May 2020

Lineworker on pole

New normal

As I write to you in early April, it’s become increasingly difficult to imagine what the next few weeks will bring. I hope that this issue of Ohio Cooperative Living finds you safe and healthy and provides a pleasant diversion to your socially distanced lives.

Chris Hart

Tales from the Hart

Chris Hart dons a frock coat and sports a fancy walking stick as he prepares to portray John George Nicolay for the residents of StoryPoint Grove City, a senior living complex in suburban Columbus.

Today’s performance is “Mr. Lincoln’s White House,” a vignette set in 1900 that Hart scripted, featuring himself as Nicolay, Abraham Lincoln’s personal secretary. Nicolay pays a visit to President McKinley and relates what 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was like years before, during Lincoln’s tenure. As Hart enters the room where he’ll perform, StoryPoint residents greet him like groupies with smiles, handshakes, and fond words about his monthly presentations.

Project Ohio group

Powering up, powering through

Gathering a group of 16 linemen from across Ohio, leaving the security of home and family, and going to a remote part of Central America could never be considered a routine endeavor.

The day after they arrived in Guatemala, the team decided to make an impromptu stop in the village to check out the landscape of the job — to see the 67 homes and the school and get a look at the conditions they’d encounter.

Woad

Going medieval

If you were to imagine a garden in A.D. 800, you might picture unusual and long-extinct plants, but in fact, gardens of the medieval period (or Middle Ages) were filled with plants that have thrived for centuries and still grow in our gardens today.

Absinthe, or wormwood, is from the Artemesia family and is a lovely accent to a modern garden. Absinthe was called Mary’s tree and was used as a spice herb as well as for medicinal purposes, such as stomach disorders or nausea, and to repel insects from the vegetable garden, but is known mainly for the alcoholic beverage that is made from it. Absinthe can be grown from seeds sown directly in the ground or planted from potted plants in light, well-drained soil in full sun.

Doug Wynn

Species on the edge

Unlike many people, Doug Wynn likes snakes. He likes them so much that he began studying them decades ago, and has since become Ohio’s leading expert on the state-endangered timber rattlesnake.

Wynn has never been bitten, yet is still extremely cautious around the snakes, always handling them with a metal catch-stick. “A rattlesnake can strike the entire length of its body,” he says. “Meaning that a 3-foot snake — which is about the typical length in Ohio — can strike a distance of at least 3 feet. So, if you ever happen across one in the woods, give it a wide berth.”

Sketch of Cedar Point beach

That's the ticket

Editor’s note: The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the beginning of Cedar Point’s 2020 season. As of mid-April, the park was tentatively scheduled to open for the season in mid-May. Please double-check before traveling.

Now, 150 years later, Cedar Point is Ohio’s largest tourist destination. It hosts some 3 million guests annually and boasts a record-setting 71 rides that meld tradition (a 1912 carousel, a gigantic Ferris wheel) with technology (the 93-mph Millennium Force, the 400-foot-tall Top Thrill Dragster).

Alan Canfora waving flag

The Kent State shootings: Coming to terms

Every May 4, students, faculty, and others on the campus of Kent State University honor the memory of four students killed and nine others injured when the National Guard opened fire during a protest against the Vietnam War on that day in 1970.

This year marks 50 years since the tragedy, and plans had been in place to commemorate the occasion with dozens of speakers, symposia, and artistic tributes, until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the events. Still, the events they had planned are an indication of how much has changed about the way the Kent State community perceives this part of their past.