Features

Kane Lewis and Rachel Jarman

Staying in the game

Nineteen-year-old Kane Lewis’ life changed instantly on Nov. 16, 2019. While he was on a hunting trip, he had a seizure that caused him to fall from his tree stand — breaking his back and leaving him paralyzed. 

Working with state agencies, AgrAbility helped Lewis get a lift to put him on farm machinery, an Action Trackchair that will go over any terrain, and an automatic barn door opener. 

“AgrAbility has given me so much more freedom than I could have expected,” Lewis says. “I didn’t [have to] slow down.”

Just a month and a week after his accident, Lewis was back in college, where his classmates raised $13,000 to buy him an electric wheelchair to get around campus easily. By spring, he was back planting corn and soybeans.

Jared Shank

Treasure hunt

We all know that Ohio is full of treasures. From Cincinnati chili to Cedar Point to the hollows of Hocking Hills, the gems gleam. Legends abound, however, of treasure in the more traditional sense — buried or stashed around the Ohio countryside. 

Stark treasure

It was 1755, and the French had been trying desperately to repel attacks by the British on Fort Duquesne, France’s outpost in Pittsburgh. Fearing the fort’s imminent fall (it actually held out until 1758), some French soldiers started to evacuate valuables from Fort Duquesne — including a hoard of gold and silver used for military payroll.

Dogman of Defiance

Cryptid Ohio

CRYPTIDS [crip – tidz]: Animals or other creatures whose existence is only assumed or believed in based upon anecdotal or other non-compelling evidence.

Since President Rutherford B. Hayes owned a Lake Erie island where his family vacationed, he quite possibly heard tales about South Bass Bessie. Maybe he even saw the creature (though he never reported it if he did). The Ohio native and his wife, Lucy, left the White House in 1881 and retired to a country estate that is now the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums in Fremont.

Raymond Buckland

Cauldron of culture

Witchcraft imagery has long been a part of popular culture — cackling hags in black hats riding broomsticks are everywhere this time of year. 

The museum opened on West 14th Street in Cleveland’s Tremont district in 2017 and relocated to the current location in 2019. The 1,800-square-foot facility is jam-packed with artifacts from floor to ceiling with some 300 pieces on display at any given time. Every inch of wall space is covered, and the museum draws tourists from around the state and across the country.

Limestone obelisk marking Harrison’s tomb.

Eminent eight

Why is Ohio called the “Mother of Presidents”? Consider this: Since 1776, there have been upward of 500 million Americans; some 12,000 served in Congress, but only 44 have been sworn in as President of the United States.

Since 2020 is a presidential election year and the 100th anniversary of the last time an Ohioan — Warren G. Harding in 1920 — won the White House, it’s an especially good time to take stock of the state’s eminent eight. We hereby present a compendium of Ohio presidents that includes destinations where you can learn more about their rare and remarkable lives.

William Henry Harrison
9th President (1841) 

Born: 1773, Virginia 

Coach Andrew Ruffing

Win-win

After a long, demanding day at work as part of a line crew, some of our electric co-op team members tackle a different sort of assignment. Swapping their hard hat for a coach’s cap, they’re in for a whole new ballgame.

Andrew Ruffing, apprentice lineman at North Central Electric Cooperative based in Attica, sees many similarities between his day job and coaching football. “You’re part of something bigger than yourself. That resonates in both sports and linework,” he says. “You learn to work as a team, to work toward a common goal.”

Drive-in movie theater

Retro cool

Back in their heyday, drive-in movie theaters meant parents could pile the kids in the back of the station wagon and head out to see a flick on a nice summer night, hooking the scratchy metal speaker on the car window, collecting popcorn and Cokes from the concession stand, and maybe playing a few holes of mini-golf to boot … all without making much of a dent in the pocketbook. 

Museum display

Good golly, Miss Molly!

As vice president of education and visitor engagement at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Jason Hanley often observes the museum’s visitors.

The Rock Hall was the first museum dedicated to rock ’n’ roll, and its opening on Sept. 2, 1995, in a glistening I.M. Pei-designed building along Lake Erie, was a landmark event for popular culture. “It was truly significant,” says Hanley, “because rock music was being recognized, preserved, taught, and honored in a way traditionally reserved for high art forms.” Rock ’n’ roll’s royalty — think James Brown, Bob Dylan, and Aretha Franklin — showed up and celebrated with epic performances in Cleveland’s old Municipal Stadium. “We occasionally show that concert in the Rock Hall’s theater.

Jason Duff

Renewal and restoration

Jason Duff stood in the middle of the crumbling, mostly abandoned downtown area of his hometown, Bellefontaine, and saw what everyone else saw.
 

Unlike many others, though, he was able to look past the despair and see potential. Instead of heading to the brighter lights of bigger, more prosperous Midwestern cities, Duff decided to make a difference. He enlisted friends who shared his vision and his can-do attitude — along with plenty of talents and skills — and built a team to rebuild and revive their hometown.