Progress in conquering Alzheimer’s

As 2019 draws to a close, it’s the time of year when we reflect on the previous months. Were we gentle with ourselves as we navigated difficult situations? Were we patient with our loved ones? Did we accomplish what we set out to do? 

I am one of the nearly one million Ohioans affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The year 2019 marks the fifth anniversary of my father’s passing. He had an amazing career first as a lawyer, and in his first retirement as an educator in the Cleveland Municipal School District. When dementia made it difficult for him to continue to have the kind of positive impact he was used to having on his community (communities, really), he was devastated, and often frustrated, which made daily life much harder than it was before.

Amidst the challenges of daily life, I found hope this year. There’s hope in Congress’ commitment to individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well as their care partners. It was exciting to see the introduction of the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act (H.R. 1873/S. 880), which would educate clinicians on Alzheimer’s and dementia care planning services through Medicare. Because there are an estimated 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 living with Alzheimer’s, I was grateful that Congress introduced the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act of 2019 (H.R. 1903/ S. 901); the bill would extend support and services under the Older Americans Act (OAA) to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease of any age. Thanks to advocates from all over the country, our members in Congress prioritized these important bills. Thank you to U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Bainbridge, for supporting both bills. 

This year also was an exciting year for the field of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research. We learned that a healthy lifestyle may counteract genetic risk for dementia; that an Alzheimer’s blood test may be on the horizon; and most exciting of all, that there are new possible treatments and drug targets for Alzheimer’s disease.

And as a proud Ohioan, I’m pleased that Gov. Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 24 into law in November. SB 24 calls for the creation of a task force to focus on the process that will lead to an official plan of action to address Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in Ohio. I am eager to review the task force’s recommendations next year. Ohio is almost the only state without an action plan for addressing issue of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to uphold the momentum of 2019 and advocate for policies that will enhance the quality of life for individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease as well as communities at risk for developing the disease. I will also continue my research into ways of creating supportive, therapeutic care settings that respect the unique contributions that individuals living with dementia offer.

To learn more about the fight to conquer this disease, visit

Maggie Calkins

Moreland Hills

Consider these facts

Here are some facts to ponder. The main framers of the U.S. Constitution were Deists, which is a belief in reason over some supernatural being. God or Jesus is never mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Our money was originally designed without God on it. It was put on our coins during the Civil War to pacify the religious zealots. The original “pledge of allegiance” has no mention of God. President Dwight Eisenhower, under pressure from Knights of Columbus, put it in the pledge in 1954. There are many more examples and facts to support that we are not a Christian nation and that our problems will be solved by Jesus, Allah, Santa Claus or Smokey Bear is ludicrous to me. This is my first letter, yet I have read in the last couple letters to the editor that we are in a national situation that could be cured by God and not watching Hollywood movies. Happy Holidays.

Stephen Mayes

Chagrin Falls

Support for Hall and Rambo

I am deeply saddened to hear that State Sen. John Eklund has been bulldozed into dropping his campaign for state representative. I don’t always agree with Sen. Eklund on issues, but I have come to respect his integrity as a public servant.

I cannot say the same of the politicians in Chardon and Columbus who caused Eklund to drop out of the race. Tim and Diane Grendell and their friends in the Ohio Legislature have taken choice away from Geauga County voters one time too many. It’s time for the people, Democrat and Republican and Independent, to stand up together and say, “Enough!”

For years, I’ve heard rumors about how the Grendells use their powerful friends to get themselves appointed to vacant positions, and then, when it’s time for re-election, strong-arm potential election opponents to drop out of the race. I’m not going to repeat rumors that I can’t verify, but the public record clearly shows that both Grendells were originally appointed to their current positions by their Columbus friends, who bypassed our Geauga County Republican Party’s recommendations of other qualified candidates. And since those appointments? Tim Grendell ran for re-election last time unopposed. And now, John Eklund has dropped his challenge of Diane Grendell.

Why don’t our qualified Geauga County candidates run against the Grendells? John Eklund is quoted as saying that he was presented with “many unexpected challenges.” He has not elaborated on what those “unexpected challenges” were. Several other people have told me that they are afraid to run against the Grendells.

We, the people of Geauga County, have the unique opportunity in March to drain the Chardon swamp of political bullies. Both Grendells will have highly qualified and courageous opponents running against them in the Republican primary. I urge every Geauga County voter to join me in electing officials we can be proud of. We can bring integrity and respect back to Geauga County. Together we can vote to end the Grendells reign. Do we want to elect public officials who will serve us, or will we continue to be stuck with politicians who expect us to serve them?

Stop the tyranny. I’m voting for Frank Hall for state representative and Matthew Rambo for Geauga Probate and Juvenile Court Judge.

Shelley Chernin

Russell Township

Make streets safer

I am one of “those” residents of Bainbridge who happens to utilize South Main Street on a daily basis.

I applaud the efforts of South Main residents stepping up their vigilance of keeping the Valley safe.

I couldn’t agree more that “things” have changed over the years and we need to change to meet our challenges.

On a daily basis we are challenged to figure out how to share our world with each other while accommodating personal preferences of the slow, the old, the young and the fast.

Traffic surveys and our senses are clashing and jockeying for position to be the correct final source of truth. If you don’t live somewhere then how can you have the sense of noise, sound and the whoosh you feel across your face on the tree lawn? Cameras don’t feel it and are lengthy lawsuits.

Let’s gift each other with sense. Try something innovative that nobody else is willing to do. Allow electric golf carts in town – real quiet and slow and easy on the

senses (by the way, now legal in Ohio on roads 35 mph and under). Let’s advocate for sharrows (shared lanes) on our streets outside of town and maybe even in town.

Reduce the speeds on roads in and out of town. Maybe there should be physical reminders as traffic calming strategies.

Marj Melchreit


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