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Willoughby senior facility changing in effort to increase membership volume

Euclid resident Joanne Skapura is nosy or at least that’s the reason she gave for winding up in a baked potato bag sewing class at the Willoughby Senior Center on Thursday afternoon.

“If someone comes up with a new program, we want to know about it,” she said with a chuckle, referring to the four other women in the class with her.

Sitting down with all five women, Carolyn Moore, director of the center located at 38032 Brown Ave., instructed them on how to se flip flop w a baked potato bag out of 100 percent cotton material.

“My husband is always saying, ‘Why waste all that gas cooking (one or two potatoes) in the oven when you can microwave it?’,” said Eastlake resident Pat Yerman. “But I don’t like how it comes out in the microwave. So I guess (with these bags) it’s going to taste like it does in the oven.”

For Willoughby resident Dolores Merkowitz, the process of creating the bag is what piqued her interest for the novel class.

“I want to see the construction of it, what it looks like, how it’s done. I’m willing to try and it’s something simple,” she said. “You hear about all these cooking utensils and things to buy and do, and this just seemed simple enough for me to do.”

The Willoughby Senior Center is not only a hot spot for table tennis and random classes such as baked potato bag sewing. It’s also finally getting a long awaited parking lot expansion.

“It gives us about 24 to 25 new parking spaces. It’s b flip flop een needed a long time,” Moore said.

“We have about 1,450 regular members. On average, we have about 250 people in and out during the day. I wish (the expansion) was for more . but I’m very glad we’re getting those. Thanks to the La flip flop ke County Senior Citizen Services levy, we can do this in these tough economic times.”

In addition to the new parking spaces, sports programs and other special offerings ranging from manicures/pedicures, canoeing trips and book clubs to computer classes, massotherapy appointments and movie showings the center has plans for a few new classes to add to the mix.

“We’re starting a bunch of new programs . we’re hoping it will increase (membership) volumes,” Moore said, indicating the biggest program is going to be called “Arts at the Willoughby Senior Center.”

“That will include water colors, ceramics, violin and piano lessons,” she said. “Those are the four arts we’re going to push with our new arts program.”

Meanwhile, just 20 feet away from the baked potato bag sewing class, in the center’s gymnasium, international table tennis champions Fumio Yoshikawa and Yasuyo (Sue) Yoshikawa, of Concord Township, played a friendly game of table tennis with two other center members.

“I learned from my husband after I got married,” Sue said of Fumio, who learned the proper way of playing table tennis when he went to a university in Japan.

After a several year hiatus because of back surgery, Sue is finally able to play again and enjoys coming to the senior c flip flop enter to do so.

“When we were younger, we played everywhere, but I had back surgery and slowed down a bit,” she said. “Now we started to play here, and I can play for the first time in many, many years.”

Another table tennis regular, Everett Hall of Mentor, said he likes to think of the game as exercise in disguise.

“Once you’re out here, you don’t even think about it because you’re having fun . but it’s a good workout,” said Hall, who, along with Ron Arcaro runs the Tri County Table Tennis Club.