Wednesday, February 26, 2003

for The Advocate 2-28-03

Ringing In Ohio’s Bicentennial
By Jeff Gill

When Thomas Worthington hosted a famous all-night gathering at his mansion named “Adena” some 200 years ago, they saw the sun rise over the hills east of Chillicothe in a view enshrined on the Great Seal of the State of Ohio.
Some say they were writing the first state constitution, others claim it was a poker game, but whatever they were doing, they couldn’t have foreseen what Ohio would look like in 2003.
From back when canal boats were high tech and it took weeks to cross the new state on a horse, to our online 24/7 world where interstates get you from Dayton to Steubenville in hours (weather permitting), much has changed. But some things haven’t, even across two centuries.
Casting a bell still requires pouring liquid metal into a mold that produces a musically functional work of beauty; barns still hold hay for fodder no matter what’s painted across its side in red, white, and blue; and pancakes were a favorite of George Washington’s -- and we don’t make them too differently from how they made them at Mount Vernon or Adena in 1803 for a weary crew greeting the dawn.
Saturday, March 1 is “Statehood Day” for Ohio, and the kickoff for a year and more of bicentennial events around the state. While many dignitaries will wind their way up the hill to the newly refurbished “Adena” mansion in Chillicothe, Licking Countians will greet the dawn, or at least 8 am, with a pancake breakfast and a variety of entertainment opportunities.
The official Licking County bicentennial bell, one of 88 cast in each of Ohio’s counties, will appear at the OSU-Newark campus as the first pancakes are served, with members of the Newark Kiwanis and from the county bicentennial commission cooking and serving. All around the Hopewell Hall cafeteria area are hung over 700 works of art from most Licking County school districts. And while enjoying pancakes at $4 per person, $2 for children ten and under, diners will hear musical offerings including handbells from Hebron Christian Church, singing by Angelic Voices featuring Jim Fullen of the commission, the Campus Chorale, and from the group Young At Heart, as well as music from the Zerger Hall Band.
Door prizes will be announced through the morning, and face painters will decorate the kids in attendance just as the barns of Ohio have gotten a new look for 2003. “Salt & Pepper,” a local clowning duo, will perform balloon art for children of all ages.
“We’ve been working for months to get ready for this day,” says Marcia Phelps, county commissioner and chair of the Licking County Bicentennial Commission. Since the Newark bicentennial celebration last summer, where our bell was cast, she has escorted the bell on its carriage to a variety of community events, and the schedule for the bell is jam-packed through 2003, including a late June/early July wagon train passing through on US 40 that the bicentennial commission is working on. “But this is the central event, and we want to do our part to help the state celebrate. We’ve got plenty of history right here in Licking County.”
The Statehood Day celebration at OSU-N will be history making in its own right, when the centerpiece of the 8 am to noon pancake breakfast will be a pause in the program at 10:30 am as everyone goes outside for an aerial photo, capturing for years to come an overhead view of a human map of Ohio. All present will be shown to a place on an outline of the state, with local veterans invited to physically map Licking County into the middle of the display. Everyone will also have a chance to sign a giant birthday card for Ohio, decorated with some of the student art and designed to be part of the historic record of the day.
Copies of the photo can be ordered through the morning, with J & B Photography taking both the pictures and the orders. The outline of Ohio will be done rain (or snow) or shine, since the 200th Statehood Day comes around only once. Ball Surveying is marking out the area in the campus parking lots where the people will stand, and Don Strickler will do the overflight thanks to the support of Jim Bradley.
The commission would also like to thank Action Pest Control, BIA, Fleming Dairy, Kroger, Park National Bank, and Wendy’s for donations and assistance to make this historic day a success.
If you have questions about events or arrangements for Statehood Day, call 349-6555; Kim Workman and Pam Jones with the County Planning Commission have been key workers on the local Ohio bicentennial effort. “This has been a true community effort from all over Licking County,” said Workman.
“Please remember that there is effectively no budget for this,” notes Commissioner Phelps, who has given hours of her time to keep the effort moving forward, along with countless hours and personal donations from members of the county bicentennial commission. With the state budget situation, what money was available has been eliminated, and local efforts, work by the Ohio Historical Society, and other activities are operating on a pay-as-you go basis.
There’s something that would appeal to George Washington and Thomas Worthington about paying for our historic commemoration with pancakes. Some things don’t change through the years, and the taste of pancakes early in the morning is one of them.

Statehood Day in Licking County is Sat., March 1, with a Pancake Breakfast and State of Ohio outline aerial photo at the OSU-N campus. The breakfast is in Hopewell Hall from 8 am to Noon, with tickets $4 for adults and $2 for children ten and under, available at the Licking Co. Commissioners’ office and Park National Bank branches, or at the door. Aerial photo is scheduled for 10:30 am rain or shine, with veterans invited to form Licking County within the state outline, and copies of the photo may be ordered that day.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Notes From My Knapsack

Our microwave blinked out, as a few of you know who made it to church in Feb. and saw an overly large children’s message prop beneath the pulpit. Quickly, a new little oven arrived in the Gill household, and it (inevitably) has more buttons and doodads on it than the last one.
The funny thing is, here we are a week later, and I’m still trying to punch the buttons on the old microwave, which on this appliance are in very different places, leading to some interesting adventures with my coffee cup (note: don’t heat coffee for twenty minutes; even I won’t drink it then).
It’s the power of habit, of course. I know the buttons are in different places, I can see that it’s a different microwave, but the fingers start lazily punching, the mind having already drifted off to the next thing, and suddenly you have chewy singed goo in your mug – again!
That’s what the discipline of Lenten fasting is about: breaking the habits of mind to let us look at our actions more directly, more consciously. Yes, fasting is about giving things up, but in order to give something to God; we end up with clearer intentions, more thoughtful reflections, and a life lived more aware of what a gift simple things are.
Like, for instance, coffee. Yes friends, it is an odd numbered year, so your pastor is giving up coffee from Ash Wednesday, Mar. 5, to blessed Easter Sunday morn, Apr. 20. And each time I reflexively reach for the coffee pot (or filters, or canister of grounds), I will have given myself another opportunity to think about why I value God more than any one earthly thing, why I want to appreciate coffee all the more, consciously, when I go back to drinking it – and I will!
Not what are you giving up, but what are you giving to God this Lent?
In Grace & Peace, Pastor Jeff
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What’s a Disciple? Starting Sunday afternoon, March 16 at 4 pm, a Membership Class is offered in the parsonage meeting room next to the church building. A trip to Bethany and Brush Run where the Restoration Movement began is planned for April 5. Youth in grade 4 and above are especially invited to join this year’s “Pastor’s Class.” We’ll explore what it means to be a Christian and a member of the church. Everyone who wants to learn more about the church (whether or not you have been baptized) is welcome to join us. Please let Pastor Jeff know you’re interested. We’ll then try and schedule our remaining class time when it is convenient for those involved. A number of both adults and youth are planning to make their confession of faith or transfer membership into Hebron Christian at the Palm Sunday service Apr. 13.
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"SERVE ONE ANOTHER WITH WHATEVER GIFT EACH OF YOU HAS RECEIVED." I PETER 4:10 Our Week of Compassion Offering helps provide disaster relief in this country and around the world. As Lent is beginning we will continue to gather up this special offering, which has been hurt by the two big snow Sundays hitting the two WoC Sundays. Envelopes are available at the church or simply mark your gift “Week of Compassion”.

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Lenten Bible Study We’ll be closely reading the Gospel of Mark this Lent, with our study time at 10 am on Wednesdays starting Mar. 5. If you can’t make this meeting time, and would like to get e-mail updates of the lessons and group discussions, tell Pastor Jeff or e-mail
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Lenten Devotionals The first two Sundays of March we will have a special Lenten devotional booklet at the door before worship, with enough for one to each family. This is a daily devotional from Ash Wednesday to Easter, with each day’s mediation and prayer written by a regional pastor or general church official. This gives us a chance to pray by name both with and for those who are working in that very important and challenging field of ministry.
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ATTENTION MEN! The District 10/11 Spring Disciple Men’s Rally will be held Sunday, March 2, 2003. This year’s rally will be hosted by the men of Bellaire Christian Church. Registration begins at 2:30 p.m. Cost of the meal is $5.00. If you plan to attend, please let John Slater or Pastor Jeff know we can call in reservations.

Lakewood Public Meeting A very important public forum is set for Monday, Mar. 3 at 7 pm in the high school auditorium. If that is a snow day, the forum will be Thur. the 6th. Elimination of all extracurriculars is the main item of business; alternatives are needed, so bring a friend and a good idea with you.
Grinding Out the Years
By Jeff Gill

At the visual center of Hebron since 1885 or thereabouts, the old grain mill on Main Street is becoming an economic focal point again as well.
Saturday, March 1, Brezina Design & Construction Services will hold an open house at the Hebron Mill from Noon to 4 pm, so the entire community can see the transformation and preservation work they’ve done on this long-time local landmark.
“We’d like to get any old photographs people have of the mill through the years to copy,” says Luke Baus, treasurer and senior designer for the firm, “and create a timeline over the years.”
As is apparent the moment you step in the doors, this building no longer grinds out wheat and corn into meal, but is still grinding out work every day. The work stations, drafting tables, and conference areas all show signs of activity and energy. . .but with the dust and grime left out on the job site for the most part.
The modern light fixtures and contemporary curves and angles of the office furniture contrast strikingly with the solid, heavy right angles of the original support timbers. Lettering in classic architectural strokes on blueprints and perspective drawings scattered about the open plan work areas is counterpointed by the old carved “The Hebron Milling Co.” sign hanging above it all.
Don and Gene Gutridge worked at the mill for many years, joking that one was president and the other was general manager, but they were never sure which was which. The same kind of easy equality seems to echo among the mill’s current occupants, where secretaries, laborers, and designers all interact easily and casually, an obvious intention of the design of the space.
And Don has been in a number of times since BD&CS moved in, admiring the preservation of a building so long a part of his life. Gene, who died just after the initial renovation was completed, was pleased to know that his mill would be preserved for future generations to enjoy.
The staff at Brezina’s want you to do just that, and drop by this Saturday. They have learned that over the years it seems as if almost everyone worked at the mill for a time, whether summers in high school, for a slow season on the farm or between jobs after a layoff. They hope that the area around the mill can be used for purposes that return to the community a central point around which Hebron turns, whether in farmers’ markets, a restaurant, or further professional offices.
A framed print in the office space shows Taliesin, the studio, school, and home of Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin where he developed his philosophy of “indigenous architecture.” While the Hebron Mill may not exactly “grow from the landscape,” as Wright would have preferred, the renovation uses wooden siding, natural colors, and very organic feel that grows from the original purpose of the building, which was to work with what literally grew from the landscape around Hebron.
Sitting at the bend in the old National Road, Hebron’s and America’s Main Street, and overlooking behind the site of the former Ohio Canal turning basin, this historic building is a natural part of today’s landscape, and a visit there is a natural close to Ohio’s bicentennial Statehood Day on March 1.

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Hebron Crossroads 03-02-03
By Jeff Gill

Monday night at Lakewood High School’s auditorium, March 3 at 7 pm, one of the most important community meetings in recent years will take place. All of the district is invited to come and speak before the board after a presentation on the fiscal situation facing Lakewood in the next two years.
At a work session last Monday, the board reviewed the numbers and considered a number of plans. Among the points of interest and concern: even with “pay-to-participate” the district spends $248,000 on all athletic, music, and general student extracurricular activities. P2P is already driving students out of activities (shown in that income from the $250 per kid per program is down more than $10,000), and not only is an increase in that fee out of the question, most coaches and advisors agree that a majority of activities will dwindle down to nothing if things stay as they currently stand.
Along with the existing P2P, high school buses eliminated, and half-day kindergarten, every remaining staff cut, attrition reduction, and consolidation that can be legally made under state mandated standards brings us to less than the minimum $450,000 cuts that we have to implement as a school district in order to have a balanced budget, again as per state requirements.
Oh, and the state legislature, which created all those requirements, is now going to foist a $99,000 cut on us from the third or so of our budget that comes from them. Combine that with the fairly obvious assumption that personal property tax revenue from inventory will decline from the drop already recorded from 2001 in the 2002 payments not yet in, and you’re looking at something more like $650,000 in budget cuts that are required for the coming year to stay in balance.
So add all that to our taxes and our teacher salaries basically now being the lowest in Licking County and the Lake region, and the Lakewood School District is forced to consider not whether or not to cut all athletic, band, and student activities, locking up the buildings 30 minutes after the instructional day ends, but whether to take that step this summer or next. Without an increase in their budget, coming from the resources of the Lakewood taxpayers, that is the only step remaining. There is literally not one thing left to cut, other than our throats, which is what eliminating all extracurriculars would be. Does anyone really doubt that Don Thorp, David Wohlford, or Martha Fickle (to name just a few) have been pinching pennies until Lincoln wept? Is this what the residents of Hebron and Buckeye Lake, Harbor Hills and Union Township, Jacksontown and Licking and Franklin Townships really want?
There were tears of sorrow, tears of anger, and words of immense frustration around the tables as the board considered their options. No one of them doubts the devastating effect on the district of these actions, but the six levy losses leave them in an incomprehensible position. Loud angry voices say “don’t touch our sports, our bands, our programs,” but the voice heard at the polls each election day isn’t a loud “no,” but a deafening silence.
When less than half of the registered voters even register an opinion aye or nay, and we all know that the registered vote total doesn’t cover half of the eligible voters in our precincts, we’re looking at fifteen percent of the grown-ups telling us “cancel it all, we don’t care.” Do we follow that counsel, which at least got up off the sofa and went to the polls? Or is there some level of passion left in Lakewood to address what makes an education a thing of value and a resource for the entire community?
So, if I may, please show up on Monday night at 7 pm in the auditorium, but don’t show up to just say what you don’t want to do. We’d better all show up to figure out together what’s going to be done, and roll up our sleeves to do it.
Time’s a’ wasting.

Sadly, I’m having to close with what I originally was going to open this week’s column with. Our Lakewood Drama Club made their flying trip to New York City last weekend, seeing three plays in three days, meeting with actors and teachers, seeing Ground Zero and the Statue of Liberty (from Battery Park, anyhow), and making their way around Manhattan for the experience of their high school lifetimes. Many worked extra hours to pay the costs of the trip, and some parents who really couldn’t afford it (all that P2P, you know) went along as chaperones for the dozens of kids in their care.
They carried the Hebron flag off the village flagpole (with permission, I should add), waving it before the cameras at Rockefeller Center for the Today Show. That’s how I want to hear about Hebron on the news. That’s the kind of memories and experiences I want our kids to have in the Lakewood School District. That’s not extracurricular, that’s part of the very heart of the curriculum. Let’s not cut it out.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a local historian and archaeologist. You can pass along news and events to him at 928-4066, or e-mail