few in there, and that's when it becomes a flash mob and we get some of the bad influences in there ... that's when you have problems."
The comments left in response to the Lake Catholic Freshmen Welcome flash mob show me that the term "flash mob" has developed a negative connotation - without a doubt because of events like those described above. I left minimal description before the video because I didn't want to spoil what happened. (If you're looking for more information, Mentor Patch did a better job of showing and explaining what happened in the gymnasium.)
My intention with the video was to share something fun that happened at an event that The N-H was unable to cover. I didn't intend to misled anyone into thinking something awful or negative or illegal occurred at Lake Catholic. Now that I've seen the reaction to the term "flash mob," I'll reconsider using it in the future.
I am happy to hear about the Open-Air Market coming to Painesville. It is to be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Saturday, Aug. 27 through Oct. 29, in the Lake County Job and Family Services parking lot.
Vendors will be selling goods such as handmade items, fresh-grown produce and arts and crafts. This is to be held rain or shine.
Anyone wishing to sell homemade products in the market is asked to contact Fred Pollutro, 440-352-2872, or visit the Downtown Painesville website, http://www.downtownpainesville.org, to download the application and get more information.
Assignment of spaces will be based on availability, the need for the product and the maker’s ability to produce it.
By the way, I also really like the red paint color on the downtown Painesville crosswalks! The city does a great job of beautifying the downtown area. I've said here before I love living a couple of miles from the square.
Two Cody area grizzly bear cubs are on a journey to the Cleveland Metro Parks Zoo.
The male and female cubs of the year, were orphaned after their mother was euthanized when she became a chronic problem bear to residents living in the Lower South Fork Shoshone River valley.
“The mother bear had been captured in the same general area for bad behavior in October 2006 and was subsequently relocated to the Caribou-Targhee National Forest 90 miles away.
Within 27 days of her relocation, she returned to the same general area and was trapped and moved again for causing property damage,” said Mark Bruscino, bear biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
“This spring, several South Fork residents reported a sow with cubs of the year in the area and she had obtained several food rewards. Although we tried to capture her our attempts were unsuccessful until Aug. 7, 2011,” Bruscino said.
Under the federal nuisance grizzly bear guidelines, a female grizzly that becomes a chronic problem and is captured three times as a result of her behavior may be removed from the population, but only after consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to Bruscino, the young of the year cubs are very healthy, both weighing approximately 50 pounds each. They will be the main attraction of the grizzly bear display at the Cleveland Zoo.
Grizzly bears currently inhabit most of the suitable habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The Yellowstone population continues to grow at a rate of 4 to 6 percent each year.
The most recent population estimate of grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is 601 bears.
Bruscino said that to date, the Game and Fish has responded to approximately 80 human-bear conflicts which resulted in seven grizzly bear relocations and three bear management removals. “So far, this has been a pretty normal bear conflict year,” said Bruscino.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Chagrin River Partners benefits from Lake Erie Protection Fund
The Chagrin River Watershed Partners was awarded $15,000 by the Lake Erie Protection Fund.
Its project is to reduce sedimentation through improved roadside ditch management and to improve overall erosion and sediment control throughout the Chagrin River watershed.
The organization will develop information and training on innovative ditch maintenance best management practices (BMPs), demonstrate those BMPs on three sites, and work with communities throughout Chagrin River watershed on local codes to minimize erosion and sedimentation.
“Ohioans have donated more than $9.3 million to the Lake Erie Protection Fund by purchasing or renewing a Lake Erie license plate each year,” said John Watkins, interim executive director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. “Lake Erie license plates displayed on vehicles give Ohio’s citizens an opportunity to personally help preserve and protect Lake Erie.”
The Lake Erie Protection Fund was established to help finance research and implementation of projects aimed at protecting and preserving Lake Erie and its watershed.
It is supported through the purchase of the “Erie...Our Great Lake” license plates, which display either the Marblehead Lighthouse or the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse, as designed by noted Lake Erie artist Ben Richmond.
Fifteen dollars from the sale or renewal of each plate is invested in the Lake Erie Protection Fund grant program. The Fund also accepts direct donations.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
If you’re looking for a walkabout from home to grocery store then Ohio in general and Northeast Ohio in particular is not your likely mode of transportation.
WWW.walkscore.com has rated cities throughout the United States as to how favorable they are for walking beyond just for exercise. That would include opportunities to walk for shopping.
Ohio does not fare well.
In the 90 and above ranking (“Walker’s Paradise”), no Ohio community earned this distinction.
Neither did any Ohio community collect the “Very Walkable” status with a score of 70 to 89.
The best that any Ohio community could do was Lakewood’s score of 68.
Remaining are the “Somewhat Walkable” score of 50 to 69, “Car-dependent I” score of 25 to 49, and also - again - Car-dependent II of 0 to 24.
The description for the titles are: Walker’s Paradise - Daily errands do not require a car; Very Walkable - Most errands can be accomplished on foot; Somewhat Walkable - Some amenities within walking distance; Car Dependent I - A few amenities within walking distance; Car-dependent II - Almost all errands require a car.
A look at some area communities and their scores were: Ashtabula (42), Eastlake (39), Euclid (46), Mayfield Heights (54), Mentor (34), Painesville (48), South Euclid (56), Willoughby (42).
The web site does allow a viewer to see what their own home walkable score is. Simply follow the appropriate link at www.walkscore.com/how-it-works.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn