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Lorain County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours; Westside Democratic Club Meeting with Senator Skindell

On the evening of Tuesday, January 10th, we attended a Lorain County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours that was held at the "Foundry Kitchen and Bar" on Broad Street in Elyria.

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For the most part the interior of the "Foundry" is composed of wood and brick and has an atmosphere that is best described as "warm" both in temperature and in spirit. In short, it is just the sort of place one would like to be on a cold, wintery evening.

We talked to Mr. Kevin Flanigan and Mr. Rodney Johnson, two out of its three owners, and learned that it has only been open since July, 2016 but doing quite well. Mr. Flanigan's wife, Ms. Gail Flanigan, believed that its appeal was due to the "industrial chic vibe" which reflected an appropriate mixture of old and new along with its "eclectic" menu that contained several vegetarian options that appealed to us.

Overall, the event was quite successful because approximately 130 people RSVP'd for it and, as the small number of remaining name tags on the registration table indicated, most of them showed up.

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We visited for a few minutes with Ms. Linda Hamann, Marketing Manager of "University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center" who is an old friend of Ms. Margaret W. Wong and Mr. Scott Bratton. Ms. Hamann gave us some good advice as to how to reach out to the ethnic population of Lorain County.

Along these lines, we talked to Mr. Lee Rivera, Assistant Vice President of "Northwest Bank" which has an office in Oberlin that services a lot of foreign-born students who come from all over the world. 

Among the other friendly conversations that we had were those with Ms. Jennifer M. Gercak, Director of Programs, Marketing and Communications with "Leadership Lorain County"; Mr. Reese Dunton, Economic Development Specialist with the "Lorain County Community Development Department"; and Ms. Denise Gula, the Executive Director of "Hearts of Patriots" a new 501(C)(3) that will offer assistance to the spouses of veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI.

Before we left, we exchanged cards with Ms. Robyn Ringwall from "South of the Square Collision Center" and assured her that we would call her if our car slipped on the roads which were still a bit icy in spots.

We enjoyed meeting Ms. Ringwall but fortunately we did not require the services of her company as we made it to our next event for Tuesday, meeting of the Westside Democratic Club on Center Ridge Road in Westlake, safely and on time. We wanted to attend this event because our good friend, Ohio State Senator Michael Skindell, who represents District 23 composed of 360,000 residents, was speaking about recent happenings concerning the Ohio Legislature.

Senator Skindell first gave us some very informative background as to how legislative sessions in Ohio are organized as opposed to those in other states and talked about the Ohio's extensive budgetary process.

He went on to say that the so-called "lame duck session" was anything but because it passed 57 bills and 80 some measures which were then sent to Governor Kasich for consideration. He gave a detailed description of a few of these bills which dealt with issues as energy efficiency standards, Planned Parenthood funding , the legality of carrying a firearm in public, and cancer benefits for firefighters. To be sure, he explained why he voted the way he did on them and was more than open to hearing the views of all of us who were there.

We asked Senator Skindell if any of these bills had anything to do with immigration and he replied that none did but he is believes that in the future something might come up pertaining to the power of law enforcement to detain those people that they suspect are undocumented.

 

We talked for a moment more about immigration and Senator Skindell told us that he once voted against a proposal to make English the official language of Ohio. He drew upon his own background for this and told us that in 1911 his great, great grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Poland and when he died in 1979 he still struggled with the English language as did many people who came to the United States at that time but, despite this drawback, they still worked hard and were very productive citizens.  

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC