Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Vigil a great way to remember violence victims

There’s an old saying, coined many years ago by a dear friend of mine, who once observed, “You can’t copyright a good idea.”
I don’t know if that’s literally true, but it suits my purpose for what I’m about to tell you.
Nearly two decades ago, give or take a year, Lake County Prosecutor Chuck Coulson came up with a very good idea. It was to hold an annual candlelight vigil for members of families and friends who have lost loved one to crimes of violence.
Coulson has seen more violence that leads to senseless loss of life than would fill several chapters in a book on the subject.
It is impossible to enumerate all those who have seen family members and loved ones lost to homicide, drunken drivers and other violent crimes.
The prosecutor felt that a vigil to give aid and comfort to families who have endured such losses would be a means of assisting them through their grief, particularly in the holiday season when the losses seem more severe than other times of year.
Coulson followed through, with the help of staff members who shared his belief and his compassion. So the annual candlelight vigil became a reality that endured until last year, when the event skipped a beat because the prosecutor’s office, as did every other county office supported by the taxpayers, suffered severe budget cuts that reduced his staff and the availability of manpower (and, of course, womanpower) to carry through with the many details associated with the event.
But Lake County’s safety forces have now stepped in to bridge the gap, furnish the help and carry on with the great intentions of Coulson’s idea.
Thus the candlelight vigil will be held this year from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 1 at St. Cyprian Church, 4223 Middle Ridge Road, Perry Township.
Taking a major leadership role in bringing back the event is Chief Arnold Stanko of the Waite Hill Village Police Department.
“The Lake County safety forces recognize,” Stanko said, “that as the holiday season approaches, it may be a particularly difficult time for families who have lost loved ones, particularly to crimes of violence.
“We believe they may find it comforting to join with others who have experienced similar personal tragedies to honor their loved ones at this time of year.”
The candlelight vigil will include an honor guard with a bagpiper, musical selections, memorial tributes by family members, friends and safety forces and photographs of loved ones.
Local safety forces will assist at the candle lighting ceremony. The program will conclude with a procession to the “Tree of Hope,” where participants can honor their loved ones with the placing of ornaments of remembrance.
The Painesville Township Fire Department Women’s Auxiliary will provide refreshments of cookies and hot beverages following the ceremony.
All of us get our fill of senseless deaths of violence simply by reading the front page every day. And Coulson has seen more than his share.
He came up with a fine idea of holding a candlelight vigil. And our safety forces have stepped up to the plate by continuing the program.
Stanko can answer any questions about the upcoming vigil if you call him at 440-942-6279.
Here’s tip of the hat to Chuck, Arnie and all the safety force members who are making the vigil a reality.

A special day

I am not one to memorialize birthdays on significant dates. That was something that was done very well by Chuck Koelble during his lengthy tenure at this newspaper. But this is one I can’t let pass without mention.
Ed Paul has been a mainstay, a part of the real backbone, of the South High Boosters Club, probably since its inception. And I am particularly fond of the South Boosters for a number of reasons, including the fact that all my kids graduated from that noteworthy institution and I doubt if I have missed more than one or two of their Christmas parties from those early days at Dino’s III and thence at Pine Ridge Country Club, where the boosters have been comfortably ensconced for these many years.
Ed will celebrate a birthday on 11-11-11. So will a lot of other people, I imagine. But I am calling attention to his because he is a special guy. And his wife Marilyn is a special gal.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home