Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Cambridge’ Category

Radio Enthusiast Enjoys Broadcasting

Boyer Logo 001

This WBPS 101.9 FM logo provides easy public recognition of their station.

Turn the radio on  and listen to WBPS 101.9 FM, where you can hear Good Time Oldies and Great American Standards, all day and all night.

Many remember sitting on the floor by the radio listening to those old classics. However, “watching” the radio fascinated Boyer Simcox when he was a child. While listening he saw the shows in his mind, but when TV came around the shows didn’t match his imagination. Radio always remained his preference.

WBPS Studio

The radio equipment in this one room provides entertainment throughout the Cambridge area.

Just out of high school, Boyer volunteered at a radio station in Wheeling, where he did a half hour talk show called “Firing Line”. Here he interviewed many interesting guests including John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum. One special show happened at the time of the Kent State shootings and so many questions came in that the producer told him to keep going as long as listeners were interested.

Over the years, Boyer has held many intriquing positions where he was helping someone. One thing can be certain, he has always done what he wanted to do. He’s worked as Director of Social Services, Director of Area Agency on Aging, and even owned a couple restaurants, but always wanted his own radio station.

WBPS Mixing Board

Their mixing board gives Boyer opportunity to make instant changes, or set up programming ahead of time.

Back in 1984, he called the FCC to see if a frequency was obtainable. None were available at that time, so he waited. Then in 2013, the FCC released several frequencies for non-profit or community stations. Boyer applied.

One morning in 2013, while watching the Today Show with his wife Judy, Boyer happened to check the FCC site on his tablet. He was listed on their approval list! Immediately, he handed the tablet to Judy to prove he wasn’t dreaming.

WBPS Judy

Judy frequently helps by giving public service announcements.

Paperwork began. Deadline for being on the air was 18 months. He decided to purchase a package with everything he needed except the antenna. When he received it, Boyer wondered, “What have I done?” There were many unanswered questions as the package had no instructions.  Boyer used the internet for information and several small radio stations formed a forum to answer questions and share information.

Work progressed slowly until he had everything assembled and all the wires connected. But when he turned it on, nothing happened. Time was getting short for his deadline, then one night at 3:00 in the morning in November, 2014, Boyer rested in bed thinking about those wires.

WBPS CDs

A handy supply of CDs provides variety to the programmed music.

It came across his mind that two wires needed to be switched. Changing those two little wires brought his station to life. Excitedly Boyer hopped in his car and drove all over town to see how far WBPS could be heard. When he stopped on Wheeling Avenue, he looked down and discovered that he still had on his robe and slippers. However, he discovered that the station could be heard all over Cambridge.

WBPS Boyer at controls

Boyer spends many hours at the controls of WBPS, and enjoys every minute.

Now into his third year of broadcasting, he has country-wide contacts, who share their shows with him. Bluegrass from West Virginia, polkas from Minnesota, and movie tunes from New Philadelphia are a few of those connections. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has a featured show as well as Bill Gaither, who agreed to share his program after just one phone call.

WBPS airs around the clock these days. People listen to it all night long and also use it in the workplace because it’s happy, up-beat music.

There’s no need for local news or sports here as AVC radio stations do an excellent job of covering those items. However, Don Keating, local amateur meteorologist, does an outstanding job of broadcasting up-to-date local weather.

WBPS Boyer and Judy

Boyer and Judy feel this is a great hobby that adds enjoyment to the listening area. Their cat, Mr. Lucky, sometimes tries a little programming himself.

Boyer and Judy Simcox feel WBPS is their gift to the community. They both participate in radio operation on and off the air. Everyplace they go, people stop and thank them for the familiar music. It made Boyer smile when a listener told him he wouldn’t get out of the car until a song was finished. That makes it all worthwhile.

Listeners tune in for the Pennyroyal live on Friday, the Wheeling Jamboree on Saturday and  then a day of spiritual songs – Our Sunday Best.

In the future, Boyer would like to feature more local groups on the air. If groups have a CD they would like to share, contact him at wbpsradio@yahoo.com . If anyone has an interest in volunteering or has ideas for the station, Boyer’s always ready to listen and is eager for more local participation.

WBPS Digital Alert System

The Emergency Digital Alert System is handy for national emergencies.

If non-profit groups would like to have announcements made on WBPS, send him an email as there is no cost. He even shares them with his network of radio friends.That’s what Community Radio is all about.

When asked what he does for fun, Boyer answered quickly, “I’m having it.” His advice to everyone would be, “Don’t be afraid to try something new.” It never occurred to him that he couldn’t do it.

Music comforts the soul, especially those songs you have known most of your life. That’s why WBPS is becoming a favorite station for seniors in the area. Twenty-four hours a day,  it plays those songs that make you smile.

Listen to WBPS 101.9 FM and you’ll find yourself singing along with those old-time favorites. You just can’t help it.

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Evidence of Bigfoot in Southeastern Ohio

Bigfoot Newcomerstown

This large Bigfoot outside The Feed Barn keeps an eye on customers.

Bigfoot captures the attention and following of many residents of Southeastern Ohio. Frequent meetings are held all year with devotees telling of their latest sightings and experiences with the illusive Bigfoot.

Recently an employee of Salt Fork State Park saw something large stand up along the road as she was driving past Hosak’s Cave in the park. This Bigfoot ran into the woods, but left behind a large footprint, which the Bigfoot investigators made into a plaster cast.

Bigfoot Crossing

It’s no surprise that in the Salt Fork Lake area you might find a Bigfoot Crossing.

Each spring, Salt Fork State Park holds Ohio Bigfoot Conference, which draws hundreds to listen to the latest information about Sasquatch, another name for Bigfoot. This year those dates are May 19 and 20. Cliff Barackman from Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” will be the Master of Ceremonies.

Bigfoot Orrs

Vicky Veselenak shares a passion for Bigfoot with her dad, Marvin Orr.  You can have lunch with Bigfoot at Orr’s Drive-in.

Several area businesses use Bigfoot as a drawing card. In Byesville, Marvin Orr at Orr’s Drive-In placed a statue of Bigfoot beside their picnic tables. Marvin and his daughters frequently attend Bigfoot meetings and conferences. After hearing all the stories told by ordinary people, it makes them believe there’s ‘something’ out there.

Daughter Vicky used the Bigfoot theme in her classroom in Rolling Hills for years. Her bulletin boards were alive with his image, wooden Bigfoots made great hall passes and she designed her own six foot tall Bigfoot with a jigsaw. Stop by Orr’s and have lunch with Bigfoot.

BF The Feed Barn

Three Bigfoot statues draw attention to The Feed Barn in Newcomerstown. Doyle Donathan, manager, enjoys sharing stories about this mysterious creature.

The Feed Barn in Newcomerstown displays and sells Bigfoot statues and tee shirts because of all the sightings in the area. Recently, a young boy was crossing the railroad tracks down by the Tuscarawas River and checked both ways to make sure no train was coming. No train in sight, but he did see a Bigfoot step across the track easily with one long stride.

Bigfoot Caldwell

Denny Crock keeps customers watching as he frequently dresses Bigfoot as a snowboarder, fisherman, or even ready for Jamboree in the Hills. It’s difficult to find his shirt size – 7X.

In Noble County at the Caldwell Food Center Emporium, you will be greeted by Bigfoot at the entrance to the parking lot. Denny Crock, owner, knew people talked about Bigfoot frequently so wanted a concrete statue at his store. This 6’2”, 2400 pound creature attracts much attention.

Bigfoot Salt Fork

This carved, restrained, wooden statue hangs out in Wildlife Lounge at Salt Fork Lodge.

Out at Salt Fork Lodge, Ohio Bigfoot Conference donated a carved wooden statue since their meeting provides Salt Fork Lodge its largest conference of the year. Rooms and cabins are filled to capacity this weekend and the Lodge Gift Shop has record sales with their wide range of memorabilia.

Bigfoot Gift Shop

The hottest items at the Salt Fork Lodge Gift Shop are tee shirts. But they also have              “Bigfoot I Believe” wine,  action figures, games and much, much more.

Nothing But Chocolate will give you a sweet taste of Bigfoot as she has his footprints for sale – in chocolate of course. Amanda makes these delicious footprints for the Bigfoot Conference and for State Park Conventions held at Salt Fork.

Local investigations began with Don Keating in 1980. He wrote an article about a sighting in the Newcomerstown area. Since then Don had organized the Ohio Bigfoot Conferences at Salt Fork State Park until he recently stepped back to devote more time to another interest – meteorology.

Bigfoot Doug

Doug Waller, local Bigfoot investigator and enthusiast, has written two books about the group’s experiences.

Doug Waller speaks frequently around the area about the legendary Bigfoot. The founder of Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigation, Doug and his team tell about the activities and sightings of this mysterious creature.

Ideas range from an ape-like animal to an extraterrestrial being. The Native Americans saw Bigfoot as a spiritual being, including it on their totem poles.  The Delaware Indians cautioned residents here long ago to put out food offerings for “the wild ones in the woods”.

Bigfoot sign

This clever sign always brings a smile to the face of Bigfoot fans.

Each person is free to explore the ideas he finds probable. But when you hear a scratch on the wall, smell something terrible outside your door, or see an eight-foot tall creature lumber off into the woods, you just might become a believer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canes, Walking Sticks and Quilts Designed by Philip Owen

philip-owen

His walking sticks have been displayed at various festivals in our area. Here, Philip holds one of his favorites.

A soft-spoken gentleman exhibits a surprising hidden talent – taking pieces of wood, and turning them into beautiful canes and walking sticks with intricate designs.

Philip Owen made his first walking stick as a young boy of seven or eight years old in Rawlinsville, PA. Illness dominated his childhood, and Philip will admit, “I was spoiled rotten.” Often when walking to check on the cows, he would pick up a stick and begin carving it.

As a youngster, Philip had tuberculosis and was in a sanitarium for eleven months one time, and twenty-two months the next. During that last visit in 1946, Philip said he was “a streptomycin guinea pig”. They administered one hundred forty-four shots of streptomycin to Philip and one other young man. Both were cured. With this new discovery, it wasn’t long before the sanitarium was closed.

philip

His display of walking sticks and canes consists of some that he made and some he purchased from all over the world.

During his lifetime he has made, given away, traded or sold many walking sticks and canes. At this time, he is working on numbers 1105 and 1106 out of American chestnut, a rare wood with a beautiful grain. These creations have been shipped all over the world.

Many kinds of wood make up these walking sticks and canes. One of his favorite designs was free-lanced on PA rosebud. Since the canes and sticks must be strong as well as beautiful, he favors using maple, walnut and cherry wood. It might surprise you to learn that the structure of the sticks depends on whether an individual prefers using their right or left hand.

Hopalong Cassidy Cane

Festival attender checks out a Hopalong Cassidy Cane.

One thing of which he should be extremely proud is the fact that he has carved canes for five US Presidents – from Richard Nixon to George Bush. Even more interesting, he has received thank-you notes from all of them including their signatures. Philip hopes that his grandson will someday appreciate having those special treasures.

In 1988, Philip Owen’s nephew, Mike Huber, had a 40th birthday. Philip made a cane for him as a joke since Mike was now “going down hill”. Along with the birthday greetings, Philip said, “You are hereby appointed President of ANCC.” Those letters stood for American National Cane Collectors, which was later changed to the American National Cane Club to include makers, not just collectors. Philip volunteered to be the Secretary/Treasurer so they had two members. This organization’s newsletter became known as “The Twisted Stick.”

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My Gypsy Walking Stick leans against a special basket of flowers.

Two years ago, Philip carved a right-handed walking stick for this gypsy. He included some of my favorite things on the stick – bears. Many knots were cleverly turned into bear heads. On each stick, Philip puts his signature – a heart containing his initials and a cross in the center with John 3:16 under the heart. Above the heart is the number of the cane.

My walking stick almost always stays in the trunk of my car to be used when walking over rough territory, or even in the snow. Gypsy Bev is written around the top so it’s not bound to get mixed up with someone else’s.

bow-tie-quilt

This bow tie quilt consists of 169 bow ties. Philip seems to make use of whatever he receives.

Family is very important to Philip, as he grew up in a loving family of twelve children. He was number eleven, his twin brother number twelve. His love of another hobby, quilting, began with his parents. His father cut out the squares for each of the twelve children to have “Grandmother’s Flower Garden”, then his mother sewed them together. Families are like quilts – pieced together and stitched with love.

necktie-quilt

The necktie quilt is made of 145 neckties. No two are alike!

Quilts he has made include a novel “necktie quilt”. The idea came when a friend gave him a large pile of neckties. It seems Philip likes free things, in fact his wife often said, “Don’t offer Philip anything free, or he’ll take it.” And it appears he puts these things to creative use.

Right now he’s in the process of making a quilt called “Around the World” for a missionary in their church. He has 800 pieces laid out for the quilt. The center is red for the blood shed by Jesus, surrounded by white to signify salvation, and then a row of heavenly blue. The rest is alternate rows of print and solid colors. Even he admits, “I sometimes get carried away.”

piece-of-grandfathers-quilt

The framed piece of a quilt given to his grandfather is treasured by the family.

On the wall of his apartment, he proudly displays a picture of his grandfather. On each side are framed pieces of a quilt given to his grandfather by his church congregation. Philip’s sister took it apart as it was beginning to fray and framed a piece of it for each of the twelve children.

philip-owen

One of Philip’s missions in life is to teach others to study the Bible.

Today Philip lives in Cambridge, Ohio where he keeps busy giving free lessons to those interested in making canes, walking sticks, baskets or wall plaques. He also teaches a special class on how to write you Life Story. Since he is a retired minister, he enjoys conducting Bible study at the Senior Center. When you consider that Philip is 88 years old, you can see why he feels blessed and wants to share his knowledge with others.

philip-and-gene

This picture of Philip and his wife, Gene, was taken on their 50th wedding anniversary. They were married for 56 years.

Philip and his wife, Gene, had three children, who have followed in his footsteps. Joel and Philip are pastors, while daughter Barbara has served several years as a missionary. A grandson is following that path also, making four generations of pastors in their family. In Philip’s words, “The most important thing in life is to know God’s will…and do it.”

When asked if he wished he could have done anything else in life, Philip responded, “If I were able, I’d have a garbage collection business.” He sees so many things thrown away that could possibly be recycled into something new. His creative mind never sleeps.

 

Capezio’s Gift Ranch: Home of Alpacas

 

alpaca-melissa

The alpacas gather around Melissa for a taste of some ground feed in August.

Improve the lives of children and adults through a connection with the amazing spirit of animals.

That’s the goal of Melissa Snyder in the rolling hills of southeastern Ohio near Norwich, where she has created a home for alpacas. However, her story begins with a horse.

As a child, Melissa had a special horse call Capezio. This horse had a club foot and walked slowly but he was her special horse for thirty-two years. Capezio’s gentleness had children waiting in line at the petting zoo or for a pony ride at the fair. Melissa remembered, “His gift was to help kids. He was here to make kids happy.”

alpaca-herd-in-shade

While alpacas can stand very cold weather, the heat is something they try to avoid.

Capezio taught Melissa many lessons in life and developed her zeal for animals that needed that extra touch of loving care. So when she decided to name her farm, she knew that her passion for animals was a gift from Capezio; therefore, she named it Capezio’s Gift Ranch.

After she graduated from Lake Erie College with a degree in Entrepreneurship, she only raised horses. Then one day she purchased a pony that had an alpaca friend, who came as part of the bargain. A local vet told her that the alpaca would be stressed without another alpaca for company. The herd began.

alpaca-baby-don-diego

Eight day old, Don Diego, stays close to the fan with his mother, Miss Ellie and their last import, Appy.

The rare and exotic alpaca has been a treasure of the Andes for over 6,000 years. While they closely resemble the llama, who is a working animal, the friendly, gentle alpaca lives a life of luxury with their task being to eat and make exquisite fiber.

Over a period of a few years, alpacas became the center of Melissa’s life. Soon people were calling her to see if the ranch had room for another alpaca. One evening when she came home, an alpaca was tied to a post by their driveway. It appears that Melissa has a soft spot in her heart for any animal that needs fed. At this point, an alpaca rescue was established.

alpaca-shade-hut

This shade hut provides an escape on a hot summer day.

Alpacas might be Suri or Huacaya breeds, with Huacaya being the one most often needing rescued. The Suri fleece is long, straight and softer and demands a higher market price. These are seldom in need of rescue. The Huacaya have a short, curly fleece, which is also soft and fine.

Vet bills add up, so the size of the herd stops at around twenty. But if they need vet care, Melissa won’t deny them treatment. She has eaten peanut butter sandwiches for a couple of weeks in order to pay the vet. Extraordinary dedication!

alpaca-melissa-at-work

Work never stops as in the evenings, Melissa enjoys weaving and knitting with the soft fleece yarn.

Melissa and her partner, Nathan, do their own sheering when the temperature warms up in April and May. Then Melissa and a couple friends are responsible for cleaning, carding, spinning and weaving many items from the natural fiber that they receive.

Alpacas enjoy cold weather…even down to a -22 degrees doesn’t phase them. But heat is a different story so they have shade huts with fans to keep them cool on hot summer days.

Melissa works with the Living Waters Clover Crew 4-H Club, where she shares information on alpacas and has workshops on fiber use. Club members are encouraged to adopt an alpaca for their project so they can show them at the fair.

alpaca-cuteness

Addison feels a special connection to Delilah.

Capezio’s Gift Ranch covers all alpaca expenses for members of 4-H. This year some of the 4-H members showed them at the Muskingum County Fair and the Ohio State Fair.

alpaca-obstacle-course

Avalanche, a deaf alpaca, participated in the Obstacle Course at the The Ohio State Fair.

While fair judging centers on fleece and conformation, games at the fair provide great fun. Musical Rug, Leaping Llama, and Obstacle Course are favorites. Musical Rug is similar to Musical Chairs with the alpacas having to stop on a rug when the music stops. This year at the State Fair, that contest was won by a Capazeo alpaca…who was blind. The fun never stops!

alpaca-animals

Animals knitted from alpaca fleece feel soft and cuddly.

Alpacas are often adopted by fiber farmers, who want their own soft fleece for weaving.. Good retirement homes are always needed. They can be adopted for a fee.

While they usually eat hay and grain, like us they also enjoy treats. Some of their favorites are fig newtons, bananas, and raisins. Since they have no upper teeth, these soft foods are easy for them to chew.

alpaca-products

If you want to buy some of their products in Cambridge, Ohio, stop at their booth in County Bits on Wheeling Avenue..

Melissa dreams about someday having her own alpaca barn and showroom. The barn would provide an isolation spot for new alpacas and provide coolness on a hot summer day. In the showroom, visitors could experience making the yarn and see many beautiful finished products.

alpaca-booth

Last fall, Teddy came to the Cambridge Street Fair for the enjoyment of kids of all ages.

Melissa knows every alpaca in the field quite well. She knows their names and birthdates better than most people know this information about their families..Melissa takes great pleasure in talking about her friends, the alpacas.

Melissa Snyder can be reached  on Facebook at Capezio’s Gift Ranch, the easiest way to make a connection, or by phone at (740) 583-4030 .

 

Walt Taylor: Creative Inspiration to the Community

walt-student

Walt instructs one of his students in the proper way to use a pottery wheel.

One of the areas where Walt Taylor excels is passing on his love for art. That’s why he enjoys sharing his knowledge with adults and especially young people, as they’re our future artists.

As a small child he lived on a farm in Lebanon, Ohio where  he attended a one-room school that was very typical of schools in those days: no running water, out door toilets, a pot bellied stove, and a paddle hanging on the wall behind the stove.

Walt had a story to tell about that paddle. A school bully pushed him around one day and Walt swung his lunch bucket, and hit the bully in the head knocking him to the ground. Both were taken inside and leaned over a desk for a paddling. First, the bully received a stern thrashing while Walt quaked. When it was Walt’s turn, the teacher swung the paddle one time so hard it hit the side of the desk and broke in two. No paddling for Walt that day. Doesn’t sound like an accident on the part of the teacher to me.

vases-with-applique

He enjoys creating one of a kind vases with floral applique.

The family moved often. His father said, “A rolling stone gathers no moss, but it gains a great polish.” At one time they lived near Fort Ancient and Walt followed his dad around the field when he was plowing, and found many arrowheads. 

Woodcrafting has been a hobby since he was a young man. His building skills still go on today as he makes cabinets, chairs, and recently a communion stand for a local church that had just rebuilt.

walt-cabinet

This talented man made these oak chairs and the cabinet behind them.

For the past few years, he has been making one new chair for their dining room each year. But he said he has been procrastinating about finishing the last two. He even joined the Procrastinators Anonymous, but they haven’t had a meeting yet.

He also enjoyed working on automobiles so developed mechanical skills as well.  That came in handy as he and his wife, Sheila, motorcycled all over the country. His favorite places to ride were in the mountains out west. It was in those mountains of Montana, where they saw the work of western potters, that an interest for making pottery began.

They also discovered many things on those back roads that you just can’t see from the interstate. He thought he noticed something that looked like Stonehenge on one such road, but it turned out to be Carhenge. Here cars were buried front first in the ground. Then there was the House on a Rock, a motel on an Indian reservation, and the list goes on.

walt-first-piece

Walt holds the first piece of pottery he ever made…out of kitty litter.

It wasn’t until 1992 that Walt tried his hand at pottery. At Octoberfest, he purchased his first kiln and making pottery has become his passion ever since. The first bowl he made was out of ‘unused’ kitty litter! He learned that kitty litter had a clay base and when mixed with a little bit of water could be worked into shape. That bowl still sets on his bedroom stand today.

walt-sheila-001

Walt and Sheila  have attended many festivals in the area to display and sell their creations.

To begin with, he made pottery items just because he enjoyed doing it. Then he began giving them to his friends, who told him that he should be selling them. That began a business they ran until last year, Taymoor Pottery…a combination of his last name and his wife, Sheila’s maiden name.

walt-at-salt-fork-festival

Walt has a smile on his face while working with youngsters at Art in the Park during the Salt Fork Festival.

Walt and Sheila, hope to teach youngsters to enjoy art as much as they do. They’ve helped teach children’s art classes at the Salt Fork Festival for several years. Wherever Walt is making pottery, children can usually be found watching. Talking about children always brings a smile to his face as ,“They are fun to work with. If you treat them as equals, they accept you as you are.”

father-christmas-and-wife-2

Walt greeted visitors as Father Christmas for ten years, with help from Sheila.

For the last ten years, Walt has portrayed Father Christmas for Dickens Victorian Village. He would meet buses on the street or in the Welcome Center and probably has his picture in many family albums as a result. He’s not sure if he’ll be able to do that this year at the age of 91.

Even though the business is closed, they still enjoy making pottery. Now they make just what they like. Right now Raku, a Japanese style is a favorite. It was first used by the Japanese Emperor and was known as a ‘throw away pottery’. The emperor would drink his tea, then throw the cup against the wall.

walt-raku

His current favorite project centers around Raku, a Japanese form of art.

Raku is a ‘quick fire, quick cool’ kind of pottery so it would be fired and ready for supper quickly. Today in the United States a glaze is added and it’s no long a throw away. Actually it’s so attractive you wouldn’t want to throw it away.

walt-fishing

Walt still enjoys a day on the lake with his fishing pole.

Walt is just ‘a good old boy’, who has taken an interest in the community in many different ways. Thoughts of travel still skip through his mind and he often dreams of living in Hawaii or Tahiti…or at least visiting. Our world could use more of those ‘good old boys’.

Joel Losego Lights Up the Holiday Season

courthouse-light-show-2

This spectacular Holiday Light Show brings visitors back again and again.

One of the main attractions during Dickens Victorian Village’s season is the spectacular Holiday Light Show at the Guernsey County Courthouse in downtown Cambridge. This did not happen overnight. It took over a year to design the first light show – a gift from Grant Hafley, with programming help from Joel Losego.

lite-brite

Joel’s favorite toy as a youngster was Lite-Brite.

According to his mother, Joel has always been interested in lights. In fact, as a child, his favorite toy was Lite-Brite. At a very young age, his parents said that he had the lights on their Christmas tree blinking in rhythm.

When he was six years old, his summers were spent helping his dad on construction. He saved the money his dad gave him that summer to buy a CB radio, which he still has.

avc

These are the AVC stations you enjoy.

As a middle school student at Buckeye Trail, he began working at AVC Communications in Cambridge. He continued working there until he graduated from Ohio University. Helping owner, Grant Hafley, an electrical engineer, Joel learned to design flashing lights with control boards for area dances.

He also volunteered doing sound at his church, the State Theater, and Living Word during that time. Sound intrigued him, Joel remarked, “I always knew what I wanted to do.”

radio-station

The radio station sets high on College Hill.

Then Joel headed off to work in various states on national television networks developing internet and website experience. Basically a home body, Joel served as a beta tester for new software in his spare time. While working for ESPN at special TV events, it became necessary for him to travel all over the country.

Joel missed his family during this time and knew he needed to make some changes. Who should call but his old friend, Grant Hafley. Grant said he was looking for someone to buy AVC Communications. But he wanted a person who would keep the community spirit alive.

joel-losego

Joel conducts much of his business from the computer at his desk.

The moment his life changed was six months later in 2005 at Disney World, a magical place indeed. Joel talked to Grant Hafley during the Disney Parade, and finished the deal for the purchase of AVC. He was on his way back to Guernsey County, a place he never expected to return.

About this time Grant Hafley, who supported Dickens Victorian Village, wanted to do something special to draw more people to town. Lighting up the courthouse to make it a show seemed like a possibility.

Then a year of plans began with help from Grant and a programmer from Arizona. During the second year, the show became Joel’s ‘baby’ and he has been the only person programming it ever since. Right now he is teaching another young person how to continue the operation.

computer-screen

This picture of Joel’s computer screen shows a touch of his planning.

Programming is a tedious process. Every two minutes of light show for the courthouse takes over eighteen hours to complete. Needless to say, Joel spends a lot of time at the computer designing the program. It takes time and patience to synchronize 55,000 lights to over 150 Christmas songs.

courthouse-tree

The Christmas tree was put in place at the courthouse near the end of October.

This year’s light show had a few major changes. For the first time all the lights were LED so the courthouse seems brighter than ever.What appears to be fireworks appears above the courthouse roof.

On the courthouse steps, four lighted trees form Craig’s Christmas Quartet. This is the first time an entire song has been sung and it’s acapella in four part harmony. This is a tribute to Craig, the caretaker at the courthouse, who has been so helpful to Joel and friends over the years.

open-house-quartet

Ctaig’s Christmas Quartet appeared for the first time in 2016.

As a way to get people directly involved with the light show, Joel has used an idea from Disney. A Magical Lightshow Wristband has been designed with a computer chip. When this wristband is at the courthouse, it becomes controlled by the light show and flashes along with it.

This is the first time anything has been sold to raise money for the light show. The cost of the wristband is $20, but you must remember “It’s not a toy. It’s a computer.”

wristband

This Magical Lightshow Wristband flashed with the music.

When asked about his favorite Christmas music, Joel paused as he enjoys so many. Finally, he admitted that Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Carol of the Bells, Gene Autry’s Rudolph, and Andy Williams’ White Christmas were among his favorites.

One of his favorite pastimes will surprise you. He enjoys going to the courthouse light show anonymously to listen to comments about the show. “It’s fun watching other people watch the show.” There he finds ideas for the future as well as improvements that can be made.

open-house-grant-and-joel

Grant Hafley and Joel Losego talk to visitors from the edge of the crowd.

Ten months out of the year, Joel works approximately thirty hours a week on the programming for the Guernsey County Courthouse Holiday Light Show. November and December, when it is running, are his months off from programming. But he’s always handy in case there’s a problem with the program. Most can be fixed from his computer, wherever he happens to be.

When Joel gets an idea, he usually jumps right in and makes it happen. One thing he has put on hold is a trip he wants to share with his wife to Maui. His dream places them at a resort, overlooking the ocean at sunset while having dinner. He even has a video of it on his phone. Someday you can be certain this too will happen. He makes his dreams reality.

light-cd

Remember the evening of the Holiday Light Show with this CD.

Come to Cambridge and watch the Guernsey County Courthouse Holiday Light Show any evening from November 1 to January 2, 2017 starting at 5:30 until 9:00. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to spot Joel watching too.

The Guernsey County Holiday Light Show happens in Cambridge, Ohio at their courthouse square along old Route 40. You don’t want to miss it.

Guernsey County History Museum Dressed for Christmas

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Explore the history of the area by visiting Guernsey County Museum.

All 17 rooms at the oldest frame home in Cambridge have been tastefully decorated with a touch of the Christmas season. The Guernsey County Museum enjoys having people stop by to wander through its vast collection. Curator Judy Clay will escort visitors through each decorated room and explain the history of many of the artifacts that are left on display for the holidays.

The museum, the former McCracken-McFarland home, was moved down North Eighth Street, a half block from the corner, to its current location in 1915. Outside the house, the yard has some interesting features. There is a 4′ tall National Trail mileage marker, and the original steps from the 1823 house.

Many of the older generation from the area will remember Mrs. McFarland, a Brown High School English teacher, and Mr. McFarland, the banker who always wore a carnation in his buttonhole.

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Volunteer Madelyn Joseph stands by the pot-bellied stove in the one-room school room.

Recent additions to the museum include a room from a one-room schoolhouse showing desks and books used at that time. At the back of the room stands the pot-bellied stove, which appeared in some form in every one-room school to keep the room somewhat warm on cold winter days. On special occasions, retired teachers will describe the lessons and activities that happened in a classroom where one teacher taught all eight grades.

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Dave Adair tells the story of the difficult life of a coal miner.

Another added attraction is an entrance way to a coal mine. In the early 1900s throughout Guernsey County, over 5,000 people were employed in the mines. Here, Dave Adair, local historian, explains to groups the life of a coal miner and at this time of year presents “A Coal Miner’s Christmas”, telling how they celebrated Christmas with very little money. Most gifts were handmade or perhaps purchased at the company store – an orange or walnuts were special treats.

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Museum Curator Judy Clay explains the beautiful table setting, which includes Cambridge Glass and a Tiffany lamp overhead.

The home has been expanded and updated through the years without destroying its 19th Century charm. Many remember the time when homes had two sitting rooms – one for the family and the other to use only for special guests. While this was the first house in the area to have gas heat, they still read by candle light. Throughout the museum, you will see beautiful pieces of Cambridge Glass and Universal Pottery, as these two companies provided an important means of earning a living during the early years of Guernsey County.

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Friendly volunteers at the museum prepare for visitors by decorating the tree and preparing to serve refreshments. 

The walls in the hallway are covered with pictures of people who have made a difference in the area…the Guernsey County Hall of Fame. These community leaders have all contributed something special to make this world a better place.

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The ice bike made travel possible in the winter with its sharp prongs in the back and sled-like runner in the front.

Every room upstairs had a special theme. The Military Room contained items from Civil War days to WWII. A small sewing room held a spinning wheel and a weasel, which when it got filled with thread – went pop! That was the basis of the song, “Pop Goes the Weasel”. A dentist’s office, Dickens’ room, and rooms packed with antique ladies’ clothing finished off the top floor. The waistline on some of those dresses seems unbelievably small.

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This old mail cart actually carried mail from Cambridge’s Union Depot to the post office.

Bountiful treasures reside inside this old frame house. Perhaps you would like to roam the halls and revive some old memories. If you have any pieces of history you would care to share, please contact the museum. Every small town should take pride in having a special place to keep the history of their area alive for future generations.

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The angel topped Christmas tree is decorated with old ornaments trimmed with lace.

Holiday hours for the Guernsey County Museum are Tuesday and Thursday 4:00 – 8:00, and Saturday from 10:00 -8:00.  Admission is $5 per person. Come explore some old memories of days gone by.

The Guernsey County Museum is located at 218 N Eighth Street off Steubenville Avenue in Cambridge, Ohio. It’s on the street directly behind the courthouse.

 

 

 

 

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