Explore The Many Fish Species of Ohio Streams-You Might Be Surprised!


Here are some links which feature various articles I have written or contributed to about my interest in native fishes.





To my surprise, there is actually a website which features malls all across the country, that struggle to remain fully occupied. You can click here http://www.deadmalls.com/ to stroll down memory lane with your favorite shopping venue as you may have grown up with in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s.

In Greater Cleveland, the concept of the new style “big modern malls” featuring retail stores, banks, recreation, and other uses, all under one roof, blossomed in the late 1950’s and hit a peak in the early 1970’s — so as my personal observation and experience shows me. Several downtown retailers could not resist the allure of a brand new facility with plenty of parking, as inner city retail districts were aging and often not meeting the demands of a new auto-dependent consumer base as trains and public transportation became the secondary means of getting around. Aging retail space base, crime, inadequate parking were all contributors of this flight of retail from the core.

But today, many of the original malls that killed the inner city retail base, have now themselves become victims of even further suburban sprawl—-Many will call this out-migration of business phenomenon poorly planned urban growth and management. There are other driving forces for sprawl, but forces such as tax abatements are a story alone.

Nevertheless, there is now a re-discovery of the older inner urban retail infrastructure as many buildings and streets in downtown Cleveland, for example, are undergoing a slow, but steady revitalization. Still, this brings us back to the aging “first malls club”– and I shudder to think that many of these retail behemoths could someday sit deserted amidst a vast sea of pavement which simply contributes to dirty stormwater runoff to our rivers and streams, also another story alone! With that in mind, I was inspired to dream up a new adaptive re-use of these malls as more than just retail alone.

I was a longtime patron of Randall Park Mall in Cleveland (Warrensville/North Randall) built in 1976. I remember when this crown jewel double decker mall opened and few people had ever seen anything quite like it. Huge anchor stores like Higbee’s, cascading fountains, red carpeted catwalks and ramps, theaters, and the list goes on.

Today, the mall is still a nice place to visit but nothing like it was when it first popped into the retail scene. I actually felt sorry for the place and so I offer some ideas on future uses for Malls like Randall Park, which struggle because of what I see, as an over production of retail space in North east Ohio among other factors.

I think malls as such can be great places not only for what, for example, the Randall Park mall is now, but for future “indoor neighborhoods” with trendy apartments, retail, post, groceries, fresh fruit and veggie and bakery markets, entertainment, all necessities for living, under one roof—maybe even a school or recreation center. Essentially, an “indoor complete neighborhood.”

This is what they were in terms of just shopping in the past, BUT, adding social amenities like high quality living addresses, will see such a place transfer into a whole neighborhood and city under one roof. Huge areas where anchor tenants once stood, can be creatively divided into apartments, condominiums, with indoor atriums, pools and recreation/fitness facilities with skylights and courtyards. Then, rents could be collected from several sources, rather than one entity such as a large anchor retailer as in the past. Such a facility could be a national example of creativity and brilliant adaptive re-use! Good for North Randall.. Good for Greater Cleveland etc.

If marketed properly, all the above would be great for those who do not wish to rely on cars, or those who wish to reduce dependency on oil. I think this idea could really help revitalize the inner older suburban areas. I feel this may be the future of older but great malls like Randall. What are your thoughts?



The following was inspired by the great Sierra Club hand out-and personal attention to the issue-which has made me physically sick. Spring is here and the chemical spraying/fertilizing madness has begun…. and it has become especially disturbing to see schools, hospitals, those who reside along lake-shore areas, and local government building properties buying into the nonsense! Read on….

Lawns On Drugs–Just Say NO!

Once upon a time, Spring was aglow and fragrant with the bright colors and sweet scent of benign beautiful plants like dandelion and clover, which had numerous culinary/nutritional values and medicinal properties. We made greens, salads and some even made coffee! After a long dreary and bland winter, awing at the avenues becoming a sudden corridor of color and sweet fragrance was a common and accepted sight in the mind.

Now the commercial lawn services came along and through their marketing methods have re-shaped our vision of how a lawn should look. They convinced us that anything other than a blade of grass is a terrible thing. “It must be destroyed or it will kill your lawn” they told you—-And hence was born the lawn chemical company’s version of a lawn: A sterile patch of green with no signs of life–a mono culture.

Once we began to see all the diversity in our lawns disappear through years of spraying and fertilizing, we have been conditioned to think the lawn must look like marketing’s version of a lawn–and the moment a dandelion happens to reappear in this new sea of ‘green only’ yards–we freak out and run for the Round-Up, or worse, call the chemical guy again! Let’s try and un-condition the thinking that lawn chemical companies helped to foster: the mentality of a mono-culture lawn as a perfect and healthy lawn.

Is it really healthy?

Commercial lawn chemicals, despite claims by dealers as “being safe”, are not in the best interest of a healthier environment. Getting a lawn hooked on them like drugs, renders it virtually useless in fighting infection and pests on its own, as its “immune system” gets weakened, and therefore becomes even more susceptible to disease and/or pests these companies apparently set out to destroy in the first place! Adding chemicals to a lawn is not a magic bullet situation; the pesticides kill indiscriminately and kill many beneficial organisms within, and on top of the soil. Alternatively, a naturally healthy lawn is one where 95% of all organisms are beneficial.

With nature’s system of balance in the lawn absent from over-spraying, we have to rely on even more spraying of chemicals to do what nature used to do for free. Lawns are now becoming addicted to chemical fixes to remain artificially healthy. This scenario is analogous to a vampire needing blood to appear alive. By interfering with natural balance we often do more harm than good.

Here are some thoughts to consider about lawn chemical use:

* Phosphates from fertilizers getting into storm water runoff travel directly to our lake/water sources via storm drains after rains. Bad for aquatic life and health of lakes/rivers. Blue/Green algal blooms result from too much nitrogen/phosphate from fertilizers–when the blooms die, the algae rots and is consumed by bacteria which deplete water of oxygen, thus impacting aquatic life; and in particular the fishing economy. (Lake Erie-Perch fishing) Such causes bad odors results in huge dead zones in the lake and is very unhealthy for swimmers.

* Pesticides like 24-D (a defoliant used in Agent Orange), Diazinon, Dursban and others are all linked to cancer according to the USEPA.

* Chemical drift remains in the air days after application which contributes to respiratory irritation from fumes.

* Residue (petroleum based) from chemicals remains on lawn for days after application and can get tracked indoors despite contrary claims. Bad for you and your pet.

* Several US cities and many Canadian communities have either banned uses of many lawn chemicals or placed restrictions of their uses for mere cosmetic reasons.

Think about it, is all the above worth a green lawn? It is just a lawn; not a food source we are trying to protect from a devastating pest situation. It does not have to consist of grass plants only. We should de-program the images sold to us by lawn companies and try accepting another. A “weed” is not always a bad thing and in fact is just a name given to any plant growing outside its community of origin. “Going Green” does not mean your lawn has to stay green even in dormant times. If you still desire a mono-culture look of just green, consider the fact that there are many organic and safer alternatives to the chemicals to achieve this.

My next related article will deal with the concept of designing a yard/lawn that is not nearly as co-dependent on our water and oil resources. We will talk about a yard utilizing native plants, trees, and shrubs which “grew-up” and evolved locally without the help of people in any given place, thus making them more independent of water, fertilizers, etc. In the meantime, I recommend the following websites to introduce you to this concept. Discover how wonderful and full of good life your yard can be!