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Out & About in Cleveland

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How Worksite Wellness Impacts the Community and Bottom Line; The Future of Imagination; Haunted Winery and Haunted Corn Maze; 238th Annual Pulaski Memorial; St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish Banquet

On Friday, October 13th, we first went to the monthly "Morning Buzz" of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce held at the Hilton Garden Inn. The speaker for the day was Dr. Brent Pawlecki, Chief Health Officer at "The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company" whose address was titled "How Can Worksite Wellness Impact the Community and YOUR Bottom Line" in which he offered a lot of good suggestions about how companies can take simple measures that will "nudge" employees towards a healthier lifestyle that will ultimately create more productivity.

Among these suggestions was making unhealthy foods bought in the company cafeteria or in vending machines a bit more costly than the healthier ones. We also learned about how simple acts such as flossing one's teeth, eating more fruits and vegetables, a half hour of fitness activity per day, and the wearing of safety helmets at appropriate times and seat belts in motor vehicles all of the time can contribute greatly to a person's well being.

During networking time, we made several good connections such as Mr. John E. Hitchcock, the President of "C.T. Taylor Construction" which has worked on the renovation of "Campus International School" not far from "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" and representatives from several local employment agencies who often assist the foreign-born.

In addition, we talked to a man named Steve who operates a company that once did business with a contractor who provided it with international workers that the contractor said were documented but through actual conversations with the workers, themselves, Steve soon learned that a couple of them were not. Even though the workers were excellent, Steve did not wish to participate in any illegal activity and because he feared that these workers might be exploited by the contractor, he wisely cancelled the agreement.

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Next we went to the City Club of Cleveland where we attended a program titled "The Future of Imagination: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and How We Shape Our World" which was a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Patrick Kabat, Adjunct Professor of Law at CWRU and featuring Ms. Kimberly Culp, Counsel at "Venable LLP"; Dr. Jarryd Huntley, Adjunct Professor regarding Computer Games and Simulation Design at Lorain Community College and Software Development Instructor of "We Can Code IT"; and Mr. Phillip Lelyveld, Virtual Realty/Augmented Realty Project Lead, "USC Entertainment Technology Center". 

In the course of the discussion, we learned about the possibilities for AR and VR to enhance our future, especially concerning training exercises, and its legal controversies.

We also had a good conversation with Mr. John Lyteran, Director of Interactive Entertainment at the "Cleveland Film Commission" who recently delighted his grandmother by taking her on a tour of Italy and France via virtual realty. We expressed our concern about the more violent aspects of some virtual realty exercises and the psychological effects that this might have on on the users but Mr. Lyteran reminded us that virtual realty has also been used by the Veterans Administration to help people suffering from PTSD.

All told, our conversations with people like Mr. Lyteran as well as from what the participating panelists said, left us with the impressive that VR and AR are like any other technological advancement which is that there will be drawbacks but they will also move us forward. We particularly like what the panelists said about how VR can be used to bring people of different languages together by enabling them to speak with each other in their own languages but via VR they will be able to understand each other. No doubt about it, virtual realty can certainly be used to simulate experiences so that people of different cultures can learn more about their lifestyles and therefore develop a greater sense of empathy for each other.

Out in the City Club lobby, Mr. Chris Hatala, the "Final Boss" of "Games Done Legit", which was one of the sponsors for this program, set up a VR station so we were able to experience the last few minutes of the CAVS winning the 2016 championship as if we were actually on the floor with the players.

Interestingly, that night we drove out to "Regal Vineyards" in Madison where we took a walk through the "Haunted Winery and Haunted Corn Maze" which scared us so much that we literally screamed on a few occasions. After our excursion into the unknown (okay, it was make believe) we sat by a bonfire and enjoyed a cup of hot apple cider and thought about we previously learned at the City Club. Our conclusion was that we are sure that virtual reality can create an experience just as scary, if not more so, as what we just had but sometimes it is still fun to go out and do things on a first hand basis. Along these lines, nothing could beat actually being with the CAVS on the floor as they won the championship. This is not to put down virtual realty, though, because we are sure its creators like those we met earlier would agree with us 100%.

In terms of augmented realty, all that we can say is that we had a blast of a good time when we played "Pokemon Go" with our son at the virtually vacant Cal State Long Beach campus on our last trip to California last Christmas.

 

On Saturday morning, October 14th, we went to the gazebo in Lincoln Park in the Tremont area for the 238th Annual Pulaski Memorial Service was being conducted by members of Cleveland's Polish Community. This was the first time that these ceremonies have been conducted at this location; usually they take place at the Pulaski Memorial at Cleveland City Hall but this year it was decided to hold them at the gazebo due the significance that the Polish community has played in the development of Tremont and because the Polish Legion of American Veterans (PLAV) Post No. 30 is located nearby where other festivities for this occasion were planned.

Let it now be written that in the course of the history of this country only eight individuals have been granted the distinction of being an Honorary United States Citizen and General Kazimierz Pulaski was accorded this honor in 2009. As "Wikipedia" describes him, he was a "Polish Military officer who fought and died for the United States against the British during the American Revolutionary War; notable Politician and member of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth nobility, American Brigadier General who has been called 'The Father of the American Calvary' and died during the Siege of Savannah (Georgia). Remembered as a national hero both in Poland and in the United States of America."

The federal legislation that made General Pulaski an Honorary United States Citizen was introduced by former U.S. Congressperson Dennis J. Kucinich was on hand for these ceremonies as were members of the Polonia Foundation, PLAV Post No. 30 and several other dignitaries like Cleveland City Councilperson Tony Brancatelli (Ward 12) from Slavic Village located nearby. Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson was invited to attend but he couldn't make it so he sent Mr. Edward Rybka, Cleveland's Chief of Regional Development, to say a few words on his behalf. Mr. Edward Rybka's brother, Mr. Robert Rybka, Director of the Polonia Foundation, acted as the master of ceremonies and introduced Dr. J. Richard Romanjuk of the Mandel School of Applied Science from CWRU to give the Keynote address in which he talked about the contributions that the Polish people and Polonia have made to the field of medicine and the importance of continuing to financially support and encourage budding talent.

Towards the end of the program there was a wreath laying in honor of General Pulaski by Mr. Gayle Gilmore, PLAV Ladies Auxiliary President, and Mr. Kenneth Milenovic, past National Commander of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame along with songs lead by our friend from St. Casimir Church and local journalist, Mr. Joe Feckanin who has a beautiful and distinctive voice.

Above all, this day was about honoring General Pulaski who voluntary came to the United States and fought on our behalf in order that we may enjoy the freedoms that we have at this time. But as Father Eric Orzech of St. Stanislaus Church mentioned during his invocation, we must never forget that along with freedom comes the responsibility to commit ourselves to the performance of good deeds in order that the sacrifices of General Pulaski and others like him shall be worthwhile and their legacy continued. .

The next day was Sunday, October 15th, and our event for the day was a banquet at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish on Buckeye Road for the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the founding of this institution (back in 1892) which happens to be the oldest Hungarian Catholic Church in North American.

Preceding the banquet, there was a mass which we did not attend but were told by our friend from the "First Friday Club" Ms. Carol Kovach that it was quite beautiful and there were several speakers including Bishop Nelson Perez and that homilies were said in English (by Bishop Roger Gries) and in Hungarian (by Reverend Barnabas Kiss).

We located Mr. Bob Purgert, the chair of the church's finance committee and master of ceremonies for this event, who was more than willing to share with us his notes and also to thank "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" for purchasing a program ad for these festivities. On our way back to our seat we encountered Father Andras Antal, the pastor at St. Elizabeth's, as well as Abbott Father John Henry, an old friend of Ms. Margaret W. Wong, who introduced us to Ms. Mary Hellman, a former nun who looks absolutely great for being 104 years old. According to Abbott Father Henry, she left her order to care for her mother who was quite ill and after her mother's passing devoted herself to causes pertaining to social work where she helped to improve the lives of many people.

In the course of the various presentations, Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson presented a proclamation to Father Antal and there was an address (in both English and Hungarian) by Dr. Peter Szilagi, Deputy Secretary of State for the Republic of Hungary wherein he spoke of the importance of churches like St. Elizabeth of Hungary because they contribute to preserving the culture and the language of the Hungarian people especially for those living abroad. Along these lines, Dr. Szilagi expressed high hopes about projects taking place in Hungary that will enable young Hungarians to travel abroad in order to connect with those of Hungarian descent living in different lands. Afterwards, he presented a citation to Father Antal.

As we ate our lunch, we noticed that our table was located next to that of Ms. Zsuzsanna Palmai, from the General Consulate of Hungary who we met at the "St. Stephen's Day" celebration at St. Emeric Church over the summer so we said "hello" to her and she remembered us.

At our own table, there also sat Mr. Rudolf Rozsnyai, a very bright young man who was born in Romania to his Hungarian parents who immigrated to the United States when he was only one-and-a-half years old. We learned that Mr. Rozsnyai already had dual citizenship with Romania and the United States and, on this day having passed the necessary tests, would be officially granted dual citizenship between the United States and Hungary. This is quite an achievement for a young man only 21 years old. At this time, Mr. Rozsnyai is studying to be a mechanical engineer and looks forward to a terrific future and we are sure that he will have one.

 

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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