Talk of the Town by Patty Reiman

To many here in the U.S., Ohio and Hudson, the war in Ukraine doesn’t impact our daily lives, and it doesn’t seem that we can do much of anything to help. However, one local resident has dedicated her time to weekly online visits with three Ukrainian women seeking friendship and language enrichment. Ann Perlmutter is supporting these women through ENGin, a nonprofit organization connecting English-speaking volunteers with young Ukrainians (ages 13+) for online speaking practice and cross-cultural exchange. She has been volunteering with ENGin since 2022.

Hudson resident Ann Perlmutter (pictured
with husband, Mark, and grandchildren,
Graham, Connor and Louise) has built
bonds with women in Ukraine by helping
them learn English. Photo submitted

ENGin explains it like this: “Our volunteers make a huge impact – helping young people overcome the language barrier, offering friendship and emotional support, and introducing them to a new culture. In a time of extreme stress for Ukrainians, weekly one-on-one conversations offer a lifeline of normalcy.”

“We rarely discuss politics,” said Ann, a retired nurse. “We support each other, and since things are fluid there [in Ukraine], I allow them to talk about what is top of mind. That can range from what happens during an air raid to trying to normalize war for their children.”

One of the Ukrainian women, Nadiia, said, “Communication with Ann is like a sip of fresh water in such dark times that Ukrainians are experiencing. We are so far from each other, but in the main things our opinions converge, and it is incredible.”

Ann said she spends about one hour online each week with each woman. The four of them sometimes have additional online conversations over the weekend and stay in touch via text. “I think I was the first volunteer to have three students and to introduce them to each other,” Ann explained.

Ann, who has lived in Hudson with her husband, Mark, since 2007, is working on travel plans to Poland to meet up with two of her Ukrainian mentees. The third now lives in Minneapolis, and she and her husband hope to visit Hudson this summer. Ann recommends EnGIN to anyone who is supportive of Ukraine, is interested in forming friendships and is a good listener. Initial commitment is one year, and ENGin says their list of interested Ukrainians far exceeds their list of volunteers. To learn more, check out or email Thanks, Ann, for setting such a fine example for the rest of us!

Kudos are in order for Dominic Canzone and his family, including mother Amy Miklos of Hudson, as the Seattle outfielder made the Mariners’ starting lineup for its March 28 Opening Day. Dominic grew up in Sagamore Hills and graduated from Walsh Jesuit. He was a three-time Ohio State scholar-athlete before being selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the eighth round of the 2019 draft. After four years in the minor leagues, Dominic made his major-league debut in July 2023, hitting his first major-league home run on July 20 against the Atlanta Braves. He was traded to Seattle later that month.

Dominic Canzone made his major
league baseball debut with the Arizona
Diamondbacks. Photo from Scriptype archive.

While Dominic kicked off the 2024 season on a high note with an opening day start and a three-run home run on April 1, he was sidelined on April 14 after injuring his shoulder during a flyball collision with the Mariners’ left-field wall. Get better fast, Dominic.

One Hudsonite who deserves recognition for a recent professional achievement spends a fair amount of time on the road getting to his job in Youngstown. Jake Protivnak, PhD, was recently elected to be the president of Chi Sigma Iota (CSI) at Youngstown State University, where he teaches graduate-level courses in counseling. CSI is the international and professional academic honor society for counseling students, counselor educators and professional counselors. It has more than 440 chapters within U.S., and its membership totals more than 162,000 counselors.

Jake Protivnak

Jake, a licensed counselor himself, said he has three goals for his three-year term including “increasing counselor competence, developing member connections between counselors and growing chapter resources for counseling students.” He has been a member of CSI for nearly 25 years and recently served on its executive board as treasurer. He’s taught at YSU for 19 years and has been the faculty advisor for CSI’s chapter at YSU for 15 years. For the past seven years, he’s made the commute to Youngstown from Hudson.

“We were drawn to Hudson by the small town atmosphere with a variety of amenities, our friends and the proximity to Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown,” Jake said. His wife, Carrie, commutes to Chardon for work as human resources director for Sisters of Notre Dame. Their daughter, Danica, is in fifth grade at East Woods Intermediate School. Rounding out the Protivnak family is Zeda, their goldendoodle, whom they take on walks in their neighborhood when they’re not walking in Hudson’s parks or hiking in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Finally, local student Max Cole, a senior at Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania, recently travelled with his classmates to New York City to connect with successful Alvernia alumni who are working in the fields of business, political science, communication and digital media marketing. Max is a finance major and plays for the school’s hockey team. He and his business classmates visited two industry-leading firms, KPMG and SKOR. While there, they gained insights into financial practices and risk management strategies. Alvernia said Max and his travel companions, “gained practical insights and developed connections that enhanced their academic and professional endeavors.”

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Judy Stringer contributed to this report.