Great Happening:

Pinwheels call attention to child abuse

Beckett Smith, 4, of Jefferson sits amid a sea of pinwheels, each one representing a child abuse investigation in Ashtabula County during 2016. He attended the annual pinwheel ceremony on April 18, 2017, with his grandmother, Denise, and younger brother, Owen.

Yes, they look pretty spinning on the front lawn of the Old Courthouse, their wings reflecting sunshine and hope with every dizzying revolution.

And the cookies and little cupcakes were good, as were the children who scampered on the old bell and chomped on the spring grass with their tiny fingers while waiting for the adults to line up and talk about a problem that the pinwheels represent.

It is an ugly thing, despicable in itself. Inexcusable, but it happens. Last year, Children Services received 2,660 calls regarding possible child abuse.

Thus the pinwheels on this April day. To remind us of the need to protect our children.

“But I have none,” you say.

Or “I know my children are safe in a loving home and family.”

Wonderful. Thank God.

Now get out there and do something for those youngsters who woke up this morning scared or anxious about what will happen next. Or who woke up with a welt, bruise and cut that an adult inflicted in a pinwheel’s revolution on an April day.

We’re talking life and death, scars that will remain with a child for life, both in her heart and on his body. Rep. John Patterson, who spoke at the reading of a proclamation, went so far as to say it’s about eternity.

“It’s about making a difference for all time by what we do today,” he said.

Heavy words drifting over pinwheels racing in the soft breeze.

Ashtabula County’s elected officials gathered at noon April 18 on the front steps of the old courthouse to present a proclamation to Ashtabula County Children Services. The proclamation text follows. In the photo from left are Barb Schaab, recorder; Tami Pentek, clerk of courts; Dawn Cragon, treasurer; Roger Corlett, auditor; Nick Iarocci, prosecutor; 99th District Representative John Patterson; and county commissioners J.P. Ducro IV and President Casey Kozlowski; Tonya Burnett, executive director of Children Services; and Commissioners Vice-President Kathryn Whittington, reading the proclamation.

About Carl (329 Articles)
Carl Feather is lodging tax administrator for Ashtabula County and the founder of The Wave newsletter. He is 25-year newspaper industry veteran and frequent contributor to West Virginia's Goldenseal Magazine. He enjoys photography and videography, which he shares at his blog,, and his Feather Cottage You Tube channel.
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