Memorial benches now available at Wick Recreation Area

Whether as a remembrance of a life well-lived or celebration of a special occasion or event, a commemorative gift is a unique and meaningful way to honor a friend or family member. When looking for an opportunity to honor or memorialize a special person, consider investing in a tribute bench and supporting Mill Creek MetroParks in the process.

Mill Creek MetroParks currently has several tribute bench locations available at the Kurinka Children’s Play Area in Mill Creek Park’s Wick Recreation Area, located on Youngstown’s west side. The Wick Recreation Area is the most highly utilized family recreation destination in Mill Creek MetroParks. A bench in the Children’s Play Area will be a visible and lasting acknowledgement of your gift. A limited quantity of benches are available.

Mill Creek MetroParks will be honored to play a role in your thoughtful expression of generosity. Your gift will recognize someone special while providing a desirable amenity for park patrons to enjoy and appreciate. Honor someone special and share your passion for the MetroParks. Call MetroParks at 330.702.3000 to inquire about the tribute bench program at the Wick Recreation Area.

A Successful and Safe Kids Bike Safety Day!

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

In July, Safe Kids of Akron Children’s Hospital and Mill Creek MetroParks teamed up to present Kids Bike Safety Day at Fellows Riverside Gardens! We had a great turn out! Kids of all ages came out to get fitted for helmets, learn important bike safety tips, and participate in a coloring contest!

8406Demonstrating important bike safety was Mill Creek MetroParks’ Police Officer, Christian Hunter! Officer Hunter and I had a chance to talk about bike safety and he provided me well some additional facts and information about how kids can stay safe on their bikes this summer and into the fall.

ER: Officer Hunter, why is bike safety so important?

CH: I think one of the reasons bike safety is so important is because of the sheer volume of people on bikes! Just about everybody has a bike, rides a bike, or comes into contact with people on bikes. This has led to 726 fatalities and 4900 injuries in 2012. Every year approximately 300,000 kids go to the emergency room and approximately 10,000 have injuries that require a few days in the hospital.

ER: What are the safety requirements for wearing a helmet?

CH: The bike helmet safety standard that is currently required by law in the United States is from the Government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission. A nonprofit organization called the Snell Memorial Foundation proposes higher safety standards. The details of these standards and the tests used in the process can be viewed on their websites. Wearing a helmet saves lives, and reduces the number and severity of injuries, but it’s important to make sure they fit properly. The helmet should be level on the head. When the rider looks up the front of the rim should be barely visible to them. The Y of the helmet side straps should meet just below the ears, if adjustable. The chinstrap should be tight enough that when the rider opens their mouth very wide the helmet pulls down a little bit. The skin around the rider’s eyebrows should move slightly when the helmet is moved front to back and side to side. If the helmet has a rear stabilizing strap, snug it up to the head. If you can put a palm against the front of the helmet and push the helmet up and back with a light push, more fitting is required. If the rider can shake their head around and dislodge the helmet adjust the straps more. Address any final comfort issues.

44848ER: What are the safety requirements regarding the bike?

CH: The bike is your vehicle. It’s important to have the right vehicle and make sure your vehicle is in proper operating condition to meet the demands that you and your environment put upon it. Stand on the ground with your bike between your legs. There should be 1-2 inches between you and the top tube of the bike or 3-4 inches if a mountain bike. The seat should be level and the seat height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knees when the leg is fully extended. The handle bar should be approximately the same level as the seat. Check the condition of your vehicle. ABC QUICK. Check the AIR in the tires. Use a pressure gauge to compare your pressure of your tire with the number listed on the side of your tire. Make sure there is no obvious signs of damage to the tire or sidewall of the tire and make sure the treads are not too worn out. If the sidewall has “threads” showing, replace the tire immediately. Check the BRAKES. Hold the brake down and roll your bike back and forth. Check the pads for proper wear. Check brake cables and make sure they are not frayed anywhere and that they travel smoothly. Replace frayed cables and lubricate them and ensure they travel smoothly. Check the CRANK. It’s the bottom bracket, the crank arms, and the chain ring- basically the parts leading from your pedals into the bike. Grab a pedal and crank arm in each hand and try to move them sideways. If the both move you have a problem with the bottom bracket. If one moves there is a problem with the crank arm is most likely loose. Never ride a bike with a loose crank arm. Check the QUICK release on your front hub if you have them. You want them tight but not too tight. The proper pressure is obtained by pushing the lever just hard enough that it leaves an impression on the palm of your hand. Keep the lever pointed op when its closed sow it is less likely to catch on anything as you ride. Become familiar with further maintenance techniques, such as changing a flat tire, and practice them and carry a small bike tool kit in a pouch on your bike. Do not try to fix something you don’t understand. Walk the bike if needed and possible. Keep a cell phone in a bike pouch and use it if you need to!

ER: What should kids wear when riding their bikes?

CH: A helmet of course! Also wear bright colors. Not just bright but neon, fluorescent, or reflective clothing. White has been proven to not be visible enough. Reflective tape, stickers, or flashing lights are great. Put some tape or a rubber band around a pant leg that may become caught in a bike chain. Bike gloves protect the hands and polarized sunglasses help reduce glare on sunny days. Athletic shoes with good tread are okay for an occasional leisurely ride but nothing beats a dedicated bike shoe/cleat. Avoid flip flop/ open toe footwear or anything that fits poorly. Make sure a backpack, shoelace are anything else will not get caught in a chain. Don’t wear headphones. You need to hear your surroundings.

ER: Where should kids ride their bikes?

image84004CH: I like to see kids riding in areas with little to no traffic and with the supervision of an adult if possible. Kids need to check with their parents about where there allowed to ride and how far they can go and whether they can ride on the sidewalk or the street. Children under 10 are recommended to stay off the streets. The Mill Creek MetroParks offer an abundance of areas where vehicle traffic has been eliminated. These include the East Cohasset Drive Trail on the North side of the Park, the East Golf Trail on the South side of the Park and the 10.6 mile MetroParks Bikeway that extends through Canfield and Austintown. Vehicle traffic has been reduced to one lane on the East Newport Drive on the East side of the Park. With the Mill Creek MetroParks and other parks and bike paths in our area, there are many safe, beautiful places to ride your bike. People should to choose to utilize locations like these more often. Kids should not ride at night. You always need to watch for hazards. There are basically 3 types: surface, visual, and moving. Common surface hazards include holes/cracks, curbs, loose sand/dirt/gravel, drainage grates, puddles, etc. Common visual hazards include sun/glare, parked or moving vehicles, landscape/ vegetation, buildings, pedestrians, weather conditions [fog/smoke/wind], reduced light/darkness, etc. Common moving hazards include motor vehicles, other cyclists/ wrong way cyclists, open car doors, “parked” cars pulling in or backing out, pedestrians, dogs/animals. Even on a bike trail you may encounter a lot of these hazards. Keep in mind that that dog on a leash may run 6 feet or more in front of your path. Stay as far to the right as you safely can and don’t ride against the flow of traffic. That other person you are passing will probably not see or hear you coming so say ” passing on the left” ahead of time. A bike horn or bell is great to let people hear you coming. People tell kids to be quiet a lot. When you’re on your bike it’s a good time to let yourself be heard! Make some noise!

ER: Any final “rules of the road?”

CH: Some “rules for the road” to help kids and anyone else: Always keep your hands on the handlebars. Stop and look both ways before you leave your driveway/alley/curb. Walk your bike across busy intersections using the crosswalk and follow the traffic signals. Ride as far to the right as safely possible, going the same way as traffic. Never ride against the flow. Use bike lanes or designated bikeways whenever you can. Don’t get too close to parked cars because the car door can open quickly. Ride single file. Be predictable- do not swerve or change direction quickly if you do not need to. Bikes are vehicles. Bikes are subject to the same rules as cars and other vehicles. That means among other things, you have to obey the traffic signs and traffic laws.

Learn hand signals and use them when you safely can.

Biking is a great way to travel, exercise and just have fun! Learning to ride a bike, and do it safely, is part of growing up. Apply what you have learned every time you ride your bike. Mill Creek MetroParks Police might see a child wearing their bike helmet, and when they do, they might just give them a “Sweet Citation” for a free Dairy Queen ice cream cone!

Thank you Officer Hunter for some really great tips on staying safe while riding a bike! Just because Kid’s Bike Safety Day is over doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice proper safety procedures. Continue to wear your helmet and demonstrate appropriate bike safety and earn a free cone!

Throwback Thursday: Mill Creek Park

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

This Thursday, let’s throw it back with naturalist Ray Novotny and learn about some of the history of Mill Creek Park!

Blast from the Past

ER: What is the history of Mill Creek Park?

image001RN: A positive vote by residents of the city of Youngstown on April 6, 1891 established Youngstown Township Park District (Mill Creek Park) as the first park district in the state of Ohio. So in early October we’ll be 123 and a half years old! Cleveland Metroparks became our state’s first metropolitan park district in 1917. Of course, through another vote, we converted our Ohio Revised Code park district status from township to metropolitan in 1989.

ER: What was Volney Rogers’ involvement in Mill Creek Park?

RN: He was born in 1846, the same year Mahoning County was created out of southern Trumbull and northern Columbiana counties and the Canfield Fair began. In the late 1880s, while working as an attorney here, his walks in the Mill Creek Gorge captivated and refreshed him. After he learned that logging and quarrying were on the horizon, he devoted his time to saving the area as a public park. And he spent the last three decades of his life caring and fighting for it. For many years, and especially recently, when I’m with visitors in the park, I like to say that if not for Volney Rogers, we wouldn’t be able to be in the park on that given day. We owe it all to him. What an honor indeed for me to stand in for him at his posthumous induction into the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Hall of Fame in Columbus on December 5, 2000. At the podium, I mentioned how appropriate for this recognition to occur the first week of the last month of the year: he came into this world on December 1st and left it 73 years later on December 3rd.

ER: What are some of the oldest places in the Park and their particular history?

image003RN: Well, our sandstone is millions of years older than dinosaurs, but let’s not go back quite so far. Two mills immediately come to mind. What is now Pioneer Pavilion began as a woolen mill in 1821. Later it served as a storage area for the early iron furnace nearby. We renovated it in 1893! And just a few years ago, the park updated the kitchen. Pioneer Pavilion is available to rent, and a wonderful place for up to 100 people. If readers haven’t been there, they should definitely put in on their bucket list. German Lanterman and Samuel Kimberly built the third mill in the gorge from 1845-46. It operated for 40-some years. The year after its establishment, the park acquired it “to preserve the relic.” Before the 1980s renovation, the structure served several purposes; my favorite being The Old Mill Museum, 1933-1982. I did extensive research on this facility for twenty years and could write many pages. I’ll sum it up by saying that, during its era, it was not only my favorite, but also many others’. At least a million and a quarter visitors viewed the nature and history exhibits displayed there.

ER: Any closing thoughts?

RN: In an article I wrote years ago, I referenced the list of “Mill Creeks” kept by the United States Board of Geographic Names. I just accessed it online: almost 1,700 Mill Creeks in our nation! I’m proud to say that the best one is right here!

Thank you Ray! Ray has worked at the MetroParks for many years and is very knowledgeable regarding the history of Mill Creek Park. To learn more about the history of Mill Creek Park, send us an email at!

Live! at the Morley with Easy Street

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

Closing out the MetroParks Summer Concert Series is the one and only Easy Street! Head down tonight to the Judge Morley Pavilion at 7 p.m. to experience a lively performance by Easy Street!

Before the show, I had the opportunity to speak with Todd Hancock about the group.

ER: How did Easy Street come about?

image006TH: Easy Street Productions, Youngstown’s only professional stock theater troupe and was founded by Todd Hancock and Maureen Collins in 1988. Originally gaining notoriety by staging Youngstown’s longest-running musical “Pump Boys & Dinettes” for a full two year run at the Uptown Theatre, they have since gone on to stage full-scale Broadway productions at the DeYor Performing Arts Center including Annie, The Will Rogers Follies, Beauty and the Beast, Hello Dolly, The Music Man, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as well as their annual Christmas Spectacular Miracle on Easy Street. Throughout Easy Street’s twenty-six year history, they have raised over a million dollars for local charities, enriched the lives of young people through their musical theater workshops, and have established a brand of family entertainment that is unsurpassed in the tri-country area.

ER: What is the makeup of Easy Street?

TH: Easy Street’s size depends on the show, sometimes topping over 100 cast members but for our Morley concerts we traditionally bring 5 to 7 vocalists, a small gang of our Easy Street Little Rascals, and the 8 piece Easy Street Little Big Band. Soloists include Maureen Collins, Todd Hancock, James McClellan, Natalie Sprouse, and Colleen Chance with other special guests from the Easy Street family of regulars.

ER: What type of music does Easy Street perform?

TH: Show tunes as well as big band and “rat pack” standards with a little pop, country and a few 50’s & 60s classics for fun.

image007ER: Besides Live! at the Morley, where can we expect to see Easy Street?

TH: Easy Street Productions usually produces 3 major musicals a year at the DeYor Performing Arts Center as well as smaller concerts and youth theater shows at our studio on Mahoning Ave. For more info and schedules visit our website at

ER: Any closing thoughts?

TH: Easy Street Productions is the only musical act that has been booked every single year since the Morley Pavilion was built 20 years ago and the MetroParks’ Summer Concert Series first began!

Wow Todd! Thank you! We are always pleased to have and enjoy Easy Street’s performance! Come join us for our last concert of the summer tonight at 7 p.m. at the Judge Morley Pavilion!

Transformation Tuesday: Children’s Play Area at Wick Recreation Area

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

3On Friday, May 30, at the James L. Wick Jr. Recreation Area, Mill Creek MetroParks celebrated the grand opening of the new Julianna Kurinka Children’s Play Area. With summer well underway and the play area being used by children of all ages, I am particularly interested in how far the area has come. Let’s take a look at the playground at Wick that has transformed into the modern Julianna Kurinka Children’s Area!

In order to get a closer look at this amazing MetroParks transformation, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Planning Manager Justin Rogers who worked closely on this project.

According to Justin, the first playground was constructed in the early 60’s and updated in the early 90’s. For over 15 years, the MetroParks has been updating and replacing playgrounds throughout various MetroParks’ facilities. As of 2007, the Wick Recreation Area Master Plan was completed, and recommended improvements to the playground and surrounding area. The plan called for a complete overhaul of the playground site and updates to utilities, walkways, and additional site furnishings. The previous playground at Wick had a climber unit with slides and platforms, a few adjacent swing sets, and a spray basin.

While many projects within the master plan were completed in recent years, a monetary gift from the Julianna Kurinka Trust kick started the planning and construction of the new Children’s Play Area to further implement this aspect of the Wick Master Plan.

The new Julianna Kurinka Children’s Play Area encompasses four distinct play areas for varying age groups. The Adventure Playground is designed for older children ranging from ages 5-12 years old.

“The Adventure Playground includes some challenging components requiring upper body strength, agility, and coordination. The equipment is more modern in scope with various moving parts paired with traditional slides and swings,” said Justin. “Components of the Adventure Playground like the play web and rotating dish are extremely popular and give this age group fun and challenging

The Tot Playground is another component to the Children’s Play Area as it caters to 2-5 year old children. This nature themed playground is intended to be very interactive for little ones.

5“The elements of the tot playground resemble elements in nature,” said Justin. “There are trees, rocks, a tree house climber, musical instruments and a nature scavenger hunt. This playground is partially built on poured in place rubber surfacing making it safe for impact. In fact, all play areas have resilient surfacing for impact in order to keep children safe. There is also a sand component that adds to the four distinct play areas. This section of the playground includes a sand element with climbing rocks. Children are able to dig and find buried fossils. There is also a water element that allows children to build and make trenches.”

Last but not least is the Wet Playground. Not yet constructed, this area will complete the fourth play area of the Julianna Kurinka Children’s Play Area. According to Justin, “This area will feature different spray components. Again, it is designed to be interactive for all ages while promoting a healthy social aspect. The Wet Playground will give kids a different experience with different elements while continuing the nature theme throughout the area. Plans are moving forward with design and construction of the Wet Playground anticipated in the near future.”

The design for the Julianna Kurinka Children’s Play Area was created by the team of Mill Creek MetroParks and URS Corp. The general construction for the site work was completed by Parella-Pannunzio Inc. This project also spanned across many departments here at the MetroParks including Planning, Operations and Horticulture.

Justin also explained that even though the playground and equipment was replaced and updated, the project was a complete site redesign. In addition to the Children’s Play Area, other projects were completed to rejuvenate the Wick Recreation Area including:

  • Rehabilitation of the Bresko Pavilion
  • New concrete pedestrian walkways
  • Upgraded utilities
  • New site lighting and furnishings
  • New benches, trash cans, drinking fountains
  • Three new lighted sand volleyball courts
  • Site landscaping with native plants
  • New signage
  • Sled hill improvements

“All of these project components create the ultimate family destination in the MetroParks, and further enhance the regional significance of the Wick Recreation Area, the MetroParks’ main active recreation center,” said Justin.

Thank you Justin! This is truly an incredible transformation within Mahoning valley’s gem. As summer is nearing an end, grab the kids, pack a picnic, and head to the ultimate family destination in Mill Creek MetroParks for a fun-filled, family-oriented experience!

Live! at the Morley with The River’s Own

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

This week at the Judge Morley Pavilion, the Youngstown based band The River’s Own will perform! At 7 p.m. lead vocalist, Andy Timko will take the stage; however earlier this week, he provided me with great information about The River’s Own!

ER: How did The River’s Own come about?

image002AT: The Youngstown-based country rock band, The River’s Own emerged as a result of the collaboration of lead singer Andy Timko and lead guitarist Aaron Sensabaugh on Timko’s solo project in the summer of 2012. The duo gained momentum by playing numerous acoustic shows throughout northeastern Ohio—ultimately adding drummer Marino November on New Year’s Eve of 2012 and eventually bassist Paul Haller to round out the band’s lineup.

ER: What is the makeup of The River’s Own?

AT: The River’s Own has four members: Andy Timko, lead vocals and guitar; Aaron Sensabaugh, voclas and lead guitar; Paul Haller, vocals and bass; and Marino November, drums.

ER: What type of music does The River’s Own play?

AT: The River’s Own plays an energetic brand of country rock n’ roll music.

ER: Besides Live! at the Morley, where can we expect to see The River’s Own?

AT: The River’s Own has performed all over the region at numerous venues including The Hard Rock Café in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Schmitt’s Saloon in Morgantown, West Virginia, Country Energy Fest in Carrollton, Ohio, The Auricle in Canton, Ohio, as well as various other venues both large and small throughout northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania. Upcoming opportunities to catch The River’s Own Live In Concert include: August 15th at Guilford Lake Grille in Lisbon, Ohio, September 6th at The Dusty Armadillo in Rootstown, Ohio and September 19th at Whiskey Rhythm in Monaca, Pennsylvania. For a complete listing of shows, please visit

ER: Any closing thoughts about the group or feelings about playing in the MetroParks’ summer concert series Live! at the Morley?

AT: The band’s first single, “Carolina” was featured in the January/February edition of American Songwriter Magazine. The River’s Own played at the 2014 Country Energy Fest at the Carrollton County Fairgrounds, an event headlined by Broken Bow recording artist Dustin Lynch (label-mate of the likes of Jason Aldean and Craig Morgan). The River’s Own has also played with numerous successful local, regional and national acts including: Zach Paxson, The Cheaters (Average Joes Records), Jeff Allen (Sony Publishing), The Robbie Jay Band, The Sparrows, The Hawkeyes, Okie Ross, Cody Gibson, Demos Papadimas, and many more. For more information on The River’s Own, please visit or We are very excited to have an opportunity to be a part of the Mill Creek MetroParks’ summer concert series. We feel very blessed and humbled to be able to take the same stage as so many successful and talented artists before us.

Thanks Andy for the great background on The River’s Own! We look forward to hearing the group at the Judge Morley Pavilion! Thank you for sharing your musical talents with us!

For a complete list of concerts during the MetroParks’ summer concert series, Live! at the Morley, visit

Drooling over Dahlias at Fellows Riverside Gardens

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

What’s blooming down at Fellows Riverside Gardens? Dahlias!

image002Located near the Family Garden is FRG’s Dahlia Garden, which is home to 20 different kinds of dahlias. Native to Mexico, this tuberous perennial is just beginning to blossom! To learn more about these colorful and spiky flowers, I had the opportunity to speak with Stan Vuletich – a volunteer at FRG. This is Stan’s third year working on the Dahlia garden and he has some great knowledge regarding these late summer bloomers!

ER: When is dahlia season?

SV: Actually, dahlias just started blooming and are not even in full bloom yet. Dahlias begin blooming in July and continue to bloom through the fall until the first frost. They will be in their prime during September, October, and November as dahlias are a late summer and fall flower.







ER: How do you care for dahlias?

SV: Dahlias require full sun and do not do well in soggy soil. They do best in raised, framed beds where their roots are protected because they run extremely shallow. It is best to use straw and mulch to surround the base of the flower. These plants grow between four to five feet tall, so they must be staked. While the stock looks rather sturdy, it is easily broken. I suggest using a vegetable stake or in the Dahlia Garden, I use broken pieces of steel rebar.

image013ER: Are dahlias particularly hard to care for?

SV: No, dahlias do not require a lot of care. One thing that I cannot stress enough is do not use fertilizer! Due to all of the rain, the nitrogen in the soil has been washed away, so this year’s flowers will be a shorter than usual. However, do not resort to fertilizer to grow your flowers taller!

ER: Can you start dahlias early and harvest them?

SV: Yes. Some gardeners buy tubers and start them indoors to get a jump-start on the season. Dahlias do not handle frost well, so some gardeners dig up the dahlias at the end of the season and store them over the winter. If this seems like too much, skip the storing and start over again in the spring and early summer.
ER: What kinds and colors of dahlias are there?

SV: Some dahlias look like water lilies, orchids, and cactuses. They come in all sorts of colors, except for blue. There are dark red, blush, yellow, white, and all different blends of colors to make these flowers colorful and unique.

ER: What is your favorite type of dahlia?

SV: My favorite dahlia is one called ‘Jessica.’ Jessica is a medium semi-cactus dahlia. It has a yellow base and petals with tips that are red.

Live! at the Morley with Don Burns Orchestra

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

This Wednesday, August 6 at the Judge Morley Pavilion at 7 p.m., Don Burns Orchestra will take the stage! This group will serenade you with their big band sound making for a delightful summer evening at the Wick Recreation Area!

Before their performance, I had the opportunity to speak with Don Burns to get a little background on Don Burns Orchestra!

ER: What is the history of Don Burns Orchestra?

DB: On March 1, 1967, over 30 years ago, the Don Burns Orchestra was formed to perform, promote, and sustain the “great music of the Big Band” era. Originally starting with only 11 pieces, it wasn’t long before the band had grown to its present size. Within the first year the band was performing at dances throughout the tri-county area. Musically, the band was quite good but something seemed to be missing; so more choreography, more originals music and a female voacalist were added. The band got better and better as time went on and we even started doing several “live” radio broadcasts. In the early nineties, we added a new male and female vocalist, a vocal team, and with their talents, we could really increase our versatility. During 1996, we expanded even more by adding our vocal quartet, the Sunrise Serenaders, enabling us to bring the “complete” musical package to the public. Without the dedication and talent of each member of the band, none of this would have been possilbe. So settle back or put on your dancing shoes and enjoy the “great music and showmanship” that only a “truly” Big Band can provide.

image007ER: What is the makeup of Don Burns Orchestra?

DB: The Don Burns Orchestra is comprised of nineteen of some of the best, talented, musical people around with a dedication you wouldn’t believe. My people have been with me from three years to forty-six years. Between you and me, I’ve been very blessed with such great people. We have five saxes, four trombones, four trumpets, guitar, bass, piano, drums and a male / female singers. We also have a vocal group, the Sunrise Serenaders that sang with Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey.

ER: What type of music does Don Burns Orchestra perform?

DB: We play original music from the famous big band era. We also perform a lot of Glenn Miller and music through the nineties, Swing, Latin, and Ballads.

ER: Where can we expect to see Don Burns Orchestra after Live! at the Morley?

DB: You can see us Thursday, August 14 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. at a free concert in Ramsey Park on Ohio Ave in McDonald, OH. Also we are performing at Cascade Ballroom on Washington Street in New Castle, PA. This is on Friday, September 5 at the three hour Big Band Dance from 8 – 11 p.m. It is $10.00 per person.

ER: What are your feelings about playing in Mill Creek MetroParks’ summer concert series, Live! at the Morley?

DB: You can’t find a nicer place; beautiful performance stage and great park people to work with. We have had the pleasure of performing there almost every year for 46 years and I am very thankful for the opportunity to do so. The Judge Morley Pavilion is the premier place in Youngstown.

Thank you Don! We are so grateful for the Don Burns Orchestra’s dedication to the MetroParks and cannot wait to hear the group’s big band sound this week!

For a complete list of concerts during the MetroParks’ summer concert series, Live! at the Morley, visit

Live! at the Morley with JD Eicher & the Goodnights

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

image001This week during Mill Creek MetroParks’ summer concert series, JD Eicher & the Goodnights will be playing Live! at the Morley!

Getting ready for the performance, I had the opportunity to speak with JD Eicher and get some background about the group.

ER: How did JD Eicher & the Goodnights come about and what is the makeup of the group?

JE: I started performing original material as a solo act at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. After a couple years, JD Eicher & the Goodnights was formed with the goal of building a fuller sound around the music. Founded circa 2007, the band is Jim Merhaut (bass/backing vocals), Ben Portz (keys/backing vocals), Dylan Kollat (drums/percussion), and JD Eicher (vocals/guitar), though there have been lineup changes over the years. Members currently reside in the Youngstown and Pittsburgh areas.

ER: What type of music does JD Eicher & the Goodnights play?

JE: We play a mix of original music and popular covers by acts like Tom Petty, Coldplay, Tracy Chapman, and more. Our goal is to create meaningful, listenable music, along with dynamic live performances.

ER: Besides Live! at the Morley, where can we expect to see JD Eicher & the Goodnights?

JE: Shows span across the eastern half of the country, though throughout the summer we’ll be staying primarily in Ohio and PA, performing at festivals, venues, and music series. Please take a look at our shows listing at for shows near you! More Youngstown area dates are currently up on the calendar.

ER: Any closing thoughts about playing in the MetroParks’ summer concert series, Live! at the Morley?

JE: We’re very grateful for the chance to perform for the series. It’s a beautiful setting, and we’re excited about having the opportunity to play a free, all ages concert of this scale in the hometown area! For more information, people can visit We also have three records available on iTunes and at concerts.

For a complete list of concerts during the MetroParks’ summer concert series, Live! at the Morley, visit

Grab some friends and head down to the Judge Morley Pavilion on Wednesday, July 30 at 7 p.m. to hear the hometown melodies of JD Eicher & the Goodnights! We hope to see you there!

Kid’s Bike Safety Day at Fellows Riverside Gardens!

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

Young Girl On Bicycle Outdoors SmilingMonday, July 21, 2014, Mill Creek MetroParks and Safe Kids of Akron Children’s Hospital present Kid’s Bike Safety Day! Located at Fellows Riverside Gardens, Kid’s Bike Safety Day is a fun educational event that promotes bike safety to help your riders stay safe! There will be free bicycle helmets and fittings, MetroParks Police officers demonstrating safe riding skills, fun activities, and giveaways!

In addition to the great information provided to you and your kids at Kid’s Bike Safety Day, Safe Kids of Akron Children’s Hospital’s Gia Ramsey, Injury Prevention Coalition Coordinator, provided me with some helpful information about bike safety!

ER: Gia, can you give us an idea of how many child biking injuries occur yearly?

GR: Each year almost 100 children are killed and 250,000 children are injured riding bicycles. Also, although many people are aware that helmets are important or own them, only one out of four children actually wear them.

ER: What are the safety requirements for helmets?

GR: Children and adults should wear helmets that fit properly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Helmets should fit snugly, level, on top of the head. When looking toward the sky, the brim of the helmet should be visible. The straps should make a “V” under the ears and be tight under the chin when the mouth is opened wide.

The Helmet How To: Quick Check

  • Eyes: Look up and see the bottom rim of the helmet. This should be one to  two finger widths above the eyebrows.
  • Ears: Make sure the straps form a “V” under the ears when buckled. The straps should be snug but comfortable.
  • Mouth: Open you mouth as wide as you can. Do you feel the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten those straps and make sure the buckle us flat against     your skin.

ER: What are the appropriate bicycle requirements?

GR: You always want to make sure that the bicycle is the proper size and in proper working order before riding. As your children grow, the size of their bicycle and helmet should too. But, don’t get one that they will grow into in the future. When sitting on the seat, the child’s feet should be able to touch the ground. Before each ride, make sure that the reflectors are secure, brakes are working properly, gears shift smoothly and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.

ER: How can someone check this?

GR: Local bike shops have professionals available to help with proper bicycle fit. If possible, have the child fit the bike before purchasing it.

ER: Where should kids ride?

GR: Children under 10 years old should be limited to riding on sidewalks (although be careful for driveways), parks or bike paths. No matter where you ride, teach your child to stay alert and watch for cars and trucks. For children over the age of 10, they should follow the rules of the road. Bicyclists should ride on the right side of the road with traffic, using appropriate hand signals. They should understand and respect traffic signals, stop signs and stoplights. Teach them to stop, look left, right and left again before entering an intersection. Always make eye contact with drivers to ensure they are paying attention before crossing the street. Look back and yield to traffic coming from behind before turning left. Children should be able to demonstrate riding competence and knowledge of the rules of the road before cycling with traffic.

Where to ride in the MetroParks:

There are many places to take your bike out for a spin, but there are certain places in the park that are designated for bikers of all ages but are especially safe for kids!

  • The MetroParks Bikeway: This 11-mile paved trail is part of the Great Ohio Lake River Greenway. With numerous trailheads and a variety of scenery, bikers can safely travel this linear park to explore, experience, and enjoy a healthful ride.
  • East Golf Hike/Bike Trail: This is a 1.5 mile trail that runs from Route 224 to Shields Road and provides an asphalt surface for bikers.
  • East Cohasset Hike/Bike Trail: This 1.5 mile asphalt surfaced drive provides a scenic route above Lake Cohasset.

All of these MetroParks trails are closed to motorized traffic and provides bikers with a safe route to ride. These places are perfect for the kids to ride their bikes and practice appropriate bike safety!

ER: What type of obstacles should kids look out for?

GR: Always be aware of your surroundings and terrain when riding. Look ahead for potholes, rocks and other obstacles!

ER: Any last minute tips and tricks?

GR: You’d be surprised how much kids learn from watching you, so its extra important for parents to model proper behavior. Wear a helmet, even if you didn’t when you were a kid. Actively supervise children until you’re comfortable that they are responsible on their own.

Sweet Citations:

From now until September 30, your safe riders will be issued “sweet citations” by the MetroParks Police for practicing correct bike safety in the Park! When a MetroParks officer sees cautious kids wearing appropriate attire, being careful, and of course wearing their helmet, the officer will grant them a coupon to Dairy Queen on Market Street for a one free small ice cream cone!

Thank you Gia for all the helpful guidelines on bike safety! Come out and learn more at Mill Creek MetroParks’ and Safe Kids of Akron Children’s Hospital’s Kid’s Bike Safety Day! And remember, no matter where you’re riding, wear a helmet!