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Nov./Dec. 2019

OHIO 4 6 1 4 9


INSIDE: Shop Local: A look at buying local Gifts Big Plans: Wayne Center For The Arts Has New Director “Eastbound and Down:” 72 Hours on the Road with a Long-Haul Truck Driver


All About Local...


As you receive this issue of 44691, you will no doubt already be noticing a strong

Todd Miller

uptick in advertisements headed your way. From catalogues and offers from your

Michele Janney

favorite retailers filling your mailbox, to TV, radio and targeted messages filling the


Jerry Klingerman


Meredith Klingerman

Laurie Harley, Laurie Sidle, Barb Lang, Dottie Sines, Greg Sharpless, Richard Weiner, Melanie McMillan, Carol Zollinger and Tami Lange Mosser CONTRIBUTING WRITERS:

airwaves and computer screen, this is the time of year when the full-on barrage begins. But if you’d like to “opt out” of some of the holiday-related madness, we invite you to take a look at what some of our local businesses have to offer — you might be surprised. They say it’s the thought that counts and honestly, as each of us gets

This publication and its contents are copyright 2019, Dutch Country Publishing, LLC. Individual copyrighted items, trademarks, etc. contained within are the property of their copyright holders. No part of this publication may be reproduced or redistributed by any means without the expressed, written authorization of the publisher.

another year older...year after year...I think we find that’s true: it’s not so much what you give someone, it’s the simple reality that you remembered them at this special time of year. So if you’d rather curl up with a good book (OK, or your laptop or iPad!) and an extra slice of pumpkin pie this year instead of diving into the Wild West world of Black Friday, we invite you to take a look at page 12 to see what our local retailers, crafstpeople and artisans have to offer. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s out there, to be sure, but this should give you a start. By the way: We think you’ll recognize the writer’s name.


Dutch Country Publishing, LLC 148 E. Liberty St., #210 Wooster, OH 44691 330-275-8097 FAX 330-439-4231


Send inquiries to: Visit us on Facebook:

Finally, for you parents and grandparents out there, we encourage you to take a look at the article on page 24 about Lehman’s (also known as Lehman Hardware) just a few miles down the road in Kidron, and the truly unique — and mostly nonelectric — toys they have to offer. Our own children are past the toy stage now, but we definitely enjoyed the “something different” toy selections at Lehman’s. It’s one of the best-kept secrets in Wayne County. Here’s wishing you a yours a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. Be warm, be safe, be well. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you in January.

On the cover: An artful combination of stained glass and murals creates a stunning visual effect in a portion of “The Vermillion Institute” in nearby Hayesville.

Thanks for reading. Jerry Klingerman, Publisher






12 Shopping Local in 44691 Territory From Artisan Crafts, Food, Beverages and More, Wayne County is the Place to Shop Local

16 Staying Put, and Making Plans New Wayne Center for the Arts Director Outlines His Vision

22 Just Down The Road... Downtown Millersburg Undergoing an Exciting Transformation

28 Your Digital Life After death What Happens to Your Online Existence Once You’re Gone?

30 “Eastbound and Down” 72 Hours in the Life of a Big Rig Truck Driver 4

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Hayesville’s Vermillion Institute restored to former glory Noted preservationist brings important local landmark back to life By Barbara Lang Photos by Jerry Klingerman

>>> Story Begins on page 8 6

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Previous pages: The exterior of the Vermillion Institue, and a view of the tower from the top floor, where Steve McQuillin keeps his office. (left and below) Many of the Vermillion Institute’s walls are adorned with elaborate paintings, depicting fanciful views of Colonial America. The table shown at left was constructed from wood salvaged during the renovations.


ayesville is a thriving village of 435 residents at the intersection of State Route 60 and the Lincoln Highway. It was founded in 1830 and incorporated in 1849. When US 30 was built in 1958 just north of the village, it could have started the decline of Hayesville as happened in so many small towns when the new interstate that bypassed them. But in spite of the new highway, Hayesville continued to thrive, perhaps because many drivers enjoy the more leisurely scenic route along the Lincoln Highway west of Wooster through the villages of Jefferson, Reedsburg, Jeromesville, Hayesville and Mifflin on the way to Mansfield and beyond. Tucked away on one of the main streets through this tiny village — which is just over the Wayne County line in Ashland County, is a restored gem of a building the likes of which most people have never seen, or even heard of: The Vermillion Institute. Steve McQuillin, a highly accomplished preservation consultant had made frequent trips from his home in Cleveland along the Lincoln Highway. He also is an avid bicyclist, and rode his bike through Hayesville on multiple occasions. He became intrigued by the vacant “Vermillion Institute,” which was named after the Ashland County township in which it’s located. As he told The Richland Source, “I would go by here every year and see it getting worse and worse and thinking, ‘It’s terrible that this is happening,’” McQuillin said. “I thought I would take it on.” The massive structure was badly in need of repair. The roof was in such bad shape that rain had ruined the floors. However, the two-foot-thick brick walls for the most part were sound. In November 2011 McQuillin purchased the Vermillion Institute and began a five-year process of restoring the 35 x 50 foot struc-


ture to its former glory. As the accompanying photos reveal, the results are nothing short of spectacular — The Vermillion Institute has been completely restored to its former glory. Early educational enclave The Vermillion Institute is an important part of Hayesville history. In 1843 it was charted as a co-educational school and was one of the first institutions of higher learning in north central Ohio. Designed by Ashland native Ozias S. Kinney and constructed by Edwin Hubbard, the cornerstone was laid July 4, 1845. Future US President Rutherford B. Hayes was said to have attended the dedication. Over the years there were many notable alumni in many professions whose academic career included the Vermillion Institute. Among those were Millersburg native Atlee Pomerene, who was a US Senator. During the mid-to-late-19th century the Vermillion Institute was a preeminent center of higher education where students were trained to become proficient in various professions. At one time it was a rival to Oberlin, Kenyon or Denison colleges with an enrollment of 600 students from 13 states. Originally affiliated with the Baptist church, by 1849 it became Presbyterian-affiliated. But as students and faculty left to fight in the American Civil War enrollment declined, and the institute fell into a long, slow

decline. The longtime lead Professor, Saunders Diefendorf, a Yale-educated Presbyterian minister, left after the institute was rejected as the site of a new Church of God college, which was later located at Findlay OH. The property was sold back to Hayesville and operated as a private academy for the College of Wooster until it closed in the mid 1880s. In 1886 it became the Hayesville High School, which it stayed until 1929, when a new combined elementary and high school opened at the opposite end of the village. For a time, the Vermillion Institute was used for social organizations, but it was the beginning of the end for the once-proud building, which then sat empty for more than 80 years. Even the tall stone fountain with memorial plaques that once graced the front of the building was moved to nearby Kendig Park in the 1950s. The woodenframe dormitories that had flanked the Vermillion Institute (one for men and one for women) were long gone by that time. The upstairs living room at the Vermillion Institute is a tastefully decorated retreat. Ashland County resident Ann Schar remillion Institute were repointed and strengthened by filling the marked at last year’s Christmas open house that the building had chimney cavities with reinforced concrete and pouring a conbeen abandoned her entire life. She was impressed by the transcrete wall inside the rubble sandstone base. Trusses and floors formation to a residence and business. Indeed, walking through were replaced. The long-missing tower was reconstructed, and the structure you would never know that the building was comnow contains a two-level office space where McQuillin works on pletely gutted prior to being restored. Instead, it simply looks additional projects. The ground floor is again a meeting space for like a spectacular old structure that stood the test of time — it events, and can accommodate up to 80 people. The second floor has, but with lots of help from McQuillin! that had classrooms and a library has basically the same floor Long restoration process plan. McQuillin turned the former college into his residence and office for McQuillin and Associates, a firm that specializes in his>>> Continued on page 10 toric preservation, not only of buildings, but also neighborhoods and communities. The firm, “assists in planning the rehabilitation of historic buildings and assists property owners in obtaining federal and state preservation funding.” McQuillin spent nearly five years restoring the structure with assistance from the Ohio Preservation Tax Credit. McQuillin is a staunch advocate for historic preservation and has, himself, nominated more than 100 structures for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. Two of his current projects are residential restorations in nearby Mansfield. But as McQuillin shared with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, it wasn’t easy finding contractors to tackle the project. “No one wanted to touch this because they thought as soon as we started moving stuff around, the whole building would collapse,” McQuillin says. “There was too much risk of workers being injured.” But eventually the project got under way, This pagoda-style structure serves as a garden building on the grounds of the Vermillion and the two-foot-thick brick walls of the Ver- Institute. 44691 | NOVEMB ER/DE CEMBE R 2 019


McQuillin has 35 years experience in historic preservation, and a long list of completed projects that bear out his passion for saving time-worn structures. His projects include another Hayesville treasure, the former Kelly Hardware-Odd Fellows Hall, located just down the street from the Vermillion Institute. The upper floor of that building had been abandoned for close to 100 years and the lower floor was empty for a decade before McQuillin purchased it and converted it into three apartments. It is notable for having a hidden entrance to the basement, two trap doors and a primitive dumbwaiter system. Other unusual features are a highly ornamental metal cornice with Gothic accents, Corinthian storefront columns and elegant display windows. More structures saved Thanks to the efforts of other people who have worked to preserve the small village’s heritage, it isn’t just the Vermillion Institute that’s been saved or reimagined. Just caddy-corner from the Kelley Hardware-Odd Fellows Hall is a brick building that was once a Studebaker garage. Local businessman Ben Ferguson restored the historical building and it now houses The Village Point Market, but the former garage boasts many of its original features. Ferguson and his wife, Kim, reopened the market in 2017. They also are Hayesville residents, with children in the Hillsdale School system, so it’s easy to understand their decision to make a significant investment in their community. Today, Village Point Market is an upscale indoor gourmet market with a deli, baked goods, groceries, wines and much more with indoor and outdoor seating. The only opera house on the Lincoln Highway also is in Hayesville. Tucked in the downtown block with the Kelley Hardware building, you might miss the small sign in front announcing the weekend’s first run movie. The opera house was built in 1886 at a cost of $4,100 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The theater operated from 1886 to 1930 and was the main cultural focus for the Village of Hayesville. Graduation ceremonies for the local schools also were held there. After 1930 the theater was unused until about 1970, when a group of concerned citizens came together to begin the tasking of cleaning and updating it in preparation of the na-


(Above) Decorative tiles and stained glass highlight a stairway that leads to the second level. (Right) The glass staircase was added to the original structure during renovations.

tional bicentennial celebration in 1976. Interest waned again until 1994, when a board was formed to restore the theater. Funding came from multiple sources including the State of Ohio’s capital budget, the Save America’s Treasure program, Ashland County Community Foundation, Richland County Foundation and private individuals. Some of the architectural features found in the opera house today are original to the building. These include the 200 seats with hat racks under them, hand painted backdrops, ticket board

and a small section of original wallpaper. The stage area contains four dressing rooms and the floor of the stage is slanted to provide the audience with the best view of the actors. There are gas light fixtures backstage which are visible, but not used. During the early years actors often signed the walls for good luck. Many of these date back to the 1890s with the earliest being Buffalo Bill Cody, who performed in there 1888. Today the opera house looks the same as it did in 1886 and is owned by the Village of Hayesville. The newest business is Brew’d Coffee & Donuts which opened in May at 7 West Main Street. The building was home to the village’s first hardware store and most recently was a residence. It was completely remodeled. New awnings were added outside and it features a drive through window that opens to an alley beside the shop. The entire grounds at the Vermillion Institute is beautifully landscaped. With the Vermillion Institue project now successfully completed, McQuillin has had field.” time to reflect. He sums up his experience thus: “Rehabilitation If you’d like to see the results of McQuillin’s efforts firsthand, of the Vermillion Institute has been a very fulfilling experience. you can plan to attend the next Vermillion Institute open house. The school tours and open houses show that there is widespread McQuillin generously opens his home to the public twice a year, local support for preservation. It was also great for the project to including at Christmastime. For those who might be interested be featured on the national TV show, “You Live in What?” I in pursuing their own preservation projects, the open houses are think it’s helped to inspire other great local preservation projects. a good opportunity to meet McQuillin and to find out more I was prompted to take on the rehabilitation of the Kelley Hardabout the services his business offers. ware/Odd Fellows Hall project, another great experience. Plus, The Vermillion Institute is located at 150 E. Main Street, now I’m working on some preservation projects in nearby MansHayesville, OH 44838. The Holiday Open House is planned for Saturday, Dec. 14 from 4-9 p.m. Sources: History and Road Guide to Lincoln Highway in Ohio; Heritage Ohio; Vermillion Institute; Richland Source; Cleveland Plain Dealer.

(Left) A view looking from the third floor to the two-story library. (Above) A window on the world...From his office in the tower, McQuillin enjoys views of the surrounding countryside from several directions. 44691 | NOVEMB ER/DE CEMBE R 2 019


Shop local? You bet! The Jolly Ole’ Elf from the North Pole has nothing on Wayne County’s artisans and merchants By Tami Mosser


re you making your list and checking it twice?

The clock has already started ticking on Christmas gift imagining and shopping. And while it may seem that we live in an Amazon world, the idea of shopping local never goes out of style. But why stop at just staying inside the Wayne County confines to shop? Take it up a notch and shop products that are not only sold here, but made here as well. Does that idea leave you scratching your head, wondering where to start? Let us help. Here, in no particular order, is but a smattering of what is made here and sold here. We’re sure you have your favorites as well. So, Happy Hunting and Merry Christmas! Home décor: How about a Wooster Clock Co. timepiece? The company, founded in 2004, offers handcrafted and carved clocks in a variety of sizes and colors and each can be personalized for that friend or family member who likes to keep running on time. Wooster clocks grow more popular with each year; they’re literally hanging around all over the area and would be instantly recogMiss Amy’s Bakery nizable even without their name on the face. All things P. Graham Dunn. Peter and LeAnna Dunn started a woodworking business


in 1972 as part of their mission to open a home for runaway girls in New York City. Once home in Dalton, the Dunns installed the equipment on their farm and a business was born. Now housed in a 160,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, a 20,000-square-foot onsite retail store greets customers from all over who come in search of inspirational art, gifts and home décor. The business, which the Dunns recently have sold to their employees through a stock ownership plan, has just opened a retail store in Canton, but you don’t have to leave Wayne County to go right to the source, located at 630 Henry St., in Dalton (and really, can you possibly miss seeing it from US Route 30?). Just a few miles from P. Graham Dunn, the folks at Lehman’s (also known as Lehman Hardware) in downtown Kidron have been doing their thing for a long time — almost 65 years, in fact. When Hollywood wants to get “period correct” artifacts right, who do they count on? Lehman’s. Dedicated to providing all things related to “a simpler life,” Lehman’s has thousands of items covering a gamut from farm- and garden-related items to kitchen, self-sufficient and off-grid living to, well, just about everything in between. A number of the items in the store are crafted locally, including items that might actually have gone out of production completely. To try and describe Lehman’s to someone whose never been there is a process that surely will leave out a lot. But this time of year, any discussion of Lehman’s absolutely must include their incredible largely

P. Graham Dunn not only creates and produces a wide selection of high-quality wood décor and gifts, but also offers guests a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. Walking through the front doors of the building guests are greeted by a two-story grand lobby. Ascending the grand staircase to the retail store guests reveals a series of windows, providing a bird’s eye view to the manufacturing, where the entire production process can be seen from start to finish. Large CNC routers, powerful lasers and simple craftsmanship are all part of the artistry involved in the development of products. The gift shop spans 20,000 square feet and is filled with elaborate wall art, enchanting home décor, and thousands of unique gifts. Additionally, there is a laser engraving center where you can personalize hundreds of gift items on the spot.

nonelectric toy section. (See related article on page 24.) Fine art and crafts of all kinds, by your friends and neighbors Wayne County, while known for its agricultural output, also is a hotbed of creativity. Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for that one-of-a-kind person? Check out the instantly recognizable face jugs, piggy banks or other decorative pottery of Wooster’s Jim Spires, who works from his home studio on Burbank Road (330.263.9114) or the both useful and beautiful dishes created by Emily Moorefield Mariola, who displays some of her work alongside the artisans whose pieces are available for purchase at Local Roots Market & Café at 140 S. Walnut St., Wooster. There’s more pottery, along with handmade rugs and cookie sheets, in Smithville at the Smithville Village Potter, the Tin Shop and the Mishler Weaving Mill, located right on state Route 585 and part of the Smithville Community Historical Society. And while you’re in the village, go have a look at the wood designs of Hubacher Originals, works of the retired Wayne County builder which are on display at The Carpenter’s Cup, 116 W. Main St. And in Kidron, the staff at MCC Connections Thrift Shop and 44691 | NOVEMB ER/DE CEMBE R 2 019

Quilt Room (4080 Kidron Road, near Central Christian School) makes rugs, comforters and quilts onsite. If you like to wear your art, check the local items for sale at Local Roots and at the Wayne Center for the Arts, 237 S. Walnut St., Wooster. And you can’t go wrong with a distinctive piece made by Wooster’s own Mackenzie Haiss of Mackenzie’s Silver and Gold on East Liberty Street in downtown Wooster. For something completely different, whether buying for man, woman or child, take a look at Steel X Stone Studio, Jim Spires Pottery >>> Continued on page 14


which offers metal art (and pottery), whether it be a lamp, a sculpture or yard art. The business is located in Shreve, but you can get an idea of the inventory by going to its Facebook page. Know of an artist but can’t quite recall his or her name? Call the WCA (330.264.ARTS) or Local Roots (330.263.5336) for help. Chances are, they know. Wine and spirits No longer the sole purview of the Napa Valley or the Kentucky distillers, fine wine and spirits are made right here and can be just the gift for that party hostess or friend with a discriminating If you’re looking for toys, games or other palate. There’s a whole variety of children’s gift items that require imagination vino available from Troutman instead of batteries, electricity or an Internet connection, Lehman’s in downtown Kidron, OH Vineyards & Winery is the place to shop. Parents and grandparents (, alike will find the “Toy Barn” at Lehman’s a Lincoln Way Vineyards refreshing journey back to a time when just a bit of imagination, or family interaction, was (, required. Silver Run Vineyard and Winery (, Blue Barn Winery (www.bluezler Family Dairy in Wooster or some Ruggles Ice Cream and the ciders and wines of Bent Ladder from Smith Foods in Orrville. Cider and Wine ( And for all your There are those who don’t want “things”, but “experidistilled beverage needs, there’s bourbon, rye whisky, cinnaences” for gifts and Wayne County has plenty of those as mon whisky, gin and vodka from Wooster’s own Minglewell. Why not a gift certificate for a class at the Wayne wood Distilling Co. (, housed Center for the Arts in Wooster or Heartland Point in Orin the former (and beautifully restored) Minglewood Coal rville? Tickets to the Ohio Light Opera or the Wooster & Ice Co. on East South Street. Chamber Music Series or the Wooster Symphony OrFood, glorious food chestra? How about a painting party with Orrville artist (...And plenty of it) can be found throughout the Kristin Lorson or a class at Flex Yoga or a soothing session county, nowhere more obviously than Orrville, where to say in the Salt Grotto at Buckeye and Liberty streets in down“Simply Smucker’s” is an understatement. But you can town Wooster or an overnight stay at the St. Paul Hotel or still buy jelly (and fruit spreads and syrups and ice cream the Market Street Inn? toppings) and have money left to buy … Lerch’s Donuts, And everyone loves gift cards. And these merchants have Coccia House Pizza, caramel corn and chocolates from them. Holcomb’s Classics in downtown Wooster, baked goods Christmas shopping need not be tedious and stressful. from Troyer’s in Apple Creek and Wooster Miss Amy’s Stay local and find friends and family timeless treasures Bakery in Wooster or from Michael’s Bakery in Orrville with a local connection. Santa would approve. or Quince Bakery & Café in Kidron or apple butter from the Dutch Kitchen in Dalton or meats from Marshallville Packing or Whitefeather Meats or Canaan Meats in Creston or 3D Meats in Dalton or Meatheads Union right in downtown Wooster. And for dessert? Some ice cream or egg nog from Hart-


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Past is Future: New Wayne Center for the Arts director set to expand and restore Center’s programming By Tami Mosser


ames Fox isn’t going anywhere.

That’s a promise, he says. Fox, the executive director of the Wayne Center for the Arts, knows people have gotten used to center directors being short-term over the last years. The Wooster resident was hired into the position in June, succeeding Josh Coy, who had led the organization for just two years before taking what he characterized as a “dream job” with the Ohio Arts Council. And Coy took the place of Dayna Sear, a western Pennsylvania resident who held the position from 201416. Fox, who said he appreciates what both Sear and Coy brought to the center, said his path to the position was a bit different. He’s been a Wooster resident for several years, having come here when his wife, Stephanie Strand, took a faculty position at The College of Wooster, where she now chairs the biology department. “I chose this job,” said Fox, who had been the administrator for the Wayne County Court of Common Pleas. “Logic would have said,” he added, “to stay ex-


actly where I was.” In truth, Fox had applied for the job he now calls his back in 2008, but saw the position offered to and taken by Robb Hyde. Still, Fox said, “this was always something of interest.” And 2019 seemed to be the right time. Of all the directors who have come before him, Fox pointed to Roberta Looney as someone he believes truly understood “the center’s roll in the arts throughout the community,” and added that “in a strange way, I think – I hope – we’re back where we began.” And that means a return of some organizations that called the WCA home in the past, as well as some new groups and new ideas that Fox believes will take the center into the future. One of those is the Wayne Artists Group Effort, a cooperative assembly of local artists founded 30 years ago by Wooster resident Susan Shie. “I like them,” WCA operations director Lynn Davis said of the group. “They love the center; they do.” Along with WAGE comes the Wayne County Performing Arts Council, as well as the recently

hatched Wooster Youth Shakespeare, which had been rehearsing and performing in the lower level of Central Christian Church. WAGE got its start in 1986, when Shie – who had just completed a Master of Fine Arts degree at Kent State University, found herself living in a place near the center, located on South Walnut Street in the former Walnut Street School, and “I needed a group of friends who were artists,” she said. The WCA was a convenient meeting place and though for a while it was just Shie and one other person, over time the numbers grew into the dozens. And that group, she said, “was physically, mentally and emotionally connected to the arts center.” WAGE had its shows in the center’s Looney and Gault galleries, but moved to Heartland Point in Orrville when a juried show for artists with Wayne and Holmes county connections began in late 2018. WAGE’s shows are not juried, Shie said, in part because the group itself exists to

home base in the early and mid-1990s. And it was eight years since its last production, “On Golden Pond,” was staged there. For the past two decades, WaCPAC has existed as a nomadic enterprise, going from churches and vacant buildings and staging summer children’s theater musicals at the Wooster High School Performing Arts Center. That changes with “The King and I”. “I always liked it here. It feels comfortable,” Karger said. “It’s wonderful to be able to rehearse and perform in the same place.” And while the Barbertonbased Magical Theatre Co. will continue to hold acting classes for tweens, WaCPAC now will offer Saturday classes for younger students. “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Davis, conceding that the center has over the years “struggled to flesh out a theater program.” Music ensembles also will be returning. Noting that the WCA had a children’s choir years ago, Fox said he is ready to restart a choral program and will start with an honors choir concept. Local vocal music instructors will be asked, “Who are the kids who want more? Who are the kids you can’t give enough to?” The program would start with the middle and high school programs, he said, and then work back to young singers. “We’ve been trying to grapple,” Fox said, “with what that’s going to look like.” Still, Fox acknowledges the arts center also is a business and will continue to find ways to generate revenue to support all the programs, including those that are popular, though not always profitable. The auditorium in which WaCPAC will rehearse and stage its upcoming musical, is scheduled for a renovation which will include a carry-in (though not commercial) warming kitchen, as well as an additional bathroom.

support its artist members. And, she added, “if you want to be in our shows, you have to come to our meetings.” The group did its own show at Heartland this year. Then Shie got a phone call. “(Fox) says to me, ‘I hear you need a place to have an art show. We want you back at the arts center’,” she said. While the summer 2020 show already is contracted with Heartland Point, Shie said future shows will move to the Wooster facility, though she doesn’t rule out maintaining a relationship >>> Continued on page 18 with Heartland, which has in the past featured individual WAGE artists in solo shows. The juried show, which opened in both arts center galleries in January, was well received and will continue in addition to, not in place of, the WAGE exhibition. Shie, whose art has been featured in shows both locally and abroad, said Fox “has heart. He’s the real McCoy in what you hope to have in an arts center director. Linda Karger agreed with Shie’s assessment. A long-time member and board member of WaCPAC, Karger currently is directing the nonprofit’s production of “The King & I,” which will open Jan. 4 at the WCA and continue with performances on Jan. 5, 10, 11 and 12. And like Shie, Fox reached out to Karger and several other WaCPAC board members about coming back to the WCA. Paintings by local artist Margaret Freed recently were on display in one It’s been years since the community theater organization was formally affiliated with the arts center, which had been its of the galleries at the Wayne Center for the Arts. 44691 | NOVEMB ER/DE CEMBE R 2 019


That will make it attractive, Fox said, as a rental for events and meetings. But he’s not stopping there. The WCA and the neighborhood surrounding it is in downtown Wooster and, as such, is a part of the City of Wooster’s downtown strategic plan, which was developed five years ago and calls for an Arts & Culture District with the WCA and the Wayne County Public Library on West Liberty Street as its hubs, as well as an Arts & Culture Residential District to the south. And if all goes well, that district will include an outdoor performance space created to the rear of the existing building, which would open to expose the existing stage from the back and outdoor seating for the audience. “It’s a very multipurpose concept,” Fox said and one that will involve a capital campaign to launch. Still, the WCA doesn’t have enough square footage to be all things to all people, which is why Fox said outreach is so crucial to bringing the arts to the community. And that, he said, means partnerships and lots of them – with Community Action of Wayne Medina, with the Wooster Boys & Girls Club, with Liberty Prep and with local nonprofits and nursing facilities. “I’m excited to do even more than that. It’s time to get out of our comfort zone,” Fox said. But, he added, he learned

Among the many offerings available at the Wayne Center for the Arts is an introduction to painting, which these budding young artists seem to be enjoying.

a lot over the summer just by familiarizing himself with the WCA’s dance program, which operates with minimal full-time staff and instead relies heavily on a core of contracted instructors. “Really,” Fox said, “I just want to get more people involved.” To that end, he’s been working with local actor and voiceover performer Richard Figge, who brought a workshop to the center, and with local vocal instructor Mia Smith. “I’m excited,” Davis said of Smith’s coming to the center to teach. “She has the

By Laurie Sidle


evin Walton has always been fascinated by the world around him. His paintings, he said, are like mirrors reflecting what he sees. A Wayne County native known for his colorful landscapes and large-scale murals, Walton is sharing what he’s seen in an exhibition at the Wayne Center for the Arts Galleries now through Dec. 14. From his Smithville studio, Walton creates largescale oil paintings that have recently won recognition from the Ohio Arts Council and the Canton Museum of Art. This exhibition features 28 works, mostly in

capability to do not only classical, but also some pop elements.” Instituting all the programs and improvements is going to take time, but Fox said he’s got that. Just applying for the executive director’s position was “100 percent pure choice,” he said. “I would not even have applied if this was a flash in the pan.” Having come from a nonprofit background, “it is the energy,” Fox said of his new – and hopefully long-term – position, “and the ability to go home and know you’re doing something.”

oil, and ranges from rural Ohio landscapes to fanciful depictions of fictional characters. “I paint whatever interests me at a certain point,” Walton said. This includes landscapes, portraits and still lifes. His influences are his favorite artists. “I like Norman Rockwell,” Walton said, “so if I’m painting people, I tend to use a Rockwell-esque technique.” “If I’m doing landscapes,” he said, “I like Eric Sloane,” an American landscape painter, illustrator and author of illustrated books on the cultural history and folklore of America. Walton appreciates Sloan’s “ability to write and explain his world to other people.” Two other influences include Maxfield Parrish, an

WCA hosts exhibit by local artist Kevin Walton


“Sometimes We Dream” by Kevin Walton.

American artist and illustrator known for his prints and paintings of whimsical mythological scenes, and Akronborn Charles Pfahl, a realist painter best known for his mysterious interiors and haunting still lifes. Walton said his love of art “is very much tied to my love of history.” Walton retired in 2004 after a 35-year career as a history teacher and wrestling coach in the Dalton School District. So connected are his love of history and art, he doesn’t know which he “loved most or first. I guess my love of history and art developed together; one shaping and giving understanding to the other.” Walton’s formal training includes an art minor from the College of Wooster and classes from a multitude of celebrated northeast Ohio artists, but his family and career kept him busy until retirement. “Retirement has renewed my interest in art,” Walton said, “and granted me the luxury of time to paint.” That investment of time paid off. Walton was a Special Purchase Award winner from the Ohio Arts Council in 2016 and was recognized by the Canton Museum of Art during the 2019 Canton Artists’ League show. His work also has been spotted in Wooster during the 2019

Wayne/Holmes Artists’ Exhibition at WCA and in Fredericksburg on the walls of the new Fredericksburg Presbyterian Church, where he created an 8foot-by-3-foot panel work on oil. “My mother was a devoted member of the church and she wanted something from our family to hang in the new church being built to replace the 150year-old building they were tearing down. Upon her request I painted the 8-foot by 3-foot work ‘A Season for Every Activity Under the Heavens.’ As a result I discovered that I very much desire to paint scenes, concepts, individuals, and stories from the Bible — both Old and New Testament.” The exhibition at Wayne Center for the Arts will feature mostly smaller works, celebrating Walton’s images of rural Ohio life. “We are absolutely thrilled to present the work of Wayne County’s own Kevin Walton,” said WCA Executive Director James Fox. “Mr. Walton’s vibrant landscapes reflect his love, appreciation and connection to our amazing rural county. This is an amazing opportunity to view the work of true local talent.” Painting since he was eight years old, Walton said he originally wanted to work as a portrait artist like the ones he admired.” Then he got side-tracked by his teaching career. “I drew at first,” he said, “then I painted what I saw. That’s what artists do. They try to make sense out of the world as they move through it.” In displaying his artistry, Walton hopes to evoke an emotional reaction in people. “If someone likes it, then you know you’ve done a good job,” he said. “I like that. I know I’ve made a connection with that person.”

“White Steeple Cloudscape” by Kevin Walton. 44691 | NOVEMB ER/DE CEMBE R 2 019


Featured Business

Country Bedding: Quality and Local Craftsmanship Continues into a Second Generation


It’s one thing to start a business and keep it going. colleges and universities. Those are clients “who need It’s quite another to have it continue into the next the product to last,” Miller says, and they often congeneration. Statistically, only 30 percent of businesses tact Country Bedding “after they’ve bought less exmake it past the founders, and into the hands of pensive brands.” It may sound cliche, but it really their children. But that’s exactly what’s happened at does pay to buy quality. Country Bedding, located between Apple Creek and Miller said almost all of Country Bedding’s prodOrrville. ucts are true two-sided mattresses, “which is someThe current owner, Atlee Miller, learned the trade thing we’re seeing less and less of in the industry. We of mattress making from his father, who started the like to let people know that they can turn our matbusiness almost 39 years ago, in 1981. tresses over, and that this is something that helps Over the years the product line has changed, and make it last a long time.” Miller says that shopping been added to, but one thing hasn’t changed: The for a mattress might not be everyone’s idea of fun, Miller family’s commitment to handcrafting each mattress set as if it were going into their own home. “Things have definitely changed over the years,” Atlee says, “We’ve upgraded materials, fabrics, our frames, springs and pretty much everything in general. But we give full attention to every piece that comes out of our shop. That hasn’t changed since my dad first started making mattress sets.” In a world that increasingly is populated with Big Box stores and discount warehouses, perhaps the <<<The Comfort best compliment a business can recare Collecceive is not only when people recomtion is the newest addition to the line of mend a product or service to their quality hand-crafted friends, but to their family, especially their chilmattress sets manufactured by Country Bedding Manufacturdren. “We’re starting to see that,” Atlee says. ing, LLC. This collection has individu“People who have been longtime customers are ally wrapped coil units with three different foam options (firm, soft or latex foam). It can be purchased with a true working box spring, and sending their grown children to us. The kids also is a great option for an adjustable bed base. might not have realized it until they started shopping, or asking around, but a good many of them who come into the showroom grew up sleeping but it’s important, “because that’s where you’re on our mattresses.” spending the majority of your time. When you think Miller says Country Bedding also does a fair about it, you’re in bed an average of eight hours a amount of sales to the hotel/motel industry and even day, week in, week out. There’s no other part of your

home or office where you spend so much time at once. likes it firm — that’s not a problem anymore.” Miller So we feel like taking the time to choose the right matsaid the Royal Collection “has been a big hit. Couples tress is very important.” Miller says it’s a good investment don’t have to compromise anymore. We can put both because “sleep is very important. That may sound like firm and soft materials on the same mattress.” Country something everyone knows, but there are plenty of sleep Bedding also is doing its best to keep up with other professionals in the medical trends, and even blazing field and they will tell you its own path with models “People who have been longtime customers like their Firm Pillow that a good night’s sleep is absolutely essential.” Top. Miller said it’s a pilare now sending their grown children to us. Miller said all the matlow-top mattress, but also The kids might not realize it until they start tresses in their showroom is two-sided, so it can be shopping, or asking around, but a good many are available for customers flipped “That’s practically of them grew up sleeping on our mattresses.” to try out. “We encourage unheard of, with a pilthem to climb on and try low-top but we make it.” them out. It’s an important decision, and we’ll spend as much time with them as Country Bedding is located at 2696 S. Carr rd., Apple needed. That’s why we’re here.” Creek, OH 44606. Hours are Monday, Tuesday and Friday One development that has really helped a lot of couples from 8-5; Wednesday 8-7; Saturday 8-3. Closed Thursday in recent years is Country Bedding’s Royal Collection, and Sunday. There is no phone, fax or e-mail. which features two comfort levels, one on each side. “One partner mike like a softer surface and the other



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Just Down the Road... Millersburg Business District Takes off in Exciting New Directions


n our last issue we traveled to Mansfield and Richland county, noting that a renaissance is taking place there. This issue, we needed look no further than quite literally down the road (State Route 83) to share some exciting travel destinations with our readers: Millersburg. Yes, Millersburg. While Millersburg often is mentioned only in terms of being part of Amish Country, the downtown business district has its own unique flair that has little to do with the Plain People or lifestyle. And downtown Millersburg looks to be undergoing an exciting transformation. Shasta Mast, Executive Director of the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, is particularly excited about the recent transition, noting, “Millersburg has become a hive of activity and a destination in its own right. New retail businesses, the brewery expansion, a new coffee shop, ice cream and more have contributed (Above) The showroom at New Towne Gallery at 55 W. Jackson St. Millersburg is a to the town’s renaissance.” refreshing, unique collection of Colonial and Native American art, much of which At the core of this transformation are people has been created by artisans from within the area. with a true entrepreneurial spirit. People like Lena (Below) The tap list at Millersburg Brewing Co. always includes a wide variety, but Schlabach, owner of the recently-relocated this time of year you can expect to find a few additional stouts and porters. Farmhouse Frocks. Now located in the old (Far right) part of the West Jackson Street streetscape. Maxwell Brothers building, which served generations of Homes County residents with frontier and Native American history, and if you’re not clothing, Schlabach already was enjoying success before taking familiar with the Treaty of Greenville, you owe it to yourself to the plunge into the Maxwell building on West Jackson Street learn about the significance of this important, historic post(the main east-west route through downtown). Working with revolution treaty. The line bisects Holmes County from east to her two daughters in the store, and several dozen Amish west, on a downward angle, and is marked in various spots seamstresses dotted all over the countryside, Farmhouse along the way throughout the county. Frocks crafts, “urban farmhouse, boho, shabby chic, Miller has amassed an impressive display of cottage and prairie style” clothing for all sizes. objects that not only reflect our nation’s early Farmhouse Frocks is well-known online, having history, but also showcase the talents of a developed a strong following for its unique number of local artisans. clothing. And while the store definitely has the look And then there’s Mark Miller, owner of and feel of a gallery, there are other items to the New Towne Gallery. With an emphasis purchase as well, such as a nice line of leather on 18th-century colonial and Native goods, books and teas reflective of America’s American art, and local artisans, Miller has history. put together a unique collection of While Miller’s gallery/showcase is paintings, primitives, pottery and much arguably one of the most unique new shops more. downtown, he is not alone in venturing into Miller is an engaging young man with a new waters in downtown Millersburg. Other strong interest (and a great deal of knowledge) new or newer venues include Olde World in art and history. Our visit with him covered a Bakery and Bistro, which serves up amazingnumber of subjects including a discussion of the looking confections, sandwiches, salads and much importance of the Greenville Treaty Line. more, with an emphasis on the farm-to-table process Northeast/North central Ohio is incredibly rich in and locally sourced ingredients. Olde World serves


breakfast, lunch and dinner items, and the menu is sprinkled with Mexican/southwest items. Gluten-free items are available, and the baked goods contain no hydrogenated oils and no bleached flours. Pints and flights You can’t discuss the exciting new things happening in downtown Millersburg without mentioning Millersburg Brewing Company. Just seven years old, Millersburg Brewing is very much making its presence known in the world of craft brewing. So much so, in fact, that Brewmaster Marty Lindon and his crew recently brought home a silver medal for their “Alegria” in the Americansour style category at the Great American Beer Festival competition in Denver, Co. In 2016 their “Doc’s Scotch Ale” won a gold medal at this same national event. (We would, of course, be completely off base if we did not mention that Wooster’s own JAFB Brewery also has done quite well at this event, this year garnering a bronze award for its JAF IPA American-style Strong Pale Ale.) Located in the original Rodhe’s IGA location right on Jackson street, the owners reused or repurposed many of the original fixtures and artifacts when the taproom/brewpub was being outfitted. So when you walk in, you feel like you’ve entered a place that has been a go-to for locals for a long time. Until recently the highly acclaimed brewery was bursting at the seams: The public area and kitchen are in the middle of a major expansion that includes additional seating, rollup garage doors that face the main thoroughfare, and an expanded menu. The brewery’s canning line is enjoying great success, as well. The canning operation is located just steps away from the brewery/taproom location in the original Holmes County Farmer Hub newspaper building. Right next door is Bags Sports Pub, whose menu is easily on par with any fast-casual neighborhood-type sports bar/casual restaurant. We highly recommend the Rueben sandwich which is, of course, the standard against which all pub grub should be judged. Bags’ entry does not disappoint. Bags is family-friendly, too, and the menu is complete from appetizers and sandwiches to steaks, ribs and other entrees. History awaits But if shopping, dining or hoisting a tankard of ale are not your thing, fear not: One of the biggest draws to the downtown also is one of its longtime mainstays: the Victorian House Museum. The 28-room Queen Anne style mansion is operated by the Homes County Historical Society, and is

available for tours. The mansion appears almost exactly as it would have when it was first built, and is decorated to reflect the period. In recent years, the Millersburg Glass Museum also has found a home on the campus of the “Holmes County Cultural Center Campus,” next to the Victorian House Museum. Millersburg glass is a highly collectible line of glassware. Created by John Fenton for only a brief period, many of the pieces are considered works of art and command high prices when they come up for auction. The Millersburg Glass Museum contains pieces that are part of its permanent collection, as well as some on loan from private collections. Last, but not least, it’s well worth adding that the Holmes County Rails To Trails bicycle path goes through downtown Millersburg. Part of the area’s ever-growing section of converted rail trails, the section that goes through Millersburg runs north as far as Fredericksburg, and south to Killbuck, for a total of 22 miles. The Hipp Station, which is adjacent to >>> Continued on page 27

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Santa Claus steps into a time machine at Lehman’s! By Jerry Klingerman


s this Santa’s workshop transported back in time 50 or 75 years? No, it’s Lehman’s Toy Barn, an amazing selection of toys that amaze! As a “local” living in Ohio’s Amish Country I have visited Lehman’s many times. Truth be told, I grew up on the very same road as Lehman’s just a few miles from Kidron. But it wasn’t until I became a parent that I began to appreciate the section of vintage and classic-style toys that Lehman’s features in the southwest corner of the sprawling store. In an age where children seem to be interested only in “batteries not included” toys, games and gadgets, Lehman’s toy section, like the rest of the store, is a real throwback, and a welcome respite for parents or grandparents who long to find toys and games that offer something besides staring at a video screen for entertainment. Their specialty is USA- and Amish-made toys and they work closely with many local vendors. Like the rest of the “Amish megastore,” it’s obvious that Lehman’s has put a great deal of thought, time and effort into the toys section. “The very first toys we carried were the John Deere metal tractors,” said Glenda Lehman Ervin, VP of Marketing and daughter of company founder Jay Lehman. “Grandparents were buying them


for their grandchildren, because the tractors looked like the one Grandpa drove. Then we added books, puzzles, games, dolls, wooden toys and the Toy Barn became a destination.” Navigating to the Toy Barn is a trip through multiple sections of the store that is sometimes difficult to describe. Lehman’s is best understood when you experience it firsthand. But on your way you’ll see thousands of items that are dedicated toward living a simpler life. For example, you’ll see a whole section of soda pops you thought were long gone, candy displays reminiscent of an old general store, farming and self-sufficient-themed “how-to” books, traditional kitchen and canning supplies and a selection of hand tools that would make any weekend warrior drool with desire. The Toy Barn is located in a somewhat secluded corner of the store, in a section that is reconstructed from a local antique timberframe barn. It might take a little searching to find the Toy Barn, but once you’re there, you’ll feel like a child again yourself, as you dart from toy to toy, delighting in the traditional nature of science kits, wooden puzzles, pull toys, board games, books and classic wooden toys and games that fill the shelves. Remember those brightly colored wooden stacking rings that babies love? You’ll find them here. Or maybe you’d like to find a set of large, sturdy, colorful wooden ABC blocks, like you had when you were a child. Well, Lehman’s has those, too! We bought a set of the blocks for our first child, and both our girls learned their ABCs with the aid of them. Our block set is a keepsake that will never be sold or given away, unlike so many of the modern plastic toys our children once used. No; someday these will be passed to the next generation. What seems like a never-ending selection of puzzles, stuffed animals, John Deere miniatures and board games will likely cause a flood of memories about your own toys. You’ll find all the classics, including an original black metal Slinky, Etch-aSketch, kaleidoscopes, gyroscope and even a good old-fashioned wooden slingshot. Grandparents or anyone with a wry sense of humor may take special delight in selecting “toys that make noise,” including kazoos, a xylophone, slide whistle or even a harmonica. Grandparents, think of it as payback time for all the noise 44691 | NOVEMB ER/DE CEMBE R 2 019

your kids used to make! Do you remember Raggedy Ann and Andy? How about sock monkeys? They all live here, too, as do Tiddlywinks and dominoes (in a tin box of course). It’s almost as if someone took a snapshot from a child’s toy chest in the 1940s or 50s and recreated the entire contents. For the curious or adventurous youngsters on your list, Lehman’s has a tantalizing selection of science and experiment kits, including ones that let you build a robot, rocket car, dragster and even a windmill generator. Every time I look at these kits, I find myself lingering a while, and wanting to load up the lot of them and race for the checkout! Did I mention the Lego selection? I’ve never met a child who didn’t love Legos, and Lehman’s has — by a wide margin — the largest display of Legos (and Duplo) I have ever seen. There are theme-based kits that I had no idea existed, and those colorful containers of Legos that become as scarce as hen’s teeth at Christmastime are stacked one upon another like…well, like Legos. If your wintertime childhood memories include the words “Flexible Flyer,” you will be happy to learn that Lehman’s commissioned a local Amish craftsman to carefully recreate the popular sled of yesteryear – with improvements. Lehman’s updated version of the classic sled includes powder-coating on the metal parts and polyurethane-coated solid oak for the wooden slats, so this is one toy that should last. >>> Continued on page 26


The Flexible flyer is just one of the products Lehman’s has built exclusively for them; products that otherwise would have gone out of production. “We love to promote brand new, but historically accurate old-fashioned products. For example, the design of our apple peeler hasn’t change for over 100 years. And children have been playing with wooden toys for generations – our specialty is finding local vendors to reproduce hard-to-find items that you thought they quit making years ago.” Finally, for those who recall drinking lemonade and playing croquet on a warm summertime afternoon, Lehman’s offers a sturdy Amish-crafted, solid maple croquet set that young and old alike are sure to enjoy. Truly, there is something for everyone in this space that could best be described as an annex of Santa’s workshop, circa 1950. Lehman’s is located in Wayne County at 4779 Kidron Rd, at the corner of Emerson and Kidron roads in Downtown Kidron, OH. Phone: 800-438-5346. Visit for up-todate hours.

(Left) if you want your children or grandchildren to use less screen time and more imagination, you’ll find numerous options at “The Toy Barn” in Lehman’s in Kidron, OH.


Just Down The Road | Continued from page 23

Grant St., serves as a trailhead, complete with parking, restrooms and a picnic area. There are more places you should explore, including “Broken Grounds,” a very cool new coffee shop at 214 W. Jackson St., but space precludes us from listing them all. Suffice it to say there’s a lot going on, including numerous special events throughout the year. Judy Lamp, Executive Director of Historic Downtown Millersburg, told 44691 that a great many events are on the schedule for 2020; some that have been around a long time, and others that are new. Lamp said “Historic Downtown Millersburg continues to refine its mainstay events, while expanding its activities offerings. These events attract thousands of people to the downtown district each year. By designing events, such as the Chocolate Walk, to specifically place visitors in downtown businesses, HDM helps facilitate both retail trade and restaurant patronage. In 2020, the organization plans to increase its event offerings to include two new events – Art in the Alley and BrewFest. In total, HDM will be hosting 14 signature events. For anyone with an idea looking for a place to happen, there still is space on Jackson Street downtown. But you better hurry! The number of new businesses on West Jackson St. may foreshadow additional businesses discovering what others already know: Three state highways and one US route converge in downtown Millersburg, bringing locals, tourists and others right through the Holmes County seat.

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(Above) the new Broken Grounds Coffee Company in Millersburg completely remodeled a former restaurant space. (Right) A surf-and-turf offering from Olde World Bistro and Bakery.


â&#x20AC;&#x2122;Til Death Do Us Part... (or maybe not)

What happens to our digital footprint after we die? By M. Ann McMillan 28


hat unsettling morning started off like any other normal morning. My editor sat down at his desk and turned on his computer. All was well until a message from the professional networking site LinkedIn popped up on the screen, prodding him to, “Wish Wendy a Happy Work Anniversary.” Under normal circumstances, he wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But this was far from normal. Wendy, a college friend, had passed away a few years earlier. However, she is obviously alive and well on LinkedIn, and maybe even on other social media sites. My editor, who mourned his friend’s passing at the time of her death, sat at his desk that morning and experienced another burst of grief that blindsided him. Down the Rabbit Hole It’s a fact of our modern world that unless steps are taken to erase your “digital footprint” after death, you’ll still be wandering around in the virtual realm. My own father passed away four years ago, and although he didn’t spend time online, let alone on social media sites, he had a Yahoo email account that I never closed. A recent conversation I had with an estate attorney for this article prompted me to begin the process of deleting dad’s online presence. After several guesses at his passcode, I was almost “in.” But then I was unable to verify, as Yahoo requested, the missing digits of a phone number ending with 99. Dad’s cell phone number didn’t have “99” as its last two digits. So I guessed at some numbers that I thought might make sense. The next message I received was, “Uh-oh. Looks like we can’t recover your account online. Please visit our help site to get back in.” Off I went to visit Yahoo’s “help site.” As requested, I entered certain information but then received the message: “Oops, something went wrong. Come back later.” It’s an understatement to say the process of deleting dad’s account is not going to be easy. And he only had a rarely-used email address. I shudder to think of the mess I’d be in if dad had a Facebook page or was on Twitter. A Haunting Reality So what’s the harm in lingering around in the virtual world after we’re dead? Why should we even care, because, let’s face it, we won’t know if we’ve received email or any likes on our final Facebook post. According to David M. Lenz, a Cleveland-based attorney with Schneider Smeltz Spieth Bell LLP, there are very good reasons we should care. After having a LinkedIn experience similar to my editor’s, Lenz began investigating the matter of digital assets related to estate planning, and he has since written and lectured on the subject. “There are a variety of reasons to be concerned about what happens to your digital presence after your death,” he said. “They range from emotional to practical to financial.” Attorney Lenz cautions that email and social media accounts can be hacked and duplicated after your death, with 44691 | NOVEMB ER/DE CEMBE R 2 019

information posted that might be offensive or confusing to your family and friends. Email accounts present a particularly daunting challenge, he warns. If you’re old enough to remember the world before it was wired, you’ll recall that receiving correspondence through the US mail was the preferred method of communication. These days, the estate attorney points out, dividend checks, account statements and tax documents are often sent electronically. When you’re gone, your executor may not be able to fully identify your assets without access to your email account, resulting in delays or even loss of assets to your heirs. Concern that your social media or email account might be hacked or duplicated after you’ve left this earth is not an overreaction. According to blockchain startup SelfKey’s website, there is a new victim of identity theft in the United States every two minutes. SelfKey posts that “at least 4 billion records, including credit card numbers, home addresses, phone numbers and other highly sensitive information, have been exposed through data breaches in 2019.” About Facebook The market leader in social media platforms is Facebook, and as of July 2019 it had 2.38 billion registered users, according to People share the most intimate parts of their lives on this social media giant, with Facebook moments now an integral part of our everyday lives and every milestone we celebrate. Most of us are familiar with the philosophical question, “If a tree falls in a forest, without anyone around to hear it, does it make a sound?” In today’s digital world we might ask, “If you have an event without it being shared all over social media, is it real?” Our daily lives are not only entwined with Facebook, but also with its cousin, Instagram, as well as other social media platforms. This then begs the question, “What happens to our presence on these sites when we die?” Facebook strongly advises its users to designate a legacy contact. According to information on the social media site’s Help Center section: A legacy contact is someone you choose to look after your account if it’s memorialized. We strongly suggest setting a legacy contact so your account can be managed once it’s memorialized. A legacy contact can accept friend requests on behalf of a memorialized account, pin a tribute post to the profile and change the profile picture and cover photo. If the memorialized account has an area for tributes, a legacy contact will be able to decide who can see and who can post tributes. In addition, Facebook offers other options for the accounts of deceased users, including total deletion of the account. Attorney Lenz advises that you “think about whether your Facebook page should be memorialized or taken down. Would your survivors rather have a place where they can go and read tributes and memories of you, or would they rather not have >>> Continued on page 37


72 Hours in the life of a big rig driver Story and Photos By Jerry Klingerman

“Eastbound and down, rolling out and truckin’ ”


ith those legendary words, songwriter/actor Jerry Lee Lewis and Burt Reynolds turned truck drivers into heroic modern-day cowboys. In 1977 Reynolds, Lewis and Sally Field combined to bring the world “Smokey and the Bandit,” a hilarious film about an outlaw truck driver and his partner, who try to make a pile of cash while evading Sherriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason). Reynolds was riding high as the top box office draw at the time, and it was pure silver screen magic when he got behind the wheel of that iconic black Trans Am and drove blocker for Lewis, who was toting a load of bootleg Coors beer. But one thing the movie’s producers could not have known at the time, was that they were capturing a slice of American life that up until then was unknown to most people: The truck driving/CB Radio culture. The film stands up quite well some 40+ years later, and I have little doubt that is was Smokey and the Bandit that has always made me wonder, “What’s it really like to drive the big rigs? So, when I found out that an old high school buddy, Moreland-area resident Keith Chenevey, was not only my neighbor, but also an over-the-road (OTR) truck driver, I asked him if his employer would allow me to tag along for one of his cross-country jaunts. To my surprise, the answer was “yes.” It took me a while (and some prodding from Chenevey) to clear a hole in my schedule, but late this summer I found myself packing a bag, and then parking my car at Cowen Truck Lines, Inc., in Perrysville to accompany Chenevey on a three-day round-trip run to Alabama and back.


Cowen is a 46-year-old family-owned business that specializes in closed trailer loads. That is, everything they haul is inside an enclosed 53-foot trailer. Even though they have an impressive 70+ rigs, by industry standards Cowen is considered a small trucking company. Chenevey has been a truck driver for 29 years, the last 20 with Cowen. A plaque in the lobby of Cowen Truck Lines attests that Chenevey has logged more than two million miles with Cowen. He estimates it will take another five years to hit the three-million-mile mark. Newbie Prior to our departure, we had a brief information session/interview with Tim Cowen, the CEO, who shared with us some of his insights into the industry, and also assured me I was in good hands with Chenevey at the wheel. When it was time to hit the road, Chenevey gave me two admonitions: “Stay out of my mirrors, and don’t talk to me when we’re in heavy traffic.” That seemed reasonable enough! A truck driver’s mirrors are incredibly important, giving him or her a window on the world to the side and rear. You might recall seeing the words, “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you” placed strategically on an 18-wheeler, and it’s true. And although Cowen equips its trucks with “spot mirrors” on the fenders and within the large side mirrors to increase visibility, “so there’s very few times that I actually can’t see someone,” it’s still one of Chenevey’s pet peeves when cars position themselves in his blind spot. “It’s both aggravating and challenging,” he said. The ride Not to complain too loudly about the state of our highways here in Ohio, but my first impressions from the passenger seat were not at all what I expected. As the accompanying photos show, Chenevey drives a clean, well-maintained late-model Ken-

worth. But the stretch between Columbus and Cincinnati on I-71 was...interesting. You could feel every bump on the road and I will admit that it took me a good three or four hours to get my “sea legs,” if you will. Once we got into an area with better-maintained highways, I was fine, but there definitely was an adjustment. Time is Money In 2016 the federal government made a change to the trucking industry that has had a huge impact on drivers: A requirement that all commercial carriers equip their vehicles with “ELDs,” or Electronic Logging Devices, also known as “E-logs.” The full implementation of ELDs became effective on Dec. 18, 2017. Any motor carrier that previously was required to keep paper logs now must use ELDs. Several manufacturers make these approved devices. Chenevey’s employer uses a system called PeopleNet, which the company describes as, “A fleet management software service that offers end-toend vehicle tracking with a focus on travel logging, navigation and routing, fleet performance monitoring, safety and compliance.” The last word of that description, “compliance” is the key word. One of the key motivating factors behind the federal government’s implementation of E-logs was to try and eliminate accidents that occur due to driver fatigue. The PeopleNet system tracks and monitors a multitude of things but the three most important, where drivers and driver safety are concerned are: Driving time, On Duty Time and Cycle time. By law, drivers who fall under the Elog requirements cannot spend more than 11 total hours driving, nor more than 14 hours of total on-duty time until they are required to take a 10-hour break. After the 8th straight hour of driving, the system also requires drivers to take at least a 30-minute break. But 14 is the magic number: “Once your 14 hours is used up, you’re done. Then you have to have another 10 off,” Chenevey said. I’m certain that drivers are just as concerned as anyone with the safety of them44691 | NOVEMB ER/DE CEMBE R 2 019

selves and the vehicles around them, but the challenge with the E-log system is this: It doesn’t care if you’re stuck in traffic, nor does it take into account when a driver gets delayed at his destination, which affects total On Duty time. Case in point: When we reached our destination in Alabama, it took more than two hours to get unloaded, before we then got a new trailer hooked up for the backhaul to Ohio. (No driver or company wants to “deadhead” back home without a trailer, or with an empty trailer. So securing a “backhaul” load is just as important as the initial load.) I’m not sure why it took so long to get unloaded, and neither was Chenevey. He was a bit frustrated, but as someone whose been doing this for 29 years he also knows that, “It comes with the territory.” It’s not an uncommon occurrence, and a driver needs to mind his P’s and Q’s, because these are paying customers you’re dealing with. But where the E-log is concerned, none of that matters. That time spent

delicate balancing act. Our last night on the road, for example, proved to be a challenge as Chenevey’s On Duty clock was literally running out. We trolled the lots of several large truck stops before finally finding the very last available space just as time was running out. If it wasn’t for Chenevey’s impressive ability to back his rig, and 53-foot trailer, around a corner and between two other rigs in a tight spot, we would have been in a real jam. >>> Continued on page 32

(Far Left) Over The Road truck driver Keith Chenevey has 29 years of total experience, and regularly drives cross country, mostly east of the Mississippi. (Top) The cockpit of Chenevey’s Kenworth. (Left) The Electronic Logging Device keeps track of many things, including mileage and miles driven, but most importantly how long the driver has been on duty and/or driving. (Below) After along day on the road, Chenevey takes some time to catch up on the world via Social Media.

waiting comes with a price: it eats into the number of total hours of On Duty time that a driver can put in before having to take a mandatory 10-hour break. Mandatory. When “Big Brother” says it’s time to shut down, you shut down. Once a driver is moving, that’s it. In other words, it doesn’t matter if there is highly congested traffic that costs the driver two hours, or a delay at a delivery, the E-log is active, and counting time. Shutting down for the night Many drivers try to keep similar schedules, so balancing On Duty Time with available spaces in truck stops is a


Meals on the road Most people probably have a picture in their mind’s eye about truck stops and “greasy spoon” restaurants, but by and large Chenevey is able to sidestep this stereotype. Chenevey saves time, money and eats healthy on the road thanks to the devotion of his wife. Cheryl Chenevey is a retired librarian who for many years has taken the time to cook hot meals for her husband, label and freeze them. So, rather than rolling into the truck stops and bellying up to the buffet, we ate our meals in the truck, thanks to the fact that Chenevey’s rig includes a refrigerator/freezer and a microwave oven. While other drivers might have been taking As night begins to fall, truck drivers start jockeying for position in the large truck stops that their chances with daily specials, we were dot the interstates. Space is at a premium, though, as E-Logs keep drivers on a tight scheddining on slow-cooked barbecue ribs! ule, and most drivers prefer driving during daylight hours. Having nice home-cooked meals waiting for him definitely sets Chenevey apart from This is why, as evening heads into night, you’ll see 18-wheela lot of drivers. (And he is genuinely appreciative of his wife for ers parked one after the other in truck stops, rest areas and someproviding that luxury.) Another area where Chenevey tries to be times just by the side of the road near highway exits: Driver are an atypical 18-wheel driver is getting exercise. While he’s logging trying their best to find a spot for the night and stay in complidown time, he often takes long walks to get exercise and avoid ance with the E-log rules. “Anything past 8 o’clock at night and some of the ailments that can affect truck drivers: Hypertension, you can’t get a parking spot,” Chenevey said. For safety and other obesity and sleep apnea, just to name a few. reasons Chenevey and the vast majority of drivers much prefer Chenevey is keenly aware of the fact that commercial truck the large truck stops to rest areas or simply parking alongside a drivers have a far lower life expectancy than people with “averhighway exit. age” occupations (61 years as opposed to 77 years). It also should Note: These are my impressions. I only spent three days in a be noted that in order to keep a Commercial Driver’s License rig, but it was a fascinating, eye-opening experience. And while it (CDL) active, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration might sound like I’m denigrating the E-log systems, I’m not. I requires that CDL holders maintain certain minimum health rehave no doubt they have saved countless lives already. But like a quirements. Categories include vision, hearing, cardiovascular, lot of well-intentioned efforts, there are unintended conseblood pressure, color perception and of course, drug testing, quences. Drivers, in cooperation with dispatchers, work hard to among others. A driver who loses his medical certification is baplan the best routes, and maximize their income, while making sically out of a job. the best guesses possible as to where they’ll be able to stop for mandatory breaks and off-duty time. Honestly, I knew nothing See the country? Yes. Experience it? Not so much... about this aspect of truck driving but it seems to this writer that While heading south to our final destination in Alabama (an the E-logs have completely changed the game. automotive parts/components manufacturer) we drove through Electronic devices also are incorporated into the driver’s world Chattanooga, TN, which I’d never been to, and which seemed a with respect to weight/inspection stations. As the driver appretty city. I was messaging back and forth with another friend proaches a station, his records and the company’s records are auwho drove truck for a long time and mentioned some of the tomatically retrieved at the station. This is an overly simple places we’d been. His response, was, “Yes, while you drove right summary, but generally speaking those with the cleanest records by.” That was a jarringly accurate description! Being a long-haul (driver and company) will more often than not be signaled, in truck driver might be a great way to see the country, but it strikes the cab at highway speed, that they can skip the weigh station. me that it’s not an opportunity to experience a lot of it. This is I also learned that most trucks are restricted or “governed” so work, not a vacation, and you don’t just stop and explore places they can’t exceed certain speeds. In Chenevey’s case, the vehicle’s that look interesting. I don’t know if that was possible before Espeed is restricted at 70 MPH. That sounds reasonable, but it logs, but it sure isn’t now. Time is money. also means you have to plan your moves in traffic carefully, and One interesting experience we did have was seeing an actual well in advance, such as cases when you might be attempting to full-size Saturn 1B rocket at a rest area/welcome center near pass another rig on a hill. Huntsville, AL. Often called the “Rocket City,” Huntsville has a


rich heritage in the space industry, having been home to the fabled rocket scientist Werner Von Braun and other Germanborn members of his team. Huntsville is home to NASA’s Marshall Flight Center. We arrived after dark, but the rocket was well-lit, and truly a sight to behold. But, honestly, that was it for sightseeing! There are other considerations that come into play when you’re on the road. Sleeping and showering come to mind first. Chenevey’s Kenworth was equipped with top and lower bunks, so even though I might have had visions of a hot shower at a Hampton Inn, the top bunk was my home. Actually, it was pretty comfortable. According to Chenevey he rarely stay in hotels or motels, perhaps only when he is unexpectedly delayed on the road for a day or two. But Chenevey’s home-away-from home is well-equipped, with TV and the aforementioned appliances, and most truck stops are modern, clean and well-designed these days. One additional aspect of life on the road is that a driver might not know where he’s going to be three days or even 24 hours ahead of time. Things can change, based on delays and the availability of loads. In normal weeks, Chenevey awaits a call from a dispatcher on Monday morning, who will typically offer him a choice between several runs. Drivers with the most tenure can expect to have better options, but that’s not always the case, especially when your schedule gets thrown for a loop. Our unexpectedly long wait in Alabama actually ended up affecting Chenevey’s whole week. So, while he might have anticipated getting another nice haul to, say, Wisconsin to fill out his week, such was not the case, and he ended up taking a shorter run simply because of that single delay. Time is money. Final impressions In some ways life as a truck driver is, in fact, like being a cowboy: It’s nomadic, a bit lonely and you never know where your next destination will be — or when you’ll see your loved ones. (There are even some drivers whose truck is, in fact, their home. Understandably, they tend to be 44691 | NOVEMB ER/DE CEMBE R 2 019

unmarried.) My honest impression is that over-the-road driving is not for the faint of heart. First and foremost, you have to know how to drive that truck! You also better have some mechanical acumen (like farmers do) so you can solve some of your own issues. Both driving ability and the ability to diagnose and fix certain issues come with experience. Next, A healthy dose of patience also is prescribed. If you tend to suffer from road rage, I would suggest that life in an 18wheeler is not for you. Drivers also have to be able to think on their feet; selecting alternate routes based on any number of factors, and even something seemingly as simple as finding a place to park at night. Is it the glamorous adventure portrayed by “The Bandit” and his sidekick? No. But I definitely came away from the experience with a heightened respect for the men and women who keep America moving.

Professional truck driving isn’t about sightseeing, it’s about putting as many miles on the odometer as possible. The lone exception to that, on my journey with OTR driver Keith Chenevey, was seeing an authentic Saturn 1B rocket at a welcome center in Alabama.

The piano-playing truck driver Enjoying home-cooked meals and taking long walks for his health while on the road aren’t the only things that set long-haul truck driver Keith Chenevey apart from some of his fellow road warriors: Chenevey also is a musician; he’s an accomplished pianist. In fact, he has been playing the piano and organ for more than 40 years. He has been a church musician for 30 years, and once was named an honorary member of the American Guild of Organists. Just weeks ago, Chenevey spent his vacation in an Indiana recording studio putting the finishing touches on his second CD of Christmas music. (His first CD was recorded in 2017 and was sold only by word of mouth.) Not one to be boastful about his talents, Chenevey is quick to point out that there is a great deal of talent among his colleagues, saying that there are singers, guitar players, etc. behind the wheel of those big rigs. His latest CD, “Blessings beyond Bethlehem,” is due out any day. If you’d like to follow the release, search for “Keith Chenevey Music” on Facebook.


The Kandel Family: Despite tragedy, Nashville-Area family grew to include 18 children By Carol Zollinger

Julie Kandel smiles proudly as she stands in front of the mantlepiece which displays senior pictures of many of the Kandel children, other school photos and a memorial to her late husband, Ron.

The house isn’t perfect, but the pantry is full. That just about sums up the Kandel family. Sitting at a kitchen table built for 20, you can see the pantry shelves. Sixteen boxes of cereal and six family-size bags of chips, and the best guess is that they’ll last a week. The lone bag of pretzels is set to disappear like a snowball in July.   Julie Kandel has 11 children at home, with nine still in school. Her school supply list this August included 20 glue sticks and 43 dry-erase markers. Seven adult children are on their own but come by when they can. When Julie married Ron Kandel in 1989, they agreed they wanted a houseful of kids, but even she couldn’t have imagined 18.  “When we had 10 kids, we lifted the house up,” Julie said. “It had an old sandstone cellar, and we dug it out and


replaced it with a livable basement.” At the same time, they added bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate the family growing in both number and size. The kitchen got an overhaul, too. “That’s our second water fountain,” Julie pointed. “You can see where the outline of the first one was. When it died I knew I had to replace it. We use it so much.” One of the boys had just lifted his head from the stream of water, as if to demonstrate. “I think about it now and I don’t even know how we did it,” Julie said. “I had four babies during the remodeling, all less than a year old.” Four babies under a year old is a feat for anyone, but Ron and Julie had been working on it for a while. By the time Julie had given birth to Alexis, their third biological child, Ron and Julie were licensed foster parents and were working on the adoptions of a pair of sisters. Gio-

vante, biologically related to the adoptive sisters, came along shortly after Alexis, and Ron and Julie decided that any remaining children would come to them via the foster system. It’s hard for most of us to imagine. Big families have largely gone the way of the rotary desk phone. Mothers with just four children tagging after them in public are regularly asked, “Are they all yours?” with undisguised dismay. None of that bothers Julie.  “We always knew,” she said, “that any kids that came to us that were available, we’d adopt them.” She and Ron were fine with large sibling groups, too, even with six already in the home. “It’s so hard to find places for more than two siblings at a time, but those kids need the help just as much.” Ron was not amused, however, when Julie daydreamed about having triplets.  “He pointed out that I only had two hands.” Julie laughed at the memory. “He was not interested in more than two newborns at a time!” It was only a couple of days after that conversation that she got a call from the foster care agency. They had newborn twin boys, they said. Probably they would be eligible for adoption...What did Ron and Julie think?  Julie called Ron in the barn. “It’s only two,” he said. “Take ’em!”  The baby boys prospered and grew. When they were 10 months old, the phone rang again. Their adoptive twins had another biological (paternal) sibling, and Cuyahoga County had tracked down the Kandel family. Would they accept the placement? “Of course,” Julie said. Of course. That would bring their total to nine, but it would be fine. She could hardly wait to tell Ron. It had taken the county a long time to figure out the biological family connections, and Josiah, set to be the newest member of the Kandel family, was no longer an infant. He’d been born just two weeks before the twins. With that, Julie had her triplets. In fact, Josiah had a newborn brother, too, and that was how Julie came to be managing four babies while she remodeled her kitchen. 

“That was Josiah, Marcus, Jonathon and David,” she said. “What a time.” David looked up and grinned when he heard his name. Repping for big brothers everywhere, he’d been feeding Flaming Hot Doritos to his younger siblings to hear them howl. As penance, he ambled in to the sunroom and pulled up a show for them on Netflix. The kids scrambled onto a long leather sectional, shoving with elbows and knees until they settled into a warm pile like puppies. The youngest seven children are all full biological siblings, and only four of them had been placed with the Kandel family to begin with. Much of their story is theirs to tell, but it’s no secret that they missed each other deeply with three siblings in a different home. The Kandels held to their original intent — if they’re available for adoption, they’re ours — and started the legal proceedings to make Araceli, Ixemeli, Hector and Elias a permanent part of the family. All of them visited with Asael, Monica and Elyasar when they could. The days were long and full. Julie, always up early anyway, pulled the morning shift and did pre-dawn chores in the barn. Ron was the night shift man; when Julie was ready for bed at 8:30, he was still going. The grown kids called Ron in the evenings to talk, after the little ones were in bed.  An empty chair “This was his chair,” Julie said, running her hand over the back of a recliner that had seen better days. Part of the stuffing was missing from the seat, and someone had aggressively taped the corner to keep more from coming out. “It used to sit over there.” She pointed to the corner of the front room, a spot that offered a panoramic view of the bottom floor of the house. “It took me a long time to move it,” Julie continued, “and I can’t bear to get rid of it. I know it’s in bad shape. But it’s where he sat and talked to them all. They told things to Ron. All the kids. He was always the one they wanted to tell.” 

A farmer by trade, Ron Kandel grew up in Orrville. After he and Julie were married, he became a partner at Hyland Acres Jerseys LTD., a Big Prairie dairy operation. One of four partners, including Julie’s father, Ron’s forte was filed work and fixing equipment. Ron was called out to the farm on a bright October morning in 2017 to help fix a piece of equipment, and he A farming accident took the life never came home again. He of Ron Kandel in October 2017. was rushed to the hospital At the time of his death the after being trapped briefly in Kandels had 11 children, via fostering and adopting. The machinery. Ron held on for family has since grown to 18 three days, but the damage children. was too great. Julie gathered all her children in and planned a funeral.  Adoption plans were put on hold. It was too much to think about, when just getting through the day required grit. Julie stood through calling hours and shook 1,400 hands. Her brother-in-law slipped in beside her partway through.  “Julie,” he said in her ear, “do you know all these people?” She looked around the room.  “Well,” she said, “yeah. Most of them.” There were a few she didn’t know. Ron’s friends. A man she’d met in the second grade and barely seen since. And then the neighbors and church folks and the friend from California who had her husband, now beside her, booking a plane ticket as soon as Julie called the morning of the accident.  >>> Continued on page 36

An extra-large dining table in the kitchen serves as the hub of the busy home — meals, family discussions, homework and reading to the little ones all happen here. 44691 | NOVEMB ER/DE CEMBE R 2 019


All of them were sorry. Everyone was kind. And still, when it was all over, Julie sat at the long, long table in her kitchen and had decisions to make. She had nine bedrooms, four bathrooms and 11 children, except maybe, with the four fosters currently in the home it was really 15 children, and… “I don’t know what I should do,” she said against the murmuring of her children. They looked up to the head of the table. Julie was framed against the sliding doors. Behind the glass, a bird settled on the deck railing and cocked his head. Maybe he was listening, too. “What should I do about the adoption?” The air over the table was perfectly still. Even the bird outside didn’t move. “What do you mean?” It was one of the grown ones, further down. “They’re part of our family.” It was quiet again for a moment, and then Julie nodded. It was true, and it was inevitable. They were family, and that hadn’t changed. To everyone’s surprise, things did change. About a month after Ron died, Julie got another call. Even the caseworker couldn’t believe she was asking, but those three siblings in the group of seven? They needed a new foster placement.  It took some thought, and some discussion, and so much prayer, but Julie came up with one more yes. Three more children became Kandels, rounding out the total at 18.  “With God’s help,” Julie is always quick to add. “And my


older children’s help.” The Kandel house is a zoo. There are balledup socks on the floor in every room. The small dining room table seats eight. An infant grandchild roams the house on a tween aunt’s hip, with wide eyes taking everything in. Someone needs a snack...or a hug...or a property dispute ruling every 20 A drinking fountain is a handy item in a seconds. “I know some people home of 18 children! think I’m crazy,” Julie said, “but we’re the adults. They’re children. They need a safe place.” A family. Where everything’s messy, but the pantry is full, and so are the hearts. Editor’s note: 44691 asked Julie Kandel if the family would accept donations. She responded that they are doing fine, and would simply encourage everyone to foster and/or adopt, or if they are not in a position to do so, to help families who do.

Digital Footprint | Continued from page 29

the painful reminder of possibly seeing your picture each time they long into their account?”

your executor is not particularly tech-savvy, you might want to consider appointing a tech-savvy co-executor or delegate authority to the executor to allow a more tech-savvy counterpart to handle the digital assets side of the job. While protecting your digital assets or even completely erasing them after you die seems like a daunting task—it is an essential one.

Exit Strategy Even if it’s your intention for your executor to have full access to your digital accounts, Attorney Lenz warns that you Hindsight have to specify that right of access in your will, or use an onAttorney Lenz distills it down: “The most important thing line tool developed by service providers to transfer contents of is to provide a list of accounts that your survivors can use to digital accounts to a surviving family member. access information or terminate accounts as needed. You can Two popular online tools are Google’s Inactive Account even include usernames and Manager, and as mentioned passwords with that list.” earlier, Facebook’s Legacy However, he cautions, “If Contact. The options and your executor takes your rules vary among the variThere are several online tools for managing digital passwords and accesses your ous media platforms, but accounts, he or she could arthey all have some plan in assets after death. All of the social media platforms guably be violating state or place for your online preshave policies in place, and these are two online tools federal computer privacy ence or lack thereof when that seem to be consumer friendly and enable you to laws by accessing a computer you’ve departed from the easily store information in one place. Note: we are without authorization.” That real world. not endorsing either of these products. They are scenario can be avoided if The Revised Uniform Fi“he or she is receiving the duciary Access to Digital simply presented here for your review and considerpasswords because they were Assets Act (RUFADAA) in ation. placed in a location to be Ohio now provides seen and used by the execuance on the rights to access This is a digital lockbox. According to the website, tor.” digital assets for executors, Lenz also issues a reAftervalut “stores all your vital information be it fiagents under powers of atminder to leave behind passtorney, guardians, and nancial details, insurance or social media accounts. words to your electronic trustees. However, Lenz exYou can open unlimited vaults and when you’re no devices, such as mobile plains that under RUlonger around we’ll make sure everything reaches phones, computers and FADAA executors may not the right people quickly, safely and securely.” tablets. access the content of priIf I had written down vate email messages; dad’s Yahoo account details, I stead, they can only access Similar to, Everplans offers a 30-day wouldn’t be on a forensic information about dates of trial period, and a free estate planning checklist. journey some four years after messages, senders and rehis death. We don’t normally cipients. He cautions that if think about virtual presence you want your executor to after death, but in today’s increasingly wired — and weird — have complete access, you must stipulate it in your will or world it’s something we can no longer afford to ignore – emothrough an online tool, because private messages receive tionally, practically or financially. “heightened protection” under federal communications privacy laws. Other digital assets may have monetary value and a discussion of them is beyond the scope of this article. However, website domain names, cryptocurrencies, and even characters and property in certain video games may need to be reported in probate court inventory or have tax ramifications. “Even airline miles can represent a valuable virtual asset that can be transferred to a beneficiary in certain cases,” Lenz points out. Dealing with a decedent’s digital assets falls under the purview of the executor of an estate. Lenz recommends that if

Tools You can Use

44691 | NOVEMB ER/DE CEMBE R 2 019




As I write this column the Holiday Season is fast ap‐ proaching. If you’re like a lot of families, Thanksgiving almost has taken a back seat to the infamous “Black Friday,” which signals the beginning of the Christmas buying season. But before you start leafing through all those ads and planning your shopping spree, ask yourself one ques‐ tion: Is it worth it? Is it worth spending a lot of money, blowing a big hole in your budget and possibly going into debt on your credit cards just to buy “things” for your loved ones? If you have kids at home I definitely understand want‐ ing to buy them the presents on their Wish List. But I also would challenge you to be realistic about what you can afford, and teach your children to be realistic in their expectations, too. Nobody wants their child to be the kid at school who didn’t get the popular toy, video game console, etc. But you also don’t want to go into shock when the credit card bills start arriving in January. One simple solution that some banks and credit unions still offer is a Christmas Club account, where you put away a few dollars every week or each payday throughout the year. It might sound simplistic, but it works. When the account matures you get a check, and that’s your Christmas budget. Although I probably don’t agree with everything he says, the popular radio host and financial guru Dave Ramsey discusses the concept of going over budget at Christmastime at length. Ramsey’s basic point with re‐ spect to gift‐giving and running up your credit cards is pretty simple: Don’t. He further explains that if you notify friends and fam‐ ily in advance that you’ll be doing simpler gifts this 38

year, you can avoid hurt/hard feelings. I would add that you should tell those same people that you don’t expect them to buy much for you, either. Some will get it; others might not — that’s OK, because they are not the ones paying your bills. No one knows better than you what you can afford, and more importantly what you can’t afford. So, if your budget doesn’t allow spending what you’d like to, it’s really OK. Perhaps giving the gift of time itself is something you can consider. Especially if you are younger, you should know that your parents (and grandparents if you’re still fortunate enough to have them) would probably be delighted to simply spend some uninterrupted, smart‐phone‐free, quality time with you. Here’s a great example of what I mean: When I was younger, a huge ice storm swept through the area just a couple days before Christmas. Thousands of people in Wayne, Holmes and surrounding counties were without power for days, even weeks, including during Christmas. But an interesting thing happened: Stories began to circulate about how families actually talked to each other, played board games together and gen‐ erally interacted with each other. Some folks will tell you it was one of the best Christmases they ever had. My point is, it’s really not about the gifts, it’s about spending time with the ones you love. Not to sound overly negative, but I’ll finish with this thought: One of the best gifts that parents can give children is a financially stable home. Survey after sur‐ vey shows that money and financial issues are one of the top causes of divorce. I think that’s sad, and I would challenge everyone to set a realistic holiday budget before doing something they might regret well after the Holidays are over. Investment Advisory Representative of Retirement Wealth Advisors Inc. (RWA), 89 Ionia NW, Suite 600, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (800) 903-2562. Investment Advisory Services are offered through RWA. Austin Wealth Solutions and RWA are not affiliated.

Profile for Expressions In Woodcraft

44691 November/December 2019 Issue  

44691 Magazine is a bi-monthly Lifestyle publication targeting Wooster and Wayne County Ohio. We feature “People, Places and Events that sha...

44691 November/December 2019 Issue  

44691 Magazine is a bi-monthly Lifestyle publication targeting Wooster and Wayne County Ohio. We feature “People, Places and Events that sha...