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Impossible to see, the future is July 16, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Berea, Cleveland, Family, Future, Parenting, Personal, Star Wars.
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Anna and I went to a “Q & A” meeting last night regarding the Berea City School District’s plan to renovate and/or replace five of seven elementary schools and to close the remaining two elementary schools.  Enrollment in the district has declined about 7% over the past 10 years, and it is expected to fall another 8% in the next 10 years.  In addition, operational costs for these seven 40+ year old schools continue to rise due to their less energy efficient structures as well as increasing energy prices.

Closing two of the elementary schools (one of which Rosie attends) is a very emotional issue.  They are at the heart of two communties where our children are growing and learning everyday.  No one wants their school to be closed.  We don’t want to lose our teachers, principals, custodians, and our connectedness with them.  In an ideal world, there would not be these difficult situations.

The real world (and all that goes with it) is where most of us live, and it requires us to make tough choices and decisions.  Anna and I have seen this with our congregation’s recent vote to accept Baldwin-Wallace’s proposal to buy First Church.  Although the sale is contingent on approval from the City of Berea, it does look as though the sale will proceed.  There is much uncertainty on what will happen next because there are a number of options that our church has been investigating.

As Yoda once said, “Always in motion the future is.”  That’s one of the problems with the future.  We haven’t figured out how to predict it yet.  And that ambiguity can be scary because many times our thoughts gravitate to the worst possible outcomes.  In actuality, those very rarely come to pass, and often we are surprised with what does happen as well as how we respond to it.

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Church Vote, Part Deux June 26, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Berea, Cleveland, Family, History, Personal, Religion.
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Back in December, the members of First Congregational United Church of Christ voted 87-18 to “authorize church leaders to negotiate terms of a possible sale to Baldwin-Wallace College.”  A negotiating team was formed from members of our church, and they met with the B-W administration during the past six months.  The proposed agreement for the sale of the church and surrounding properties to B-W was then shared with our congregation earlier this month.

This Sunday, members of First Church will come together to vote on whether to accept or reject the proposed agreement.  I won’t go into details at this time, but you can expect another blog post early next week on the results.  Also, check my Twitter for the my thoughts and vote tally on Sunday.

Jury Duty & the Death Penalty February 8, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Cleveland, Law, Personal.
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I couldn’t say it in my last post, but the case for which I was a possible juror on Monday was a murder with the death penalty being a potential judgment.  Fifty of us crowded into the courtroom on Monday afternoon to listen to the charges (including breaking and entering, arson, murder, and attempted murder) brought against the defendant.  After being sworn in and hearing the allegations, we were escorted out of the courtroom to fill out a questionnaire about our general feelings toward the death penalty as well as whether our religion said anything about it, or if any close relatives had differing views.  I never really thought too much about the death penalty and didn’t have any strong feelings one way or another.  Part of me wanted to have it as an option (if the trial came to it) and to apply it if the law so deemed.  Another part of me was concerned about the chance that I may be sending someone to their death.  The black and white of hypothetical questions suddenly became very, very gray.

After returning to the courthouse on Tuesday, we found out that the defendant had decided to plead guilty to avoid the possibility of the death penalty and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.  Click here to read more about the case.

The rest of the week was not as intense as the first two days.  I mostly read and did sudoku on Wednesday, but was called again on Thursday.  We again went to the 20th floor and waited for about 15 minutes before the judge came into the jury assembly room to let us know that this defendant waived his right to trial by jury.  Since the case load was light after that, the Monday jurors were not needed to return on Friday.

Overall, I found it to be an informative experience, but not much like the court dramas seen on TV.  You don’t usually see the hundreds of potential jurors waiting on Matlock or Law & Order.  Both judges I saw were both very grateful and thankful for our services as jurors, and they expressed their respect for our legal system and its tradition of trial by jury as something that’s not available to everyone in the world.  It was a humbling to hear them speak like that, and I felt a connection to our American forefathers who guaranteed that right in the Constitution.

Jury Duty – Day 1 February 4, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Cleveland, Law, Personal.
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Badge

As I said yesterday, I began my jury duty at the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court located in downtown Cleveland almost adjacent to Cleveland Browns Stadium. I took the train into the city and ended up just walking the few blocks to the courthouse instead of catching the bus the rest of the way. I went through security up to the fourth floor, waited in the M-Z juror line, watched the orientation video, and waited some more to be called. According to the video, this court has the highest volume of cases per year in all of Ohio. Also, jurors are selected from only Ohioans who are registered to vote (this was news to me).

I kept waiting for my name to be called while reading Cosmic Jackpot and Time magazine, tweeting on Twitter, and watching daytime game shows 🙂 The room would get quiet every time names were read in batches of about 20 per case, and mine was finally called in the last set before lunch. We then took the elevator to one of the upper floors with a lovely view of the stadium, the Great Lakes Science Center, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I was in the second batch our jurors of the case and was released for the day, so I’ll head back tomorrow afternoon.

The Sixth Amendment February 3, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Cleveland, History, Personal.
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In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

This Monday, I’ll be making my jury duty debut at the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in downtown Cleveland. According to Wikipedia, there are only four states (Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina) in the US with Courts of Common Pleas. Stay tuned for my legal tales from the jury box.

Toblogganing December 23, 2007

Posted by davegoblog in Cleveland, Family, Parenting.
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Tobloggan

On Friday night, Rosie, Anna, and I went tobogganing at The Chalet located in the Cleveland Metroparks. Lily stayed with Grammy and Grampy while we hauled heavy wooden toboggans up what seemed like the stairs of an ancient Mayan temple. Then, we experienced three thrilling rides down the 1000-foot long ice chutes. I prefer spinning rides not ones that drop like that, but I finally rode in the front of the toboggan for the third trip. That was actually not too bad for my fluttery stomach, however riding in the back allows you to lie almost horizontal in a supine position for a unique luge-like journey. We all had a great time and hope to make it back at least one more time this winter. Click here for more pictures on our Flickr page, or watch the below video from the Cleveland Metroparks.