The Best She Can Bee
Stromuhr: A rheometer designed to measure the amount and speed of blood flow through an artery — and the winning word Anamika Veeramani correctly spelled at the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
The 14-year-old North Royalton resident participated in the competition with 272 other students from around the world, breezing through a litany of potential stumpers, including foggara, osteomyelitis, nahcolite and epiphysis.
“Whatever hard work you put in really does pay off,” she says with polite demeanor. “You get what you put in.”
Veeramani is the ninth Ohioan to be named champion of the annual competition, which began in 1925. No other state can boast as many National Spelling Bee winners. The teen credits her 2009 fifth-place tie with spurring her on to victory this year.
“You learn a lot more from losing,” she reflects. “I learned composure and how to conduct myself.”
Her strategy for success? Reading. Veeramani explains that although it’s nearly impossible to study for a spelling bee, people can master the words around them.
She’s spending the summer relaxing with friends before starting ninth grade at Laurel School in Shaker Heights. Then, Veeramani hopes to be accepted at Harvard and become a cardiovascular surgeon — and possibly an author.
“I want to be … wonderful,” she reveals, with a huge smile. — Kim Brown
A True All-American
Some Americans display their pride for their country with bumper stickers or flags. However, for Michael Petro, patriotism lies within the wallet.
After the near-economic meltdown in 2008, the Tipp City resident thought about what he could do to help. The solution was clear.
He, along with Dennis Cunningham of Brookville, opened the All American Store. The mission: to sell only products made or assembled in the United States.
“When you buy something made here, you are supporting an American worker,” explains Petro. “In the process, you’re supporting their family, the community and the country.”
The All American Store carries a full range of made-in-the-U.S.A. retail goods including Chippewa work boots, Pratt & Lambert paint, Hinkle rocking chairs,and the fly-off-the-shelves-popular Prison Blues jeans — denim assembled by inmates at the Oregon State Institution.
So far, Petro’s vision has worked — his shops have enjoyed steady business and plans are under way to open stores in Columbus and Cincinnati.
“There’s only one place that you can walk into a store and know you are buying products that are going to support your fellow Americans, and that’s at the All American Store,” he says proudly. — Ilona Westfall
For more information, visit allamericanstore.us. All American Store, 440 Wolf Creek St., Brookville 45309, 937/770-1255; 6140 Chambersburg Rd., Huber Heights 45424, 937/723-9589.
Tickling the Ivories
Stroll the streets of Cincinnati this month and next, and you’re likely to hear pianos playing everything from “Chopsticks” to Chopin.
The Queen City is hosting “Play Me, I’m Yours,” an interactive exhibit of 35 pianos created by British artist Luke Jerram and sponsored by Cincinnati Public Radio in observance of the 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries of the city’s three public radio stations. The event brings painted upright pianos to public locations around greater Cincinnati. All are invited to sit down and play.
“We wanted to do an event that was community-oriented, because the whole mission of public radio is to serve the community,” says Kevin Reynolds, community relations manager for Cincinnati Public Radio.
The artist, who resides in the United Kingdom, staged the first “Play Me, I’m Yours” in 2008 in Birmingham, England.
“It’s an opportunity for people to express themselves and to break down social barriers,” Jerram explains, citing an instance during the event in Sydney, Australia, when a homeless man was heard playing classical music.
Jerram will decorate many of the instruments with the assistance of local art students, and a Web address on each piano invites the public to get further involved by sharing photos, videos and stories about their performances.
“Play Me, I’m Yours” runs Aug. 9–Sept. 17. — Kate Harold
For more information, visit playmeimyourscincy.com
Here's the Scoop
Have you ever pondered how long it would take an elephant to — well, defecate — your body weight? And in what country are animal droppings transformed into coffee? How many varieties of dung beetles exist in the world?
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has the answer to these and many other fecal-related queries in “The Scoop on Poop.” The title of the zoo’s summer exhibit speaks for itself.
Sue Allen, manager of marketing and public relations, explains that the subject is an intriguing topic, especially to kids, because everyone — from fish to frogs to elephants to humans — does it.
“We’re all pretty much aware of the process,” Allen says. “It’s always fascinating when you talk to small kids. The minute they see an elephant urinating or a rhinoceros pooping, that is like the Kodak moment that they’ll never forget.”
Based on the popular book by Dr. Wayne Lynch, this one-of-a-kind traveling show features colorful graphics, three-dimensional models and interactive displays designed to educate visitors about the intriguing world of excrement.
“The interesting thing about this exhibit is that it takes poop to the next level and does a great job of explaining on a very elementary level why it’s important,” Allen says.
The exhibit covers how humans use it to make fertilizer, fuel power plants and diagnose medical conditions. It also explains how animals use it to build homes, hide from enemies, attract mates, send messages and cool off. Some even eat it for nourishment.
Visitors to the exhibit are invited to test their “No. 2” IQ with Turd Trivia and enroll in the zoo’s Stool School in order to expand their knowledge of the subject. Listen in on the inner workings of a grizzly bear’s digestive system, learn the language of poop from countries worldwide, compete in dung beetle races and track wild animals by clues left in scat.
The exhibit, which Allen says, is “drawing kids like flies,” runs through Sept. 12. — Colleen Kennedy
For more information, call 216/661-6500 or visit clemetzoo.com.