Welcome! This free speech community journal was created so the Maple Heights African American community could share videos, photos, events, articles, posts, ideas, thoughts, and information.  We're now exclusively on Facebook, so don't forget to also check out our Facebook page.  Have a fantastic day!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


The other day I was at a local supermarket when I saw a young man wearing a jacket that intrigued me.  On the back of  this "badass" jacket were emblems and the words "Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order [couldn't make out next words except the last] Mystic Shrine". 
I was fascinated, and so I wrote down the words.  When I got home, I looked up the words on the Internet. 
What I found was a  story of a masonic order called "Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine".   Now I'm not sure if this order of the Mystic Shrine is the same as the shrine signified on the back of the young man's jacket, but the story I found is indeed intriguing, and I think you'll find the following [from Legal Information Institute] very interesting. 

"279 U.S. 737 (49 S.Ct. 485, 73 L.Ed. 931)
No. 7.
Argued: Jan. 12 and 13, 1929.
Decided: June 3, 1929.
Messrs. Harold S. Davis, of Boston, Mass., James E. White and Samuel A. T. Watkins, both of Chicago, Ill., and Moorfield Storey, of Boston, Mass., for petitioners.
Mr. Claude Pollard, of Austin, Tex., for respondents.

"Mr. Justice VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case presents a controversy between two fraternal orders, called 'Nobles of the Mystic Shrine,' one having white and the other negro members. A short reference to the origin and history of these orders will conduce to an accurate appreciation of the controversy.
From early times there have been two distinct Masonic fraternities in the United States, one confined to white men and the other to negroes. Each has had its local lodges, grand lodges, and Supreme Lodge, and also several component bodies, including Knights Templar and Scottish Rite consistories. Both have existed in the same territory and have had similar names, rituals, and emblems, and yet have been independent and without any interrelation. The white fraternity's existence in this country reaches back to early colonial times. The negro fraternity was organized in Boston in 1784, and afterwards was extended to other sections.
The orders called 'Nobles of the Mystic Shrine' are relatively modern, originated in the United States, and are outgrowths of the Masonic fraternities just described. They were founded by Masons, and their membership is restricted to Masons-white in one case and negro in the other-who have become Knights Templars or have received the thirty-second degree in a Scottish Rite consistory. The white Masons were the first to establish an order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. They organized one in New York in 1872 for fraternal and charitable purposes. The order grew rapidly, and soon came to have local lodges, called temples, in most of the states, and also to have a national governing body called its Imperial Council. The negro Masons imitatively organized a like order for like purposes in Chicago in 1893. It also grew, although not so rapidly as the white order, and came to have many local temples in other sections of the country and to have a national governing body called its Imperial Council. The constitution, emblems and regalia of the negro order, as also the titles given to the officers of its temples and council, were all adopted in imitation of those of the white order. Another feature imitatively copied was a purely fanciful calim, once put forth by the white order and afterwards discredited, to the effect that that order was an authorized extension of an ancient and illustrious order established centuries ago in Mohammedan countries.
Each of the orders, after becoming well organized, made it a practice to hold periodic national meetings attended with public parades and other features tending to bring attention to the order and to advance its extension. And, aside from such activities, each publicly engaged in commendable charitable work. The white order, by reason of its greater membership and the larger resources of its members, was able to carry that work further than the negro order could, but the contributions and efforts of the latter in that field were both helpful and substantial."

Moorish Circle 7 by Keith Moore


"Cultivating Wise Elders

Cultivating Wise Elders by John Welshons
Once when I was at a lecture, a woman approached me during the break and said, "One of our problems is we don't cultivate wise elders in this culture. When people are surrounded all their lives by the belief that old age is a time of misery, defeat, irrelevance and meaninglessness, they don't become wise as they age, they become anxious, fearful, and embittered."
She was absolutely right! We sometimes lose sight of the fact that our experience of life is a manifestation of the cumulative effects of culturally generated self-fulfilling prophecies. We hang on to youth because so many people have told us that youth is the best part of our life!
We shun aging because our lives feel so unfulfilled. We approach middle age in a panic, fearful that we have already missed the best years of our lives. We don't want to get old without ever having experienced the happiness, fulfillment, passion, and connection we expected, that were all supposed to have been a part of our youth.
Dr. Robert Kastenbaum, the great gerontologist, clearly understood many of the problems inherent in our culture's delusions about how to achieve happiness and fulfillment. In a 1978 article in the Gerontologist, Kastenbaum said that the "limitations and distortions of our core vision of what it means to be a person become starkly evident in old age... if to be an old person is to suffer abandonment, disappointment, and humiliation. This is not a ‘geriatric problem.' It is the disproof of our whole shaky-pudding technology, science and all. If our old people are empty, our vision of life is empty."
I don't know about you, but I can honestly say that my youth, especially my teenage years, was the worst time of my life. I didn't really even begin to be happy until I was in my late twenties.
I can also honestly say that throughout my life, some of the most interesting and delightful people I have ever known -- many of whom I have regarded as my most treasured companions, friends, and teachers -- have been people in their seventies, eighties, and nineties. They are the rare ones, the ones who haven't been seduced by our culture into thinking that they are useless or problematical simply because they are "old." "

Thursday, October 25, 2012


UNBELIEVABLE (some politicians will do anything to win an election)   ............

Posted by Felicia Sonmez on the Washington Post, October 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Paul Ryan and his wife Janna wash pots at
St. Vincent De Paul dining hall. (Associated Press)

"The head of a northeast Ohio charity says that the Romney campaign last week “ramrodded their way” into the group’s Youngstown soup kitchen so that GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan could get his picture taken washing dishes in the dining hall.
Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, said that he was not contacted by the Romney campaign ahead of the Saturday morning visit by Ryan, who stopped by the soup kitchen after a town hall at Youngstown State University.
“We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations,” Antal said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.”
He added: “The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.”
Ryan had stopped by the soup kitchen for about 15 minutes on his way to the airport after his Saturday morning town hall in Youngstown. By the time he arrived, the food had already been served, the patrons had left, and the hall had been cleaned.
Upon entering the soup kitchen, Ryan, his wife and three young children greeted and thanked several volunteers, then donned white aprons and offered to clean some dishes. Photographers snapped photos and TV cameras shot footage of Ryan and his family washing pots and pans that did not appear to be dirty.
According to a Romney aide not authorized to speak publicly about the event, the campaign followed its usual protocol for impromptu, on-the-road stops by candidates: A staffer was dispatched to the St. Vincent De Paul Society ahead of Ryan’s visit Saturday morning and spoke with a woman in charge on site, who said that it would be fine for the congressman to stop by. The campaign did not contact Antal ahead of the visit.
The woman on site told the Romney staffer that some of the volunteers had already left, but that most were happy to remain until Ryan arrived, according to the aide. After Ryan left the soup kitchen, the woman approached a campaign staffer and expressed gratitude for Ryan’s visit, the aide said.
Chris Maloney, Ohio communications director for the Romney campaign, said that the visit by Ryan had been intended to highlight the work of the soup kitchen volunteers.
“Our campaign and Congressman Ryan were pleased to bring attention to the meaningful charitable contributions the St. Vincent De Paul Society makes to people in need,” Maloney said.
Antal, a self-described independent voter, said that he “can’t fault my volunteers” for letting the campaign in but said that the campaign “didn’t go through the proper channels.” "

Read the rest HERE


Saturday, October 20, 2012


Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association

Marcus Garvey presiding at 1922 UNIA convention

Marcus Garvey presiding at the 1922 UNIA convention,
Liberty Hall, New York City
Courtesy The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project, UCLA

"Marcus Garvey and his organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), represent the largest mass movement in African-American history. Proclaiming a black nationalist "Back to Africa" message, Garvey and the UNIA established 700 branches in thirty-eight states by the early 1920s. While chapters existed in the larger urban areas such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Garvey's message reached into small towns across the country as well. Later groups such as Father Divine's Universal Peace Mission Movement and the Nation of Islam drew members and philosophy from Garvey's organization, and the UNIA's appeal and influence were felt not only in America but in Canada, the Caribbean, and throughout Africa.
Garvey's philosophy and organization had a rich religious component that he blended with the political and economic aspects.
Considering the strong political and economic black nationalism of Garvey's movement, it may seem odd to include an essay on him in a Web site on religion in America. However, his philosophy and organization had a rich religious component that he blended with the political and economic aspects. Garvey himself claimed that his "Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World," along with the Bible, served as "the Holy Writ for our Negro Race." He stated very clearly that "as we pray to Almighty God to save us through his Holy Words so shall we with confidence in ourselves follow the sentiment of the Declaration of Rights and carve our way to liberty." For Garvey, it was no less than the will of God for black people to be free to determine their own destiny. His organization took as its motto "One God! One Aim! One Destiny!" and looked to the literal fulfillment of Psalm 68:31: "Princes shall come out of Egypt: Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God." "
continue reading HERE

Watch the video about Marcus Garvey HERE

Universal Negro Improvement Association

One God, One Aim, One Destiny


Thursday, October 18, 2012


I love the fact that the Maple Heights African American Gazette is online.  At last African Americans who live in Maple Heights have a voice.  They cannot be ignored. 
Most egregious - African American women have no real voice in Maple Heights government.  Those women who speak the loudest are ridiculed, disrespected, and spoken to in a condescending manner. 
Bear witness - This is to all politicians and other public servants who work in Maple Heights.  Harassment of residents,  failure to respond to requests/questions for Maple Heights public records and Maple Heights public information (and other actions that violate the terms of your employment agreement or violate the law)  may be reported on the Maple Heights African American Gazette (and so I don't have to write that long word, MHAAG will be the short form).
If anyone has a question to ask a Maple Heights public servant that concerns Maple Heights public information, ask it here.  If you would like a Maple Heights public record, ask for it here.  Your request will be posted on the REQUESTS FOR MAPLE HEIGHTS GOVERNMENT PUBLIC DOCUMENTS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION page from this point on.  You can even leave the question or request for public records in the comment section of the page. 
I, personally am sick and tired of these politicians and other high paid public servants refusal to answer questions about their job,  Maple Heights public information; or refusal to provide Maple Heights public records.  We pay them.  We are their boss.
From this point on, any questions asked will be published on the request page, and all answers to those questions will be published on the request page.  If the public servant does not answer or refuses to answer, a "no response" next to the employee's name, will be published  on the REQUESTS FOR MAPLE HEIGHTS GOVERNMENT PUBLIC DOCUMENTS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION page. 
If it is seen that a public servant has refused to answer questions or provide public records that they should provide, or has interfered with this process,  there will be a request for that public servant to step down from office or be asked to resign from office.
Note:  Anyone can ask for a Maple Hts government public record, and they can do it anonymously, or have someone else ask for them (and even pick up the documents for them).   I would start by asking your elected council person for that information.  If they refuse to provide it, let us know and we will ask your representative why they refused, and we will post their response on the request page.  Personally, if your council person refuses to provide information that you requested regarding Maple Heights government, property belonging to Maple Heights, contractors working for Maple Heights, information about Maple Heights public employees (that is allowed under Ohio Sunshine laws), and information allowed under Ohio Sunshine laws, I would think about asking them to step down from office, but I would definitely not vote for them (my opinion).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


President/Vice President             Obama/Biden

U.S. Senate:                                    Sherrod Brown

U.S. House of Representatives:   Marcia Fudge

State Rep, 12th District                John E. Barnes Jr

For Cuyahoga County
Prosecuting Attorney                   Timothy McGinty

For County Council - District 8    Pernel Jones Jr

Beverly Goldstein

Ohio Supreme Court                    Mike Skindell

Ohio Supreme Court                    William M. O’Neill

Ohio Supreme Court                    Yvette McGee Brown

Court of Appeals - 8th District    Frank D. Celebreeze Jr

Court of Appeals - 8th District    Tim McCormack

Court of Appeals - 8th District    Eileen T. Gallagher

Court of Appeals - 8th District    Mary Boyle

Court of Common Pleas              Joseph Russo

Court of Common Pleas              Stuart Friedman

Court of Common Pleas              Michael Jackson

Court of Common Pleas              Timothy McCormick

Court of Common Pleas              John P. O’Donnell

Court of Common Pleas              Edele Passalacqua / Grassroots Endorsed Candidate, Endorsed by the Imperial Women & ClevelandUrbanNews.com

Court of Common Pleas              Dean W. Van Dress

Court of Common Pleas              John Sutula

Court of Common Pleas              Carolyn B. Friedland

Court of Common Pleas              Shirley Strickland Saffold

Court of Common Pleas             Janet Burnside

Court of Common Pleas             Cassandra Collier-Williams

Court of Common Pleas             Ann Reali

Court of Common Pleas             Cullen Sweeney

Court of Common Pleas             Steve Gall
Court of Common Pleas - Juvenile Division    Frankie  Goldberg

Court of Common Pleas - Juvenile Division Alison Nelson Floyd

Court of Common Pleas - Juvenile Division Thomas F. O’Malley

Court of Common Pleas - Juvenile Division   Michael John Ryan

Sunday, October 14, 2012


No matter how this election turns out, I think the residents in Maple Heights (and especially African American residents) will get the short end of the stick.  Millions of dollars pour out of Maple Heights to non-residents on a regular basis.  ... Yep, I said millions.  While homeowners (residents) are losing their homes and jobs, a lot of money is being outsourced to non-residents.
Full time Maple Heights government employees who are non-residents are sucking up too much of our community dollars.  A lot of our money, instead of circulating within the city (creating a healthy vibrant community), flows out of Maple Heights. 
We need more neighborhood policing (and that probably means using our auxiliary police).  I want most of my money going to members of the police force who actually live in Maple Heights, and I want my money used for neighborhood policing. 
[Addressed to protective service employees] Get out of your squad cars and walk through the neighborhoods and get to know the residents.  After all, isn't your job "to protect and serve" (emphasis on "serve")? 
In my opinion, if our leadership (and that includes the leadership in protective services) is not taking the necessary steps to insure that a significant amount of our "protective services" monies is directed towards community/neighborhood policing, and  goes to  employees of  protective services departments who are residents (esp. of the auxiliary police) for neighborhood policing, then that leadership needs to step down, and if necessary, voted out of office.
Elaine Stone

PS: Everyone, I thank you for hanging in with me.  I started a mission of obtaining public documents (and public information) to confirm certain suspicions I had regarding the governance of Maple Heights. 

I took it (and take it) seriously when folks urged me to be careful, that I might be putting myself in harms way by asking questions.   

While on that mission, I had a very pressing health matter that took me off course.  I'm still not fully recovered; however, no matter what rosy picture is being painted by this administration, I have been able to expose why all is not rosy in Maple Heights; and I am getting closer and closer to the truth.  I think this administration thinks they've stopped me from gaining access to those public documents, and stopped me from asking relevant questions.  Make sure you see the law director's email regarding Linda Vopat and also affirmative action agreements. (see my Requests ) / and do read related articles below.

The only way to fight injustice and incompetence, and possible corruption, is to expose it. .....  But to expose it,  you need full transparency, you need undeniable proof.   
Always read the comments because I find them fascinating.

If you want the Maple Heights African American Gazette to post your comments, just call or email or hand them to MHAAG to post for you.  They'll make sure it's anonymous.


Wealth Gap Among Races Has Widened Since Recession, April 28, 2013

Use of Arbitration with Community Policing 

Thursday, October 11, 2012


By Chelsey Levingston
"More than 64,000 Ohioans will receive letters this fall stating they may be eligible for payments of at least $840 from the National Mortgage Settlement.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the National Mortgage Settlement Administrator are mailing the letters through Friday to those who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2008 to 2011 through actions by five of the nation’s biggest banks — Ally, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
The settlement stems from the so-called robo-signing scandal that erupted in 2010, where these five banks were accused of shoddy mortgage paperwork. The money comes from the $25 billion joint state-federal settlement reached this year with the banks.
Ohio’s share of the settlement is $335 million, which includes money to help “underwater” and delinquent homeowners, people who were victims of bad foreclosure practices, and for foreclosure prevention. More than $200 million of that is to go out directly to people “who either lost their home or to people who have been hurt by this or are upside down in their mortgage,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
The payments will not make anyone rich or help them get back their house, DeWine said.
“This is a little compensation. It’s certainly better than not getting it,” he said. “We encourage people to apply, but it’s not going to make them whole.”
Eligible foreclosed borrowers will receive a minimum $840. They could receive more depending on how many people submit claims, said Dan Tierney, spokesman for the attorney general’s office."



see related:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


From Margaret Bernstein's Metro [Plain Dealer], September 29, 2012

"Jobs Partnership program uses faith to open up jobs for the unemployed: Margaret Bernstein

The Rev. Yvonne Tufts Jeans could see how swiftly the door of the local job market was revolving for low-skilled workers.
A decade ago, her job as a ShoreBank vice president in Cleveland included helping entrepreneurs connect with local job-seekers moving from welfare to work.
But after the first paycheck, many of the employees she'd referred just didn't show back up to work.
The problem nagged at her. These short-lived workers needed some help, she realized -- "not just to get the job but to keep the job."
But how do you package up a work ethic and instill it? Who best to deliver such a message? ..... " 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


       An excerpt from: "Mansfield: The End of an Era? Perhaps."

By Mansfield Frazier

Mama, take this badge off of me
I can’t use it anymore.
It’s gettin’ dark, too dark to see
I feel I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door.
-Bob Dylan

"When Stephanie Tubbs Jones out-maneuvered and out-politicked all opponents to win the coveted prosecutor’s job back in 1991, the Westside Irish political machine vowed to never again allow what they viewed as an “outsider” — someone not handpicked by them — to hold so powerful a position in Cuyahoga County. With Bill Mason (who, by the way, is not of Irish descent) at the helm, indeed the machine has — with few exceptions — been a controlling factor in every county election since then… especially those for judgeships.
And county reform did nothing to curb the machine’s power — after all, reforming government is totally different from reforming politics, which is a far more difficult task to accomplish and takes decades rather than one election cycle. As some have wryly noted (and took exception to), the same insider political mechanism (and machinations) that’s always been in place were again used to transfer power to Mason’s successor, Tim McGinty. Mason steps down a few months early so Democratic Party insiders can handpick his successor. “I thought we went through county reform to put an end to that kind of machine party manipulations?” one observer recently queried, in an exasperated fashion. “Fat chance of that,” I replied.
Mason’s career, however, has a touch of Greek tragedy swirling around it as the end nears. A bright, gifted lawyer, he early on in his career rightfully could have been dubbed the “James Brown of Cuyahoga County”… since he was far and away the hardest working man in local politics. But, alas, he also was — in a sense — a victim of the times he rose to power in.
He came into office 14 years ago with high hopes of moving up the political ladder to become a U.S. senator, or perhaps governor. But this was a time of Strum und Drang in American criminal justice — the height of the dark period when our nation was about the business of building what would eventually become the largest carceral system the world has ever known. And it was up to local county prosecutors nationwide to feed the beast that was being created if it were to survive… and Mason complied and did his part with alacrity — better yet, even gusto.
While the U.S. population has increased approximately 2.8 times since the 1920s, the country’s prison population has increased 20 times, with the bulk of that increase coming after 1980. And when governors like Michigan’s Jennifer Granholm proposed commonsense changes to reduce prison overcrowding, the state’s prison guard’s union picketed her residence, complaining such reforms would cause job loss.
Not satisfied with simply locking up dangerous people who commit violent crimes (something even fools and Pollyannas agree with doing), in the mid-1980s — as the country took a hard swing to the right — we began locking up non-violent people we were simply mad at, along with addicts of every ilk and stripe (except for wealthy ones) and those with mental disabilities. And those targeted to be subjected to the brutality of a justice system run amok were selected by police with a surgical-like precision: young black males were (and often still are) being sent to prison for the same petty drug crimes young white males are sent to bed with no supper for committing. To wit: Blacks, whites and Hispanics all buy sell and use drugs at the exact same rate — 11 percent of each group’s population, yet blacks are seven times as likely to wind up in prison for drugs as whites, and Hispanics are five times as likely. Yet no prosecutor locally or nationally cares to look at this glaring disparity and ask why. I’ll give you a hint: selective enforcement, the dirty little secret of police departments nationwide."
Read the rest HERE (at CoolCleveland.com)

"From Cool Cleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available again in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author by visiting http://www.neighborhoodsolutionsinc.com."