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A day on the Mowry Maple Farm; Erika Coogle did not let her cerebral palsy diagnosis dictate her life; Remembering Ronnie K. Brock

Mowry Maple Farm celebrates 100 years in the Bellville family:

History - Then & Now: Richland Carrousel Park @ 25 Years:

Knox Pages - Cerebral palsy can't stop Knox County teacher:

Obituary - Ronnie K. Brock:

You're listening to Source Daily. Join us Monday through Friday to stay up to date with what's happening in North Central Ohio. We’ll be sharing a closer look at one of our top stories, along with other news, local history, memorials, answers to your questions, and more. Today - Mowry farm sits right off Ohio 13. And with harvest season just around the corner, the leaves of the soybean plants are starting to yellow. When the sunlight hits just right, it looks like a field of gold

Carol Mowry has lived on the farm for 45 years. The view from the front porch still takes her breath away. Countless rows of crops grow in the Mowry’s front yard. Beyond the croplands, a forest winds around and hems in the property.

Carol and her husband, Richard, are the third generation of Mowrys to live and work at the family farm. In fact, they recently commemorated the family’s 100th year on the farm with a reunion. Family members brought photographs and old newspaper clippings to put in a time capsule.

Richard’s grandparents, Arthur and Bertha Mowry, had left their home south of Bellville and moved to the farm back in February 1920. His father and grandfather grew crops and raised cattle, but today, the farm is best known for its maple syrup. The farm has been in the family for a century, but the maple syrup operation is a newer endeavor. Richard began tinkering with maple syrup production about 10 years ago after a friend loaned him supplies. Then, he began harvesting by hand from about 60 taps.

Today, the Mowry Maple Farm has 650 taps. More than two miles of tubes crisscross the woods, feeding sap into seven main lines. Those lines slope down to feed a 400 gallon tank in the woods. A second web of empty lines creates a vacuum between the trees and the tank.

The sap tapping season is relatively short -- it starts around President’s Day and ends when the weather gets too warm, usually in March or April. Once the trees start to bud, any sap that does trickle out is too bitter to use. After collection, the sap gets pumped up the hill into another large holding tank, then to a reverse osmosis machine. The machine removes much of the water from the sap, then transfers it to the evaporator. Boiling the sap allows the excess water to evaporate out. As the excess water evaporates, the sap becomes denser and sweeter.

The sap doesn’t truly become maple syrup until it's cooked at precisely the right temperature. And once the tank reaches the right temperature, a valve opens automatically and fresh maple syrup oozes out. According to Richard, it takes about 60 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. Last year, the Mowrys collected nearly 12,000 gallons of sap, with a maximum potential yield of about 200 gallons of maple syrup.

Nevertheless, they insist the venture is merely a hobby. Describing themselves as “small time” For them, the rest of the year is spent making and selling maple syrup products at their onsite shop. The Mowrys produce four varieties of maple syrup, along with speciality flavors. One is infused with cinnamon. Another is aged for six months in a bourbon barrel. The sugar shack also sells maple covered peanuts, puffs, sugars, seasoning blends and even maple glazed dog biscuits -- all made from scratch.

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Next, some local history…Did you know that the carousel in downtown Mansfield was once a controversial flashpoint? When the news became public in the late 1980s that a merry-go-round was to be installed, it ignited a firestorm of scathing abuse. The project took five years and even after it was open and doing business in 1991, the criticism continued.

Conceived originally as a way to change perceptions about downtown’s then-questionable future, Richland Carrousel Park was placed right into the epicenter of Main Street’s teetering neighborhoods.

Using Federal funding to clear the site, and a non-profit, private, $1.25-million campaign to get it built, the Carrousel didn’t really impact city taxpayers. Yet opposition to the plan ran from gentle sarcasm to blistering attacks.

One gauge of sentiment about how hopeless any attempt at downtown revitalization might be was a bumper sticker from 1990 that read: Last One Out of Mansfield Please Turn Off the Carrousel.

30 years later, that bumper sticker seems more than a little foolish. Millions and millions of rides have been given and even after a pandemic, the carrousel is still in action. You can head over there yourself. Rides on one of the 52 hand carved figures start at... just one dollar. Head over to RichlandSource.com for more pictures of the park today and in the early 1900s.

Next, from Knox Pages…After sixth grade Erika Coogle was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. And as she began high school in New York state, some said the odds were against her graduating. Her cerebral palsy caused periodic absences; she was out once for an entire month.

But Coogle fought back, determined not to allow the disease to dictate her life. She earned good grades. She ran cross country for two years before the pressure on her joints became too severe. She was elected vice president of her senior class. At 18, she even skydived and bungee jumped.

Now, more than a decade after that seemingly insurmountable diagnosis, she has begun work as a special education teacher at the preschool operated by the Knox Educational Service Center at New Hope in Mount Vernon.

She interacts one-on-one with 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds who have learning disabilities, behavioral issues or need other special education assistance.

Jackie Nutt, the preschool director, told us that Erika is a valued member of the staff. Every teacher, aide and administrator here is dedicated to providing the very best education to all of our children,"

Ultimately Coogle’s goal is simple and direct: she works in special education to help every child reach their potential.

Finally, we’d like to take a moment to remember Ronnie Brock of Mansfield.

Ronnie was born in Oak Hill and was a veteran of the U.S. Navy serving during the Vietnam War. He was employed with Moritz Concrete as a driver for 35 years and enjoyed being outdoors, fishing and doing yard work. Riding his Harley was one of his greatest pleasures. Ronnie will be remembered as a loving, hard working, friendly man who was a wonderful provider to his family and had a great love of God.

Ronnie is survived by his wife, three sons, two daughters, three grandchildren, sixteen additional grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; two sisters, three brothers, two brothers-in-law, two sisters-in-law, a host of nieces and nephews; and a best friend, Thank you for taking a moment with us today to remember and celebrate Ronnie’s life.

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