Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Economic Development Workshop Jan. 16-18

Nationally-known Economic Development Consultant Michael Shuman to Give Presentation and Workshop in Yellow Springs
January 16 – 18, 2008

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio – December 21, 2008 – This January, economic development expert Michael Shuman will come to Yellow Springs to give a presentation and workshop aimed at strengthening the local economy and enhancing local self-reliance.

Participants will explore how to develop new (and expand already existing) local businesses, grow and support new local entrepreneurs, mobilize local finance, and spearhead “local first” campaigns so that the Yellow Springs economy can become more secure and sustainable.

Organized by the Yellow Springs Smart Growth Task Force and sponsored by Village Council, the weekend will include a public presentation on Friday, January 16th at 7:30pm at the Glen Helen Building that is free and open to the public.

The presentation will be followed by a two day workshop on Saturday, January 17th from 9:30am to 4:30pm and Sunday, January 18th from 10:00am to 1:00pm at the Mills Lawn Elementary School auditorium with local business owners, government officials, economic development organizations and citizen-leaders. There is a suggested donation of $25 for the workshop training and materials. Immediately following the workshop on Sunday there will be a reception with Shuman from 1:00pm to 2:30pm, also at the Mills Lawn auditorium.

“Given the very difficult state of the world economy, it will be important for Yellow Springers pull together and support our businesses as we seek to build a more sustainable local economy which creates jobs for our citizens and meets more of our needs locally,” said Judith Hempfling, Yellow Springs Village Council President. “We especially urge large and small business owners, educators, and those who dream of beginning a business, investing locally, or both living and working in our village to find the time to attend,” she said.

The principles and benefits of a local economic development approach, which is based upon supporting locally-owned businesses in their efforts to meet local needs with local resources as fully as possible, will be covered extensively at the presentation and workshop. In addition, workshop participants will discuss strategies that could be employed within Yellow Springs and Miami Township to increase local jobs, wealth, and our tax base.

Shuman will also prepare a leakage analysis, which shows the flow of money into and out of our community, for workshop participants to utilize in accessing future local business opportunities. At the end of the workshop an action plan for implementing the local economic development strategies will be created and will include ideas for revenue-generating projects.

Michael Shuman is an attorney, economist and author of The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in the Global Age. He has been promoting local-economy concepts through a variety of projects, including consulting with St. Lawrence County, NY and the Katahdin Region in Maine to study opportunities for import replacement, and building the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).

For the past three years the Yellow Springs Smart Growth Task Force has sponsored educational events and candidates forums around issues related to sustainable and environmentally-sensitive economic growth. In 2005 they organized a weekend conference and 500 local participants, “Smart Growth for a Small Town,” which focused on land use, community design, planning, and zoning.


For information, contact:
Megan Quinn Bachman
937-767-2161

The last of the single digits

It is the last day of the year. It seems like such a short time ago that we went from the 1900's to the 2000's. "How will I adjust?" I asked on the eve of the millenium. And now here we are, heading into the last of the 2000's plus single digits. Next year at this time, we will be looking at 2010.

How will I adjust?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More youth activites

Upcoming teen activities at the Library:

Gaming on PS2 and Game Cube Mon. Jan 5 from 3-4:30 p.m.

D&D on Jan 12 and Jan. 26 at 4:30 p.m.

Teen Advisory Group (TAG) meeting on Sat. Jan 3 and 24 at 2 p.m. will include planning programs for teens.

Movies (with popcorn and drinks) Fri. Jan. 16 at 7 p.m.

Call 352-4003 for more information.


Bryan Center Youth Center New Year's Eve party:

Weds. Dec. 31 from Noon - 4:00 p.m. ages 11 - 19 in the Bryan Center Gym.

Call 767-7209 for more information.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I too heard that loud-mufflered vehicle

My neighbor Ann Kent's eloquent and impassioned letter to the News this week, together with an incident in the police reports, has jogged my memory. One night last week I heard a car so loud I thought it was a grabage truck. It seemed to go up and down my street then stopped idling nearby. I looked out my window and saw a car stopped diagonally across the street from my house. The driver must have spotted me, because after a minute or so he drove off.

Other residents of the south side of town reported someone with a loud muffler driving around the neighborhood. Apparently that same night, two houses were burgled.

The guy was casing my house, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt, telling myself he was probably just lost - perhaps looking for a house number. I have often made light of those police reports where villagers report suspicious vehicles near their homes. The next time I will call the police non-emergency number. We are lucky to have local dispatchers. We should take advantage of them to keep our neighborhoods safe.

Places for YS teens to hang out

Aside from a full menu of extracurricular activities and sports at the schools, there are a number of activities available for the village's teenagers, most of them woefully under-used.

Here are some that come to mind:

Teen Art Group (TAG)

This group recently organized as an arm of the Yellow Springs Arts Council has been described by YSAC program coordinator Deb Housh as a "group of teenagers who like to make stuff, organize art-related activities and hang out together." The TAG mission is to give teenage artists the opportunity to express themselves through the visual arts in the community and to bring local teenage and adult artists together.

The group has been involved in both annual Yellow Springs Skate-Music Fests to raise funds to refurbish the skate park. They also recently joined with the Teen Advisory Group at the library to create a teen mural for the children's area at the library.

For a calendar of events and information on how to participate, Housh can be contacted at art@ysartscouncil.org or at 767-1107.

Yellow Springs Library Library's Teen Advisory Group

Also known as TAG, this group regularly plans and runs youth programs at the library, such as the very popular movie nights (with popcorn) in the library conference room. They recently teamed with the other TAG to create the teen mural.

For more information contact the group's advisor Rick Nickells at the library at 352-4003 or ask for him at the circulation desk.

Bryan Center Youth Center

Where can a kid go in Yellow Springs to play indoor basketball or volley ball, or shoot pool, or play air hockey, or learn judo? Where can kids go on a Saturday afternoon or after school to play cards or make crafts? The answer is the little-known and under-used Youth Center at the Bryan Center.

Run by Tina Fox under the auspices of the Yellow Springs Department of Parks and Recreation, the youth center, consisting of a game room and the Bryan Center gym, is open to the youth of the village, ages 11–18, on weekdays from 5–9 p.m. and on Saturdays from noon until 4 p.m.

According to Fox and part-time supervisor Kinglsey Perry, the Youth Center would welcome greater participation by older teenagers.

Contact Fox at 767-7209 or call the Village offices at 767-3401.

Skate Park

Although its appeal may seem limited to those who enjoy the sport of skateboarding, the Skate Park has provided a creative outlet for others of the Village's teens. Recently refurbushed by the Teen Art Group, a variety of teens have long been involved in raising funds for its upkeep.

For more information, contact Matt Housh at 767-1107.

The Village Swimming Pool

Always undersubscribed and in danger of going out of business, if more families thought of the pool as a healthy and safe place for their teenagers to hang out, the pool would thrive.

Information on how to join the pool can be had at 767-3401.

Bike Path & Gaunt Park

Not often thought of as teen-oriented, the Bike Path and Gaunt Park provide open space for healthy activity by teens who shy away from adult supervised activities.

No appointment necessary!

Friday, December 26, 2008

A sudden warm up

A street lamp burns through the fog on Allen Street.

First it was cold on Christmas. Then the temps started to rise, sparking thunderstorms on the 26th. By evening the fog rolled in. Tomorrow we will be near 70 degs. That's what can happen when you are bordered by Kentucky on the south and Canada on the north.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Taking Christmas to a new level


Shouts of "turn that thing up!" could be heard resounding through the Hervey/Lee houshold starting on Christmas Eve, once the presents were opened, and continuing on through Christmas Day.

"I call this family bonding," Kalson announced as he pounded his guitar in a duet with the master of the house.

Did the kids get Guitar Hero for Christmas?

No. The parents did!

Last year, when May requested "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" for her X-Box 360 for Christmas, I told Amy, this has got to be the dumbest thing going. She was 21.

A couple weeks ago, Amy attended a Christmas party for bank managers. One of the things they did was play Guitar Hero. She came home raving about it. So I suggested borrowing May's. I had to see what was so great about it.

In about a week, it was on our Chrismas list.

Kalson already had a PS2. Then Meijer had a fantastic sale. So we ended up with two games, "Legends of Rock" and "Aerosmith," and two guitars.

Hey, when you finish this song, it's my turn!

Rock on dude...

Guitar Hero® III: Legends of R

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Breakfast, anyone?

Last week I noticed a sign in front of the Williams Eatery announcing that they are now open for breakfast. Smart, I thought, tapping into the heretofore lightly served Yellow Springs breakfast market.

Most folks in town looking for breakfast travel to Young's. Go up there on any weekday morning and you'll find a dozen Springers, mostly of the senior variety, chatting over coffee and eggs.

I had breakfast up there with Rodney Bean one morning. "Look around," he said. "Soon that will be you and me."

Another morning, I met Richard Lapedes for coffee at the Emporium. He ordered breakfast and I took note. Until then, I hadn't realized that you could get a real breakfast there, other than rolls or muffins.

That was it. Unless the Sunrise serves breakfast, but I don't think they do.

Then, within a few days of the Williams entry into the breakfast fray, along comes an email from Peach's. Starting on Jan. 5, they will be offering breakfast from 9 a.m. Coincidence or competition?

Correction: According to Corrine Bayraktaroglu, the Sunrise Cafe does serve breakfast. (See comments.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Brrrr...


I think it's stuck.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

GCCC bus situation clarified

On Thursday, I got a phone call from Schools Treasurer Joy Kitzmiller. In covering School Board meetings for the News for a couple years, I learned that Kitzmiller is the genuine article. She is both extremely good at her job and about the nicest person you could hope to meet.

She started out by saying she knew no better way to start the conversation than to jump right in. Oh boy, I thought, she must have been offended by something I wrote in this blog. But she was the one who apologized. She said she was sorry for not having spoken up at the School Board meeting when I raised the issue of Greene County Career Center students having been bused recently without any notice to the parents. She said she had worked with Schools Superintendent Norm Glismann on the recent revisions to the schedule, and since she has been around a lot longer than he has, was advising him based on what had been done in the past.

According to Kitzmiller, due to pressures put on the four-school-bus schedule by special needs students having to be bused to other districts from time-to-time, it had been common practice in the past to transport a few Career Center students on the same bus with Mills Lawn kids. Usually, there would be only one or two Career Center students on the bus, she said. This year, she said, the early situation with special needs kids and the change to a later YSHS start time resulted in a greater accommodation to Career Center students and some of them were being picked up near their homes. According to Kitzmiller, state law only requires that Career Center students be bused from their home school, in this case Yellow Springs High School.

The recent situation came about when one special needs kid started to attend a program in Beavercreek. With the busing of several other students to different districts, this, apparently, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The sudden change in the schedule was nothing more than going back to the previous practice, Kitzmiller said. I have no reason to doubt her.

The problem, she acknowledged, was that parents of GCCC kids were not notified in advance. This, she said, may have been due to that fact that the transportation coordinator is new at this job. I can add that when I called the School Board offices before the recent meeting, the transportation coordinator was extremely apologetic for not having called the parents.

According to Kitzmiller, the recent change back to the schedule that was implemented at the beginning of the year came about because the student who needed to be bused to Beavercreek, suddenly no longer needed to go there. However, she said, there remained the possibility of another student needing to be bused to another district starting in the beginning of January. She said she will be sure parents will be notified if this comes about.

Kitzmiller, who, in my opinion, has been a good steward of school tax revenues, is always keeping an eye on the bottom line. That’s her job and we are lucky to have her. According to her, school buses get about five to six miles-per-gallon. So it makes sense that she takes an interest in the routing of school buses.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Friday, the burg will be springin'


December 19, 2008
6-9 pm

Visit the Chamber website for more information about the Friday Fling and more http://www.yellowspringsohio.org/

» Free Carriage Rides in front of the Little Art Theatre where you can also see Australia starting at 7 pm.

» Explore our distinctive Shops, Galleries & Restaurants, many open until 9:00 pm and later.

» House of Ravenwood Yule Sale - Peter Stone Silver Metaphysical Jewelry 20-50% off

» Artist, poet and satirist Robert Paschell Exhibit at The Art Space at 208 Dayton St. 6-9 pm

» Find (free) Art Friday - Art treasures hidden in surprising locations (pdf)

» Stop at The Emporium for wine tasting and live music.

» Learn how to make your own Beer & Wine at Main Squeeze.

» Sunrise Café Dinner at 5 with Martini Bar & Tapas from 9:30pm - 2:30

» Dance the night away at Peach's Grill with live music starting at 10 pm with a modest cover charge.

» Latin Dance Party at Curves, 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the back of 506 S. High St.

» Catch a Kiss in the Springs by looking for 80 sprigs of mistletoe all around town.

Meet the new Village Manager tonight

*

YOU’RE INVITED TO A COMMUNITY

“OPEN HOUSE/MEET & GREET” for MARK CUNDIFF & FAMILY.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16th, 2008

6:30pm-8:30pm

2nd FLOOR LOBBY OF THE BRYAN CENTER

Refreshments will be served.

Friday, December 12, 2008

MLS early release and mixed busing off School Board agenda

About a half-dozen parents showed up at the School Board meeting last night to inquire about changes in the school bus schedules and reports that Mills Lawn School release time was being moved up to 2:40 p.m. after the Christmas vacation. They also voiced their displeasure at the lack of transparency regarding the decision making process.

In response to parents' questions, Schools Superintendent Norm Glismann admitted that earlier this week, without prior notice to parents and without consultation with the School Board, experiments had been conducted by combining some bus routes to see if it would result in savings. According to Glismann, the experiments have been stopped, because on at least one route, students from the Career Center were required to sit on the bus at MLS for an inordinately long time waiting for the younger students to be released. He said that he was unaware of the situation where, on Wednesday, Mills Lawn kids had been bussed to the Career Center, before being taken home.

The proposal to move MLS release time up to 2:40 has been tabled for now, and apparently, if it ever comes up again, will be required to go through the normal process of public notice, where it would be given two readings before coming to a vote by the Board. Earlier yesterday, Glismann denied that it had been pulled off the agenda in anticipation of a large number of parents coming to the meeting. At the meeting he said that the teachers had requested that it be tabled while they worked on other proposals.

According to Glismann, "There will be no changes for now."

Attempts by some of the parents to nail him down on what he meant by that statement were futile.

In response to parents' concerns that they had no notice of the 2:40 release time coming up for discussion, Board members referred them to the Board's website, where the agenda is supposed to be posted in advance of the meeting.

It appears that parents are frustrated by Glismann's continued efforts to combine the teacher planning time and mixed busing issues, as if one cannot happen without the other. It is clear that the whole issue is teacher driven and Glismann finds himself between a rock and a hard place, because planning time was negotiated into the recent teacher contract without any specifics and now the MLS teachers are pressing him to come up with a plan.

Putting an exclamation point on the meeting, Board Member Richard Lapedes said that parents better get ready to accept the fact that sometime in the future the economy will dictate that older and younger students be bussed together.

"It will happen," Lapedes said.

In view of the fact that Glismann said there will be no more open meetings on these issues, parents are advised by the Board to keep an eye on the School Board Document Site to check the agenda for the next meeting. But if you go to the Website, you will find that they are woefully behind in posting the agendas and minutes. What good is it to post the agenda after the meeting?School Board meetings are usually held on the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. If in doubt, call the board offices at 767-7381. Information on how to contact individual board members is on the Board Website.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tonight's School Board meeting in a nutshell

Becuase I did not have proper notice, I began posting and sending around emails as information became available to me. As I have learned more, I can see that this resulted in a misplaced emphasis by me on why parents should attend the School Board meeting tonight at 6 p.m.

As it turns out, this meeting tonight is more important to all parents of Mills Lawn kids, bussed or not, because it involves a change in the school hours that is to take place right after winter vacation. While originally presented to me as being about conserving on school bus usage, it turns out it is about teacher planning time.

All those issues that were discussed at the open meeting are expected to be resolved by the Board at tonight's meeting. The Superintendent will be asking the Board to approve an MLS release time of 2:40 p.m. so teachers can schedule planning time and high school and elementary students can be bussed together.

Glismann told one parent that three weeks would be enough notice. What about those parents who cannot pick their kids up at 2:40?

I thought this issue was dead for the rest of the school year. So did every other parent I have talked to.

If it hadn't been for those couple little screw-ups, the GCCC bus schedule change without notice to parents and the bussing of little kids to Career Center before taking them home, we might not have known about all this.

See you tonight!

Reporter resigns

After two-and-a-half fun-filled years as a reporter for the Yellow Springs News, I have filed my last story. Two-and-a-half years! I tell myself I must be wrong. But no matter how I count it, it comes out the same. It seems more like two-and-a-half months.

When you write for a deadline every week, life flashes by like people in the windows of a subway train. Now you see them, now you don’t. It has made me appreciate even more what Diane Chiddister and Lauren Heaton do. I had only to write a story or two. They have to get out an entire paper every week.

My other job, Foundation Administrator of the Yellow Springs Community Foundation, is becoming more demanding of my time as the foundation takes an increasingly greater role in our community. If I give up my job at the paper, I reasoned, I may still have some time left to write for my own enjoyment. So I have cut the cord and I’m floating relatively free. Although, I will probably continue to carry my camera and notebook wherever I go. Old habits die hard.

I learned a lot at the paper, mostly how to discipline myself as a writer. But I also had a lot of fun hanging with a wonderfully loose bunch that would get goofier and goofier as the week wore on to late Tuesday night. It was a great environment in which to work.

Thanks to Diane and the News for the opportunity to play cub reporter at an advanced age. I will miss working with all of you. Fortunately, I’ll still see you around the burg.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

MLS to be a transportation hub starting 1/5/09

Posting fast and frenetically, I forgot to mention that I was told by the transportation coordinator that, starting on Jan. 5, after winter break, Mills Lawn School will serve as a transportation hub, with buses bringing high school kids to MLS for redistribution. They will be riding home with the little ones after all.

This from one of the MLS parents in response to an email I sent around:

"I just spoke with Norm Glismann and he said the board would be voting on the 2:40 dismissal at tomorrow's meeting. Although its sounds like a fait accompli. He said they spoke to a hand-picked group of parents selected by the principal and other school officials (there was no open notice) and determined that early dismissal was the best alternative to give teachers extra time. He said everyone felt that 3 weeks was enough notice for parents to adjust their schedules.

I'm not so much upset by the change in schedule (although I think a mid-year change demonstrates unreliability, inefficiency and poor planning)--I'm upset by the lack of transparency in this process. They started wonderfully in the fall and I assumed further developments would be conveyed to the community. My assumption was obviously wrong."

School board - 6 p.m. 12/11

School Board meeting at 6 p.m. on 12/11

I have just learned that the School Board meeting tomorrow night has been moved up an hour to 6 p.m.

In a new development, due to a glitch, MLS kids were transported to the Career Center before being sent home! I learned this from the transportation coordinator today, who also apologized for not notifying Career Center parents of the the change in the bus schedule.

She also told me that, starting on 1/5/09, MLS kids will be released at 2:40 p.m. in order to effectuate the new bus schedule.

I understand that a number of Career Center parents are planning on attending the school board meeting. After what happened today, I would imagine that MLS parents will want to be there too.

See you at 6:00 p.m. at the MLS conference room tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

MLS and Career Center parents urged to attend School Board meeting

Just the other day, I was counting our blessings regarding our current school bus situation. In the past, my stepson had been riding his bike to school, with me giving him rides in bad weather. But since he started attending the Greene County Career Center this fall, the Yellow Springs schools have been providing us with almost door-to-door bus service. He catches the bus in the morning at the corner of Allen and Spillan, about a half-block from our house. In the afternoon, the bus driver was leaving him right at our front door.

Bam!

Yesterday, it all came crashing down without any notice. About the time the bus was supposed to drop him off, the kid called me on his cell phone from Mills Lawn School to tell me he would be walking home from there. The explanation, as he understood it, was that, as an economy measure, the School Superintendent had changed the bus route so that he would wait on the bus at MLS for 20 minutes, so that when the grammar school let out he would ride home with the "little kids."

"I don't want to ride with the little kids," he said.

And who could blame him..? Certainly not the parents of those little ones. They already aired out their opposition to such a plan at a special School Board meeting a few months ago.

The only alternative is for him to get off the bus at YSHS and walk from there. Both schools are about a mile from our house. It will be raining when the bus gets in this afternoon. I have instructed him to get off at the high school and I will pick him up.

If he wants to have a bike at the high school, so he can ride home, he will have to ride it there in the morning, leaving the house extra early and riding in the dark. So we are back where we started - only worse. At least with the high school hours, he would be riding in the light. GCCC starts an hour earlier than YSHS.

"What are the other kids saying about this?" I asked him.

"They said their parents would be writing letters to the Superintendent," he said.

Not good enough!

I have discovered during the course of my covering school board meetings for the YS News, that the best way to get action is to show up in person. It is a lot easier to ignore a letter than to dismiss a live body, especially an angry one.

So I urge all you parents of GCCC students who are affected by this change to show up at the School Board meeting thursday night (12/11 at 7 p.m.).

Parents of MLS kids who will be bussed with high school students as a result of this change should also come to the meeting.

Anyone reading this is asked to pass it along to people they know who might be affected by it.

I'll see you there.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A match made in Heaven


The Presbyterians held a wonderful bash Saturday night at the Underdog Café. It was a fundraiser. Master of Ceremonies and church elder Walter Rhodes told the SRO crowd that the First Presbyterian Church of Yellow Springs (FIRPYS) is broke. He made it sound like he was kidding, but it was no joke. Why else would FIRPYS go out into the community to raise money? Recently, they let their interim pastor go at the end of his contract because they could no longer afford to pay him. The cost of heating the gray lady runs into thousands per month.

What to do?

The Facilities Committee of the Center for the Arts Steering Committee is looking for a permanent performance space. Currently, Chamber Music Yellow Springs uses the church sanctuary for its four-times-a-year concerts. Anyone familiar with the space will tell you the acoustics are excellent. The fellowship hall has been used over the years by a variety of groups from belly dancers to the Mills Lawn School band. It is also a polling place. Many significant community events have been held there, including the original feeling-out of the community for a center for the arts.

The fellowship hall, called Westminster Hall by the Presbyterians, was built in 1957, about a hundred years after the sanctuary. That may have been the last time FIRPYS reached out to the general community for fundraising. They were able to sell it to the non-Presbyterian population by assuring that the building would be available as a community center of sorts. And this has been more-or-less true over the years, with the church charging reasonable fees to help maintain it. However, this had been less true in recent times, until the Non-Stop Liberal Arts Group was able to convince the Church Session to lease them space to hold classes.

Resistance to public use of the FIRPYS building has waxed and waned. There was always a vocal minority opposed to the WEB Coffeehouse, the non-smoking, non-alcohol music venue in the church basement. Last year, the detractors won out when WEB was ousted over an insurance technicality. WEB is now without a permanent space. Over the years, there was always a strong distinction between use of the sanctuary and use of Westminster Hall. Understandably, there was a larger group opposed to secular uses by the public of the religious space. There was always the fellowship hall to fall back on, although the acoustics there are lousy.

But now is not the time for the Presbyterians to be picky. That minority that was always opposed to opening up the church to community uses has dwindled to one, although a very vocal one who seems to have imposed her will on the rest of the church. She can be seen patrolling the premises at every public event. The past couple Street Fairs, although the church building was open for its Strawberry and Apple Festivals, the restrooms were closed. It used to be that they were open for public use with donation trays by the doors. More short-sightedness..?

There was a rumor going around awhile ago that was reported on in this space, that the Senior Citizens had their eyes on the building as a potential site for an expanded Senior Center. YSSC board members vehemently denied it and nothing else has been heard about it since then.

The Arts Center Facilities Committee has been playing their hand very close to the vest. But since they are reportedly considering every possible venue, especially in the center of town, they have to have considered the Presbyterian Church. However, insiders at the church tell me they have not been approached. Perhaps the Facilities Committee has been put off by what happened with WEB and others who wanted a long-term relationship with the church for use of its facilities. If that is the case, they should rethink their position. The time is ripe for a coming-together of the church and the arts. It will be good for the church, good for the Arts Center and good for the community. Precedent for this kind of cooperation between a church and the arts exists in large cities all over the country. St. Mark’s Church in New York’s Greenwich Village, which has held many historical performances, is an outstanding example. Besides helping to pay the bills, what better way to enhance the church’s reputation, not only in our village, but in the entire region?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Is it time for us to stop congratulating ourselves?

U.S. News & World Report just came out with its best high schools list. Here is the link to the Ohio List.

Making the list from Greene County were Bellbrook and Cedarville. From Montgomery County were Oakwood and Centerville. Not making the list was YSHS.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Do you believe this?

I lifted this off the Drudge Report - one of his advertisers. The link gos to a site called Grassfire.org, where there is a petition to sign pledging your resistance to the President Elect's programs, even though he is still more than two months from taking office. They are lining up resistance to start from day one of the new presidency.

"Sore losers" doesn't say enough. "Divisive" is probably accurate, but not strong enough. Anything else I could say might get me in trouble. I agree with their right to disagree, but until they have given him a chance, all they are disagreeing with is the McCain campaign's characterizations of Obama policies.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Why I am willing to gamble on Issue 6

Someone is spending millions of dollars to try to stop Issue 6, the casino gambling amendment to the state constitution from passing. Why is that?

Sure, we are on the seam of the Bible Belt, but I doubt that the Christian Right has that kind of money to spend in Ohio, especially when there are so many other things they are concerned about this year on the national level. Only those who would profit from an Issue 6 defeat would spend that kind of money on such an extensive, negative media campaign. And that would be those who are currently getting Ohio's gambling bucks and stand to lose them if it passes. I have been on that bus to Indiana. I have been on that smoky river barge.

So what is that tax loophole that neither side is willing to specify? It boils down to one politically incorrect word, “Indian.” Casinos on American Indian tribal land in other states do not pay taxes. That is a fact. However, even if the State of Ohio does not collect one red cent in tax money directly from the casino's operation, there is another word that signifies why the issue should pass, “jobs.” In a state where the number of jobs is declining daily, how can we afford to pass up the opportunity to create 5,000 permanent jobs and another 5,000 during the casino/resort's construction? The number of permanent jobs created may even go beyond that. All kinds of cottage businesses from gas stations to convenience stores to restaurants are likely to pop up around an attraction that will draw patrons from Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus and perhaps beyond. Those businesses and employees who work for them and at the casino/resort will pay state income tax.

My one regret is that this is a constitutional amendment. I am against amending the State and U.S. Constitutions every time we turn around. I prefer that we handle specific matters, such as this, through normal legislation. If we need a constitutional amendment to permit casino gambling in the state, so be it. But, I would prefer a more general amendment, accompanied by legislation to cover the specific situation in Wilmington, where the casino will be built. I guess that would take longer. Time is not on our side. Just ask the folks in Wilmington and Morraine.

That having been said, I have a personal reason for wanting Issue 6 to pass. I would like to see a casino operational in Wilmington, which is about a half-hour to 40 minute drive from here, ASAP. Did I mention that I have been on that bus to Indiana? That's a long ride.

Friday, October 10, 2008

High School Musical III

Picture this:

On day two of his presidency John McCain drops dead of a heart attack. Seconds after being sworn in as his successor, Sarah Palin is suddenly the loneliest person in the world. A true outsider, she doesn't have a friend in Washington. Everywhere she looks, shadowy figures, both Democratic and Republican, are plotting to seize power.

What does she do? - Well, by golly, I'll betcha she does what she has always done - what she did when she was elected Mayor of Wassilla and Governor of Alaska. She gets on the horn to Wassilla and beckons her high school pals to join her in Washington. Remember that fella who loved cows? Well, he can be Secretary of Agriculture, again. The captain of the hockey team? - Secretary of Defense!

Country first? Thanks, John, you cynical old bastard.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wink, wink...

Sure, I'm fit to be VP...
NY Times Opinion:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jordis Rhule

I note with great sadness the passing of Jordis Rhule, today, from brain cancer.

I first met her some five years ago when she was hired as director of the Antioch Writers' Workshop. She was a bright, young, vital mother and freelance writer.

I did not know her well, but I watched her decline from a respectable distance as mutual friends kept me aprised. I saw her not too long ago and thought she had beaten it. Apparently, her recent reoccurrence was sudden and rapid.

My heart goes out to her husband and son.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bag boy canned

I heard this today from reliable sources:

A popular bag boy at a local market was reportedy fired for not responding to the recent emergency brought on by Hurricane Ike. According to my contacts, all the market's employees, but one, showed up to help the owners load refrigerator and frozen goods into a refrigeration truck that had been parked in the lot behind the market to try to save their stock from spoiling due to the power outage. The long-time employee was allegedly terminated for not turning out when he was needed. It is not known what his reasons were for not coming to the store to help out in the emergency, or if he had in fact been asked to do so.

The denizens of the bench in front of the market began to notice that he was not hanging around as usual and inquired of an employee within. Speculation is that the 56 year old man will have difficulty in finding employment and there is great sadness along the bench to nowhere over the situation.

More info:

Also from reliable sources: He was scheduled to work that day. When he didn't show up, he was called and asked to come in, but he refused, saying he had better things to do.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Demons are lurking

Yellow Springs is a village loaded with artists of all kinds. It probably has more massage therapists per capita than any other town in the country. Spiritual practitioners of every description abound. That is the light side.

Then there is the dark side... It also seems that we have more than our share of sociopaths. Acts of human kindness..? Forget it! Today, I witnessed a vicious, senseless verbal attack unleashed by one woman upon another who had simply greeted her. The woman was still in tears over the incident a good fifteen minutes later.

"I don't appreciate your shouting out my name in public," Psycho Babe said, shouting, herself.

I had been standing just a few feet away and had not heard anyone's name shouted. Therefore, I still do not know Psycho Babe's real name, although I have seen her around. And now I don't want to know it either. I am tempted to say, you know who you are, but I'm sure she doesn't. The verbal assault was just another insignificant part of her miserable everyday existence.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pros and cons for Mr. Obama in the weeks ahead

Thinking about last night's acceptance speech by John McCain, I have concluded that the issues for Barak Obama boil down to these:

The fact that the surge seems to be working is taking some steam away from Obama's anti-war stance. The Republicans will be hammering away at his opposition to the surge and his attempts to block funding for it. McCain is blunting Obama's call for a change in Washington by pledging bi-partisanship and inviting Dems and independants to work with him. Another factor that might hurt the big O is the sabre-rattling of Vladimir Putin that is bringing us right back into another cold war. I am sure they will point to how Ronald Regan ended the orginal one.

What Obama has to do is keep stressing that the Iraq war, which has claimed the lives of 5,000 American soldiers, was wrong in the first place and had nothing to do with the war on terror. He has to remind the voters that he was against it from the beginning, while McCain was totally on board from the start. Without the war, we would not have needed the surge. He needs to harp on the fact that more soldiers are dying in Afaganistan than ever before, as a result of our inattention to the Taliban due to our preoccupation with Iraq. Perhaps hardest of all, he is going to have to convince the American people that he can stand up to the Russians. One point he can argue is that America should not let Mr. Putin affect our Presidential election.

I think he can effectively counter McCain's claim to bi-partisanship by pointing out that he has chosen as his running mate someone who appeals to the far right of his party on every single issue. If he were truly bi-partisan, he would have chosen Joe Lieberman or a more moderate Republican. He can't have it both ways.

When Sarah Palin points out that she has administrative experience and Obama and Joe Biden do not, they have to point out that McCain has never held an executive position. She can't have it both ways either. Experience is the biggest red herring in this election. No one who has never been President is "experienced." Only an incumbent can claim that. Abraham Lincoln, whose name the Republicans regularly invoke, had no experience. Bill Clinton, was a $35,000-a-year governor of the poorest state in the union. Did that qualify him as experienced enough to be President? He did okay. And whatever gains he made, the Republicans promptly pissed away.

When John McCain tells you that he would rather lose an election than lose a war, what he really means is "lose another war." McCain was a war hero in a losing effort. That has to have stuck in his craw. Vietnam was no more a just war than Iraq. But nobody dares say that, at least not running against John McCain.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A woman - but why this woman?

Sarah Palin has enough problems of her own, without being used by John McCain as a political tool. This is the last I am going to post about her. Susan Reimer of the Baltimore Sun has just summed it up in her column, better than I ever could.

And then there is this.

This one is important.

This one is a must read!


R.I.P.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A matter of judgment

Is this the kind of judgment we want in a commander-in-chief? In an apparent effort to woo unhappy Hillary Clinton supporters, Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain has named Sarah Palin, the most inexperienced person imagineable, to be his VP. She is the ultraconservative governor of Alaska, who is just a couple years into her term.

Two years ago, this gun-toting, NRA card-carrying, beauty pageant contestant, and self-described "hockey mom" was mayor of a town less than twice the size of Yellow Springs. Now she is a heartbeat away from the possible presidency of an old man with health problems.

It is also quite possible that she was not fully vetted before being chosen. She is currently under investigation by the State of Alaska for allegedly trying to pull strings to have her ex-brother-in-law fired from his state trooper job over a custody dispute with her sister. Remember what happened when the Democrats, in their haste to shake things up, didn't fully vet Geraldine Ferraro?

In an interesting turn of events, NPR was reporting today that, yesterday, somebody went in and spent hours editing her Wikipedia profile, deleting such items as her Miss Wasilla title and that she was runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant. Immediately after McCain's announcement, your faithful blogger looked up her hometown of Wasilla on Wikipedia and they already had altered the entry to include that their former mayor was chosen as McCain's running mate. What an amazing world we live in.

Other interesting facts about Ms. Palin: She opposes putting Polar Bears on the endangered species list, because she doesn't believe in global warming. She is in favor of drilling on federal lands in Alaska to bolster her home state's economy. She is staunchly anti-abortion rights.

I can't imagine a Hillary supporter falling for this stunt. If you are pro-Obama, you couldn't have crafted a better scenario.

8/31 Addendum:
This from the Boston Globe Website:
In November of 2006, the Anchorage Daily News described Palin's positions on social issues in a story wrapping up the governor's race:

"A significant part of Palin's base of support lies among social and Christian conservatives. Her positions on social issues emerged slowly during the campaign: on abortion (should be banned for anything other than saving the life of the mother), stem cell research (opposed), physician-assisted suicide (opposed), creationism (should be discussed in schools), state health benefits for same-sex partners (opposed, and supports a constitutional amendment to bar them)."



9/1 Addendum:
In press reports today, the McCain campaign is denying that the Palin choice was a snap decision, claiming that she had received serious consideration for months before she was invited to the position last Wednesday and that she was fully vetted.

In a television interview with George Staphanopolis on Sunday, Cindy McCain cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as a factor in Palin's foreign policy experience.

More news from the fully vetted Palin:
ST. PAUL (Reuters) - The 17-year-old unmarried daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is pregnant, Palin said on Monday in an announcement intended to knock down rumors by liberal bloggers that Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her child.


And this from the NY Times:


ST. PAUL
: A series of disclosures about Governor Sarah Palin, Senator John McCain's choice as running mate, called into question on Monday how thoroughly McCain had examined her background before putting her on the Republican presidential ticket.

On Monday morning, Palin and her husband, Todd, issued a statement saying that their 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, was five months pregnant and that she intended to marry the father.

Among other less attention-grabbing news of the day: it was learned that Palin now has a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state's public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990 of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede; and that Todd Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.

Aides to McCain said they had a team on the ground in Alaska now to look more thoroughly into Sarah Palin's background. A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What is this, New Orleans..?

The Rude Mechanical Orchestra, a Brooklyn, NY based "radical marching band," stopped by today on their way to the Republican Convention to lend support to Non-Stop Antioch. What a pleasant surprise to find them playing in front of Sam & Eddie's and to follow them as they marched down Xenia Avenue. It was definitely a Mardi Gras atmosphere.

video
Raw Video

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Football fizzle

Yesterday, I heard the McKinney School football schedule was canceled.

Today, the Dayton Daily News, as part of its annual preseason high school football hype, is reporting that YSHS has only 16 players on its roster. Nine of them will play two ways.

One or two injuries, especially to a two-way player, and it's all over but the shouting.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Holt a Boilermaker

Photo courtesy of Purdue University


This just in...

Former McGregor Dean of Liberal Studies Jerry Holt has reportedly taken a position at Purdue University.

More later.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A follow-up to my football rant

As it stands right now, only a limited number of players have come out for McKinney football. Principal John Gudgel is concerned that they will not have enough players to field a team and is holding a meeting next week to decide whether to cancel the season.

At risk of stating the obvious, this does not bode well for YSHS football down the line.

Update on 8/28: I heard yesterday that only two boys showed up for the McKinney tryouts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

MacQueen green

The Home, Inc. rental house on Xenia Avenue has been painted a lovely and unusual shade of green as a part of a full-scale renovation that has been going on most of the summer. Marianne MacQueen has confided that the color came about by mixing cans of left-over paint they had laying around until she hit the right combo.

However she arrived at it, the new color makes the old place look like a million bucks. I never realized that it was that dark orangy beige (for lack of a better way to describe it) paint job that made the place look so ugly. Now, it actually looks cute.

Making nice with Home, Inc...

Just what we need, another survey

The survey that came stuffed in the newspaper today is six pages long, copied on single sides. It wants to know what criteria Village Council should be looking for in the hiring of a new Village Manager. Don't the council members understand that they were elected to exercise their judgment on our behalf? If they hold a referendum on every little thing they do, nothing will ever get done. They should use their best judgment and pick the most qualified candidate. Next thing you know they are going to hold an open meeting and have the villagers ask their own questions. You can bet on it!

Here are the categories of questions:

  • Education - rank in order of how educated the VM should be.
  • How much experience - rank in order how experienced the VM should be.
  • Type of experience - rank in order the type of experience the VM should have.
  • Professional Style - I can't even begin...
  • Personal Characteristics - another loaded question.
  • Challenges the village is facing - a long list to be prioritized (this may be the only legitimate question). Not only is this list long, it is downright depressing.
Click here for a PDF copy of the survey.

Here's my response:
Hire the nicest person with the highest relevant degree and the most experience in Village Management who can stand to deal with a village council that has lots and lots of ideas, but hesitates to take responsibility, that we can get for the money, and who isn't daunted by our considerable list of challenges.

This from the official village Website FAQ list:

Council-Manager Government FAQ

The Council-Manager Form of Government: Answers to Your Questions (as taken from the ICMA publication of the same title)

What is the council-manager plan, which is used in so many local governments?

The council-manager plan is the system of local government that combines the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a council or other governing body, with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. The plan establishes a representative system where all power is concentrated in the elected council as a whole and where the council hires a professionally trained manager to oversee the delivery of public services.

Is it a responsive form of government?

In council-manager government, council members are the leaders and policy makers in the community elected to represent various segments of the community and to concentrate on policy issues that are responsive to citizens' needs and wishes. The manager is appointed by council to carry out policy and ensure that the entire community is being served. If the manager is not responsive to the council's wishes, the council has authority to terminate the manager at any time. In that sense, a manager's responsiveness is tested daily.

What is the function of the council?

The council is the legislative body; its members are the community's decision makers. Power is centralized in the elected council, which approves the budget and determines the tax rate, for example. The council also focuses on the community's goals, major projects, and such long-term considerations as community growth, land use development, capital improvement plans, capital financing and strategic planning, rather than the administrative details. It hires a professional manager to carry out the administrative responsibilities and supervises the manager's performance.

(I have bolded the relevant phrases.)

A bit of good news...

Sources tell me that a certain bank in town (and I mean "in town") will be changing to more user friendly hours come October: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Mon. - Fri. and 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Stay tuned...

Welcome to 108 Dayton Street

A bed store..? A yoga studio..? What's really behind this door to 108 Dayton Street? Could this be the new center of power for the village? This long time home of the Yellow Springs Community Foundation now also houses the Steering Committee for the Center for the Arts, and the Yellow Springs Arts Council. Their conference room not only serves as a gallery, but hosts meetings of such groups as the Nonprofit Network.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What's going on just to the south of us...

This from the Channel 2 Website:

XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) - Some workers at a Greene County restaurant are in hot water with the health department, after an employee took a bubble bath in a store sink.
It happened at the Burger King on Orange Street in Xenia.

A four-minute video posted on MySpace captured the employee, self-described as Mr. Unstable, bathing nude in a large stainless steel sink as several other employees and a store manager looked on.

Read more and view video>

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oten up for grabs?


After 40 plus years of adding brick after brick to that elusive landmark on Xenia Avenue, 70-something Alan Macbeth is apparently losing some steam. He confirmed last week that he is looking for some way to sell his Oten Gallery and newly renovated restaurant space, while retaining a place for himself to live in the building.

Macbeth's castle

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Why not get rid of football?

Why does Yellow Springs continue to bear the financial burden of putting on such a dangerous and violent sport as football when the team barely draws enough players to have a practice? In fact, in some years they haven't even had the 22 players to put 11 boys on offense and 11 on defense.

Football is the most expensive sport at YSHS. The cost of uniforms, including helmets and pads, insurance, lighting for the Friday night games, officiating, coaching, and maintaining a football field, are out of sight when compared to sports like cross country and soccer. And what is the payback? The games are sparsely attended, the team is lucky to win one or two games a season, and the players are disheartened. Let's face it, the village and the school are too small to support a football program.

Something that has always bugged me about high school football in Ohio is that it is played under the lights. In this time of energy consciousness, why is it that no one has suggested moving the games to Saturday afternoon? Remember Boomer Esiason, the outstanding quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals a few years back? Boomer didn't play high school football under the lights. And it wasn't just Esiason, it was Jim Brown, Vinnie Testaverde and a host of others. In most of the Northeast, and, in particular, on Long Island where Boomer grew up, football is played on Saturday afternoons. You would have a hard time finding a high school football field with lights.

What is so precious about the Friday night lights in football hotbeds like Ohio and Texas? It's college football. You can't watch the Buckeyes or the Long Horns on TV and attend your local high school game at the same time. But notice this: Ohio State and Texas rarely play under the lights, and then only to accommodate the television networks.

Let's face reality, Yellow Springs is not a football town. We could scrap the program and hire an extra teacher, instead of sending our kids off to local colleges to get instruction in math and science the high school can't afford to offer. With an enrollment that graduates less than 60 kids a year, the high school offers only two foreign languages, Spanish and French. Other schools offer as many as four or five. And a few years ago the school board was considering dropping French.

And I am not even going to get into the risk to our kids of fractures, concussions, paralysis and death.

I have to laugh when I see, on the television news, parents crying about having to pay for their kids to play when their local levy doesn't pass. I love to watch them scramble to get it passed when football is on the chopping block. Art and music programs, school buses, they are all expendable. But football..? Oh, no! Football is sacred.

Right here in Yellow Springs, a few parents showed up at the last school board meeting demanding to know when they were going to hire a new football coach. I couldn't believe it.

“The boys are worried,” one of them said.

And how many would that be, I wondered, a half-dozen?

With a new superintendent of schools and a new athletic director, there is no better time than now to get rid of football. We did it once before. I can't understand why we ever brought it back.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Seniors deny coveting Presby building

In an email in response to yesterday's article about rumors surrounding the First Presbyterian Church, Senior Citizen's board member Becky Eschliman said this was the first she had heard of it.

"I just read your most recent blog entry about rumors of the Senior Center coveting the Presbyterian Church as a new Center, and as a board member of said Center, I was rather stunned, because I have heard nothing of that idea, even as a vague "where would be a good space if it were available" brainstorming," she wrote.

Following...

(Originally posted on The Chronicles of Kresge on 8/7/08)

Presbyterians deny rumors

The First Presbyterian Church of Yellow Springs, which has been struggling financially and identity-wise, now has a new problem: deflecting rumors that it is about to go under.

“What?” session member Kay Reimers screamed into the phone when I told her about the word around town, only to later admit that she had heard the rumors herself. “These rumors are the last thing we need!”

“The seniors have their eyes on the church as a possible new center,” I told her.

“Where did you get that?” she asked.

I told her I had to protect my sources, but we both agreed that the rumors are emanating from the Senior Center.

Later Church Elder Walter Rhodes would tell me that another long-time church member, who will remain unnamed lest she have a heart attack, had her suspicions. All fingers are now pointing to a senior villager who mysteriously showed up at the Miami Presbytery while Reimers happened to be there to seek financial advice for the church.

Following...

(Originally posted on The Chronicles of Kresge on 8/6/08)

Spare Parts

For now, I will be using this blog for spare parts for the Chronicles of Kresge. Eventually, I may use it as my gossip blog.

We'll see...