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The Best Kept Secret in Trumbull County
John Caparanis was our speaker this week and talk out a great presentation! John is a native of Yorkville, Ohio, graduated from Warren G. Harding in 1963, served in the military during Operation Desert Storm, and worked at WHHH radio for a number of years covering sports.
John started by saying that as visitors enter Warren there are signs that say “Home of …State Champions” but Warren has so much more to be proud of. Specifically, it was once the home of Major General Jacob Dolson Cox.
John developed an interest in the General several years ago when he learned just how accomplished the General was while remaining relatively unknown. Cox was originally from Canada and attended Oberlin College where he obtained two degrees. He came to Warren and began working in Warren Schools. His home was located on the site of the present-day Warren-Trumbull County Public Library building.
Cox had six children, two of whom died and were buried in the Pioneer Cemetery behind the Red Cross building on Mahoning Avenue. He also worked for the local paper for a time. In 1859, he was elected State Senator and became best friends with James Garfield and David Todd. In 1861, the Civil War broke out and all three had decisions to make about what to do to support the war effort. Todd chose to run for Ohio Governor. Garfield and Cox went into the military even though neither had any military training or experience.
Cox studied military tactics and ended up having a phenomenal career in the military. He fought at South Mountain and Antietam, both historically significant battles, with stunning success. After Antietam, he was named Military Governor of the State of Ohio.
General Cox is a fascinating subject. John said that the books he wrote were very easy to read and would be an incredible read for any history buff.
Sam Covelli Speaks at Warren Rotary
This week, Sam Covelli, Owner/CEO of Covelli Enterprises, was our guest speaker. Covelli Enterprises employs 25,000 people, 2,000 of which are here in the Mahoning Valley. Under the Covelli umbrella are Panera Bread, O’Charley’s, and most recently, Dairy Queen.
Mr. Covelli said that it is the spirit he finds in the Mahoning Valley and the belief he has in the people here that have led him to keep his corporate headquarters in Warren. He is very proud of the people who work for him, for they have helped maintain the high company standards started by his father several decades ago. The four standards that guide all of the Covelli franchises include:
v Employ not just great people, but NICE people.
v Provide the best quality food—customers know when the food they are eating is special, so don’t use cheap products and don’t take any shortcuts.
v Give people a great value and they will keep coming back. You don’t need coupons or discounts to draw customers back if they know they are getting a great value from the restaurant in the first place.
v Maintain the cleanest restaurants in town.
Mr. Covelli said that if he were to take even one standard away, he wouldn’t be in the restaurant business very long. He has tried to instill in all his employees the willingness to do whatever it takes to make customers happy.
He is often asked why he sold his McDonald’s franchises. He was not displeased with McDonald’s; in fact, he spoke very highly of them. He said he simply ran out of territory and, therefore, started looking at different options. This led him to Panera and O’Charleys.
His first Panera store was opened in Boardman and he said that his 250th store will also open there. Over the past few years he has opened stores in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia. He purchased another store in Florida and is expanding there as well. Three years ago, he bought 19 stores in the Columbus area. They are managed by his son and they have expanded the Columbus operation to 32 stores with 8 more under construction.
It is estimated that 65 million customers have been served through Covelli’s restaurants. Another 27 to 30 new stores will be opened this year. It was very obvious that not only is he proud of his company’s accomplishments but his employees as well. When asked what he does for fun, he responded “work”. He said he truly enjoys seeing his employees move up in the company, searching out new markets, and planning new stores. He went on to say that he is very proud to be a part of the Valley and his company’s roots will always be here.
We were honored to have Mr. Covelli and his wife, Karen, join us today. Not only was his presentation interesting and informative, but entertaining as well.
Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Spirits
John Rolf, CEO of the Warren YMCA, was this week’s speaker. He is a licensed physiologist, has competed in triathlons, and been an editor and publisher. As John began his talk, he told members that he worked as Athletic Director at the Cleveland Athletic Club for more than 20 years. Over his tenure there, he dealt with many facility issues, which made him the perfect candidate for the Warren YMCA.
He said that many people do not understand what the YMCA is all about and don’t realize how important it is to have a Y in the community. The organization is not a bricks-and-mortar place. It’s all about the mission. There are some members of the Y who have been involved for more than 50 years. They started out as children learning how to swim and now volunteer on the board and through programs, giving back to the community.
Healthy spirit, healthy mind, healthy body is the mission of the YMCA, an important and necessary organization when you look at what is happening in the City of Warren. While John has only been on board for 90 days, he has come to realize how important it is for the YMCA to have a downtown presence.
Over the past five years, a great deal has been done to improve the building. The two upper levels were once used for sleeping, but were closed in the 1970s. He would like to determine how to use these floors in the future.
The YMCA receives grant funding and membership dollars to fund its work. Discussions are taking place with the City of Warren for the YMCA to serve as the community’s recreation department. Nothing has been finalized, but since the City no longer has its own Recreation Department and the YMCA has the facility it may be a good way to meet community needs as well as providing additional funding to the Y.
Strategic planning and building its youth programs are two of the organizations major goals. We were very happy to have John join us today and bring us up to speed on what’s happening at the YMCA. Those interested in learning more can log on to the YMCA website at www.thetcymca.org.
A Step Back in Time
This week we were delighted to welcome Shelly Katz, renowned photographer, to our meeting to talk about his newest project. Rob Berk met him a couple of years ago while in Dallas, Texas, and asked him to join us today. Shelly was a photographer for publications such as Time, Life, and Sports Illustrated for more than 35 years. He has participated in National political conventions, and photographed such well known celebrities as Paul McCartney, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and more.
Shelly said that he retired after 35 years and within six months of doing so became very bored. He maintained contact with many in his field and became aware of a project by the Library of Congress to restore the photographic files covering the period 1860 to 1915. The Library of Congress had the negatives of some of the most amazing photos ever taken. Shelly has been restoring and printing them and taking them to Museums and Galleries around the United States. He brought dozens of photographs with him to today’s meeting which were also available for sale. The clarity of the photos was such that you could see the eyelets in the boots soldiers were wearing and the etchings on cannons used during the Civil War. None of the photos had been retouched.
He said that Matthew Brady was a photographer credited with taking many of the historic photos, when in fact he took very few. According to Shelly, most photographers of the time had no way to display their work. Matthew Brady had a gallery and would display them for the various photographers, leading many over time to believe they were Matthew Brady’s.
As Shelly talked, he mentioned the recent movie by Stephen Spielberg entitled Lincoln. He was very interested in seeing how accurate the movie was since he had the opportunity to do research on Lincoln at the Library of Congress. In the end Spielberg went to great lengths to ensure it was as historically accurate as possible.
The collection of photos was incredible. Members had a rare opportunity to see some truly beautiful pictures, bringing the history of our country alive. Simple thanks cannot convey how grateful we were to Shelly for joining us today. It was an honor to have him here.
Rotary Goes to the Dogs
Not literally, but we did have a great presentation this week from Scott Mueller who works with dog trainers for a living.
Scott came to us from the Columbus area where he has conducted canine workshops. In his career, he has trained an estimated 20,000 dogs, trained approximately 1,800 trainers, and taken his canine workshops to 53 countries.
He addressed some of the problems with dogs today and how to solve them. He said that Pitbulls are the one breed of dog that comes to mind when you mention dog problems. Scott has talked with many community leaders about how to address the Pitbull issue without having to destroy the animals.
He shared some startling statistics about dogs. They were: An estimate 6 to 8 million animals are turned in to humane societies each year; Approximately 2 to 8 million animals are destroyed because of aggression or behavior problems each year; The CDC reports that 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. An estimated 485,000 of those require medical attention; Nineteen people are killed each year by dogs.
Scott said that many people buy dogs without knowing much about the breed they are buying. The think that because they are AKC registered the dogs are automatically perfect dogs. They soon find that is not the case, thus they end up giving the dogs up to shelters. Some of the reasons for doing so: Someone in the family has developed allergies; The owners are moving to an apartment and can’t take the dog with them; The owners are being transferred; The owners lost their job and can’t afford to feed the animal.
Scott said some of these reasons are bogus when in fact the real reasons dogs are given up include: The dog is too aggressive;
The dog digs holes in the yard; The owners can’t control the animal; The dog barks and sheds too much; The owners don’t have time for the dog.
He said we would be surprised at some of the breeds of dogs that have been responsible for human deaths. Most people think of the Pitbull as the one most responsible and while their numbers ARE high, there are simply more Pitbulls than any other breed. The breeds responsible: Dobermans, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Pomeranians, Dachshunds, Rottweilers, Labrador Retrievers, Irish Setters.
Some of the common mistakes owners make, causing problems with their dogs: They give the dog too much freedom before they have earned it; They give the dog inappropriate objects to play with; They allow the dog to beg for food at mealtime.; They allow the dog to sleep in the owner’s bed; They fail to take to dog outside from the very beginning to go to the bathroom; They praise their dog for growling at strangers.; They do not socialize their dogs with other people, places or things; They do not start obedience training by the time the dog is four months old; They roughhouse with the dog as a puppy.
Scott’s presentation was extremely interesting and informative. We all either have dogs, or have dogs in the family that have earned a place in our hearts. The bottom line is that “bad” dogs have probably had a human hand involved in making them so. We have all heard that children need limits in order for them to grow up well mannered and well behaved. The same could be said of our canine family members.