Minutes of the Avon Historical Society, 11-7-07

President Jack Smith called the November 7, 2007, meeting of the Avon Historical Society to order at 7 p.m. About 40 members and guests were present.

With Jim Szippl making the motion and George Bliss seconding, the October minutes were approved as read. Jack read the treasurer's report -- $6482.25 in a money market account and $2707.19 in checking. The money included the $400 gift from Tom Eakin.

This cartoon of Carol and Jack Smith was one of many drawn by Frank O'Connell at the Avon Historical Society Christmas party on 12-5-07 at the Mills Rd. VFW. Also at the party, the Quantum Bots demonstrated their LEGO robot.

Nancy McGhee reported on the Avon Historical Society Christmas party scheduled for Wednesday, December 5 from 6 till 9 p.m. at the VFW Hall. As in the past members are asked to bring an appetizer or side dish. Beverages will be provided. Jim Szippl will serve as bar tender. For an attendance approximation, all members will be called by the calling committee. Nancy asked for recruits to set up for the event at 4:30.

There was a discussion regarding the tree lighting ceremony and the arrival of Santa at the Old Town Hall on Saturday, December 1 at 6 p.m. As in the past the children are invited to talk with Santa at the Old Town Hall, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate [later changed to a juice box] and receive a gift provided by the Lions Club. Glowstick bracelets, provided by the French Creek Development Association will be assembled at 4:00 p.m.

According to Suzy Corey, prior to this long standing event, the children may assemble at the Senior Center and receive a bag of cookies.

Pat Furnas will arrange for the hot chocolate. Jack will provide the greens for the "greening" of the hall. Cheryl Huene and volunteers will execute the decorating on WEDNESDAY, November 28 at 7:00 pm. Please help decorate!

Chuck Huene thanked Jim Szippl, Ralph White and Joe Richvalsky for the landscaping effort at the Old Town Hall. He said the carriage step is currently in the garage, the benches may be a little short and the grass and straw may have blown away; but in an understatement he said, "They spent an adequate amount of time up here."

Cheryl Huene agreed to decorate a box housing a gift tape from the Society as a donated prize among the other gifts displayed from the local merchants in the window at the First Federal Bank of Lorain. The box must be given to Mary Ann Furey at Long Long Ago Antiques by November 17. A winner will be drawn from entries received by the participating merchant on December 15 as part of the annual Candlelight Walk. The event is coordinated by the Avon French Creek Merchants.

NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 12-12-07, By Beth Mlady

``Local boys take `Quantum' leap in LEGO regional contest

AVON -- Any parent who has raised children in the last 20 years has likely trampled on a stray LEGO block and jumped around in pain while mumbling a few choice words.

The main reason four local boys may be jumping around these days and mumbling words like "teammate" and "champion" is because their LEGO robot recently took top honors at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League Cleveland Regional Robotics Championship [on 12-1-07 at Hawken School]. They will compete against 50 other teams for the state championship Jan. 12-13 [2008] at Wright State University.

Brothers Carl and David Sadowski of Avon, North Ridgeville teen Bobby Johansen and Greg Knechtges of Grafton, who call themselves the Quantum Bots, assembled a LEGO Mindstorms robot using only official, LEGO-sanctioned pieces. The robot, named Quantum 3000 ME, received the highest combined score at the regional competition in the areas of research project, teamwork, robot design and robot performance.

In addition to the championship trophy, the boys also took home the Robot Performance Award by achieving the highest score in the robotics portion of the competition. Their accomplishment is even more remarkable because they were the only Lorain County team competing in the regional tourney.

"This year's (contest) theme is power and energy," Carl Sadowski, 15, explained. "You have a research project that you have to do that pertains to (the theme). We chose a community building and performed an energy audit. We used the Avon Old Town Hall [of 1871]. It was smaller (than other possible sites), and we thought we could have more impact. The Avon Historical Society uses the building, and they were very cooperative."

Carl, the son of Chris Ignasiak and Dennis Sadowski, went on to say that "a panel of judges...at least two or three, or as many as four or five" evaluates each team's project. Team Quantum Bots garnered a score of 380 points, out of a possible 400.

Quantum 3000 ME is a computerized not remote controlled robot that must complete a set number of tasks (related to alternative energy) in a specified amount of time. It is guided by its computer "brain," various sensors and its rotation count.

Each team member must actively participate during the competition, a requirement that might not be as easy if they didn't spend so much time together. The boys are home schooled and found themselves interacting twice a week for three hours in the weeks preceding the contest, and every day in the final week.

For 11-year-old David Sadowski, becoming a unified group presented challenges for him and his friends. "Since we're all home schooled, (the robot design) is going to be our (own) idea," he said. "When you're on a team, your own idea is not always used. It's hard sometimes."

He said that he helped to design one of the robot's attachments. In addition, he contributed to the team by constructing one of the key elements of the research project: a model of Avon Old Town Hall of 1871.

For Greg, 13, son of David and Lois Knechtges, the highlight of the entire effort was the robot itself. "The best part is the robot," Greg said. "It's fun, and the coolest part (of the required tasks) is the solar panel."

The boys gave a demonstration of the robot's capabilities, clearly pleased with the fruits of their labors. But on what specifically were they judged? Bobby quickly explained.

"The judges were looking to see what we did, and who we presented (our energy audit) results to [one audience was the Avon Historical Society]," Bobby said. "They look at field trips (we took), who we contacted and the results that we got." [Among others, the team met with Avon officials and the Cleveland Restoration Society.]

Coaches Michelle Johansen and Chris Ignasiak made it clear that they were just along for the ride. "The kids have to do all the work," Ignasiak said. "We're not affiliated with the schools, so we have to pay for everything (hotel, gasoline, food, contest entry fees). The boys raised money by selling wreaths. That money ($500) was already spent for (costs associated with) the regular season."

Michelle conveyed her satisfaction with the overall LEGO League program. "LEGO League does a good job with their tournaments," she said. "(The theme) is always something that is relevant. The boys get to work as a team, and they all work on every aspect of the project."

She talked about the positive effects the experience has had on her son. "I've liked that he has learned to speak in front of a group," she said. "It's helped with his self confidence, his sense of organization and his sense of responsibility. He has become a very self-motivated self learner.

"All of the boys want their own way, and they've had to let go of that. The team is stronger if you teach the other people on it, instead of doing the task yourself even if doing it yourself is faster. Now, they share what they know."

In the true sense of the theme, one other aspect of her son's personality emerged. "He has become more energy conscious," she said with a laugh. "We have to turn the heat down and limit our use of Christmas lights so we don't waste energy."

Because the cost of competing at the state level in January will be approximately $700, the team is hoping for financial help.

"We are looking for sponsors for the state competition," Ignasiak said. "Any financial contributions would be greatly appreciated. People can contact me or Michelle if they want to help us out."

Chris Ignasiak may be reached at 937-0069 and Michelle Johansen is available at 353-0606. More information about the FIRST LEGO League organization may be found at www.firstlegoleague.org.''


[NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 12-2-07, by Stan Donaldson, Plain Dealer Reporter

[Quantum Bots win LEGO competition]

``Student competition builds up solutions in math, science and technology

About 100 children from several Northeast Ohio schools and clubs used LEGOs for more than just building toys at a regional robotics competition Saturday at the Hawken School.

The popular children's toy anchored a team tournament as children ages 9 to 14 battled to see who had the best robot. The contest also provided an approach to solving science, math and technology problems.

Teams received a LEGO league-sanctioned motor, then over the past few weeks added LEGO blocks to create a robot, said Laurie Heikkila, regional director of the Northeast Ohio chapter of the First LEGO League. Teams programmed the robot to perform tasks on a mat that depicted a semi-rural scene.

Teams had 2 minutes for their robots to move around LEGO pieces such as solar panels and wind turbines that followed the alternative energy theme.

The teams also worked on a research project that required them to find a building in their community and analyze its energy use. They then had to present the data and suggest ways it could cut consumption ...

The Quantum Bots, a group of home-schooled children from [Avon in] Lorain County, won the champion's award and will get to participate in a state contest in January, Heikkila said.

Guest emcee Evan Weinberg, a math physics teacher from the Bronx, N.Y., said the league introduces kids to fields such as engineering, math and science without realizing it.

"Very often, kids get excited about things independent of school," he said. "The biggest thing about this league is that is a way for kids to be excited about being smart."''

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: sdonalds@plaind.com


NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 12-4-07, by The Chronicle-Telegram Staff

Bobby Johansen, 14, of North Ridgeville, Greg Knechtges, 13, of Grafton, and Carl and David Sadowski, 15 and 11, of Avon, make up The Quantum Bots, a team that claimed first place for designing and programming a robot made of LEGO pieces in the FIRST LEGO League competition on Saturday [12-1-07] at Hawken School in Lyndhurst. CARL SULLENBERGER / CHRONICLE

``LEGO creation earns kids a state bid

AVON -- It doesn't always take a scientist to build a robot. In fact, sometimes all it takes is a group of home-schooled boys with a knack for building with LEGO blocks.

The win qualifies them to compete in the FIRST LEGO League Championship on Jan. 12 and 13 [2008] at Wright State University in Dayton.

The Quantum Bots was the only Lorain County team to compete in the regional tournament.

The team received marks of excellent from the judges in the categories of research project, teamwork, robot design and robot performance, said Michelle Johansen, mother of Bobby Johansen and one of the team's coaches.

This is the third year the team has advanced to the state competition, although it was the first time it claimed the top prize. Two years ago, the team placed sixth, and last year it was second. "They've steadily improved each year," Johansen said.

Their winning robot was made of LEGO pieces, movable parts and an electric motor, and is programmed by a computer to retrieve items and perform other tasks. CARL SULLENBERGER / CHRONICLE

The boys worked on the project for about three months, said Chris Ignasiak, mother of Carl and Dan Sadowski and a coach for the team. They met twice a week for three hours, and then every night the week before the competition. To prepare for the contest, Carl Sadowski said that each of the four team members took home a robot set and came up with their own individual robots.

"We took the best aspects of each robot and combined it into one robot," he said. And the hard work paid off. Their robot scored 380 out of a possible 400 points in two of the three competition rounds.

"I think that's the most fulfilling part, seeing them doing this and working hard and then doing well at the end and accomplishing something," Ignasiak said.

Given its score at the regional competition, the team is hopeful it can duplicate the results at the state level. "We can get a perfect score now, but we'll be making it more reliable," Bobby Johansen said, explaining that the boys plan to tweak it to improve its accuracy.

In addition to the robot, they had to meet the second part of the contest -- Power Puzzle. To fulfill the challenge, the team conducted an energy audit of the Avon Old Town Hall [of 1871]. From the audit, they devised ways to make the building more energy efficient, such as insulating the attic and changing the furnace filter regularly.

The Old Town Hall was a great place for the boys to do their research, Johansen said. "It's small enough that they could do a thorough and complete job and they could make recommendations that could be useful," Johansen said. "The [Avon] Historical Society was very helpful."

The boys' success comes at a price, however. It costs $1,200 to $1,500 to enter the competition, so the boys all do fundraising to offset it -- they are selling Christmas wreaths this year. The boys also are seeking sponsorships. Cleveland Clinic and Metro Toyota have sponsored the team in the past, but a sponsor hasn't been found yet for this year.''

Contact Kristen Halliday at khalliday@chroniclet.com.]

The Quantum Bots Lego Robotics team members -- Bobby Johansen, Greg Knechtges, David Sadowski and Carl Sadowski spoke to the Society. The 2006 state award winning team discussed an energy audit of the Old Town Hall they are preparing for entry in an annual competition, this year called Power Puzzle. The home schooled team will design a computerized robot from Legos, the sponsoring company. The team also has to complete an energy audit that is evaluated by a panel of judges.

As a practice run the boys will present their findings to those interested on Tuesday November 27 at 7 p.m. (Later changed to MONDAY, November 26, 7 p.m.) at the Old Town Hall.

The team's adult coordinator, Chris Ignasiak, said the boys had visited the Cleveland Restoration Society that day before the Avon Historical Society meeting. As a result of that meeting, the boys wanted to know why the Old Town Hall was not on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Ralph White gave a partial answer based on his work trying to get the Avon Isle on the registry. It may be that the Old Town Hall is not unique. There are many old town halls that are equally old and imposing. Avon Isle has a unique history and purpose.

Ralph will provide the team the general information on entry to the register. The team may, as part of their efforts to win recognition at the competition and to provide a service to the Society, pursue the paperwork to gain the national recognition for the Old Town Hall of 1871.

Before adjournment Theresa Szippl reported that currently there are 147 members of the Society.

Jack introduced the speaker, Gary Gerrone from the Lorain County Metro Parks, doing the program entitled "And He Does Bird Calls, Too!"

Respectfully submitted, JoAnne Easterday


2007 Christmas Candlelite Walk

Friday, Nov. 30, 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 1, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas where the participating shops are gaily decorated with roping of holly, red and green flickering candles and pine boughs and the interiors emit the aromas and feel of years gone by.

Many shops will feature "Candy Cane Specials" or offer seasonal refreshments in the French Creek District, along Ohio 254, Ohio 611, Stoney Ridge Road and north on Ohio 83, and east of 83 just past Avon Commons. Historic buildings in the district will house antiques, crafts, gift boutiques and galleries.

Come to the 28th Annual Christmas Candlelite Walk and enjoy caroling, craft shows, door prizes, bustling elves, jolly Santa, and "Win a Window" of Treasures, which will make this a weekend not to be missed! Call (440) 934-6119 or (440) 937-5204 (evenings) for info.

Free parkingis available in the municipal lot behind the Police Station.


Friday, Nov. 30: Santa will be stopping by local shops where there will be snacks, discounts, and free gifts.

Saturday, Dec. 1: Come early and enjoy special activities at each of Santa's stops.

Santa will travel by horse-drawn wagon and make the following stops:

4:05 - 4:30 pm -- Olde Avon Village, 36840 Detroit Road

4:30 pm -- Santa goes to the Senior Center at the Detroit Road entrance

5:15 pm -- Avon Plaza, 36951 Detroit Road

5:30 pm -- Santa arrives at the Gazebo for the COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING at Heritage Square, southwest corner of Detroit Road and Stoney Ridge Road. THE PROGRAM BEGINS AT 5 PM. (glowsticks to the first 150 children). Welcome Santa; see the tree lighting ceremony; and listen to the Avon High School Choir sing carols.

6 pm -- VISIT WITH SANTA AT THE OLD TOWN HALL OF 1871, southeast corner of Detroit Road and Stoney Ridge Road, and get a gift from Santa and a free juice box.

Sunday, Dec. 2: Santa will be stopping by local shops where there will be snacks, discounts and free gifts.

Sponsored by the French Creek Development Association, Avon French Creek Merchants, Avon Lions Club, and the Avon Historical Society.

Additional weekend activities:

Saturday 9 am to 3 pm Christmas in the Barn -- Avon United Methodist Church - 33771 Detroit Road -- CRAFTS - BAKED GOODS - HOT LUNCH

Sunday 9 to 1 PANCAKE BREAKFAST -- Avon High School, 37545 Detroit Road, (sponsored by Avon Band Boosters)



11-26-07: The Quantum Bots Lego Robotics team members are preparing for entry in an annual competition, this year called Power Puzzle. The team will design a computerized robot from Legos, the sponsoring company. The team also is completing an energy audit of the Old Town Hall of 1871 that will be evaluated by a panel of judges. As a practice run, the boys will present their findings to those interested on MONDAY, November 26, 7 p.m. at the Old Town Hall.

11-28-07: PLEASE HELP Cheryl Huene and other volunteers DECORATE the Old Town Hall on WEDNESDAY, November 28 at 7:00 pm.

12-1-07: Santa will arrive at the Old Town Hall at 6 pm on Saturday, 12-1-07. As in previous years, after the tree lighting across the street at the Gazebo, all the children will come to the Old Town Hall for a visit with Santa and then a juice box. If anyone can come and help us with the flow of the crowd it would be appreciated. Also at 4 pm, glowing (Glowstick) bracelets for the children will be assembled at the Old Twon Hall with your help.

12-5-07: The annual Christmas Party which will be held on Wednesday, December 5 from 6 till 9 p.m. at the Avon VFW, Mills Rd. We will follow the usual format of asking everyone to bring an appetizer or dessert to share. The club will provide the liquid refreshments.

Our calling committee will call everyone to remind them of the party. As is our custom, dues must be paid in advance of the Christmas Party. Set up for the party is at 4:30 pm on 12-5-07, cocktails at 6 pm and food at 7 pm. Volunteers will be needed to help set up the hall that afternoon around 4:30 pm; so if you can assist, please show up.




I. Reading of the minutes of the meeting of November 7. 2007

II. Treasurer's Report

A. Any outstanding bills to present.

III. Old Business

A. Report on Christmas Party held on 12-5-07, Nancy McGhee

B. Landmarks Preservation Commission, Bob Gates

C. Landscaping Committee, Chuck Huene

D. 1910 postcards, Ralph White

E. The Quantum Bots will report on their experiences at the State Lego League Robotics contest.

F. Other

IV. New Business

A. Jim Smith from the Lorain County Historical Society will present "Steve Domonkas, a Lorain artist," on Wednesday, 3-5-08, Jean Fischer

B. Other

V. Adjourn Meeting


Jean Fischer will introduce Bob Kayle from Lorain who will present "Antique Cars"


Parking for meetings of the Avon Historical Society:

Next to Smitty's Barber Shop -- please disregard the "no parking" sign,

Across Detroit Rd. at Nemo's Restaurant (park close to Colorado),

Across Colorado Avenue (SR 611) behind Blue Chip,

On the east side of Buck's Hardware on Church Street,

Across Stoney Ridge at Lois Shinko's Country Store parking lot (just south of the Gazebo).

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