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Issue Date: June 2009

Rating the Suburbs - North Ridgeville

Lou Gaeta, 78
wildlife photographer
It’s a 600-millimeter lens mounted on a gun stock.

Everybody look sat me and says, “Nah, you’re not that old.”

Long before you were born, I was in the circus. I did a wrestling act with a 500-pound lion. I have scars.

I lived my whole life on the East Side. My wife never thought I’d cross the river. There didn’t seem to be the closeness and warmth on the East Side. I had never experienced that before I moved out here.

We wanted something where our backyard would not be looking over another house. There’s a retention basin back there and a permanent easement behind that. I can go in the sunroom, roll the window down and I’m able to photograph wild turkeys.

Two miles from my home is a bald eagle’s nest. This made it even more exciting for me to move here. For the past three years, we’ve been photographing bald eagles there.

I know when I’m too close. When I become an act of aggression, then I’m not getting the shot I want.

I’ve always worked with raptors. In the early ’70s, I was an assistant to two ornithologists at Cornell University. We did the first artificial insemination of golden eagles.

My mother-in-law alwaysused to say, “Always remember: To have a good neighbor, you have to be a good neighbor.”

We hope that some of the farmers keep their farms.

When we first moved here,we were looking for a Catholic church. We went up to the priest at St. Peter’s, and he was so excited. He said, “Look, you have a new home. I can come over and bless the home for you.” And he did.

We like the area so much we already bought our crypt.

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