Saturday, February 28, 2009

Borchers qualifies for Big Ten 1500 m final

Local runner Sam Borchers qualified this afternoon for tomorrow's 1500 meter run final at the Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships in 4:07.07, the second fastest time of the day. He also ran a leg on the Penn State distance medley relay team that finished in 5th place.

Housing crisis in Yellow Springs

Old Bob Womacks isn't around to take care of the birdhouses on the side of his garage anymore.

A wildlife photographer I am not. I keep scaring the birds away as I approach for a closer shot. When I first spotted what was going on, it looked like the picture below. Notice the birds lined up on the roof, hoping for a vacancy.

I'll keep working on it. Part of the problem is my old gate that creaks so loudly as I try to get from my yard to Bob and Virda's - an early warning system of sorts.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Chen's to be closed all day Saturday

Jenny Chen has announced that her restaurant, Chen's Asian Bistro, will be closed Saturday, February 28, to honor the memory of her companion, Eric Siemer. A memorial service for Eric will be held at 3:30 p.m. at the Yellow Springs United Methodist Church.

Jenny wishes to thank her many friends and customers who have been so kind during this very difficult time. It is this sense of community that has made living and doing business in Yellow Springs so important to her.

The restaurant will reopen at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Band concert Thursday night

Come hear your friends and neighbors (and their kids) make beautiful music at the joint Community Band/YSHS-McKinney/Alumni Band Concert in the YSHS Gym tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7:00 p.m. High School band director Dennis Farmer will conduct the really big band.

On the menu:

Soul Bossa Nova - Quincy Jones
Mission Impossible Theme - Lalo Schifrin
The Pink Panther - Henry Mancini
Green Hills Fantasy - Thomas Doss
Concert Suite from Cirque Du Soleil - arr. by Victor Lopez
American Sailing Songs - Gene Milford
Above the World - Rob Gice
Aztec Fire - Jay Bocook

The concert is free, but donations will be accepted.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chen's Asian Bistro to reopen Weds.

Chen's Asian Bistro, 126 Dayton Street, will reopen tomorrow (Wednesday) for both the lunch and dinner hours. The restaurant was closed from Friday through Tuesday, due to the untimely death of Eric Siemer, whose soft-spoken presence in the restaurant will be sorely missed.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Eric Siemer (6/2/60 - 2/19/09)

John Eric Siemer, known to his family and many friends as Eric, died at home in Yellow Springs on Feb. 19. He was 48.

Known for his cheerful, smiling demeanor, his quick willingness to help others, and his eclectic catalog of interests, Eric was loved by many in Yellow Springs and surrounding communities.

He was born in St. Louis, MO on June 2, 1960 to Pat and Ron Siemer, now of Yellow Springs. He spent most of his childhood and youth in Oak Park, IL, immediately west of Chicago. His family, including parents and four brothers, moved to Yellow Springs in 1976.

While living in Oak Park, Eric was diagnosed with bipolar syndrome at the age of 14. He bravely fought the disease, which causes its victims to suffer severe episodic emotional and physical anguish, all his life, exhibiting incredible courage and cheerful friendliness to family, friends, and business acquaintances between debilitating episodes, when he was often hospitalized.

After graduation from Xenia High School he joined the Army and served in Germany. He returned to Yellow Springs in the early 1980s and shortly thereafter enrolled in Clark State Community College to pursue a degree in electronics. He also attended Wright State University.

He became an electronics assembly manager at Miller-Wethington Industries, Inc., in Yellow Springs from 1988 to 1991. Later he worked in other electronics positions in Dayton, and from 1991 to 1993 he applied a lifetime interest in bicycles and cycling as retail manager of Whitman Bikes and Fitness, Inc., in Beavercreek.

During these years Eric developed a passion for aviation and flying, with a special interest in ultralight aircraft. He bought a number of ultralight planes and began building one, which he never completed but which he frequently referred to with a grin as his “lifetime project.”

In the late 1990s he married Sharon Dalrymple of Yellow Springs. The couple purchased a 15- acre home in Corwin, OH, where they established a bed-and-breakfast, a bicycle sales, repair, and rental business, and a campground featuring bike trails and other outdoor facilities.

Sharon died of cancer in late 2003. Eric returned to Yellow Springs and worked with youth and adults, forming “Wing Nuts,” an aviation club in which he instructed in hands-on aviation concepts including model building and flying and principles of aircraft construction and handling.

Late in 2006 Eric met and formed a loving bond with Jenny Chen, owner of Chen’s Asian Bistro on Dayton St. in Yellow Springs. Together they operated the restaurant until his death.

Eric is survived by his loving partner Jenny Chen of Yellow Springs; four brothers: Marc of Cincinnati, Paul of Olympia, WA, Tony of Xenia, OH, and Patrick of San Francisco, CA; his parents, Pat and Ron Siemer of Yellow Springs; sisters-in-law Kim Riano (wife of Paul) and Samantha (wife of Tony); Scott Sherwood, loving partner of Patrick; and nieces and nephews Hannah, Jacob, Kyra, Maya, Temple, Miles, and Zoë Siemer and Elena Polinski (daughter of Marc).

The family is grateful to all the generous and caring friends of Yellow Springs, the congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Yellow Springs, the principals of Sowelo of Yellow Springs, and to Mary White, Jennifer Gilchrist, and other musicians who generously volunteered help, guidance, food, and personal services on learning of Eric’s death.

A celebration of Eric’s too-short life is planned for Saturday, February 28, at 3:30 p.m. at the Yellow Springs United Methodist Church.

Note: The memorial service information was updated at 12:30 p.m. on 2/24/09.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

After hours at Super-Fly

Tony Barry (r) of Super-Fly Comics shows off his wares at the Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event at the business's new store in the old Dingleberry's space on Dayton Street.

Local woman takes delivery of giant Buddha

Dayton Daily News photo by Teesha McClam

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Borchers ready for Big Ten and NCAA Indoor Track Championships

Running in the Husky Classic at the University of Washington in Seattle last week, local track star Sam Borchers, a Sophomore at Penn State, won his heat in the 800 meters in a time of 1:48.90. According to the Website Go PSU Sports, this is the fastest time in the Big Ten this season, and the fourth-best mark ever run by a Nittany Lion indoors. His time provisionally qualifies him for NCAA Indoor Championships on March 14 and 15 at College Station Texas. The Big Ten Indoor championships will be held on Feb. 28 and March 1 on the Penn State track.

Borchers, who normally competes in the 1500 meters and mile, has performed well in the 800 meters in the past. Last year, as a Freshman, he came from behind to beat the field by a meter at the Pepsi Team Challenge outdoors at the University of Oregon. <<Watch video>>

In a two week period near the start of the indoor season last year, Borchers set a Penn State indoor record for 1000 meters (2:22.42) and the mile (4:01.98). In a very strategic race, he won the 1500 meters at the Big Ten Outdoor Championship. He is the reigning Big Ten 1500 meter champion. <<Watch video>>

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Friday night will be springin'

The 3rd Friday Fling in the Springs on February 20 marks an historic event for the community, the 10th Anniversary of the Whitehall “Save the Farm” effort. As a result of the hard work, generosity and cooperation of citizens and elected officials in Yellow Springs and the region, this historic farm on the northern edge of Yellow Springs will remain agricultural. Join the festivities in Yellow Springs with shopping, gallery hopping and dining all evening.

Special events include a celebration of Tecumseh Land Trust during the wine tasting at The Emporium/Underdog Café where G. Scott Jones will perform starting at 6:30. Around the corner at Main Squeeze, you can learn how to your own wine from 7:30 - 9:30 pm.

The Art Space at 108 Dayton St. will be hosting an Open Mic Poetry Night hosted by John Booth and Matt Housh with an art exhibit by Sarah Strong. The reception starts at 6-9pm with refreshments and kids’ poetry crafts. Stop into Yoga Springs Studio next door to The Art Space for a session of Happy Hour Yoga at 6:00.

As a special treat, see Mr. Universe “Looking for Love in YS” from 2BSDesigns, a multimedia art display shown on the Short St. wall of Downing’s Hardware.

The critically-acclaimed movie “Slumdog Millionaire” will be playing at the Little Art Theatre at 7 and 9:25. Then head up to Sunrise Café for their Martini and Tapas Bar from 9:30 to 2:30. End the evening at Peach's Grill where The Spikedrivers will be playing Americana Roots Music starting at 10 pm. There is a modest cover charge.

Karen Wintrow
Executive Director
Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nonstop liberal arts? – I’m afraid not

Last week, I received an email from the president of my alma mater, an idyllic, 200 -year-old institution that is perennially listed among the US News and World Report's top twenty liberal arts colleges. The school's endowment recently lost $150 million, a decline of almost 25%. There will have to be severe cutbacks to the budget and scholarships are threatened, he wrote. But, putting a happy face on the situation, the college is still better off than many of its peer institutions, he said. Newspaper reports I have read indicate that the school's losses during the current financial crisis has been typical for institutions of its kind.

Despite his reassurances, I am dubious about my college's future. As we in Yellow Springs know firsthand, longevity is no indicator of what the future may hold for a college. In fact, I question the ability of any small, private liberal arts college to survive for another generation of students. It's not just the current economic situation that is the problem. The whole idea of going away to college to immerse oneself in the humanities is being challenged. With tuition and room and board at $45,000 per year, even in the best of times, such schools may not have been able to continue to compete with public universities and schools that are offering to deliver education in non-traditional ways, such as on-line and limited residency programs. Students seem also to be less interested in great books than they are in learning how to make big bucks.

For me and many others, leaving home and joining a college community was a wonderful experience. Fortunately, my children also got to experience that kind of education. I am saddened by the thought that it is swiftly becoming a thing of the past. My first thought was to get out my checkbook and give to the alumni fund, and I will do that. But I think about all the campaigns and drives over the forty-plus years since my graduation and how hard the school and alumni worked to grow its endowment to suddenly have it reduced by $150 million. Poof! Just like that! $150 million… It would take years of each and every alumnus giving $1,000 per year to even put a dent in that figure. Big corporations are not writing checks for education anymore. The task is overwhelming.

And then we have the Antioch College situation. According to reports I read, the endowment had dwindled to about $20 million. The buildings were crumbling even before the school closed and recently, vacant and without heat, things have gotten much worse. And the Antioch College Continuation Corporation, in the worst of possible times, is hoping to buy the campus, build an endowment, attract students and gain accreditation. Before they survey the condition of the college's buildings, they better survey the condition of the private liberal arts college landscape in general.

If they are to have any chance at success, they cannot try to sell the same product they were when the school shut down. Nobody was buying. The type of education demanded and the means of delivering it are rapidly changing. If they are not willing to recognize this, they will surely fail. The odds are stacked heavily against them as it is. The passing of Antioch may just have been the start of a trend.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Antioch Hall cleanup begins

50+ mph winds - scattered outages

We lost our power on Allen Street at 11:30 p.m., just as the TV news was wrapping up. I would have unplugged the set right after that, but the outage hit before I had the chance. There was a bright flash outside my window and the TV and house lights flashed on and off a few times, before finally going dead.

A call in to the non-emergency number got my favorite dispatcher, Rita, on the line. She said she would add our address to the long list she already had. According to Rita, there were scattered outages all over the south end of town. A call to a trusty source on the north end revealed that they still had power.

Nothing to do but go to bed. "This is what I call going green," Amy said as we lay there in the dark.

An hour or two earlier, there was a sign of what was to come. Kalson was on World of Warcraft with his usual tribe or posse or whatever they call them. Now it comes to me: "Guild." He came upstairs to report that Kevin Mayer had suddenly dropped out of the game. A minute later, Kevin called on his cell phone to ask Kalson to tell the rest of the Guild that he had lost his power (over on State Route 373) and was done for the evening.

Our power came back on at about 12:45 a.m., waking me from a deep sleep I never was able to regain.

To make matters worse, bank security called at 5 a.m. to report that an alarm had apparently gone off. Amy had to get up and meet a YSPD officer at the branch where it was determined that there was no problem. It was probably the wind. She reported that one of the garbage cans had blown into the middle of the parking area. It's a good thing we only live two minutes from the bank.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chamber meeting Thursday to feature small business expert

Dear Members & Friends:

A reminder about the Chamber meeting tomorrow (2/12). We will have a special guest speaker, John Glaser of SCORE, a small business mentoring organization. We strongly encourage our members and anyone who is considering a new business startup to attend the Chamber meeting in the morning to get some advice for moving forward. For additional information, visit www. or

Chamber Meeting
February 12, 2009; 9:00 am
Bryan Center A&B

Karen Wintrow
Executive Director
Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce

Large anonymous donation to the Glen

Dayton Daily News: Nature preserve receives $250,000 gift

Long-time resident and YSI pioneer Ray Schiff

Long-time resident and YSI pioneer Ray Schiff passed away yesterday morning.

From his son, David:

There will a couple of opportunities to remember Ray.

The first will be this Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at Temple Sholom, 2424 N Limestone Street. There will be a service for Dad. If you are in the area and can make it, you are most welcome.

My father, pragmatist that he was, would not want anyone to have to travel pell mell across the country to be here for a few hours.

So, we will be arranging another memorial as well, at a time to be determined. It will be this spring, and with enough advance notice to allow those who will be traveling to arrive and spend some time honoring Dad's memory.

You are welcome to both events.

We wish again to thank you all for all the energy and love you showed to Dad and continue to show to us. We thank you with all our hearts.

In lieu of flowers, my father would want you to donate to any number of worthy causes. Here are theree of his favorites: The Yellow Springs Community Foundation, the Tecumseh Land Trust, or Temple Sholom of Springfield.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Owl of Corry Street

The Jaffa Girls installed this owl to watch over Elaine's bench. The idea is to scare away small birds that drop berries from this tree all over the bench and the newly installed knit-knot sweater. Frankly, I think the berries fall out of the tree on their own. They should have checked with Newton.

More on the water damage from the local media

Xenia Gazette: Water damages Antioch building

WHIO-TV: Brittny McGraw reports on Antioch water damage

Springfield News-Sun: No violations found at flooded Antioch Building

From Judith Hempfling, YS Village Council President

Date: February 9, 2009 11:36:41 PM EST

Subject: Antioch College Main Building Clean Up Plan

Villagers and friends of Antioch College,

I am writing to share information gathered this afternoon at a meeting between Village leaders and Antioch University officials regarding the flooding of Antioch College Main Building. Chancellor Toni Murdoch and Public Relations Director Linda Sirk agreed to meet with Village Council members Karen Wintrow and myself, Village Manager Mark Cundiff and Fire Chief Collin Altman to provide information about this event and their plans for clean up. The information we received was very helpful and we are hopeful that the work done in the next days will go a long way to minimize damage of this beloved building. Please share this information.

Clearly, much of the distress in regards to these recent events, has been a lack of information which had left many of us trying to piece together what had occurred and the impact of the water on the building. The images caught on video of many inches of water in Main Building with more water raining down was very shocking and frightening.

Below are the highlights of the information we received today regarding Main Building.
• A walk through of all of the buildings on campus takes place 3 times a week and had occured late in the week
• The cause of the water pipe break in the attic is believed to be corrosion of a supply pipe to the sprinkler system
• The sprinkler system in the building is a dry system, but with the pipe breakage, compressed air was released and the water began to flow
• At the source of water in the basement there is space heating to prevent freezing pipes
• There is no alarm on this system which is why the Fire Department was not alerted to the problem
• The University has hired a highly recommended company Servpro, to do the cleanup.

Servpro has recommended the following, and the University has hired Servpro to do the work of drying out the building. They will begin there work tomorrow, Tuesday:
• Excess water will be extracted from each floor of the building
• 150 fans will be placed on each floor of the building
• During the cleanup, the building will be heated via auxillary sources provided by Servpro
• Soaked Carpeting and ceiling tiles will be removed
• A high priority is to protect the wood panelling
• The wet area on the outside brick wall shown in the video is believed to be unrelated to the incident
• Insurance coverage will pay for repairs beyond clean up to be done in the future
• The cleanup will take approximately 10 days
• The fire protection system will be put back in place in the next few days

We also discussed the situation at South Hall. When the sprinkler system went off there in late December, the alarm went off, and the Fire Department responded. The water was shut off within a few minutes of the incident. Some water damage occurred to drywall and ceiling. Wet carpeting and drywall was removed and the area was cleaned up by the College/University crew. Insurance coverage will repair this damage in the future but it is being described as fixable and not structural. All wet materials were removed.

YouTube Video of Antioch Hall Water Damage

Monday, February 9, 2009

Theft at YSHS

Two flutes, two violins and a viola. A chamber ensemble? Unfortunately, not. YSHS Band Director Dennis Farmer reported tonight that sometime between last Friday and this Monday, the instruments were stolen from the YSHS band room. A police report has been filed and EBay, pawn shops and the like are being scrutinized. Villagers are asked to keep their eyes and ears open for the instruments, as someone is likely to be offering them for sale.

Donna Avnaim (1957 - 2009)

Chamber Director Karen Wintrow wrote in an email today:

I’m sorry to tell you that local resident and business owner Donna Avnaim passed away on Saturday at an area hospital. Donna, owner of Déjà Vu, was an active member of the Chamber and Chamber Marketing Committee and attended almost all meetings and events, even when faced with health issues that would have overwhelmed most of us. It is my understanding that there will be a service at Jackson Lytle and I will let you know the schedule as soon as I learn something.

Donna’s family is clearing out her shop right now. They would like anyone who has consignment items there and are interested in getting them back to stop by the shop or contact them in some way.

She followed up with a copy of the funeral home obituary:

AVNAIM, Donna M.,51, of Yellow Springs, passed away Sunday February 8,2009. She was born May 4, 1957, a daughter of Ralph Avnaim and Micki Ross Adams in Limestone, ME. Donna was a 1975 Tecumseh graduate and grew upin Medway. She was a long time resident of Yellow Springs where she hadmany friends and was a member of the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce. She was a M.D.A. and Sicsa volunteer. Donna is survived by her siblings,Mitchell (Ginny) Avnaim, Peter (Kathy) Avnaim, Scott Avnaim, Tracy(Robert) Schaffner, and Jeri Avnaim; nieces and nephews, Luke and SarinaAvnaim, Nicholas, Anthony, Jacquelyn, and Leah Avnaim, Scott and StacySchaffner; aunt, Ellie Podberesky; good friends, Pat and John Reising. She is preceded in death by her parents; aunt, Claudia Ross. Friends maygreet family from 10AM until time of memorial service at 11AM SaturdayFebruary 14, 2009 in the JACKSON LYTLE WILLIAMS Funeral Home, YellowSprings. Interment of cremains will follow in the Glen Forrest Cemetery.

Antioch Hall springs a leak

Dayton Daily News: Water damages building at Antioch

Jafa Girls go after Elaine's Bench

I can't even go to the post office without running into these two (Nancy Mellon & Corrine Bayraktaroglu) weaving their mischief.

"It really needs to be painted," JafaBrit said. "But this isn't the weather for it. So we are knitting it a sweater."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

WYSO Silent Autction Saturday Night

WYSO's Silent Auction & Wine Tasting is Saturday Night!
Have you gotten your tickets?

Saturday, February 7th at 6 PM
Antioch University McGregor
900 Dayton Street
Yellow Springs

Time is Running out!
Get your tickets before the price goes up!

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

To purchase tickets, please call 937-769-1388 or you can Click Here
to purchase them online. We'll put your tickets on Will Call for you!

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...Call Your Friends & Family!

DATE: Saturday, February 7th
LOCATION: Antioch University McGregor
900 Dayton Street, Yellow Springs

NEED MORE INFO: Call 767-6420

Please, join us for this great evening & help support WYSO!

Jacki Mayer
WYSO Public Radio

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Really big band concert date change

The date for the joint Community Band/YSHS-McKinney/Alumni Band Concert has been changed to Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7:00 p.m. It will be held in the high school gym.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Allen St. Al sees shadow - six more weeks of winter

Allen Street Al poked his head out from under our deck this morning and beat a hasty retreat back into the hole he maintains next to my wood pile after seeing his shadow on the glistening snow field in my backyard.

Interviewed from deep within his digs, Al reported that it was less about having seen his shadow than it was about there being nothing to eat out there.

"When are you going to start feeding the chickens outdoors again?" he asked.

Over the years, Al has been known for his perseverence in his pursuit of the cracked corn served up in Chicken Land. No matter what we do, he keeps tunneling under the fence. The only success we had in deterring him was a couple times when Rocky the Barred Rock went after him.

"See you in six weeks," he yawned. "I'm going back to sleep."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Community Band rehearsal - come join us

The Yellow Springs Community Band practices on Monday nights from 7:30 - 9:00 p.m. in the high school music room. Anyone interested in participating in the joint Community Band/High School - McKinney/Alumni Concert on Weds., Feb. 25, should show up this Monday. There are precious few rehearsals left before the concert. Anyone who plays a band instrument is invited to participate.

In memory of Virda Womacks

Another gentle light was extinguished yesterday, when our neighbor Virda Womacks passed away. She died just three weeks after her husband Bob.

Virda was quiet and unassuming and, I felt, often overshadowed by her more boisterous husband. They were married for 61 years and were often seen together on long walks around town. You never saw one without the other. After he passed, she lamented to relatives that she didn't understand why, after 61 years, they couldn't go together.

I remember sitting on their back deck listening to old Bob's stories. Every time he would start a new one, she would say, "Oh Bob, you're not going to tell him that one." The love was palpable.

We will miss her just as much as we miss Bob.

Ice Sculpture on High Street

Photo by Susan Gartner

Susan Gartner found this ice art in the yard of Moya Shea's house on High Street, "almost near the corner of High and Dayton Street."

You can see more of Susan's ice art photos on The Chronicles of Kresge.