Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Hebron Crossroads 2-09-03
By Jeff Gill

We salute those lost in service to their country, while on a mission to benefit humanity, whose high level of training and preparation gave them joy in their work but were brought down by the unexpected and unforeseen. Our prayers are with their families, most of them with young children, who know their loved ones did not die in vain, honored by many who never knew them as they served many they would never know.

That paragraph could be about the seven Columbia astronauts from the US and Israel, but in fact I was thinking of the four US servicemen who were killed when their Blackhawk helicopter crashed near Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, just a day and a half before the shuttle went down.

We don’t have to take anything away from our regard for those skilled and brilliant individuals whom we lost over Texas last Saturday, when we also want to remember our talented young men and women, often fathers and mothers, some from Licking County, who are on risky duty in Iraq overflights these last twelve years, who fly security and humanitarian missions over Central Europe and Afghanistan, who keep watch at our borders and near outposts like the Korean border around the world. They also deserve our remembrance when they fall. . .and especially where they stand on guard for freedom.

In the wake of the Lakewood Schools levy (you know the outcome, but as this is typed, I don’t!), many, many thanks to Phil Herman for all his work around the district in meeting with individuals, making calls, answering letters, and laying the groundwork for his term as superintendent of our great school system.

Lou Staffilino, who worked hard to put solid educational ground under all our feet, is doing much better after his extensive surgery in December, and on Tues., Feb. 11, Ohio Dominican University is inducting the first class into their new Alumni Hall of Fame, and Lou is one of the first inductees. A crew from Lakewood will be attending a program around this induction that night over at ODU (just off I-670 in Columbus), and our heartiest congratualtions to Lou on his recovery and on this honor!

While snow on 40 mile an hour gales whips by the windows, it feels downright good to think about soccer; that’s right, soccer! The Hebron Area Soccer Association is organizing (and still needs coaches, by the way); the first go round of sign-ups is Saturday Feb. 8 at the middle school cafeteria, which may be before some of you read this. Be of good cheer, because registration forms are still available.

The Hebron Library and the Lakewood Schools office has forms, and they are for interested boys and girls age 4 through 8th grade. The cost is $35 which includes a game shirt, and the season runs from April 1 to Memorial Day. If you have more questions, call Jim Dobos at 522-5969.

If anyone has info on youth baseball or other sports sign-ups in our area, please leave me a message at 928-4066 or e-mail the word to disciple@voyager.net, and it’ll show up in the column!

The Books & Coffee gathering was three for "Johnny Tremain", but I heard from a number of you who had kids with ballgames and such that day, and Waldenbooks said they sold a rack o’ copies, so the books are getting read. We had a fun conversation and drank up the whole pot of coffee, and we’ll be together again at 612 W. Main St. in Hebron on Feb. 22 looking at "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" by Jean-Dominique Bauby. This is a very moving true story, and that book too is selling at Walden’s at the mall in Heath. Remember that March 22, also at 10 am, is a real cabin fever cure, Francis Mayes’ "Under the Tuscan Sun."

Before that date, Sat. March 1 is our Statehood Day celebration for Licking County at OSU-N; come for the pancakes (8 am to noon, $4 and 10 and under kids are $2) and stay for the giant picture of all of us forming an Ohio outline at 10:30.

As one of the many Hebronites who drive up and down Rt. 79 more often than we care to think, the signs are unmistakable that the widening project is taking shape with little survey flags, spray paint marks, and digging already afoot with utilities and such.

Next week, I plan to talk about some of the canal history you can still see along 79, and what will soon disappear, but a reminder I imagine will be heard again and again.
Please be careful, especially as you make left turns onto 79/Hebron Rd., especially in Heath. I’ve seen some pretty scary jumps out into traffic, witnessed not just near misses but ended up holding hands or standing by smashed cars waiting for the police or worse yet the squad to come along, and we all heard about a death accompanying a left turn just before Christmas.

Folks, there are precious few places where you can’t maneuver through a parking lot to get to a side street with a traffic light, or turn right and then go down to another light and four-square around to get back the other direction. Left turns onto 79 through the business district are just a bad idea, and impatient sudden turns against traffic are even worse.

As the old city limits sign somewhere says, "Drive carefully, we don’t have any people to spare." We’ve got the time to wait, especially if we think about how much time a simple wreck takes us, let alone the implications of worse accidents. Avoid the left turn and get back to Hebron a few minutes late. . .we promise to wait for you!