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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.’