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A Vision Realized How Mike Rose spearheaded spearheaded Downtown Wooster’s renaissance

Repurposing For a Cause Friendtique is a Thrift Store With a Mission

Historic Zoar Village: A Day Trip to Utopia

JUNE 2 01 9






Jerry Klingerman

Michele Janney

Jenni Ohnstad Design


Meredith Klingerman

Laurie Harley, Richard Weiner, Greg Sharpless, Laurie Sidle and Barb Lang

“Nice to meet you, too.”


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. PUBLISHED BY:

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:


Liberty Street Marketplace Facade, by Randy Fath;

On the cover: Developer Mike Rose of Washington Properties visits one of his first downtown Wooster redevelopment projects, now known as Liberty Street Marketplace — See story on page 4

44691 | J U NE 2019

ow! That’s all we can say following the reaction to our very first issue. Mark Twain once famously said, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” It would seem that the same is true for print publications. As someone who has spent a very long time working in many different aspects of print publishing, it was gratifying to see how many people still enjoy reading a magazine. Probably my favorite comment was, “Do you know how good it felt to hold a magazine in my hands and actually read it?”


WHO WE’RE REACHING Many of the questions we received dealt with our circulation, specifically to whom within the Wooster/Wayne County area the magazine is being mailed. Admittedly, we are not mailing to the entire 44691 ZIP code, and that caused a bit of confusion. We’re trying to reach as many people as possible, while balancing printing and mailing costs. We’re reaching approx. 11,500 homes and businesses with the 44691 ZIP code. To try and meet some of the demand in areas we did not reach, we’ve placed magazines in the following locations: • Wayne County Library (vestibule at the south entrance) • Wayne County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau • Liberty Street Marketplace, adjacent to our new neighbors at Undergrounds Cafe & Coffeehouse Many thanks to these organizations for supporting us! We also had some inquiries from folks who no longer live in the Wooster area, but voiced an interest in receiving the magazine. We’re working with our printer to iron out subscription details. Check our Facebook page for the latest details. WITH SPRING COMES WANDERLUST As we write this, Spring is trying desperately — albeit rather unsuccessfully — to take hold in Northeast Ohio. It’s been especially wet and not particularly warm, and as anyone with a lawn to mow knows, it’s been difficult at best to keep up with lawn chores this spring. But we promise, sunny days are just ahead, and when those warm temperatures and blue skies give you the urge to take a roadtrip, we have a couple excellent options for you to consider. Take a look at two of our travel pieces on pages 22 and 30 Thanks for reading, and have a great Summer! Jerry Klingerman, Publisher




REPURPOSING WITH PURPOSE 6 A Vision Realized How Developer Mike Rose Helped Spur a Downtown Renaissance

12 Pawpaws on the Rise Reviving Ohio’s native Tropical Fruit

16 Friendtique Supporting Hospice with a Thrift Store that fills a Definite Need

22 Historic Zoar Village and Bolivar A day Trip of History, Food and Fun!

34 Beginning Birders Birding is the Perfect Summer Hobby for Kids 4


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ROSE-COLORED VISION: A sit-down with the man who believed in downtown Wooster BY Laurie Sidle Photos by Randy Fath

Developer Mike Rose of Washington Properties, LLC shares a view of the past while posing in front of one of his company’s signature achievements, the redevelopment of the E. Liberty St./Buckeye Street block, now known as Liberty Street Marketplace.


is glasses aren’t rose-colored, but his vision for what can become of aging buildings is. Twenty years ago Mike Rose, chief executive officer of Washington Properties, saw enormous potential for historic structures in downtown Wooster, and through his Medinabased real estate firm gave them new life and new purpose.


A pioneer developer in the downtown, his investments helped create places where people want to live, work and operate a business. “The downtown is the heart of the community,” said Rose, whose firm owns about 50 properties in Medina and Wooster. Keeping that heartbeat strong is what drives Rose to take on new projects. “I really look at it like I have a piece of canvas and can paint a picture on it,” Rose said. “I can see what the finished product will look like, then it’s a matter of getting people involved that can get that vision on paper.” Since founding his real estate firm in 1985, his “artistry” has helped revitalize downtown Medina and created first-of-its-kind developments in Wooster and Orrville. Liberty Street Commons, a Washington Properties development recently renamed Liberty Street Marketplace, was a unique addition to downtown Wooster in 2001. The $4 million project, consisting of 31,000 square feet, was built to serve as an “internal street” with 21 retail spaces over three levels built around a spacious center passageway. It also offered the first market-rate loft apartments in the downtown. “There was concern people wouldn’t want to live in downtown Wooster,” Rose said, but the loft apartments were quickly leased. That led to Washington Properties creating 12, two-story condominiums as part of its Merchants Block project, built on the former site of the Freedlander Department Store on West Liberty Street. “The condominiums mean we have people with ownership interest in properties,” Rose said. “This adds to the stability of the downtown.” Main Street Wooster Executive Director Sandra Hull said Rose has been “incredibly important to the redevelopment of the downtown.” His firm is among a number of public and private entities who, over the past 32 years, have accounted for $195 million in reinvestment in downtown. Other developers also have built residential units, she said. A total of 148 loft apartments and 15 condominiums now exist downtown. Calling himself “relationship-driven,” Rose said a part of his firm’s success is finding the right people to carry out his vision. Support has come from city, community and business leaders. When Rose learned the 110-year-old Freedlander Department Store would be closing, he met with store owner Stanley Gault, former CEO of both Rubbermaid and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., and shared his vision >>> Continued on page 8

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“There was a lot of sentimental attachment to the Freedlander building,” Rose explained, “so we had to strategize on how to present to the community the idea that the store was going to be torn down.”


of the Merchants Block, a 38,000-square-foot structure offering “on the street” retail at the ground level and condominiums on the second and third floors. “He liked the idea,” Rose said, “and we were able to proceed.” Completed in 2012 for an estimated $3 million, the Merchants Block “turned out to be a wonderful addition to downtown,” Rose said. Though it was not without challenges. “There was a lot of sentimental attachment to the Freedlander building” Rose explained, “so we had to strategize on how to present to the community the idea that the store was going to be torn down.” Recession took its toll Construction of the Merchants Block project came during what Rose called “the worst financial recession since the Great Depression,” and “took a toll on everyone in real estate.” As a result, Washington Properties and two real estate holdings — Western Reserve of Medina and MRR Properties, both managed by Rose, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to restructure. Rose, who has no qualms in discussing what his firm went through, said the problem was not that payments weren’t being made, rather the companies could not maintain loan-to-value ratios set forth in various promissory notes of business loan agreements. “We had to figure out a way to come up with a big chunk of money to make up the difference,” he said. And while filing for bankruptcy made him uncomfortable at first, he said, “The more I learned about Chapter 11 bankruptcy, I realized it was a valuable tool that helps businesses stay in business through a difficult time.” “The three companies, he noted, “are now out of bankruptcy and on solid footing again.” As part of the restructuring, Washington Properties sold Liberty Street Marketplace and retail space at 116 N. Buckeye St. for $1 million to Woodhaven Partners, a limited liability company owned by George and Karen Sobieraj of Medina. Washington Properties remains the manager and leasing agent for Liberty Street Marketplace, encompassing the northwest corner of Liberty and Buckeye streets. The Merchants Block complex also was sold to Ed Howman Realty for $1.4 million in 2016.

could run this place.’ So I worked out a deal with the people that were owed money and I bought the company, turned it around and ran it for about 25 years.” Eventually he got bored with the business, he said, and sold it. That’s when he gained an interest in fixing up residential dwellings. Later, he turned his attention to downtown Medina, where Ziegler’s, a family-owned department store and Medina square landmark, had gone out of business and boarded up stores were causing real concern. It was a time when the “big box” retailers were locating just outside small downtowns and draining their businesses, Rose said. “With the loss of the local department store,” Rose said, “there was a need to create a multi-tenant building.” He transformed the 88-year-old Ziegler Department Store into attractive retail and office space, then helped turn Medina’s Public Square into a thriving business center. In fact, he was in Wooster buying tile at ArtFind Tile for a Medina project when he began to study his surroundings. “I saw a lot of wonderful, old buildings in downtown, but some were in disrepair,” he said. His first rehabilitation project was the building that now houses City Square Steakhouse. Rose said part of his enthusiasm in repurposing old structures is giving people a chance to fulfill their dreams and vision; people like Chris and Lisa Struzik, who recently opened “Graham and Burns,” with the tagline “mindful home specialties” in Liberty Street Marketplace. The couple, who moved to Wooster from San Francisco, said they feel fortunate to have secured the location. “We love the vibrance of the community and the downtown,” Chris Struzik said. “Washington Properties has been wonderful to work with — very supportive and encouraging.” >>> Continued on page 10

Simple beginnings A native of Cleveland, Rose didn’t begin his career in real estate. He was discouraged from going to college because of poor academics, which he now knows was due to dyslexia. It wasn’t diagnosed at the time, he said, but he learned his strengths and how to overcome it. He took a job driving truck with Medina Packing, a meat packaging company, and soon realized he wanted to do Liberty Commons (now known as Liberty Street Marketplace) was one of Washington Properties’ more. “I learned all aspects of the busisignature redevelopment projects. Here, Mike Rose stands in the main corridor adjacent to Roomness,” he said, “and when it was going into bankruptcy I thought, ‘You know, I scapes, next to the stairwell that leads to Wooster’s newest coffee venue, Undergrounds Cafe & Coffeehouse. 44691 | J U NE 2019


“We have the structure,” Rose said, “so it’s all about giving them the opportunity.” Rose also appreciates the history of the buildings. In the Wooster office of Jobe Westerfelt, property manager for Washington Properties, is an enlarged ticket from Wallace Theatre mounted in a frame and hanging on the wall. The Wallace Theatre, built on Liberty Street in 1914, closed with the advent of sound films, then, according to, was demolished in 1933 to make way for a new J.J. Newberry’s store, Rose said the original ticket was given to him by a local antique dealer while his firm was working on the Liberty Street Marketplace, which includes the former site of Mike Rose visits two Washington Properties projects: Above is the conference room in the Cutler Rethe theatre. The marketplace is really alty offices, which are located at the Liberty Street entrance of the Newberry Building. Below Rose checks out one of downtown Wooster’s newest businesses, Graham & Burns, located at 142 E. Liberty seven buildings put together in one structure, Rose explained. The differ- St. Graham & Burns features kitchenware, home and garden decor as well as gift items. ent brick fronts were designed to make it look like the marketplace was Bank Building across from Orrville City Hall, Heartland Point offers built over a period of time. an Internet area, large and small meeting rooms, gift shop, a cafe The Merchants Block, on the other hand, is actually one big and toy vault, which is the original money vault from the bank, now building, divided into retail shops and designed with an historical filled with toys and books for children. look. “I would venture to say someone who is not familiar with Orrville Mayor Dave Handwerk called it “a great addition to the Wooster would think those buildings have been there for 100 years,” downtown” as people are drawn to the center. “Millions of dollars” Rose said. went into the Heartland Point, Westerfelt said. “The attention to deUp next: Orrville tail goes beyond renovating.” In Orrville, Rose teamed up with the J.M. Smucker Co. to turn a Along with strict attention to detail, from paint to woodwork to former drive-thru bank into a community gathering place called exposed brick walls, Rose prides himself on his company’s pristine Heartland Point. Housed in the former Wayne County National facilities. Keeping them that way is the job of Westerfelt, who “has a wonderful eye for detail,” Rose said. He’s also involved in making sure the properties stay leased. While some may have doubted what he could accomplish, Rose said, he has always found local support. “We felt welcomed in the community,” he said. “We are fortunate that Wooster has forwardthinking people who understand the vision and the need for what we’re doing.”


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Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch... Actually...just down the road on State Route 3! Local couple part of movement to reintroduce Ohio’s Native Tropical Fruit By Barb Lang


ay down yonder in the pawpaw patch” are words from an old time folk song most children know by heart. Although native to 26 states from Michigan to Florida, it’s a forgotten fruit that once flourished in hardwood forests. Commonly called the American Custard Apple and nicknamed “Poor Man’s Banana,” the pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is neither apple nor banana. But because it’s not commercially available, most people have never tasted them. Loren and Mabel Kirchner have been working to make more people familiar with America’s native tropical fruit. They own West View Pawpaw farm just south of Wooster and enjoy sharing their passion for pawpaws with the public. They planted their first trees in 2009 and presently have around 220 trees consisting of 22 varieties of the more than 50 available species. >>> Continued on page 14


Pawpaws have a distinctive oblong shape, and grow in clusters. They also have beautiful flowers (right). But don’t let the flowers fool you! Even though the fruits, which ripen in early fall, have a sweet custardlike taste and texture, the pawpaw flower has a notoriously foul smell!

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parents. “Pawpaws are finicky plants, Loren said. “They take about eight to 10 years before you get much fruit. I first planted bare root grafted seedlings from Kentucky with some success.” “Then I discovered Neal Petersen from West Virginia, who was a grad student that ended up connecting with pawpaws. Thirty-five years ago he sought out orchards that had been lost and started collecting and planting seeds from these old orchards. From those he chose 1500 seedlings. He then selected six cultures and identified and planted a second orchard. Those six are prominent varieties that have been Pawpaws have a wonderful creamy texture that is described wild and not genetically altered. They are as close to the as a cross between mango and banana. Like a banana, the skin native genetics as you can get. He has been instrumental in is not edible. The pulp can be substituted in almost any recipe advancing papaws to where are we today.” that uses bananas and can even Kentucky State University has be used to make ice cream, the only full-time pawpaw wine, and beer. Chilled research program in the world as pawpaw reportedly was George part of the land grant program. Washington’s favorite dessert. According to the Kentucky State “I like to cut them in half, University Pawpaw website, take out the dark seeds and research efforts are directed at scoop out the pulp,” Mabel improving propagation; variety said. trials; understanding fruit According to the website ripening and storage techniques;, they are a and genetic diversity. nutritionally superior fruit, The Kirchners have attended very high in protein, minerals, international pawpaw antioxidants and vitamins. conferences at Kentucky State Native Americans once farmed University and noted pawpaws large plantations in Ohio are being cultivated in Africa, where the soil and climate are China, Korea and Europe. well suited for them. Pawpaws They are members of the need shade and are found in Ohio Pawpaw Growers the understory of deciduous Association which held its forests. annual meeting in the Center for The Kirchners established the Sciences & Agriculture at their orchard by planting a few Wilmington College, trees on the farm that was Yes, even Bigfoot loves pawpaws! And if you visit the 2019 Annual Wilmington, Ohio on May 18. Ohio Pawpaw fest, you might, too! Art by Kevin Morgan Studio, previously owned by Mabel’s The program was on grafting sm of OPPF © 2019.


basics and presented by Dr. Ron Powell. “I buy from a number of growers and do my own grafting. Now I have a 90% success rate compared to only 20% with the bare root stock. I plant some every year. Different varieties ripen at different times, usually sometime in the fall. New varieties are being developed with unique flavors. And different types can extend the growing season from mid-tolate-August through late October,” Loren said. “A cultivated fruit can weigh up to half a pound and one tree could yield up to 40 fruits. They last two weeks in the refrigerator and must be refrigerated immediately after picking. What we don’t eat or give away, we’ll freeze the pulp for later use.” He went on to explain, “Pawpaws don’t require pesticides. I don’t spray so they are organic by nature. I do mulch the trees and mow between the rows. Deer won’t browse the trees because of the acetogenin compounds which are high in the leaves, bark, skin and seeds, but low in the fruit. This compound is what keeps predators away.” The Kirchners see West View Pawpaw farm as a retirement project. “We’re excited about it and getting folks interested. By this fall we’ll be ready to do a little more. In the future it will become a business,” Loren said.

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To learn more about pawpaws go to the Facebook page for the North American Pawpaw Growers Association or register for the next annual meeting of the North American Pawpaw Growers Association and Ohio Pawpaw Association. Still can’t get enough of pawpaws? Plan to attend the 21st Annual Ohio Pawpaw Fest at Lake Snowden, Albany Ohio from Sept. 13-15. (The location is approx. six miles west of Athens, OH.) There you can enjoy many types of food containing this native tropical fruit. This festival has a reputation for being one of the best events in southeastern Ohio, if not the entire state. The three-day events has dozens and dozens of events, including a cooking contest, pawpaw eating contest and much more. Of special note would be the many child- and family-friendly events, including sensoryfriendly opportunities for children with Autism. The entire festival also is very close to achieving its ambitious goal of being a “Zero Waste” event. For more information, go to and click through the various links. 44691 thanks Allison Shaw of Franklin County Metro Parks for the pawpaw photos, and Kevin Morgan from Kevin Morgan Studios for the Ohio Pawpaw Fest artwork used in this story!


Editor’s Note: In our last issue we dealt with the concept of Minimalism and letting go of possessions that we don’t need. In this article, writer Laurie Harley explores how one local organization can provide a “safe haven” of sorts for people who find themselves with valuable possessions that, nonetheless they have no need for — all while providing a valuable service to the community.


rief is a powerful emotion. It can seep into every aspect of your life and leave behind


reminders that render you worthless and weepy. Grief can overcome the living, leaving the imprint of death on memories, traditions, and inherited keepsakes. Mourning the death of a loved one can begin at the moment of realization, and take on several stages. It is, however, a long-term plight that persists long after saying your final goodbye. Dealing With A Loved One’s Possessions You enter your mother’s home. It is the same house that you grew up in. It

holds your childhood memories. This is where you learned to ride your bike, baked cookies for the holidays, and crammed for high school tests. The same wallpaper hangs in the kitchen that was there the day you moved out. Photos of a younger you along with pictures of your children line the walls. Everything is just as your mother left it before she became ill and left this world. Now you have to go through her possessions and find a place for everything she owned and loved. It is a duty, a challenge and can be overwhelming.

Friendtique Gives Back With Tender Care Letting Go For A Good Cause

By Laurie Esposito Harley

But cleaning out a loved one’s estate need not overwhelm you. If you knew that your parent’s possessions would be treated with care and respect and that they would find a new loving home, wouldn’t you choose that for those items? And what if doing so would benefit a great cause? Wouldn’t anyone want that for their possessions? After you’ve taken out photographs, memorabilia and important possessions, you must make a decision regarding the rest of the estate. You are left with furniture, china, an entire wardrobe, and so much more. “What do you do 44691 | J U NE 2019

with those things?” asks Dawn Schirm. “Call Friendtique.” Schirm is the executive director of Frientique, a boutique-style thrift store located on West Liberty Street in Wooster. Her connection with the store began in September of 2006, when she began volunteering there. “I love the concept of giving back to your community.” And giving back is what Friendtique does best. Friendtique’s Origins Friendtique was founded by Alex Davis and Sherry Baker in 2005. “They

wanted to start a nonprofit to benefit the Wooster community,” says Schirm. Davis works at a hospital and “has a heart for helping people,” according to Schirm. Baker, who passed away in 2008, had a direct connection with hospice. Her grandmother benefited from hospice care during her illness and final days, and the organization helped Baker and her family cope with the loss. “Hospice not only helps the person who is ill, but the whole family as they struggle with the loss of a loved one,” Baker told The Wooster Voice, The >>> Continued on page 19


College of Wooster’s student newspaper in February of 2006. Baker’s experience was instrumental in the founders’ decision to donate to LifeCare Hospice, which serves Wayne and Holmes counties, and the Wadsworth-Rittman area. The organization brings quality, compassionate care to patients facing the end of their life, offering medical assistance and pain management in the home, assisted living or nursing facilities, or at inpatient accommodations. Hospice also From jewelery to fashions , furnishings and more, Friendtique is an answer to the question, “What do we do with...” and in particular has helped many patrons with estate items they don’t want or need. tends to the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their Proceeds from the sales help support hospice. families. Community Supporting Community Every year since its inception, Friendtique has donated 100 percent of its profits to LifeCare Hospice, with more recent donations including the Hospice of Ashland County. In 2017, the store reached the one million dollar mark for donations, with another $100,000 donated in 2018. Friendtique does more for the greater Wooster community than provide donations to Hospice. They often work with other nonprofit organizations within Wayne County, including Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, People to People Ministries, and others. They donate furniture, housewares and other items to local families who are in need, and, for example, recently furnished two rooms at a local nursing home. “We try to continue to give back to the community in whatever ways that can be helpful,” says Kelvin Bond, Friendtique store manager. The store does have an operating budget which supports a 44691 | J U NE 2019

small staff of two full-time and four part-time employees, pays bills and reserves resources for repairs and other needs. The organization was able to purchase the building where Friendtique now is situated. Bond says, “We paid it off in just over five years, and then a year ago, we expanded into a second storefront, ‘The Nest.’” The Nest is an upscale antique store which offers handpicked items, such as unique >>> Continued on page 20


furnishings, beautiful homeware pieces and vintage clothing. Friendtique also recently purchased a small building and parking lot adjacent from the main storefront (the former Ritzman Pharmacy building). A unique partnership arose almost immediately after the building came available: Friendtique gained much-needed parking spaces and has leased the new building to farmer’s State Bank, which, while always based in Wayne County, has never had a branch in Wooster.

volunteers accept donations daily from individuals who have just lost a loved one. “People tell you how wonderful hospice was and how a loved one didn’t suffer,” Schirm says, adding that she is blessed to be told “stories that you wouldn’t hear if you weren’t here every day.”

Hospice doesn’t just affect volunteers. Donors and patrons also have hospice stories to tell. Friendtique staff members and

Friendtique and Wooster Those who volunteer and work with Friendtique are aware

Learning To Let Go Many people arrive at Friendtique’s back door with donations that are difficult to part with. They have made a decision to donate an item that belonged to a parent, but it still holds memories and meaning for them. “They are Volunteers Give Back Friendtique and The Nest are run in large part by a diverse handing it over with one hand and keeping it back with the group of volunteers. Bond says that there are between 65 and other,” says Bond. 70 volunteers signed up to help run both stores, with about He describes a donor who had trouble parting with her 40 core volunteers who help out on a regular basis. “Some mother’s wedding dress, faltering back and forth between come in periodically. Some are here just once a month, while keeping it and donating it. “She said, ‘I know I need to let it others are here once a week. There are volunteers that are here go, that it’s just a dress,’” says Bond. She explained that she four to five days a week,” he says. Schirm adds, “We’re always was not going to pass it on and finally decided to donate it to looking to add new Friendtique. She told volunteers as we grow Bond, “‘I know you and expand our reach.” guys will find someone Friendtique’s who loves it.’” volunteer base is truly The store takes care unique. “We have of all donations, volunteers from all ensuring that they go walks of life,” says on to someone who Schirm. “People that will want, need, and work professionally in love them. “Items corporate settings, continue to carry on,” retired teachers, retired says Bond, adding that nurses, stay-at-home the store does not own moms,” she lists as a dumpster, and they examples. But one don’t throw away any thing connects them donation. Although unknown to us, somewhere there has to be a great story behind these all: “They want more Pam Taylor, who was masks available at Friendtique! than anything to help involved in Friendtique’s people,” says Schirm, beginnings as a hospice “and volunteering at representative, has Friendtique is a great way to do it.” donated items to the store. “My mom passed away. Hospice was involved,” she quietly recalls, “Rather than making me Hospice Stories sad, it made me happy. She would want her items to go to a Friendtique’s connection to hospice goes beyond the good cause.” donations it provides. Schirm tells of one volunteer who has Many people really cherish belongings that they inherit, been with the store since its opening. Her husband was under but they simply have nowhere to keep them. Rather than box hospice care before passing away. Another volunteer’s husband them up and store them, unseen and unappreciated, they is currently receiving support from hospice. A long-time choose to donate them so that they will be used and loved. “It volunteer received hospice care before passing away. “Hospice makes it a little easier to get rid of things and let go,” says is going to touch every family at some point,” says Schirm. Taylor. “Everyone feels like they are paying it forward.”




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of their deep connection with the Wooster community. “We touch so many people on so many different levels,” says Schirm, who gratefully adds, “and they touch us.” Friendtique started small, but in its 14 years of business, it has grown to be a staple in the city of Wooster. “We want the public to know that we’re here for them as they’ve been here for us. They’re the reason we’re successful,” says Schirm. “We appreciate the Wayne County community.” Friendtique shows that gratitude, in part, with the way they treat donations brought to the store. These items — whether it’s Grandma’s living room set, Dad’s antique pendant Rolex, or Mom’s vintage The message displayed prominently in Friendtique serves as a reminder of the core wedding gown —are all treated with respect. “We mission. honor the donations that come in and make sure that they find a new home,” says Bond. Taylor goes as far as suggesting that perhaps someone’s uncle, someone’s grandfather. Donations given to Friendtique brings the “hospice personality” to what they do Friendtique are never forgotten. They are gently cared for until daily in the store. “Many volunteers have had some sort of they find a new home. connection with hospice,” she says, “they just want to give back.” And they do with the love and tenderness that they show to items once owned and cherished by someone’s mom, 44691 | J U NE 2019


Just down the road...


ess than an hour southeast of Wooster, driving Ohio and Erie Canal, and is connected to the Towthrough the country via US Routes 30 or 250, path Trail. lies the historic village of Zoar, designated a Zoar was founded as an intentional utopian comNational Historic munity of more than Landmark District in 200 German immi2016. Around the corgrants in 1817, by a rener and across the Tusligious movement carawas River from called the “Society of Zoar in Bolivar is Ft. Separatists,” which Laurens, the only Revlasted until 1853. Its olutionary War site name is biblical, comand museum in Ohio. ing from the village BY Richard Weiner Both sites are mainwhere Lot and his famtained as open-air museums by a trained staff and the ily escaped to after leaving Sodom. The community local community, many of whom can trace their roots developed a communal style of life in which everyone directly to the original settlers of Zoar. pitched in their labors for the benefit of the whole. Well worth a daytrip, the Zoar/Bolivar area features Building and working a 5000-acre piece of land, the a blend of unique historic sites, new-style and tradicommunity thrived for more than 80 years, making it tional eateries, and an award-winning brewery. one of the most successful communal living efforts in Let’s start with Zoar Village itself. The village, with Ohio history. >>> Continued on page 24 a permanent population of less than 200, sits on the

Day Trip To Zoar and Bolivar


Zoar’s three-acre garden in bloom with Garden House in the background. 44691 | J U NE 2019


Vintage photo of early workers in the Zoar Garden.

No utopia lasts, of course, and the communal organization was officially dissolved in 1898, and the various properties were divided among the people who lived there at the time. Many of the original buildings still stand as stores, residences and museums. The original buildings have numbers, rather than names, because they were simply numbered as the were built. The houses were numbered up to 26, but the businesses, like the hotel, bakery and store, as well as the town hall (restored in 2002), were given names. The houses were numbered so that goods could be delivered to the correct residences, and even the milk pails were also numbered accordingly. The breathtaking central garden dominates the village. It was originally designed to correspond to the Book of Revelations, and its central tree represents Jesus Christ. It is still 24

maintained each year, and itself is worth the trip. The Village Store is the place to start any visit. Walking tours are always nice, but there is now a new bike rental place at the old hotel, across from the store. During the season, reenactors dressed in period costumes display and talk about the crafts of the time in several of the original buildings, and actors in period clothing walk about. The village hosts numerous special events and classes throughout the season (see sidebar) The store is closed in January and February. Zoar Village is just a great place to spend a day away from the daily routine. Food and Beverages Food and drink are plentiful in the area around Zoar and its neighbor Bolivar, including excellent barbecue, an award-winning craft brewery and a historic tavern.

Sublime Smoke barbecue restaurant, Bolivar A little barbecue. A little beer. A nice place to stop, eat and drink in Bolivar on the way into or out of Zoar, Sublime Smoke is a chef-run barbecue joint close on the Tuscarawas River. Sublime Smoke features all-wood, slow-cooked brisket, pork, ribs, baked mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, and the best spoon corn bread you will ever eat. And pizza. And more. Sublime Smoke is a popular, expanding restaurant that has received rave reviews from locals, travelers, Foodies and media alike since opening five years ago. This is one place that needs to be on the list of places to stop around Zoar! Our experience was this: everything you’ve heard about this place is true, including the friendly, welcoming staff. Chef Zach Salapach, who was working behind the bar at the busy restaurant when we caught up with

In recent years the 190-year-old Canal Tavern of Zoar has been transformed into a chef-inspired fine-dining venue.

him, worked on his recipes for years before he had the old ballroom that can hold 100 people. The atmosphere chance to open his own place. The cornbread recipe is energetic, the staff is friendly and professional, the came from owner Zach’s mother-in-law, he said. The rest music is great and the oven is slow cooking for everyone! of the food came from years of restaurant work, which Oh, and some drinks... preceded a food truck that Zack opened up when he and Sublime Smoke also features numerous Ohio craft his family moved back to the Bolivar area from Columbeers — which is another passion of Zach’s, who can bus. keep up with a craft beer conversation with the best of The barbecue that comes out of Zach’s 250-degree them. Recent beers featured in the 16-tap bar included wood stick (cherry and oak) oven is subtle and moist and the hard-to-find Bell’s Hopslam, often rated the best IPA doesn’t really need much sauce. Some of that influence in the country, along with beers from the nearby Lockcomes from the time that he spent helping open up >>> Continued on page 26 two locations for the Canton barbecue restaurants 91 Wood Fired Oven. But Sublime Smoke “almost didn’t happen,” Zach said. After years in the food business in Columbus, “I was ready to walk away from it and try something else.” But fortunately for all the local barbecue fans, it was just then that the family got the opportunity to move back home to the Canton area. “I got a food truck, and then the building came available,” said Zach. “And I always wanted my own place.” That place continues to expand. A new porch, able to accommodate 50 people outdoors, is sched- The oldest building in Historic Zoar Village is the first cabin constructed. It uled to be ready for summer, and the upstairs is an originally house the founder, Joseph Bimeler and served as the first church. 44691 | J U NE 2019


Events in and around Zoar During the season, Zoar and Ft. Laurens hold more than 75 different events and classes. Here are some highlights: May: May brings Maifest, a German festival with traditional food, beer, music, dancing, games a Maypole and more. The great Zoar plant sale and a German car show take place at the same time. June: The Zoar garden tour is June 10. Worth the $10, the tour takes participants to both the public and private gardens of the village. Includes a luncheon. Reservations are required. July: In July, the village hosts two history camps, one for children (July 10-12) and one for adults (July 16-19). July 27-28 brings the harvest festival with a nationally recognized antique show, tours, artisan showcases, working animal demonstrations, a car show and more. Civil War reenactment and class day Zoar village hosts one of the largest Civil war reenactments, happening on Sept. 21 as more than 700 participants reenact the Battle of the Wilderness. The day before, the village hosts Civil War School Day, featuring live interactions with Civil War figures. October brings a ghost tour/haunted wagon ride, and early December brings “Christmas in Zoar.” Zoar’s buildings are open for tours from April-October. If you’re lucky, you can catch 90-year-old Jan Chaffee, whose father once was a resident of the original village, and who still hangs out and talks with visitors. Classes Qualified instructors in the village teach blacksmithing, once a week or so with an eye to getting students qualified to make simple metal items. There also is an ongoing lecture series that focuses on local history. The complete season schedule for the village can be found at and Facebook.


port Brewing, Millersburg Brewing, Great Lakes, Brew Kettle (where many local brewers trained), Platform and breweries from California, Colorado and more. There are another 100 bottles available, which makes Sublime Smoke not only an excellent barbecue destination, but also a great place to taste numerous highly-rated craft beers. Sublime Smoke is located at 110 Water St. SE in Bolivar. Open 11-9 Tuesday- Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. Canal Tavern of Zoar Slightly outside the center of Zoar village sits the Canal Tavern of Zoar, a bit of fine, casual, chef-based dining in an informal region of the state. The tavern dates from 1829, and like a lot of places in the area started when the Ohio and Erie Canal opened. An addition was added in 1832. The tavern originally was owned by the Zoar community, which moved away from using it when the hotel was built downtown. In the intervening years, a number of owners came and went, but the building survived. Current owners Jon and Cindy Elsasser purchased the tavern in 2011, taking advantage of the opportunity to relocate back to the area after Jon’s many years abroad working for Timken. The Elsassers purchased and restored the building, which, according to Jon, had most recently been a biker bar. Prior to purchasing the tavern, the Elsassers had decided to settle down in the region and dedicated themselves to doing what they could for the area. Also, said Jon, there wasn’t really a good restaurant in the area at the time, and they wanted to eat well. If you have the means to open a restaurant that serves food that you want to eat—well, why not? The menu is based around food that they had come to enjoy during their overseas adventures, with an emphasis on German cooking, because of the area’s German background. The restaurant sits directly on the Towpath, surrounded by trees with a view of the canal. The El-

Bolivar-based Lockport Brewery is north of Zoar Village and just moments down the road from Sublime Smoke. In less than three years of business Lockport Brewery has quickly established itself as a can’t-miss destination for some of the best brews in Northeast Ohio.

sassers have utilized every space in the building to accommodate diners, while at the same time keeping the rough-hewn stone, low ceilings, and small rooms of the original building. Address: 8806 Towpath Rd., Zoar. Chef: Adam Thompson. Secret: Ask to see the downstairs! Worth it. Original Ohio craft beer: From the Zoar Society to Lockport Brewery Lockport Brewery in nearby Bolivar is a notable, award-winning craft brewery that fits right in with the modern Ohio brewing culture. But long before Lockport opened the Zoar Society ran a very successful brewing company that served the hardworking men of the nearby canal and the wealthy from near and far (especially Germany) who vacationed in the peaceful setting. The Zoar Society Brewery was built in the mid-1820’s, and lasted for at least 50 years in a large barn on what is now 5th St. At its peak, the brewery produced up to 400 barrels of lager a year, selling it mostly in the hotel and a local tavern and distributing it one glass a day at lunchtime to the men working in the fields. 44691 | J U NE 2019

The brewery was sold off when the society disbanded in 1898 and the new owner continued to brew for another couple of years. But at its peak, the brewery produced some of the most critically acclaimed beer in the state, and has a place as one of the foundational, and most unique, breweries in Ohio history. These days, no beer lover’s visit to Zoar is complete without stopping at Lockport Brewery, located on Rte. 212 as you drive between Bolivar and Zoar. In keeping with local beer tradition, the brewery was named by owners Andrew and Lauren Marburger after Old Lockport Lager, a beer brewed by the New Philadelphia Brewing Company before Prohibition. Andrew also is the brewer. After training at Millersburg Brewing Company, he and Lauren opened Lockport three years ago. Things have gone very well for this small, family-owned business since then. High on the Ohio beer aficionado list and one of the state’s most notable destination craft breweries, Lockport stays with the tradition of the area by brewing Germanstyle beers, but also brews modern IPAs, porters and stouts and other tasty products. Of the abundance of German-style beers, Lauren said they are not particularly >>> Continued on page 28


Rounding out a Zoar/Bolivar Day Trip could include stopping at Sublime Smoke where you can enjoy “food truck flavor in a sleek storefront with both indoor and outdoor seating” and a huge selection of craft beer, both on tap and in bottles.

geared for them because of the German history of the area and family background, but because these kinds of beers are easy to brew and drink. “They are easy, approachable and have stood the test of time. We just really enjoy brewing those.” The main attraction at Lockport also is easy to drink: Called “Gateway,” it won the 2018 Gold Medal for American-style cream ale at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. The place is always packed, but the service is quick and friendly, and the menu is appropriate to the food (if you haven’t filled up at the local restaurants). Live music is featured on the weekends. If you want to take some of their beer home, growlers and crowlers are available. Secret: these are literally the nicest people on the planet. The entire extended Marburger family is always in 28

and out of the place, serving and bartending when needed, and just making everyone feel at home. Tip: like with all of the really amazing local craft brewery tasting rooms—take a designated driver. Freshbrewed, onsite craft beer often is higher in alcohol content than the beer available in grocery stores. Note: Having outgrown its original space, Lockport Brewery recently moved to a larger location just down the street. “We have about four times the barrel capacity that we have in the old place,” said Lauren, as well as a large outdoor area and seating for 100. See them online at and Facebook.

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Game of Stones Loveland Castle, located just north of Cincinnati, is the perfect place to indulge your medieval fantasies. By Gregory Sharpless As this article is written, the HBO hit series Game of Thrones has just begun its final season. Providing viewers with a seemingly endless array of knights, sword fighting and carnage (not to mention the occasional dragon), the show also features another staple of medieval-themed tales: castles. Lots and lots of castles. If, however, you’d like to visit an actual castle, you can do so for much less than the cost of a ticket to Scotland and Northern Ireland (where much of Thrones is filmed), or even the price of a monthly HBO subscription. Instead, take a drive to Loveland, OH, just north of Cincinnati and about 15 minutes south of Kings Island amusement park. There, on the banks of the Little Miami River, you’ll discover Chateau Laroche – aka the Loveland Castle. A stone keep castle complete with 36-foot-high lookout towers, a creepy dungeon and resplendent gardens, Chateau Laroche is a somewhat quirky edifice that was handbuilt by a hard-working and somewhat eccentric gentleman named Harry Andrews. Laying the foundation A graduate of Colgate University in New York, Andrews served as an Army medic during WWI. Following the war, he attended Toulouse University in France where he studied medieval architecture, a natural complement to his earlier studies of Greek and Roman architecture at Colgate. Upon returning stateside Andrews even-


tually settled in the Cincinnati area, and in the late 1920s he purchased a few small parcels of land along the Little Miami River to provide his Sunday School students with a place to fish, swim and camp. During outings, he regaled students with stories about King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, ultimately deciding to form his own band of do-gooders. He dubbed them the Knights of the Golden Trail (KGT), and instructed his youthful followers to not only follow the Ten Commandments but also to “save civilization.” Of course, the newly formed band of knights needed a place to bivouac, setting the stage for Andrews’ castle. He initially built two small shelters made of stones, and from this the idea for a full castle took shape – doubtlessly influenced by castles he had observed firsthand while in Europe, as well as his studies on both sides of the Atlantic and an admitted admiration of Me>>> Continued on page 32

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dieval times. Over the next 20 or so years, Andrews began constructing his castle. The structure’s exterior walls were built using rocks Andrews carried, pail by pail, from the Little Miami or a nearby gorge, then mortared in place. For the interior walls, he utilized bricks made by pouring concrete into quart-size milk-carton forms. Andrews did most of the work himself, although according to legend his knights and visitors also helped whenever possible. The Great Depression and the Second World War stalled his efforts somewhat, but he kept at it, adding to the work as time permitted from his full-time job and Sunday school teaching. In the mid-1950s, however, two events transpired that would allow progress on the castle to move along more quickly: Andrews retired from his job at Standard Publishing (as well as his Sunday school teaching) and he then moved into what he had built of the castle to that point. Now living 24/7 within its rocky walls, he could dedicate the rest of his life to building the castle of his dreams. Battling modern dragons By the time 1980 rolled around, much of the castle had been completed. Andrews estimated that he had hauled nearly 60,000 pailfuls of stones up from the river, and had utilized more than 2,500 sacks of cement – comprising about 22,000 hours of labor in all. Here are just a few of the many intriguing features that Andrews integrated into Chateau Laroche: • A 36-foot-tall watchtower, two smaller towers and 88 battlements. • The imposing castle main door, comprising nearly 250 pieces of wood, is filled with more than 2500 nails (to help deter potential ax-wielding enemies). It also features a “stoop door” cut into its center, so that visitors must enter head-first (giving the

Now Booking Every year, about 30,000 visitors tour the castle and its gardens. Hours are 11 a.m.- 5 p.m., every day, April through September (weekends only beginning in October). The admittance fee is just $5, and the castle tour is self-guided. Note: The drive down Mulberry Road to the castle’s front door is not for the faint of heart. In addition to offering standard visits, the castle also books these events (reservations required, at • Scout “OverKnights,” held on Friday nights, for up to 25 people (bring own bedding and food) • School tours • Weddings, limited to 50 people inside and 65 people outside • Paranormal investigations The Castle does not book birthday or graduation parties, baby showers or personal overnights.


guard the opportunity for some beheading, should the need arise). • A “dome room,” in the castle’s southwest corner, featuring a roof constructed of stones and shaped like an overturned bowl. • On the second floor, a sunlit council chamber room with bay window, providing a place for the knights to meet (sorry; no Arthurian-inspired “round table”). • Also on the second floor, a “spy hole,” allowing the castle owner (and visitors) to keep an eye on the front door and floor below at all times. • Narrow, crooked stone staircases, specifically designed to prevent evil-doers from easy access (and from easily swinging their swords). • In the basement, a creepy dungeon, complete with two prison cells. About the only thing missing here is the traditional castle moat, although Andrews did dig a dry ditch into the hillside above the castle. Along the way, it should be mentioned, he also helped build the steep, winding road that allows access to the castle. Before then, materials simply had to be sledded down from the overlooking hilltop. Andrews and his neighbors teamed up to lay the initial stone foundation for the road — another 4,000 pailfuls of

stones, he estimated — which the county would later blacktop (and continues to maintain). When Andrews passed away in 1981, a victim of an unfortunate fire incident on the castle grounds, he willed the castle and property to his Knights of the Golden Trail. Over the years, more than 100 young men have joined the organization, and the Knights now care for and continue to add to Andrews’ vision. In addition to addressing the general upkeep of the structure itself (this spring, for instance, the Knights are in the midst of replacing some of the original castle windows) another major focus has been the castle grounds and gardens. Chateau Laroche now sits on 13 acres in all, a sizeable increase from the fortress’s beginnings, says Joe Carey, aka “Sir Joe,” the castle’s seneschal (the KGT’s royal officer in charge). Andrews had installed two terraced gardens and an orchard on the The dream lives on grounds before his death, and the Knights have bolstered that efJust as in Game of Thrones, Harry Andrews encountered his fort. They’ve added garden areas – in the castle rock garden, a sea own castle foes throughout the years. There were numerous atmonster swims through the pebbles – and modified some of the tempts to batter down the castle doors, rob him (some successoriginal gardens. ful, some not) and set fires. Some scoundrels once even managed The Knights also have put an emphasis on native Ohio flora to break into the castle one night and beat him up, resulting in a and fauna, while fighting broken leg. invasive species. For inDespite sieges and setbacks While You’re There: Food, Shopping, stance, they’re currently such as these, however, Andrews Biking and Canoe Adventures in the midst of an all-out persevered. For more than 50 war on Japanese honeyThere are no on-site restaurants at Chateau Laroche, but you can years, he was able to build upon suckle: “Today’s modern take a side jaunt to Downtown Loveland either before or after your cashis lifelong passion for the Midtle visit. dragon,” says Sir Joe. In dle Ages and create something Located just a couple of miles from the castle’s grounds, on the other that seems to call us all back to addition, they’re conside of the Little Miami River, Downtown Loveland is also known as “his- another time and another place. structing many birdtoric Loveland” because it was the original site of the city. Although it houses. By attracting In touring the castle, you’ll was overshadowed by newer city developments in the 1970s and ‘80s more birds, he says, they find one room in particular, visihope to counter the effect (when the I-275 expressway was completed), the downtown area has ble but gated off: It’s Andrews’ of non-native insects and since undergone a renaissance — thanks in large part to the Little Miami former office, appearing much as Scenic Bike Trail, which runs through the heart of the district. plants. he left it, with typewriter, newsIn Downtown Loveland, you’ll find various retail shops and myriad The Knights now have paper and office papers on the restaurants, as well as a bike rental, brewing company, art studios, a been joined in this battle old desk. Andrews is, of course, farmer’s market (on Tuesdays only) plus other establishments. And if by locally based Marvin’s no longer present – but his you happen to prefer waterways to roadways, Loveland Canoe & Kayak Organic Gardens, whose dream of a castle representing Rental ( offers a “Castle Adventure.” The 5-mile owner, Wes Duren, now “the simple strength and rugged paddling adventure provides canoe, kayak and raft options, and paddlers serves as the castle’s Mascan stop by the township-owned park that sits in front of the castle for a grandeur … of knighthood” lives ter Gardener. Duren and on. picnic lunch, then tour Chateau Laroche. his crew are helping the Gregory Sharpless is a Cincincastle address erosion control with hillside plantings, and adding nati-based writer and editor whose work has appeared in various plants and shrubs designed to bring more wildlife (birds, butternational and regional publications. As a 10-year-old, he was unsucflies and hummingbirds) to the area. cessful in his only attempt to navigate a bicycle at full speed down the winding road that leads to the Loveland Castle. 44691 | J U NE 2019


Nurturing Beginning Birders

© Black Swamp Bird Observatory


How to to learn learn aa new new hobby hobby during during your your How summer vacation vacation without without driving driving summer Mom crazy

by Laurie Esposito Harley


t’s one week into summer vacation, and you are faced with the dreaded phrase uttered by children across the country: “I’m bored!” Little ones want to be entertained, but the teenagers sit, motionless, staring at their phones. As a parent, you are placed in the difficult position of finding activities for your children that extend beyond the endless — and sometimes mindless — lure of technology. You want to encourage them in pastimes that educate and excite them. Perhaps they will develop an interest that will be a stepping stone toward a future career and may even help them see beyond the limits of their own world, a hobby that turns them toward saving the world.


No, your child will not don a cape and become a superhero! But she or he can develop an interest that could be an introduction to the preservation of our land and the conservation of Ohio’s natural resources. Cultivating An Interest In Nature “Research shows that exposure to nature will help kids enjoy nature as an adult,” says Lynda Price, Education Manager and Naturalist with The Wilderness Center (TWC), located just across the Wayne County line in eastern Stark County. “They learn to understand nature and develop a passion to protect it.” So simply bringing your young children to the park, walking through the woods or observing birds on a backyard feeder can be a catalyst toward a future hobby in nature. “So many kids are wired into computers, TV and phones,” says Laura Guerard, the statewide coordinator of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory’s Ohio Young Birders Club (OYBC) and education director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory. “The simple answer (to involving kids in birding) is to get them outside. There are so many wonderful green spaces to go out and play in, like the natural playground at The Wilderness Center, which promotes being outdoors and playing.”

The nature playscape is a popular attraction at TWC, according to Price. The playground is built entirely of natural items. There are logs to balance on, a tunnel to crawl through, sticks to build with, and a mud pit to play in. The nature playscape proves that you “don’t need fancy equipment to have fun outdoors,” says Guerard. “Field guides and binoculars come later. You need that spark first.” Susan Evanoff, executive secretary of the Ohio Ornithological Society (OOS), agrees. “When I had young grandchildren, I would take them birding. My first granddaughter was good at it. But when she was five years old, she turned to me and said, ‘Do I have to birdwatch?’ Children have to have a passion for it.” Evanoff was careful not to push her second granddaughter, who developed an interest in birds on her own. The two went to meetings, events and conferences through the OYBC, and Evanoff says that to this day, her granddaughter thanks her for getting her involved in the world around her.

most certainly encourage passing birds to visit. Children will love to watch as various species stop for a drink or a quick bath. Those with larger properties can consider a pond, which may attract waterfowl, such as ducks. This can be especially rewarding if you are in an area of Wayne County that attracts migratory species, such as Sandhill Cranes, swans and the many beautiful duck species that travel seasonally. Groups of trees and bushes can offer areas of cover for birds, which may feel vulnerable if feeders are out in the open. Of course, placing feeders too close to trees can create easy access for other critters, such as squirrels, which may scare away the birds. Another easy way to expose children to the wonder of winged creatures is to install a hummingbird feeder. Young and old alike are fascinated by these logic-defying birds, and there are models available that actually can attach to a window via suction cups. Hummingbird feeders required diligence to maintain but, again, you never know which “seed” you plant will take root into a lifelong passion. Make It Fun We often think of birding as a passive hobby. However, it isn’t >>> Continued on page 36

Backyard Birding Exposing your children to nature is as easy as hanging out in your own backyard. Start by involve them in making your land inviting to wildlife. “There is so much that people can do to help,” says Evanoff. “Ask a naturalist at your nearest nature center, research at your local library, or Google it. It takes so little. Birds only require three things to survive: food, cover, and water,” she says. Have your child help you pick out and set up a bird feeder in your backyard. Be sure to place it near a large, accessible window in your home, from which you can sit and watch the activity outside. If your child is old enough, give them the responsibility of filling and maintaining the feeder. “It’s fun to experiment with different feed and feeders, because you’ll attract different birds in your yard,” says Guerard, who, with her sons, puts jelly on oranges in the spring to attract Baltimore Orioles. Greater Wayne County shines as a top birding destination year-round, but especially in early spring and fall, when migratory species follow flyways through our area, in particular Not every yard needs a water feature to the swamps and marshes that dot our county. © Black Swamp Bird Observatory attract birds, but installing a birdbath will 44691 | J U NE 2019


To prevent further decline of the species, the club members are constructing nest boxes and helping farmers install them in the right location of their barns. Birders and farmers alike are being educated in the process. The rodent population is controlled through the presence of the barn owls rather than poison. The birth of baby owls further stimulates this process, and everyone involved can see the positive results. Side note: No discussion of endangered winged species would Just across the Wayne County line is The Wilderness Center (TWC), which offers numerous hands-on be complete without mentioning bats. These oft-misunderstood experiences designed to get children involved in and educated about nature. Here, a group of youngsters gets truly “hands-on” with the Nature Playscape, an outdoor space designed to go beyond the creatures are nature’s “skeeter traditional playground experience by using all-natural materials. TWC offers numerous outdoor experieaters,” and especially in areas of ences and learning activities for young and old alike. greater Wayne County that attract just about quietly waiting and watching. There are proactive lots of mosquitoes, bats can be a great natural alternative to steps that should be taken not only as a means to sustain and sprays, pesticides, etc. Bats need all the help they can get, and attract local birdlife, but also as an attempt at conservation. putting up a bat house is a simple but effective way to help them Young children will enjoy hands-on activities and crafts, like out. You can purchase one (just plug “bat house” into making mini-feeders, creating bird-themed artwork, or or, if you want to make it a true hands-on educational lessons. Keeping kids entertained while teaching experience, download plans to build your own. them will help them develop a passion for nature. The bird For The Love Of Nature feeder crafts described below are a great way to have fun while Introducing children to the wonders of nature at an early age feeding neighborhood birds and providing kids with a connection to the wildlife in their own backyard. Not surprisingly, teenagers most likely will not be interested in crafts like these. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t become involved in protecting the birdlife in their community. Due to various causes and conditions, some bird species are slowly declining. Chimney swift numbers have decreased by 50% in the past 40 years, according to the Ohio Ornithological Society. Beyond planting native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses, which attract more insects for the swifts to eat, teens can volunteer with local conservation programs. According to Guerard, one of the conservation efforts of the OYBC Holmes-Wayne County Chapter is promoting nesting boxes for barn owls. Chemical-based solutions to controlling rodent populations (that pester ag producers) have been successful, but with the rats gone, the crops are safe, but the owls Birding can help enforce or reveal additional interests. here, Anna Rose, OYBC member, working on a field sketch. © Black Swamp have no food. Bird Observatory.


can encourage the development of a lifelong hobby in birding. Wooster attracts an abundance of bird life. “Our Holmes/Wayne “Through the (OYBC) club,” says Guerard, “even if casual at County chapter [of the OYBC] finds more rarities than any first, you see these kids become passionate about nature. They other chapter,” she says. The areas surrounding Wooster offer a may go on to take courses in environmental sciences, have lot of open spaces and habitats for breeding and nesting, she successful careers in the field, and even become our future points out. “Other regions in Ohio have habitat areas that are leaders in conservation.” fragmented by farmland and roads.” However, it all begins when parents put down their phones Web resources: and go outside to explore. Whether it’s attending a wilderness The Wilderness Center: class, hiking nature trails, or joining in the fun at TWC’s nature Ohio Young Birders Club: playscape, when parents take the lead, their children are more Black Swamp Brid Observatory: apt to follow. “You can’t make someone be interested in birding,” says Evanoff. “You can get them out into nature and help them understand it, but they have to develop that passion on their own.” And maybe they Homemade Bird Treats won’t be interested in birding. But according Ice Cream Cone Feeder to Evanoff, “Everyone has a passion. Maybe Children love ice cream cones, and this feeder will allow them it’s going to be salamanders. Or turtles. Or to create an ice cream masterpiece for their bird friends. trees.” But if their parents don’t get them Coat the top of an ice cream cone with peanut butter, both inside outside and into nature, they won’t have that and outside, to about an inch below the top. Roll the outside of the opportunity to fall in love with nature at all. cone in bird seed. For the inside, cut an orange in half and place it, peel down, in the peanut butter. Top with jelly and birdseed sprinkles. Place the cones outside Birdlife in Wooster near your main feeder. In the winter, you can have the kids scoop snow into the Residents of Wooster and surrounding cone instead of using an orange. areas have access to an abundance of natural habitats filled with diverse wildlife, such as Pinecone Feeder at the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area. This Even very young children can create pinecone bird feeders. 5671-acre marshland offers amazing Gather pinecones in your yard or at the park. Allow your children to spread peanut butter on the pinecone scales. It’s okay to use an excessive amount, as it will be the opportunities to see a wide array of local “glue” that holds the seeds in place. Once done, have the children hold the birds and other creatures. Getting kids involved in activities in the real world, rather pinecone by the top and gently roll it in a pile of birdseed. The seed will stick to the than on their smartphone, can begin with a peanut butter, making a tasty treat for neighborhood birds. Tie a string to the top of the pinecone and hang it outside. visit to this amazing locale, which is Ohio’s largest remaining marshland outside of the Ice Feeder Ornament Lake Erie region and is located just 3.5 miles While this craft is ideal for winter months, it can be fun in the summer and provide outside of Wooster, extending through both food and water for the birds. Send the kids outside to gather natural items Wayne and Holmes counties. that are decorative, such as flowers or leaves, as well as edible elements like berries “Killbuck Marsh is a major stopover for and seeds. (You can also slice oranges and provide store-bought bird seed.) Give the kids disposable tin pie plates and have them fill the pie pan about halfway with migrating birds, such as ducks and other water, and then they can begin adding items, such as an orange slice, a small pine waterfowl,” says Price. “It’s a large inland branch, and some cranberries. Try not to overcrowd the pans. Sprinkle with bird marsh that is protected by the Division of Wildlife and is a breeding ground for a wide seed, and then add additional water as needed to fill the pan. Lay a piece of yarn at the top so that the ends are in the water and the middle section is out of it to form variety of birds and wildlife.” a loop. Place the pie pan in the freezer (or outside in the winter) until the water is However, you don’t even have to leave frozen solid. Use the yarn to hang the ornament over a decorative plate so that the your backyard to introduce your children to water collects as it melts. The birds will perch on the ornament and enjoy the the myriad of birds traveling through pieces of food that protrude as the ice melts in addition to drinking the water in the Wooster as they migrate each season. plate below. Guerard notes that the rich habitat of 44691 | J U NE 2019



MORTGAGES Proper preparation Cody A. Austinhelps secure your dream home Austin Wealth Solutions

e’re officially into home buying season, and with that comes an influx of questions regarding the process of purchasing or building a home. Some of the key factors to understand when attempting to qualify for a favorable mortgage include an understanding of the following: • Knowing the different types of mortgages • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) • Down payments • Loan-to- value ratio • Credit scores • Debt to income ratio. We’ll break these down in further detail to help make sure you’re as prepared as possible when the time comes to begin shopping for a new home. There are many different types of mortgages, but for this discussion I’m going to focus on conventional vs FHA, as these are two of the most common. A conventional mortgage is a traditional mortgage, as opposed to an FHA mortgage which involves government guarantees to the lender. Most conventional mortgages require a 20% down payment (80% loan-to-value, as we will discuss later), a strong credit score (generally at least a 620, but sometimes higher) and a strong income history. In exchange for meeting all of these requirements buyers are rewarded with lower interest rates, with the lowest rates generally being offered to those with a credit score above 760. Borrowers who do not meet all of the requirements for a conventional mortgage aren’t necessarily excluded from being able to purchase a home. Many may be eligible for what is called an FHA loan. FHA loans are loans insured by the US Federal Housing Administration, which means that if a buyer defaults on the mortgage, the FHA guarantees payment to the lender. These loans, most often used by first-time homebuyers who haven’t saved a large down payment, allow for a much lower down payment, often as low as 3.5%, and have a much lower minimum credit score of 580. This all sounds great, but in exchange for these lower requirements borrowers are required to carry private mortgage insurance, commonly referred to as PMI. This is insurance on the mortgage which covers the lender if the borrower were to default. The cost generally runs between .5% and 1% of the loan amount — which doesn’t sound like much but can really add up over the duration of the loan. For example, if you were to put 3.5% down on a $200,000 home with a PMI cost of .75% you will have paid over $12,000 in PMI premiums before you are eligible to have the PMI removed.



Tip: Historically, some large national lenders have been slow to remove PMI payments for borrowers who should no longer have been paying it. Have your loan balances, etc. reviewed by a professional from time to time. Credit scores and reports can be very confusing and very frustrating. There are three major credit reporting agencies that lenders use to calculate your “FICO” score, which most often is a blend of those three agencies’ scores. As mentioned previously, the higher your score (FICO), the better rate you’ll receive. The last thing you (and your Realtor and lender) want is to be surprised when your credit report is pulled. The time to review your credit is before you actually start looking at homes. A little homework on the web can help you retrieve your score, and the federal government has put procedures in place for you to receive your score for free, once a year, from the three major bureaus. (Some credit card companies also now offer free access to your scores.) There often is a lot of confusion regarding loan-to-value ratio (LTV) vs down payments. The LTV ratio refers to the amount of the mortgage in relation to the market value (appraised value) of the home. So if your LTV ratio is 100% that means that your loan amount is equal to the value of your home. For most conventional mortgages banks want to see the LTV ratio at 80%, so your down payment is going to be the amount needed to get down to that point. As an example, if you purchase a house for $95k and the appraised value is $100k then your LTV is at 95%. In order to get to the golden 80% mark, you will need to put 15% down. Debt-to-income ratio is another critical mortgage factor, and is the measure of your payments on all forms of debt that you have vs. your income. It also sometimes is a difficult factor to prepare for as the standards may vary from bank to bank. As a starting place for your preparations, 28% on the front end (just your mortgage payment vs your income) and 3643% on the back end (all debt payments vs your income) seem to be very common standards that lenders are using. Here’s the hard part: in some cases actively trying to improve one of these factors can have a negative impact on another. For example, if you were to pay off a debt to improve your debt-to-income ratio your credit score may actually take a dip in the short term. The key is to keep in mind that making strong long-term strong financial decisions is going to improve your overall eligibility for a favorable mortgage when the time finally comes to purchase a new home. 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.

Orus Mast Auctions, LLC is now part of the Berkshire Hathaway family! Serving Holmes, Wayne and surrounding counties.

Specializing in Home, Farm, Land, Chattel and Estate Auctions Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation

Current Listings

Upcoming Auctions: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 6:00 p.m. Open House: Monday, June 3, 5-7 p.m. 3 Bedroom Home • Small Barn • 5.5 Acres • Lots of Wildlife Peaceful Setting • Open and Wooded Land Location: 32440 TR 330 Killbuck, OH 44637 Directions: From SR 60, take CR 19 West to TR 330 south to the auction on the left. Perfect country home or getaway property located just minutes from Killbuck! Newer two-story home on very quiet township road.

New construction! Berlin’s Legacy Ridge! Features include: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. 1-acre lot in new subdivision just minutes from Berlin! Great Location! East Holmes Schools Price reduced to $399,000

1.3-Acre corner lot Beautiful rolling corner lot. Minutes from Berlin. Priced at $62,000 per acre 36.5 Secluded Acres Mostly open land with some trees, wildlife and a pond. A super nice getaway property. Between New Bedford and Coshocton. $5,750 per acre

Buyer broker services: We can show you any listed property, regardless of who the listing agent/company is. Ask us how we can represent you in your property purchase at no out-of-pocket cost to you!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 • 6:00 p.m. Open House: Monday, June 10, 5-7 p.m. Updated older 2 BR home • Newer 18x20 Detached Garage Nice Back Porch • Excellent Location • Public Utilities Location: 2143 Stark St., Winesburg, OH 44690. Directions: From US 62 in Winesburg turn south on Chestnut St. to Stark St. Amazing opportunity in the heart of Amish Country’s most charming, sought-after location! Located on a quiet street next to the park in Winesburg. Starter home? Empty nest? B&B? You decide! Move-in ready. Excellent possibilities!

View All of Our Auctions and Listings at: 44691 | J U NE 2019


Profile for Expressions In Woodcraft

44691 Magazine May/June 2019  

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

44691 Magazine May/June 2019  

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