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Friday, July 31, 2009

Pitching Horseshoes is Popular in Newton Falls

“Pitching horseshoes seems to be very popular in Newton Falls. How did the game begin?” Knowing the popularity of the game in the community made this an interesting question for the Newton Falls Public Library staff. Rules of the Game: the complete illustrated encyclopedia of all the sports of the world by the Diagram Group has the rules and set up for horseshoe pitching. 2009 ESPN Sports Almanac: the definitive sports reference book has information about many sports, including chess, eating, and fishing but nothing about horseshoes. Facts & Dates of American Sports by Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich had some historical information about horseshoes. The first known clubs were in 1892 in Meadville, Pa. and East Liverpool, Oh. Kansas State College (now Kansas State University) held the first pitching tournament in 1905 [p.50].

An online search resulted in some surprises. The 2009 Ohio Senior Olympics Games Regional Horseshoe Tournament was held on Thursday, July 9 at the Newton Falls VFW Post
3332 [].

We also discovered a local question at the website of the professional bowler Walter Ray []. Before taking up bowling as a teen, Mr. Ray was a child prodigy horseshoe pitcher []. A fan from Warren was looking to see if he was going to again attend a Newton Falls horseshoe tournament.

The most detailed information was found at the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association’s website []. The Association feels that the game has its origins in Ancient Greece. “There is a tradition that the camp followers of the Grecian armies, who could not afford the discus, took discarded horseshoes, set up a stake and began throwing horseshoes at it . . .Following the Revolutionary War, it was said by England's Duke of Wellington that “the War was won by pitchers of horse hardware." The game was very popular with soldiers. “The impetus for the NHPA as we know it today grew out of the throwing of mule shoes in the Union Camps during the Civil War. Courts sprang up in the backyards of Union states.” Rules for the game were established in 1869 in England, but no tournaments held nor records kept until 1909. The first Horseshoe World Championship was held in 1910 in Bronson, Kansas. The championship belt won by W. Frank Jackson had horseshoes attached to it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How Do I Get Rid of Weeds Without Harming Pets?

“I have to get rid of weeds growing through my brick patio. Can you help me find something that’s safe around my pets; both my dog and cat like to chew on the plants outside. Something that is easy for me to use besides hand weeding? The area is too big.” Weeds can be the bane of a homeowner’s landscaping existence, and the Newton Falls Public Library staff can understand our patron’s dilemma in trying to get rid of them without endangering the pets.

In The Truth About Organic Gardening: benefits, drawbacks, and the bottom line by Jeff Gillman, almost 10% of the book is focused on the topic of weed control. It is very helpful that for each suggestion, Gillman includes the benefits, the drawbacks, and the bottom line. Our patron wasn’t sure if his organic suggestions to flame the weeds (with extreme caution), cover the entire area with plastic, or apply corn gluten meal, vinegar, or salt were good for her.
We next examined Giant Book of Garden Solutions: 1,954 natural remedies to handle your toughest garden problems by Jerry Baker. In this book, the use of common household items is very interesting. Baker has a recipe for Brussels Sprouts Brush-Off Soup using the sprouts (can substitute cabbage leaves), dish soap and water [p. 329]. Another one that attracted our attention was Weed Wipeout, made from gin, vinegar, liquid dish soap, and water [p.289, 356].
The safest weed killer for use around pets was found in Great Garden Formulas: the ultimate book of mix-it-yourself concoctions for your garden. Slowly pour boiling water over the weeds and the soil around them and do not remove the dead weeds as they will serve as mulch, discouraging new growth [p. 154]. There is also a formula for a rubbing alcohol and water spray [p.156]. The final suggestion in their chapter, Formulas for Weed Control, was to carefully identify the weeds, ensure they haven’t been treated with chemicals, harvest and eat them. A Newton Falls Public Library staff member declared, “This is the ultimate revenge against weeds, along with a little pepper and olive oil!”

Friday, July 17, 2009

How Can We Make Our Home Handicapped Accessible?

“We need to make our home handicapped accessible. Can you help us find information? We were also wondering, is there is a way to use an automatic garage door opener to open a man-door?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff found it interesting to research these questions, as this is a situation faced by many families as loved ones become older or lose mobility.

The book, Opening the Doors to Older Persons: an ADA accessibility checklist was created for primarily for public buildings, but the information and checklists included give homeowners some important things to consider. Access For All by Schooley Caldwell Associates and the Ohio Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities has a chapter on housing with instructions on how to increase accessibility in the modification of a single family home. A very practical book in the library’s collection is Ideas for Making Your Home Accessible. It takes you step-by-step through the process, looking at costs and needs, as well as giving simple suggestions such as using vertical file storage to provide easy access to frequently used items (p. 58). We also recommend borrowing The Accessible Home: updating your home for changing physical needs through TiPL, Trumbull Independent Public Libraries’ shared catalog.

Not finding anything on adapting a garage door opener for use as an automatic handicapped door, our staff did an Internet search. In Life on Wheels: for the active wheelchair user by Gary Karp [], the author writes about how a contractor mounted the opener sideways on patio doors to make them automatic. The Automatic Sliding Door Opener by designers Michael Meilunas, Mark Seus, and Colum Gibbons (Binghamton University, Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science Department of Mechanical Engineering) in the NSF 1997 Engineering Senior Design Projects to Aid Persons with Disabilities, (p. 44-45) [] also shows a sliding door opener using one originally intended for a garage. has Free Home-Made Automatic Gate Opener Plans by Keith G. Vickers which looks as if it could be adapted to open a man-door.

Adapting a home can be expensive. Groups considering helping families with emergency home repair/handicapped accessibility may wish to examine the site for The Ohio Housing Trust Fund’s Housing Assistance Grant Program []. Handi-Ramp [] has a network of programs that can be looked at to see if any will match the homeowner’s needs.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why Do Libraries Matter?

“Recently there has been much discussion about a large reduction in funds for Ohio public libraries, due to the economic crisis being faced by the state. Why does this matter?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff has been responding to this question daily. We believe libraries serve as the great technology and information equalizer - a source of informational and enrichment materials and programs for all citizens regardless of their age, race, gender, and social or economic standing. And libraries deal daily with how the changes in the economy affect our patrons and our services.

For too long the role of the community library has been viewed as just a place that provides patrons with entertainment in the form of books, music, and movies. The library’s role has changed. We still offer print and entertainment materials, but as more and more information is becoming available online, we are finding patrons need us to assist them “searching for the needle in the haystack” of World Wide Web. We assist the unemployed with Internet access to job search sites and listings, plus instruction in the creation of resumes and use of state and federal assistance beyond the scope of One Stop facilities. Without this free access to the Internet, one-on-one assistance from our staff, and computer classes, many people would be lost in the area of technology. We provide patrons with free resources they require to improve and manage their health, improve their skills in various areas, conduct research, study for tests, seek legal and tax information, fix their cars, plan their estates, do their school assignments - in short a multitude of the practical, necessary tasks of daily living. We cannot count the number of patrons who have come to our library for assistance holding a letter from a government agency telling them to get some required piece of information from the library. Libraries play a critical role in the health and working of the community. Our library provides the local schools and homeschooling families with materials that support their curriculum, as well as resources to the community’s senior lunch program. Throughout the year there are enrichment and educational programs for everyone, from infants to seniors.

Libraries serve as a lifeline for the neediest segments of the population, offering the poor and unemployed critical services and information they cannot acquire elsewhere. Here in Trumbull County where unemployment is at 14.3% the need for library services is particularly necessary. Patrons have been coming to us requiring job search and skill building assistance they cannot get elsewhere. They must also have access to computers to apply online and regularly check e-mail concerning job prospects. Large reductions in services could put these already struggling people out of reach of the realistic means to find employment. There is no public transportation and many of our patrons walk to the library, suggesting that access to another library would be beyond their reach.

We wish to thank all our patrons, local businesses, and community organizations for their kind words and support. We invite everyone to visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal St., Newton Falls, phone 330-872-1282,
or online at and to take advantage of everything the library has to offer:

Materials available for use:
*Books – large type, paperback, hardback, board, oversize, AR, graphic novels, easy readers
*Audiobooks – CD, cassette, Playaways
*Videos & DVDs
*Cassette players
*Telesensory viewer
*Magnifying glasses
*Parent/Teacher collection
*Print & online job search guides & skills materials
*Floppy drives

*Computer classes
*Job search programs
*Story times for children, 0–6 years of age & families
*Library Sprouts
*Readers Theater Club
*Summer reading clubs & programs for adults, teens, & children ages 0 – 12
*Game Design workshop for teens
*Knit & Stitch
*Adult enrichment
*Teens – Wii, Anime Club
*Book Discussions – Library & off site
*In-house programming for special groups such as school classrooms, daycares, Girl Scout troops
*Art exhibits & displays

Local History Room:
*Community historical reference
*Genealogy assistance
*Community photos, memorabilia, newspapers

Library services:
*Reference – in-house, phone & online
*Readers’ advisory
*Teacher Totes
*Self serve copier
*Public access Internet computers & printers
*Homeschooling assistance
*Meeting rooms
*Informational articles for local newspapers
*Golden Buckeye registration
*Voter registration
*Tax forms, including printing of forms online
*Assignment Alerts temporary collections
*One-on-one computer & Internet assistance

Online services:
*Teacher Pathfinders
*Databases such as AllData Pro, LearningExpress Library & Ohio Career Information System
*Ask the Librarian
*Interactive blogs for adults, teens, & children
*Local community & organization links
*Library calendar
*Community calendar

Items available at low cost to assist patrons:
*Flash drives
*Multiple computer print jobs & photocopies
*Floppy disks

Cooperative programs:
*Homebound Service contracted through WTCPL
*Book Share w/ schools & daycares - materials to support local school curriculum
*Senior Totes w/ senior lunch program
*County and state lending via ILL through MORE, SEO & TiPL
*Purchasing w/ NEO-RLS & TiPL
*Off-site programming for special groups such as senior citizens, school classrooms, daycares, *Girl Scout troops, & local organizations
*One Book Two Counties area wide book discussions & events

Staff participation in community events & organizations:
*Home 44444 the Holidays
*Newton Falls Area Commerce Association
*North Pole Challenge
*Friends of the Library
*Relay for Life

Death Comes in Threes

American English is filled with interesting sayings and phrases. The Newton Falls Public Library staff recently had patron wondering where another one came from. “With the passing of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson, I got to wondering where the expression, death comes in threes, originated? Another staff member has family who says a birth, a wedding and a death all come together. This got us to wondering if the expressions are linked.

Our staff searched the phrase, slang, and idioms books in the library’s collection and was unsuccessful in locating either expression, even though there were numerous listings for the words but not those particular phrases. Even McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs by Richard A. Speares, which has many pages containing death, come, and threes, does not have either of the sought after phrases.

Trying to consider other ways of looking at this; what if it is not a phrase but rather a superstition? Pioneer Superstitions by Ferne Shelton has a sampling of oral tales and beliefs. Ohio State Buckeye fans will be happy to know that “If a buckeye is carried in a chest pocket, all enemies become kind to you. If carried in a lower pocket or purse, expect prosperity [p.12].” Superstitions by Peter Lorie refers to death, birth, and marriage as milestones of life and offers interesting superstitions related to each, beautifully illustrated by paintings and photographs. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: a compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett is where we were partially successful. In volume 2 there is a section titled, Numbers, Counting in the Lore of Death. Most of the notions in this section included references to one death or funeral followed by two more. In the same volume, Love, Courtship, Marriage, etc. as Death Tokens, we found the belief that marriages, births and deaths will come linked together in families.

We were unable to find anything definitive either in print or online as to the origins of these beliefs, each of which deals with three events. One reason which might be considered is the prevalence of human beliefs focused on the number three. In the May 28, 2001 issue of Telephony
[], Jason Meyers writes in his article Rule of Threes [p.84], “Dividing things into threes is universally acceptable. There's Aristotle's principle of the three unities of time, place and action. There's Freud's id, ego and superego. There's the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Three strikes and you're out. Third time's a charm. Bad things happen in threes, and for some reason things are also supposed to be funnier in threes.”