Gardening and the Little Free Library at Merrick House

Gardening and the Little Free Library at Merrick House, On June 23, (photo courtesy of Merrick House)

by Rachael Murphy

Merrick House Early Childhood Education Program Pre-K classes were busy learning how to garden by planting fruits and vegetables in our new raised garden beds.

Merrick House partnered with Grow at Home owner Michael Bartunek, as well as Andy Krebs and Michael Theis, to create an outdoor learning classroom where our children can learn the process of planting fruits, vegetables and the daily care of a garden.

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Thinking about signing up for an ASL Tremont Brainery workshop with Keri November? …There is still time!

If you are interested in signing up for an ASL Tremont Brainery workshop with Keri November there is still time! Go to, click on “events,” then select your class.

by Keri November

Some of you may wonder what day-to-day life is like for a Deaf person. Well, here it goes!

I was born Deaf. I did not learn American Sign Language (ASL) until I was 15. I had hearing aids which were not helpful. It was not until I was 17 years old that I received a Cochlear Implant and learned how to recognize sounds and words. I can read lips, but it is challenging to have a conversation without the Cochlear Implant if an individual does not know ASL.

It was difficult to meet and connect with new people in NYC/Long Island as the mentality is different. People are always in a rush and usually stressed out. It was uncommon for me to meet someone willing to take the time to communicate with me.

You may be wondering how did I end up in Cleveland?

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Former PUCO chair texted he knew FirstEnergy charge was likely unlawful, but company would keep money anyway

Former PUCO Chair Asim Haque

Texts about the $456 million charge may further undermine public confidence in the PUCO.

by Eye On Ohio Staff, Eye on Ohio
May 20, 2022

This article is provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohio or the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting.

Newly disclosed texts from a former head of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio suggest he knew a grid modernization charge that cost ratepayers nearly half a billion dollars was “likely to be found illegal and could not be refunded.”

Former PUCO Chair Asim Haque and former FirstEnergy Vice President Michael Dowling exchanged text messages on the same day the Supreme Court of Ohio held the charge unlawful. Challengers in the case had argued that the commission’s order imposing the charge basically had no strings attached to make FirstEnergy take any specific actions to modernize the grid.

At the same time, the court ruled against refunding the charge. By that time in 2019, Ohio ratepayers had spent roughly $456 million.

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Tremont Brainery Upcoming Workshops

by Keri November

Last year, Tremont residents Keri November and Jack Ricchiuto founded Tremont Shot Finders’ volunteer effort. This incredible effort helped neighbors locate impossible-to-find COVID-19 vaccinations at the time.  

Keri November is a full-time lecturer of American Sign Language at Case Western Reserve University.

Jack Ricchiuto is a local and national community builder and leadership coach.

Together they started their latest effort, the Tremont Brainery; a volunteer effort where neighbors teach neighbors on topics related to any area of skill, knowledge, or expertise.

Tremont Brainery is excited to announce four upcoming workshops!

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Issue #67 of The Tremonster is Out in Print!

Issue #67 of The Tremonster is Out in Print! We are delivering free copies to your favorite locations in Tremont… There’s a lot to revisit Tremont for this spring! In this issue… Tremont Brainery offers four new workshops; affoGATO Cat Cafe is building a cat community; 818 Gallery owner-operator Barbara Merrit and her pet portrait photography; and Roasted Tremont is the result of a lifelong dream… Pick up the May 2022 print issue in Tremont soon!

South Side Winters in the 1940s

An old sled

Memories of Tremont Avenue

by Ken Scigulinsky

During the fall and winter, because of early darkness and the cold, my friends and I no longer played on Tremont Avenue or on the playground. In our homes after school, we read comic books or listened to serial radio shows that seemed to be attuned to kids. Jack Armstrong was one of my favorites.  I also occupied my time playing at my friend’s house or visiting the Jefferson Library.

Merrick House, a huge community asset, provided some fun in the winter as well as the summer. There was an inner area on the Starkweather side of the Merrick House that was flat and paved (that configuration no longer exists). It was hosed down during freezing weather to provide a large ice-skating area for casual skating as well as ice hockey. Boundary lines were painted on the ice to define the cage area for the goalie position. My friend, Andy became an oddity among my group when he was hit in the mouth with a puck while playing goalie. The puck chipped three front teeth in a staircase pattern, giving him a very distinct appearance and a badge of toughness.

I never played hockey and the skates I used were handed down from my cousin with blades rounded over. I never got them sharpened since that would have cost $.75, way beyond reasonableness for my mom. Later, however, I did convince my mom to give me $.25 to buy a bleacher ticket (tickets for the lower stands were $3.60) to watch the Cleveland Browns play on Sunday at Lakefront Stadium.

My friend, Red, and I took the 2-cent bus to town and walked down to the stadium. We knew the names of a few of the Browns players but the one most noteworthy to me was Otto Graham. He seemed to be mentioned everywhere. There was always hope that a field goal would land in the bleachers where we sat, but that never happened.

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Ohio cities settle civil claims related to power plant bailout

FirstEnergy entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in July. As of Dec. 12, Energy Harbor had not yet been indicted for any criminal charges in connection with HB 6. Both remain potentially liable to claims by the state of Ohio and others (photo of Perry Nuclear Power Plant courtesy of FirstEnergy YouTube video, “FirstEnergy Takes Pride in Being a Good Neighbor”).

In a consolidated case, the Ohio attorney general’s office wants to move ahead on its civil racketeering case against FirstEnergy, Energy Harbor and others.

By Kathiann M. Kowalski

This article is provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohio or the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting for readers of The Tremonster.

The cities of Cincinnati and Columbus have dismissed their state court claims against FirstEnergy and Energy Harbor for the companies’ actions relating to House Bill 6, the nuclear and coal bailout law at the heart of a $60 million corruption case in Ohio.

“The dismissal was the result of negotiations with the defendants, the court’s ruling in our favor, and the partial repeal of HB 6,” said Andrew Garth, city solicitor for Cincinnati.  

The Dec. 2 dismissal does not include any admission of wrongdoing by FirstEnergy or Energy Harbor. The joint filing was made “with prejudice,” meaning the cities cannot bring the same claims against the companies at a later time.

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Local Coalition Raises Over $5.8M to Launch Nonprofit News Organization in Ohio

NEO Collaboration Conference on October 25, 2019 (photo by Stefanie Murray, The Center for Cooperative Media)

Independent newsroom in Cleveland to launch in 2022, producing daily, high-quality, community-oriented journalism as part of a new statewide network of newsrooms across Ohio

CLEVELAND – Nov. 9, 2021 –  A coalition of Cleveland-based organizations and the American Journalism Project are partnering to launch an independent, community-led, nonprofit newsroom serving Cleveland. The newsroom will be the first in a larger network of independent, local newsrooms across Ohio, as part of a new nonprofit effort called the Ohio Local News Initiative, which will aim to launch additional newsrooms across the state over time.

Cleveland’s newsroom, slated for launch in 2022, will produce high-quality journalism on a daily basis that centers community voices and lets residents help set the agenda for newsgathering. The newsroom will dramatically increase the volume of original, in-depth, non-partisan reporting in the region and support the efforts of Cleveland news outlets and community initiatives to make critical information available to all who need it—information will be available in numerous formats across multiple platforms, and will be free to access.

Residents will help set the newsroom’s priorities, through a community reporting model that will train and pay Clevelanders to report for, and gather requests, questions, and ideas from their communities. The program will begin in Central, and grow to serve more communities throughout Cleveland.

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Tremont Brainery: Social Security Disability 101 Workshop with Andrew November on 11-10-21

by Michael Jankus

Disability attorney Andrew November will be hosting one of his Social Security Disability 101 workshops over Zoom on Wednesday, November 10 through the Tremont Brainery.

Andrew November is a litigator at Liner Legal LLC. in Old Brooklyn and a Tremont resident, along with his wife, Keri November, who happens to also be one of the people responsible for the Tremont Brainery.

The seminar is free and open to anyone of any age seeking information about or considering Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance.

“I can talk about this stuff with my eyes closed, I give out my phone number all the time, I’m always happy to answer questions,” Andrew said. “I’ve been living in Tremont for six years and I’m like, ‘why have I never targeted something towards our community?’ So when I got this opportunity from my wife. . . I’m here in this community, I live and breathe this, so I want to provide this information.”

For the past 11 years as an attorney Andrew has been speaking at high schools, colleges, senior centers and medical practices with the crucial message not to wait until it’s too late.

“They’ve had a traumatic accident, or a progression of a condition they might have lived with and worked with for 20 years, or a sudden onset of an illness,” he said. “So they don’t get educated about an extremely complex system until they are forced to apply, or got a denial and can’t believe they’re denied because they think they’re disabled.”

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