|Kiwaniscope Volume 5, Number 6
District Kiwanis's Award-Winning Bulletin
Are We Sure That He’s Really 80?
By Revolto Rivera; Investigative Birthday Reporter
In 1923 in America, alcohol was illegal, Calvin Coolidge became the President,
Rudolph Valentino was starring in silent movies and dance marathons began.
Also that year, a young boy was born (most children are young when they are
born, you know) to a proud family in Iowa. That boy, Ernie Milton Ploghoft,
may have been shaped by the experiences of Coolidge,
Valentino and dance marathons, but only he can tell us that for sure.
Since “Uncle Milty”, aka “Grampy” or “Dad” did
not know about this article, though, he couldn’t be interviewed about his
experiences with dance marathons or the “Flapper Age” of fashion, so this
reporter had to go undercover. That meant more than just looking up
items about 1923, such as how the song, “Yes, We Have No Bananas” was popular
during this time. This reporter dug a little deeper and interviewed Ploghoft’s
inner circle, the people he trusts most with his dealings and travels.
He calls them “The Family.”
Zella Ploghoft, often referred to as “The Wife” or “Granny”
or “Mon” or sometimes even “The Shark,” claims she met her husband in Maryville,
Missouri when her “friends” apparently set them up. “I think it was just
planned with my friends, “Zella Ploghoft said. “Uncle Milty” swept her off
of her feet with a romantic first date that melted Zella’s heart. She
remembers this dashing young man that took her out and would eventually take
her around the world with him.
While most people know “Uncle Milty” as a college professor,
Zella pointed out that he also worked for a time as a taxi driver in Maryville
and as a reporter for the Clarinda Herald Journal in Clarinda, Iowa.
He also coached a varsity boy’s basketball team while teaching. The
Ploghofts lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, for a time, while “Uncle Milty” taught
at the University of Nebraska.
“Uncle Milty” lived in Nigeria for two years and Zella and their four children
joined him for one of the years. “It was hot,” his daughter, Shelley
Cooper, said about their time in Nigeria, “It was boring.”
Shelly remembered when they first moved to Athens in
1957, her father was principal at her school, “We used to walk to school
together,” Shelly said.
Shelley’s brother, Phil, had a different reaction to
their time in Nigeria, “It was really exciting,” Phil said. It was
just after the country had gotten its independence. It was a new country
and we met a lot of interesting people.”
Nigeria was a good experience for the whole family and
a few years ago they named a building there after Milt. Phil remembers that
his older brother, Milt, did a little boxing with his Dad. Milt said
that his Dad was a pretty good boxer and he was a lot of fun to play all
kinds of sports.
Dad is a wonderful grandfather, also. Grandson Nick Stewart said his grandfather
always is a lot of fun and will even swim with the kids late at night when
they visit. Nick said, “He would take me out even if he was feeling
bad, not any ordinary grandpa will do that.”
Grandson Tyler Stewart said that his Grandpa is very
smart and he likes to crack jokes. Tyler claimed that he gets all of
the jokes too. Granddaughter Tammy Claussen remembers going to the office
with Grampy and work for him. “Sometimes I would type up fake things
for him; I thought
it was really cool,” said Tammy Tammy started the tradition of taking Grampy
to school for show and tell. “A ton of my teachers, especially in elementary
school, had had him for a professor. That was cool because everybody
would know me when I would tell them who I was and they would like me,” Tammy
Grampy is now a Great-Grampy and his Great-Grandson,
Ben, is six. “He’s funny,” Ben said. He claimed that he got all
of Grampy’s jokes. Son-in-law Ed Cooper has known Milt for more than 20 years.
“He is the easiest guy to talk to that I have ever met,” Cooper said.
“He can talk to us guys out here, or he can probably talk to George W. Bush.”
I’m not sure Bush would like to hear what Milt has to say to him, but I imagine
it might be like how Robert Glidden talks to the refs at OU basketball games.
Ed and the family travel to Las Vegas with Milt frequently,
where Ed said Milt is a high roller. “Out there they call him “Mr.
Ploghoft, Sir,” Milt started teaching in 1943 and he came to Ohio University
in 1957. He has enriched the lives of everyone around him and he has been
family member and friend. Milt has been an active Kiwanian for many years
and served as president in 1989-90. We want to wish him a Happy 80th
Birthday and many more.
May 5, 2003: Roy Lewandowski, County Extension
Agent, told us all we need to know to prepare for Spring planting of flowers.
May 12, 2003: Kevin DeWeese, Lt. Governor of Ohio
University Circle K Club gave a report on the work of Circle K at O.U.
There are six divisions of Circle K Clubs in Ohio; Kevin is Lt. Governor
for the Buckeye Trails Division with Circle K Clubs at Muskingum College,
Marietta College, Shawnee State University and Ohio University. Kevin
would like to start a WEB page
for the Division and provide each club with a brochure which they can use
to promote membership. (See page 7 for map of Circle K Clubs in Ohio.)
May 19, 2003: Cathy Jacobson, Athens City-County
Health Department, brought us up to date on Homeland Security. She
reported on a mock disaster that took place at the OU airport in Albany.
The situation involved a airline jet landing at the OU airport with a terrorist
on board threatening to use biological weapons. Many agencies were
involved. Several firemen went down
from heat and the mock disaster response was called off early. (See page
4 for more information.)
May 26, 2003: Charles Hammer, Athens City-County
Health Department Director, enlightened us on a Revolutionary War Hero buried
in an unmarked cemetery near Millfield. His name was Solomon Tuttle
and he was born in Vermont in 1757 and fought in the Revolutionary War with
the Green Mountain Boys who were led by Ethan Allen in 1775. Charles
is leading a campaign to properly resurrect the tombstone for Solomon Tuttle
and give it proper recognition. See page 7 for more about Ethan Allen’s “Boys.”
(This is a project that our Kiwanis Club can help.)
June 2, 2003: Tina Jeffers, Athens County Registrar
and Kiwanis member, will tell us about changes in License and Registration
Laws. (Board meeting will be held after the meeting. Board meetings
will be held after the first meeting of the month from now on.)
June 9, 2003: Rollie Swart will describe the work of The Athens Foundation.
June 12, 2003: Ray Skinner will be making
a presentation at the Senior Beat History Group at 1:30 p.m. in the Community
Room in the basement of O’Bleness Hospital. He will show slides and
tell about the “Hocking River Barge” which was discovered in the bank
of the Hocking River near Stewart.
June 16, 2003: Hector Flores will discuss “Alcohol
June 17-18, 2003: The Athens County Historical Society
and Museum is sponsoring a two-day tour to the homes and museums of Presidents
McKinley and Garfield at Canton and Mentor.
June 19, 2003: Ray Skinner will be making a presentation
at the June 19 Ohio University Emeriti Association luncheon meeting at the
OU Inn. He will be teaming with Herschel McNabb to describe the
June 21, 2003: Our Kiwanis Club will serve pancakes
and sausages for the Relay for Life event.
June 23, 2003: Gerald Powell will tell us about
General John Hunt Morgan and his raid across Southern Indiana and Ohio during
the Civil War. Most of his men were killed or captured near Buffington
Island in Meigs County, but he led the rest of his Raiders across Athens
County and was not captured until he reached Columbiana County.
June 30, 2003: Program to be announced
Thought for the Month
BY DOING JUST A LITTLE EVERY DAY, I CAN GRADUALLY LET
THE TASK COMPLETELY OVERWHELM ME.
Proposed Slate of Officers
President - David Redecker
First Vice President - Tom Taggart
Second Vice President - Pat Sheridan
Treasurer - Barbara Sesher
Secretary - David Wickham
Board of Directors Class of 2003-2005
Bob Toy (for unexpired term of Pat Sheridan)
Board of Directors Class of 2002-2004
(see Bob Toy above)
Retiring Board of Directors Class of 2001-2003
Joke of the Month
A Kiwanian staggers into an emergency room with two black eyes and a five
iron wrapped tightly around his throat. Naturally the doctor asks him
what happened. “Well, it was like this,” said the man. “I was
having a quiet round of golf with my wife when she sliced her ball into a
cows. We went to look for it and while I was looking around, I noticed
one of the cows had something white at its rear end. I walked over
and lifted up the tail and sure enough, there was my wife’s golf ball.. stuck
right in the middle of the cow’s butt. That’s when I made my mistake.”
“What did you do?” asked the doctor. “Well, I lifted the tail of the cow
and yelled to my wife, ‘Hey, this looks like yours!’”
Homeland Security Advisory System: Security &
Citizen's Protection Guide
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the availability
of a new publication to help individuals prepare themselves and their families
for disasters. Are You Ready? A Guide to Citizen Preparedness (FEMA publication
H-34) brings together facts on disaster survival techniques, disaster-specific
information, and how to prepare for and respond to both natural and man-made
Are You Ready? provides a step-by-step outline on how to prepare a disaster
supply kit, emergency planning for people with disabilities, how to locate
and evacuate to a shelter, and even contingency planning for family pets.
Man-made threats from hazardous materials and terrorism are also treated
in detail. The guide details opportunities for every citizen to become involved
in safeguarding their neighbors and communities through FEMA's Citizen Corps
initiative and Community Emergency Response Team training program.
The interest in disaster preparedness has increased
dramatically since the terrorist attacks on September 11. Are You Ready?
is designed to help Americans take responsibility and get prepared by having
a plan in place to protect your family and your home or business.
"Taking personal responsibility for the safety of our families, our neighbors
and our nation is critical to ensuring damages and losses from disasters
are limited," said FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh. "Every American needs to
participate in preparing their families so that we - as a nation -
are all better prepared."
"Everyone needs to know how to respond to any disaster that could occur in
their communities. That includes both natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes,
earthquakes and tornadoes - as well as manmade disasters such as terrorism
and accidents involving hazardous materials," said Allbaugh.
Kiwanians in the News
Pat Sheridan volunteered his auctioneer’s services
to the March of Dimes fund-raiser in connection with the WalkAmerica at OU’s
Tail Great Park. (Where is the Tail Great Park?)
Ray Skinner will be making a presentation at the Senior
Beat History Group on June 12 at 1:30 p.m. in the Community Room in the basement
of O’Bleness Hospital. He will show slides and tell about the “Hocking
River Barge” which was discovered in the bank of the Hocking River
The Ohio Historical Society has identified it as a rare
archeological discovery and has covered it with rip rap to preserve it until
a suitable place can be found to put it on display.
Also, Ray will be making a presentation at the June
19 Ohio University Emeriti Association luncheon meeting at the OU Inn.
He will be teaming with Herschel McNabb to describe the Elderhostel
Program. Ray and Marilyn have attended or directed 49 Elderhostel Programs
all over the United States and one in England.
Since we are concerned about making our Serendipity Ship playground safe
for the Beacon School kids, an article in the April issue of the Kiwanis
magazine is very appropriate reading for our members. Here are excerpts
from that article.
“If golf courses were maintained in the same manner
as playgrounds, there would be great hue and cry,” says Donna Thompson, director
of the (US) National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS). “Children
deserve playgrounds that consistently are safe. If children are our
most precious attribute, then adults have a responsibility to provide safe
playgrounds so children can do what children do best -- and that is play.”
But statistics suggest kids are doing more than just playing. Highlights
of a study on playgrounds published by the (US) Consumer Product Safety Commission
€ Each year, more that 200,000 preschool and elementary
schoolchildren receive emergency room care for injuries that occur on playground
€ The majority of injuries -- 76% -- happen on public
playground equipment; the rest occur on equipment manufactured for home use
or on homemade equipment.
€ Falls to the playground surface contribute in 79%
of all injuries, both at home and on public equipment.
€ The most prevalent diagnoses are fractures (39%),
lacerations (22%), contusions/abrasions (20%), and strains/sprains (11%).
€ Most injuries on public playgrounds are associated
with climbing (53%), swings (19%), and slides (17%).
The Kiwanis involvement in building, maintaining and
supporting community playgrounds makes Kiwanians natural leaders for bringing
safety to the forefront of public discussion. In keeping with Kiwanis’
dedication to enabling physically and mentally challenged children to enjoy
fulfilling lives, many clubs have outfitted playgrounds with special equipment
for better access.
For 2003, NPPS has announced that April 21-25 is National Playground
Safety Week. Let’s make our Serendipity Ship playground a model for safety
for our Beacon School kids
Check out our WEB site:
Solomon Tuttle Was One of Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain
Ethan Allen spent a considerable portion of his life in the effort to achieve
independence for what is now Vermont, commanding (1770-1775) an irregular
force called the Green Mountain Boys, so named in defiance of the New York
threat to drive Vermont settlers off the fields and "into the Green Mountains."
The "Yorkers" at one point put a bounty of £60 on Allen's head, to
which he responded by offering his own of £25 on any of the officials
At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) he led the expedition
that captured Fort Ticonderoga in the first colonial victory of the war (notwithstanding
the fact that he and the Boys basically knocked on the door, walked in and
took over). He would soon thereafter attempt a badly planned, badly executed
assault on Montreal which would result in his being imprisoned by the British
and thus removed from further participation in the Revolution.
After the War, he continued the campaign for Vermont statehood, a goal which
was not to be achieved during his lifetime.
Allen was no military genius, rather an overbearing, loud-mouthed braggart.
He was also a staunch patriot who apparently did not know the meaning of
fear. More importantly, he had the loyalty of the Green Mountain Boys, as
unruly a bunch of roughnecks as any in history. (Solomon Tuttle was
one of the roughnecks.) He could control them better than anyone else,
and they would follow him anywhere. George Washington would write of Allen,
"There is an original something about him that commands attention."
History records Ethan Allen as having demanded the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga
"in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress." According
to historian and folklorist B.A. Botkin, one Israel Harris was present at
the time, and later told his grandson that Allen's actual words were "Come
out of there, you g__d__ old rat!"