Norwalk councilman says city should open rec center as shelter during extreme weather

Several other local and area communities offered to use recreation centers as shelters.
Scott Seitz2
Jan 25, 2014


Norwalk Councilman Stephen Schumm feels the city should consider opening the Ernsthuasen Community Center to anyone seeking shelter when wind chills reach minus-40 degrees like they did earlier this month.

"When it's that cold, we should open it up," Schumm told fellow council members during a recent meeting.

When the heat index reached triple digits last summer, some people inquired about opening Norwalk's rec center to the general public, much like Willard does when those situations arise.

"I know government can't do everything for everybody," he added.

Schumm said this situation was an example where the city could have been proactive.

"Maybe we could help some people," he said, adding several other local and area communities offered to use recreation centers as shelters during the Arctic blasts experienced in Ohio this month.

"We will take a look at that," safety-service director Bob Patusky said about using the community center.

A story about this subject was published recently in the Norwalk Reflector. So you don't miss stories such as this one, you can subscribe to the Norwalk Reflector to receive home delivery and/or the e-paper, which is a complete digital replica of each issue. For more information, call (419) 668-3771 or click HERE.




J Cooper

"chubby checkers" as you comment after eating your 6th Twinkie.


I wouldn't take a Twinkie away from you, you already have enough to whine about! Now get back on that treadmill before the homeless take over!

J Cooper

With your anti-exercise stance, suggest you avoid mirrors.

swiss family

I love the people who pride themselves on how "self reliant" and "prepared " they are.. I challenge you , right now, go hurt off your main circuit that feeds into your home... ok.. it doesn't matter how prepared you think you are, probably because you have stocked up food in your freezer or refrigerator, well guess what ... as the clock ticks away, all of the food that you thought you were so prepared with is thawing and melting and rotting right before you eyes, . Is it safe to say that in that instant you see how helpless and how little control you have over nature???to quote one of my favorite bloggers..."duh"!!!!

I happen to know that some of the snobbiest posters on here are at their churches every week, showing and displaying how "right " they are with their "God" but showing up to the building does not make you a Christian, or even Christ like, when you have no compassion for your fellow man. I also want to remind all of you people who think that you are prepared for do realize that all a person has to do is over power you to get all of your precious preparations....right???

I have never seen such a blatant display of elitism, and being judged and believing that 1. there are no homeless people in Norwalk, and 2 that you are so much better than they are... they did not choose this financial platform, it is something they are forced into.and as most people know, the act of giving to someone who really needs help, whatever kind they need, is a far better feeling for the giver, than any sense of loss on their part for parting with and sharing their blessings...

So I have to say to all of the self righteous Christians on here, who normally brag about the gifts and donations that they been a part of, you know it isn't what people see from you that determines who you are and what you are made of.. it is what you actually do when no one sees it,and doing it without any intention of getting something in return, that determines you character...

So "iFF" let me leave you with a quote that I like to rehash over and over again which might help you do the right thing... this comes from the Philosopher Barnaby.. with the pointed ears..." you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool Mom"I don't know of any Mom that would be proud of a son that openly displays what he wants people to believe he is, and how loving and kind and helpful he seems to be, only to hear him speak, and read his comments, and realizing that he only cares about himself, and what he pays for and how above most people he professes to be....until you listen, then you see the elite snob he really my opinion

One final note to Mr Centers, could you please allow iFF" to write a weekly editorial..?? I have never "done acid" but when I try to read and comprehend his ramblings that start with talking about the weather and somehow drifts to him being in Chicago, to a childhood memory that he shares,to a paragraph where he kisses someones butt, and finally ending with something about either driving truck, or Fanny Farmer.... to me that is the closest I will come to an acid trip... because even to get through the first of 8 paragraphs, I am so lost and confused and always hope that it is sooner or later make some kind of sense, but it never for you NOT to allow him to talk endlessly about himself, is a disservice to all the readers, and again I have to quote a blessed man among our midst......"Duh"


KUDO's on the iFF.. Lets just say if this were Colorado we could publicly announce the "why" on dreaded editorial rants.

swiss family

hahahahah that was pretty good........ I tip my hat to you!!!!


KUDO's on the iFF.. Lets just say if this were Colorado we could publicly announce the "why" on dreaded editorial rants.


Are we talking about YOUR dreaded editorial rants that are always so negative?? Same old same old.....


We're commenting in cliFF...but
i may sound negative alot, but you are never able to dispute the facts..
just always trying to cut me down..why is that???
truth hurt?


I know who your talking about and yes, he gets long on here. I'm just sayin that your rants are no more fun. He at least tries to be positive sometimes. All you do is complain, complain, complain. ANd no, truth doesn't hurt. All you talk about is people who receive public assistance, and that's not me. Although you didn't bother to comment on the actual article, I bet I can guess your thoughts: don't let them in the rec./they already get enough handouts, blah blah blah.... And I think it's a good idea to make sure they have somewhere warm. Maybe the old rec?

Cliff Cannon

@billybob80 : " and yes, he gets long on here....."

Forgive my tardiness in mentioning, I agree with you. Sometimes, I get more talkative than a teenage girl at a slumber party on here. Please trust me, I am working on that.

Great day to you


Wow . . . and they call ME Windy! LOL

swiss family

@windy... I am not sure how your computer is set up, but on mine, and on every other computer I have seen, on this particular sight, it shows the name of the blogger, and the entire input to the topic... so if you think I rant, you do not have to read my blogs, it really won't break my heart...or you might want to actually add something to what I say, instead of just throwing out insults...


The next time I happen upon some one in the ditch with my 4X4, I'll just slowly drive past....hey in the country they can walk for help.

J Cooper

That's why I promote self-reliance, I belong to AAA.


Now that everyone has completely digressed, I get being self reliant, and I get that the socio economic issues of homeless people far surpasses that of how to keep them warm, and all of the points everyone has made about being stranded and having to figure it out on your own, or going elsewhere are somewhat valid, however, the homeless absolutely are not welcome to loiter in any sort of lobbies overnight, you will ne made to leave, and possibly ticketed for loitering, and it is a well known fact amongst the homeless that if the police catch on to the fact that you are homeless and just trying to get put into jail as a way to keep warm, they won't take you to jail, if you do something heinous enough yes, but not for loitering. And I don't know about contacting the police but I do know that they are not allowed to give people rides bc of liability issues, or at least that's what I've been told by an officer, he may just not have wanted to do it I don't know. Who is to say who is financially responsible for the disenfranchised? But while the whole world feels the need to bicker about it from thier keyboards, and imagine how absolutely terrible their own lives would be made if the unwashed masses were to descend upon thier hermetically sealed neighborhood rec center, it is very real that people in this town, right now, are freezing in the elements, cold and hungry and with nothing to be done about the situation, go into the woods and build a fire and maybe a lean to and do your very best to stay alive, and maybe had any of you ever been unfortunate enough to have had done so, you would understand that the immediate need is very real and very necessary, being homeless in January is no joke, and February is coming, it doesn't play games either.


Re: "January is no joke, and February is coming,"

During severe summer heat, many cities also open public building to act as cooling centers.

Should that also be considered?

BTW: The 'issue' isn't just the "homeless," but also those who cannot afford to heat their residences or lose power.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango:" BTW: The 'issue' isn't just the "homeless," but also those who cannot afford to heat their residences or lose power " No doubt.

Been checking around on this. I have a hunch a comprehensive long term solution to establish where 'mass migrations' should be to, if a cataclysmic utility event on par, with say Aug.14,2003 were to occur, will come out of this at minimum.

As I said to 'ehovemom ' huddled together till power is restored sure beats thousands of people dying.

Then I ask : If you were a terrorist bent on killing Americans, would it get any easier to kill thousands, perhaps millions than to take out an electric grid switching station at this time ? After all there are not many 'choke points ' along the grid. So to take out just one, would cause massive havoc, at minimum cost, would it not ?

So preparation is a very good thing. Of course, as usual, we all suffer from the 'bloggers curse ' ( lack of information) so I believe it remains to be seen the pro's & con's of adding the 'rec center' to our already impressive array of life helping/saving agency's on a daily basis. One thing is for sure our community has always done a great job of helping others.

Lastly, as usual I got egg on my face. So Mr. Schumm kindly accept my public apology for my show of ignorance. Obviously, I thought you were stating the political obvious here for public consumption and said " duh " The 'duh' here belongs on me for forgetting I have 'bloggers curse' ( lack of information) and I wish you luck in your pursuit of your plan

swiss family

"iFF....sorry, but just because you have a hard time seeing the "big picture" right away, whereas nearly everyone else sees the need to put a plan in place,don't call what you suffer from is "bloggers curse" to me it looks like jumping the gun and for once actually taking a side and then almost immediately seeing how wrong you were.

In a case like this, Mr Schumm is right, we need to establish an emergency plan, imagine if the power goes out right NOW, the thoughts going through residents heads is overwhelming to them... how long can we stay here without heat??? how long with the food in the fridge last without power, if and when it gets too cold here to be here .. WHERE ARE PUBLIC PLACES THAT WILL LET US COME THERE TO BE WITH OTHER PEOPLE IN THE SAME SITUATION, so to blame your cold hardheartedness on "bloggers curse" is passing the buck is it not??? everyone has a built in judgement factor, it tells them what is right and what is wrong,. obviously, yours is out of whack..there is no amount of "bloggers curse" that makes you turn against people in a time of need..We do not have all of the facts, and yet, look how many people got it is called compassion, it is called being concerned for your neighbors, it is called having a heart... it is NOT bloggers curse...some people are just too stuck on themselves, and will be willing to step all over the Unprepared, to try to end up at the top of the food chain, unfortunately, that might be how your peers will look at you and judge you, but it is NOT how your creator will be judging you.. in my opinion


Sure it should be, other nearby towns do it, so why shouldnt we? And I could easily edit my post to say disenfranchised instead, what difference does it make? The point is, that for those who are in need, it is a life or death situation, there should be no questioning as to why it is unfair for those who pay for the privilege to be able to use a facility being allowed to maintain their exclusivity of being able to walk into the place when the lives of our fellow human beings are being threatened. If that doesn't scream out elitism, please tell me what does? The point is, that as soon as the upper middle class suburban set of people that use this place read this article, the initial reaction was "no way, not in a place I PAY to go into, let them freeze, let them bake, let them be resourceful enough to solve a problem to which an immediate solution does not exist". I'm not saying that these people aren't in control of thier own destinies, but life happens, people fall on hard times, and bc a handful of people in this town think that they are above it, the disenfranchised are shut out repeatedly. I know this first hand. No one here wants to help, I was homeless last winter, and I spent my days just walking around town to keep my circulatory system in operating condition, I'm recalling one particularly bad blizzard last winter, gusting 25-30, I don't recall the temperature but I know it was negative double digits, and in a good 16-18 hours of just wandering aimlessly around the good ole 'walk, guess how many people stopped to ask me if I wanted a ride? Not that I had any place to go to, but that isn't the point, it's the principle of helping thy neighbor, and in my experience the general attitude in this town towards this is complete and utter selfishness and apathy.


And my contrast to know this comes from the fact that I ended up spending a couple of months in georgia at the begining of this year, and bc of my past I habe learned to love a leisurely aimless dawdle, and there were days down there, beatiful 80 degree days, where peope would litteraly turn around and come back to offer a ride, sometime 5 or 6 different people in a couple hours of walking. The mentality towards those with less in this town is downright deplorable.

J Cooper

Once again we have the class envy argument and the upper middle class label. Why is it that we have become a population that always look to the government at every level to solve our problems? Where are the civic organizations, senior center, churches, United Way organizations that we support? Why hasn't a joint venture between all these groups and the Salvation Army with their central location and full kitchen been explored? We all want lower taxes but expect the government to provide more services, at the local level they must balance their budget and can't print money to pay for additional services.


The rec center is just brick and mortar is it not??? You would think that flesh and blood would be more important weather rich or poor. I have been a member of the rec over the years and there isn't anything that special about the place... The building is rather large and could hold many people if need be. The place isn't that sanitary in the first place the last time I was there I got sick and haven't been back since.. Sometimes you can plan for the worst possible thing and when it hits you find that all the planning in the world didn't help.. I have extra blankets water ect,, in my car but no matter what you never have enough.. What happened to love thy neighbor and share when need be???? That is what's wrong with the world today its just look out for a number one.. Well sometime a helping hand is all it takes to make someone that might need just one small act of kindness to get them back on their feet.. MONEY isn't everything I know When I lost my job making $16.00 an hour I ended up losing my home, my car and I couldn't get and help from any of the government offices I moved on and made the best of it for my kids and I some of our neighbors were there and their small acts of kindness made me feel better about myself and it just goes to show you that we can do for others and not want anything in return...Just sayin


enough people from out of town pay the same city taxes residents do and dont get any benefits for our money..i will give mine to someone to stay warm that is going through a ahrd time