ONE THING about Ron Klingle, he always thinks BIG. And so far his ideas have been big hits as well.

I say this after reading the front page Herald story Thursday about Klingle preparing to make the former Avalon Inn in Howland into a world-class destination, similar to Nemacolin resort in southwestern Pa.

When I emceed our 45th Hickory High School anniversary reunion, I lauded my 1965 classmate as: “How about Ron Klingle. He started out as a garbage man and he  now owns country clubs.”

Of course, he was a lot more than a typical guy driving a garbage truck who wakes you up early in the morning dumping your toter. He was head of a large waste company and parlayed it into a bunch of money.

He then became CEO and chairman of Avalon Holding Company, which brought about the huge expansion of the former Sharon County Club to become the beautiful palace known as Avalon at Buhl Park. And he oversaw work at both the former Avalon Lakes and Squaw Creek country clubs.

His idea was to provide country club settings for the average family, keeping prices low for all activities while serving the community. While some people scoffed at the concept at first, they have to be believers now.

Adding the Avalon Inn to the grouping of the three Avalon golf courses is a risk of course in today’s economy. But Klingle has never been afraid to take risks and that’s part of his success story.

I wonder if Ron would like to invest in a theater in downtown Sharon? Bringing in top national entertainment to coincide with people staying at the new resort hotel might not be a bad idea.

Hey, you can’t play golf at night. Then again, knowing Ron, he may want to put lights around all his golf courses so you can play 24 hours a day.

I’ll have to mention that at our 50th anniversary reunion next year!


Speaking of people who think big, Frank and Julia Buhl were a couple who did just that when they donated Buhl Farm park to the people of this area.

And once again it was nice to visit the park on Buhl Day, which each year attracts thousands to take part in the festivities each Labor Day.

From the Buhl Community Recreation Center 5K race that opens the day, to the parade and all the activities at the park, again it was terrific. And once again the Buhls must have put in a word with Mother Nature, because the weather was fine.

As I talked with various people at the park, the one thing that was mentioned more than once was that there should be fireworks to conclude the evening, which would keep people later at the park.

Unfortunately, the Buhl Day organizers have a difficult enough time raising money to put on the day’s activities and the cost of fireworks could be prohibitive.

Maybe the Avalon at Buhl Park would sponsor them. Who owns that place, anyway?

LYNN SATERNOW writes this weekly column for the Opinion Page. He can be reached at Follow him at Twitter@HeraldSaternow.

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