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Death, I think, is felt more deeply in a small town. In a small town, everyone plays a role, and when death takes someone, especially unexpectedly and too early, it leaves a void in the life of the community. Granville unexpectedly lost two souls last week, two who happened to be among our more visible citizens.

Diana Jones operated Misty View Farm outside of town. We have boarded our horses with Diana for several years. She employed our daughter Emma for a time, and taught Emma some valuable lessons about work and horses. On Saturday, December 14, Diana had a normal day. On Sunday morning, she woke up with what thought she had a bit of stomach flu. Twenty hours later, she was dead from a relatively rare virus. We will miss her always cheerful countenance, her good humor, and her endless energy. 

Although she lived outside the village limits, Diana was one of Granville’s most visible citizens. Besides her boarding business, she was the sole proprietor of the Granville Carriage Company, providing carriage rides through Granville. On warm summer nights, the clip clop of her big white Pergeron, Toby, could be heard through the village streets, giving rides to kids, tourists, and romantics young and old. In the winter, it was the jingle bells on her carriages, gently muffled by the snow, that caught the ear. That is a sound and an image that will be missed in Granville, yet that void will, in a way, keep Diana’s memory close for many Granvillians.

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Diana Jones and Granville Carriage Company, Wedding Duty

Also passing away on Monday the 16th was Teresa Peters, proprietor of “The Green Store,” a place for environmentally friendly goods of all kinds. Teresa was one of those exceptional talents that Granville is so lucky to have. I was always amazed by her energy and her life’s experience. A lawyer by training, she put in stints at the OECD in Paris, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, and in economic development in South Africa. She moved back to her native Granville and started the Green Store after being diagnosed with cancer. She fought the disease her way, and survived much longer than the doctors had predicted.

Every early death is a tragic loss, especially in a small town, but these two highly visible Granvillians will be missed more than most. 

God don’t make the laws, a film shot in Granville in 2010-11, won the Best Feature Film at the Los Angeles Film Festival last month and it now looks like the film will be released nationally this fall.

Wanna buy an inn?

Some lucky soul is going to be the new owner of the historic Buxton Inn, now on the market in Granville.

Of course, managing a restaurant and inn, especially in this economy, is one of the toughest jobs around. I have no idea how the Buxton is doing financially of late, but the Orrs have done a wonderful job of restoring and expanding the facility over the past 4 decades. It is truly a piece of Ohio history, the oldest continually operating inn in the state, and we can only hope the new owners will be as dedicated and successful as the Orrs have been.

For someone with the right skills, the opportunity to own such an historic property in such a wonderful small town ought to be appealing.

Buxton Inn today

Buxton Inn Courtyard. Photo by Kewing.

Here’s a little featurette on the making of “God Don’t Make the Laws,” the feature film starring Paul Sorvino and Bruce Davidson filmed last year in Granville. The diner shots are in Aladdin’s. The street scene where we see them filming appears to be in German Village in Columbus. I’m not sure what gym they were using.

Granville in the Movies!

Here is the trailer for “God Don’t Make the Laws,” a new feature length picture filmed last year in Granville (about 75% of it anyway).  The film is by independent Three Dog Night, which reports it has distribution agreements in place for Europe, Australia and Asia, and expects to have one finalized soon in the U.S. Meanwhile, it makes its U.S. debut in a special screening at the Arena Grand Theatre in Columbus on December 1.

Virtually all of the exterior shots and many of the interior shots were done in and around Granville. Here are just a few of the shots from the trailer:
First 15 seconds: Granville area countryside. (The steel bridge over the river at 0:09, however,is the Ohio River, I believe.)
0:21-0:23: That’s Broadway, Granville’s main boulevard, looking west from the corner of Prospect Street. The building on the left is Town Hall; in the upper left you see two church spires, the white one being the Episcopal Church, the gray stone one from the First Baptist Church.
0:54: The man on the motorcycle enters town via West Broadway, near Plum Street, just around the corner from our house.
1:06: I think that’s the intersection of Pearl and Summit Streets.
1:07: The boy in front of the house – that could be any of several Granville homes, but I think it is the Mershons’ house at the corner of Granger and College Streets.
1;21: That’s Aladdin’s diner.
1:23: I get my haircuts at the Village Barber Shop on North Prospect St.
1:27: Interior shots of the “town meeting” are in the Episcopal Church. The church is also used for exterior shots.
1:58: Fight scene is in front of the Village Coffee Shop on Broadway.
1:59: Scooter shot outside of Taylor (CVS) Drug.

Granville was chosen for the shooting because it so perfectly evokes small town America.

You can also see the trailer here

Here was the Granville Times account during the shooting.

Granville is also featured in this soon to be released short, Killer. Our friend Joanne Geiger, who owns the Readers Garden bookstore, was such a hit with the crew when they filmed in her shop that she ended up with a speaking role as, well, “Bookstore Owner.”

Here’s the trailer: .
You can see a brief cut of Joanne in the trailer – she’ll be identifiable, and that is filmed in her store. At 0:22 in the trailer a couple is riding in a carriage – that’s our friend Diana’s carriage – we board our horses at her farm just outside of town. In the background is the Village Library on the right and the Robbins-Hunter Museum on the left (the white building with the pillars). The scene at 0:58 is the corner of South Prospect and Broadway, looking past the Post Office, Library, and Robbins-Hunter Museum. The gift store where the kid grabs the man’s bag is the Granville Mill.

Christmas Shopping in Granville

Last Saturday Julie and I went off with our friends, Josie and Rob Geiger, to do some Christmas shopping in Granville. Rob took pictures for a program Josie and Julie were doing for the Chamber of Commerce. Here are just a few:

Julie at the Granville Mill

You can get things for dogs, too. Buckley joins us to shop at the Village Pet Market.

At the Granville Mill.

Julie tries on some retro fashion at Footloose on South Prospect.

Josie and Julie at Footloose.

At the “M Gallery.” These little dogs are made with sheep’s wool from good ole Licking County sheep!

Christmas ornaments at Green Velvet. I love this picture of Julie.

Trying on a red jacket at the James Store on Broadway

Julie plays with finger puppets at Reader’s Garden (Josie’s store).

What a wonderful little town!

 

It’s election season, and while most Ohioans are focused on State Issue 2 (Collective Bargaining) and State Issue 3 (health insurance), we here at the Smith household are focused on the race for Granville Village Council. And for good reason – my wife Julie Fudge Smith is a candidate for Granville Village Council.

Julie Smith campaigns door to door in one of Granville’s leafier neighborhoods
If elected, Julie will be a great Councilwoman. She’s incredibly bright, a great problem-solver, and what strikes everyone is the passion she brings to the campaign and would bring to the Council. It’s no secret that we love Granville. The Village faces some tough times in the next few years, with our budget on course to fall into the red in the near future. Then there’s the constant balancing act of maintaining Granville’s character, history, and values, while also promoting a healthy climate for business growth.
 
Too many Granvillians tend to fear that these two goals are at odds. They can be, but if you’re managing things well, they’re not only complimentary, but almost indispensible to one another.  If we become a distant Columbus bedroom community, we’ll lose much of our sense of community and charm. It is important that people work, live, and shop in Granville. That’s what makes Granville so unique. We’re not a museum piece, or one of these restored small towns. We’re a functioning, breathing community where people live and work. A prosperous business community is also necessary to keep taxes reasonable. Let’s face it – it’s expensive to live in Granville. Most of us are happy to pay for the quality of life we have here, but it’s tough for any community to live by household taxes alone. Our seniors and young families, in particular, cannot afford an ever increasing tax burden that falls on individual households. We want small, locally owned business to thrive.

As a small business owner here in the community, Julie grasps this problem. Currently, the Village permiting processes, for example, are often needlessly complex. For example, Granvillians sometimes find themselves bounced back and forth between the Village Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning and Building Appeals when attempting to make updates or additions. Here’s another example: The Village’s sign ordinance is so strict that virtually every sign needs a variance. They always get them, but it’s needless cost and time delay. If every sign variance is granted, maybe we need to revisit the ordinance. That doesn’t mean we allow huge neon billboards up and down Broadway and South Main. It simply means that we lower the cost and time to update signage that is going to be approved by the Village authorities anyway. Here’s another example: Areas along the Route 37-Route 16 corrider – the entry to our Village – are subject to multiple and sometimes conflicting zoning requirements due to all the “overlay” districts.

Smart growth recognizes the need for a thriving business community in Granville. Granville must be a place where Granvillians – and others – work, shop, eat out, and stroll the sidewalks of Broadway.  Granville’s small, locally owned businesses already struggle to compete with the strip malls in Heath and Easton.

Further, too often it seems that the Council focuses on trivia at the expense of more pressing issues. One Councilmember is known for sometimes measuring the planters outside a town restaurant to make sure that they are the proper distance from the building. Meanwhile, the Village’s comprehensive plan is long delayed, and tough decisions about River Road development and the south entrance to the Village are put off are kicked over to consultants. We even have our own little pedestrian bridge to nowhere, built over Raccoon Creek at substantial cost, but of little use until the Council decides the future of River Road development. The water agreement with Alexandria (we supply our smaller neighbor with water, at some profit) hasn’t been properly renegotiated and signed in years (it’s currently operating month-by-month with no signed agreement) and homeowners in Bryn du have legitimate gripes that their water and sewer “user fees” are in fact being used to cross-subsidize other Village operations, but the Council and staff spent considerable time worrying about a leash law because one councilmember’s daughter was scared by a dog when visiting a different city.

Julie also understands how unchecked growth can radically change an area in just a few short years. We moved to Granville six years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia, another small, historic town in a rural county. We watched as Fredericksburg’s charm sank under the weight of commuter traffic and outlet malls. By the time we left Fredericksburg, it had lost most of the charm that first attracted us. Even in the sluggish national economy, Licking County’s population continues to grow rapidly, and the new highway will bring more growth. Julie supports our Village’s efforts to acquire green space, and understands as well that these efforts, too, are jeopardized if the Village’s tax base is eroded by the destruction of our locally owned and operated businesses, or if the tolerance for taxes fades under the constant spending for consultants. Julie has earned the endorsement of the Granville Area Chamber of Commerce, the first time ever that the Chamber has made an endorsement in Village races.

So if you live in the Village and happen to see this, I hope you’ll think about voting for my wife, Julie Fudge Smith, for Granville Village Council.

Now a disclaimer – those are my thoughts, and why I support Julie. That’s not Julie talking. I’m her husband and biggets fan, not her brains or conscience. If you have questions for Julie, I’m sure she would be happy to answer them at julie@apositiveconnection.com.

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