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Kaleidoscope: Bevy of good things happening in Aurora area

by KEN LAHMERS | EDITOR Published: September 7, 2016 1:00 AM

It's been a pretty decent summer for good news in Aurora and other places in Northeast Ohio.

Now autumn -- my favorite season -- is upon us. It officially does not arrive until Sept. 21, but in meteorological terms, it began Sept. 1.

An unbelievable assortment of good things have happened to several local residents or those who have ties to Aurora. Most of them you've read about in the Advocate.

And the city of Cleveland was the recipient of good fortune, starting with the Cavaliers winning the NBA championship in June.

It was Cleveland's first major sports crown in 52 years; the last being the Browns' NFL title in 1964.

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The run to the championship was a thrill for hundreds of thousands of fans, and about a million turned out for the celebratory parade in downtown Cleveland.

About a month after the Cavs' good fortune, Republican Party delegates flocked to Cleveland for the party's presidential national convention.

By all accounts, Cleveland received high praise for putting on quite a show during the week when Donald Trump became the party's candidate.

Aurora High 2008 grad Julie Kirk was instrumental in the success of the convention. She is the executive director of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party.

And Lowe's Greenhouse in Bainbridge, owned by Auroran Jeff Griff, was named one of several florists providing flowers for the event.

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JUST LAST week, the Advocate carried stories on the good fortunes of legendary Aurora High wrestling coach Dick Bliss and AHS graduate Dr. Jim Vaca.

Bliss recently was honored by Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin and City Council for being inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, an honor announced a few weeks previously.

And Vaca claimed the middle school teacher of the year award for the Orange school district. The son of Ward 1 Councilman Jim Vaca, Jim Jr. teaches at Brady Middle School.

There also was good news for another AHS grad, as Byron Spruell was named president of league operations for the National Basketball Association. He graduated in 1983.

And another teacher -- Dr. Keri Stoyle at Aurora's Leighton School -- was fortunate to win a Martha Holden Jennings Foundation Master Teacher Award, for which the district received $7,500 to benefit students.

Another piece of good news in the last couple of weeks was the tremendous effort turned in by volunteers at Christ Community Chapel, who packed over 160,000 meals for Feed My Starving Children.

Auroran Steven Rapko had some good fortune as well, garnering awards for his home beer brewing prowess at several competitions.

At the end of the 2015-16 school year, Team TBD claimed a world championship in robotics competition. Its members were from Aurora, Solon and Kenston high schools, and the team also was chosen as grand marshals of the city's July 4 parade, along with city historian Dick Fetzer.

AMONG THE good news came some sad news -- Cedar Fair's decision to close Wildwater Kingdom water park and the closing of the Chet Edwards General Home Refurnishings store after 34 years.

Meanwhile, fall will bring some excitement to Aurora and Northeast Ohio.

In the next two months, the presidential election likely will bring candidates Trump and Hillary Clinton to the region a time or two.

It has been a contentious campaign so far, and that's not likely to change. In fact, it has been the nastiest presidential contest that I can remember.

If the candidates just could focus on the issues more, and stop constantly attacking each other, voters might be much more at ease.

But unfortunately, campaigns in recent years have tended to get more and more nasty. I guess that's the trend in political races.

Cleveland area sports fans are excited about the Indians' chances to participate in postseason Major League Baseball action, and perhaps advance to the World Series.

And, of course, every fall in recent years brings the possibility that the Aurora Greenmen football team will make the playoffs and perhaps contend for a state title.

The team has qualified for the postseason for the last 11 years. Let's hope a 12th is on the horizon.

Enjoy the fall. Christmas will be here before you know it!

Email: klahmers@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189


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