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Get the real skinny: CDC Swine Flu Page
Yahoo/AP: H1N1 influenza A giving pigs a bad name
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Get the real skinny: CDC Swine Flu Page
Yahoo/AP: H1N1 influenza A giving pigs a bad name
News from WYSO's Jacki Mayer:
Every now and then we could all use a nice, new t-shirt.
And that includes WYSO...
WYSO is holding a t-shirt design contest. If you win, your design will be worn by WYSO listeners and friends around the world.
The contest will run until May 15th.
Click here for contest rules
WYSO Garage Sale
Saturday, May 16th From 9-5
We hope you'll stop by the WYSO performance space to shop!
800 Livermore St, Yellow Springs
If you have old records or CDs that you'd like to donate to WYSO's Garage Sale: Please call 769-1387 or Click here to make arrangements via email
Please put "Garage Sale" in the subject line
For the past nine years, I have been attending meetings of the boards and committees of a number of Yellow Springs nonprofits, either as staff, or as a board member. What was initially traumatic for me, speaking my mind at a meeting of sharp, dedicated people, has become as comfortable as the proverbial old slipper. During those nine years, the dynamic of the pool from which those boards draw their volunteers has changed. In short, volunteers have become older and fewer. I am neither the only one, nor the first to have noticed this. The shrinking volunteer pool, and what to do about it, has become the hot topic at almost every meeting I attend. In the process, I have become an advocate of disbanding organizations that have fulfilled their mission and merging others, where their missions will allow it. Yellow Springs, a village with a population of 3,700, has over 100 nonprofit organizations. I guess I'm thinking that if we are going to have fewer volunteers, we need to have less demand for their services.
In my day job as the Foundation Administrator of the Yellow Springs Community Foundation (YSCF), I am in a good position to notice what has been going on with local NPs. The first such situation to catch my attention was when Center Stage, the amateur theater group, ceased to function and donated their remaining assets to YSCF in memory of Jean Hooper. That was a few years ago. The next was the Leadership Institute, which, after four years of running the Leadership Yellow Springs program, couldn't recruit a big enough class to make continuing the program worthwhile. I was originally the administrator of that organization. I eventually resigned and joined the board. Shortly thereafter, we took her down. What we were selling, nobody was buying. So we disbanded and turned our assets over to YSCF to be used for "leadership purposes" consistent with our mission statement. Currently, the Yellow Springs Endowment for Education is in the process of becoming a donor advised field of interest fund at YSCF. They will continue to exist as an advisory committee for the types of grants they have traditionally funded for the schools. I guess you can call this a merger. Another long-time organization is talking to us about a similar arrangement. At the Library Association, where I serve as treasurer, we are taking a different tack. We are reducing the number of board members from nine to seven and meeting bimonthly, instead of every month.
This multitude of wonderful organizations was started by forward-thinking, civic-minded villagers who have mostly either aged to where they can no longer participate, or have passed on. They could not have foreseen the decline in village population and probably assumed that there would always be folks like them to run these groups. Almost every person I know who serves on a board where I am involved, also serves on at least one other board or committee. They often serve on three or four and are rapidly approaching burn-out. Unless, we can establish a younger volunteer pool, we will have to continue with our efforts to down-size the NPs. Efforts are being made in that direction. The problem is to identify potential volunteers and put them together with volunteer opportunities that suit their talents and preferences.
One of the groups I attend as a representative of the Community Foundation is the Nonprofit Network. It is a somewhat informal group made up of top staff of village nonprofits that have staff. We have been so consumed by this discussion that we have taken the opposite tack from the Library Association and increased our meetings from bimonthly to monthly. One of the things we are doing is identifying volunteer opportunities to satisfy the community service requirement for high school students. Hopefully, by catching them early, we can instill in them the same enthusiasm for volunteerism that the founders of these organizations had.
Last night at the kickoff party for the new green business in town, netzerohome, mechanical engineer Mark Campbell was taking photos of partygoers with a heat sensitive camera that will be used to detect weak spots in a home's insulation. The principals in the business are Yellow Springers Dan Rudolf and Bob Brecha.
Chanteuse Emma Woodruff was wonderful, her voice evoking Buffy Ste. Marie, Odetta, Janis Joplin and Melanie. She definitely knew her audience. It was a good party.
There is an article about netzerohome in this week's Yellow Springs News.
Editor's note: This story has waited so long to be reported it has become Yellow Springs' very own elephant in the living room.
Almost very day for the past six months, a man has been driving to Yellow Springs from Springfield, sitting on a bench in the middle of downtown and beating on a large drum for five or six hours. Next to him on the bench is panhandler's jar filled with singles. With his persistence and seeming determination to remain drumming in front of Tom's Market in spite of mounting objections, one would think that this man has been deeply committed to playing the djembe, a deep carved African drum, for a long time. Not so. He has been drumming for only about a year, he said in a recent interview.
According to King Kenneth, the name he used to identify himself to this reporter, he has been beating his big bongo in front of Tom's for about six months. For six months prior to that, he practiced every day up in Springfield, where he lives; not in his apartment, but on a vacant lot he owns on the corner of Wittenberg Avenue and Grand Avenue. He started by banging on a white plastic garbage pail. Then he turned to practicing on the Senegalese drum he got a good deal on in a store in Dayton. He played until his hands swelled and split. After that on any day when the temperature was over 40 degrees, he said, he would drive down to Yellow Springs, a place he has been visiting for some 50 years, and plunk down in front of Tom's, usually between one and six p.m.
When asked how he learned to play, he said, "Yahweh taught me."
His speech was sprinkled liberally with Biblical references as he claimed that reaction to his playing has been mixed, but mostly favorable. The police have been called a number of times, mostly by merchants directly across Xenia Avenue, he admitted.
"The police can't do anything," he said, "because people have been drumming and making music here for a long time."
He tries to cooperate and recently has cut down on the volume and frequency with which he bangs his drum, he said.
"The lady across the street in the beauty parlor, Lori, if she comes out and gives me the thumbs down, I will stop for awhile," he said. "It was the barber shop that called the cops. One day I tried ringing a little bell. I'm just making a joyful noise to the Elohim of Israel."
He greeted passersby amiably all the while we talked.
"I believe in peace, unity and harmony," King Kenneth said. "Some people, drumming makes them happy. You can't play with anger in your heart."
Asked what he did before his current gig, he said he was "a soldier in the army of Yahweh since I was 25."
"I have always been a self-employed entrepreneur," he said. "Nobody will hire me. If they hire me, it's to set me up."
One of the things he does is sell bottled water from his lot in Springfield, where, he said, he also has two horseshoe pits and supervises the games. Some folks would rather that he continue doing that instead of drumming in Yellow Springs.
Pam Hogarty, owner of Unfinished Creations said, "It is absurd that one man can disrupt the entire downtown."
Hogarty has called the police several times and has been told that there is nothing they can do about it, as there is no ordinance to cover it.
"He's driving us crazy," she said. "I can't even open my door anymore. I can't hear my customers. Now he's showing up at noon. He used to start at 1:00 pm. I called the police again today."
According to Hogarty, the merchants are getting together to try to do something about it, possibly go to the Village Council or the Chamber of commerce.
The manager of one village business, who requested to remain anonymous, said she heard reports that the drummer is verbally abusive to young women on street. This does not surprise her.
"He has been banned from our store for harassing the young women who work here," she said. "The tourists think he is very cool. I think he is very annoying. He is not a good drummer. I like to open my door in good weather. I can't stand it. It's awful."
Several employees of nearby businesses refused to comment for this article out of fear of reprisals.
"He's always looking to start a fight," the anonymous manager said.
One man, who for years has been sitting on one of the benches in front of Tom's talking to passersby, said he cannot carry on a conversation anymore. He tries to show up when he knows Kenneth is not going to be there, he said. He also asked to remain anonymous. According to him, Kenneth claimed to have been a boxer when he was younger.
"He threatened one of the ladies here, saying she didn't know what he was capable of," the bench-sitter said.
According to the man, Tom Gray came out of the market one day and asked Kenneth to leave due to customer complaints. Gray could not be reached for comment for this article.
"Many days, especially Saturdays, Kenneth is on the bench by 11 a.m.," the man said. "He adds to the list of town characters, but the other characters' patience is being worn down. They can't hear each other, so they flee."
Priscilla Moore, owner of Mr. Fub's Tea Party, which is right next to Tom's, said she has had to field customer complaints about the noise. Personally, it hasn't bothered her too much, she said. But the weather has been cool and her door has been closed. She wonders if she will be able to keep the door open when it warms up.
"It's sort of annoying, the constant, monotonous rhythm," she said. "It's not an appropriate place to be. He is wearing out his welcome."
Lori Deal, owner of The Shop, disputes Kenneth's account that a simple thumbs down from the porch of her beauty parlor across the street quiets his drum.
"He made that offer," she said. "I tried it once and he turned it up."
According to Deal, the tourists, who don't have to listen to the drumming every day, like it, but the locals don't.
"It is an inconvenience and an annoyance to me businesswise," she said. "I like to create a certain ambience for my customers with soft jazz. I am not happy he's there."
The term blog is a contraction, actually more like a double contraction, of the term Web log. For many it is a personal journal; for some, a professional endeavor. Most of the big newspapers have online editions that include a collection of blogs. They look a lot like op-ed columns. For me this blog is a hobby that falls somewhere in between. It is a hobby that I hope satisfies a public need, albeit a very local public need. And because it is a hobby, by definition, I do it because I enjoy it. Like most of the hobbies from my past, if it stops being fun, I simply won't do it anymore.
I have been told that I am competing with our local newspaper. I find this hard to believe. This undertaking has no paid staff and makes zero dollars. It has never been my intent to compete with the newspaper. In fact, I have been complimentary to the paper and may even have referred some readers. My blog includes a link to their online edition and I have sometimes deferred to their in-depth coverage of an issue that I only had the time and resources to scratch the surface of. Other times, I have covered stories that, it seems, they have had no interest in covering. In a way, I am a supplement to the newspaper, a sort of front-end supplement. By that I mean, since the Internet gives me the means to provide up-to-the-minute coverage of breaking news, and the local paper is a weekly, I can break a story and tell my readers that they can expect to read more about it when the paper comes out. That's an odd way to compete.
So let me declare it right now: I am not competing with the Yellow Springs News; I intend them no harm; and I urge you to read the paper every week! If you don't have a subscription, get one right now! I believe you can even do it online. If they think I am competition, they can easily start their own blog. If I am dragging them kicking and screaming into the 21st century, perhaps I have provided an additional service to the community. Someday, we are all going to get our news this way. And on another someday, even more advanced technology will supplant this way of delivering news. That's life in the computer age.
There was an interesting article in the online edition of the New York Times, yesterday: 'Hyperlocal' Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspapers. It all boils down to how to make a buck out of reporting the news. It seems the guy who has no interest in making money off something has always been a threat.