Heart of Ohio July/August 2019

Page 1

TRANSFORMATION in downtown Mansfield

TAKING ACTION

in environmental practices

EASY, BREEZY

lake side decor ideas

A lifestyle publication for North Central Ohio

JULY/AUGUST 2019

starring ROLE Break out of the norm and celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Shawshank Redemption

JULY / AUGUST 2019 1



CONTENTS Volume 10 . Issue 4

9

13

16

I N E V E RY I S S U E

IN THIS ISSUE

6 Must-Do Events

9 Brighter Lights, Bigger City

Five things to do to get the most out of summer.

8 Music Spotlight: Mansfield Melodies Rick Nesta remembers his band’s brief flirtation with the world of rock ‘n’ roll.

20 Love Where You Live

John and Kathy Burkhart’s breezy Lake Erie condo gets some lake side updates.

B E S T S H OT S

The revitalization of downtown Mansfield is well underway, and that means new businesses opening their doors.

13 Growing Change

These four small businesses and non-profits are sowing seeds of Agricultural change.

OUTSIDE THE AREA 16 Head in the Clouds

Dewey Davenport’s soaring barnstormer business takes flight.

28 Give Us Your Best Shot

We love to go along with our readers — take us on your next getaway

C O LU M N S 24 Keeping Score

ON THE COVER: The Shawshank Redemption 25th Anniversary Celebration. Photo courtesy of Destination Mansfield.

Mansfield native Summer Saprano is living life in the fast lane.

26 Ohio History 101

The Battle of Lake Erie unfolds in this issue’s blast from the past. JULY / AUGUST 2019 1



F RO M T H E E D I TO R A lifestyle publication for North Central Ohio

HEART OF OHIO

editor@heartofohiomagazine.com Editor Diana Coon Managing Editor Kelsey Wagner Art Director Jessa Moser Schneider Production Manager Eric Zeiter Editorial Advisor Diane Brown Business Development Manager Mike Greene Account Manager Christie McCartney Sales Associate Sarah Barker Contributing Writers Alexandra Greenberg, Mike Greene, Cindy Jakubick, Alexia Kemerling, Julie McCready, Bill Smith, Pam Spence Contributing Artist Laura Watilo Blake, Matt Shiffler

CUSTOM MEDIA

President & Publisher Managing Editor Associate Editors Editorial Interns Managing Art Director Associate Art Directors

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production@ohiomagazine.com Director of Production Steven A. Zemanek Production Manager Eric Zeiter Lead Advertising Designer Alyson Moutz Advertising Design Assistant Jayme Gembus Advertising Design Intern Molly Douglas

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IT SEEMED TO COME THE LONG WAY AROUND, finally arriving in a flurry of rain and wind, lightning and thunder. But, as messy as it was, summer eventually found its way to the heart of Ohio. Now the flowering trees of spring have given way to bright green leaves and dark pools of shade — the perfect place to relax and enjoy this July/August edition of Heart of Ohio magazine. The long-awaited openings of two new businesses in downtown Mansfield mean new places to eat, drink and relax, and another step in the revitalization of our city. Cindy Jakubick checked out the new Hudson and Essex and Warehouse Tavern and shares why you should too. It just might be you’d enjoy seeing this summer landscape from the air. If that’s the case, you won’t want to skip Pam Spence’s story, “Head in the Clouds,” where she introduces us to Dewey Davenport and his bi-plane. This might be something for your bucket list. I know I’ve added it to my own. But if summer in Ohio to you means fun on the water, you’ll no doubt enjoy Bill Smith’s “Ohio History 101” about Perry’s Monument on Put-In-Bay. Learn the origins of the iconic monument and about the Battle for Lake Erie. Spoiler alert: we won! History, decorating, things to do and new places to enjoy pretty well sums up this issue of Heart of Ohio, and we’re here to share these stories and the summer days ahead with you. Enjoy!

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©2019 by Great Lakes Publishing. Heart of Ohio is printed and published bimonthly. Heart of Ohio is included with a subscription to Ohio Magazine to readers in Richland, Ashland, Huron, Crawford, Morrow, Marion, Knox, Wayne, Holmes and Wyandot counties. Reproduction or use of editorial or pictorial content is prohibited without written permission. Great Lakes Publishing is not responsible for errors, omissions or unsolicited material. Inclusion does not constitute an endorsement. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to HEART OF OHIO, 1422 Euclid Ave., Ste. 730, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.

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IXNX XEX V E RY I S S U E

5

MUST-DO

EVENTS NEAR YOU By Alexandra Greenberg

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

Aug. 16–18 Ohio State Reformatory, 100 Reformatory Rd., Mansfield 419-522-2644 shawshanktrail.com 6 HEARTOFOHIOMAGAZINE.COM

PHOTO COURTESY OF OHIO STATE REFORMATORY

Get busy living and head to Mansfield for The Shawshank Redemption 25th Anniversary Celebration. Keep an eye out for the “Movie Site” signs as you embark on a tour of the 16 filming locations around the city, including Brooks’ bench in Central Park and the famous Ohio State Reformatory. Get autographs from the movie’s cast, and reminisce with other fans before rewatching the classic film at the Renaissance Theater. Be sure to stop by the Green Room Productions for the Shawshank Art Show featuring art inspired by the movie.


OAK RIDGE FESTIVAL

Check out the antique displays and experience living history at the Oak Ridge Festival. Musicians and other entertainers set the tone with live performances at four different stages while more than 130 vendors sell their handmade crafts and proud owners show off their vintage cars. With kids’ activities like face painting, train rides and a barnyard experience, your family’s sure to have fun — rain or shine. July 20–21 n 15498 E. Township Rd. 104, Attica 419-426-0611 | oakridgefestival.com

THE PICKLE RUN FESTIVAL

Named for the tale of a grocer who threw out rotten pickles in a creek then watched them “run” down the stream, the Pickle Run Festival comes to town this Fourth of July weekend. The festival originally began in the late 1970s and became a Galion staple once again in 2015. Friendly competitions, a parade, food vendors and a car and cycle show will entertain festival-goers during this fun-filled weekend.

PHOTO BY LOUDONVILLE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

July 5–6 n Heise Park 5 Heise Park Ln., Galion galionpicklerunfestival.com

MANSFIELD PRIDE FESTIVAL

Come together with the community this August to celebrate self-expression, equality and people unapologetically being who they are at the fifth annual Mansfield Pride Festival. Start your Saturday with a parade through the streets of downtown before heading to Central Park for food, drinks and entertainment. The family-friendly festival also offers a Kid’s Zone, so everyone is welcome for a day of celebration. Aug. 3 n Central Park 29 Park Ave. E, Mansfield 419-709-9212 mansfieldgayprideassociation.org

LOUDONVILLE CAR SHOW, ANTIQUE SHOW & FIREWORKS

Hundreds of antique cars will fill the streets of downtown Loudonville this Fourth of July weekend, drawing spectators from all over the country. The 19th annual Loudonville Car Show, Antique Show & Fireworks festival is sure to dazzle every member of the family with timeless treasures, great food and live music. End the exciting day by sitting under the stars while a fireworks show lights up the night sky. July 6 n 131 W. Main St., Loudonville 419-994-4789 | Loudonvillechamber.com JULY / AUGUST 2019 7


I NMUSIC T H I S ISPOTLIGHT SSUE

MANSFIELD MELODIES Rick Nesta remembers his band’s brief flirtation with the world of rock ‘n’ roll. By Alexia Kemerling . Photos courtesy of Rick Nesta

PERHAPS IT WAS THE BEATLES’ UNFORGETTABLE DEBUT PERFORMANCE ON THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW IN 1964, or the scruffy sound of The Rolling Stones’ “Not Fade Away” on the radio, but somehow the allure of rock ‘n’ roll crept into the city of Mansfield. And Rick Nesta, then a student at St. Peter’s High School, was listening. “Music was about to take a giant step in a different direction,” Nesta remembers, and he was determined to be a part of it. So he picked up a guitar and started messing around. Before long, Nesta took to the garage — like all budding rock stars — and began jamming with a few friends. Talent and enthusiasm soon carried the Mansfield teens, who called themselves The Chosen Few, out of their garage and onto the stage. Nesta played rhythm guitar, his neighbor Tudor Atkins carried the melody on lead guitar, Burton Stahl was on bass, Bob Avery on drums and Jamie Lyons channeled Mick Jagger-like sass as lead singer. On weekends, they played in high school gyms and local venues. Then came the fateful summer of 1966. Fresh out of high school, they found themselves at an audition with record producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffry Katz in New York City. The producers liked what they saw, but had a few suggestions. First, they renamed the band The Music Explosion. Second, the band needed a catchy single to catch the nation’s attention, so they suggested “Little Bit O’ Soul.” The song begins with four introductory bass notes from Stahl, a punctuating drum beat, then the guitars grab the melody and Lyons sings, “When you’re feeling low and the fish won’t bite,” drawing out the lyric to match the music. 8 HEARTOFOHIOMAGAZINE.COM

The groovy single was an overnight hit, reaching #1 on the NYC Charts and #2 on Billboards Hot 100 singles in 1967. The ambitious garage band guitarists from Mansfield were sharing the charts with The Doors, The Monkees and even Aretha Franklin. Nesta tells the story casually, as if it could’ve happened to anyone. The band disbanded in 1968 after that one successful summer. There’s a hint of fondness in his voice as he remembers traveling the country, guitar in hand. These days, Nesta is still pulling late nights, but not on stage. He and his wife Sally run Rocky’s Pub and Grill, a restaurant opened by Nesta’s parents in 1970. Nesta says he isn’t sure if there’s any correlation between running a restaurant and being a rockstar, except that he’s loved both experiences. Rocky’s is still nestled in the same spot on the south side of Central Park in downtown, and maintains its reputation for a classy atmosphere and quality entrées. Mansfield has changed a lot in the past forty-nine years, Nesta notes. He watched the record stores and lively downtown of his youth fade away. But Mansfield is in a real positive growth spurt these days, he adds. He’s even heard that there’s a new music scene brewing downtown.

(ABOVE) Garage rock band The Music Explosion — formerly

The Chosen Few — reached the top of the charts nearly overnight with their 1966 single “Little Bit O’ Soul.”


BRIGHTER LIGHTS,

BIGGER CITY A NEW LOOK AT MANSFIELD’S GROWING CITY CENTER

PHOTO BY DRM PRODUCTIONS

By Cindy Jakubick

Hudson and Essex

JULY / AUGUST 2019 9


IN THIS ISSUE

(LEFT, MIDDLE AND THIS PHOTO)

Hudson and Essex

A long-anticipated rejuvenation of downtown Mansfield is well underway. With boutiques, coffee shops and other entrepreneurial ventures cropping up, potential investors have started to take notice, which means more revenue is being pumped into the city. ansfield’s Warehouse Tavern and the Hudson and Essex complex — which features a deli, fine dining restaurant, Cypress Hill Winery and a gift shop — both opened this spring and are the latest locally owned investments in a revival of the city’s downtown. Located across East Fourth Street from each other, crews at both say their goals were to create something different from what already existed, and to appeal to a variety of customer demographics and preferences. “Downtown Mansfield is undergoing a renaissance,” says Ben Hoggard, general manager and executive chef at Hudson and Essex. “We want to be more than a part of it. We want to be a spearhead.” Staff and owners of both checked in with their new neighbors as they rehabilitated their early 20th-century structures, aiming to keep the historical integrity of the sites while adding modern amenities and customer preferences. Getting started was tricky for both. Taking old buildings into the modern age is costly and hard work. It requires

10 HEARTOFOHIOMAGAZINE.COM

New nightlife

The Warehouse Tavern was the long-time location of a bar called the Rush Inn and an adjacent warehouse. Tom Zellner, one of the tavern’s partners, echoes Hoggard. “It’s just exciting. We’re having fun with it. Look what we’ve made,” he says, sweeping his hand around the 2,500-square-foot bar which features overhead doors that open in fair weather, letting in fresh air and sunlight. Inside the Warehouse Tavern is a modern, industrial space with a comfortable feel, incorporating both vintage and new finishes. Zellner says they wanted a “big city” feel, with a nod toward downtown history. He, along with his brother Rod, nephew Mike and friend John Campbell, worked the better part of a year to create their vision that includes pool tables, five television screens and a projector for big games. But getting to this point didn’t happen without its roadblocks. During construction, the Warehouse Tavern team learned that due to current building and fire codes, they can’t use the upper floors of their buildings without another significant investment, so upper story renovations are on the back burner. Zellner and his partners are happy with what they’ve been able to accomplish. “We want everyone to feel comfortable and safe, and I think we’ve done that,” he says. The partners themselves represent the ages of customers they’re hoping to attract — Tom is 45, Rod, 52, Mike, 26, and John, 78. The tavern is open seven days a week and will open earlier for special events. They also bring in food trucks when needed.

PHOTOS BY DRM PRODUCTIONS, JESSA MOSER SCHNEIDER

Warehouse Tavern

tearing down walls, building new ones and installing new plumbing and wiring, for starters. Modern structural and fire codes are vastly stricter than in the early 1900s. And — as anyone who has renovated old buildings knows — there is always the unexpected.


BOTTOMS UP

Savor specialty cocktails from Warehouse Tavern’s extensive menu

Kingwood Hammock Tito’s Handmade Vodka, cucumber and lemon, shaken and strained, topped with soda Oak Hill Old Fashioned Oranges, cherries and bitters aged with Bulleit Bourbon on oak wood

Renaissance Zipper Absolut Citron, Chambord Raspberry Liqueur, topped with soda

Rye Manhattan Bulleit Rye Whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters

Upscale eats

The Hudson and Essex space originally housed a Hudson and Essex car dealership, and more recently the former National Electric Co. The experience includes custom-roasted and nitrogen-infused coffee, pastries and deli selections available by the sandwich or pound. All pastries, breads, ice cream and many of the meal options are made on site. The main dining room and winery open in the early evening.

Downtown Mansfield is undergoing a renaissance. We want to be more than a part of it. We want to be a spearhead.”

PHOTO BY JESSA MOSER SCHNEIDER

–BEN HOGGARD

Hoggard is proud of the talented staff the project attracts, the way the project came together and the quality of food Hudson and Essex serves. “We want to showcase what we can do in this part of Ohio,” he says. In addition to Hoggard, the leadership team is comprised of Jameson Alford as chef de cuisine, Joey Motter and Sierra Carver, sous chefs, Josh Arneson, bakery chef, and Sarah Hoggard, pastry chef. Amber VanHouten is customer service manager and handles all reservations.

The decor at Hudson and Essex is an eclectic mix of modern, traditional, vintage and reclaimed. Barn doors made from the building’s original ceiling rafters separate the winery’s dining room and winemaking operation. Patio guests are treated to a view of the downtown Mansfield streetscape. The team at Hudson and Essex does have another trick up its sleeve. During early stages of the project, the crew discovered underground caverns from decades past. The current plan is to create a private event space unlike any in the city. But Hoggard says that’s in the future and will require another major investment. Even without the caverns, though, he’s convinced that Hudson and Essex provides an experience that can intrigue locals as well as those from outside the area.

Looking forward

Outside of operations, both teams are excited to be a part of the revitalization of downtown Mansfield. Staff and owners talk about a congenial relationship between themselves and other downtown enterprises, as everyone works to make downtown an exciting destination again. Both Hoggard and Zellner talk about the infectious energy of downtown during summer’s Final Friday nights, when thousands enjoy music and fun. They believe that their ventures enhance that energy, and have ideas on how to boost it further by working with other downtown businesses in complementary ways to promote all merchants. “The vibe in downtown is so much fun,” says Zellner. “It’s not like work. We’re optimistic and excited about the future of downtown Mansfield.” JULY / AUGUST 2019 11


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The Odd Sprout Farm

GROWING

CHANGE THESE FOUR SMALL BUSINESSES AND NON-PROFITS ARE SOWING SEEDS OF AGRICULTURAL CHANGE By Alexia Kemerling . Photos by Matt Shiffler

JULY / AUGUST 2019 13


IN THIS ISSUE OSU MicroFarm at the Ohio State University at Mansfield campus grows tomatoes, radishes, green peppers and more.

ver the past few years, awareness about the challenges in the food industry has grown — from declining bee populations to the harmful environmental impact of some agricultural practices, to the alarming lack of healthy options in food deserts. In response, Ohioans are taking action with small, but impactful solutions. Four small businesses and non-profit organizations in the area are sowing the seeds of change.

Beeventurous

In 2008, news was circulating about massive honeybee die offs and colony collapses. Nic Arnett of Ontario, Ohio, says that he and his father, Tim, and grandfather, Leo, felt compelled to help. The three invested in hives and were soon out catching swarms — one of Arnett’s favorite parts of beekeeping. “The bees are essentially in your hands and you’re guiding them home,” he says. By buying local honey, you are helping both the wild and domesticated bee populations in your area grow. Eating local honey also helps with allergies, as they are likely gathering pollen from the sources that you are reacting to. According to Arnett, the best way to enjoy Beeventurous honey is to spread it on a peanut butter and banana sandwich. 14 HEARTOFOHIOMAGAZINE.COM


(LEFT) The one-acre Odd Sprout Farm, which grows produce such as strawberry mint and radish variations, also hosts a farm-to-table dinner series in Richland County. (OPPOSITE PAGE, BELOW) Beeventurous

in Ontario, Ohio, was started out of an effort to stem the massive amounts of honeybees dying off around the country.

The Odd Sprout Farm

Though this farm is nestled in the countryside of Plymouth, its small size ( just one acre) has led Emily Allen-Smith and her husband, Ronald Smith, to use urban farming techniques. From planting seeds to harvesting the product, everything is done by hand and using natural methods — even their store packaging is biodegradable. “We try to be very conscious of what we put into to the soil,” Allen-Smith says. For example, rather than using fertilizer, they plant basil around the tomatoes as a natural way to deter harmful insects. The couple is always experimenting. They’re drawn to unique plants (hence the name) like strawberry mint, different variations of radishes and, most notably, microgreens — the nutrientdense, sprout-like plants that these farmers are known for. For Allen-Smith, the best part about local produce is the accessibility of the farmers. She encourages customers and fellow plant growers to message The Odd Sprout Farm Facebook or Instagram pages with any questions. They even host summer events like the Richland County Farm to Table Dinner Series, where you can enjoy a locally grown meal in an idyllic setting.

North End Community Improvement Collaborative

The North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC) is a non-profit community development organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for residents in Mansfield. One manifestation of this will be turning industrial brownfields into community gardens. Residents collaborate on tending to the plants and share the vegetables they harvest. Walter Bonham is working with the NECIC on the development of an urban farm. He notes that these gardens are about teaching people to be conscious about their food decisions and their community. “I love seeing all the different people who come together and care for these spaces,” he says. Once a week, local vendors gather in the gardens for farmers markets. Sometimes local politicians visit the gardens to meet constituents.

These days, NECIC has big plans to turn casual gardeners into independent urban farmers. They are actively working with corporate and educational partners to develop a largescale urban farming cooperative to take the community’s goals of expanding food access, increasing economic opportunities and promoting self-sufficiency to the next level.

OSU MicroFarm

Toward the back of the Ohio State University Mansfield campus, Lot 7 is a forgotten parking lot. Weeds poke through the cracked asphalt and the surface is more gravel than smooth pavement. It’s the last place you’d expect to call a farm, and yet that is exactly what it has become. Kip Curtis, associate professor of environmental history, saw the vacant lot as the perfect place for his vision of sustainable local food production. In 2017, Curtis and dozens of student volunteers assembled a microfarm. Tomatoes, radishes, green peppers and leafy greens flourish in the small space. The goal here isn’t to capture a niche foodie market, but to capture the main stream one.

I love seeing all the different people who come together and care for these spaces.” –WALTER BONHAM

Curtis hopes to change the way Richland County consumes and thinks about food. He wants to show that there’s opportunity to capture existing food dollars by building well-designed, small-scale urban microfarming systems. Growing local is about employing locals, keeping money in the community and making healthy food accessible. Over the next few years, Curtis hopes to install more farms like this one at other OSU campuses, in neighborhoods and even public school parking lots. “Change the landscape, change the culture,” says Curtis. JULY / AUGUST 2019 15


clouds

I NU T H O S IIDS EI STSH UEE A R E A

HEAD IN THE

DEWEY DAVENPORT’S SOARING BARNSTORMER BUSINESS TAKES FLIGHT. By Pam Spence . Photos by Laura Watilo Blake

16 HEARTOFOHIOMAGAZINE.COM


Dewey Davenport has always had his head in the clouds. “I’ve been interested in aviation since I was about 7,” says Davenport, owner of Goodfolk and O’Tymes Biplane Rides in Xenia. “That was when I first started building model airplanes. I moved from model airplanes to rubber band powered planes. And then when I was about 11, I moved on to radio controlled planes, which I flew in competitions throughout my teens.”

hen he was a senior in high school, Davenport’s parents agreed to let him take flying lessons. “They have always supported me in the things I wanted to do,” he says. He began his training at Red Stewart Airfield in Waynesville, earned his pilot’s ratings and by the age of 21 was working locally, flying skydivers. Ever since then, Davenport has wanted to own his own biplane and have a grass strip where he could give people rides. “I wanted to make people happy,” he says. “I’ve always been a kind of a gypsy, and after reading Richard Bach’s Nothing By Chance: A Gypsy Pilot’s Adventures in Modern America, I knew this was what I wanted to do — I wanted to be a barnstormer.”

Gaining altitude

Barnstorming arose in the late 1920s and flourished into the early days of the 20th century. It was the golden age of aviation. “I am fascinated by the history of barnstorming,” says Davenport. “I think of it as the essence of Americana — freedom and traveling around to a lot of small towns and meeting people. It has always been my ideal world.” Barnstorming became a hot item after World War I when the U.S. Military sold off surplus planes for cheap. The Curtiss JN-4 Biplanes, known as Jennys, were quickly snapped up by former military pilots and civilian enthusiasts. These pilots found they could make a decent living flying into small towns for informal air shows, landing and taking off from farmers’ fields, doing aerial stunts and offering rides. JULY / AUGUST 2019 17


Dewey Davenport’s Goodfolk and O’Tymes Biplane Rides offers rare looks at the Ohio landscape from one of his two biplanes. One of the only African American barnstormers, he’s keeping alive a tradition that dates back nearly 100 years and at the same time helping people make lofty memories.

“I love how biplanes still enchant so many people,” says Davenport. “When I show up in small towns now, people still yearn to taste the experience first hand. It’s like nothing they have ever experienced before. They get very emotional — they’re scared and excited. I’ve even had people burst into tears. They want pictures and to share stories of how their grandpa took them up in a plane like that long ago. One fellow said he had dreamed of going up in an open cockpit plane his whole life.”

I think of it as the essence of Americana — freedom and traveling around to a lot of small towns and meeting people. It has always been my ideal world.” –DEWEY DAVENPORT On cruise control

Davenport has been flying now for 25 years. After jobs at Skydive Green County and USA Jet Airlines, he began working for corporate clients — CEOs, professional athletes and actors, namely — in a business jet. When he was furloughed from that job, he picked up work as a government contractor flying overseas, with the last contract job he took being in Afghanistan. “I figured I could put away some money working toward the day when I could purchase my own biplane,” says Davenport. “I built the webpage long before I even bought a plane.” An unexpected tragedy in Afghanistan, however, changed everything. After a good friend and fellow pilot

died in a plane crash in 2014, Davenport decided to make his dream a reality. “My plans ramped up,” he says. He reread Nothing By Chance and watched The Great Waldo Pepper over and over — both about barnstorming. That tipped the scales. “I wanted to live free, have fun and do what I really wanted to do,” says Davenport. In 2013, before the accident, he’d purchased his first biplane — a 1929 Travel Air 4000. In 2016, he acquired a 1930 D-25 New Standard — a biplane custom built for the flying circus trade. “There are maybe eight New Standards in the world still flying,” Davenport says. Because it seats four, he can provide rides for kids and elderly people who can’t go up in a biplane without someone with them. He’s given rides to people ranging in age from five months to 94 years.

Back to Earth

Sadly, barnstormers are a vanishing breed. “There are probably between 10–20 barnstormers nationwide,” says Davenport. “I’m one of the youngest, currently, and one of the only African American barnstormers. This kind of aviation is dying out.” There are ride operators who operate from a fixed base, “but they aren’t true barnstormers,” he says. “Barnstormers travel around, giving rides and flying out of cornfields. We give people the memory of a lifetime.” 18 HEARTOFOHIOMAGAZINE.COM


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1 MARCH / APRIL 2019

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JULY / AUGUST 2019 19


I N E V E RY I S S U E

a family DECORATING FOR …

AFFAIR Love Where You Live . By Julie McCready

John and Kathy Burkhart’s breezy Lake Erie condo decorated with wicker and rattan furniture and weather-resistant fabrics is a lakeside wonderland made for the entire family.

20 HEARTOFOHIOMAGAZINE.COM


JULY / AUGUST 2019 21


If you ask John and Kathy Burkhart what their favorite thing to do in life is, they’ll answer in unison: “Having fun with family and friends.” For over 25 years, the Mansfield couple has been doing just that by creating lasting memories with their family and friends along the shoreline of Lake Erie. hey’ve watched their two children grow, marry and have their own children, and have delighted in hosting friends and family at their lakeside retreat with boating, jet skiing and hanging out at the Burkhart’s very own Tiki bar. Their greatest delight, though, has been in the joy of spending lake time with their two grandsons, Hutch and Coy. When John and Kathy started their Lake Erie lifestyle, they had one unit in their seasonal park. As their family grew, so did their units, until they occupied three separate homes along the lake. Last year, the Burkhart clan decided it was time to gather under one roof. John and Kathy wanted the opportunity to tuck their grandchildren in at night and hear the clamor of their little feet in the morning as they jumped in bed with them to plan out the day. So when a spacious waterfront condominium became available four miles up the road from their current location, they decided to make the move. The Burkhart’s son, JJ, and his wife, Alison, would have space for themselves and their two sons, and newly married daughter Katie and husband Ryan would have space to grow into if more grandchildren came into the picture. The unit was not only the perfect size, but it also came with dock space for John’s water toys and a number of close friends and family were nearby, making it easier to congregate. I have been helping the Burkharts with their homes and lake properties for many years, and was excited when a phone call came my way for assistance in decorating the new condominium. The previous owners had updated the entire interior of the unit, so my role was to assist in furniture and décor. We met in the later part of 2018 to begin plans for the environment. We knew that in order to have everything ready for spring, we would need several months of preparation to get just the right items ordered, delivered and set-up. In my 23 years of providing residential design, I have had the honor of helping many clients with their waterfront properties — from shorelines in Ohio, Michigan, New 22 HEARTOFOHIOMAGAZINE.COM

Hampshire and Oregon, to waterside retreats in the Keys and west coast of Florida. Across them all, there are certain design principles I have incorporated to ensure durable and comfortable living where sun and water are involved.

Dual purpose furnishings

Because living space can be at a premium, it’s important to provide items that can have a dual purpose: sofas that house sleepers inside, ottomans with interior storage for extra sheets and lift top trays for eating or working on, and chairs that swivel and rock for viewing inside or out. For the Burkharts, we used all of the above items sourced through upholstery manufacturer Norwalk Furniture, located 35 miles from their condo. It’s quality, Americanmade furniture, and is capable of withstanding lots of living and use.

Wicker & rattan

Beyond fitting in aesthetically with lakeside décor, wicker and rattan products also have qualities that make them the right choice for durability. Even with controlled heating and cooling environments, there can be additional moisture in lakeside living spaces, and wicker and rattan can withstand the issues that come with that. Wicker is a weaving technique commonly used in baskets and furniture, and is a process involving the use of a natural or synthetic material that will allow for expansion and contraction, plus the movement of water through it freely. Rattan can be made using one of over 600 species of fibrous plant. The plant’s exterior skin is peeled away and utilized in the weaving process because of its lightweight, durable, flexible and attractive qualities. Synthetic products are now available with a wicker look and can sometimes withstand outdoor elements better than its natural counterpart, though fading can be an issue in product of lesser quality. We used just the right touches of wicker elements through side tables, baskets and accessories to give the Burkhart home its waterfront look.


Fade resistant rugs and fabrics

While nothing is 100% fade-proof, there are items available to help fight the damage that comes with bright sunshine, especially bright sunshine coupled with the reflection of its light from the nearby water. For the Burkharts, we used a darker navy rug on the tile floor in the lower sunroom with confidence because it is actually a rug made for outdoor use, woven with fiber that is made to withstand heat, sun and water. Since it sits directly inside the water-facing side of the condo, little wet feet can run across it and Kathy can be comfortable with its durability. Complementing the rug is a Norwalk sleeper sofa and two swivel barrel chairs in lighter and darker tones of blue. The furniture is covered in performance fabrics that are woven to help withstand the abundant light from the windows on all three sides. To aide in the longevity of those fabrics, we chose a honeycombed blind, which mimics the appearance of a slatted wood blind but is made of fabric to create softness and has an insulated interior to assist with the heat and cold that comes with living along the waters of Lake Erie.

(OPPOSITE PAGE) Nautical touches such as the fish to the left or lighthouses in the middle are subtle ties to the lake. A rattan side table offers breezy vibes and durability. (ABOVE) Wall décor and linens can help bring together a theme.

There are so many fun memories to be made that the Burkhart grandchildren will keep for a lifetime to come. And that’s what I call decorating for a family affair!

About Julie McCready . Julie McCready is a residential/commercial designer with over 20 years of furniture and design

experience. McCready, along with a talented team of designers, offers complimentary in-home design services for clients purchasing furniture at McCready Interiors/Norwalk The Furniture Idea, which she and husband Tom have owned since 1996. In 2019, the McCready family celebrates 95 years in the furniture business. John Burkhart is Julie McCready’s brother.

JULY / AUGUST 2019 23


C O LU M N S

SUMMER ALL YEAR ROUND Keeping Score . By Mike Greene | Photos courtesy of Summer Saprano

One of the often-heard complaints from parents who reside here in the Midwest is that their youngsters leave the cities where they grew up for a college experience and never return. But not all of those young people go off in search of a degree. Some are just convinced that the grass has to be a lot greener anywhere else.

About Mike Greene Since graduating from Muskingum College, Mike Greene has spent most of his working life in sports media. He has worked at radio and TV stations around Northeast and Central Ohio, including as a sports talk show host for WMFD-TV in Mansfield. He has been writing his Keeping Score column for Heart of Ohio for over a decade.

SUMMER SAPRANO would fall into that group of young experience seekers. As a 17-yearold graduate of Mansfield Senior High School in 2007, she had already become adept at the social skill known as networking — a quality that has and will continue to serve her well. Saprano’s mom, Suzy, runs City News in the Carrousel District of Mansfield — a family business opened by Suzy’s father some 80 years ago. Saprano spent quite a few of her growing up years with her mom at the downtown store and that experience, combined with her ultra-outgoing personality, provided her with a reservoir of street smarts she wouldn’t acquire at any college. What those early teenage years showed Saprano was that she wanted to know what life experiences were out there for a young girl from Mansfield. It came as no surprise when she told her mom that she wanted to head west to experience life outside of Mansfield. She went to Phoenix, Arizona, and work at a place called the Cadillac Ranch — a restaurant and bar partially owned by a Mansfield transplant whom both Suzy and Summer knew. Without much prodding Suzy gave her okay with just one stipulation: that her daughter call her every day. Saprano has now been on her own for about 13 years, which translates to over 4,745 days with at least one phone conversation between the two.

Fast lane

Through connections from her time in Arizona, an 18-year-old 24 HEARTOFOHIOMAGAZINE.COM

Summer Saprano left Mansfield in 2007 to experience life outside the city.

Saprano started working with Barrett-Jackson, a company running high-end antique car auctions. She also landed parttime work with the MTV Spring Break reality series. This was again the result of her networking, as she knew some of the young people starring in the series. She juggled her work with BarrettJackson and MTV and eventually moved to San Diego. Both the overlapping BarrettJackson and MTV positions lasted three to four years and each came about quite by chance. In fact, Saprano has acquired all of her jobs without ever having to interview. She’s been fortunate enough that she has not had to take a job waiting tables in hopes of being

discovered by a talent agent who liked the way she smiled. She would also work an occasional single event or two with the permission of her current employers. One of those was with Audi of America through their marketing agency — A. Sattler Consulting. Despite her lack of experience in auto racing, Andy Sattler, president of the agency, liked her work so much so that he offered her a job. The opportunity was just the type that she had been hoping for with one rather significant exception — it would require a move from San Diego, a city she had come to love, to Columbia, South Carolina — a place she had never been.


All the right moves

Although she’d be leaving her heart in San Diego, Saprano felt she needed to make the move to Columbia for the good of her career. She’s now been there for a few years and knows that it was the right move to make. As account manager for the Audi Sport Experience, she oversees all event logistics for the IMSA WeatherTech sportscar championship and SRO in North America, and helps manage lifestyle events on behalf of Audi of America for Monterey Car Week and Formula E. She and her team work to ensure that guests of Audi at these motor racing events receive top-of-the-line hospitality for the duration of their stay. It’s a lot of responsibility, but Andy Sattler — Saprano’s boss — told me that he has total confidence in her, largely because of her self-confidence. He added

that she’s good on her feet and has the necessary grit and determination needed in stressful situations. Her job takes her all over the country, but her favorite place to work from is Lagunaseca Raceway near Monterey, California. And though MidOhio is not one of the tracks currently hosting events that include Audi, Saprano has attended a race weekend there. She’s celebrating her 30th birthday this July, and says she’s learned a lot about making important decisions without looking back in the 13 years since leaving Mansfield. And though she is a part of the brain drain that grew up in Mansfield and moved away never to return, few, if any, have taken the road she chose to follow, and she’s making Mansfield proud. Saprano does return often if for nothing more than to save having to make a phone call.

Summer Saprano oversees a number of event logistics for Audi Sport Experience.

Summer Saprano travels all over the country for Audi events.

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July 18-21 Free Admission River Valley High School 4280 Marion Mt. Gilead Rd. Caledonia visitmarionohio.com 800-371-6688 Sponsored locally by the Marion Community Credit Union JULY / AUGUST 2019 25


C O LU M N S

THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE Ohio History 101 . By Bill Smith

One of the greatest and most stunning victories in U.S. naval history was fought here in Ohio on Sept. 10, 1813. The War of 1812 had been raging since its onset in June of that year. Control of Lake Erie was vital to both the American and British forces. Transportation of goods and supplies had to be maintained.

About Bill Smith

Bill Smith was born in Fremont and graduated from Tiffin Calvert High School to attend Tiffin University. He recently retired from RFME Insurance in Mansfield after being in the insurance business for 40 years. He was previously board president of the Ohio Bird Sanctuary and enjoys drawing and watercolors in his spare time.

26 HEARTOFOHIOMAGAZINE.COM

Perry’s Victory and International Peace Monument

commander was killed or severely wounded. Upon capitulation, Perry anchored at West Sister Island and sent his famous message to General William Henry Harrison, the commander of U.S. forces at that time: “We have met the enemy and they are ours …”. What made this victory so stunning were the combatants involved. The British were very confident of a quick and easy victory. The centuries-old British Navy was the most dominant force in the world, while Perry’s 500 raw recruits had no sea-going or battle experience. In just five months of constant training and drilling, they were developed into an efficient and seaworthy fighting force. After losing their supply lines,

the British were forced to abandon Fort Malden near Detroit and flee into Canada. Harrison’s forces engaged them at the Battle of the Thames and defeated them, along with the Indian Confederation led by Tecumseh. After the battle, Perry continued to serve, but not long after was stricken with yellow fever and died on Aug. 23, 1819, on his 34th birthday. He was eventually interred in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1826. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Monument was constructed on Put-in-Bay and dedicated on July 31, 1931. The Doric column rises 352 feet above Lake Erie and overlooks the battle site. Three British and three American officers are buried at the base of the monument.

PHOTO BY OHIO IMAGES

AT THE START OF THE WAR, Oliver Hazard Perry was sent to Presque Isle (now Erie, Pennsylvania) and was put in command of American forces on Lake Erie. Perry commissioned local carpenters and craftsmen to build nine combat vessels. Six were smaller gunboats, which carried long guns and a carronade — a cannon that fires solid, non-explosive cannon balls. The brig, Ariel, was equipped with four long guns, and two larger Man-of-War ships — Lawrence and Niagara — carried two long guns and 18 carronades apiece. Lawrence was initially Perry’s flagship. The British fleet under the command of Robert Heriot Barclay consisted of six large ships armed with a total of 35 long guns and 24 carronades. At 7 a.m. on Sept. 10, the British fleet was spotted northwest of Put-in-Bay beyond Rattlesnake Island. Perry was moored at Putin-Bay and immediately set sail to engage them. The American forces suffered great damage in approaching the British fleet. The predominant British long guns were effective up to a 1-mile range, while the American carronades were only fully effective at 500 yards or less. Perry’s flagship suffered massive damage with most of the crew wounded or killed. Perry then transferred to the Niagara. Once on board, the winds, which had been favoring the British, shifted and gave the advantage to Perry. The American fleet gained the advantage and, one by one, British ships began to lower their flags in surrender. Virtually every


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B E S T S H OT S

Send us your photos. We love to go along with our readers. Please remember these are published in the order in which they are received. Keep watching for your photo in a future issue!

Joe and Mary Platt, son Terry and wife Courtney Adams, and daughter Wendy and husband Warren Johnson took us to Lake Coeur D’alene, Idaho while attending grandson Alex Adams’ graduation from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.

nia took their Heart of Ohio Alice and Steve Bower of Caledo their Flagler Beach, Florida, magazines along this winter to of Ohio all winter long. home and enjoyed that touch

Send us your photo at editor@heartofohiomagazine.com

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Cathy Francis of Mt. Gilead brought us along and shar ed Heart of Ohi o with Julio Cortazar in B uenos Aires, A rgentina.


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