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The Fighting 99th: The Battle for Ashtabula County’s future

JEFFERSON - If you are looking for a positive point of view, the Internet can often be a lonely place. It is much easier to ignore decorum and unleash a brutal retort when you don’t have to look someone in the eye as you say it.
It is not that hard to find places on the Internet where some people can share some pretty negative things about Ashtabula County. There is a lot of finger pointing, complaining and name calling to be found.
What these places don’t have a lot of is solutions - well, at least realistic solutions. There is no blank check or magic wand available. The problems facing Ashtabula County did not happen overnight and, frankly, fixes are not cheap or easy.
LeBron James concluded his Sports Illustrated essay detailing his return to Cleveland with the following:
“In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”

Ashtabula County Bucket List #10: Running with the Bulls

Zach knows Cleveland. He is, however, still learning Ashtabula County and needs your help. What is Ashtabula County to you? What local goodness does he need to eat? In what spot does he need to stand to experience the county’s beauty? Is there a local shop he needs to venture into? Is there a story he must be told? Complete this sentence, “Zach must _______________” and email it to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or tweet it to or post it at where there is an archive of past columns.

This week Zach does something incredibly stupid but lived to tell about it.

This week’s the Bucket List ventured out of Ashtabula County. I actually traveled to just outside of Chicago where I risked my well being doing something dangerous that could have easily ended in the loss of human life. I also ran with the bulls.
Back in September I completed my Christmas shopping for my father and my brother by purchasing for all of us tickets to participate in the Great Bull Run. The event took place at Hawthorne Race Course, which is located in apparently both Stickney and Cicero, Illinois.  Included in our registration was participation in the Tomato Royale food fight. So two famous Spanish traditions condensed American-Style for the price of one.

Teen’s 4-H Fighting Hunger charity enters third year


JEFFERSON – Two years ago, Brad Kobernik wanted to make a difference. Kobernik will be entering his senior year at Jefferson Area High School in the fall. But in 2012, he was a sophomore.
“I wanted to start my own charity,” Kobernik said. “A long time ago, my brother had done a food drive and I briefly saw how bad a need there was for food collection in Ashtabula County. I called the OSU Extension Office and talked to them and they said they would be more than glad to help.”
Kobernik founded 4-H Fighting Hunger. The charity is now entering its third year.
“I asked all of the 4-H Clubs to help and we have a competition. The club that brings in the most food by weight I reward with a pizza party at the fair. I get ice cream cones for the second place club. In 2012, we collected about 2,000 pounds. Last year it was less, but I got a late start. This year I started very early and it looks good. I am putting more time and effort into it,” Kobernik said.

Volunteers unite along the way


MENTOR – “We are so excited to be hosting 75 United Way volunteers at agency programs and sending 14 individuals to work on a project at Fairport Senior Center,” said Lynnmarie Landwei-Phillips, director of Marketing Lake County Board of DD/Deepwood.
For the annual United Way Day of Caring, Wednesday June 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., three organizations worked at the Deepwood campus

Lake ADAMHS Board begins with new officers, new budget, annual awards


 PAINESVILLE - The Lake County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board officially transitioned to a new fiscal year June 16 during its annual meeting and dinner event held at Quail Hollow. Nearly 200 people attended.
Established by Ohio Statute, the ADAMHS Board is responsible for planning, funding, monitoring and evaluating Lake County’s community-based mental health

Big Red concession ready to rock at Walnut Beach

ASHTABULA – Bid Red Concessions is open at Walnut Beach.
Tim Foster signed a three-year contract to run the concession stand. Foster is also the owner of Big Daddy Pools in North Kingsville and Big Red Vending.
The stand has had a soft opening and been operating from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. There has been a delay in getting the ansul system fixed. Once the ansul system is repaired, Foster will be investing in a new griddle and fryer and the hours will expand to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“So hopefully we will be open for breakfast soon,” Foster said. “We are going to offer good food at a good price. It is a nice beach and we are hopeful to provide a good experience for people.”

Lake County Council on Aging is seeking volunteers

MENTOR - The Lake County Council on Aging is a nonprofit organization that offers services to Lake County seniors.
Many of the services provided are available because of the agency’s dedicated volunteers. The Council on Aging is currently in need

Garden set to produce food for nonprofits again

PERRY TOWNSHIP - The Painesville Municipal Court Garden Project celebrated its 20th year with the initial planting of more than an acre behind the Perry Township Administration Building on Center Road May 21.
The Court Garden Project, initiated by Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael Cicconetti, provides a venue for persons to perform community service rather than spending time in jail. The result is, often bringing the gardening experience to people who have never done it before, and providing fresh produce

A Wilber family member attended same Rock Creek school building for 76 consecutive years

ROCK CREEK – Big families often are what make small towns special. Generations of the family members get interwoven in the history of a community.
The Wilber family is well known in Rock Creek. If you went to Rock Creek, you likely had a Wilber as a classmate. So when the old Rock Creek Elementary school building on High Street closed in 2008, it was the end of an era.
Bob Wilber would often talk about how many Wilbers attended that school. His granddaughter Danielle Locy was a member of the last graduating sixth-grade class when the building closed. One day, they wondered just how many consecutive years a Wilber was present in the building.