CURRENT ISSUE:  August 2023

Kid’s Craic: Burning River….Wait, What? 

As I was teaching my students about Earth Day this past April, I was telling them about how polluted the lakes and rivers were when I was a kid. I was explaining to them that it was so bad the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland had caught on fire. They could not understand how something made up of water could actually catch fire. It made no sense to them! 

So, I did some research to see if I could find a video that showed how the river caught fire. To my surprise, I discovered a couple of stunning facts. 

First of all, I learned that the Cuyahoga River caught fire multiple times due to the pollution. I also learned that Cleveland was not the only city to have this problem. 

Several lakes and rivers had caught fire in cities such as Detroit, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh. It was not until the 1950s and 1960s that people began to be concerned with pollution, not only in our lakes and rivers, but also of the air we breathe. 

Natural Resources
If you are lucky enough to live near some of the planet’s natural resources, take some time this summer to get out and enjoy them. They truly are a gift. 

If you live near the Great Lakes, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has done an amazing job keeping the water clean. The EPA was formed back in 1970 due to growing concerns from citizens about pollution and disasters, such as the Cuyahoga River fire and an oil spill off the coast of California. 

In 1972, the Great Lakes Water Equality Agreement committed the United States and Canada to restoring and protecting the Great Lakes. After years of improvements, the Cuyahoga River is now one of the top ten rowing hubs in America. On any given day in the summer, there are people rowing, kayaking, paddle boarding, or boating on the river. 

All of the Great Lakes, as well as the rivers in Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Detroit, are much cleaner today, and summertime is a great time to check them out. Fun fact for your parents: The water in the Cuyahoga River is so clean that several breweries have set up on the banks of the river so that they can use the river water to make their beer! 

Natural Wonders
Besides our natural resources, there are several natural wonders worth visiting during the summer. Again, thanks to the EPA for keeping these places beautiful and pollution free. If you find yourself in Ohio, some of the best to see are Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Peninsula and Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Garrettsville, near Hiram.

Be sure to check out the three rivers that all meet in downtown Pittsburgh or Ohiopyle State Park, which is about 70 miles outside Pittsburgh. Shuffling off to Buffalo? You must see Niagara Falls. It is amazing! 

If you are planning to travel over to Ireland in the near future, it is full of natural wonders. Much of the landscape of Ireland has not been disturbed by man and his machines, unlike the United States. Up in Northern Ireland is the Giant’s Causeway, which is a spectacular rock formation that looks as if giants carefully placed the rocks. 

The Cliffs of Moher is another stunning site along the Atlantic Ocean. There are rivers and bays, waterfalls and beaches that I could mention as well. During the summer, if you are not traveling to Ireland, take some time to look up these magnificent places on your computer or check out some books at your library to learn more about all the beautiful natural wonders in Ireland! 

Kids in the Kitchen
It’s finally summer and in my house that means lots of grilling out! 
BBQ Pineapple Chicken Kabobs

  •  cup barbecue sauce
  •  cup teriyaki sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a medium bowl, combine barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, garlic and ginger. Reserve 1/2 cup and set aside.
  2. In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine barbecue sauce mixture and chicken; marinate for at least 2 hours to overnight, up to 8 hours, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the chicken from the marinade.
  3. Thread chicken, pineapple, bell pepper and onion onto skewers. Brush with canola oil; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  5. Add skewers to grill, and cook, turning occasionally, until the chicken is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 10 minutes. Brush skewers with reserved barbecue sauce mixture, cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately

Literature Corner
I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast
by Michael Holland 

Did you know that everything you use from your toothpaste to the tires on Mom’s car came from a plant? In this book, you will learn everything you never knew about plants and more! For ages 7-9, 128 pages.  Corner Book 1

Literature Corner
My Side of the Mountain 
by Jean Craighead

Has busy city life ever made you want to escape to the quiet forest? Find out about Sam Gribley’s adventures when he leaves his New York City life for the Catskill Mountains all by himself with a penknife, some cord, forty dollars

Gab in Gaelic
You are right. It is nice here. = Tá an ceart agat. Tá sé go breá anseo
(pron: Taw on cart ah gut. Taw shay go brah on shuh)

Lardie’s Laughs
Q. How can you tell the ocean is friendly? 
A. It waves! 
Q. What is the favorite vacation spot of ghosts? 
A. Lake Eerie! 

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