From looking at the pictures that have come in from Galveston, I have become very empathetic to what those Texans are going through as they prepare to enter the island for the first time in two weeks. Ike's path of destruction was a huge column of storm surge that flattened almost everything in its path. As a victim of the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina, I am grateful that I did not suffer the kind of damage they have sustained. I lost a lot, but at least I had a home to which I could eventually return. The residents of Galveston have little more than rubble awaiting their return. Besides, in the case of Katrina the flooding was manmade and, therefore, not strictly a natural disaster like Hurricane Ike. The people of Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes reeling from Gustav also were hit by Ike's storm surges, but they are resilient and are busy making plans to come back stronger than ever. On my way back home from the recent evacuation from Hurricane Gustav, I thought I would get off the I-59 and check out if Middendorf's Restaurant was open. Middendorf's is a well-known restaurant that has been open in Pass Manchac for over 70 years. Sadly, the restaurant was closed during the evacuation, so I got back on the interstate and drove home figuring I would be back sometime in the near future. The next day I packed for the trip to Alaska and was onboard the M/S Volendam a few days later when Hurricane Ike's storm surge pushed storm surge onto the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and, unfortunately, inundated Pass Manchac. Middendorf's was so badly flooded that its owners have decided to tear it down, another legendary Louisiana victim of a hurricane. It's a shame, but I hope they will resolve to rebuild.
Speaking of legends: Cynthia Dettelbach, the legendary editor of the Cleveland Jewish News and Rob Certner, the CEO of the newspaper, both announced their retirement from their positions this past Friday (link to article). "Cindy," as many of her staffers know her, has been the editor of the paper for the past 28 years and has worked there for the past 30 years. Rob has put in almost 11 years of dedicated service to the paper as the CEO and I owe both him and Cindy my heartfelt thanks for allowing me the opportunity to write for the paper as as staff reporter as well as to handle a host of computer support work as the web producer and IT adviser. Michael Bennett, the present publisher of the Cleveland Jewish News, will assume the additional title of editor next year, when Cindy departs the paper for good. Bennett, who came to the CJN after working with the Cleveland JCC and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, logged a number of years as a reporter with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He was named as publisher about 15 months ago. No news on Rob Certner's plans, but I am certain he will be doing something important after he leaves the paper. He was the finance director of the City of Cleveland Heights for many 12 years before assuming his original position of general manager of the CJN in 1998. A few years back his role at the paper was updated to a business model in which he served as CEO and Cindy took on the position of executive vice-president. He recently served a one-year term as president of the American Jewish Press Association. I wish both Cindy and Rob the very best of success in their future endeavors and wish good luck to Bennett in his new duties.