Rain Barrels lessen Sewer Fees

Rain Barrel can save on Westlake sewer charges

Clean looking rain barrel installation

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is starting to charge owners for the amount of impervious area (roof, driveway, etc.) they have. Rates run $4.75 per month for every 3000 square foot of impervious area you have. Including the driveway, sidewalk and roof area of my ranch home, I estimate I have about 9000 sq. ft. of area. This equates to $14.25 in extra sewer fees.

How much water actually falls on 9000 sq. ft? Well, a light rain of only a quarter inch is about 700 gallons! Typically Cleveland summer rainfall is just over 3.5″ per month. So my humble estate drains a little less than 10,000 gallons of water per month into the sewers.

The Sewer District will grant a 25% credit for capturing at least 25% of your roof water a cistern or rain barrel. If that’s too difficult or ruins the estetics of your property adding rain gardens to collect run off or removing 500 sq. ft of impervious area is also acceptable. Prior to learning about the fees I had embarked on installing a rain barrel to water our plants. (Rainwater is better than tap water since it contains nitrogen and no chlorine.) My barrel is in and works great. I planned on installing more but it just wasn’t high on my to-do list. Now I’m rethinking this. Perhaps I’ll blog about the first installation because I did make a fair share of mistakes that you need not repeat.

A 50 gallon rain barrel will cost you between $100 and $150. The are available at most garden centers here in Westlake along with Lowe’s, Home Depot and Costco.

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Westlake’s Bicycle Path – Hilliard Blvd!

Bike Lane on Hilliard Blvd in Westlake
Bike Lane on Hilliard Blvd in Westlake

I want to thank Mayor Clough, City Council and many minions that made the bicycle path on Hilliard Blvd. a possibility.   What a wonderful addition to our city.  Traversing 4.2 miles from Crocker Road to the Rock River city line this bicycle path is smooth and wide making it safer for cars and bicycles to share the road together.

Unlike the path that rings the Westlake Recreation Center, this path goes some place!  It is free of joggers,  folks pushing strollers side by side while they chat and toddlers on trikes zig-zagging all over the place.   Its just pure peddling pleasure.

I hope the City continues this trend and adds marked off areas on all major roads whenever possible.  It doesn’t need to be as elaborate as what’s on Hilliard; only a small paved area to travel upon.   Detroit has a small, paved area in some spots which is conducive to cycling and relatively free of automobile traffic.   This is probably not the intended meaning for this area, but it serves the purpose and is really all that is needed.

Once again I would like to thank Westlake city management for the addition.  Now if the City of Rocky River would continue this path through their city I’d be really ecstatic!

Westlake’s Dang Deer – Fence or No Fence

Westlake’s white-tail deer population never really bothered me.  Yes I would see them in the back of my property and they would nibble on a few flowers, but such is life in suburbia – specially one that looks like the metro park.   Well this year the deer went on my black list.  They ate all the day lilies and all my daisies and a few other perennials whose name eludes me.

Seven Foot Fence with Fawn in Background

Seven Foot Fence with Fawn on the Ground

The problem isn’t the deer per say.  The problem is the seven foot tall deer fence my neighbor installed a few weeks back to keep the deer from dining on his vegetable garden and the apple tree buds they so enjoy.  (The upper 3′ is hard to see.  Note the fawn resting in the grass.)  Another lighter weight three foot section was added.   Ever since they can only look but not snack, they seem to think my yard is the next best thing.  Forget about the neighbors on the other side or the woods directly behind us.   No my flowers are better than all the rest!

The problem is just getting worse.  Where we once saw three doe (well at least one was a doe) we now have three adults and two fawn.  Sure their cute.  Sure I want to go pet them and sure I want to pick them up and move them to North Ridgeville.  

So far the best deer deterent I’ve found is human urine.  Yes it sounds gross but humans have been returning to nature the fruits of our digestive tract for thousands of years.  Its natural.  Through trial and error my wife and I have learned that only my urine works.  I don’t think its anything special except its male.  “Its a guy thing.”   Whatever the difference it does seem to work.   So now I lament – so much yard,  so little liquid!

I think I’ll get myself another beer.

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Why Manicure Your Yard?

Recently my wife and I were talking about what we hoped to get done in the yard this year.  Like most couples we had differing points of view on what yard work should and should not be done.  She likes the manicured English garden look while I prefer the less stressful metropark look.

Let’s face it, tens of thousands of people jump in their cars each year and drive to our Cleveland Metropark System just to enjoy uncut grasses, cascading weeds, natural flowers (weeds?),  unruly bushes and feral vines.   So why do we come home and work hard at making our yards look unnatural?

I like the tall over grown hedges that shield me from the view of my neighbor’s house.  I enjoy watching the wild grass in the corner change through the seasons and see birds flutter to eat the seeds from the weeds I didn’t pull.  Then there’s that dead tree on the property line which the woodpecker and nuthatch love so much.  My wife says the tree has to go, but it brings me pleasure.   Sure it is past its prime, but so is my wife and I’m taking the chain saw to her!

So next time you are driving through the metro parks or stop in to Westlake’s Bradley Woods to enjoy the serenity, remind yourself that if you just stopped doing all the work in your yard it too could be so serene.

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Who’s your favorite Auto Mechanic?

Good mechanics keep anything running

My car needs a mechanic

 My favorite auto mechanic in Westlake is Brian at Westshore Auto Parts.  He is as honest as the day is long and his rates are very reasonable, actually on the low side!  He’s a great auto mechanic. 

I recently brought in my car with a non-working A/C.   He told me it could run between $400 to $900 depending on if its the condenser or evaporator.  I told him its a slow leak that takes about 3 weeks to deplete a charge.   

Well it was the more expensive evaporator with a leak.  Brain said the leak was so slow he asked if I wanted to try a new A/C sealant.  So for $200 sealant, freon and labor my A/C is fixed!   He came in at half his original estimate.  I love this guy!   He is my kind of car mechanic. 

Brian’s is a little coarse in language if you walk in at the wrong time and you may have to wait at the counter and watch him work for a few minutes until he takes a break.  If you’re not accustomed to this kind of treatment you could be put off.  However Brian’s work is excellent and he won’t do work that’s not needed…and for that I’ll put up with a few less social graces. 

If you need a car repair and you are looking for an honest mechanic in Westlake, then give Brian a call at Westshore Auto Parts. 

Westshore Auto Parts
26000 First St.
Westlake, Oh 44145
Phone:  440.871.3730 

(First St.  is just north of I90 off of Columbia.)

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It’s Party Time – Do You Know Ohio’s Alcohol Laws?

June is party time for graduating seniors, their friends, neighbors and parents.  Everyone enjoys marking this milestone with a few refreshments and often times will look away from under aged drinking.  We’ve all been asked at one time or another to “just this one time”,  help some under aged young adults get some alcoholic enjoyment.

The Toledo Legal Press published a good reminder article on what we (the over 21 crowd) can and shouldn’t do.  Its published below in its entirety. 

COLUMBUS – This is an exciting time for high school seniors, as well as friends and family, taking part in all of the festivities surrounding graduation. This time of celebration can easily turn to a time of tragedy because of the increased prevalence of underage drinking, as teens may be tempted to drink at graduation celebrations.

“I commend those who make the wise and mature decision to not participate in illegal and dangerous behavior,” said Ohio Investigative Unit Executive Director Glenn Taylor. “Parents and administrators have the best opportunity to influence decisions and attitudes. To help foster safe choices, parents and teens need to understand Ohio’s underage drinking laws.”

Parents may not provide alcohol to children who are under 21, even in their own home with the other parents’ permission. Those convicted of providing alcohol to a person under 21 years of age face maximum sentences of six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Law enforcement may also confiscate any alcohol, money or property used in committing these offenses.

It is illegal to share in the cost of purchasing alcoholic beverages, or to attempt to purchase alcohol, even if the sale is refused. The penalty for attempting to purchase an alcoholic beverage for underage individuals is a maximum fine of $250 and/or up to 30 days in jail. Anyone who purchases, sells or gives alcoholic beverages to under-aged individuals can be sent to jail.

If you are under 21 years of age and are caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration between .02 percent and .08 percent, a level that can be reached after just one or two drinks, you can be arrested. Punishment is suspension of your driver license for at least 90 days up to a maximum of two years, plus four points added to your driving record. Having an open container of alcohol in a
motor vehicle is also illegal.

We must continue to work together to stop the senseless tragedies associated with irresponsible and illegal underage alcohol consumption. If you have information about a bar, store or carryout selling beer and/or liquor to persons under the age of 21, please notify us by calling the department’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-4MINORS.
Ohio Investigative Unit agents will investigate every complaint. Working together, we can protect Ohio’s young people and make this the safest graduation season yet.

Date Published: June 7, 2010

New Ohio HB #538 Raises Penalties for False Campaign Statements

Ohio House Bill # 538 introduced by Representative Baker proposes raising the penalty for making false campaign statements from $5,000 to $100,000.   Having been a victim of false statements put out by the Democrats in the last election, Representative Baker knows first hand the damage to ones reputation and costs to defend the same during an election.

False statements serves to confuse the voters on people and issues.  It’s a tactic which serves only to take the campaigning time away from the real issues we voters should be considering.   Raising the penalty bar while not going far enough is a step in the right direction.  This same penalty should be extended to the media which at times reports “facts” with a minimal amount of collaborating detail.   These “little” non-truths shape elections results and offer little to no voter recourse when the facts become clear after the election. 

Politicians on both sides of the aisle should support increasing the penalty levied by this already existing law.   We voters have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  I ask all voters to write their representative asking them to support House Bill #538.

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