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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Klammer was a passionate advocate

Lake County indeed lost a family member when Probate Court Judge Ted Klammer died Wednesday.

Klammer, 66, was known to have a passion to help people who came before him in his courtroom, especially the elderly and young.

He will be missed by the countless number of people who knew the man as someone who was hard working and cared for the less fortunate.

As a judge, Klammer often had to find ways to take care of people who were mentally ill and had no one else to help or make important decisions for them.

He appointed guardians when the court or doctors determined someone was incompetent, and he took that responsibility very seriously. There are about 800 wards within the county.

Klammer helped put in place a volunteer guardianship program through his court that aimed to find more people to help when it became increasingly difficult to find attorneys who were willing or had the time to devote to a ward.

“In each instance you have to look at the case and make a decision,” Klammer said in a Sept. 25 story published by The News-Herald. “If it’s one where the person is capable of causing harm to himself or others, then you have to take a more cautious approach. If it’s Alzheimer’s, you have to make sure who you appoint is trustworthy and won’t steal from them and put them in a bad position.”

Before he was elected judge in 2002, Klammer had an extensive legal career that included time as a private practice attorney and also as Eastlake law director.

He also served for a time as a member of the Lake Metroparks Board of Commissioners.

I remember covering an agency board meeting years ago in place of a co-worker. I believe it was the first time I met Klammer in person.

I arrived just a few moments before the meeting started and while I was still shuffling around to get organized, Klammer said it was a tradition to have “the new guy” lead the audience to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Because I wasn’t a regular visitor to the meetings, apparently that new guy was me.

After Klammer became judge and left his role as a Metroparks commissioner, I’d occasionally bump into him while out in Painesville and we’d chat for a few minutes. It was always a delightful conversation in which he would ask about my family. He was genuinely a pleasant man with whom to speak.

In recent times, I covered Klammer a little more when county commissioners and the judge had a legal dispute about flooding inside the county courthouse.

As I expected, Klammer was passionate about that issue while it was ongoing and the conversations and interviews I had with him reflected his advocacy.

Moving forward, retired Stark County Probate Court Judge R.R. Denny Clunk was assigned by the Ohio Supreme Court for three months to cover the docket, and other sitting Common Pleas Court judges will fill in as needed.

Eventually, Gov. John Kasich will appoint someone to the bench. But now is not the time to begin that speculation. I’ll leave that for another day.

But I will say that whoever the governor selects will have big shoes to fill.

Eklund appointed

State Sen. John Eklund, R-Munson Township, has been appointed to the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee by Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina.

Comprised of legislators from both the state Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives, the committee is responsible for inspecting and evaluating each state correctional institution, private correctional facility and youth services facility once during the biennium and reporting its findings to the Ohio General Assembly.


n Willoughby Hills Councilman David M. Fiebig’s fifth annual Spring Fever fundraiser from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Willoughby Hills Community Center. See Joyce Hribar Fiebig or Cindy Quinn-Hopkins.

n Re-election kickoff for Eastlake Mayor Ted Andrzejewski, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Patrician Party, Eastlake. See Ted or Patricia Andrzejewski.

n Concord Township Trustees Paul Malchesky and Christopher Galloway re-election fundraiser 5 to 7 p.m. April 1 at Harry Buffalo in Painesville Township. See Malchesky, Galloway or Connie Luhta.

n Dennis Morley will host a kickoff fundraiser for his Eastlake mayor campaign, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 17 at Trader Jack’s Riverside Grille in Eastlake. See Donna Vaughn or Barb Morley.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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