The Ravenna Road Bridge by the entrance to Towner’s Woods on the Portage Hike and Bike Trail will not open for traffic for quite a while, Portage County Engineer Mickey Marozzi says.

The bridge was closed when an inspection found it unsafe for the approximately 2,000 automobiles and trucks per day that use it. Making things right involves raising the bridge and because federal funds will not cover the total cost, some of the money must come from the Norfolk & Southern Railroad, which may not want to pay its share.

"The railroads can be difficult," Mickey said.

Those wanting to access the 234-acre Towner’s Woods can do so by traveling Lake Rockwell Road to the Ravenna Road section that approaches Portage County’s first ever park from the west.

The Ravenna Road Bridge also sits at a crossing of the ABC (Akron-Barberton Cluster) Railroad. It serves some industries in Ravenna and Kent. Portage County owns a section of that line.

Nearby, the Lake Rockwell Road Bridge that spans the ABC line was beautifully rebuilt and opened a few years ago. That project inconvenienced Beckwith Orchards’ customers for several years. The closing of the Ravenna Road Bridge will detour traffic over the Lake Rockwell Bridge bringing a host of potentially new customers to the outstanding Beckwith Orchards Cider Mill & Gift Shop.

KSU Award winner

"2017 Best of Design Awards," an architecture newspaper recently named the Weiss/Manfredi designed Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design as one of two outstanding buildings of the year for the American Midwest. It calls the building, "a beacon for the university’s creative research-based programs."

The tiered 650-seat design studio, internally, and the color and texture of the brick façade, externally, that adopts the vernacular of the surrounding campus and city and the fall colors of northeast Ohio, are mentioned.

The 117,000-square foot building departs from the more traditional white brick front campus. Some prefer the continuity a campus theme provides. Other schools simply want exemplary buildings. I used to wonder why Oberlin College’s buildings are so different but came to realize how well designed its buildings are (I.M. Pei designed Oberlin’s renown Conservatory of Music, for example).

Pacific retreat

President Trump’s decision to drop out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, negotiated during the Obama Administration, has emboldened China and has shocked allies like Japan, according to Professor Naoyuki Agawa, the former Japanese Minister for Public Affairs.

Agawa was speaking to the Cleveland Committee on Foreign Relations a week ago. I attended with a Kent State group led by Professor Linda Robertson, director of the Gerald Read Center for International and Intercultural Education.

The TPP involved 12 key Pacific Rim nations but excluded China. The TPP will continue without the United States, Agawa said, but China has proposed an alternate trade block, the pan-Asian Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. It excludes the U.S. and includes seven of the nations that signed up for the TPP.

China, Agawa said, is expanding its reach into the South China Sea. The Philippines, Vietnam, and Japan were hoping for U.S. assistance in upholding their claims there. With potentially unfriendly neighbors like China, North Korea, and Russia, Trump’s retreat has Japan wondering if it should rebuild its military instead of relying on America. China, the former minister added, has even Russia nervous about holding on to vast tracks of Siberia that were once China’s prior to their annexation by Russia in the late 19th century.

935 Lies

"935 Lies: The Decline of the Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity," refers to whoppers George W. Bush and his cabinet officers told, to persuade the USA to invade Iraq. It is the title of a book by Charles Lewis, a distinguished former television news producer, who founded the Center for Public Integrity.

Powerful people in the public and the private sector lie to the American public regularly to achieve what they want. Lewis’ book, loaned to me by my dentist, Dr. E.A. Mastroianni, traces the lying clear back to the 1920s when lead paint companies assured us lead was good for our health.

The book was published in 2014.