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Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Cat Loves Celery Leaves!

“My cat is doing the oddest thing. Whenever I bring home celery, she acts like it is catnip. I gave her some leaves and she went crazy. I’m wondering why.” The Newton Falls Public Library staff members are all pet lovers and found this question to be intriguing.

Looking for a possible connection between catnip and celery we examined books about cats. The Cat Owner's Manual: operating instructions, troubleshooting tips, and advice on lifetime maintenance by David Brunner and Sam Stall said that the herbs valerian and Canadian honeysuckle can produce a reaction similar to catnip [p. 85]. There is information about growing catnip, which is a member of the mint family, in The Humane Society of the United States Complete Guide to Cat Care by Wendy Christensen. Wild Discovery Guide to Your Cat: understanding and caring for the tiger within [Discovery Channel] looks at how both large wild felines and house cats respond to this herb. “A chemical similar to the pheromones in female cat urine is present in catnip. This likely explains why male cats are generally more responsive to the charms of this vegetation than females. [pp.43-44].”

Unable to discover information about celery in the books about cats, we next tried Larousse Gastronomique: the new American edition of the world's greatest culinary encyclopedia. The entry on celery was very thought provoking and seemed to have the answer we needed for this question. Celery was used “. . . therapeutically, as smelling salts. For a long time, both popular opinion and gastronomic writers considered celery to be an aphrodisiac [p.209].” Staff members owning cats will have to see how their own pets respond the next time they bring home this vegetable.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Who Played at the Piper Rock Festival?

“There was a big rock concert just outside of Newton Falls in 1970. Who played there?” Most of the Newton Falls Public Library staff was surprised to hear that there was a concert here almost 40 years ago. However, one staff member, upon hearing the question, complained “I wasn’t allowed to go!”

Our Local History Room volunteer examined the Newton Falls Heralds, and found that it was held on May 24, 1970 at the Lightner Farm on old State Route 534. There were no articles prior to the event, but there was much controversy afterwards. The May 27, 1970 Herald reported that over 10,000 people came. It was referred to as a “lark in the mud” and that there was “skinny dipping in the Mahoning River [pg. 10].” The June 3 and 17, 1970 editions both had front page articles about concerns of its being repeated and seeking to ban future concerts.

Searching online for concerts in Ohio on that date, we discovered some interesting things. The concert named was the Piper Rock Festival. Originally it was to be held at Peace Park, north of Akron []. The poster listed Rascals, Canned Heat, Cold Blood, Byrds, Smith, Glass Harp, and Marble Cake. We thought that it was possibly moved because of the shootings at Kent State University. Both Dates in Rascals History [] and Sickthingsuk, the largest source of Alice Cooper information on the net said he performed that day at the festival which was held at Nelson Ledges Raceway. Apparently the promoters moved it a second time. We could add Alice Cooper to our list of performers.

The blog, AkroClevKent - January 19, 2005 has The Mystery of Piper Rock. The blog is filled with interesting remembrances of the two day event. Additional bands and performers listed are Barnstorm (or Barnyard), Bob “the Bear” Hyte, Blind Owl, Pig Iron, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, and Gayle McCormick. According to the blog article, Canned Heat did not set up because of the wet conditions and the Rascals canceled.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What Does Brake HP Mean?

“You know how you see signs on the highway, and don’t really pay close attention to them? We were going onto route 11 and I saw a sign that said ‘no vehicles smaller than 5 brake HP.’ What does 5 brake HP mean?” The first place the Newton Falls Public Library staff looked for the answer was at the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws on the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ website, Section 4511.01H of the Ohio Revised Code about motorized bicycles specifies that “the helper motor must . . . Produce no more than one-brake horsepower [pg. 25].” No description of brake horsepower is given.

Neither the glossaries of How to Prepare for the CDL Commercial Driver’s License Truck Driver’s Test by Mike Byrnes and Associates, Inc. nor Proficient Motorcycling: the ultimate guide to riding well by David L. Hough had the information we needed. Auto Mechanics Fundamentals: how and why of the design, construction, and operation of automotive units by Martin W. Stockel and Martin T. Stockel defines brake horsepower or bhp as “measurement of actual usable horsepower delivered at crankshaft [p. 579].” From the information found, our patron assumed that the sign’s restriction informed driver’s that only vehicles with enough horsepower to maintain safe highway speeds are permitted onto the roadway.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How Do I Get Started Creating a Train Garden?

“I’m interested in putting a train garden in my back yard. Do you have anything that can help me to get started?” Seeking more information from our patron, the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library learned that this type of garden is created to feature large or G scale model trains which can be run outdoors.

First the staff checked our shared TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] catalog. Unable to find any materials in our local collections, we did a search through the Ohio Shares More catalog []. Both of these catalogs can be reached from our homepage, To place holds on materials from either of these locations, you need to type in the number on your Newton Falls (or TiPL) library card with no spaces, including any letters or punctuation. You also need to use the PIN [personal identification number] you have registered with the library. Be sure to select the Newton Falls Public Library as the site to pick up your selected materials. Our patron chose some items from the Ohio Shares More catalog, but wanted information to take with him.
An online search found some very useful information and websites. We discovered that many of the railway layouts are based upon once existing rail lines such as the Far North Queensland from 1940 to 1990, the Delaware and Chesapeake, the North Pacific Coast Railroad, and the Ohio River Electric Railway [], a trolley line that served the river towns of Meigs County, Ohio from 1900 to 1929. The site allows you to view videos of this garden railroad as if you were a crew member riding the train.

We located many clubs worldwide including the Garden Railway Club, which appears to be located in the United Kingdom and has a great deal of practical information, the Northern Ohio Garden Railway Society [], and the Garden Trains Association [] that has a local branch. The Riverside Railroad Club meets at the SCOPE center in Warren, Ohio. There is also The Western Reserve Model Railroad Museum [] located in Mentor. It is the largest museum of its kind.
Online magazine articles have a wealth of information. Accessing one of Ohio Web Library’s resources, MasterFILE Premier (EBSCOhost), we found numerous articles. There was a citation for one in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, A Railroad Garden: Engineering Togetherness by Paige Porter []. Our patron printed a copy of this article to read at home. We also discovered the Garden Railways Magazine [].