Mary Leuca, the overall chair of the Akron Children's Hospital 33rd annual Holiday Tree Festival, says that this year's event at the John S. Knight Center will be a feast for the senses, with 158 decorated trees, 60 wreaths and 180 holiday gift baskets. There's free admission from Saturday, Nov. 22, through Sunday, Nov. 30. Attendees at the preview gala on Nov. 21 will have the first chance to see and purchase the trees and other items. Volunteers are needed for the nine days of the festival. Please call the volunteer office at 330.543.8424. For more information, visit the website.
Irv Korman, author of two books about his celebrity encounters, has taken a completely different direction with his latest book, "Citytown Christmas Conundrum." A children's book, it tells the tale of five characters who don't usually show up in a Christmas story (think a Valentine's Day cupid and a Halloween ghost, for example). The characters all use their own holiday talents to help a family in need on Christmas Eve. Irv will be at his publisher Loconeal's booth on Nov. 21-23 at the Cleveland Christmas Connection at the IX Center, and he'll be signing copies of his new book on Dec. 7 at the Learned Owl in Hudson. The book comes out officially on Dec. 1, but you can preorder on loconeal.com. For more information, visit Irv's website or Facebook page.
Kathy Hammonds is an advanced yoga and Ayruveda teacher and trainer who helps men and women attain a more vital and robust state of health through nutrition, exercise, breathing techniques and stress relief. She's helped many women overcome menopausal weight gain. Sometimes, she says, the simplest change can have a lasting positive impact. For instance, it's important to drink plenty of water, but don't drink ice water. Instead, drink water that's warm or hot, and you can lose up to 10 pounds in a year. For more information or to reach Kathy, visit her website.
Jim Harold, paranormal podcaster, has just published his third book, True Ghost Stories: Jim Harold's Campfire 3. It's available at the Learned Owl bookstore in Hudson and on Amazon. By the way, Campfire 2 reached No. 1 Best Seller status on Amazon's Kindle store in both the Supernatural and Unexplained Mysteries categories in fall 2013. We expect the new book to do the same. For more information, visit his website.
Summit County Sheriff Steve Berry wants everyone to be safe this holiday season. Go Christmas shopping with trusted friends or family because there's safety in numbers, he says. And don't follow predictable patterns. For instance, if you turn on your Christmas lights only when you're home, some nefarious person will know when you're not there. Also, he asks Summit County residents to consider supporting Issue 12, which will allow the Sheriff's Office to rehire deputies back to 2009 levels when there were layoffs and to make improvements to the 911 system. He notes that 92 percent of the funds from Issue 12 will go to his office. For more information, visit the issue 12 Facebook page.
Paul Swan, owner of Swan Plumbing, has been a plumber full time for more than 46 years. Before then, he helped his dad in what is now a fourth-generation business. For much of his career, he has worked to raise the image of plumbers by wearing a tie, dress shirt, jacket and dress pants on the job. This shows a high level of respect for the homeowners he serves. He cautions homeowners to always know the location of their main water shut-off valve. It doesn't take much time for water from a burst pipe or hose to cause extensive -- and expensive -- damage to a home. And this fall, make sure you remove the hose from your outside faucet even if it's the new freeze-proof style because there still will be water that could freeze, and the damage wouldn't be apparent until you use the faucet in the spring. Call Paul, who's based in Richfield, at 330.659.6233, or visit his website.
Tim Jolly, owner of Tim Jolly Insurance, warns consumers about using online services that connect private car owners with people needing rides.Both driver and passenger likely won't be covered if an accident occurs. Also, when you rent a car, know that insurance probably doesn't cover restaurant or hotel valet drivers. You could be on the hook for a lot of money if something happens to the rental car. To reach Tim, call 330.869.7777 or visit his website.
Mary Beth Breckenridge, home and garden writer for the Akron Beacon Journal, is writing about brilliant gifts in her column in next Saturday's paper. She wants reader feedback on thoughtful gifts that they've either given or received. Mary Beth gives readers a lot great tips in print and on Twitter, Facebook and her lifestyle blog on Ohio.com.
Crickett Karson of the Ohio Design Centre, 23533 Mercantile Rd., Beachwood, is looking forward to this year's Entertaining by Design fundraiser for North Union Farmers Market. More than 30 interior designers are creating spectacularly themed tabletop and and entertaining vignettes that will give you plenty of ideas for your own holiday entertaining. A patron party and gala, at $100 per person, kicks off the festivities on Nov. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission is $10 per person on Friday, Nov. 7, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To purchase tickets, call North Union Farmers Market at 216.751.7656 or you can buy them at the door. For more information about the Ohio Design Centre, visit its website.