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Music-Themed Playground Honors Ruthann Lodato

This morning my family and I attended the dedication ceremony for a new playground at the city's Lee Rec Center, the Ruthann Lodato Memorial Playground. Ruthann was a popular local music teacher who was murdered in February 2014. She taught the Music Together classes that Jon Morgan and I attended when he was little. He was the child who insisted on getting up and walking around and around the perimeter of the circle as the other kids and moms were sitting on the floor. Ruthann never minded.

The mayor and city council were on hand, as well as Sheriff Dana Lawhorne (he's playing the xylophone in some of the photos below), Ruthann's husband and family, many of her former students, and a good sized crowd of city residents. A Channel 9 News reporter was covering the event and interviewed me and Jon Morgan about Ruthann and the playground, so we may be on tonight's news.

The cheerful, creative new playground has a music theme, with a large piano painted on the pavement, and working xylophones and similar percussion instruments for the kids to play, and an easel for drawing. There are swings and other standard playground equipment as well. The playground is accessible by children with disabilities, and is adjacent to a newly refurbished basketball court.

What a fitting way to celebrate the life of a woman who loved to get children singing, moving, making music, and having fun!

Mayor Bill Euille

The mayor unveils the dedication plaque, with help from Ruthann's husband.

Mayor Euille plays the xylophone, while City Councilmember Del Pepper provides moral support.

City Council members John Chapman (left) and Paul Smedburg try their hands at making music.

Jon Morgan sounded pretty good on this thing! All those piano lessons are paying off.

City Sheriff (and our neighbor) Dana Lawhorne gets a few pointers from my musical son.