The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Reality Check

June 25, 2008

Beyond wineries and covered bridges …

A Neil Frieder column


It is true this county has these great attributes. Yet, as the employment and per capita numbers suggest, they are not helping a lot. Perhaps these whys persist because too many people see it as too painful to look at the problems or they are too complacent with the status quo, or dare we say may benefit financially from having a depressed society.

It is hard to arrive at solutions if you are not seeing the problems.


Over the next two weeks, the Star Beacon is printing a series entitled “Realty Check.” The series examines some of those whys and culminates with some voiced solutions.

This series is the result of months of work — starting in October — by Star Beacon Lifestyle Editor Carl Feather. In putting together the series, Feather interviewed dozens of people at the national, state and local levels. He researched data that compare Ashtabula County to other areas of the state and nation.

The series also offers a reality check into the personal lives of people who are not faring so well in Ashtabula County.

Over this two-week period, beginning today, we are asking you to become active with it. Each day, we will be asking a question regarding this series on our Web-site poll. You also can go to our Web-site forums to discuss the series. Just click at the end of any of the stories as they appear on our Web site and begin your discussion with other readers.

Also, Carl Feather would like to share your personal stories regarding Ashtabula County for possible publication as they relate to “Reality Check.” He can be reached at

By taking a look at the problems, we will see some dreams of what can be in Ashtabula County. As we yearn for those dreams of what can be, we shall look for solutions that will make those dreams a part of Ashtabula County.

Frieder is editor of the Star Beacon and can be reached at

Text Only
Reality Check
  • images_sizedimage_070165730 Why are we hurting so? It’s time for a reality check.: Main story, Day one

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_069193501 Beyond wineries and covered bridges … An introduction to reality check

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • What it is, how it’s calculated Determining per capita income is a complex exercise that — at best — is a mathematical expression of a moving target.

    In its simplest terms, per capita income is, according to the Ohio Department of Development, “the income of a given area divided by the resident population of that area.” Sounds simple enough, but arriving at the figure is not.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_069195701 Bad vibes: Lack of opportunities, progress make for sour attitudes Eavesdrop on conversations at the lunch counter, in the aisles of Wal-Mart on a Friday evening or around the sports bar on a Sunday afternoon, and you’re likely to hear some pretty disparaging remarks about the old hometown.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Finding work after prison nearly impossible A portion of Ashtabula County’s unemployed can’t find a job because of their prior address – a prison cell.

    June 25, 2008

  • County part of Team NEO marketing efforts Ashtabula County is part of a 16-county alliance aimed at marketing the Northeast Ohio region to employers and business investors, many of have never heard of Ashtabula, let alone Mentor, Akron or Youngstown.

    June 25, 2008

  • Some people just don’t want a job Ashtabula County Commissioner Deborah Newcomb talks to a lot of employers, and they all express the same concern: finding people reliable people with basic skills is a problem.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_070212402 POOR BUT WORKING A winter wind blew across the parking lot of the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry next to St. Joseph’s Church in Ashtabula; the six adults lined up at the door turned their faces from the wind, toward the metaphoric concrete wall of the building.

    June 25, 2008 2 Photos

  • images_sizedimage_071213603 County's largest hospital feels the Medicaid pain Perhaps no one in Ashtabula County feels the pinch of subsidizing unemployed or underemployed individuals more than Philip E. Pawlowski.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Crime & Drugs Inc. always hiring Some “unemployed” residents find crime to be their best source of steady income. Judge Richard Stevens of Western County Court says he noticed a 50-percent increase in the number of criminal cases handled by his court between 2005 and last year.

    June 25, 2008

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