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Nearly 90,000 workers in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties are unemployed and over the past two weeks, nearly 37,000 Ohioans applied for unemployment benefits for the first time, as reported by the state to the U.S. Department of Labor. Continuing claims were filed by nearly 300,000 as well.

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Last Thursday, my family received some very welcome mail: our absentee ballots. We decided to go that route as a precaution against COVID-19. My husband and I are “of that age” and our children made the decision to also vote absentee to potentially protect us. They are good, empathetic (that…

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It’s that time of year again. Millions of citizens are pondering whether or not to get a flu shot. This year, that decision carries a lot of baggage with COVID-19 still in pandemic stage (Cuyahoga County is still at the orange level; Lorain County is slightly better at yellow). People may be…

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From the very beginning of our relationship, my husband and I agreed on pretty much everything. We were both reporters who loved our jobs, liked the same types of movies, had great ambitions to play tennis (never happened), never met a flavor of ice cream we wouldn’t try, and loved practical jokes.

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Dear Rusty: I am trying to help a good friend of mine who lives in Indiana and is 80 years old. I am very concerned as he’s not now collecting SS for some reason, and I have no idea why. Is there any reason that you know of that would keep him from getting his benefits? Is there maybe someth…

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The pandemic has had a terrible byproduct that just now is grabbing attention. It has thrown a huge wrench into the collecting of data for the U.S. census. Who cares, you ask? Well, we should all care. At the end of this month, the U.S. Census Bureau will stop its once-in-a-decade count of p…

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Dear Rusty: My question is about benefits and getting married. I am a retired man, 65-years-old, and collecting Social Security plus two pensions. My girlfriend will turn 62 in October of 2020 and plans to apply for Social Security benefits on her 62 birthday. If we were to get married, woul…

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As if things weren’t hard enough for Ohio’s small businesses, news comes that the Trump administration plans to claw back a chunk of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds legitimate businesses have used as a lifeline to keep their employees on the payroll.

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I am not at all sure what happened to summer. Honestly, it never felt like summer because all the days blurred with working-at-home schedules, a teacher-husband who had been at home since mid-March, and just a general feeling of “what the hell is going on?” Even my love of decorating and gar…

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There are certain visuals that I remember with fondness and a still-strong admiration for my mother, nearly 19 years after her death. My mother, Marjorie Philona Condon, was the epitome of a multi-tasker. She had seven children in 15 years. The first baby was born nine months after my parent…

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Ohio House members Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) and Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) were among the first to advocate for the repeal of House Bill 6, following the arrest and indictment of former House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) in a massive $61 million bribery scheme, alleged b…

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In normal times, walking into a bathroom, looking down at an odd dark spot on the tile floor and realizing that “spot” was a tiny green frog would have caused an epic meltdown. But these are not normal times. When I encountered said frog last week, I simply paused, calculated whether I was g…

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Dear Rusty: My 71-year-old mother has a very small Social Security income. It is not enough to find her housing. I am working to file for increased VA benefits, as she is a veteran. Her partner of 21 years (common law spouse) has passed away, and we have an appointment next week to apply for…

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Let me level with you all for a second: this pandemic is the worst. I hate wearing a mask. I hate that my hands are always dried out from how often I wash them. I hate that all of my music festivals and concerts are canceled this year. We’re all missing out on things important to us, whether…

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Someone needs to explain to me why, after oh-so-many decades of pampering vacations, I suddenly decided camping was a good way to relax. Because apparently, I don’t know myself.

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Every day, as we all go about trying to live our lives as normally as possible, we should be proud to be Ohioans. Times are stressful, to say the least, and Buckeyes are rising to the occasion. Case in point: area restaurants. The social distancing and masking is inspiring. As we still enjoy…

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The news that the first presidential debate will be held in Cleveland Sept. 29 amid a pandemic was surprising. The fact that it is sponsored, in part, by The Cleveland Clinic is shocking.

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Many of West Life’s readers will remember it well: Chicago, 1968. If you were a teenager or young adult during those times, do you recall your reaction to violence at the Democratic National Convention? The convention was regarded as one of the most tense and confrontational political conven…

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That skunk smell a couple of weeks ago that wafted your way on your nightly Dairy Queen drive-through run? Well, that might have emanated from your next door neighbors. Or your husband. Or wife. Or child. Or … your own armpit.

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Starting about May, right when stay-at-home orders were being eased, I entered what could probably be termed my “toddler” stage. I love summer. I obsessively take every opportunity to go to Cedar Point, even though I now need to take Dramamine for many of the rides. I adore spending every av…