Clifton Gorge Tuesday, Apr 15 2008 

Dutchman\'s Breeches Overlooking the Little Miami

Dutchman's Breeches

A bronze plaque commemorates Clifton Gorge as a National Natural Landmark which “possesses exceptional value in illustrating the natural history of the United States.” At the first overlook an interpretative sign tells of the creation of the gorge by meltwater from the last glacier. At a bend in the river a little farther along the trail is an overlook recognizing the location of the Patterson Mill. According to the interpretative sign, Robert Patterson, the founder of Lexington, Kentucky, co-founder of Cincinnati, and early settler of Dayton, had built this mill in 1809 to make cotton and wool cloth. This overlook provides an excellent view of the narrows of the gorge. At the “pool overlook” a sign tells of Darnell’s leap. In 1778, a party of men led by Daniel Boone was captured in Kentucky by a band of Shawnee Indians. A few months later Boone managed to escape. Cornelius Darnell, another member of Boone’s party, escaped some time later. The story is told that the Indians gave chase and caught up with him at this spot. Facing certain death by torture, Darnell chose instead to leap the chasm. Although he fell short of the far side, he managed to grasp hold of the trees that mantled the cliffs. From there he climbed to the cliff top and escaped. The Little Miami powered the wheels of frontier industry. A stagecoach road, now part of the Orton Trail, was used to pick up goods from the mills and take them to Cincinnati.

All of the mill industries have vanished except Clifton Mill, which is now also a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. At Christmas, the Mill, a covered bridge, and the surrounding area are lit with three and a half million lights. Although the spring wildflowers won’t peak for another two or three weeks, cute rows of Dutchman’s breeches were blowing in the gentle wind this past Sunday. Clifton Gorge is a gem.

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Lise de la Salle Monday, Apr 14 2008 

Lisa de la Salle was the featured pianist playing with the Columbus Symphony this past weekend. Playing Mozart’s Concerto No. 20 in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra, K. 466 with Junichi Hirokami conducting, she concluded her solos with a flourish twist of her left hand. This piece was played with 37 musicians. The evening’s first piece, Stravinsky’s Concerto in E-flat Major for Chamber Orchestra, “Dumbarton Oaks,” featured only 15 musicians, the first, and sometimes second, chairs of core instruments. Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, D. 485 concluded the evening’s performance with 50 musicians on stage. The concert’s three pieces involved fewer musicians than any other concert in my memory. Is this foreshadowing of where the Columbus Symphony is headed? On the other hand, more seats of the Ohio Theatre were filled than I’ve ever seen.  To continue hearing live classical music in Columbus will take a significant benefactor or two.

Documentary Film Festival Monday, Apr 14 2008 

The 4th Annual Ohio Wesleyan University Documentary Film Festival featured six films at the Strand on Saturday afternoon, April 12. The student film makers are to be commended for their creative presentations on topics that matter. After each film was shown, the film makers answered questions. Each one displayed a thorough knowledge of the subject matter and an ability to speak in an articulate, exemplary manner.

El Otro Lado explored both sides of Mexican immigration to the United States. Professors Jeremy Baskes, Joan McLean, and Juan Rojas offered informed perspectives. Attired in a nifty cap, Daniel Monotoly, one of the housekeepers for the Hamilton WIlliam Campus Center, provided a unique perspective. A community member staffing a booth at the Delaware County Fair offered “the other side” of this debate. Amanda London and Amy Schweitzer started this project a year ago which was completed by Conor Close, Chioke Barkari, and Carolyn WIlliams.

Ghana: The Gateway to Better Education and Health Care included footage from Ghana about this subject. Rhett Rybarczyk and Chad Claussen showed the needs with footage from Ghana and offered suggestions for Americans who want to help address the needs.

Food for Thought explored some of the challenges facing Chartwells, OWU’s food service provider. Gene Castelli is a responsive administrator whose service orientation is appreciated by students on a daily basis. Kelly Neff and Beth Griffith did a good job of registering student opinions.

Yellow Card, directed by Caitlin Dugre, offers a warning about the place of athletics in the academic environment through interviews with Kris Boey, Margaret Shade, Joan McLean and students involved with the Cross Country, Track & Field, and golf programs.

The Bishops of STAND documents the efforts of OWU students to raise awareness of the ongoing genocide occurring in Darfur. Mark Dubovec, the student who directed this film and a member of STAND, included footage from rallies as well as efforts to raise money. Of special note was footage with Nick Clooney, father of George Clooney and a journalist and human rights advocate.

Delaware: The Unknown Drug Problem investigates drug traffic issues in the area. William Ruzek and Andrew Morinaga did a great job of talking with the government officials such as the mayor, county prosecutor, sheriff and others as well as those who are dealing and using drugs. They uncovered an aspect of the community that isn’t readily apparent. A fact that emerged was that illegal drugs are much more expensive in Delaware than in Columbus.

Columbus Zoo Spring Visit Saturday, Apr 5 2008 

koala

Koala

Tacoma, the male wolverine, circled his caged area in the North American section of the Columbus Zoo, even marching through his water pool, with a determined step. What could have aroused this nocturnal animal from his customary nap in a hollowed log? Why, Kiwi, a female companion, placed in his area two days earlier. Along with the crocuses and daffodils, spring brings out amorous thoughts. The koala, an eighteen to twenty-two hour a day sleeper, had her eyes open today. Two Temminck’s Tragopan pheasants, with iridescent heads bobbing, kept crossing the sidewalk just to get to the other side. Fluffy, the 24-foot reticulated python, reputed to be the largest snake in captivity, curled up with one eye taking in passers by. Across the way in Asia Quest, the water monitor, Prince, moved up his log thrusting its long, split tongue this way and that. Spring isn’t in full bloom yet, but surely we’re ready for it.