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Friday, April 20, 2012

Can You Help Me Find a Product I love?

“Can you help me find who sells “product name”? The Newton Falls Public Library staff frequently has patrons looking for products they love to use. They are no longer available at the store where they always purchased it or they have forgotten where they made the initial purchase.  Recent questions have included a favorite Clairol hair coloring, cocoa and crème Tums Smoothies, and Gonzo stain remover.

Each question was answered by going to the corporate websites. For the particular shade of hair coloring, we were able to give the patron a listing of local stores which still carried her product.  She returned several weeks later to tell us that she was able to purchase it at Kmart.

The search for a local outlet for cocoa Tums was not successful. Their website no longer lists this flavor as the product has been discontinued. Sixty count bottles can still be purchased online, with the prices ranging from $5 - $18.50 before shipping and handling is added. Our patron said the price was enough to give her more heartburn.

Like the previous products, the website for Gonzo stain remover has the option of making an online purchase. Some of the online stores which appeared to carry it were Ace Hardware, Kitchen Collection, and Sears. Our patron said she was going to try to see if one of the local chain stores carried the product.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Dam, the Hydro-Electric Plant, and Electricity

It was an interesting couple of days for the Newton Falls Public Library staff, when three patrons asked related questions. “Do you have any information about the dam over the West Branch of the Mahoning River, such as who built it and when?” “I was always told that the hydro-electric plant that was once located on the West Branch of the Mahoning River was the first in the country. Is that true?” “I’m interested in the viability of hydro-electric power. The old plant in Warren powered motors, but did not actually supply electric for the city. How about the plant in Newton Falls?”

Page 15 of the History of Newton Falls noted that after river improvements were made in 1923, Samuel Oviatt erected the first dam and built a sawmill at that location on the river. In 1908, the Hydro-Electric Company power plant was built at the site . . . “and the dam was reconstructed to be 60 feet long and provide an 18 foot head [pp. 99-100].” After a hole was discovered in the spillway in 1988, the dam was repaired that summer by community volunteers.

In reference to the second question, the staff learned that “on September 30, 1882, the world's first hydroelectric power plant began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin.”  In 1881, “Niagra Falls was the first of the American hydroelectric power sites developed for major generation and is still a source of electric power today. The early hydroelectric plants were direct current stations built to power arc and incandescent lighting during the period from about 1880 to 1895.” Since the Newton Falls Hydro-Electric Company power plant was built in 1908, it was not the first.

The answer the final question was also found in the History of Newton Falls. In 1908, [Newton Falls] “city passed ordinance for perpetual franchise to Peerless Electric [then purchased by Hydro-Electric Company] to supply electric service to the village . . . [pp. 99-100].”

Thursday, April 5, 2012

At What Age May I Be Excused From Jury Duty?

“I was recently called for jury duty.  I have served numerous times in the past. At my age, I prefer not to serve any longer. I know after a certain age you may be excused. What age is that?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff was aware that there are multiple reasons for which you may be excused from serving.

The Ohio Bar Associations website has an interesting LawFacts Pamphlet containing a great deal of information about jury service.  It includes why it is important, how they are selected (“by random drawing from either a list of registered voters or a list of licensed drivers residing in the county or city that the court serves.”), the requirements, the types of juries, how long they have to serve, compensation, what happens when you appear, the rules, deciding on verdicts, the benefits of serving, and accommodations for disabilities. In the section on requirements we found the information our patron needed. The law provides for the following persons to be exempted from jury service on request: . . those who are 76 years of age or older . . . It is important to remember that, even if a potential juror falls within one of these categories, the exemption is not automatic. The juror must . . . inform the court clerk or jury commissioner.  A juror who has been exempted will become eligible for jury selection again after 24 months.”

Our patron was old enough to be excused, but she knew now that she needed to notify the court that she no longer wished to serve.