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This past week has been tough to watch, tough to live in. It pains me to see history repeat itself over and over again. To see how desensitized some of us have become to racial injustice.

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Dear Rusty: I have been hearing reports that Social Security and Medicare will run out of money by 2035 and will only pay approximately 75% of benefits. First, is that true about Social Security? And second, will they reduce benefits to people who are already on it or just the new people sig…

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Bragging rights, increased property values and, last but not least, ego boosts. Those are all the byproducts every year when Cleveland Magazine publishes its annual “Rating the Suburbs” list. We are always proud of our Westshore suburbs (honestly, I can’t imagine living anywhere but West). B…

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If you need a good belly laugh, take a look at Progressive Insurance Co.'s latest television commercial. Flo, Jamie, Mara and the rest of the gang — just like so many of us — are relying on a videoconference platform to communicate from home. And just like us, they are working through some t…

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We were so lucky. Two days before New Year’s Eve, my daughter and I discovered a rescue dog up for adoption during an “I am so bored” trip. It seems about a dozen (by my memory) dogs were taken from an area puppy mill. I was drawn instantly to the tiny — only 6 pounds of shivering white-and-…

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It seems that never before in American history have its citizens been more divided. Politics spark fights. Health issues spark fights. One side is perfectly OK with armed men and women in masks and camouflage storming statehouses and demanding their “Constitutional rights” to potentially inf…

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This week, just 72 hours before Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced community pools could open May 26, the mayor of Avon announced that the city’s Aquatic Center would not be open this year due to COVID-19 concerns and uncertainties.

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Dear Rusty: Does tax filing status matter when calculating how much you can earn without a reduction in your monthly SS payout? My wife and I have filed a joint income tax return for years. My wife is working and I'm 62 and wondering, if I start drawing SS, does the earnings limit only relat…

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Growing up in Fairview Park, I remember summers filled with friends, fun and unstructured play. I guess, to a certain extent, I’m dating myself. But I have been thinking of those summers more and more as cities and parents decide what to do now about traditional hot weather activities.

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Ohio has never been completely shut down. Just ask those employees deemed essential, who have been working throughout the stay-at-home order. Still, most people consider the governor’s orders taking effect this week as reopening of the state.

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Avon Lake resident Lori Kolofer Burk has a giving soul. She’s spent her career helping teachers and working with children. But for the last few weeks, it’s her kindness to those needing a boost in Avon Lake … and surrounding communities … that has made a difference. Burk has been the city’s …

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A year from now, college seniors will have been “adults” for a year. The high school Class of 2020 students will be finishing their first year of college that may or may not be at least partially virtual. Eighth grade students will have braved their way through their high school freshman yea…

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Dear Rusty: I have been advised by my financial planner to start my wife’s social security benefits at the age of 62 (she is now 61). I am 65 and still employed, not on Medicare, and not taking social security benefits. My wife’s benefits are much less than mine. I hope to wait until age 70 …

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In our little brick house, there’s a lot of huffing and puffing going around, but as in the fairy tale, it’s not going to blow the house down. It’s just making the house and yard a lot of nicer. All those three million projects that have been on the back burner of my busy life? They are now …

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In 1955, shortly before he died, scientist Albert Einstein (yeah. That guy.) did something very unpopular. He co-authored a report on avoiding nuclear war, which led to the Pugwash Conferences, and helped create nonproliferation agreements.

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On April 4, Gov. Mike DeWine urged all Ohioans to start wearing protective masks when they have to go to stores or businesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also switched its recommendation and said masks were needed for all. This was a change from earlier urgings that said …

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Dozens participated in Honks for Hugs driving round and round a senior facility to let confined residents know others care. A local photographer created free online puzzles to beat boredom. Rescue puppies are delivered to families' front doors. Car parades celebrate birthdays. High school st…

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The bruises and open sores from wearing masks during 12-hour (or longer) shifts was the first visual that struck people in the beginning of the pandemic. The tired, pain-filled eyes were the second, and perhaps the most poignant, impression.

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Attitudes toward Lake Erie are most definitely generational. While I was growing up in Cleveland in the 1960s and 1970s, Lake Erie was terrifying. Scientists called it a “dead lake,” killed by decades of pollutants making their way into its waters. This included pollutants from factories, wa…

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It’s a real learning curve to live in this alternate COVID-19 reality. We all had our schedules, our daily demands, our habits and our stress-relief valves. When everything came to a screeching halt on March 18, it was like being on an old wooden roller coaster that hadn’t been greased in 50…

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The National Retail Federation website is a good resource for businesses big and small. As retail endures one of the biggest hits of the century, the organization has turned its attention from facts and figures to helping its members survive. Here is some practical information featured on it…

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If today were April 15 like in most years, people would be completing tax returns and a few would utter language more colorful than the brightest spring colors.

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Four walls. OK, count the interior walls, too, making it maybe 20 or 24 walls. So what happens when you go stir-crazy within those walls? When your dog is staring at you in terror when you pull the leash out for the eighth time in one day?

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Local journalism took another blow to the gut last week. The Plain Dealer, the alma mater of the West Life editors, laid off 22 journalists. Among those leaving a gutted newsroom (numbering near 500 in the early 2000s and now numbering less than 15) were columnist and reporter Mike McIntyre,…

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Social distancing is a phrase none of us really thought about until the past two weeks. It’s not a new concept, but before it referred to using manners and not getting within a person’s “personal bubble.” We all have relatives who are unaware of that bubble, often sticking their faces within…

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Dear Rusty: I turned 63 Aug. 12, 2019. I will be retiring June 30, 2020, from my current job. I will have made approximately $35,000 by then and am receiving severance pay of $19,000 on June 30. Will the pay I receive through June 30 affect what I can draw from Social Security? Also, how muc…

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I love to grocery shop and look forward to taking advantage of weekly bargains at Heinen's Marc's and Giant Eagle before winding up at Costco. Wow, has that changed.

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Dear Rusty: I am currently unemployed and drawing funds from my IRA. I am 62 years old. My financial adviser instructed me to not take Social Security because once I do that the percentage of increase would stop. He said to wait until the benefits increased to the point where I could then ta…

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I fully expected to be a bystander to the madness of COVID-19. Being a journalist, I knew the odds of exposure — we have covered them extensively already in West Life. But it was still an intangible when it came to my everyday life. Then came last week. First, my beloved Jazzercise classes (…

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As the shock wears off, toilet paper panic fades, and the new reality becomes more familiar, the best of all of us is coming to the forefront. The Westshore area is full of awesome, kind and compassionate people reaching out to help others. And we want to celebrate those who are thinking bey…

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Well, here we are, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. And everyone seems to be freaking out, which is understandable. For those of us with an anxiety disorder, the worry can be crippling. It’s hard not to panic when seemingly everyone around me is panicking. It’s hard to get my mind off …

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As with most people, my life is composed of a series of obsessive-compulsive moments all strung together by fate and happenstance. At various times, my waking moments have been filled with the desire to be a real estate agent, an award-winning crime novelist, an interior designer, a world tr…

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Dear Rusty: My husband is 70 and has been taking Social Security for several years. His benefit is $2,100 per month. I am 60 and will turn 61 in March. I have very little built up and my expected SS benefit at my full retirement age is $1163 and $829 if I choose to take it at age 62. We are …

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On Monday, three Cuyahoga County residents became the first Ohioans diagnosed with the coronavirus. Immediately, Gov. Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency. So how will out state handle this growing emergency? We hope with calm and common sense.

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The March 17 primary elections are right around the corner. Are you ready to be an informed citizen? In our region, there are several vital issues being decided, including Lorain County commissioner seats, a school levy in North Ridgeville, a library levy in Avon, a levy for Lakewood City Sc…

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My husband and I lived for more than 20 years in Lakewood, almost within walking distance of the phenomenal Beck Center for the Arts. We introduced our children to live plays at the center, on Detroit Avenue at the city’s western edge. I still remember my very young son walking up to the sta…

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Did you notice something lurking in the wings as Democrats rooted around for votes in South Carolina? Did you see it just off stage during the president's press briefings this past week?

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This weekend, dozens of firefighters from Avon, Bay Village, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, Rocky River and Westlake rushed to what certainly qualified as an inferno. A $7 million, nearly completed Rocky River condominium building on Hilliard Boulevard, just west of the Hilliard Roa…

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I’ve been stressing for a couple of months about my birthday, which I celebrated Saturday. I don’t really care about the number (well, I sort of do, but that’s another story). Rather, I have been worrying about renewing my driver’s license to the soon-to-be mandatory “compliant” license that…

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You might have heard that President Trump is proposing cuts to Social Security. He has insisted since he got on the campaign trail in 2015 that he would “not touch” Social Security or Medicare as president. He reiterated that pledge in a tweet last week after his fiscal year 2021 budget was …