The Year in Review: 2013
by WILLIAM WRIGHT Lifestyles Editor
Jan 06, 2014 | 1816 views | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Year in Review 2
GATSBY STYLES joined with Bohemian chic as models and patrons posed for a worthy cause at the 2013 River Worship Center’s Fall Fashion Show at the Dixon Center on Sept 21. Fashion show coordinator Machelle McCulley walked the runway in a vintage wedding gown with a striking chic twist. She was accompanied by her granddaughter Preslie Speer.
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Part II July-December

Summer, fall and winter in Cleveland in 2013 saw everything from a medical mystery and a doctor-designated “miracle” to adventures in Israel and Africa and surprise wedding proposals.

Summer heated up with Clevelanders enjoying the great outdoors and frolicking with nature in all its splendor. For Peter and Susan Goodwin, that meant investing their time and energy to create a plush environment for the community to come out and enjoy their unique Foster’s Trail and Alpaca Farm. As featured in the July 7 issue of Lifestyles, this exotic garden area on their property combines entertainment, education, relaxation and practical products with a stroll into the wonders of nature and a degree of interaction with some of the most cuddly and curious creatures anyone will ever see in the city of Cleveland.

Our readers also met the Stefanchick family in the July 3 article, “Living with a medical mystery.” Doctors were baffled by tiny red dots of blood covering the body of their 11-year-old daughter, Haley. To this day the source of the tiny red spots appearing on Haley, as a result of bleeding under her skin, remain a mystery.

The article told how the Stefanchicks sought medical doctors to make a proper diagnosis. The spots are called petechiae (pronounced puh-TEE-kee-ee), but physicians have yet to discover its source, although opinions have varied.

“Those doctors had never seen anything like this before,” Sadenia said. “But there was no spiked fever and that is a must with meningococcal meningitis. There is supposed to be a very high fever.”

The 30-year-old mother of two added, “I’ve researched this with doctors and on the Internet and the only people you see with this are those who have cancer or children with serious problems — but at present this is still a medical mystery.”

Whatever the cause, the Cleveland couple said they will not stop until they find answers to the source of their daughter’s mysterious blood spots, or until a cure is discovered.

Lindsey Armstrong may have found a cure for those hungry and homeless on the weekends, according to the July 21 Lifestyles article, “Feeding the poor in Cleveland.” A chance meeting between the 17-year-old teenager and a homeless woman resulted in the underprivileged in Cleveland getting free meals on weekends — something most agree the city has needed for decades. Lindsey and her family made arrangements with The Salvation Army to use its Cleveland facility on Inman Street to provide food for the homeless on Saturdays, through their nonprofit agency, The Family Kitchen.

“I love people,” Lindsey said. “I feel like this is what we’re supposed to do. When you have the resources at your fingertips for something like this, there is no reason not to do it. I have a mom who can talk to anybody and a dad who can cook anything and a little brother, 9 years old, who is already giving out food and knows these (homeless) people by name? Why not take advantage of all that?”

Some people see Jenny Hoffman as a woman with an advantage. Standing 6 feet tall, Hoffman could have been a model or a basketball star with a bright future, but the statuesque wife and mom of two young daughters took up kickboxing and karate instead. Her story was told in the July 24 Lifestyle article, “Mom enjoys the artistry of martial arts.”

What she puts into it and what she gets out of it is much more than the ability to defend against, disarm and destroy her opponent if she chooses. Hoffman admits that her favorite part of martial arts is the artistry of its ever-changing movements, rotations, flying kicks and techniques that flow like a dance, yet she can crouch like a tiger and suddenly pounce with dynamic energy and skill. Her specialty is tae kwon do. Currently, a level two 2nd degree black belt, Hoffman said she is thankful she’s never found a need to use her martial arts skills other than instructing a fitness class at Macedonia Baptist Church.

Lara Burns Harwood, a cardiac rehabilitation nurse at SkyRidge Medical Center, is one caretaker who can take care of business in both her professional and athletic careers. The 5-foot-9 athlete made a midlife transformation that requires a double take when seeing her a year later sporting red hair and being 73 pounds lighter, as reported in the Aug. 7 Lifestyles article.

According to Harwood, raising children, being a nurse, maintaining a marriage and being a ‘Roller Girl’ keeps her happy, active, healthy, excited and balanced in her work and recreation — a lifestyle she says she values.

In an Aug. 18 Lifestyles article — “A trip to Israel unlike any other” — Bettie Marlowe introduced us to the family of Dr. Jerry and Evelyn Adams of Cleveland who set off on a once-in-a-life time pilgrimage to Israel on June 17. They, their three children, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren spent 12 days in the holy land as part of Christian Study Tours.

Although this was not the family’s first trip to Israel, Jerry and Evelyn said they were very emotionally and spiritually inspired by their previous trip in 2001 and decided they would love to take their children there before Jerry retired. The family started planning the trip more than three years ago and were finally able to go June 17-29 of this year.

“It takes a lot of planning to get seven adults’ and three teenagers’ and two children’s schedules synchronized to spend 12 days doing the same thing,” agreed the Adamses.

Besides the experiences, the memories and the fun time, the Adamses said they also hope the pilgrimage will help with theirs and their family’s understanding of the Scriptures.

Dr. James Marcum, a board-certified cardiologist and television host, revealed what the medical community is not telling — that prescription and over-the-counter medicines are a leading cause of death in America.

In fact, Marcum, who USA Today’s Qforma named as one of the nation’s most influential physicians, said in an Aug. 28 Lifestyles article, “I want to raise the possibility and make the case that medications ARE the leading cause of death, at least in North America, and perhaps the world.”

Marcum makes his case in his latest book, “Medicines That Kill — The Truth about the Hidden Epidemic,” stating, “We have a rapidly escalating problem. I do not want one more person to die from a lack of knowledge. Medications can kill. Medications do kill. Medications have killed. Medications are killing, and not nearly enough is being said. I hope to change this.”

The co-host of the call-in radio program “Heartwise,” said, “I also talk about ways you can change your chemistry naturally so you don’t have to take medicines forever. You are your best doctor. We were never designed to work all the time. We were designed to work a certain amount of time and rest. When we don’t get enough rest, guess what happens to the body? Stress! As we move away from the way God designed us, guess what? Stress, damage to the body and bad things happen to us. So when you get back to the way God made you to be, that’s going to help you more than a lot of things. That changes your chemistry all over your body.”

When it came to making changes, Cleveland’s Black community took a step forward in August. A community outreach initiative called Sponsor a Child, Make a Difference offered free haircuts as part of a back-to-school campaign to promote education, self-esteem and improved decorum in classrooms in Bradley County.

Haircuts for school-age boys and girls were provided at no cost to youth, thanks to a grassroots movement that caught fire in the Cleveland community.

Master Barber Rodney Williams, who participated in the event, said, “A lot of kids don’t get haircuts in the summertime. Once school starts back we see kids we hadn’t seen all summer long. The purpose of this drive was to keep our youths positive because how you look is how you act, in most cases. This way they start out right and they may end up right.”

Fashion made a bold statement as Bohemian chic blended with Gatsby-era styles in the 2013 River Worship Center’s Fall Fashion Show to Benefit Mercy’s Door children’s home charity in September. The benefit fundraiser raised, after expenses, more than $13,000 for charity. As this event made a strong statement about Cleveland’s generosity, we saw the end of an era.

After 45 years the Nillie Bipper creative arts festival said farewell as reported in the Oct. 2 Lifestyles feature. Named for artist Billie Nipper, the festival was an outgrowth of her work with the late Jean Turner, who started the Creative Arts Guild in Cleveland. It will be missed.

Two surprise marriage proposals covered by the Banner in 2013, raised the bar on romance when a flash mob wedding proposal by Steven Vagnini to Melody Dale and a family-friendly film disguised a carefully orchestrated shocker by Rob Alderman to his delightfully surprised girlfriend, Ashley Rush. The surprise proposals in the Sept. 29 and Nov. 20 Lifestyles made for some unforgettable moments in 2013.

Speaking of unforgettable, our readers will never forget meeting Rebecca Sorrells in the Oct. 6 Lifestyles feature. One of the best known and well liked characters you’ll ever come across, Sorrells sings, dances, recites poetry and proverbs from memory and never met a person she didn’t hug.

The soft-hearted educator with the bubbly personality seems larger than life with her entertaining and colorful theatrics that make her impossible to forget. She was listed three times in the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, awarded Outstanding Young Woman of America by the Calhoun Jaycees, named Teacher of the Year from Hopewell Elementary and received recognition for having the character trait of caring by her colleagues. She also conducted three teacher workshops on “Teaching Basic Skills through the Arts” before retiring after 20 years.

“I believe God wants me to serve, not to be served,” she said. “I ask myself each night, ‘Have I done anything to help lighten someone’s load? Whether a kind word, a visit to a nursing home, a card, phone call, cooking for someone who needs it — have I made any difference at all? Taking everything into consideration, my goal is to brighten the corner wherever I am and to God give the glory.”

In her article on Visiting the ‘hub of choral music’ in South Africa, Marlowe introduced our readers to Cameron LaBarr, an assistant professor of choral music at Lee University who had just returned from an exciting trip to Pretoria, a South African city located north of Johannesburg.

“There is a real yearning for knowledge in the South Africa culture, regardless of race of class,” he said, adding that it was an honor to be invited as guest conductor and lecturer for the conducting masterclass, an all-day event. LaBarr said he gave a morning lecture on choral concepts, then worked one-on-one with conductors (along with the choir) for 20 to 30 minutes each, striving to make a better choral sound more efficiently through gesture and rehearsal technique. He then conducted the chamber singers in a concert that evening. Additionally, LaBarr was in-residence, guest lecturing at the University of Pretoria, which boasts some 60,000 students.

When local attorney Franklin Chancey turned 50, he took a look at his “Bucket List,” and decided “it was time to get off my rear end and do something about it.” At the top of his bucket list was mountain climbing, as detailed in the Oct. 23 Lifestyles article “Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro: How Franklin Chancey took on the highest mountain in Africa.”

The biggest challenge, Chancey said, was air. At the top, oxygen was just half and you would fatigue faster. The temperature was also a challenge. On their last day, at midnight, the temperature was 10 degrees below freezing.

After conquering Mount Kilimanjaro, Chancey had the opportunity to go on a safari, which he said, “was worth the trip all by itself.”

He said he made new friends in the group from all over the country, which added to his experience, and was glad to get to know people who had the same goals.

When Chuck and Andrea Johnson gave their children, Gracen, 8, and Andrew, 5, the choice of where to go on their annual vacation, few people would have guessed that young Gracen would choose going to Washington, D.C., over a trip to Disney World. But she did, according to the November article titled “A family’s vacation in Washington D.C.”

Gracen loves history and loves to read, her parents said, so that was no surprise. Her mother said she tried to cancel the trip when the October government shutdown occurred, but couldn’t. The family arrived in Washington on Oct. 5, and were disappointed to see everything barricaded — even the National Monument.

Then they saw U.S. Rep. Steve King from Iowa and got the courage to talk to him. What happened next made their trip all the more worthwhile. Chuck said he felt that God opened the doors for their desires. “There were too many coincidences,” he said, that made them know why this trip could not be cancelled.

Tony Dunn became what doctors called the “miracle man,” as reported in the Oct. 27 feature article in Lifestyles. The 54-year-old Cleveland native’s heart had stopped beating for nearly an hour as doctors and nurses did everything they could to save him. Nothing was working. After 55 minutes of a code blue team working frantically to save him, a physician prepared to pronounce him dead. Suddenly, there was a pulse. Dunn was inexplicably back, having suffered no brain damage in the process.

“My wife thought I was gone,” he admitted. “I asked my doctor if he could explain this. He said it had to be God. That’s why I wanted to share my story. This was a God thing. I want to make sure that God gets the glory for this. It inspired so many health workers down there (at Memorial Hospital). They were amazed at the fact that I came out of it. They were amazed at the fact that I don’t appear to have any brain damage. Everything was totally stacked against us, but all at once things turned and went the other way.”

When he was inquired about in late December, Dunn was still doing fine and praising God. As 2013 drew to a close, no one could forget the sacrifice Laura Record made on behalf of a stranger in California. Record, a Bradley Sunrise Rotarian, chose to donate a kidney and help save a father who had less than a year to live without her organ transplant as reported in the Dec. 22, Banner.

It was a year of sacrifice, soul-searching and fun as many people reflected on what they appreciated most — life itself, their relationships, their health, their happiness — all things that made 2013 a year to remember, with the hope that 2014 can be bigger, better and the best year so far.