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Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm Having a Problem with My Cable Company

“I’m having a problem with my cable company and can’t resolve the issue. I was told to contact my local franchise authority, but I can’t seem to locate a contact number. Can you help me?” Many of the Newton Falls Public Library staff also have cable service and were curious to see what could be found to assist this consumer.

Doing an Internet search of “local franchise authority cable Ohio” brought up the link [] to the article Local Franchising of Cable Television in Ohio: A Review of SB 117 by Greg Dunn, Attorney, Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn. In the article it states “In the future, cable franchising in Ohio will be referred to as video
service authorization (VSA). The Ohio Department of Commerce will ultimately handle all of the cable television licenses (i.e. franchises) in Ohio.”

Taking this information, we searched and found The page about Video Service Regulation includes links to the article Consumer Service Standards and File a Complaint. The latter link was for the flyer, The Cable Consumer Hotline []. This had the information our patron needed for contacting someone about her problem.
  • “Call toll free (800) 686-7826, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
(The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Call Center will answer
your call and pass the information along to the Department of Commerce.)
(TTY/TDD: 1-800-750-0750)
  • Fax a copy of the completed complaint form to (614) 644-1469.
  • Email the completed complaint form to
  • Mail the completed complaint form to:
Ohio Department of Commerce
Attn: Video Service Section
77 S. High Street, 23rd Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
A copy of the complaint form is available at:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why Is It Called Good Friday?

“Why is it called ‘Good Friday’? It doesn’t seem like it was a very good day.” The Newton Falls Public Library staff thought this was a very timely question and began the search in the 2011 edition of the World Book Encyclopedia. The entry about Easter describes each of the days of Holy Week including Palm Sunday, Maundy or Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday but does not explain how each became so named.

The staff were surprised they couldn’t find the answer in The New Interpreter's Bible: general articles & introduction, commentary, & reflections for each book of the Bible, including the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books or The Encyclopedia of Religion. The Oxford English Dictionary: being a corrected re-issue with an introduction, supplement, and bibliography of a new English dictionary on historical principles founded mainly on the materials collected by The Philological Society defined good, as it relates to this day, as “a day or season observed as holy by the church.”

We then expanded our search to online resources. The site, says the Eastern Catholic Churches call this day “the Great Friday . . . The name ‘Good Friday’ possibly comes from ‘God's Friday,’ although the exact reason for the current name is unclear.”

Charlie Dean, the lead pastor of Imago Dei Church [], defines the term in this way: “After 40+ days of penitence, it’s time for relief!  On Good Friday, we contemplate  . . .   Generally, Good Friday is marked with communion, and, depending on your faith tradition, a Good Friday service can end with a triumphant note, or it can leave you feeling unsettled. . .”

At Google Books [] we found the The American Cyclopaedia: a popular dictionary of general knowledge, Volume 8. As defined on page 101, “It is only in England that the ‘good’ is applied to this feast. Its ancient title was Holy Friday, or the Friday in Holy Week. The Saxons named it ‘Long Friday,’ both because of its long religious services and of its rigorous and protracted fast. The Germans term it sometimes Stiller Freitag because bells and organs are silent on that day, and sometimes Char Freitag from an old meaning penitence.”

Friday, April 15, 2011

I Would Like Some Information About Mules.

“I would like some information about mules. Are the parents always a male donkey and a female horse, are they always sterile, and can mules be either male or female?” The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library had some rudimentary knowledge about mules, but not as extensive as our patron needed.

The library lacked books specifically on mules, but does have an assortment of materials on horses. We looked for information about equines and first examined The Complete Equine Veterinary Manual: a comprehensive and instant guide to equine health by Tony Pavord & Marcy Pavord and Illustrated Dictionary of Equine Terms compiled by New Horizons Equine Education Center. The latter defines mule as a hybrid, the mating of a mare with a jack (male donkey or ass), Mules originated in Spain and are seldom fertile.

Encyclopedias are always great sources of basic information, so we next looked at the Encyclopedia Americana, 2006 edition. The article, in volume 19 page 609, stated a mule is “the offspring of a jackass and a female horse. The offspring of a stallion and a jenny (female ass) is known as a hinny. Both mules and hinnies are ordinarily sterile. Female mules are rarely fertile . . . there seem to be no records of fertile male mules.” Both mules and hinnies are similar to the sire in build and appearance, but are usually approximately the size of the mother. Returning to Illustrated Dictionary of Equine Terms, we found that their definition of a hinny agrees that it is the progeny of a female donkey and male horse.

We informed our patron that the parents of a mule are always a male donkey and a female horse, the offspring can be male or female, and the females may not be sterile. Our patron was curious if hinnies could reproduce. Our reference materials did not have the answer, so we expanded our search to online resources. The website TheMules [] noted “There have been no recorded cases of any fertile male hinnies, however there has been one single documented case of a fertile female hinny.” The site did not give any verifiable details or citation of this case.

Readers interested in more equine information may check out a variety of books ranging from The Affordable Horse: a guide to low-cost ownership by Sharon B. Smith to Wild About Horses: our timeless passion for the horse by Lawrence Scanlan.  Horse & Rider magazine is also available to be borrowed.

Friday, April 8, 2011

How Much Water Does the Town's Water Tower Hold?

 “How much water does the town’s water tower hold? How is it filled and how heavy is the water in it?” Like the residents of Newton Falls, the Public Library staff sees the tower every day, but had not thought about what is in it.

We began our search for information at the city’s website, Using the directory, we first looked at the Water Distribution Division and learned that “Approximately 45.8 miles of pipes which are from 2″ to 12″ in diameter in the City of Newton Falls, Newton Township and Braceville Township . . . [and] approximately 375 fire hydrants” are maintained by this division.

The Water Plant Division’s section states that “raw water is taken from the East Branch of the Mahoning River at the corner of Starr Street and Riverside Drive, where it is pumped directly to the plant for treatment . . . After treatment, the water is pumped to the distribution system and the 500,000 gallon elevated storage tank on Broad Street adjacent to the West Branch of the Mahoning River. The elevation of this water tower is what provides the working pressure for the system.”

That answered the first question but not the others, so the library staff contacted the Water Plant. Their staff was very informative. There is an additional tank near the park which holds 250,000 gallons of water. Each morning between 7:30-8 a.m., water is pumped to the towers until they are filled. Depending on the season; in winter it is usually filled by 2 p.m., in summer a little later depending on the demand. The plant is then shut down for awhile, and later refilling will start again so to be completed by 11 p.m. When Rockwell International was purchasing water from the city, they used over one million gallons a day. The tank was seldom completely filled, and the plant often ran 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Water Plant staff also assisted us with the final question about the weight. We were told that water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon. Using that figure, the water in the larger tower weighs 4,170,000 pounds. The water in the smaller one weighs 2,085,000.