Saturday, January 31, 2009

Icicles at the Humanist Center

Town was quiet this morning.
More icicle photos on The Chronicles of Kresge.

Last day of January

Bundle up for your trip to the bake sale!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Bake sale Saturday morning


The Yellow Springs Library Association will hold its annual Founder’s Day Bake Sale on Saturday January 31, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Deaton’s (Downing's Do It Best) Hardware Store on the corner of Xenia Avenue and Short Street.

Baked good contributions should be delivered to Deaton’s between 8:30am and 9:30am if possible, but later will be okay, too.

School Board Meeting on K-9s in schools not well attended

Maybe it was because it was the third meeting on the subject, or maybe it was the weather, but the committee-of-the-whole School Board meeting on the use of K-9 units in the schools last night wasn't as packed as I thought it would be. If I had to guess, I would say about 50 folks attended, arriving late and sitting on one side of the seating arrangement in the Mills Lawn gym. There were at least a dozen teenagers and a handful of teachers. The majority of those present appeared to be parents.

The opinions expressed ranged from unequivocal support for Principal John Gudgel's plan for surprise visits by drug-sniffing dogs and their handlers, to modified support, to neutrality, to full-blown opposition. Most of the opposition came from YSHS students and recent grads who had shown up in a group, sat together, and took turns speaking passionately about how they would feel mistrusted and disrespected if the plan were set in motion. Several of those who supported the plan talked of how they had been personally impacted by friends and family members who started using drugs in high school. Some had lost relatives in drug-related deaths.

Virtually every speaker expressed their respect for Gudgel and Police Chief John Grote who was in the audience. Some spoke of their concern for what would happen if this precedent were set and they were no longer around.

Overall, the people who stepped up to the microphone appeared to be evenly divided. If you took the the YSHS student contingent out of the mix, the balance seemed to tip in favor of the use of K-9 units in some manner.

No runs, no hits, no errors. I doubt that Gudgel, who has sole authority over the matter, saw anything that would change his mind.

Diane Chiddister was there covering the meeting for the News. I would expect that they will publish a more detailed account of the meeting in next week's paper.

FYI: A summary of case law on use of drug-sniffing dogs in schools.

Friday closings/delays - updated 7:50 a.m.

Yellow Springs Schools - 2 hour delay
Greene County Career Center - closed
Greene County Learning Center - closed

Check for the latest closings on the WHIO-TV Closings Website.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

School Board Meeting still on for 7 p.m. in MLS Gym

The committee-of-the-whole School Board meeting on Principal John Gudgel's proposed use of K-9 units at YSHS/McKinney is still on for tonight.

The meeting is to be held in the Mills Lawn gym at 7 p.m. The community is invited.

They will call me if for some reason it is canceled. So check back here for a possible update.

Thursday closings/delays - updated

Greene County Level I Snow Emergency

Yellow Springs Schools - Closed
Greene County Career Center - closed
Greene County Learning Center - closed
Greene County Public Library - open at noon

A Message from the Center for the Arts Steering Committee


An Update for the Community January 2009

In 2009, the Yellow Springs Center for the Arts Steering Committee is embarking on the third phase of its project and we would like to update the community with a review of where we have been, where we are now, and what we plan to do next.

Several years ago, Lee Morgan approached some local theater artists about the possibility of creating a theater in Yellow Springs. A working group was brought together around that idea, and the concept eventually expanded to embrace other arts disciplines. The Yellow Springs Center for the Arts Steering Committee was formed and took on the mission to "build and operate an artistically, architecturally, and programmatically distinctive arts center that draws the community together."

To assist with this task, the YSCA engaged consultants Tom Borrup and George Sutton, who have expertise in community cultural planning and cultural facility development. The group process has been deliberate and has proceeded at a measured pace that has been able to adapt to changes in the community.

The first phase of the process, which took place in 2007, was a period of discovery and visioning. Through meetings, interviews, and research an "inventory" of Yellow Springs' cultural assets was created, which includes our history of creative entrepreneurship, a large artist population, a breadth of cultural activities unusual for a community this size, an extraordinarily high level of volunteer commitment to these activities, educational institutions with the arts infused in their curriculum, and a strong desire to do something unique that sets us apart as a community of choice.

In March 2007, a three-day community meeting brought more than 300 people together to envision an arts center for Yellow Springs, and a set of core values emerged. These included the need for both financial and environmental sustainability, keeping and improving Yellow Springs as a good place for artists to live and work, supporting existing arts organizations, producing festivals that celebrate and promote the arts, and "raising" artists with both arts education and immersion in a community that values the arts.

Toward the end of the first phase, a new idea began to emerge: rather than focus on creating a single structure or new organization, a holistic plan was established that envisioned Yellow Springs itself as a "center for art" that engages not only artistic disciplines and cultures but social, commercial, civic, environmental, and educational interests of the community as well.

There was a need for a community-wide strategic investment in creative people, organizations, and the spaces in which they work. In 2008, the YSCA Steering Committee moved into the second phase of its work by developing and testing a three-pronged approach:
1. Increase Capacity: Strengthen the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of the Yellow Springs community through a holistic approach that builds on the human capital and organizational fabric. The YSCA project has been working with several organizations to increase their capacity. The Yellow Springs Arts Council has expanded to include all arts disciplines and arts supporters, with a revitalized board of trustees that is focusing on arts advocacy and creating connectivity between artists, arts organizations, and the community. The Little Art Theatre is transitioning to a nonprofit organization in order to help assure its long-term survival. YS Kids Playhouse is developing a business plan that will expand its successful programming and address its need for a home from which to operate.
2. Establish Identity: Establish a strong identity that defines Yellow Springs as a creative and innovative community of choice. Working with the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Arts Council, the YSCA is helping to promote Yellow Springs as a creative community and cultural destination through events such as Summer in the Springs. A public art program, with temporary and permanent art, will highlight the energy, creativity, and history of Yellow Springs at its gateways and gathering places.
3. Provide Facilities: Improve and/or create facilities that support the performing, literary, and visual arts. Planned facilities include a downtown office/gallery space/administrative home for the Arts Council and other groups; improvements to the Little Art Theatre to increase accessibility and comfort for patrons; an outdoor performance space; and a high-quality indoor performance space.

This year, the YSCA Steering Committee is moving forward with its facilities initiatives and development of a public art plan. We will continue to work with the Arts Council, the Little Art, and YSKP to build their capacity. We plan to complement and be a resource to the activities at McGregor and the Nonstop Institute, and also the efforts to revive Antioch College. We believe in Yellow Springs' future as a creative community with vital business and educational assets and a lively downtown district. By this time next year, we will also have a site purchase option and a preliminary design and business plan for a performing arts facility, and be ready for a capital fundraising campaign.

The YSCA Steering Committee is looking forward to sharing more details of its plans with the Yellow Springs community in 2009. Community input has provided the focus to our vision and work and it is the community that continues to motivate our efforts. We appreciate your continued interest and support.

Jerome Borchers, Chair
Jane Baker, Vice Chair

2009 YSCA Steering Committee Members: Jane Baker, Vice Chair; Harden Ballantine; Jerome Borchers, Chair; Anita Brown; Mary Campbell-Zopf; Luke Dennis; John Fleming, Secretary; Paul Graham; Ellis Jacobs; Rick Kristensen; Amy Lee; Rob Lytle, Treasurer; Gayle Rominger; Laura Carlson, Project Coordinator

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wanna play in a band, a really big band?

The third annual combined Community Band/YSHS - McKinney/Alumni band concert will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 25 in the High School gym. Check back for the time.

If you play a band instrument, you are welcome to join the fun. We had about 110 participants last year. This year, Band Director Dennis Farmer is hoping to have 150!

Community Band rehearsals are on Monday nights at 7:30 in the YSHS music room. Every time we have one of these concerts, the Community Band seems to grow by a few members. Come see what it's all about.

Closings - late openings - updated

Greene County Level II Snow Emergency

Antioch University McGregor
Greene County Career Center - closed
Greene County Learning Center - closed
Greene County Library - closed
Non-Stop Liberal Arts Institute - closed
YS Branch of US Bank - closed
YS Federal Credit Union - "will open at 10 or 10:15 a.m. and stay open for about three hours"
YSI, Inc. - closed
YS Schools - closed

Stay tuned...

Feel free to email me your closings.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Squad run in the snow

The squad made a run on Shawnee Drive at around 10:30 p.m.

In the path of the storm

The village was deserted this afternoon as a snowstorm bore down. US Bank sent its employees home at 4:00 p.m. The library opened at noon and shut down just a few hours later. Channel 7 is predicting a snowfall of up to a foot by morning.

Monday, January 26, 2009

School Board Meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. in MLS Gym

It has been confirmed. This week's committee-of-the-whole School Board meeting to discuss YSHS Principal John Gudgel's plan to use K-9 units to search for drugs in at YSHS/McKinney will be held Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in the Mills Lawn gym.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Library Association to hold Bake Sale this Saturday

The Yellow Springs Library Association will hold its annual Founder’s Day Bake Sale on Saturday January 31 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Deaton’s (Downing's Do It Best) Hardware Store on the corner of Xenia Avenue and Short Street. Why Deaton's? It's a tradition, as the building once housed the Yellow Springs Library.

Fresh brownies, cookies, breads, and other goodies will be for sale inside the hardware store. Come in and say hello and enjoy something warm and fresh to support the Yellow Springs Library Association, over 100 years strong.

***Baked good contributions should be delivered to Deaton’s between 8:30am and 9:30am if possible. And as always we are so very grateful to all of our donors and supporters.***

Not a member of the Library Association? Membership sign up forms will also be available. Membership is just $5.00 per year. Dues go to support the library and its many wonderful programs. An additional benefit is that members receive Ex Libris, the quarterly Library Association newsletter.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Backing Gudge's play

YSHS Principal John Gudgel has said that he intends to use drug-sniffing dogs at the High School and McKinney Middle School. As a former criminal defense attorney, the image of police officers with dogs going from locker to locker as our children cower in the hallways sent chills up my spine the first time it occurred to me. That was years ago. And if something like that actually occurred in high schools in this country, it wouldn't surprise me. But that is not what we are talking about here.

Gudgel is a reasonable person, as are Police Chief John Grote and the members of our school board. Gudgel and Grote grew up in this town and graduated from this very same high school. They bleed Bulldog blue. No one is more dedicated to the students than Gudgel, who has devoted his life to our schools. The kids call him Gudge - he loves it. When he looks at a problem in those hallways, he sees it as an insider. He has lived his life there. When he talks about Yellow Springs High School, we should listen.

And he is talking about keeping our schools drug free and giving us the opportunity to listen. Last week the PTO sponsored an open community meeting where Gudgel informed parents of his plan and listened to parents and students. This week, on Thursday night, the school board will be holding another community meeting. No surprises - nothing going on behind our backs.

Historically, drugs have been a problem at YSHS. A few years ago, we lost one of our teenagers in a drug related homicide. That is as bad as it gets, yet some people in the village still seem to be in denial. They say we should trust our kids. But as parents, we know that sometimes we can trust our kids and sometimes we can't. And even when we can trust our own kids, there are others whom we cannot trust. It's not as much about credibility or criminality as it is about peer pressure and judgment. The kids who show up at these meetings and ask us to trust them are among trustworthy. It's the ones who wouldn't be caught within a mile of a school board meeting that we have to worry about. A few years ago we trusted and and someone died. In this case the word "trust" is a red herring.

I am in favor of drug dog searches, if they are conducted after school hours when there are no students in the building. As far as this issue is concerned, the law is settled. The school is public property and the kids have no reasonable expectation of complete privacy, even in their lockers. The searches may or may not be announced before they happen, but should be well publicized afterward. They should be a deterrent to those who would bring drugs to school. I submit that even these meetings that are currently being held may be serving as a deterrent. What student would have drugs in his locker today in view of all the publicity Gudgel's proposal and these ongoing meetings have been getting?

So let's be reasonable - smart about admitting to ourselves that there is a problem, and measured in our response to it. Let's make it known to those kids who would bring drugs to school that we are not going to tolerate that kind of behavior.

If you have views on this matter that you would like to express, or would like to learn more, show up at the meeting at Mills Lawn School this Thursday. School board meetings are usually held at 7:00 p.m. However, in an article on the front page of the YS News, it was reported that the meeting will be at 4:00 p.m., while on the calendar of events it said 7:00. I will check with the Board of Ed on Monday and post an announcement here.

FYI: A summary of case law on use of drug-sniffing dogs in schools.

This post was updated at 1:50 p.m. on 1/30/09 to include the word "complete" in the sentence on expectation of privacy and to add the case law summary at the bottom.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Heat wave!

The chickens are loving this!

More Firpys woes as pipes burst (updated)

With declining enrollment, an aging congregation, sky-rocketing heating bills, and an ongoing identity crisis, the First Presbyterian church already had its share of problems. Then last week, the gas pipe that feeds the church broke and had to be shut off for a week for repairs. Now, according to a reliable source, without heat, some of the water pipes in the church have frozen and burst.

Update - A call in to the Church this morning verified the above with the following additional details:

According to Church Administrative Assistant Mary Kay Clark, A-C Service was engaged to do the work on the gas pipe. As a precaution, they drained the water pipes and suggested that space heaters be placed around the church to keep the pipes from freezing. Some well-intentioned church member, in spite of the fact that other members were checking the space heaters every four hours, slipped in and shut off the heaters out of fear that there would be a fire. In the short interval until the next person came in and discovered the heaters were off, pipes in the kitchen and basement had frozen and burst. Fortunately, because the water was shut off and drained, there was not much water damage. This occurred sometime last Sunday.

According to Clark, the gas pipe has been repaired and A-C is working on the water pipes. The heat is on and the church is open. There will be a service this Sunday at 10:30 a.m., conducted by local resident Grover Criswell, who was sheduled to be last week's speaker.

"The problem now," Clark said, "is how we are going to pay for the repairs."

A few weeks ago, the church held a Saturday night fundraiser at the Emporioum that was well attended and, according to insiders, raised about $800. Perhaps an additional show of community support at Sunday's service would help.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Senior Center to celebrate 50th

On Monday, Jan. 26 the Senior Center will be 50 years old.

The celebration starts at 3:00 p.m. at the Senior Center.

Refreshments will be served

Not much left of Vernay

The pile of rubble that was left after they demolished Vernay Laboratories is quickly disappearing. This was the scene today as a team of heavy equipment operators made short work of the remains. At least it won't be around as a constant reminder of the vulnerability of our institutions.

Channel 7 coverage of YS PTA meeting

WHIO-TV channel 7 Eyewitness News was at the PTA meeting last night to cover the debate over the proposed use of drug-sniffing dogs in the Yellow Springs schools. Watch the report here.

There will be another meeting on Thursday, Jan. 29, this one a committee-of-the-whole School Board meeting. It will start at 7 p.m. in the Mills Lawn gym.

Update 1/23 - I noticed in today's Yellow Springs News that the time of the committee-of-the-whole meeting was reported differently in two different places in the newspaper. On Monday, I will check with the Board of Education and post the correct time in a new entry.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

About democracy

Two seemingly unrelated pieces I read on the eve of the inauguration that keep staying with me: about Thailand and about Lincoln.

I guess it's about how lucky we are.

Monday, January 19, 2009

WYSO's Silent Auction & Wine Tasting - Sat. 2/7

Don't miss WYSO's Silent Auction & Wine Tasting
Saturday, February 7th at 6 PM
Antioch University McGregor

This year's auction promises to be bigger & better than last year.

Wines & Tasting staff is being provided by the Winds Cafe.

Food is being provided by Current Cuisine.

So...Mark Your Calendars

DATE: Saturday, February 7th


LOCATION: Antioch University McGregor, 900 Dayton Street, Yellow Springs

Please, join the crew at WYSO for this great evening & help support WYSO!

Tickets are $20 in advance (purchased by 5 PM February 6th) or $25 at the door.

Need more info? Call Jacki Mayer at 769-1388.

Enough with the inauguration already!

Reuters photo of the 44th President of the United States

I voted for the man in the primaries. I voted for him in the election. I contributed financially to his campaign. I rooted hard on election eve and cheered teary-eyed when Ohio put him over the top. I am pleased to see that he has been taking care of business well before the inauguration and is ready to hit the ground running. You can call me a "supporter."

But this inauguration hoopla is getting to be too much for even me. If you've seen one inauguration, you have seen them all. The only difference here is that this one is going to be the most elaborate ever at a time when we should be pinching pennies.

The claim is that we will be witnessing history. Get over it! We witnessed history when Obama won the election. The rest is television grandiosity. Frankly, I am surprised that he would countenance it.

Will I tune in for the ceremony? Most likely I will, if I am near a TV. I can actually remember, as a kid, watching Ike get sworn in. I was eight years old. This is an opportunity to add another inauguration to my collection.

But I am also aware that Obama is just a man. Black or white, it should make no difference. And to me it doesn't. He has a hard road ahead. If he fails, it may diminish the significance of his electoral achievement and will certainly make a mockery of this over-the-top celebration for his detractors. I hope he is up to the task.

He is an elected official and for that I am glad. I am also glad that he is not our king, he nor any other man - glad that this is an inauguration, not a coronation.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Gas main break shuts down Firpys

Chamber of Commerce Director Karen Wintrow reports that she received a call from Mary Kay Clark, the administrative assistant at the First Presbyterian Church of Yellow Springs, informing her of a gas main break that will keep the church closed for at least a week. Church services will not be held this Sunday and any other activities in the church will also be cancelled. Yellow Springs resident and Pastoral Theraphist Grover Criswell was scheduled to conduct the service this week.

New senior apartments to be passive building

In casual conversation at the Chamber of Commerce "Business After Hours" event at Friends Care, last night, FCC Director Carl Zalar revealed that the design of the proposed senior apartments to go in on the Barr property on Xenia Avenue in downtown has been changed to incorporate passive building technology that will cut energy costs by up to 90%. According to Zalar, the benefits of the savings will inure to the tenants. The changes will not affect the planned look of the building, and other features, such as the green roof, are still a go.

Passive building technology has been popular in Europe, mostly in Germany, for a few years now. I was recently introduced to it by an article in the the New York Times.


That can't be right!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ACCC to buy College for $6.5 million

The campus was looking very Joycean after the announcement.

The Great Lakes Colleges Association (GCLA) announced yesterday that the boards of the Antioch College Continuation Corporation (ACCC) and Antioch University have approved a letter of intent that provides for ACCC to purchase certain of the college's assets for $6.5 million. The letter seeks to protect the assets while paving the way for a more definitive agreement, according to Richard Detweiler the president of GLCA

Read the press release and letter of intent.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Les Groby at the Emporium Friday night

Guitarist - singer Les Groby will be performing this Friday, Jan. 16 at The Emporium's Underdog Café in downtown Yellow Springs. As usual, there will be wines available for tasting. Wine tasting begins at 6:30; music will be from 7:00 till 10:00. There is no cover charge, but tips will be gratefully accepted.

This will be one of many offerings for this month's Third Friday Fling in the Springs.

Listen to Les at

Saturday, January 10, 2009

In Memory of Bob Womacks

Shortly after I got my first chickens almost five years ago, I began to notice clues that someone had been sneaking into my yard and feeding them birdseed. I had my suspicions. My elderly neighbor, Bob Womacks could never resist feeding the local wildlife. He liked to build birdhouses and feed the occupants. He even, much to his son Jerry's consternation, fed the groundhogs.

As his mobility became more and more limited, I took to carrying a chicken or two over to his house to eat the bugs from his garden. We would sit on his porch and watch them as he told me wonderful stories from his childhood in Arkansas and from when he was in the Army in Alaska during WWII. He had raised chickens as a kid - thus the affinity for my birds. The stories from Alsaka were such big tales that I was never sure about their veracity. He was in short a character - a loveable, mischievous character.

He was happy to come home from the nursing home yesterday afternoon. He passed in his sleep last night in his own house. Amy and I feel fortunate that we were able to see him one last time last evening.

We will miss him. He was as good a neighbor as you could ever want.

Not snow, but...

The clothesline we never took in for winter

Ice on the netting over the chicken run

The Channel 7 reporters in the field are telling people not to drive, if they don't have to. Then they cut live to the Home Improvement Show at the Hara Arena, where they are telling us not to let the freezing rain keep us from coming out to the show.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Yellow Springs touted in Cincinnati Enquirer

Something I heard about at the Chamber of Commerce annual dinner last night, which by the way, was a rousing success with over 80 attendees:

On the heels of the Budget Travel magazine inclusion of YS in its "ten coolest small towns," a few days ago the Cincinnati Enquirer published a piece titled Hit Yellow Springs trails, shops. According to Chamber Director Karen Wintrow, she has been getting lots of calls from out of town as a result of the article.

Kudos to the Chamber and others around town who have worked so hard at getting our name out there.

P.S. It was nice to see former Chamber Director Adrienne Chesire at the dinner last night. She is back in town working as Marketing Director at the Glen.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More on the south-end burglaries

According to YSPD Dispatcher Larry Campbell, two adults from Springfield were arrested in connection with the south-end burglaries. The case against at least one of them was going to the Grand Jury today. He was unable to provide any other information.

No thanks, not today

Usually, I go down the stairs from my second floor back deck to take care of the chickens. One look at this ice and I decided to go around. I opened up the coops, but the chickens demurred on coming out.

At first check, the Yellow Springs Schools had posted a two-hour delay this morning. Not realizing that it was bad enough to check Channel 7, I sent Kalson out to wait for the bus to the Career Center. After ten minutes, he came back in the house and turned on the TV. Two hours later, he repeated this scenario to find out that the YS Schools had closed down. The Career Center, however was still open, posing an interesting question: What is your responsibility to get your kid to school in this situation? He called me on my cell phone and I came home and drove him to school - two hours late.

"How are the roads?" the lady in the attendance office asked.

The main roads in Yellow Springs had been salted and were fine. Hyde Road was pretty bad and I slipped a bit going up the big hill. West Enon Road was even worse.

The good news was there was plenty of parking available downtown.

Monday, January 5, 2009

To Let

I was told today by the person at The Antioch Company who has been handling my requests to reserve meeting space for varioius organizations that I better start looking for another another place as the building is up for lease.

Friday, January 2, 2009

South end burglaries - breaking news...

Arrests have been made in the four recent south end burglaries, according to one of the victims today.