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Close to home with Mary Beth Breckenridge

A flower in every pot: Designer Thom Filicia launches mock presidential bid

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 18, 2016

Interior designer Thom Filicia has been a favorite of mine since I first encountered him and his work on the TV series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. So you'll have to forgive me for tossing aside my journalistic objectivity to throw my support behind his presidential campaign.

Thom! Thom! Thom!

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Is this tree in trouble?

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: July 6, 2016
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This oak may look sick, but there’s no need to worry. It’s just been used as a nursery by the 17-year cicadas.

The female insects have cut slits in pencil-width twigs on the tree and laid their eggs inside. That damage causes the twigs to turn brown and die, a phenomenon called flagging.

In most trees, that’s not a problem. In fact, it’s a form of natural pruning that can even make the tree healthier in the long run. Very young trees, however, can be severely damaged or even killed by the cicadas’ onslaught.

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When cicadas crash your wedding

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: July 1, 2016
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This weekend in my Close to Home column in the Beacon Journal, I’ll be sharing readers’ stories about cicadas. But one that arrived too late for publication is too good to pass up, so I’m sharing it here.

It came from photographer Amelia Zupke Oriti of Amelia Zupke Photography, who recently shot the wedding of Kelsey Gerbig and Jonathan Tietz at Cuyahoga National Park’s Happy Days Lodge. The cicadas were uninvited guests, but they weren’t unwelcome.

Here’s how Amelia tells it:

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Video of Wooster toddler to air on ABC's 'PEOPLE's List'

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: June 17, 2016

Have you seen this adorable video of a toddler's funny reactions to food?

Now a national TV audience will, too.

The video, starring Wooster's own Milo Wolfe, will air on the new ABC show PEOPLE's List at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 18. Here's a link to a story I wrote earlier about Milo and the video shot by his mom, Danae Wolfe. At the time Wolfe thought the video would be shown on Good Morning America, but ABC only published it on the show's website.

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Grandson of Stan Hywet founder recalls a special gift

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: April 1, 2016

After I wrote about some new tour brochures at Stan Hywet that highlight stories about its founding family, I got a call from one of those family members. It was Edward A. “Ned” Handy, the 93-year-old grandson of Goodyear co-founder F.A. Seiberling and his wife, Gertrude.

F.A. and Gertrude built Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens a century ago and were known as doting grandparents.

Handy had a sweet story to tell.

F.A. loved trees, he said. So for his grandfather’s 80th birthday in 1939, Ned surprised F.A. by crafting a pair of bookends from a piece of pine that had come from a wood lot near Ned’s home on Cape Cod. Ned was a teenager then and had been cutting trees for firewood with his brother, Jack.

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10 touchups that can help sell your home

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: March 22, 2016

Ten painting touchups that can help sell your home, courtesy of the Paint Quality Institute:

1. The front door. A fresh coat of paint makes a good first impression.

2. The entrance hall. At the very least, clean every surface and touch up areas where the paint shows marks or nicks. Better yet, give the whole hall a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint.

3. Bathrooms. These rooms get special scrutiny from prospective buyers, so touch up as needed. Put extra effort into the powder room, which many will visit during their tour of your home.

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How to make biodegradable seed pots from toilet paper rolls

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 14, 2015

Check out this easy-peasy way to turn old toilet paper rolls into small pots for starting seeds. The pots can go right into the ground, where they'll break down over time. 

Even easier than making pots by forming newspaper around cans!

One caution: Make sure to bury the pots all the way in the ground. If part of the cardboard remains above the soil line, moisture can be wicked away from the plant.

 

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10 myths about bedbugs

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: April 3, 2015

Few things are feared more and understood less than bedbugs.

That's why Ohio State University put together the following news release. It's great information, so I'm passing it along.

10 Myths About Bedbugs That Are Just Crawling with Foolishness

Published on April 2, 2015

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Tips for storing your snow blower

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: March 13, 2015

Consumer Reports says it's time to put away your snow blower.

I'm not sure I agree with tempting fate, but soon enough we'll be safe to stash away the snow removal equipment. 

Before you do, check out Consumer Reports' tips for preparing your snow blower for storage. When it's time to fire it up next winter (OK, fall), you'll be glad you did. 

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Download free weed ID guide from Ohio State

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: February 26, 2015

What is that thing sprouting among the azaleas?

A new, free e-book that you can download onto your iPad or computer can help you figure it out.

The 2015 Ohio State University Guide to Weed Identification contains pictures and information on 85 weed species common in the Midwest. You can vew photos of each weed at different states of maturity and even 360-degree movies of most of them.

The book also guides users in the principles of weed identification.

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