Saturday, January 5, 2013

We'll miss Robert's; Mitt taking Ohio?

News of the closing of Robert’s Mens Shop in downtown New Philadelphia is but the latest chapter in a story that is more than 50 years old.

You remember the downtowns of 50 years ago, don’t you? They offered a number of retail stores, including a corner drug store with a soda fountain, at least a few restaurants offering home-cooked daily specials, a couple of jewelry stores and, of course, a five-and-dime.

“OMG, what’s a five-and-dime?” a whippersnapper might ask.

Throw in a bank or two, a movie theater, a barbershop, a dress shop and men’s clothing store to complete the 1962 downtown.

Today, small-town downtowns are markedly different. Gone to the inside malls and more recently to those strip developments are most of the retailers who used to call those nostalgic town centers their home.

So, give credit to Mike and Jackie Ley, who held onto their downtown New Philadelphia site for 40 years while most of the others moved on or went out of business.

Mike’s father, according to The Times-Reporter, founded Robert’s in Marietta in 1950. At one point the Ley family owned 13 stores with Mike operating the New Philadelphia location.

Mike Ley reports that attempts to sell the business were unsuccessful. That’s an ominous sign of the times, and it means that New Philadelphia probably will lose more retailers sooner rather than later.

New Philadelphia City Council, if it hasn’t already, might want to put its downtown on some kind of a priority list.

Those of us who are still clinging to a landline phone are paying the price.

In the final full week before the election, our home’s peace and quiet was interrupted as many as a dozen times a day by various political campaigns.

Never have I wanted an election to be over as much as I have this one.

The politicians have done their best to turn the process into a despicable circus. Actually, I could come up with a better description, but it wouldn’t be appropriate for a family publication.

I’m still thinking that Mitt Romney will take Ohio.

OK, for the record, Tuscarawas County voters have voted for the eventual winner of the presidential campaign in every election since 1964 except once – in 1968 when voters favored Hubert Humphrey over Richard Nixon.

I think that statistic surely qualifies Tuscarawas County as a bellwether county, although it seldom is mentioned as one.

And this year Tuscarawas County voters will vote for Romney.

Man, am I going out on a limb.

The TV weather guys live for a good storm, don’t they?

My favorite from the Sandy superstorm was a guy who was trying to stay balanced on a floating dock in the middle of a hurricane-ravaged bay somewhere in Rhode Island.

I could not concentrate on what he was saying because I was waiting for him to fall into the water, which thankfully didn’t happen.

The best weather reporter is the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore, who seems to never miss a big storm. I mean he’s always at the forefront of the drama. And he’s got a knack for explaining complex weather issues in understandable terms.

I guess you might say that he blows every other weather reporter out of the water.

Sorry. Couldn’t help it.

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