Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Big turnout celebrates Highlight Heights playground opening

By Sun News staff
October 05, 2009, 11:32AM
By Andrew Attina, Correspondent

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS- Children from Millridge Elementary School and Millridge Center for Hearing Impaired had fun Sept. 16 trying new playground equipment.

The event featured a ribbon-cutting by Mayfield Schools Superintendent Phillip Price and Highland Heights Mayor Scott Coleman.

A group of 10 Millridge parents spent the previous Saturday installing the equipment after the school received a grant from a non-profit organization known as Kaboom.

Tracey Ricchiuto, a mother from the school, submitted a proposal for the grant. With the approval, Kaboom required the funds be matched by the school.

"A Mile-4-Millridge," a fundraising walk in May, raised $9,200, which provided the school with its half.

"The equipment that was here was old and rusty," Ricchiuto said. "With good equipment to play on, the kids have fun and go back to the classroom more focused."

The other stipulation was family from the school handle the installation as part of a "community build."

So, after some preparation earlier in the week, the parents, along with both principals, Lou Kindervater and Mary Myers, got to work.

"It starts out slow with digging and drilling," said foreman Mike Seredich of Snider and Associates, the Kaboom approved contractor that was required to be on site. "After that, the actual installation of the equipment goes quick."

After nearly eight hours the installation was complete. A variety of new equipment was in place, including Tether and Funnel Ball games, and a Bing Boing. The F-2 Spinner would prove to be the new favorite as children lined up awaiting their turn on the night of its opening.

"The effort here is what makes the schools and this community great," said Dan Greve, a parent who helped with the installation. "It’s about giving back and this shows pride and ownership."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A sneak peek at early samples from Nike

A sneak peek at early samples from Nike

Pictures of some samples of future Nike gear that teams might be using next spring. Below you’ll see mock ups for Ohio State and Hopkins, arm guards for Navy, Hopkins, and Ohio State, and arm pads for North Carolina, Cornell, and Hopkins.

The gloves are Nike Huarache gloves, and arm guards and arm pads are Nike Vapors.

Local Residents LOVE their new FREE Outdoor Fitness Equipment!

Local Residents LOVE their new Outdoor Fitness Equipment!
Located on a small patch of ground nestled in-between tennis courts, athletic fields and a playground that only sees heavy usage on the weekends, the Garden Grove Rec Department sees constant daily usage of their new outdoor fitness equipment; by residents of all ages and fitness levels.
“It gives the community Free Fitness” says Lee Schneider, President of Greenfields Outdoor
. “People constantly comment as to the economic benefit of not having to pay to join the
local health club or having to pay dues at the local Rec Center, as well as the fun and
convenience of getting a low-stress workout out in the fresh air” said Schneider. “Residents
intimidated or typically not pre-disposed to visiting an indoor gym find an opportunity to feel
better about themselves in addressing basic cardio, flexibility and toning exercises; all at their
own pace”.
Maintenance professionals appreciate the durability of the equipment, designed to withstand
the rigors of daily use, as well as withstanding the weather. As the largest supplier of outdoor
equipment in the world, Greenfields has literally thousands of systems in use worldwide, in
areas as cold as Alaska and as arid as the desert southwest.
Products previously only found inside community rec centers, such as ellipticalʼs, leg-presses,
upper-body machines, rowing machines and recumbant bikes now dot the landscape across
the country; being used in park settings, nature trails, schools, home owners associations and
corporate facilities to name a few. “During this era of limited budgets, because our equipment
gets used each and every day that the weather allows, and because of the small initial amount
of money required, outdoor fitness equipment has become an increasingly popular option to
otherwise larger and more expensive equipment projects”.
“Offering residents free outdoor community fitness, helping them feel better about themselves
in promoting a healthy lifestyle, and genuinely doing something that addresses the ongoing
challenge of community obesity; Greenfields is proud to be the largest and most tenured
supplier of outdoor fitness equipment in the world, and equally proud to have the midwestʼs
finest, Snider & Associates, as our exclusive fitness representatives”.
Visit Snider & Associates online at Snider & Associates for more
information on providing YOUR community Free Outdoor Fitness!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Schneider Park beginning to take shape - Canton, OH -

Schneider Park beginning to take shape - Canton, OH -

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PLAIN TWP. — .A generous donation and a state grant have helped advance the development of Schneider Community Park.

Township officials are hoping residents can begin using portions of the park next year.

“I’m just glad we have something happening there now,” Plain Trustee Al Leno said of the park’s development.

Plain Township bought the former cornfield on the south side of Schneider Street NE, across from the GlenOak High School campus, in 2006 for $1.27 million. Trustees have relied on community suggestions as the park has developed.

Plans are to create an area for passive sports and recreational activities, including picnic areas and hiking trails.

Already in place is a picnic pavilion donated by the Junior Order of United American Mechanics, Washington Council and installed by Snider & Associates, Inc. of North Royalton, Ohio. The organization spent about $37,000 installing the pavilion and donating picnic tables, said Todd Alexander, parks superintendent.

“It’s a big shelter. It’s almost an oversized shelter. It’s nice,” Leno said.

Right now, the shelter — setting on the east side of a hill that rises at the park’s center — is a focal point for the park.

Next year, township officials plan to install a playground area just to the north and down the hill from the pavilion. A parking lot will be built on the east side of the property, providing access to the pavilion and playground.

South of the parking lot, several acres will be set aside for a dog park.

Alexander and Leno hope all the work can be finished in 2010. How much is completed will depend on the cost. The township has about $300,000 — collected through estate taxes — set aside for the park.

“We’ll use the money that’s budgeted,” Leno said.

Bolstering township money is a Nature Works grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that will help pay for playground equipment.

Plain Township will spend $113,990 to buy and install the playground. Once the work is finished and inspected by ODNR workers, the township will receive the $59,320 grant. The money will go back to the fund set aside for park development.

Because of funding, the park is being developed in phases. The picnic area and playground are part of the first phase, along with the parking lot and dog park.

The parking lot will be built first, Leno and Alexander said. They hope the expense can be offset by having township road crews do some of the parking area’s construction.

Money remaining after the parking lot is built will be used to develop three to four acres in the southeast corner for the dog park. Alexander said the dog park will be Schneider Park’s niche offering for residents.

Alexander and Leno figure it will be a few more years before the park’s western portion is developed. Plans call for a lake, an amphitheater, more parking and other amenities.

Until that portion can be developed, Alexander hopes to cut hiking trails. He wants to take exercise equipment that had been at Alpine Park and use it on one of the trails, creating a course that combines hiking with calisthenics.

The township also is working with Stark Parks to tie in with the countywide hiking trails being developed. Plans call for a trail to go around the GlenOak campus perimeter and cross Schneider Street into the new park.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rules & Recommendations for Basketball Equipment

Safety Arrester - As stated in Rule 1, Section 11, Paragraph 2 of the Men's and Women's Basketball Rules and Interpretations, "It is recommended that a locking device/safety arrester be used for ceiling and wall-mount backboard systems that are retracted by motor-pulley cable arrangements."

What are the benefits? - The auto-loc safety system puts safety belts on your backstops protecting against loss or damage of equipment and injury to spectators. A simple and effective way to insure safety in your facility.

Rim Restrainers - "The basket must be securely attached to the backboard support system with a rim-restraining device. Such device will ensure that the basket stays attached, even in the event that the glass backboard breaks." Men's and Women's College and High School Rules.

Check for these problems and needs:


Backboards - Bottome Edge and Corners

  • Padded backboards: satisfactory or replacements necessary

Backboards - Ceiling Suspension

  • Cable stress
  • Metal stress
  • Ceiling attachments check for loose or broken bolts
  • Motor running smoothly
  • Auto-loc safety straps present
  • Condition of all hinges
  • Pipe caps at the bottom of ceiling suspended backstops should be padded

Wall Suspended Units

  • Auto-loc safety straps present
  • Turnbuckles tight
  • Bracing rigid
  • Wall backs secured
  • Wall padding on all impact areas
  • Chain operated winches should be replaced with cable winches
  • All hardware tight

Call you local Snider & Associates representive for any questions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Limited EPA Study Finds Low Level of Concern in Samples of Recycled Tires from Ballfield and Playground Surfaces

Limited EPA Study Finds Low Level of Concern in Samples of Recycled Tires from Ballfield and Playground Surfaces

Release date: 12/10/2009

Contact Information: Dale Kemery 202-564-7839 202-564-4355

December 10, 2009

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released results of a limited field monitoring study of artificial-turf playing fields and playgrounds constructed with recycled tire material or tire crumb. The study was intended to gain experience conducting field monitoring of recreational surfaces that contain tire crumb. EPA will use the information to help determine possible next steps to address questions regarding the safety of tire crumb infill in recreational fields.

“The limited data EPA collected during this study, which do not point to a concern, represent an important addition to the information gathered by various government agencies,” said Peter Grevatt, director of EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection. “The study will help set the stage for a meeting this spring, where EPA will bring together officials from states and federal agencies to evaluate the existing body of science on this topic and determine what additional steps should be taken to ensure the safety of kids who play on these surfaces.”

Recycled tire material, or “tire crumb,” is used in many applications, including as a component in synthetic turf fields and playground installations. In response to concerns raised by the public, EPA conducted a limited “scoping study” of tire crumb, which consisted of collecting air and wipe samples at three locations near EPA laboratories at Raleigh, N.C., Athens, Ga., and Cincinnati, Ohio. Sampling also was conducted in the Washington, D.C. area.

The limited study, conducted in August through October 2008, found that the concentrations of materials that made up tire crumb were below levels considered harmful. However, given the limited nature of the study (limited number of constituents monitored, sample sites, and samples taken at each site) and the wide diversity of tire crumb material, it is not possible, without additional data, to extend the results beyond the four study sites to reach more comprehensive conclusions.

The study confirmed that most of the methods tested were accurate, reproducible and appropriate for measuring concentrations of tire crumb constituents and therefore can be used in future studies.

Study findings

Particulate matter, metals and volatile organic compound concentrations were measured in the air samples and compared with areas away from the turf fields (background levels). The levels found in air samples from the artificial turf were similar to background levels.
No tire-related fibers were observed in the air samples.
All air concentrations of particulate matter and lead were well below levels of concern.
More than 90 percent of the lead in the tire crumb material was tightly bound and unavailable for absorption by users of the turf fields.
Zinc, which is a known additive in tires, was found in tire crumb samples. However, air and surface wipe monitoring levels of zinc were found to be below levels of concern.

EPA is aware that studies by other agencies were undertaken or completed while this survey was under way. EPA is planning a 2010 meeting with federal and state agencies to review all new study data and determine next steps.

More information on artificial turf:

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Urban Play

Five Best Practice Themes for Urban Play

1. Design for Compelling Play Environments:
Communities should design play environments that are compelling and meet the unique needs of diverse urban users. Engaging a variety of stakeholders, through participatory design, is critical for ensuring best practices for multigenerational inclusion, integration of natural elements, increased physical activity, safety, and equitable access to the space.

2. Create Playgrounds as Crime Prevention Programs:
Communities should view commercial playground equipment as crime prevention assets by considering visibility in the design, establishing proactive partnerships with local law enforcement and neighborhood groups, and by keeping the playspace active and well maintained.

3. Offer Programs on the Urban Playground:
Public park playground equipment environments and outdoor fitness equipment should market free play and supervised play programs that promote high levels of physical activity and learning while maximizing joint use opportunities, providing playleaders for supervision and play facilitation, and utilizing mobile play programs for additional reach and interest.

4. Execute Partnerships for Play:
Partnerships should be established to strengthen the variety and reach of play opportunities for a broader reach of play resources, facilities, and programs while also increasing usership and ensuring sustainability over time. Public, private, and non-profit partnerships should be considered for play funding, programming, and community development.

5. Develop an Urban Playground Master Plan:
A comprehensive and collaborative master plan should be developed for play and playgrounds that includes a current asset management plan; provides guidance for the overall goals, objectives and strategies for strengthening play; specifies funding cycles; monitors implementation; and ensures continuous improvement.

Contact your local Snider & Associates representative to learn more about Urban Play, commercial playground equipment design and outdoor fitness equipment.

Aquatic Fitness

Check out this video on the newest line in Aquatic Fitness! Video

Our aquatic fitness equipment provides a zero impact workout that will not strain weight bearing joints. Hydrostatic pressure improves blood circulation and helps decrease water retention. Investment in Aquatic Fitness Equipment from Snider & Associates will enable aquatic facilities to maximise use of existing pool space, broaden the client base, retain customers and increase profits. Become part of the quickest growing trend in Aquatics today!

Call Snider & Associates, Inc. at 1-800-888-2889

Friday, December 4, 2009

Choosing the right ADA playground equipment

Choosing the right ADA playground equipment
All children love to play on the playground regardless of ability. Unfortunately, much of the existing commercial playground equipment in our parks and at schools is not handicap accessible. This lack of accessible playground equipment creates a separation between kids with and without disabilities.
In order to encourage all children to play together on the playground certain playground features should be added where possible
• Playground site access – make sure there is a sidewalk leading up the playground area
Playground Surfacing - use a certified playground safety surface per ASTM F1951 for accessibility
• Ramps - wheel chair ramps for access to the playground equipment
• Railings – where necessary install railings for assistance
Swings – playground equipment manufacturers have custom seats for those with physical disabilities
• Ground Level Play – Play panels, sandboxes, ADA sand diggers, upper body interactive devices
• Overhead ladders(monkey bars) - American Disabilities Act has a guideline for them to be 53″ high x 36″ wide x 10 feet long
• Experts – Consult your local commercial playground equipment dealer to help create designs that are specific to your park or school
By creating a universal playground environment that is conducive to play by kids with all abilities we can assist in reducing the barriers of all children having fun on the playground. In the end it is all about the FUN!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Playground Winter Maintenance

With cold weather on the way winter can do strange things to our facilities. Playgrounds are not exempt from experiencing winter conditions. Three of the most common occurrences you should be aware of for the children's safety.

1. Plastic play components tend to contract or shrink in cold temperatures. This can lead to bolts that were once tight and secure to be loose. This danger could mean a failure in the play piece and potential injury to a child. Be on the look out for loose hardware and correct if necessary.

2. If there is moisture retention in your loose fill safety surfacing (i.e. sand, pea gravel, engineered wood fiber, etc.), it will freeze when the temperature drops below the freezing mark. When the surface is frozen, the impact attenuation (head impact criteria) properties of your loose fill system are lost. Please check your surface frequently in the winter weather and if it is frozen the play area should not be used.

3. Frost can also shift the soil. Most playgrounds have a containment system for their loose fill surfacing. Typically they are wood or plastic timbers that use a stake to keep it in place. If you have one of these systems please check periodically to make sure the stakes have not shifted upwards. If they have shifted they can cause trip hazards and other potential problems. During your periodic surveys of the playground check the stakes and correct if necessary.

If you would like a more in depth discussion about playground safety or are looking to start your 2010 playground goals please call us. Your local Snider & Associates representative would be happy to meet and talk.

Playground Winter Maintenance

With cold weather on the way winter can do strange things to our facilities. Playgrounds are not exempt from experiencing winter conditions. Three of the most common occurrences you should be aware of for the children's safety.

1. Plastic play components tend to contract or shrink in cold temperatures. This can lead to bolts that were once tight and secure to be loose. This danger could mean a failure in the play piece and potential injury to a child. Be on the look out for loose hardware and correct if necessary.

2. If there is moisture retention in your loose fill safety surfacing (i.e. sand, pea gravel, engineered wood fiber, etc.), it will freeze when the temperature drops below the freezing mark. When the surface is frozen, the impact attenuation (head impact criteria) properties of your loose fill system are lost. Please check your surface frequently in the winter weather and if it is frozen the play area should not be used.

3. Frost can also shift the soil. Most playgrounds have a containment system for their loose fill surfacing. Typically they are wood or plastic timbers that use a stake to keep it in place. If you have one of these systems please check periodically to make sure the stakes have not shifted upwards. If they have shifted they can cause trip hazards and other potential problems. During your periodic surveys of the playground check the stakes and correct if necessary.

If you would like a more in depth discussion about playground safety or are looking to start your 2010 playground goals please call us 800-888-2889. Your local Snider & Associates representative would be happy to meet and talk.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Metro Parks Wetland Park

After voters approved a tax hike in May, Franklin county Metro Parks plans to open a new park in 2011. The project will develop a 500-acre wetland and will end up being the largest such project in Ohio.

Historically the site was a wet prairie and woods, and with a budget of $1 million, the Metro Parks hopes to restore this natural park and add trails, boardwalks, and observation decks. A new parks operations manager and assistant park manager as well as six full-time workers will be in charge of maintaining the greenways trails, as well as new rangers to patrol them.

This new Wetlands Park should prove to be a bird watchers mecca with birds like the Sandhill Crane which has been moving back to Ohio in the past few years. Along with the Sandhill Crane, a 500-acre wetland will attract hundreds of variety of bird back to the area and provide bird watchers with a new area to frequent.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pennsylvania's new five-year Outdoor Recreation Plan focuses on outdoor activities

Pennsylvania's new five-year Outdoor Recreation Plan focuses on outdoor activities

Concussions Hard To Spot, Need Serious Attention

Playground Safety - Concussions can happen on the playground. All parents should pay attention to playground safety surfacing before letting their kids play. If it is not adequate per ASTM and CPSC standards then it should be corrected.
At least 12" of wood fiber(playground mulch) should be under all equipment.
For other surfaces it varies based on manufacturers testing.

Concussions Hard To Spot, Need Serious Attention


If your child falls and takes a blow to the head in sports or on the playground, would you know the symptoms of a concussion?

Often the injuries are not limited to sports and the signs can be hard to spot, 10TV's Tracy Townsend reported.

Blake Norris found out firsthand that football hits are hard and fast.

The boy, 12, received a concussion after a hit in football practice, but he and his family did not realize it until two weeks later.

"When I got hit I went down to the ground, my right side of my head went down on the ground real hard," Norris said.

Despite taking a hard hit and getting sick, Norris continued to practice with Lancaster's Ewing Junior High football team.

The first hit had caused a concussion and he mild brain injury was compounded as Norris continued to practice-- and re-injure himself, Townsend reported.

The neurologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital called it second injury syndrome - when a child can reinjure themselves by trying to be a brave football player.

Studies show children often try to play through the pain and concussions are often called silent injuries - because the symptoms go unrecognized.

Symptoms of concussion can range from headaches, dizziness and nausea to vomiting and difficulty concentrating in school.

Those with undiagnosed concussions are at risk for disability or brain damage.

More than 400,000 children are treated each year in emergency departments with hard knocks they have taken during contact sports, or from falling from a bike or playground equipment.

"We think that they're very prevalent one of the problems is they're under reported because kids don't recognize the symptoms," said Dr. Richard Rodenberg, with Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Treatment starts by allowing the bruised brain to rest. It often means sitting a child out sports activities and in some cases, school work.

In the concussion clinic at Nationwide Children's Hospital, the experts can measure progress using neurocognitive tests of concentration, memory and reaction skills.

"If we can see them early enough, hopefully get them out of their activity, allow them to recover. Hopefully it makes a faster recovery and ability to get them back to their sport," Dr. Rodenburg said.

Charlotte Myers plays soccer and at just 16 has already had three concussions.

"My freshman year when I had my worst one that affected my school work-- I couldn't read, I couldn't focus my eyes enough to go to the next line in reading," Myers said.

Myers is back in the game after being sidelined from contact sports for eight months. She wears a concussion headband to soften any blows she might take to the head.

"The main thing I would say is don't take your concussion lightly that's what I did if you take a hit have a headache or feel dizzy definitely take a week off," Myers said.

"I just wish that was what happened. Unfortunately it's not and that is why I'm just advocating, when in doubt, sit them out," said Blake's mom Nancy Stewart.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association said it works with team coaches to recognize signs of concussion.

It relies on school doctors, physicians and coaches to prevent students from competing before they are medically cleared.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Circle of Rubber

Nike has started a program to turn old athletic shoes into playground surfaces and athletic venues. Since 1990, Nike has recycled more than 24 million pairs of shoes and remains one of the only companies to reuse all parts of their worn out product.

Every shoe breaks down into three basic parts: the cloth, the foam, and the rubber. The cloth and foam are put to work in athletic venues such as basketball courts and tennis courts, while the rubber is ground down, purified, and turned into playground surfacing.

Today, most of Nike’s shoes contain recycled material in some form or another and the irony is that you may be walking around in someone else’s shoes next time you hit the track, field, or your home town playground.

Whether it’s the road to sustainability, the right thing to do, or just going green, Nike has proved its dedication to making our playgrounds a better place.

If you are interested in taking part, you can visit or simply mail your old shoes to…

Nike Recycling Center
c/o Reuse-A-Shoe
26755 SW 95th Ave.
Wilsonville, OR 97070

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Trend: Playground Design by Kids

Who better to help design a playground than the very people who will be using them? Various non profit organizations have begun to turn to kids for design ideas as both a good way to save costs as well as instill a sense of community.

Teens from the Indio club submitted suggestions and ideas for their playground and their input was put into the final design. Construction is expected to take place in one day.

Children from Valley Oaks Charter School also took part in the design process of their playground by submitting design ideas to KaBoom!, who finalized and built the playground, also in one day.

If these experiments are successful, perhaps we can expect to see more playground designs by the kids who use them.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Beneficial Designs hosts international tour |

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

12 Playground Hazards

"The Dirty Dozen" - 12 Playground Hazards

Jarod's Law may have been repealed in Ohio but national safety standards for playgrounds were around before it and will continue long after it. The playground industry has been complying with ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and CPSC (US Consumer Product Safety Commission) codes for years.

As most of us in the industry are parents and caregivers, we are responsible for providing safer play opportunities for our children. It is our goal to promote children's rights to play in a safe environment and to promote the importance of play in their development.

We encourage you to familiarize yourself with potential playground hazards. Below is an overview of the top 12 safety hazards in playgrounds. Please contact your local Snider & Associates, Inc. representative if you desire a more in depth understanding of safety on playgrounds.
  1. Improper Protective Surfacing
  2. Inadequate Use Zone
  3. Protrusion & Entanglement Hazards
  4. Entrapment in Openings
  5. Insufficient Equipment Spacing
  6. Trip Hazards
  7. Lack of Supervision
  8. Age-Inappropriate Activities
  9. Lack of Maintenance
  10. Crush, Shearing and Sharp Edge Hazards
  11. Platforms with No Guardrails
  12. Equipment Not Recommended for Public Playground

Click here for Other Sources of Playground Safety Information, or call us at 1-800-888-2889 to help.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Playground equipment grant seminar

I am going to attend a grant seminar to see if I can get some playground equipment grants
Here is the information
this looks like a cool ride down a slide coaster

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grant Seeker help

Hey someone just posted this site to my linked and I wanted to share it with all those looking for playground equipment or playground grants good education seminars

New Schedule Released! November Nonprofit Grantseeker Education at the Foundation Center-Cleveland
New Schedule Released! November Grantseeker Education at the Foundation Center-Cleveland Grantseeking Basics November 4, 6pm November 17, 10am Register: Proposal Budgeting Workshop November 6, 9am (all day) Register: Introduction to Fundraising Planning November 10, 1pm Register: Your Board and Fundraising November 10, 2:45pm Register: Before You Seek a Grant: A Checklist for New Nonprofits November 11, 6pm Register: [Features special guest, Matthew Rossman of the Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic Center] Proposal Writing Basics November 17, 1pm Register: Electronic Resources for Finding Funders November 24, 1pm Register:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Basketball in Ohio - More than a game - Lebron James

Access is everything.
When a then-22-year-old film student named Kris Belman decided to shoot a project on an astonishing high school basketball team in his Akron, Ohio, hometown, media sharks were already circling.
One of the "kids," a giant teen named LeBron James, had already been on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
"It was a huge challenge getting access to the team and getting in front of the coach to even pitch," says Belman, director of what became the acclaimed documentary, More Than A Game.
"Finally, the public-relations person for St. Vincent-St. Mary got me a meeting with Coach Dru, and I remember her saying, 'Good luck. We just turned down 60 Minutes and LeBron just turned down Letterman.' "
Instead, the green light was given to the hometown kid with an assignment for a 10-minute film about four kids from the Akron 'hood who played together from age nine, and who insisted on attending high school together. They even had the same coach throughout -- Dru Joyce II, the father of their teammate, "Little Dru."
"Inexperience seemed to be working in my favour," says Belman. "They told me I could film one practice. And I kept coming back and nobody told me to leave.
It was a tough assignment geographically. Belman was attending L.A.'s Loyola Marymount. "All my classmates in L.A. were giving me such a hard time for being from the Midwest, y'know the assumptions were that I was a farmboy. So I decided to do something to show them that there's more to my hometown than farms and Goodyear. It was self defence in a way."
The so-called Fab Four -- James, Little Dru, Willie McGee and Sian Cotton -- had already morphed into a Fab Five with the addition of Romeo Travis, when Belman arrived on the scene.
"I picked them not so much for the LeBron factor, but for an article I'd read in the Akron Beacon-Journal that had stuck with me, where it mentioned four of the boys had played together since fourth grade." He was delighted to find a wealth of home-movie and video footage -- including archival TV coverage of their 8th grade AAU national championship final (the playground rats lost to an elite team on the final shot by LeBron).
"It's definitely a different beast now," Belman says. "Ten years ago, this movie wouldn't be the same. But in the last decade, everyone has a video camera of some sort."
Maxing out credit cards to keep flying from L.A. to Ohio, Belman rode out a turbulent championship senior season for the Fab Five, marked by constant attempts to have James stripped of his amateur status -- for driving a HumVee for example (his mom was given a loan for it, based on her son as collateral).
They finally succeeded in having him suspended for accepting a free jersey from a sporting goods store. The suspension lasted one game, leaving the team in the position of having to win a do-or-die playoff game against elite competition without their superstar.
"It's one of those things that, if this film was scripted nobody would believe it -- winning without LeBron, or Little Dru going out and hitting seven threes in a row. It would just seem cheesy or contrived, except that it actually happened."
Time passed, and Belman had little to show for his movie except a B-plus. But when it debuted at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, it became a surprise hit - finishing second to Slumdog Millionaire for the People's Choice award.
"The film itself hasn't changed since Toronto, but we got Nike and Coke aboard, and there was a soundtrack album" (with songs by the likes of Soulja Boy, T.I. and Chris Brown). "None of those songs are actually in the film, they're 'inspired by.' Except the end title song is by Mary J. Blige, from the album.
"But I want aspiring filmmakers to know those companies weren't there before Toronto. This was a grassroots, independent film. I don't want young filmmakers to think, 'I don't have Nike behind me. What chance do I have?' "

Friday, October 9, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

How to Organize a Playground Cleanup

Organize a Playground Clean up Day

Organizing your playground cleanup day with 3 easy tips

A) Start with group of kids at heart

Your idea will be more attractive if the kids can see how joining the cleanup would benefit them. This is why it’s important to start with a small group of kids—either your class or your kid’s friends—who all regularly use the playground. Starting small is important, especially since this will be your first. Mistakes will be made, and a small group will be easier to “damage control.”

B) Get parents involved

Getting the support of fellow parents is very crucial. They should be aware of this activity. It would be great if the parents actually work with their kids, to lead by example and to make sure their children are safe. This is a very good opportunity to bond with the kids, and to work together for the children’s cause.


Safety should be top priority before and during the cleanup. Make sure that the kids understand which part of the playground they’ll be working on. Rules should be set before the cleanup for both parents and kids. Make sure that the area is covered with rubber mulch flooring to prevent accidents and injuries.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Keep Your Child Safe on the Playground

Doctors treat more than 200,000 children in emergency rooms every year for accidents on the playground. Most of the children who are hurt are under age 14 and with the weather nice and warm, our little ones are going to want to be out for a swinging time.

Pediatricians want to remind us what we can expect if we take our eyes off our children and forget to keep them safe. Here's what Dr. Kimberly Giuliano, Pediatrician, says they see in emergency rooms. "Minor injuries, cuts and scrapes, those kind of things. We get things that are a little more serious, broken bones and in very, very severe circumstances, even death from what seemed to be just a routine playing activity."

Doctors say adult supervision is the easiest way to prevent an injury. Keep your child in full view in the playground, especially if the child is under five. Parents should keep an eye out for unsafe surfaces. Playground safety surfaces like wood chips, bark mulch, wood fibers, sand, pea gravel, shredded tires and rubber mats can help cushion falls. Avoid concrete, grass and dirt surfaces, they're too hard. A fall of ten inches onto concrete has the same impact as falling several feet into mulch.

Look over the playground equipment before your child climbs all over it. Make sure everything is anchored to the ground, there's nothing loose or rusting or missing.
If your child falls, don't hesitate to have a physician check out any injury. It is better to be cautious than to be sorry for letting, what seemed like a minor injury, develop into something more serious or even life-threatening.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Is it really Wood Fiber?

Is it really Wood Fiber?
Over the last 20 years, engineered wood fiber has been the most utilized surfacing in the commercial playground industry. It is very affordable, will last for years, and it meets basic ADA accessibility needs. Due to its popularity, there are numerous sources producing engineered wood fiber. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of companies producing similar wood playground surfacing that is either sub-par material, or simply wood chips or mulch. In addition, many credible companies rely on local mills to manufacture and deliver the material. How can you be sure that you are getting the real thing?
First we need to define engineered wood fiber. Thankfully, ASTM has done this for us and set a standard for the industry. According to ASTM F2075, engineered wood fiber is defined as “processed wood that is ground to a fibrous consistency, randomly sized, approximately ten times longer than wide with a maximum length of 2 in., free of hazardous substances, and meets the criteria of this specification.” [i] The standard goes on to set 3 basic requirements:
1. Size – a sieve analysis is used to determine compliance
2. Metal Particles – no metal particles in excess of ½” are allowed
3. Heavy Metal Concentrations – the standard on Toy Safety is referenced (F963) [ii]
Unless you are a testing laboratory, you probably don’t have the equipment to perform a sieve analysis or a quantity of hydrochloric acid to extract the heavy metals. So the question remains – how can you be sure you are getting the real thing? There are several steps that you can take to protect your interests.
Qualify the Source
IPEMA has set up a third party certification to test suppliers’ materials ( Not only do they verify compliance to ASTM 2075, they test for compliance to ASTM F1292[iii] to make sure that it meets fall-height standards. They also ensure that appropriate quality control standards are in place. While IPEMA certification goes a long way towards protecting the consumer, it does not guarantee that you are getting the right product delivered from a mill. In addition, just because surfacing material is not IPEMA certified, this does not mean that it is not Engineered Wood Fiber. Many local mills produce a quality product, but do not participate in the program.
Ask for documentation. All suppliers should have testing reports verifying compliance with ASTM F1292. They should also have appropriate product liability insurance covering the material being delivered for the intended use. Make sure that they have a written specification for their product and that it states compliance to ASTM F2075. Ask for a written warranty and compare it to other sources. Finally, ask for references and go look at it. A supplier will give you their best references which will give you a standard to compare it to when delivered.
Check the Load
Do not allow delivery if you are not able to be there to check it. It is a lot easier to reject a load before it is dumped on the site. Being there also allows you to dictate where it is delivered if the play area is not accessible by the carrier. Engineered Wood Fiber is generally delivered by a 55’ live bottom trailer, so site limitations can affect how near the material can be delivered. Most of the time a driver will not be willing to drive over a curb or sidewalk for fear of damaging the vehicle.
When the driver arrives, ask to inspect the load. You will notice that the trailer is not completely full. Like a box of cereal, the load will generally settle some during transit. Also the quantity is often limited by weight restrictions. If there has been a lot of rain, the engineered wood fiber will be moist, and weight limit may restrict the truckload to 75 or 80 cubic yards. The product should be almost all wood with very little bark in it. There should be very few – if any – pieces over 2” in length. Look for colors. If you see any red, blue, or other non-wood colors, you can assume you are getting non-virgin wood. Some suppliers will supplement their loads with material from pallets, countertops, and other scrap sources. Do not accept this material. You cannot presume that there are no toxic chemicals in the wood or nails from shredded pallets. It is best to stick with virgin material. The last thing you need is for a child to play on surface material consisting of shredded pallets that were used to carry a toxic chemical that leaked – not to mention the nails!
Look for large pieces. Even the best supplier will have a couple in a load as they can slip through the screens. However, an unscrupulous mill may remove the screens to speed up production. If there are a lot of large pieces – reject it. An eight year old child can find a lot of creative uses for a spear or sword- sized piece of wood, but you probably don’t need the liability exposure.
If a load is already dumped or installed and you find that it is not up to standards – demand that it is removed immediately. Do not accept a discounted price or favors. If you specify and order engineered wood fiber, the supplier has a responsibility – not just to the buyer, but the children using it – to deliver engineered wood fiber. Anything else will be a liability hazard. You do not know if it meets fall heights, it may not be accessible, and it may have toxic materials. Many municipalities will supply mulch from yard waste for free. This is not an appropriate material for a public playground. Not only is it usually chipped rather than ground, it can have a lot of dangerous materials in it. Free mulch can turn into a school wide poison ivy epidemic or worse - an expensive legal problem. A properly qualified source will protect you from legal issues and remove the question of negligence – which is the key factor in the difference between a suit that is thrown out and a large verdict or settlement.
Get a third party involved
Have a qualified auditor inspect and audit the play area when complete. This ensures that an unbiased professional is certifying that what you have contracted to be done was done within the parameters of the ASTM guidelines. It is another layer of protection for you and also responsible risk management.

[i] ATSM F2075 Standard Specification for Engineered Wood Fiber for Use as a Playground Safety Surface Under and Around Playground. For the complete document, visit the ASTM website,, or contact ASTM customer service at
[ii] ATSM F963 Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety. For the complete document, visit the ASTM website,, or contact ASTM customer service at
[iii] ATSM F1292 Specification for Impact Attenuation of Surface Systems Under and Around Playground Equipment. For the complete document, visit the ASTM website,, or contact ASTM customer service at

bigger playground with new sitcom

Amy Poehler gets a bigger playground with new sitcom
By Bill Keveney, USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES — Amy Poehler was Hillary Clinton. Her latest persona, Pawnee, Ind., deputy parks and recreation director Leslie Knope, would like to be.
Poehler has traded Hillary and all her other Saturday Night Live characters for just one: Leslie, the hugely ambitious but dangerously naive bureaucrat at the center of the new NBC comedy Parks and Recreation (Thursday, 8:30 ET/PT).
"Her office is filled with everyone from Bella Abzug to Hillary Clinton to a picture of a suffragette whose name she doesn't know," says Poehler, 37, who says she has no plans to reprise her popular Hillary impersonation. "Leslie likes to put herself among very important female political figures. She has no idea of her status and where she fits in."
Focusing on just one character, Poehler has the time to find a depth that wasn't available at SNL, where the helter-skelter, do-or-die pace of live, short sketches calls for one broad take and goodbye. Leslie is far more nuanced than hyperactive niece Caitlin or one-legged reality show contestant Amber, both pieces of Poehler's repertoire during seven seasons at the late-night comedy show.
"It's been really fun to do much more subtle work, and a real character that has an arc and that you're starting to get to know," Poehler says during a break on the Parks set. "Leslie has big dreams and little skill. She gets to watch how frustrating it is to get things done."
The actress, who recently became a mother, wears a conservative gray pantsuit adorned with the kind of huge white bow that you won't see in fashion magazines. She shows an inspirational pin that says Above and Beyond, "which is one of Leslie's many mottos."
"There's nothing cool about her," Poehler says, breaking into a hearty laugh. "Every time I put something on and think it's cute, I have to take it off."
Parks follows Leslie as she navigates the parks department, her hopes for building a community park raised and dashed with each turn. It's the kind of high-drama, low-stakes comedy played expertly on The Office, which serves as the lead-in for Parks' premiere.
That isn't the only connection between the shows. Parks shares The Office's mockumentary style and two of its executive producers, Greg Daniels and Michael Schur. It also shares The Office's penchant for finding humor in the ordinariness of people's lives.
"The most important connection to The Office is borrowing its audience — and hoping those who are loyal to the hit sitcom will, at minimum, sample and, at maximum, stay for Parks and Recreation," says John Rash, media analyst at the Campbell Mithun ad agency.
Despite the similarities, Parks is not a spinoff, which was how NBC announced the new series last spring. Daniels says the deal was for a new program, not specifically a spinoff, which takes characters from an established series and transplants them to a new show. (It also requires the payment of rights fees to the original show's creators.) No Office characters appear in Parks.
NBC is still interested in making an Office spinoff, although there is no timetable, the network's entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman says.
Parks is designed to fit the younger-skewing sensibilities of NBC's Thursday comedies, he says. Besides The Office, the block includes two other comedies that also stray from the traditional, studio-audience form: My Name Is Earl and 30 Rock, the latter starring Poehler friend and SNL vet Tina Fey. (Poehler says of SNL and Rock executive producer Lorne Michaels: "I think Lorne has done more for women in comedy than anyone I know.")
Daniels thinks the focus — the wide world of government vs. the interior nature of an office — and Poehler's personality and skill will help Parks stand out from its mockumentary cousin.
"Amy has a distinct sensibility and sense of humor. She can be kind of small, and she can also be very loud and funny and brassy," he says. "The challenge for Mike and me is to capture that."
Silverman sees another trait that can go a long way in TV: "Amy is so genuinely likable … which really comforts you in the living room."
More camcorder, less theater
Poehler was initially unavailable because her due date conflicted with the shooting schedule needed to launch the new show after February's Super Bowl, as initially planned. She and her actor-husband, Will Arnett, are now the parents of Archie, 5 months, who was born near the end of her SNL run.
"Archie is doing great," Poehler says. "Just like every working mom, I'm trying to balance everything, but it's been awesome."
Eventually, Daniels and Schur, who had worked with her at SNL, gave up the prized post-Super Bowl slot for the opportunity to hold on to Poehler, who "might be the funniest human being I've ever met," Schur says.
"I felt that at SNL she was using only one-third of her arsenal," he says. "I hope when people see this show, they think, 'Wow! I'm getting all of what I like about the SNL Amy Poehler but also getting this other version of Amy Poehler that I haven't seen before.' "
As with The Office, Daniels chose the pseudo-documentary style, which goes back at least to Spinal Tap, because it allows the camera to observe the characters from a distance but also to interact with them. Viewers have long been familiar with the traditional multi-camera sitcom style, filmed before a studio audience as if it were a play, but their own experiences have made them more comfortable with the roving single camera, he says.
"I feel like the multi-camera sitcom is based on the theatergoing experience, seeing a very presentational, on-stage kind of thing," he says. "I think the mockumentary is more similar to how you videotape your own life. … I have more experience taping my friends and family with a camcorder than I do going to live theater."
On a production level, the more natural form requires less time for lighting and preparing the set. That leaves more time "to chase the comedy" through extra takes, taking advantage of the improvisational skills of Poehler and other cast members.
In one scene, that process allows Poehler to fine-tune the anxiety Leslie is feeling about a newspaper interview that was meant to promote the park's chances but now looks like it is about to go bad.
She plays Leslie's nervousness and subsequent relief as if they are comedy's version of the musical scales. With each take, the pitch of her voice rises a notch and the fear in her face intensifies by degree. And each escape from that calamity — "Disaster averted" — comes with a slightly deeper sigh.
Deluded but ambitious
At the parks department, Leslie is surrounded by boss Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), who is hostile to the idea of serving the public; colleague Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), a self-serving fast talker who fashions himself a player; and an uninterested college intern, April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza).
Philosophically, Ron ought to squelch Leslie's activism, but it serves his purposes, Offerman says. "She wants to do everything so he puts her in charge of everything and sits in his office doing crossword puzzles."
Her man problems also include the crush she has on once-idealistic city planner Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider). He has forgotten that they once slept together.
After nurse Ann Perkins (The Office's Rashida Jones) complains about an abandoned construction pit, the gung-ho Leslie vows to build a park on the site, even though she has no idea of all the hurdles in the way. "She overpromises in the first five minutes," Poehler says.
The upbeat bureaucrat hopes that her can-do style will lead to the corridors of power in Washington, although she's planning a rather tortuous route: a step up to parks director, a jump to city council a few years later, then to governor and beyond. "She's got a 40-year plan," Poehler says.
While dealing with Tom's ridicule and Ron's negative attitude toward government, Leslie forms a friendship with Ann, Parks' most balanced character.
"It's the coming together of two people who are incredibly different," says Jones. "I like (Leslie's) enthusiasm. I'm so impressed because I haven't had any response from anybody in government until now. She genuinely likes me and seems to care about (the project)."
The common-sensical Ann is willing to put up with Leslie's gaffes and delusions because she represents a break from the frustrating, all-too-familiar bureaucracy. Those miscalculations include an effort to attract support for the park that backfires into public opposition, and a small ethics violation that "convinces her she needs to do a Checkers-like speech," Daniels says.
Leslie "does a lot of studying of the greats of politics: What would Karl Rove do? What would Margaret Thatcher do?" he says. "She's trying to learn from them, but is often misapplying it."

Find this article at:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

White House: Playground issue is mulch ado about nothing

White House: Playground issue is mulch ado about nothing
By McClatchy-Tribune Tuesday, April 7, 2009 U.S. Politics

CHICAGO - President Obama has been dealt a setback in his bid for traction with the green community and it amounts to a pile of ground-up tire mulch.

The mulch, used on a playground for first daughters Sasha and Malia, has raised eyebrows at an environmental health group, which contends it is a health hazard.

“This is not a material that children should be playing on,” wrote Nancy Alderman, president of Environment and Human Health, Inc.

The group said an analysis of ground-up tires done by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station found a carcinogen, butylated hydroxyanisole; skin and eye irritants; material that destroys mucous membranes; and zinc.

Sinai Hospital in New York City concluded in March that "we are suddenly, and belatedly, beginning to realize that synthetic turf fields may, in fact, be associated with health problems in children."

First lady Michelle Obama’s communications director, Camille Johnston, said in an e-mail that the White House followed the recommendations of the National Recreation and Park Association "when choosing and installing the safety surface under the swing set."

Other experts said the use of recycled rubber tire material for such purposes has been shown to be safe over many years.

Johnston has ended the debate for now. The mulch is going to stay, she said. Article URL:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Child Safety Tip Sheets and Movie Watching

We are planning to do a family movie night tonight. There is too much rain to go the playground despite the nice warm-up we have. I did come across this posting by the PTA/PTO regarding safe movie watching.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding this year’s Oscar season and the fascinating movies that made it into theatres and homes.While the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences works to promote great cinema and a connection with the public audience, PTA is working to provide families a way to connect and interact together in their movie-viewing habits.Whether it’s planning a family movie night, or addressing issues such as age-appropriate content and piracy, PTA has compiled a Media and Technology Safety Tip Sheet for Movies.For a downloadable copy, visit

Friday, February 20, 2009



On Friday, February 27, 2009, Governor Ted Strickland will visit Brunswick High School and deliver remarks related to his education reform package for Ohio Schools.

The Governor will address the audience at the Brunswick High School Performing Arts Center at 1:45 PM. His presentation is scheduled to last until 2:10 PM.

We are honored to be the district in Medina County selected for the Governor’s visit. His presentation in the Performing Arts Center (located in the rear of Brunswick High School) is open to the public. There are no tickets for admission.

Please consider this as your invitation to join us in welcoming Governor Strickland to Brunswick. We encourage anyone who has an interest in the future of public education in Ohio to attend.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Significant Legislative Victory for Parks and Recreation

Significant Legislative Victory for Parks and Recreation in Provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The final conference report for the American Recovery and Investment Act issued late last night by the House and Senate Conference Committee did NOT contain language that had been included in the Senate version prohibiting the use of stimulus funds for community parks.
Working late into the night of February 11, and throughout the next day as well, House and Senate conferees worked to reconcile two very different versions of the stimulus bill. A ripper amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) submitted on February 6, had specified that: "no funds in the bill can be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project."
Not surprisingly, the Senate swiftly approved the Coburn amendment by a vote of 73-24, likely because few of them wanted to be seen in the position of voting to allow stimulus funds to be spent on casinos or gambling establishments. However, spending on the very worthwhile and stimulative public sector categories that were specified in this amendment, including "community parks," would have also been prohibited.
NRPA advocates and allies swung into action with an all-out advocacy effort to stop this senseless prohibition from being enacted. Armed with facts and figures on the economic value of local parks and the direct benefits that would result in creating jobs and revitalizing local economies, NRPA advocates convinced Members of Congress and key Congressional staff of the merits of allowing spending of stimulus funds for community parks.
The final conference report language adopted by the Conference Committee states:
"None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool."
Thus, the final conference report ensures that funds in this bill will not be denied to park and recreation agencies for spending on community parks. Some prohibitions remained in the bill language and will thus prevent spending of stimulus funds on swimming pools, public golf courses, zoos, and aquariums, fortunately the final language did not prohibit inclusion of other categorical exclusions such as museums, theaters, and arts facilities, many of which are important park and recreation services to the public.
This was a significant and important victory for parks and recreation, and NRPA thanks the many allied organizations, citizen advocates, and our members for their exceptional efforts to see that funding for community parks was rightfully included in this economic recovery bill. Parks and recreation can and will play a vital role in helping to restore our national economic health and vitality

Thursday, February 12, 2009

James making assist with playground in Phoenix

I just saw this online. Thanks Lebron, playgrounds are important!

CLEVELAND (AP) — For the second straight year, LeBron James will make a big assist off the floor during All-Star weekend.
James will dedicate a state-of-the-art playground at the Robson Boys and Girls Club of Phoenix. Last season, James and his foundation teamed with State Farm on a similar project in New Orleans, where they installed at St. Bernard Recreation Center, devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
"A playground is an important place for kids to play, have fun, and hang out with friends and family," said James, who won his second All-Star MVP last year in New Orleans.
James has done similar charity work in his hometown of Akron, sponsoring a popular bike-a-thon and providing book bags and school supplies to needy families.

Hidden Dangers on Area Playgrounds

I saw this on MSNBC. Good to know!

Hidden Dangers on Area Playgrounds
FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- Kids can pick up a lot of things on the local playground. Dirty needles shouldn't be one of them.Police are warning parents in the Falls Church area to pay extra attention to their children at area parks and schools after several reports of children finding used needles.At least six used, hypodermic needles have turned up at Lincoln Park; several more have been discovered near the playground at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.Police have posted signs in the area asking parents to be on the lookout for the dangerous needles. They are also increasing patrols in the area.Parents say the discoveries make them uneasy."I have a 2-year-old who loves to run, especially in the bushes, so I have to be a little bit more careful when he goes in there now," Nora Hart said.Kim Levinson called news of the dirty needles shocking."You almost feel like you're in a cocoon in this neighborhood," Levinson said.Investigators don't know if the needles are dumped medical waste, or discarded drug paraphernalia. Either way, police say if you see one, stay away."We're asking for help and information. If you see anyone in the park after dark, or if you see a needle, call us and we can do a follow-up," Falls Church Deputy Police Cheif Mary Gavin said.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Call Your Senators TODAY and Ask Them to Oppose the Coburn Amendment That Prohibits Funding for Community Parks!

Call Your Senators TODAY and Ask Them to Oppose the Coburn Amendment That Prohibits Funding for Community Parks!

Contact your Senators and ask them to vote against Senator Coburn’s amendment. Contact your Senator by phone via the Senate switchboard at 202.224.3121 (To find your Senator, go to

On February 3, Senator Coburn (R-OK) submitted an amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that would prohibit community parks from receiving money from programs funded by the bill. Specifically, this amendment would prohibit parks and recreation from receiving funding provided through various programs, including: CDBG funding, transportation infrastructure, special education services, childcare services, and community development block grant programs.

Mr. Coburn’s amendment specifically states:
“No funds provided by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, arts center, or highway beautification project, including renovation, remodeling, construction, salaries, furniture, zero-gravity chairs, big screen televisions, beautification, rotating pastel lights, and dry heat saunas.”

Ask your Senator to vote against Senator Coburn’s amendment and request that funds in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act be used to support local and state park and recreation agencies.

We encourage you make these points with your Senator:

State and local park and recreation agencies provide benefits to communities and should not be precluded from funding.
State and local parks and recreational facilities are in disrepair in communities across America and have thousands of capital construction and capital maintenance projects that are “on-the-shelf” and ready to go.
These projects such as new roofs for community centers, irrigation systems for sport fields, repairs to bring facilities into ADA compliance, and electrical upgrades to park and recreation facilities would allow communities to preserve, rehabilitate and maintain the already existing infrastructure that provides numerous recreational opportunities for citizens.
Enhancing and restoring community parks and recreation resources increases quality of life, attracts new businesses and residents to communities, increases property values, and creates new employment opportunities.

Please let NRPA know if you contact your Senator, and what their response was, so we can continue our advocacy efforts. For questions or updates on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, please contact Becky Webb-Morser at or 202.887.0290.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Building a Playground as a Community

We at Snider & Associates, Inc. participate in and offer commercial playground equipment builds. It is like an old-fashioned barn-raising, you will understand the kinds of rewards that are gain from experiencing an activity that brings people together to work toward a common goal. Those who work on a community built playground project gain a sense of ownership and responsibility toward the finished project, and the pride felt by the volunteers in their accomplishment translates into pride toward the school or the community. Volunteers learn new skills, meet new people, enhance their sense of belonging and make an important connection to the community. When people work together in the spirit of cooperation for the benefit of the community as a whole, the outcome can only be a positive one, and the project a successful one.
To make a Community Built Playground successful remember the 5 P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. The communication between playground representative and client is very important. These projects are not a simple task. We are constructing playground equipment that will be used by the public and/or school students. The majority of these projects will cost major fundraising dollars or a successful grant application. Plus these builds are typically done in one weekend to avoid disruptions in our busy work weeks. You want to get it right.
The list below is a few items of many to consider when building your community or school playground equipment. For detailed information please contact us to speak with your local representative.
1. All gas, water, electrical, cable and sprinkler lines are to be marked before any digging is started?

2. Check all documents to be sure equipment, measurements, top of surfacing and all information coincides?

3 How, where, and who will unload, store and secure the playground equipment and playground surfacing?

4 Are there clear written directions, specifications, and drawings to place and build the playground?

5. Can the construction site be accessed safely by the tractors, trucks, and other heavy equipment?

6. Is the ground level? Playgrounds are generally designed to sit on a level surface?

7. How and who will be responsible to secure the construction site from the public until after the cement has cured and the protective surfacing is installed?

8. Has the safety surfacing been scheduled to arrive as soon as the playground equipment concrete has been poured?

9. How will the footing dirt and or excavation dirt be disposed of?

10. How will packing and shipping waste materials be disposed of?

11. Where is the water, electricity and restrooms for the Volunteers?

Snider & Associates provides free playground design and planning services in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania to help get your vision of a community built playground up and running. Please call (800-888-2889) or visit our website ( for more information. We would be happy to chat, send a catalog, or have a lunch and learn.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Warm Sun sends the kids to the playground

I saw this article and it made me smile and want to get out on the playground.

It is supposed to hit 59 degrees tomorrow. I expect some coatless school children swinging on the school playground swings and enjoying a dry slide or two. I know my kids can't wait to get there bikes out, even if it is just for one day. My son asked me to get his bike out last week when we had 2 feet of snow EVERYWHERE. He will be happy to ride tomorrow.

I went for a jog today and felt the brisk air and how the sun was shining through to melt the last of the snow. I can't wait for tomorrow's run! Hopefully I will be feeling warm sun on my face and not the brisk, chill morning air.

See you in the playground!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Parks and Recreation NEW Show - Amy Poehler

I just got this emailed to me from a freind. It appears our parks and recreation industry is funny. We have our own show now. How do I get on the show!?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Playground Elephant

We who have taught, or love children who have been taught, know this is funny! From the diary of a Pre-School Teacher
My five-year old students are learning to read and we took them outside onto the playground for some fresh air.
Yesterday one of them pointed at a picture in a zoo book and said,
"Look at this! It's a frickin' elephant!"I took a deep breath, then asked..."What did you call it?""It's a frickin' elephant! It says so on the picture!"
And so it does...

" A f r i c a n Elephant "
Hooked on phonics! Ain't it wonderful?
Now that's funny, I don't care who you are.
After our lesson all the kids played on the new school playground equipment we installed

Thursday, January 8, 2009

How does the price of steel affect the price of a commercial playground equipment?

How does the price of steel affect the price of a commercial playground equipment?

Commercial playground equipment is made out of steel or aluminum posts, steel decks dipped in plastics, and steel clamps, bolts and other hardware. Also used are steel climbers, overhead ladders, rock walls and other playfield equipment. Slides and climbers are also made out of plastics and steel.

So with gas/oil prices falling how will this affect the price of NEW commercial playgound equipment or NEW school playground equipment?

See this interesting video discussing the drop in raw materials and steel prices.

We all know gas prices have fallen by feeling it at the pump.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Being available – better playgrounds on the customers time

In this seasonal playground business (at least for us Northerners), it is important that when you are busy, you are never too busy for a customer. Now for me, this is not a 9-5 job. I am assuming it is not for most of us in this niche industry of installing playgrounds. So here are a couple quick tips on staying available.
1) Email – you must have it. Period! Exclamation point! Too many businesses and customers rely on email to allow them to interact with you when they want to. Whether that be 9 AM or 2 AM. Playground equipment buyers, like any customer wants to work on their time, not your time. This is one way to allow them that, without interfering with their work or play.
2) Cell phone – I have one and answer it religiously. If taking a call on a Friday night about a playground design minor change or color selection change means less headaches on Monday morning, I do it!
3) Schedule – Make one and keep one – but be a little flexible. If you can tell a customer which days you are available and then “STICK” to it, most customers will respect your planning and organization.
4) Call ahead – If you are running late – call ahead ASAP. Do not keep a customer in suspense as to when you might show up. They will better understand a legitimate apology (prior to the appointment) then an “oops” after you show up late.
Albeit my wife does not like the late calls and weekend emails, but she understands that if I take 5 minutes to help a customer or potential customer out, it will mean much more to me and that customer in the future. So when I am running late or need to leave early for my kids baseball game, the customer will respect my time as I have given them 24/7 most of the rest of the time.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Port Clinton, Ohio

Walleye Fests

Port Clinton is "The Walleye Capital of the World."
And 14 years ago, to honor their scaly mascot, this Lake Erie resort community began dropping a 20-foot, 600-pound Walleye on New Year's Eve. "The idea arose just where most great ideas are generated ... in a bar!" says Mike Snider, Walleye Madness at Midnight Committee Chairman. "We're on our second fish (named Wylie Walleye); the first fish was paper Mache and went to 'the great lake in the sky' after the second drop." This year's festivities include a rock-paper-scissors challenge, fireworks at midnight and a band boasting a walleye-shaped guitar.
May kids had a great time playing on the playground equipment!
Port Clinton brings in Jan. 1 with a plummeting walleye.