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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What is the Smaller Light on the Horizontal Pole on the New Optic Traffic Lights?

“I’ve noticed that on the new style of optic traffic lights in town there is also a smaller light on the horizontal pole.  It is encased in wire.  Do you know what it is called and why is it there?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff had also noticed the bulb about which our patron was asking and like him had no idea.

These are very new lights, so we began our search online using the terms “traffic light components.”  The website,, had interesting information about how traffic light control systems work. Others had the field components of traffic systems, but not the information wanted by our patron.

We did find the website,  The company, Traffic Parts, Inc., supplies traffic control equipment. Having been unsuccessful in our search so far, we emailed the company to ask them if they knew the name and purpose of this smaller light. Danny Miller, Regional Sales Manager, contacted us back with an answer, but also asked for a photograph to make sure he was giving us the correct information.  Our patron was so curious, he was more than happy to take one to attach to the responding email. It is “a confirmation light. This light is used to indicate that the signal is red. With this light, police enforcement can tell if someone is running a red light even if they cannot see the face of the signal to see that it is red.” Mr. Miller also passed along some additional information that he felt our patrons would be interested in knowing: “The cameras that are on the horizontal arm that point down at the vehicles (usually they are mounted on a pipe that extends 2 to 3 feet above the arm) are there to tell the traffic controller that there is a vehicle present and it needs to give that side of the intersection a green light. The other thing that might be mounted on the arm is a dome type camera like the ones you might see at a department store. These cameras are for the traffic control centers to monitor traffic.”

An interesting bit of trivia about traffic lights can be found in World of Invention: History’s Most Significant Inventions and the People Behind Them.  Garrett Augustus Morgan of Cleveland, Ohio developed “the automatic three-stage electric traffic light . . . This was the precursor to the red, yellow and green lights in use today. Morgan patented his traffic light in 1923, and then sold the rights to General Electric for $40,000” [p.535]. How Ohio Helped Invent the World: From the Airplane to the Yo-Yo by Curt Dalton states on page 58, that Morgan also invented an earlier signal that was “the first electrical traffic light ever built to control conflicting streams of traffic.”  It was erected on August 5, 1914 at Euclid Avenue and 105th Street in Cleveland. 


The City of Newton Falls Electric Department requested that we clarify the information in the article about the new traffic lights.  When Mr. Miller of Traffic Parts, Inc. spoke about cameras, it wasn’t meant to imply that there were cameras monitoring the traffic in Newton Falls. He thought our patrons would be interested in the many uses of the horizontal bar.

In Newton Falls and the surrounding communities, the additional items on the horizontal bars are used for emergency traffic control.  They pick up information, from the GPS in emergency and police vehicles, that there is a situation needing other traffic to be stopped. When this occurs, the traffic control system is informed to turn all the lights to red, with the exception of lights in the direction emergency vehicles are traveling. The confirmation light informs the drivers of the emergency vehicles that the information has been received, and the lights have changed to ensure that they can safely travel through the intersection.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What Was the Name of the Drug Store Near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.?

“I’m trying to remember the name of a drug store chain from the 1950s, 1960s.  There was one near where I lived in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., and I remember there was also one in Youngstown.  The one in Washington was replaced by Gray Drugs. Can you find the name of the store for me?”  Questions such as this one are always intriguing, requiring extra thought as to how to approach finding something which has since been replaced by something else.

Initially our online search took us to the article, GRAY DRUG STORES, INC. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.  This was a joint effort by Case Western Reserve University and Western Reserve Historical Society.  According to the article, Gray Drug purchased Rinks and Drug Fair, before it was taken over by Sherwin Williams. Their Gray Drug division then took over Cunningham Drug Stores. None of these chains were the one for which our patron was looking.

Continuing the search, we changed our focus from the history of Gray Drug, to the 1950s drug stores located in Dupont Circle.  The website has the article, Then and Now: Dupont's drug store by Kent Boese  [March 25, 2009]. Boese writes about the Peoples Drug at P street and Dupont Circle in 1968. Another site,, posted the article The Once-Ubiquitous Peoples Drug Stores on December 5, 2011. In 1974, the Ohio-based drug store chain, Lane Drug Corporation, not Gray Drug, gained a controlling share of Peoples' stock. These stores have all been renamed and are part of CVS. Streets of Washington has some wonderful photographs of the old Peoples stores. We spoke again with our patron and as soon as we said Peoples, her response was positive.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What is the Breed of the Large White Dog I Saw?

“I saw these large white dogs, and the owner said they were not Great Pyrenees.  The name began with a k.  Can you help me find what kind of dog they are?”  Many of the Newton Falls Public Library staff are dog lovers, so it was enjoyable browsing through the books in this area of our collection. The Complete Dog Book is an Official Publication of the American Kennel Club. The index listed only four breeds beginning with that letter, and the patron recognized Kuvasz as the name given by the dog owner.

Looking at color photographs in The Complete Dog Book: A Comprehensive, Practical Care and Training Manual and A Definitive Encyclopedia of World Breeds by Peter Larkin, we could better see the similarities and differences in the two breeds. As the patron said, they are both large and white. The Hungarian Kuvasz can range from 26-29.5 inches, weighing 66-115 pounds.  The Great Pyrenees or Pyrenean Mountain Dog, depending on the sex, can be 25.5-27.5 inches, and 88-113 pounds. The coat of the Kuvasz is pure white, medium in length, and thick. That of the Pyrenees is coarse-textured, and can have color variation especially on the head and ears. They are both flock herding dogs.

Friday, November 30, 2012

What Was the Name of That Movie With Judy Garland?

This past month, movie questions have been popular at the Newton Falls Public Library.  Our patron told our staff member, “I want to know the name of a movie that starred Judy Garland. There was something about a fair, maybe the title was State Fair?  I remember she wore a beautiful red dress.”

When searching for the answers to movie and television questions, Internet MovieDatabase is a wonderful resource.  Looking at the filmography for Judy Garland, the title Meet Me in St. Louis sounded like the one for which she was looking. The plot description included “Mr. Smith reveals that he has been transferred to a nice position in New York, which means that the family has to leave St. Louis and the St. Louis Fair.”

Out of curiosity, we also searched online for images using the descriptive words “Judy Garland red dress.”  Multiple websites show Garland waltzing around a Christmas tree in a beautiful red dress.  This was final confirmation for our patron that we had found the correct movie title for her.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Can You Help Me Find My Grandmother's Cookie Recipe?

Our caller asked “When I was a child, my grandmother used to make a cookie with pork cracklings, the brown bits after cooking pork.  They were really good, but she never wrote down any of her recipes. I think she called them bagachels.  Can you help me find the recipe?”  Since it sounded like a food related to a particular ethnic background, the Newton Falls Public Library staff felt they needed some more information.  Talking with her we found that her grandmother had been born in 1868 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Searching online for the terms “bagachel cookie” did not bring up any useful results. Considering how some letters sound like others, we tried “pagachel cookie.” Here we found the website, TheWorld's Best Photos of pogácsa - Flickr Hive Mind.  The tempting photographs of cookies included one called Pagachel / Pogácsa.  Our search for pogácsa took us to the website, Mashpedia. The article said that it
 “is a type of savory scone in Hungarian cuisine. It is also popularly eaten in nearby Slovakia 
. . . As with scones and biscuitseggs and butter are common ingredients, as is milkcream or sour cream. Many traditional versions exist, with size, shape—the most common is round—and flavor variations in each region/city of Hungary. A dozen different ingredients can be found either in the dough, sprinkled on top before baking, or both: medium-firm fresh cheeses, aged dry hard cheese(s), pork crackling (tepertő), cabbageblack pepper, hot or sweet paprikagarlicred onioncaraway seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or poppy seeds.”
The key ingredient, pork cracklings, was included in this description. Now we were able to locate a basic pagachel recipe for our patron and she could add the cracklings to it, as she remembered her grandmother doing.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Did Sally Field and Whoopi Goldberg star in "David Copperfield"?

“I think there was a television version of David Copperfield starring Sally Field and maybe Whoopi Goldberg.  I think it was done in the late 1990s or early 2000s.  Does the library have a copy for borrowing?”  Often patrons ask the Newton Falls Public Library staff to assist them in finding a particular movie, book, or CD, so we were happy to help this patron. 

There was no DVD or VHS tape of this particular movie in our shared Clevnet catalog.  We looked for more information about it at the Internet Movie Database’s website. The search result showed that it was a 2000 Hallmark Entertainment movie.  While Whoopi Goldberg was not in the cast, Sally Field had the role of Aunt Betsey Trotwood and Hugh Dancy was the adult David Copperfield.

We looked to see if Hallmark’s David Copperfield was available for viewing somewhere, and found it on YouTube.  We informed our patron that he would be able to view it at this website.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Constitutional Requirements of Natural Born Citizenship for President

“There has been some controversy in the last two presidential elections about candidates meeting the constitutional requirements of natural born citizenship. Can you give me some information about this?  Also, what paperwork do I need if I would decide to run for president?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff was aware that this issue was discussed for both candidates in the 2008 election and again in the 2012.

Looking online, the staff found many websites with opinions but wanted a nonbiased, legal opinion.  On November 14, 2011, Legislative Attorney Jack Maskell published the 53 page article, Qualifications for President and the “Natural Born” Citizenship Eligibility Requirement for the Congressional Research Service.  The CRS Report is for Congress, prepared for members and committees of Congress. The summary begins with:
“The Constitution sets out three eligibility requirements to be President: one must be 35 years of age, a resident ‘within the United States’ for 14 years, and a ‘natural born Citizen.’ There is no Supreme Court case which has ruled specifically on the presidential eligibility requirements and this clause has been the subject of several legal and historical treatises over the years, as well as more recent litigation. The term ‘natural born’ citizen is not defined in the Constitution, and there is no discussion of the term evident in the notes of the Federal Convention of 1787.”  
And then closes with:
The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term ‘natural born’ citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship ‘by birth’ or ‘at birth,’ either by being born ‘in’ the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents; by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. citizenship ‘at birth.’”
The full report includes the following sections: History of the Qualifications Clause in the Federal Convention of 1787, Common Law Meaning of the Term “Natural Born” Citizen or Subject, Common Understanding in 18th Century of the Term “Natural Born” Citizen, and Citizenship at Birth: Case Law and Interpretation.  This latter section includes Legal Cases and Senator McCain and Legal Cases and President Obama.

The second part of the inquiry was answered by the Federal Election Commission, which has an online Candidate Registration Toolkit as well as all the forms needed to declare candidacy. We were not able to find any indication that you are required to show a birth certificate to file.  Once candidates have declared, they are sometimes asked to prove that they are natural born citizens.  According to the Wikipedia article: Natural-born-citizen clause, there have been other candidates whose eligibility has been questioned. The list includes such famous names as President Chester A. Arthur, Barry Goldwater, George Romney, John McCain, and President Barack Obama.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How Do You Grow a Peach Tree From a Pit? How Do You Save Squash Seeds?

“How do you grow a peach tree from a pit?”  “How do you save squash seeds?”  The Newton Falls Public Library staff understands the desire to enjoy exceptionally tasty pieces of fruit or vegetables in the future by growing more from the original.

The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening has instructions for growing peaches from rootstock, but not from a pit.  We expanded our search online and found the website,  In their question and answer section there are instructions for starting a tree.  They recommend first cleaning and then, refrigerating and drying the pit in a slightly opened plastic bag until December.  In December, “soak the seed in tap water for a few hours, then put the seed into slightly moistened perlite, vermiculite, or peat moss (available from garden supply store) in a plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator and start checking for germination after about 1 1/2 months. If you are fortunate, it will start to develop a root. At that time, transfer to a pot with soil and grow as a normal plant. Plant it outside in the spring when the chance for frost is past.”  It would be useful for our patron to refer back to this site for more detailed information.

Seed Sowing and Saving Step-by-step Techniques for Collecting and Growing More Than 100 Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs by Carole B. Turner has detailed instructions on the harvesting and sowing of seeds.  Turner gives instructions for both summer and winter squashes, including how long to leave the fruit on the vine before harvesting to ensure the seeds will be most vigorous. Remove and clean the seeds, spread out and let them dry, and store until ready to plant.

Another interesting book on this topic is Don't Throw It, Grow It! 68 Windowsill Plants from Kitchen Scraps by Deborah Peterson.  With common plants like carrots, sweet potato and dill, Peterson has included some unusual ones like Jerusalem artichokes, carob, fenugreek, tomatillo, and sugar cane.

Is There Only One 307th in the United States Army?

“Is there only one 307th in the United States Army?”  The Newton Falls Public Library staff was not exactly sure for what our patron was asking, so we asked for additional information.  She needed to know if there was only one 307th designation in the Army, whether it is a regiment, battalion, etc.

We began with the U.S. Army’s homepage,  Searching this site using the term 307th, we found about 429 results. The list of articles included the 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion and 307th Airborne Medical Company which were part of the 82nd Airborne Division during D Day, 307th Infantry Regiment and othersWanting to know if we were looking for the correct information, we spoke with the patron again. She explained that she is looking for the 307th that was in North Japan during World War II.

Sometimes successful searching is a matter of happening to select the correct term.  When we Googled the term “307th regiment”, we found the Department of the Army Lineage and Honors 307th Regiment.  This history said that it was constituted August 5, 1917 in the National Army as the 307th Infantry and assigned to the 77th Division. It was both active and inactive over the following decades, and was ordered back into active military service March 25, 1942.  March 15, 1946 it was inactivated in Japan, and then activated again December 17, 1946 in the Organized Reserves with Headquarters at Bronx, New York. has an article titled, 3-Wars Veteran Recalls Battles on IslandJust Off Okinawa by Frank Wallis. Wallis states “The 307th Regiment was the third segment of 13 77th Infantry battle groups to land on the west of Okinawa for the battles of Kerama Retto and Keise Shima. The Battle of Okinawa would produce more American deaths — 12,513 in 81 days — than any other battle in the Pacific.”  We gave our patron these links, and told her if she needed more information, we would be happy to continue searching for her.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How Do I Go About Applying for U.S. Citizenship?

“How do I go about applying for U.S. citizenship?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff was happy to assist this individual with their search. 

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s website,, has everything our patron needs to begin this process. There are two ways to become a citizen of the United States:
  • The first is to become a citizen at birth, either having been born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; or having  a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad) and meet other requirements
Most naturalization applicants are required to take tests on English and Civics (U.S. history and government). The USCIS website has all the forms needed by an individual applying for citizenship, as well as videos, other resources, and study guides for those taking the naturalization tests.

Whether or not they are interested in becoming citizens, someone new to this country may find the following library resources useful: the audio book English for New Americans and the library database mángo languages. By going to the library’s website,, and selecting Ohio Web Library, library users have the option to click on mángo languages. This resource has 15 English courses for foreign language speakers.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I was wondering about the experts on the Weather Channel

“I was wondering about the experts on the Weather Channel; they are often referred to as doctor.  I was wondering what kind of doctorate degrees they have.”  The Newton Falls Public Library staff enjoys investigating such questions for our patrons.

The simplest way for our staff member to find this information was to go directly to the Weather Channel’s website,  Their page, Our Meteorologists & Personalities, shows 34 individuals. Looking at their credentials, most have bachelor’s degrees in Meteorology or Atmospheric Science.  Dr. Greg Forbes is their severe weather expert. The website does not say for what is doctorate was earned, but from the following information given: “B.S. in Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University, M.S. and Ph.D., University of Chicago.  Studied under Dr. T. Theodore Fujita [a severe weather expert],” one thinks it may also be meteorology.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why did They Build a Neil Armstrong Memorial in Warren, Ohio?

“Why did they build a Neil Armstrong Memorial in Warren, Ohio? Was he born there?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff received this question following the publicity surrounding the recent death of the first man to walk on the moon. Mr. Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on August 5, 1930.

Searching online for information about the memorial, we found that it is located at 2487 Parkman Rd., Warren, Ohio.  6-year old Neil Armstrong took his first ride in an airplane at this location of the old Warren Airways landing strip. According to the Youngstown Vindicator 8/30/2012 article, Memorial Celebration Honors Neil Armstrong by Ed Runyon, “Armstrong and his father were on their way from their home in Champion to a church service in Warren when they passed the air strip, saw the Ford Tri-Motor, and arranged a ride. ‘His dad got deathly sick, and Neil said he had the time of his life,’ Mathey said. ‘And [Armstrong] said that was something he could do that his father couldn’t do.’”  The Business Journal 8/30/2012 article, Memorial Program Commemorates Neil Armstrong by George Nelson, states the replica of the lunar module is “nearly 13 feet tall and 12 feet wide half the scale of the Apollo 11 lander [and] was erected to commemorate” his July 1936 first flight.

More interesting information about Neil Armstrong can be found in: First Man:the Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen; the 8/25/2012 New York Times article, Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon, Dies at 82 by John Noble Wilford; and

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I Need to Renew My Texas Driver's License While Out of State

“I’m visiting here from Texas, and I need to renew my driver’s license.  Is there a way to do it while I am out of state?”  The Newton Falls Public Library staff can understand why that would be a concern; no one wants to get caught with an expired license.

Using an Internet search engine, we typed in the words “Texas driver license out of state renewal.” The Texas Department of Public Safety’s website has the forms for out of state/country applicants to mail into that department.  We also found the link to  There were listed a variety of Driver Services from which our patron could choose. When selected, Renew Your License gave the options to renew in person, online, by phone, or by mail. Our patron could now decide which website and option he preferred to use to ensure that his license stayed current.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I'm Looking For an Electronic Thermometer Made in the United States of America

“I’m looking for one of those electronic thermometers that also gauges humidity; the kind with the sensor that you put outside.  I want to find one that is made in the United States of America.”  The Newton Falls Public Library staff located several companies which manufactured these weather stations, including Lacrosse Technologies.

Looking at the companies, we could not find any that had their factories in the United States. Our next step was to examine websites which highlight products produced here. Some of the websites are:,,,, and  The last website is interesting because you can narrow your search by state, learning about some products that are made there.

Continuing the search, our staff found an Accurite digital thermometer with humidity gauge and clock on the website  It is noted on the site that “This item proudly made in the U.S.A.” We informed our patron so he could see if this was the one he wished to purchase.