St. Michael Lions Club Set for Annual Ice Fishing Contest

By Mike Schoemer

Worried about thin ice? Forget about it, the St. Michael Lions say. There’s a layer about 16 inches thick on Beebe Lake today, and with temperatures at night below freezing, that’s not going anywhere.

“We’re more concerned about a storm,” said Joe Dehmer, a longtime Lion and one of this year’s organizers for the annual St. Michael Lions Ice Fishing Contest. “This is such a family event, we love it when we can have some good weather and get the kids out there.”

The ice fishing tournament, which runs from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, is one of the largest fundraisers for the local Lions Club, which shares Lions International’s mission of service and eye health. Funds raised from this year’s tournament benefit everything from local scholarships (for St. Michael-Albertville High School graduates) to other community service projects.

“It’s really a great group of guys, very talented,” said Jim Pichler, another of this year’s organizers. “They work hard at it. But it’s a lot of fun.”

This year’s ice fishing event promises to be a lot of fun, as well. Pichler said the community support from local businesses has been “amazing,” with prizes from Hardware Hank, Cabela’s, Marketplace and many more.

The St. Michael-Albertville Boy Scouts will be on the lake selling refreshments.

As for Dehmer and Pichler, they’ll be on hand judging fish and making announcements.

“You get the kids running up to you with fish of all sizes, and you want to make each one feel special,” Dehmer said. “It’s pretty fun.”

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. They are available from Lions members or at the Hardware Hank store in St. Michael. Raffle tickets are $5 each and get anglers a chance to win items like a Vexilar fish finder or a Strike Master gas-powered auger, among other items.

KRWC Radio will be on hand with contests, and a live broadcast as well.

Due to the warm temperatures, participants will not be allowed to park on the lake. The Lions (in their traditional yellow vests with the purple logo) will provide parking instructions and some shuttles to the ice.

Holes will be drilled Friday evening by the Beebe Lake Association, so anglers should be careful when they head out to find their spot.

Jefferson’s lightning!

By Kevin Ambrose

As I drove home from work at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening in western Fairfax County, I noticed large cumulus clouds building on the eastern horizon near Washington. On the western horizon, towards Chantilly and Front Royal, Va., the sky was mostly clear with high-level cirrus clouds painting the western half of the sky. Showers and thunderstorms were in the forecast for the early evening but the weather hardly appeared threatening.

During my drive, I noticed that the visibility was good. It was now autumn and the atmosphere lacked the hazy, soupy appearance of a typical mid-summer day in Washington. If thunderstorms did form, there was a good chance that the visibility would be good for lightning photography. At least I hoped so.

When I arrived home, I checked the radar. A lone rain shower was moving north through Stafford County. Other than that isolated shower, the radar was mostly clear in the Washington area.

I continued to watch the radar. As the shower in Stafford County moved into Prince William County, lightning was detected. Two bolts hit southern Prince William County, near Dumfries.  The shower was maturing into a thunderstorm.

I packed my camera gear and began the drive to D.C. I was not optimistic about the storm chase, but if the storm could hold together, it might make for a few good photos.

On Route 66, I hit blinding rain near Falls Church. The heavy rain was not associated with the thunderstorm that I viewed on radar to the south. That storm was still in eastern Prince William County. A small thunderstorm had just formed overhead, in Fairfax County.

The storm slowed traffic for a few minutes but I felt it was a good sign that the atmosphere was relatively unstable. My chances of photographing a storm were improving, if there were no traffic jams on the road ahead.

The traffic on Route 66 flowed well and I arrived at the Jefferson Memorial about 30-40 minutes after leaving my home.

As I parked near the Potomac River, I noticed that lightning flashed on the western horizon, striking the ground just west and north of Arlington. I could see that the storm was moving north and would miss Washington. This was the storm I just drove through. I took a few photos of the lightning flashes over Rossyln. There were no well-defined bolts, it was just sheet lightning.

Within minutes, a rain shaft appeared on the southern horizon, over the Potomac River near Alexandria. Another storm was heading directly toward Washington. This was probably the storm that I viewed earlier on radar. Thunder became audible.

I took cover inside my car and I waited for the storm to pass. I don’t stand outside to photograph during the middle of a thunderstorm. I always try to stay safe while photographing lightning.

Then, I noticed a flash of lightning on the eastern horizon. There was no thunder, it was distant lightning.

I walked down to the Tidal Basin and setup my tripod. The visibility was good. The next lightning bolt appeared clearly in the sky over the Jefferson Memorial and I captured it with my digital camera, a Sony A580. I am always happy if I can photograph one lightning bolt. Just one.

For the next 30 minutes lighting flashed frequently, sometimes with multiple bolts. I captured most of the lightning strikes with my camera. It was a beautiful sight. The storm chase had worked out after all.

There were too many lightning photos to show in this post but I selected a few that I thought were the best. It was definitely a memorable storm chase, especially for early autumn. Perhaps it will be the last storm chase of the year, which is fine with me. I’m ready to be done with the heat, the humidity, and thunderstorms. On to snowstorms!

Sheet lightning behind the Jefferson Memorial. Lightning is concealed by the storm’s rain shaft. This photo was taken at 8:55 p.m. Wednesday night. Photo Kevin Ambrose
Two distant cloud-to-ground lightning bolts strike at 8:59 p.m. Wednesday night. Photo Kevin Ambrose
Three distant cloud-to-ground lightning bolts strike at 9:02 p.m. Wednesday night.
Two distant cloud-to-ground lightning bolts strike at 9:06 p.m. Wednesday night. Photo Kevin Ambrose
A single cloud-to-ground lightning bolt strikes at 9:07 p.m. Wednesday night. Photo Kevin Ambrose
Distant lightning at 9:03 p.m. Photo Kevin Ambrose
The radar at 9 p.m, about the same time the photos were taken. Source

2 Massachusetts Lions Clubs host 22nd party for the community.

By Ann McEvoy

Lee's Pond FestivalThe rainy weather on Saturday did not stop a team of volunteers from the Lions Clubs to kick off the 22nd Annual Lee’s Pond Festival.

Dozens of people gathered at around Lee’s Pond for fishing, pumpkin painting and more.

Lions Clubs, a service organization which keeps most of its civic efforts behind the scene, are known for providing glasses to the less fortunate but each fall they are known for their outside festival.

South Attleboro has two groups Lions Club’s (mainly the men) and the Village (mainly the ladies). They carry on separately throughout the year and come together for this thank-you event. Saturday with weather threatening another cancelled event, (their car show was cancelled due to Irene) they held out hope and woke in the morning to little rain and eventually the sun even came out.

It took plenty of volunteers to run such the big event and they were able to draw from their youth division, The Leo Club. The coordinator Judy Hebert had no trouble getting 28 Attleboro High School students to volunteer to run the kids activities and assist on the food tables.

This event is not one of their fundraisers, but an opportunity to say thank-you for all the support in the previous year.

Ray Hebert, president of the South Attleboro Lions Club, is always looking for ways to reach out into the community and to get people involved. Membership is open to join all three groups.

Akron Marathon winner celebrates with hometown support

By George Thomas Beacon Journal staff writer

Akron MarathonBecki Michael of Akron could feel the love. The winner of the women’s portion of the Akron Marathon crossed the finish line at the 2:45:57 mark and one of the first people she looked for was her mother, Denise Calabretta of Alliance.

Michael, an Alliance native, former runner for the University of Akron and Olympic trial qualifier, came to Akron with specific goals for her first run in this event.

“I wanted to break the course record of 2:39:09, but it was apparent at the halfway mark that wasn’t going to happen,” she said. “Ultimately, the goal was to win. I wanted to win the hometown marathon, and I did.”

On a Saturday morning that featured cool, cloudy weather, the kind tailor-made for this type of race, Michael beat her nearest competitor, Kent’s Shanna Ailes, by 15 minutes.

But her statements betrayed a hint of regret.

“It wasn’t as fast as I would have liked, but I’m going to the Olympic trials, so I’m happy,” she said.

From the cheers that greeted her arrival at Canal Park, it was apparent that she had significant support in the stands.

“I can say that I had a city behind me, that’s for sure,” she said.

The weather may have offered cover for local runners, but for men’s winner Peter Kemboi, who lives in Hebron, Ky., but hails from Eldoret, Kenya, it was akin to running on a frigid December day.

“It’s too cold,” said Kemboi, who finished the run in 2:22:46.

Kemboi, 31, spends three months in the United States competing, then returns to Kenya to train for four months. The conditions in his native country are drier and more arid, and the slight African felt the chill in his frame.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Kenyan has run the race. Last year, he placed third.

“I’m very happy today. I ran good today and improved my time from last year,” he said.

Still, he said he felt as if he could have run the race at a better pace.

“If I had stronger guys to boost me, I would have run faster,” he said.

Kemboi and other competitors said that the course challenged them in areas where hills played a prominent role.

Cuyahoga Falls’ Dave Petrak came closest to giving Kemboi a run for his money with his 2:30:27 finish.

He ran the race with his twin brother, Dan, who placed eighth overall with a time of 2:39:45. Five Petrak brothers ran in some form or fashion.

“It’s probably in our genes,” he said. “We just have that stubborn element.”

That trait served him well, as he hung with Kemboi before his competitor finally broke away during the second half of the run.

“Right at the beginning of the first parking lot at Sand Run is when he first started to put some distance on me,” Petrak said. “He just kept increasing. He ran very well.”

Petrak took four years off from competitive running, primarily because his school schedule would not allow the dedication that it required. The Akron Marathon was his first race back.

“It definitely wasn’t the time I wanted. I went out ridiculously fast and I wasn’t able to maintain that pace, so I’m quite disappointed with my finish,” he said. “But I still ended up second, so it wasn’t that bad.”

Other results: Andrew Musova (2:38:07) of Santa Fe, N.M., won the men’s masters division. … Tracy Wollschlager (3:03:57) of Novi, Mich., won the women’s division in that race. … Akron’s Michael Capriolo won the men’s half marathon in a time of 1:10:56. Canton’s Brandi Howard finished first in the women’s division in a time of 1:28:18. … In the masters division, Brian Mazur of Jackson, Mich., won the half with a time of 1:21:33 and Marlene Bloomfield of North Olmsted placed first in the women’s division with a time of 1:32:32.

Results from the 2011 Akron Marathon can be found at

Uniontown man felt the world was going to end

By Mark Phillips
When I was a little kid, I thought Pearl Harbor was a woman’s name.

I remember watching an episode of “The Waltons” that centered on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

I wondered, why would the Japanese attack a woman? Who is she? It may sound silly, but sometimes, little kids don’t understand things.

As I got older, I learned about Pearl Harbor from family and teachers in Uniontown. The words began to mean something.

I learned how the attack scarred our country, but also how we rallied together against our enemies. When anyone says “Pearl Harbor” now, it conjures up images of the attacks that I’ve seen on old newsreels and in movies. But I have no real emotional attachment to it.

For me, you only have to say “9/11” or “Sept. 11.” For the next several minutes and sometimes a lot longer — I have to apologize — I’m not with you. They say time travel isn’t theoretically possible. But I can attest to it: It happens around every Sept. 11, or any time I hear the date.

I’m back in 2001, standing in front of a New York fire station where the lives of nearly every firefighter and medic were snuffed out, killed by the falling towers.


I remember the ash in my hair, the ash that hung in the air for days after it happened. I remember looking from my hotel room into the pit of where the World Trade Center used to stand and seeing the glow of the fires. I see military jets scream between the high-rises, their pilots vigilant, looking out for the next airborne terrorist.

I see a profound sense of loss too unbearable to accurately describe. For the first time in my life, I felt the world literally was going to end. That doesn’t make sense to the rational brain, but standing amid all of this in New York, it made complete sense. It was the little kid in me doing the talking.

Back up to the morning of Sept. 11, before the attacks occurred, when my psyche wasn’t damaged. I was the assistant city editor for The Repository and got the first word of the attacks through an Associated Press wire bulletin on my computer at work. I don’t remember the exact words, but it said something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center.

Bad weather? Must have been a terrible accident, I thought. I jumped up from my desk and ran to a TV. There, I saw the second plane hit the other tower.

At that moment, as a journalist, I had to be in New York. But since then, I’ve wondered whether I should have pushed my bosses to let me go. It changed my life forever, and I’m not sure I’m better off for it.


I did what officials told journalists to do and wrote my Social Security number and name in permanent marker on my skin, in case there was another attack and they needed to identify my body. Then I drove with Rep photographer Michael Balash to New York (all planes in the United States were grounded for days). The assignment was to document work that people from Stark County were doing to help New York recover.

To say I wasn’t ready for the experiences in New York isn’t completely accurate. I had been crime reporter for a newspaper in central Ohio before coming to The Repository. For that job, I saw any number of chilling scenes of death that I’d rather forget. At the end of each day, I’d take a mental inventory of what I saw, and then I’d put it in a little box to be filed away in my brain. Those memories rarely came out.

I still can’t watch a TV documentary about 9/11. I’m not sure if I ever will. I like to think I can, only to get about three minutes into it and have to change the channel or shut off the TV. As soon as I see the first plane hit the World Trade Center tower, I’m traveling through time.

Which is why 9/11 is different: There’s no little box to put it in and file away. It’s simply too massive, the loss too great.

The murders of nearly 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and D.C. gutted us as a country. Those memories feel like they burst out of my brain. I cannot get the images of those planes hitting those towers out of my head. I cannot get the images of the towers falling out of my head, either.

I’ve tried. But I’m not sure I should try anymore.

Stark County native Mark Phillips is a former assistant city editor of The Repository. He now edits an automotive industry magazine. In his spare time, he writes novels.

Raccoon rabies baiting starts this week

The Summit County Combined General Health District, in collaboration with the USDA Division of Wildlife Services, will participate in a multi-county rabies vaccine baiting operation for raccoons.

This operation is in response to raccoons testing “positive” for rabies in Lake, Geauga and Cuyahoga Counties in northeast Ohio since 2004, breaching the Ohio/Pennsylvania rabies vaccine barrier.

The baiting is scheduled to run through Sept. 30, weather permitting, in: Boston Heights; Hudson, north of state Route 303; Macedonia; Northfield Center; Northfield Village; Reminderville; Sagamore Hills; Twinsburg City and Twinsburg Township. The Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area will be baited by aircraft.

The aerial rabies baiting operation could last up to 30 days. Communities that surround the park should be aware that pieces of bait may fall outside the park boundaries.

The bait is a brown square block with a strong odor of fishmeal, an ingredient in animal feed which raccoons are attracted to. A plastic packet inside the block contains a red liquid with the vaccine. A raccoon is vaccinated by eating bait containing the vaccine. The raccoon will develop antibodies in two to three weeks. These antibodies will protect the raccoon if it is exposed to another infected raccoon. If enough raccoons are vaccinated, the disease will be stopped.

The bait is not harmful to people, pets or livestock, according to the health district. It is not possible to get rabies from the vaccine.

Since the vaccine contains vaccinia virus, people with eczema and immuno-suppressed conditions may be prone to a local infection if the red liquid portion of the bait gets into a wound or abrasion.

People who touch the bait should wear gloves or use a paper towel or plastic bag then use soap and water to wash any skin area exposed to the vaccine.

If bait is found near homes, leave it alone if it is unbroken and in an area where pet or child contact is not likely.

If the bait is out in the open or where contact by pets or children is possible, put on gloves or use a paper towel or plastic bag and toss it into deeper cover. The bait should not be touched by people less than 18 years of age, pregnant, or immuno-suppressed.

Additional baits may have been dropped nearby; check the area for more. Any other bait can be removed and placed where they are more likely to be found by a raccoon, not children or pets.

This vaccine is approved only for use in wildlife and is intended for wild animals –specifically raccoons.

A veterinarian, in accordance with state and local regulations, should vaccinate pets. Pet vaccination is essential to protect pets against rabies.

The health district advises residents to keep their pets inside or on leashes during the baiting time and about five days afterwards. This will help prevent pets from getting the baits and it gives raccoons a chance to eat the baits.

Also, keep garbage cans tightly closed. Open trash attracts wild or stray animals. Feed pets indoors. Pet food left outside attracts wildlife.

For more information, call the Ohio Department of Health rabies information line at 1-888-722-4371 or Terry Tuttle in the Environmental Health Division of the County Health District at 330-926-5630.

Congratulations Uniontown Lions for another great Festival!

What a Club effort to pull off this event.  Everyone I talked to said this was the best Festival in memory, and I’m sure you all agree. Vendors were happy, parade was great, weather was excellent, Club participation was super (as usual) and the end result appears to be outstanding as well.

 Thanks to one and all for an outstanding effort!

King Lion Gary