Monday, May 17, 2004

Golf course marks 90th year

Good things happening

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John "Red" McFarlin is still busy directing golfers at the Avon Fields Golf Course in North Avondale.

"You two go down to the first tee and join those other two guys," McFarlin recently told a pair getting ready to tee it up. "You guys hold up until that foursome playing the front nine makes its turn."

McFarlin, 63, has been around the Cincinnati Recreation Commission course at 4801 Reading Road for 33 years as a starter, a ranger and a supervisor over a miniature golf course.

In that time, he has become a part of the course history. Much of that history of this municipal golf course will be remembered as the course celebrates its 90th anniversary this weekend.

Records indicate that it is the oldest public golf course west of the Allegheny Mountains.

In 90 years, it has become a little more than a golf course. To many African-Americans who started playing there when they couldn't play at other courses, Avon Fields became like a social club and a training ground.

McFarlin, who can still post rounds in the 80s and 90s, recalled some of the great local golfers he competed against..

"There have been a lot of good ones: Jimmy Woods, Ron Dumas (now an assistant pro at Avon Fields), Wilson Stone, Kenny Brown. I could go on and on. I played with the best of them. I even came in second in the Jimmy Woods Golf Tournament, once," McFarlin said.

The celebration will be Saturday and Sunday, featuring discounted prices on golf, and hit-the-green contests.

"This is one of the most popular courses in the city," Dumas said.

Service award

It was the leadership of Dennis Barron that helped Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries grow from $1.6 million to more than $22 million in annual revenue, serving more than 37,000 people with disabilities during his tenure on the Goodwill board of directors.

Barron, who has been a board member and volunteer for 38 years, has been honored with the John W. Warrington Community Service Award.

The award honors people who have given their time and services in promoting Goodwill Industries, a comprehensive rehabilitation organization offering vocational training and support to those with physical, mental, psychological and social disabilities.

He headed the board from 1992 to 2001, launching the Special Gifts Campaign that enabled the organization to start its current $13 million renovation and construction project at Goodwill's rehabilitation center in Woodlawn.

Barron is a retired partner with Frost Brown Todd LLC. He is a Xavier University graduate and has served as chairman of the Taxation Committee and Corporation Law Committee for the Ohio State Bar Association.

GIVING BACK: Share ideas on beauty

Craig Hockenberry, principal of Oyler School in Lower Price Hill, is asking adults to share ideas with his students in grades kindergarten through eight on how to make the world more beautiful.

Each year, Oyler completes a writing project in the spring as part of an effort to involve the community, Hockenberry said. This year the school developed its project around the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.

The book is about a promise a little girl named Alice made to her grandfather to do something to make the world more beautiful. She finally decided to plant thousands of lupine seeds throughout her community - in fields, along highways and near schools and churches.

"In the end, Alice had indeed made the world more beautiful,'' Hockenberry said. "As many areas throughout our nation and world, Cincinnati faces problems that our students feel strongly about. As educators, we try to nurture in them a sense of awareness in which they acknowledge their own responsibilities in making our world better, in fact, more beautiful.

"It is the hope of our school that we show what each individual student intends to do to make our world more beautiful. If you would find the time to respond to either a student, a class or our entire school on how you try to do the same, it will be shared to show our students that they have adult leaders in the community who are 'with them,' so to speak.''

Hockenberry is seeking responses by Friday. The school, located at 2121 Hatmaker St., can be reached by calling 363-4100.

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