The shells of former automobiles line both sides of the wide, muddy path that runs through the lot behind the office of Pearl Road Auto Parts. Every wheel has been removed, many are missing doors and all are unmistakably worn. It’s the way the Kaplan family has been doing business for four generations — recycling the guts of dead cars to keep other cars alive — and for the mostly operational cars cruising down nearby I-480, this operation is completely concealed by a tall green fence.

Last September, the Kaplans erected a 140-foot wind turbine on their lot that rises high above the fence and makes one point clear: Very little is wasted in this family.

While Myron Kaplan runs the auto yard, it’s his sons Jon and Kevin who have championed the windmill project. Taking advantage of a $147,500 grant from the Ohio Department of Development’s Advanced Energy Fund along with a few other federal grants, tax credits and incentives, they started digging the foundation last May.

Last Friday, a few dozen environmentalists, media types and friends of the project gathered around the hefty cement foundation for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. If the number of politicians attending a ribbon-cutting is metric for measuring its import, then it’s notable that three Cleveland councilmen appeared. Among them was Ward 15 Councilman Brian Cummins.

“I think it’s great,” says Cummins. “Jon and his father, Myron, worked on it so hard for so long. I don’t think even the people that know them, even the people and the businesses around them, can fully comprehend what they’ve achieved.”

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