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Monday, December 22, 2008

How many piercings and tattoos does Natasha Kai have?

“How many piercings and tattoos does Natasha Kai have?” This inquiry required a follow-up by the Newton Falls Public Library staff, as we weren’t familiar with the lady in question. The patron informed us that Natasha is a soccer player. She is also a member of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and 2008 gold medal winner. Checking the library’s catalog showed that Mia Hamm is the only female soccer player about whom we have a book.

The online search began with finding out more about Natasha Kai, a 25-year-old from Hawaii. The Team USA website [] states that she has 19 tattoos. The U.S. Soccer site [] concurs, noting her famous ‘sleeve’ tattoo and the newest one which is stars on the back of her neck.

ESPN Soccer [] mentions her multiple piercings but does not give a count. None of the previously mentioned websites gives any information about her piercings, though we can see from the photograph on the U.S. Soccer site that both ears and her bottom lip are pierced. Other than several websites mentioning facial piercings, none gave an exact number for us to tell our patron. However, the staff did learn some very interesting information about Natasha, whose full name is Natasha Kanani Janine Kai. The oldest child of her father who is a professional singer/performer at the Polynesian Cultural Center of Oahu and Hawaiian history teacher and her mother who is also a teacher, she is the first player from Hawaii to play on the Women's National Team and a Women's World Cup Team. There is a very interesting online video with Natasha from on You Tube []; she speaks about playing soccer and her family.

Tattoos are a subject about which other patrons often make inquiries, especially those considering ideas for their body art. The library’s collection has several books on the topic, including The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting a Tattoo by John Reardon, Tattoos and Body Piercing by Leanne K. Currie-McGhee, and Ink: the not-just-skin-deep guide to getting a tattoo and The Tattoo Encyclopedia: a guide to choosing your tattoo both by Terisa Green. Many considering tattoos look at the books on calligraphy for inspiration such as Chinese Calligraphy Made Easy: a structured course in creating beautiful brush lettering by Rebecca Yue and The Calligrapher's Bible: 100 complete alphabets and how to draw them by David Harris. One of the library’s many art books may also be a source of creative ideas for those considering getting a tattoo.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Can Tropical Birds Survive in Ohio?

“I heard that birds like cockatiels and parakeets can’t survive outside in Ohio. Why not, they’re birds; they have feathers like the other birds and they do live in the wild somewhere.” The Newton Falls Public Library patron asking the question went on to explain that they are trying to catch a cockatiel which they spotted flying outside their home, and a few years ago her husband climbed the roof to have a parakeet land on his hand. The library staff hasn’t had a bird question since our insistent cardinal last spring so it was fun looking into this one.

Parakeets and cockatiels are both small parrots. In Cockatiels: everything about acquisition, care, nutrition, and diseases by Annette Wolter [p.60] it states that they are from Australia and are used to dry heat, where the temperatures can range from 86 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit in the day to below freezing at night. Slow changes in temperature do not bother them, but sudden drops can cause sickness and death. According to Birds for Dummies by Gina Spadafori and Brian L. Speer, what we commonly refer to as a parakeet is actually a budgerigar or budgie, also from Australia. The latter book gives advice on what to do if your bird escapes, including the hint to leave its cage outside with the door open as it may decide to return home. In the section on escaping birds, there is a note of encouragement to owners of missing birds to not give up hope as some birds are “found after months ‘on wing’” [p. 131].

Remembering that both budgerigars and cockatiels are wild birds as well as pets, the staff also examined some of the library’s collection of wild bird books including Birds of the World: a photographic guide and Birds--their life, their ways, their world. While the photographs in the first are fantastic, Birds--their life, their ways, their world has more detailed information including what they feed upon when not in captivity. Vegetables are the primary food of the parrots’ diet, though budgerigars seem to prefer seeds, and both will also eat some fruits, berries and insects. This would seem to answer our patron’s question in that some birds do manage to survive, as long as the changes in temperature are not too extreme and there are sources of acceptable food.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Need a Form for . . .

“I need a form for the dissolution of my marriage.” “Do you have information on how to write a living will?” “I’m looking for a survivorship deed.” While the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library cannot give legal advice, we can direct people to resources which might assist them in making their decisions.

Some of the books are Ohio specific: Divorce in Ohio: a people's guide to marriage, divorce, dissolution, spousal support, child custody, child support, visitation rights by John Gilchrist and Ohio Forms and Transactions. Consider using How to Write Your Own Living Will by Edward A. Haman. This book includes detailed information for each state as well as forms, and the statutes and laws governing living wills. The online version of the Ohio Revised Code [] also has some useful form guidelines. For example, “3701-62-04 Do-not-resuscitate identification” has information needed in case of a medical emergency. Couse's Ohio Form Book, in the library’s reference collection, has a variety of deed formats, including the statutory form of survivorship deed.

The library also has more general books available such as The Complete Book of Personal Legal Forms: + CD-ROM by Mark Warda, James C. Ray, 101 Law Forms for Personal Use by Ralph Warner & Robin Leonard and Everyday Legal forms and Agreements Made E-Z compiled by Mario D. German. There are books for such specific topics as starting and running a small business and non-profits, registering trademarks and copyrights, landlord and tenant agreements, child custody, and pre-nuptials.

These library resources are a place to begin getting information when dealing with legal questions, but in many cases it would be wise to also contact an attorney. For low income and senior Ohioans, Community Legal Aid Services, Inc. [] is a non-profit law firm serving the legal needs of those in Columbiana, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, and Wayne Counties.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

UFOs in Trumbull County?

“I was watching a television show about UFOs and it said that one been sighted in Trumbull County. Can you find me some information about it?” This question may not be any more alien than ones about the other type of flying objects, such as witches, pumpkins, ghosts, turkeys, sleighs and reindeer, that the Newton Falls Public Library staff answer in late autumn and early winter.

We could not find information in books such as The Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters: a definitive, illustrated A-Z guide to all things alien or any of the library’s other Unidentified Flying Object books. Ohio UFOs & Extraterrestrials: a look at the sightings & science in our state by Carole Marsh can be borrowed through our TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Library Consortium] online catalog. The Newton Falls Public Library staff will be happy to assist you in placing a hold on this or other UFO materials at our library, or the public libraries of Bristol, Girard, Hubbard, Kinsman and McKinley (Niles).

The show our patron had watched was the History Channel’s UFO Hunters’ [] program UFO Emergency. On December 14, 1994 Trumbull County police departments started getting 911 calls of strange lights in the sky. This incident is mentioned on many websites. UFO Research: Cincinnati! [] reports: “The incident actually began before 12:01 a.m. in the early morning hours of Wednesday, December 14, 1994. Before midnight, the Trumbull County 9-1-1 center had already logged several UFO reports from residents near the Sampson Road vicinity. Curiously, UFOs were reported in the area the previous evening, as well as two weeks prior. Where, exactly, did this occur? In an area within Liberty Township, about 4-miles north of Youngstown, surrounded by Weathersfield Township to the west, Vienna Township to the north and Hubbard Township to the east.”

According to Internet sites there have been numerous incidents of UFO sightings in our county. The first we found was [] which reported that on April 17, 1966 a low flying object was seen traveling from Portage County on through Trumbull County to Pennsylvania. This site also included the Trumbull sightings of December 14, 1994 in Liberty Township, July 22, 2000 on Rt. 11 between East Liverpool and Ashtabula, and September 9, 2000 when one traveled from Ravenna to Girard. UFO Hunter Bill Birnes also refers to these 2000 sightings on his UFO Hunters’ blog, Bill’s Blog. []

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is It Harebrained or Hairbrained?

“I know this may sound odd. I was telling someone about something that was harebrained; then I wondered where that expression came from and if it is spelled harebrained or hairbrained?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff enjoys answering questions and finds ones about words and language to be intriguing.

According to A Dictionary of American Idioms by Adam Makkai, M.T. Boatner, and J.E. Gates, this thoughtless and foolish meaning word is spelled harebrained. Garner's Modern American Usage by Bryan A. Garner refers those looking under hairbrained to see harebrained; “hairbrained is the common blunder. The misspelling falls just short of being what it attempts to denote” [p. 398].

While we know the spelling, that still doesn’t explain where the expression came from. It seemed logical to try A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles, but it only had three hare words – hare, hare fly and hare-lip sucker (a species of sucker). The thirteen volumes of The Oxford English Dictionary was the resource we should have checked first. There it states that harebrayne was used in a book written in 1550 and denoted someone who had “a brain like a hare’s, or no more brain than a hare; a giddy or reckless person” [v. 5, p. 91]. Around the turn of the 16th century the spelling seems to have changed to harebrain. The website World Wide Words [] also discusses the question of the use ‘hare’ vs. ‘hair’ over the centuries. The author, Michael Quinion ultimately recommends going with harebrained.

Out of curiosity, the staff used a search engine to see how harebrain(ed) appears online. In Minnesota there is a company named Harebrain Inc. which developed an acoustical voice-feedback headset called WhisperPhone. On there is a music group from Oregon,
Ky & HareBrain Media. Master Shortrod Harebrain, a jealous husband, is a character in A Mad World, My Masters, a Jacobean stage play written by Thomas Middleton. This “comedy first performed around 1605 and first published in 1608. (The title is proverbial, and was used by a pamphleteer, Nicholas Breton, in 1603)” []. You can contact Dave Carter, Founder of Harebrained Schemes, LLC. at Harebrained Films, Holidays, and Shop at Etsy can be found on the Internet as well as harebrained tax schemes at

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How Long and How Far Can Horses Run?

“I was watching a western and in it the horses seemed able to run a long time. How far or how long can horses actually run in a day?” The first place the Newton Falls Public Library staff checked was in the library’s collection of horse books. Both Horses for Dummies by Audrey Pavia and The Complete Horse Book had sections about endurance racing. In this type of competition, the horse and rider attempt to cover a set number of miles in the shortest time. Most consist of 50 – 100 mile per day rides, or multi-day rides covering 50 miles a day over four to six days. A special endurance saddle is used as the rider has to spend long periods of time sitting on it. According to The Encyclopedia of the Horse by Elwyn Hartley Edwards [p.356], in 1919 “the United States Cavalry conducted endurance tests to assess the quality of . . . horses as remounts.” They had to cover 300 miles in 5 days, while carrying 200-245 pounds.

Searching online for farthest running horse brings up a website [] which includes an article written by Anthony Amaral in Western Horseman Magazine [1969],“Frank Hopkins. . . Best of Endurance Riders?” Frank Hopkins rode in approximately 400 endurance races including in 1890 a 3,000 mile one in Arabia on the western mustang, Hidalgo, against Arabian desert horses. In the “Brains Plus Endurance" by Charles B. Roth [The Horse–Official Journal of the U.S. Remount Service 1935], Hopkins is quoted saying he once rode a horse 124 miles in 20 hours. Today there are very strict rules and training guidelines for those wishing to participate in endurance riding. Depending on the event, qualifying rides may be required, as well as mandatory stops for veterinary checks of the animals. More information can be learned about the classic races in The Complete Horse Book and the Equiworld website [].

One of the most memorable uses of endurance running by men was the Pony Express. From April 1860 to October 1861, the riders carried mail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. In Stagecoaches and the Pony Express by Sally Senzell Isaacs, the horses usually only ran 10 miles at a time, while riders rode about 75 miles before passing on the saddlebag.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Should I Turn My Heat Off or Lower the Thermostat?

“To conserve energy and save money, should I turn my heat off or just lower the thermostat when I leave for work?” Like everyone today, the Newton Falls Public Library staff can understand the economic need of conserving energy.

The appropriately named book, This Cold House: the simple science of energy efficiency by Colin Smith was the first place we looked. Smith suggests setting your thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature in the winter. “Heating costs are reduced by about 2% for every 1% F reduction in settings [p. 189].” Information about different heating systems, insulation, and basic equations to assist homeowners in determining possible savings are included. The use of ceiling fans to blow and circulate warmer air can make people feel more comfortable.

The library has two new books about home energy savings, Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings by Jennifer Thorne Amann, Alex Wilson and Katie Ackerly and Save Energy Save Money: 201 do-it-yourself projects, tips, and ideas by Family Handyman. The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings includes practical information about ways to reduce costs and offers additional ideas at their website The site has numerous calculators for things such as determining the most economical insulation level for your home and how much money a programmable thermostat will save. The Family Handyman book addresses the misconception that lowering the thermostat requires more energy to reheat the house; when in fact the fuel saved by the dropping temperature is about equal to the amount used restoring it, so the time spent at the lower temperature is reducing your energy use. “Studies show you can cut cost by as much as 20 percent by lowering your thermostat 5 degrees F at night and 10 degrees during the day when no one is home [p.66].”

You can also conserve your energy and save money by visiting the library. With one stop, you can borrow books, audiobooks, movies, CDs, CD-Roms for your computer, magazines, newspapers, and access the Internet from the Wi-Fi computers. There are programs such as story times, craft programs, movie events, and book discussions. Travel back in time when you visit the Local History Room. Visiting the library is a great opportunity to share and learn more about your family, where they came from, and where they have lived. While a little dated, Oral History for the Local Historical Society by Willa K. Baum has excellent ideas on how to create an oral history, learning from older family members about their lives. Discovering the History of Your House and Your Neighborhood by Betsy J. Green is another interesting resource. In conjunction with Ms. Green’s book, the Haines directories and Sanborne Fire Insurance Maps (found in Ohio Web Library’s Genealogy section) will assist you in researching where your family has lived. If your family moved to Newton Falls during the growth of the steel mills, you might find it interesting to view the tools belonging to contractor Nicholas Risko. Mr. Risko built many of the homes for families who came during this era. A relative of the Longenberger family, Grandma Caroline Gamber [1836-1928], would be blushing to know that there is a display of her clothing, including undergarments, in the library’s Local History Room.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What Was the Last Name of the Children in the Movie E.T.?

“What is the last name of the children in the movie E.T.?” “A friend and I have a bet. He said that Rocky was Sylvester Stallone’s first movie? I don’t think so.” “Two different people played the husband in the old TV show, Bewitched. Who were they?” “I was listening to a show on XM Radio called the Green Hornet. Can you tell me anything about it?” Movie, television, and radio trivia questions are always fun for the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library.

The first question involved using Internet search engines, Google and Metacrawler. The results included links to many movie related sites. According to The Internet Movie Database, the last name of Elliot’s family in E.T. was never given. Looking at some of the other sites, including the official twentieth anniversary website, found no information to contradict IMDb.

The Film Encyclopedia by Ephraim Katz has a great deal of information about Sylvester Stallone’s early career. He worked as an usher in New York City’s Baronet movie theater and in 1970 he appeared in the nude in the off-Broadway play, Score. Katz also lists Stallone’s first movie appearance as being in 1970 in Party at Kitty and Studs/The Italian Stallion. This was followed by two unbilled bit parts in Bananas (1971) and Klute (1972). He was in about 5 other movies before starring in Rocky (1976). Wikipedia [] also lists 2 additional films in 1970. In Lovers and Other Strangers he appeared as an extra and had a starring role in No Place to Hide. More information about Stallone and his filmography can also be found at

Bewitched not only had two actors playing the role of Darrin Stephens, there were two actresses in the role of Gladys Kravitz. The library’s copy of The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Show by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh gives information about shows from 1946 to 1991. Darrin was played by Dick York from 1964-1969 and Dick Sargent from 1969-1972. The nosy neighbor, Gladys was played by Alice Pearce from 1964 until her death in March 1966. Sandra Gould took over as the character through 1972.

Tune in Yesterday: the ultimate encyclopedia of old-time radio 1925-1976 by John Dunning is filled with information about the shows, characters, plots, actors, etc. The Green Hornet first appeared in 1936. Britt Reid, a slightly flamboyant newspaper publisher, fights crime as the Green Hornet along with his faithful valet, Kato. Some interesting trivia about the show - the Green Hornet and the Lone Ranger were creations of George W. Trendle. He linked the two story lines together; Britt’s father was Dan Reid, nephew of the Lone Ranger. For listeners from 1936 – 1952, this would have been a modern version of the popular western with a car named Black Beauty instead of the Ranger’s horse, Silver.

Friday, October 17, 2008

How Can I Sell My House?

“I know the housing market is terrible now, but I need to sell my house. Are there any books that have ideas of things I can do?” In today’s market this is a real concern to Newton Falls Public Library patrons who are moving or downsizing.

Home Makeovers That Sell: quick and easy ways to get the highest possible price by Sid Davis has many ideas of small changes you can make to ensure that your residence is more appealing to buyers. My Home, My Money Pit: your guide to every home improvement adventure by Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete includes a chapter called Home Selling Tips. Homeowners can follow some very simple styling suggestions to increase the value of their homes. Things like reducing art, tidying rooms, and banishing odors which take very little time or money can make big differences when prospective buyers do a walk through. 52 Weekend Makeovers: easy projects to transform your home inside and out includes many colorful photographs, a list of tools and gear, what to buy and even alerts as to what can go wrong with a project to help you avoid problems. Even if you are not moving, the ideas in these books can make where you are living feel like a new place.

Energy efficiency is attractive to buyers who may inquire about monthly utility costs. Energy, Use Less--save more: 100 energy-saving tips for the home by Jon Clift & Amanda Cuthbert has both spend nothing - save money and spend a little – save more suggestions. One way to reduce your water consumption, lower your water and sewer bill is by collecting rain water to be used to water your outdoor plants. The Carbon-free Home: 36 remodeling projects to help kick the fossil-fuel habit by Stephen and Rebekah Hren has instructions for a rain barrel that can be made in an afternoon for as little as $20. As buyers begin to look at the actual monthly costs of owning a home rather than just the exterior appearance, being ready with some changes you’ve made from The Home Energy Diet: how to save money by making your house energy-smart by Paul Scheckel may make your home more desirable.

When all else fails, one of the library staff members mentioned burying a statue of St. Joseph, earthly father of Jesus and the patron saint of carpenters, in the yard. The online article Selling your house? Bury a statue by Darci Smith details what many people are doing to increase their chances of selling their home quicker. Ms. Smith relates some of the popular tales of the origin of this belief. One of the most popular “is that an order of European religious sisters in the Middle Ages buried a St. Joseph medal and asked the saint to help them acquire land for a convent [].” She also reminds the reader that after the house is sold St. Joseph should be dug up and kept in a place of honor.

Selling a home can be fraught with problems, so it is wise to prepare yourself by reading How To Buy & Sell Your Home Without Getting Ripped Off! by Patricia Boyd and Lonny Coffey. The authors include advice about understanding real estate trends and finding a realtor with whom you will be able to work well. If you choose to sell without using a realtor, How To Buy/Sell Your Own Home Without a Broker or Lawyer: the national home sale and purchase kit by Benji O. Anosike would be useful to examine.

Don’t get discouraged. Buyers from other parts of the country are beginning to look at the Mahoning Valley as an attractive area to relocate. In Valley comes in 2nd among areas that offer bang for your buck by Denise Dick [Vindicator, September 12, 2008] it is reported that the September 4th issue of Business Week Magazine stated the Mahoning Valley as the 2nd most affordable place to live in the country.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Halloween costume

“I’m going to a Halloween party and I need a really cool costume; one that isn’t too complicated.” The staff at the Newton Falls Public Library is always willing to assist with party ideas. The Halloween Handbook: 447 costumes by Bridie Clark and Ashley Dodd is filled with easy to create costumes. You can select from 14 different chapters of costumes including: Movie and TV Characters, History in the Making, Literature and Art, and Odds and Ends. My personal favorite was Play with Your Words which has ‘Chick Magnet’ (attaching small marshmallow or fluffy novelty chicks to a shirt) and ‘Pointless’ (fastening unsharpened pencils all over your clothes while spending the evening making meaningless statements). Jim and Tim, the Duct Tape Guys Present The Original Duct Tape Halloween Book includes very unusual costumes, but also some very creative ones such as a knight in shining armor using cardboard and silver duct tape. If you need a last minute costume for your child or even yourself, Child's Play: quick and easy costumes by Leslie Hamilton is a good choice.

Creating costume effects without a mask can be done with Create Your Own Stage Make-up by Gill Davies and Decorate Yourself: cool designs for temporary tattoos, face painting, henna & more by Tom Andrich. These are especially useful when seeking to disguise yourself without obscuring your vision; just be careful if you are planning to bob for apples.

If you are hosting the party or are staying at home waiting for the trick or treaters, and are personally more of a trickster than a ‘treater’, consider Give Them a Real Scare This Halloween: a guide to scaring trick-or-treaters, and haunting your house, yard, or party written by Joseph Pfeiffer. Not all the ideas in this book are gross or scary; some are just plain fun like the ‘Jack-o-laugh-tern’ talking pumpkin head. There are also costume and makeup suggestions. CDs Andrew Gold's Halloween Howls and Spooky Favorites will make the evening sound creepy. Halloween: 101 frightfully fun ideas is also filled with suggestions to make the night memorable. And what would a holiday season of any type be without Martha Stewart and the Martha Stewart Living book, Halloween?

Looking for some ghoulish Halloween treats? Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes by Josie Fison and Felicity Dahl will be useful for a dinner party requiring Wormy Spaghetti, Hot Frogs, and Stink Bugs’ Eggs. Consider the delectable choices in The Fear Factor Cookbook by Bev Bennett, which are accompanied by “WARNING: Not recommended for weak stomachs Eat at your own RISK.” You could complete your party with Blood and Bile Cocktail and Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Cakes.

A properly carved Jack O’ Lantern is an important ingredient in the day’s celebration. The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons has suggestions for carving. There are some great online resources which include information about pumpkins and carving templates. Try Pumpkin Carving 101 [] and Family Fun [] for ideas. After you finish your carving, enter your pumpkin into our annual Harvest Fest’s carved pumpkin contest on Monday, October 27 at 5:45 p.m. The Harvest Fest has become a library tradition and will be held from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. There will also be costume contests for kids, teens and adults, refreshments, craft and story times. Judging will begin at 6:00 p.m.; winners will be announced at the conclusion of the event.

Beer can and bottle collecting

“My buddy has a whole bunch of different beer bottles and cans. Is there something he can do with them?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff found this to be a timely question when one considers that football season inspires many a tailgating party. The owner of such a collection has several different options.

By doing some research you may find that the containers could be sold. The library has several resources available; Kovels' bottles price list by Ralph & Terry Kovel and other collectible price guides such as Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2009: America's Bestselling and Most Up-To-Date Antiques Annual. According to this newest Kovels’, would you be willing to pay $5000 for a Kool Beer, blue, Grace Bros. Brewing, Santa Rosa, California can or $2640 for a beer bottle from Tiffany and Allen, Washington Market, Paterson, New Jersey? The Official Price Guide to Beer Cans can also be borrowed through interlibrary loan and Ohio Shares MORE. A great deal of historical information can be learned online at Beer Bottle Collectors and Antique Bottles. Antique Bottles and RustyCans have links to collecting groups. There is even a Beer Can Museum located in Massachusetts.

One of our staff members was curious about how these collectible bottles and cans might be displayed. The library has many books with do-it-yourself directions for shelving. Two of the most intriguing were a trapezoidal bookcase in Bookcases by Niall Barrett whose shape is reminiscent of a bottle, and rotating garage shelves in Storage & Shelving Solutions which could be made to look like a giant beer can. Instructions can be found for shelving created with beer bottles and boards at

If, after searching the various sources, you find that your cans do not have much value as collectibles consider recycling them. The Aluminum Association’s website states that can recycle rates are at their highest and it takes 34.17 cans to equal a pound of metal. The amount that is paid by scrap metal businesses changes daily. On September 22, Falls Recycling was paying $.60 per pound of aluminum.

Before the cans or bottles can be recycled, they need to be emptied. Have a tailgating party using The Tailgater's Cookbook by David Joachim and Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style by Mario Batali to create delicious food for the occasion. Homebrew Favorites: a coast-to-coast collection of over 240 beer and ale recipes compiled by Karl F. Lutzen and Mark Stevens and Extreme Brewing: an enthusiast's guide to brewing craft beer at home by Sam Calagione are two of the library’s books which can be used to develop your own special brew.

Remember to practice caution in consuming the contents of those bottles and cans. Controlling Your Drinking: tools to make moderation work for you by William R. Miller and Ricardo F. Muñoz and Ohio Driving Under the Influence Law by Mark P. Painter and Majes M. Lookerone are some of the resources the library has to assist you in making wise choices.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How do I find out about my family history?

“I’m related to the Longenberger family that lived in Newton Township and would like to find out more about them.” This is a perfect question as October is Family History Month, and the Newton Falls Public Library’s Local History Room is filled with items which individuals can use to learn more about their families. The library staff is working on the ongoing project of identifying local people in photographs donated by Alma and Peter Murri, owners of the Newton Falls Herald. Many genealogists find this collection very useful.

There are also numerous print resources available for use at the library. Some that a family researcher may want to consider are: Trumbull County, Ohio Bible and Family Records compiled and edited by Ruth Allen for the Trumbull County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society; 1880 Census Index of Trumbull County, Ohio compiled by Norman & Mary Lou (Keifer) Ulam; the indexes to the official rosters of Ohio soldiers in the war with Mexico [1846-1848] and the war with Spain [1898-1899]; and Trumbull County birth, marriage, death and census records.

For those looking for more contemporary information, the library has a collection of the Haines ... Criss-cross Directory: Youngstown, Ohio city and suburban and Newton Falls High School yearbooks. The earliest yearbook is from 1885 and has no photographs. The more extensive collection, which includes those with class pictures, begins with the 1916 edition. There are also some large pictures of graduating classes on the walls of the Local History Room
The Ohio Web Library has a Resources link from our homepage’s Library Databases []. There you will find excellent Genealogy sites including statewide genealogy sites, maps, military sites, and cemeteries. For those who came through Ellis Island and the Port of New York, allows you to search by passenger names. Using any of the popular online search engines one can find many other ancestry, genealogy, and family tree sites.

Visiting the library is a great opportunity to share and learn more about your family, where they came from, and where they have lived. While a little dated, Oral History for the Local Historical Society by Willa K. Baum has excellent ideas on how to create an oral history, learning from older family members about their lives. Discovering the History of Your House and Your Neighborhood by Betsy J. Green is another interesting resource. In conjunction with Ms. Green’s book, the Haines directories and Sanborne Fire Insurance Maps (found in Ohio Web Library’s Genealogy section) will assist you in researching where your family has lived. If your family moved to Newton Falls during the growth of the steel mills, you might find it interesting to view the tools belonging to contractor Nicholas Risko. Mr. Risko built many of the homes for families who came during this era. Back to the Longenberger Family, a relative of the family, Grandma Caroline Gamber [1836-1928], would be blushing to know that there is a display of her clothing including undergarments, in the library’s Local History Room.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wedding gift for busy couple

Strangely enough, it is the second week in a row that we have a Washington D.C. related inquiry. “I need to find a meal planner in the Washington D.C. area.” Interesting question, but the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library really required more information. Upon further questioning, it was discovered that the real need was “I have friends who are getting married. It is a second marriage for both. They live in Arlington, Virginia near Washington D.C. and are very busy people with jobs that often take them out of town. I want to get them a gift certificate, where someone will prepare some gourmet meals for them so that when they get home they can just take meals from their freezer.” Sounds as if what is really wanted is an upscale restaurant that has take-out service or a personal chef who will prepare meals.

Looking at books available in the catalog of the library and TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] Consortium there is very little which may have references to restaurants in that area of Virginia. More titles about travel could be found in Ohio Libraries Share MORE, but the patron doesn’t want to wait for items to come from other parts of the state.

Online there are more options to consider. An Internet search for ‘Arlington Virginia prepared meals’ brought up some interesting results.,, and www.Let’ were three of the sites where meals may be ordered online, and then they are prepared, frozen and delivered to the couple’s home. The library also contacted ‘Ask A Librarian’ at the Arlington Public Library for recommendations of local restaurants near the engage couple’s home which offer take-out service. Their librarian emailed back 7 restaurants with ratings and reviews.

Another option is a personal chef who will come to the house, cook a number of meals and place them in the freezer. The advantage of a personal chef is the meals will be personalized to suit the couple’s tastes or special dietary requirements. Searching for one in the Arlington area brings up a large list. Many of them are members of the American Personal & Private Chef Association. The patron should consider those who are certified food managers, and are licensed and insured. As this is a long distance purchase and would require the chef to go to the gift recipient’s home, it was suggested that the patron contact the local Better Business Bureau [] to see if there have been any complaints about a chosen service provider.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Students, teachers, parents and reports

“My daughter has to do a report on a city. Can you help us? She wants to use the Internet, but are there any books too?” School has begun and the Newton Falls Public Library staff is always happy to assist students in finding the information they need. We won’t do their homework, but we can help them to learn how to locate what’s required.

An interesting city which this child might consider is Washington D.C. The library has two books specifically for elementary students on this subject: Around Washington, DC with kids by Kathryn McKay and Washington, D.C.: a scrapbook by Laura Lee Benson. Encyclopedias such as World Book are great sources of basic information on a topic and the library has copies which may be borrowed. The City of Washington: an illustrated history by the Junior League of Washington will include important events going back to 1790.

A good place for this student to begin searching online is the library’s home page Selecting CHILDREN’S will take her to the Internet Public Library and HomeWorkNow. This latter site will let your child chat online with a librarian who assists in finding reliable information. Ohio Web Library [] also provides many resources including popular magazines, scholarly research journals, newspapers, encyclopedias, and more. Your library card is all you need to access this from home. Since, in this case, we are looking for materials for an elementary age child, we select Resources at Ohio Web Library. There is a section called STUDENTS AND HOMEWORK that can be used to search for information on the selected city.

Your child’s teacher may have also elected to have the library create a Pathfinder. If the teacher requests it, we can assemble a list of websites specifically for the students to use for a particular assignment and make it available on our website. All they need to do is go to our website, select TEACHERS’, find the teacher’s name, click and complete the work. It is an easy way for students to find reliable websites for their homework.

Teachers, if you are interested in having a Pathfinder for your students you may request one through the library’s TEACHERS’ link. Teacher Totes may also be requested. To ensure that all the students will have access to the required materials, give us an Assignment Alert so we can pull books and hold them for just your class to use.

If the worst case scenario occurs and we cannot find anything for a student, we will give a completed and signed Sorry . . . We Tried slip. This notifies parents and teachers that we were unable to fill the request and why. Taking the time to do this also helps us to become aware of subject areas where we may need to acquire more materials.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Questions from afar

Not every question asked comes from Newton Falls. This past few weeks the Newton Falls Public Library staff has had inquiries from outside the Mahoning Valley, including the Cleveland area, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona. One question came from the Cleveland area via email. “Where can I purchase the two covered bridge Christmas ornaments?” As many of the staff are local residents and familiar with the ornaments, it only took a couple of phone calls to determine that Art Effects may still has some of the older ones available. It turned out that those were not the ones the patron desired. Mrs. Traina was able to direct him to Nussle’s Florist where the Rotary ornaments are for sale.

Our covered bridge is a popular topic. The caller from Georgia was looking for a map of Newton Falls or Trumbull County which showed where the covered bridge is located. She had access to the Internet, so while speaking with her she was instructed to go to online to Google Maps [] and type in Bridge St. 44444. There she was able to see a map of the area around the bridge. When she selected ‘satellite’ she could actually see a photograph of the bridge. Her flight was coming into Akron Canton Airport, so she was also able to get directions from the airport to the Newton Falls Covered Bridge.

A visitor from Pennsylvania was seeking a map of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal. He was following the canal as it traveled from New Castle, Pennsylvania through Newton Falls to Akron, Ohio. The librarian was able to show him Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal: 160 years 1840 – 2000 and The Ohio Canals by Frank N. Wilcox. Each volume had historical information about it. The Ohio Canal Society [] has a map online which shows all the communities the P & O Canal ran through. By selecting ‘Local History and Tourist Information’ on our library’s website [], a detailed map can be found which shows where the canal went through Newton Falls. Lock 22 was located near Lock Street, and the canal also ran along part of Canal Street near the library.

The caller from Arizona was seeking information about his ancestors. His question was transferred to our Local History Room. While some of his family was from the Braceville area, others lived in Earlsville. “Earlsville was near Main Street. The boundary lines were from the bridge on Main Street, along the river behind EK Concrete to Division Street. Division Street was so named to refer to the dividing line between Earlsville and Newton Falls” [from Ruth Sharec oral history]. The Local History collection has an abundance of material about Newton Falls, Newton Township, and their residents. Photographs, local newspapers, street directories, and more are available as resources to discover more about your family or your neighborhood. A sampling of the material currently on display are arrowheads, tools, school related items, Police Department equipment, and souvenir dishware. The Local History Room hours are Monday – Wednesday noon – 8 p.m., Thursday & Friday 9 – 5 p.m. It is also open the first full weekend of each month. It is closed the Friday before that first weekend.

Remember September is LIBRARY CARD SIGN-UP MONTH. A library card will allow you to borrow a plethora of books, media, magazines, and more for free. For more information or to get the answers to your questions, visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal Street, Newton Falls, phone 330-872-1282, or online at Sunday hours, noon to 5 p.m., will resume on September 7.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why does my declawed cat still scratch the furniture?

“My cat is declawed. Why does he still attempt to scratch the furniture?” Most of the Newton Falls Public Library staff own pets, so we always find pet related questions to be very interesting. The library has many books on cats and their care. The first ones examined, The Complete Guide to Cat Care by Wendy Christensen and the staff of the Humane Society of the United States, Housecat: how to keep your indoor cat sane and sound by Christine Church, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting & Owning a Cat by Sheila Webster Boneham, Ph.D., address the controversial issue of declawing. Scratching is an instinctual behavior and felines do it for three reasons: to sharpen their claws and remove the outer sheath, to scent mark their territory, and to anchor bodies so they can stretch. Housecat also mentioned that cats use claws for scratching themselves and grooming [p.117]. When it appears a declawed cat is attempting to scratch, they are actually scent marking. Cats will also do this with their faces, so when your cat rubs against or pats you they are marking you as their own.

If your cat still has claws and you are looking for options to keep your household goods from being shredded and scratched, there are books and web sites to give you options. Outdoors, cats will do very well with trees. Indoors, you as an owner need to be creative as each cat may have a different scratching style. According to Dr. Boneham, some cats like to stretch and scratch horizontally and others like to stand and scratch [p.115.] Cat trees and posts covered with carpeting, tightly woven fabrics, sisal rope and twine are very popular. You can build your own with The Pet House Book: how to build housing, accessories, and playthings for your dogs, cats, birds, lizards, hamsters, and other pets by Lura Labarge. One of the more interesting projects in this book is a “Natural Cattree” made from actual tree branches with wooden and basket perches, and macramé and fabric slings. FelineFurnitureFactory [] has links to free plans for both trees and posts. One of the trees is made from a small stepladder. For those with limited woodworking skills, CrazyMeezer [] suggests using wall shelving to create a cat climbing unit. This site also links to another suggesting how to use other do-it-yourself furniture to make pet housing.
No matter what type of pet you own, the Newton Falls Public Library staff will be happy to assist you in finding the information you need to keep it happy and healthy. Visit the library at 204 S. Canal Street, Newton Falls, phone 330-872-1282 or online at

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't forget to register to vote!

“Can I register to vote here?” “Do you have change of address forms for voting?” The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library is always happy to answer “Yes!” to these questions. You may also get an application for an Absent Voter’s Ballot at the library.

Visit the library and ask one of the staff members at the circulation desk. Fill out the appropriate form and it will delivered to the Trumbull County Board of Elections. The deadline for registering to vote for the November 4, 2008 election is Tuesday, October 6. The form may also be filled out online at, then printed and mailed to the Trumbull County Board of Elections. The absentee ballot is also available at According to their website, these ballots may be cast beginning September 30. Mahoning and Portage County residents can find the voting information they need at both counties’ websites and public libraries.

When you go to vote, there is a new ID requirement. As a voter, you will need to provide proof of identity before voting. Acceptable forms of identification are “your current and valid photo identification card, military identification, copy of utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or government document showing your name and current address. (Note: You cannot use as proof of identification a notice the board of elections mailed to you.) If you do not have, or fail or refuse to provide, the required proof of identity, you may cast a provisional ballot.” []

Registering to vote may be the easiest part. Now, for many people, begins the more difficult; determining who to vote for. For local information, the Newton Falls Public Library receives area newspapers: Record Courier, Tribune Chronicle and Vindicator, as well as the smaller weekly papers: The Bridge, The NewTowne Press, The Review and The Weekly Villager. For national information: Christian Science Monitor, Columbus Dispatch, New York Times, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Plain Dealer, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal are available. Places to look online for information are the League of Women Voters [], Project Vote Smart [] and the U.S. Department of State []

Intrigued by a new book on the library shelf, Declaring Independence: the beginning of the end of the two-party system by Douglas E. Schoen, we became curious about who else was running for president besides the Democrat and Republican candidates. There are numerous sites listing alternative candidates. Two that seem to have the longest lists, as well as links to their websites, are Project Vote Smart [] and Politics1 []. Among the many running, there are four independents from Ohio seeking the presidency: Donald K. Allen from Boardman [], Steve Kissing from Cincinnati [], James H. McCall from the Toledo area [], and “Average Joe” Schriner from Cleveland [].

While looking for election information, several books and websites were discovered to include odd presidential facts. The Essential Book of Presidential Trivia by Noah McCullough and The Complete Book of Presidential Trivia by J. Stephen Lang can be borrowed through the library’s shared TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] catalog. Typing ‘presidential trivia’ into an online search engine, such as Google or Metacrawler, finds some interesting facts: this year’s election is the first time since 1928 in which neither an incumbent president nor an incumbent vice president is running for their party's nomination, and the first time since the 1952 election that neither incumbent is a candidate in the November presidential election. Neither Republican nor Democrat 2008 presidential candidate was born in the continental United States. John McCain was born on a military base in the Panama Canal Zone, and Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is it illegal to drive with a lollipop in your mouth?

“Is it illegal to drive with a lollipop in your mouth in Newton Falls?” That may be one of the more unusual questions we have been asked at the Newton Falls Public Library. With embarrassment, I must confess that I first bothered Chief Carlson as to what traffic laws may be specific to Newton Falls. He was very gracious, and nicely reminded me that we have a copy of the Codified Ordinances of Newton Falls Ohio in the library. Sometimes with the ease of using the Internet for information, I forget to check to see what is available in print form.

Looking through the ordinances makes for very interesting reading. MP3 players are very handy, but remember if you don’t own a car adapter, 331.43a WEARING EARPLUGS OR EARPHONES PROHIBITED states that “no person shall operate a motor vehicle while wearing earphones over, or earplugs in, both ears . . . that provides the listener with . . . recorded information through a device attached to the head and that covers all or a portion of both ears.” If you are tempted by that parking space on the other side of the street, be aware that 331.32c “U” TURNS RESTRICTED prohibits turning so as “to proceed in the opposite direction. . . or upon any street in a business district . . .” And if that space happens to be “at any place where signs prohibit stopping, standing or parking, or where the curbing or street is painted yellow . . .” you can be ticketed under 351.02n PROHIBITED STANDING OR PARKING PLACES. Even at the library, parking in a handicapped space without a handicapped parking card or plates (351.04f PARKING NEAR CURB; HANDICAPPED LOCATIONS ON PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LOTS AND GARAGES) carries a fine of $50 per violation.

We were unable to find an ordinance specifically addressing lollipops, but if it was very large and obstructed your view you could perhaps be cited under 331.25a DRIVER’S VIEW AND CONTROL TO BE UNOBSTRUCTED BY LOAD OR PERSONS, or if it caused you to be inattentive while driving as detailed in 331.34 FAILURE TO CONTROL; WEAVING; FULL TIME AND ATTENTION. And when you finished eating your lollipop, if you threw the stick out the window you could be ticketed for 331.42 LITTERING FROM A MOTOR VEHICLE.

Facing legal difficulties resulting from traffic violations? While the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library is unable to give any advice, we can direct you to one of the many books we have dealing with legal proceedings and what to do when appearing in court.

Looking for lighter reading than the Codified Ordinances or the Ohio Revised Code, the Internet can be searched for wacky, loony, and funny laws with numerous results. The library cannot guarantee the accuracy of the sites, but it does make for enjoyable reading. Some of the ones we came across were Wacky Laws [] and Associated Content []. At the latter site, from Bexley, Ohio – “Ordinance #223 prohibits the installation and usage of slot machines in outhouses.” You can also place holds on Funny Laws & Other Zany Stuff and Loony Laws & Silly Statutes by Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts, and Loony Laws: ...that you never knew you were breaking by Robert Wayne Pelton, through the library’s shared TiPL (Trumbull Independent Public Library) catalog.

Beginning on August 25, register your little ones for Baby Bugs, Toddler, and Preschool Story Times. Families with children up to the age of 6 years are also invited to register and attend our new Family Time program on Tuesday evenings. Teens in grades 7 – 12, register for ‘Denim Design’ on Monday, September 15 from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Bring your old jeans, a denim jacket or shirt to our design workshop, and create cool new couture. We will use bleach pens, safety pins, beads and more to send you back to school in style. Registration is required and begins on September 2.

Don’t forget the Friends of the Library’s Book Sale on Saturday, August 16, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., on the library’s lawn, weather permitting. The Anime and Manga Club will meet on Saturday, August 30, 2:00 – 4:30 p.m. Anyone under 16 years of age, must be accompanied by a parent/guardian or bring a signed permission slip which is available at the library.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Librarian Asks Herself: how do Americans spend their time?

This is actually a LIBRARIAN ASKS HERSELF question. “There are approximately 10,000 people in Newton Falls and Newton Township. We see only a fraction of that number at the Newton Falls Public Library; where are the rest of them?” There is a great deal of information available online about how Americans spend their time.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics released the American Time Use Survey Summary (2007 results) on June 25, 2008. People who are employed work an average 7.6 hours each day. Doing daily household activities [“such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management”], women spend 2.7 hours while men spend 2.2 hours. For leisure activities such as watching television, socializing or exercising, men spend more time (5.7 hours) than women (5.2 hours). Television accounts for about half of the time we spend doing leisure activities.

A Time article by Po Bronson [“How We Spend Our Leisure Time,” October 23, 2006 –] states Americans have more leisure time than we did 40 years ago, about 45 minutes more. For every hour we have in leisure time, we spend 30 minutes watching television. The author has three suggestions on how to feel as if we have more time in our day. Turn off the television. Get out of the house. Join in activities with other people. Some suggestions included in the article for groups to join are “the 6.8 million who are in a book club, or the 196,000 who attend pro beach volleyball, or the 680,000 who go to tractor pulls every month. There’s even 3 million people who enjoy a sport called ‘muzzleloading’ . . . invite people over . . . Only 38% of Americans entertain friends or family at home.”

The Newton Falls Public Library is the perfect place to begin following Bronson’s advice. First and foremost it is FREE! If you are looking for a leisure activity to replace television, choose from books, magazines, videos or CD-Roms on more topics than can be listed including volleyball, tractors, muzzleloading, and entertaining. If you don’t think you have enough time to sit down with a book, our broad selection of audio books enable you to read while doing household tasks such as housework and painting, or while driving. If you own a cassette player there are books on tape. For those with CD players, enjoy books on CDs. Don’t own either? No problem. The library now has Playaways for adults, teens and children. A Playaway is a small player manufactured with one book saved on it. Just plug in a set of earphones, speakers, or a car adapter and listen. Prefer music to books? Borrow your favorite CDs.

Become number 6,800,001 and join one of our book discussion groups. The morning group meets at the Brew Basket on Broad St. in Newton Falls, on the third Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. Their next book, Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart [August 21] tells the true story of homesteading life at the beginning of the twentieth century. The evening one meets at the library on the last Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. The next book is Manhunt by James Swanson [August 27], about the search for John Wilkes Booth after the assassination of Lincoln. Both titles may be borrowed from the library.

There are also other FREE programs at the library for all ages. Small Town Talks, movies, and special programs, such as the recent “Invasive Plants” presented by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “Anime and Manga Club” and “Web Design Workshop” for teens, and story programs for children and families. All programs and events are listed on the library’s online calendar []. Let us know “what is the best time for school age programs” for kids and teens. Go to our home page,; visit our new blogs ‘44444 kids’ and ‘44444 teens,’ and vote on our polls. This may be done at home or by using one of the Internet access computers at the library. You may also give us your opinion by filling out one of the slips at the library’s Youth Services desk.

If you are looking for suggestions of interesting books to read, ask any of the library staff to assist you. There are also adult book reviews online at ‘44444 ask me,’ along with ones at ‘44444 kids’ and ‘44444 teens.’ A listing of our new materials can be found by selecting ‘44444 what’s new.’ If what you desire are answers to questions contact Elizabeth at our web site’s ‘Ask A Librarian,’ at her blog ‘44444 ask me,’ or by visiting or phoning the Newton Falls Public Library. Interested in these ‘Ask The Librarian’ questions? View ‘44444 questions.’

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Who are these people?

“I stopped at the library the other day. It’s been awhile and there are all these new people working there. Who are they?” The Newton Falls Public Library does have some new faces and some familiar ones who have moved to other jobs in the library.

‘Miss’ Dawn (Nutter) has given up the joys of Youth Services and is now busy cataloging all the new materials as quickly as possible to ready them for our patrons to borrow. Taking her place is our new Youth Services Librarian, Chrissy Braun. ‘Miss’ Chrissy comes to us from Stow-Monroe Falls Public Library. Watch the library’s online calendar and the newspapers for the dates and times of the programs she is planning for our children and teens. She is also creating blogs, “44444 kids” and “44444 teens.”

When you come to the circulation desk, Jen Ashforth, Julie Sideropolis and Karen Moser are always available, along with Barb Gacura, to check out your selections. They work very hard making sure that the items you return are promptly put back on the shelves for others to choose. They will also assist you in answering questions, locating items, and placing holds.

For those individuals needing computer assistance we often call upon the services of our Systems Manager Sean Pierce. Among his many technical jobs, he keeps our computers and other equipment running efficiently, updates information on our website, and has been teaching Game Design Workshops for teens.

Upon initially calling the library, the pleasant voice usually answering the phone is our Administrative Assistant Deb Augusta. Deb will assist you if she can or direct your call to the individual you need to speak with.

When you need help finding answers our Reference Librarian Elizabeth Glasgow is available, both in the library under the large ASK ME sign and online at There you can ask questions either through “Need Help? Ask a Librarian” or her new blog “44444 ask me.”

If you are looking for Karen Armstrong, she is now upstairs in the George and Ruth Sharec Local History Room. Visit her and enjoy the interesting exhibits and items about people and events in Newton Falls and Newton Township. When Karen took over the Local History position, Lisa Connell moved into the technical service area where she processes the new materials for borrowing. Stop and look at the displays Lisa creates for our lobby display case. This month features books and information about Anne Frank and the Holocaust.

The library would not look as nice as it does without the efforts of our Facilities Manager Kevin Gazda and Ed Rasp. They work tirelessly to maintain the building and grounds as well as always preparing our meeting room for the myriad of programs occurring there.

Two individuals you may not see often, as their jobs require them to spend time in their offices making sure the library’s administrative and financial tasks are dealt with promptly and efficiently, are Director Kerry McCrone and Fiscal Officer Judy Freeman.

Next time you are in town, stop and visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal St., Newton Falls. Our friendly staff will be happy to help answer your questions, assist you in finding the information you need, or make suggestions about what books or movies are enjoyable. If you need information and are unable to come to the library, we can assist you online at or by phone at 330-872-1282.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Olympic trials

“I was listening to a news story about the Olympic track trials, and they said someone hadn’t broken a world record because of a tail wind. How do they determine when a tail wind affects a runner and do they take into consideration head winds as well?” Questions such as this one help to make our days interesting at the Newton Falls Public Library.

Our first stop is always our library catalog. Winning Track and Field for Girls by Ed Housewright is filled with historical information about the sports and athletes, technical information including drills, workouts, and records through the early part of this decade. However, the answer to our question was not to be found. Spalding Book of Rules by Bingo Broido and The Book of Rules: a visual guide to laws of every commonly played sport and game were the next sources we examined. The Book of Rules addressed the first part of our patron’s question. “In races of 200 m or less, the wind speed should be recorded wherever possible. . .the wind should be measured for a 13-second period in hurdle events and for 10 seconds in others. . .An aiding wind of more than 2 m per second nullifies a record time” (p.180).

As neither book gave any information about head winds, we next took a look at USA Track & Field website. According to the site, many athletes have been breaking world records at the Olympic trials. On June 29, 2008 at the trials in Eugene, Oregon, with 4.1 meters per second wind behind him, Tyson Gay ran the fastest 100 m ever run, 9.68. Unfortunately, because of the aforementioned rule this will not be counted as a world record. “Article V – Records” of the 2008 USATF Competition Rules (p.155) includes the wind reading requirements for the 200 Meter Hurdles (Youth Athletics), the Long Jump, Triple Jump, and the Combined Events. It seems that while a strong tail wind is taken into consideration in these events, head winds are not. Presumably because if you break a record going into a strong head wind, you have truly earned the distinction.

Before this year’s summer Olympics begin, learn more with A Picture History of the Olympics by James Coote and 100 Greatest Moments in Olympic History by Bob Greenspan. Get in a winner’s mindset by participating in the last few weeks of Game On @ the Newton Falls Public Library. There are still prizes, including fantastic grand prizes of gift certificates, tickets and more, to be won by readers of all ages.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nicole Sproncken and Charles Ticknor Day

“What is so special about July 26? Why did the City of Newton Falls declare that day Nicole Sproncken and Charles Ticknor Day?” These are questions the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library is very happy to answer. They are actually part of a much larger story.

In September of 1994, Nicole, a native of Hulsberg, Netherlands, adopted the grave of a WWII soldier who was buried at the American Cemetery in Margraten. “The adoption certificate indicated that her adopted soldier was Charles Ticknor, S/Sgt, 325th GLI Inf. 82 ABN Div. 14, grave 9” [article by Stefan Gillissen in local newspaper from Nicole’s regional newspaper, 4/3/08]. With this adoption came the responsibility of caring for his grave, but Nicole went much further and began to research who Charles Ticknor was before his life ended on October 8, 1944. Her search through the Internet led her to Newton Falls, Charles’ late widow Helen, neighbor and VFW Post 3332 member Alex Kish, late Tribune Chronicle reporter Marty Douce, Weekly Villager reporter Julie Smeiles, and Linda Gordon (retired) of the Newton Falls Public Library’s Local History Room. Nicole and her husband, Leon, visited Newton Falls in 2005 stopping at the original Ticknor home, his brother Frank’s home, and the library’s Local History Room [article by Julie Smeiles, Weekly Villager, March 21, 2008, p. 7]. On July 26, 2007, Nicole took “a medallion used to mark the grave of an American soldier, an American flag and a box of dirt for Newton Falls . . . and sprinkled the earth from Newton Falls across his grave in Margraten Netherlands” [Proclamation of the City of Newton Falls, March 17, 2008]. Since 1994 she has adopted the graves of other American servicemen, encouraged her fellow country men to also do so, and has taken on the additional project of locating the graves of every member of the 325th interred at the Margaten Cemetery, and photographing them for the 325th Glider Infantry Association []

Nicole and her husband are unable to be in Newton Falls on July 26, but are planning to return to the community again in the fall. Residents of our community are invited to visit the Newton Falls Public Library’s George and Ruth Sharec Local History Room on that day, and look at the display of materials about Charles Ticknor and the bench donated in his memory by Nicole and Leon.

The Local History Room is also open Monday – Wednesday noon – 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and the first Saturday of each month 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. [it will be closed on the Friday before the first Saturday]. When you visit, take time to reminisce about late friends and former times by enjoying the displays, including the one about Air Force fighter and experimental test pilot Lt. Col. Ernest M. Relac (1928-1990) and the collection of over 200 letters and photos sent home by Arnold Hanson while he served in the Navy from 1942 - 1945.

In celebration of the summer reading program, ‘Game On @ the Library’, the Local History Room is also exhibiting a Newton Falls cheerleading outfit and the tiger mascot worn from the 1950s - 1970s. Also enjoy the baseball exhibit in the lobby display case which features Arnold Hanson with New York Yankees’ Babe Ruth, Eddie Collins, Tris Speaker, and Ty Cobb. There is still time to participate and win great prizes by reading this summer.