Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pee Wee & Rocky: Species confused

It's raccoon time again

The backyard of my house on Allen Street is like a jungle. In the daytime, besides the dozens of varieties of birds, squirrels, chipmunks and groundhogs romp with impunity. But go out there at night with a flashlight and you are liable to run into more than you bargained for. I have seen opossum, skunk, and raccoons and heard reports of weasels and mink. And I'm sure I'm leaving something out - like maybe snakes.

Last night there were two loud crashes out on my back deck. It was about 4:30 a.m. It sounded like the recycling bin being overturned. It was loud enough to wake the whole family, which then gathered by the glass sliding door with flashlights. Nothing. Usually, when we hear a noise like that, I'll turn on the outside light and I'll find a raccoon, or a mother and two or three kits, eating something we forgot to bring inside. They will sit there and stare at me like I'm making a big deal out of nothing. They don't leave until I yell at them. And then, only reluctantly, will lope down the back steps and into the darkness of the yard beyond.

If I didn't keep a backyard flock, I probably wouldn't be concerned. But this week, on four separate occasions, we spied a raccoon inside the chicken run in broad daylight. Each time it was about 6:30 p.m. The funny thing was, he (or she) was apparently not after the chickens. It was eating their feed as the goundhogs often do. The first couple times the chickens raised a fuss. But after that, they got used to him, as they have with the groundhogs, and continued to go about their business of scratching and pecking, while he dined on layer formula and cracked corn. He even drank up their water.

Every time I went out to chase him, he disappeared as if into thin air. We checked the perimeter and the netting over the top and could not find a hole big enough for him to enter or leave. We were baffled. And he kept coming back. Finally, I saw him go out through a hole you wouldn't imagine a rat could fit through. We blocked it up with heavy cement blocks and were sure he couldn't get in again.

The next evening at 6:30, Amy looked out the kitchen window and screamed, "The groundhog is in with the chicks." (She got a little confused in the excitement.)

Having been thwarted in the big chicken run, the raccoon had resorted to raiding the improvised run I had created for our six four-week-old pullets. When I looked out, he was chasing the chicks around inside the fenced-in area. Fortunately, they were all able to escape through the hole he had dug under the fence and were soon out in the backyard. As I ran out in my bare feet, the raccoon squeezed through the same hole, climbed the seven-foot-high wooden fence that surrounds our yard, scampered along the top and jumped to the safety of a tree, which he then climbed to the top. New precautions were taken to keep him out. The noise on the deck last night..? Retaliation, I am sure.

Yes, its raccoon season again! Last year wasn't so bad. But the year before, I ended up putting extra locks on the coop, after several close calls due to some very clever break-in attempts. The back door to the coop now resembles the door of a New York apartment. I had bandits on my deck every night that spring.

I first got wind of what we were in for this year when my neighbor, Mike Zwart, recounted a few weeks ago how a raccoon had gotten into his attic via the louvers in a decorative cupola, then ate a hole in his roof to get her kits out after she gave birth in there.

After my experience with the "broad daylight bandit," I called my expert on all things chicken, Nick Ormes. He was full of reports of raccoons raiding barns and coops and even bird feeders and eating suet left out for wild birds.

"Yeah, its that time of year again," he said. "The mothers are out looking for food for their babies."

I expect that in another couple weeks those babies will be old enough to travel with mom and I will find them up on my deck again, getting their lessons.

"Now this is where he leaves the sweet corn, and this is where you might find a cantaloupe he has forgotten to bring in," she will tell them. "Oh look, there's a trace of tuna in that can in the recycling bin."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Great Day For Farmers Markets[s]

Smelling the flowers at Kings Yard

It was early, but getting busy at Kings Yard

The Funderburg's booth at Corner Cone

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Only when I laugh

In an old joke a survivor of a wagon train massacre lies on the ground with an arrow in his back. When asked by rescuers if it hurts, the man moans, “Only when I laugh.” Truman’s Secretary of State Dean Acheson relied on this line when asked whether the verbal arrows shot at him were painful. “Only when I laugh” provided the title for one novel, a song, and two movies.

Reposted with permission:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road closings on June 3rd & 4th

The Greene County Engineer’s Office has announced that on Wednesday, June 3, Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road in Miami Twp. will be closed between Snypp and East Enon roads and again on Thursday, June 4, between West Enon and Snypp roads for culvert replacement.

A Yellow Springs Bar Association..? Run!

My first reaction to the phone message from local attorney Barbara Boettcher was to put the receiver back in its cradle and run. Run like hell. Get out of Yellow Springs. My safe haven had suddenly dissolved. Poof!

“A group of attorneys is getting together at William’s on Saturday to talk about starting a Yellow Springs Bar Association,” the message said.

Oh, boy! I thought. Where can I hide?

It had been exactly nine years and four days, since I plea-bargained a case in Bronx Criminal Court, took the subway back to my office in Manhattan to drop off the file and gather a few things, then went home and packed my car to escape to this Bohemian enclave to become a writer. I never looked back. Then this! Well anyway, I had a Memorial Day Weekend excuse, however weak, and did not attend. I didn’t run either. My curiosity was getting the better of me. And then there was that potential for news. News for the Blog. So a few days after the fact, I called Boettcher and shared my initial reaction.

“That was my first reaction when I heard about it, too,” she said. “Run!”

But as an active lawyer, her inclination to flee was less about spending time with other lawyers, than it was about joining another Yellow Springs nonprofit.

“The last thing I need is to join another organization,” she said.

But she went to the gathering and was glad she did.

“It was Ellis Jacobs’ idea,” she said. “And it turned out to be extremely pleasant.”

According to Boettcher 15-16 local attorneys and law students turned out. In her view it’s not really going to blossom into a full-fledged bar association. Rather, it will continue to go on more as a social gathering where some of the things they might seek to accomplish would be to enhance the image of attorneys in the village and maybe put on some programs, such as educating the high schoolers about their rights. In the end, they agreed to get together quarterly.

“We are meeting again in September,” she said. “Everyone loved it.”

Then I called Ellis Jacobs and shared my initial reaction.

“That was my reaction too,” he said. “Then I remembered it was my idea.”

As to whether this is going to lead to an actual Yellow Springs Bar Association, he said he had inquired about what the legal requirements would be and was waiting for an answer. But he doubted that it would end up being so formal. For now, it will remain a place for lawyers and law students to get together and network, perhaps affording opportunities for referrals and co-counsel arrangements. They might put on a program or do something for Law Day, he said.

“It’s a just a loose association of lawyers,” Jacobs said. “We jokingly call ourselves the Yellow Springs Bar Association.”

Another Angle: The Train Station

Taken from the lot at 102 Dayton Street, the proposed site for the new Center for the Arts.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Greene County pools closed, YS Pool expecting increase in attendance

The Greene County Dailies Website is reporting today that the Yellow Springs Pool at Gaunt Park is an alternative to the Greene County Pools that have been closed for this summer due to budget cuts. The article quotes pool manager Christina Fox as saying she expects more swimmers this season.

<<Read Article>>

Ashanta' Robinson to play hoops at Witt

Yellow Springs High School girls basketball star Ashanta' Robinson will be continuing her education and playing basketball at Wittenberg University next year, according to an article on the Greene County Dailies Website.

<<Read Article>>

Another Angle: Dayton Street

In the foreground is 108 Dayton Street. Mike from Design Sleep does a great job with the flowers.

Bench to Nowhere: One last poke in the ribs

A Cool Town Toon

Click on image to enlarge.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Maverick

In the mid-19th century, on Texas’s Gulf Coast, Samuel Maverick was given four hundred head of cattle to settle a debt. Maverick had little interest in ranching, and didn’t even brand his calves. As a result, in southwest Texas, “mavericks” referred to unbranded cattle. This term subsequently was applied to independent human beings as well. They were, and are, mavericks.

Reposted with permission:

Recent Keyes article in the Christian Science Monitor: Do you know who Captain Queeg, Howard Beale, and Chauncey Gardner are?

Springfield ANG will not meet with the Blog

I spoke with Major Laura Powers of the 178th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard in Springfield yesterday. As Public Relations Officer at the time, she had been my liaison when I did an article on jet noise for the YS News about a year-and-a-half ago. Yesterday, she returned my call from last week. She told me that she has been promoted to Wing Executive Officer and another officer has taken her place as Public Affairs Officer. Unfortunately, that person will be off base until Aug. 1.

The base has started a new public Website,, which will eventually be set up to handle noise complaints. However, it will not be functional in that regard for another couple weeks. Meanwhile, Powers said, the telephone number for noise complaints that has been posted on poles around town is still good: 937-327-2332. She noticed! However, she has not read the letters to the YS News complaining about the noise, she said.

As for whether the Colonel or someone else from the base would meet with an organized group of citizens from the village, she said she would have to check on that. In any event, the Blog will not be getting an interview with the Colonel this time around, Powers said, because it is not a recognized news source.

The best the Blog can do for now is conduct a poll (See sidebar.) and suggest that a “recognized news source” give this story the coverage it deserves.

Note: It is 7:50 a.m. As I write this from my home at the south end of town, the jets are already scrambling overhead.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sitting down with Toni Murdock and Art Zucker

Recently the Blog visited the Yellow Springs offices of Antioch University to interview Chancellor Toni Murdock and Board of Governors Chair Art Zucker, who is in town to meet with new Antioch McGregor President Michael Fishbein. Now that the search for a President for McGregor has been concluded, the two major items left on the University’s agenda are the negotiations with the Antioch College Continuation Corporation (AC3) for the purchase of Antioch College and the creation of independent boards for the five colleges that make up the university.

Negotiations with the alumni for purchase of the college

As the June 30 deadline for the University and AC3 boards to enter into an agreement to purchase the college approaches, Murdock and Zucker are confident that it will be met, they said. The current deadline is an extension of the original 90-day deadline that passed at the end of April.

“We have a board meeting the first week in June,” Zucker said. “We have been at this for two years. We need to go on with life. We are going to meet the deadline.”

According to Murdock, there were three plans considered for the reopening of Antioch College. After consulting with experts, she concluded that the “only way it can be pulled off is if the alumni drive it.”

“At our June, 2008 meeting we came to the decision that this is the only way we can succeed,” she said.

The agreed upon price for the campus is six million dollars - five million of that in cash at the closing. According to Director of Public Relations Lynda Sirk, who was also present at the interview, the price the board is charging the alumni for the college is not the market price. It is the minimum amount in cash the University Board needs to meet its financial obligations.

“We are concerned about them succeeding,” Murdock said. “There is a legacy. There is potential for confusion between the names. A failure of the new Antioch College would hurt the image of the University.”

AC3 has said it plans to raise $15 million, but recently acknowledged that they are still short of that goal. The University has not yet seen a business plan from the alums, but Zucker said they expect to have it in hand in time for their next board meeting.

As for having had to extend the deadline once before and what it will take to meet the June 30 deadline, Murdock said, “The first deadline was an estimate. There was a provision in the letter of intent to extend it if necessary.” As for the second deadline, “An agreement can be reached before the rest of the details are worked out.”

Those details are numerous, including, but not limited to: the AC3 board obtaining 501 (c) (3) nonprofit status; separating the college’s endowment from University funds; the condition of the buildings; and the status of pending litigation. The college’s endowment is estimated by Zucker at between $15 million and $20 million and is being identified by checking the restrictions on every gift ever made to Antioch, he said. The final amount is subject to approval by the Ohio Attorney General and the Probate Court.

“As long as there is litigation, there can’t be a transfer of assets,” Murdock said.

Is it possible there will be an additional extension of the deadline? According to Zucker, it is not likely and will only happen if dictated by external factors. But he remains confident.

“The agreement can be signed with conditions,” he said.

Explaining the decision to close Antioch College

“The College was bleeding,” Zucker said. “It was putting the whole University at risk. Without the June, 2007 decision, the University would not exist today. The declaration of financial exigency had to be made when it was made.”

According to Murdock, the College’s capital campaign in 2004 was aimed at raising $100 million, then lowered to $65 million, which they did not meet.

“An ingredient in the thought process was ‘do the alums have the capacity?’’’ Murdoch said. “The answer was either no, or they were not invested. The attitude of the alumni was the college always manages to get out of trouble.”

Murdoch was faced with the question of how to run a college with a low endowment and collecting only 50% of the tuition. The college was taking $5 million-a-year out of the endowment’s principal. The annual fund was always less than $1 million.

“I live for Antioch College. It is the basis for all my life’s successes,” Zucker said. “I am passionate about it. My story is not uncommon.”

Yet, with all the successful Antioch alums, in June, 2005, they could only identify two major donors. And that had historically been the problem.

“Leon Botstein, President of Bard College, said, Antioch College failed because its alumni have abandoned it,” Zucker said.

So, why is this alumni effort different?

“I have the greatest confidence in [AC3 Board Pro Tempore Chair] Lee Morgan and [AC3 Chief Transition Officer] Matthew Derr,” Zucker said. “They are the best choice to represent the alumni. If they can’t raise the money, nobody can.”

Independent boards for the five Antioch University campuses

According to Murdock, the separate board approach was initiated three years ago, independent of what was going on with Antioch College. In fact, at that time, it was anticipated the Antioch College would have a board, she said.

The University went on to amend its bylaws to require each campus to select a board of 15 trustees. They are each required to have an interim board of 11 trustees in place by September. Under what Murdock calls a “federated model” the campuses keep money they generate and pay overhead to the University.

Locally, Antioch University McGregor has selected Phil Parker, President of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, as its Board Chair. He is working with incoming McGregor President Michael Fishbein, to fill out the interim board, which is currently at five committed. According to Murdock, she has been recommending local people for consideration and Fishbein has been talking to them.

“This encourages entrepreneurship,” she said. “There is no other private nonprofit institution of higher education like this.”

She describes the delegation of powers, which will include approval of their own academic priorities; selection of their own president (with the Chancellor’s input); raising, managing and keeping their own money; managing their own campus budget; and oversight of their own campus.

“It is as an experiment,” she said. “We are telling them, ‘We are placing the campus in your hands.’”

According to Zucker, the University is coming through the current financial crisis in good shape. With a small endowment, came only small losses, he said.

“We have the ability to meet our budget,” Zucker said.

Murdock is likewise optimistic, feeling the University is in a position to meet the needs of demographic changes in a student population where people are working longer and there are more students over the age of 25. The University, which is geared to training professionals, is attractive to career changers, those looking to step up from an academic undergraduate degree.

“We are well-positioned, because we are small enough to change,” she said. “We are flexible enough to build programs that are in demand.”

As a for-instance, she talks about some of the campuses adding programs on the environment and, given the local resources available to it, identifies McGregor as a likely candidate for a program on the environment and alternative energy.

“The Chancellor and Board of Governors sets the direction for the University,” Murdock said. “My style is to talk about it with the Presidents, before we say this is the University’s direction. I get their buy-in first.”

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Woodshed

When most homes were heated with burning logs, woodsheds were a common sight outside. Most of these ramshackle outbuildings were far from houses themselves, making them an ideal location for smoking corn silk and touching one’s privates, or someone else’s. It also was where parents beat their children. They were “taken to the woodshed.”

Reposted with permission:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bench to Nowhere: Fling Fizzle

A Cool Town Toon

The Blog's first-string cartoonist is back with a vengeance. Has someone been occupying his seat?

Pee Wee & Rocky: Barbecue poll concludes

60% of poll-takers see no problem with the barbecue doing business on the BP lot. 33 readers voted in the poll, which allowed for more than one selection per person: 20 said they see no problem; 5 said the smoke is a problem; 6 said the music is a problem; and 9 said they think it is unfair competition.

Stay tuned for the next poll having to do with noise complaints about F-16s flying over the village. If you have a suggestion for a poll, the Blog will be glad to consider it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


John Philip Hammond, 85 of Yellow Springs on May 20

Charles L. “Charlie” Ryan, 83, of Yellow Springs on May 21

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Iron curtain

“Iron curtain” was the name given fireproof metallic curtains that were first installed in theaters during the late eighteenth century. Since the early twentieth century iron curtain has been used by many a speaker or writer to refer to a country sealed off from its neighbors. Before Churchill used this term in 1946, Nazi propagandists had already warned that an iron curtain surrounded Russia.

Reposted with permission:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Atmosphere or annoyance?

In an email response to an inquiry from the Blog as to whether any Chamber members had complained about the barbecue operating on the BP lot being unfair competition to the village's restaurants, Chamber of Commerce Director Karen Wintrow wrote, "I’ve received nothing but positive comments about the festive atmosphere it adds to town and the fact that it is bringing a cuisine that no other location in town serves."

As of 8:00 o'clock this morning, 52% of Blog poll participants see no problem with the operation. What's your opinion? Take the poll in the sidebar.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Shelley Colbert 5k run gets press

The Greene County Dailies Website yesterday reported on the outpouring of charity for YS resident Shelley Colbert who has stage IIIB breast cancer and no medical insurance.

The run will take place on Saturday at 9 a.m.

Greene County Dailies: Friends’ 5K Fun Run becomes area-wide effort

New President to chart forward course for McGregor

Since the beginning of March, when the Board of Antioch University announced that they had hired Dr. Michael Fishbein to be the new president of Antioch University McGregor, various sectors of the community have been eagerly awaiting his arrival. Although he is not due to start until July 1, Dr. Fishbein was in town for a few days this week cultivating and recruiting members for the new McGregor Board of Trustees and meeting with the press and other representatives of the community. In an interview at McGregor this week, Fishbein revealed a few things about his personal life and talked about his vision for the school.

Fishbein was reared in the Sunnyside neighborhood of the Borough of Queens in New York City. In those days, Sunnyside was well known for its boxing arena and, according to Fishbein, he watched more than a few matches there as a kid. If he learned anything about ducking a hook and landing a counterpunch it might serve him well in his new position.

He went on to attend the prestigious Stuyvesant High School where, he said, he discovered the lure of Manhattan. When he matriculated at CUNY’s Baruch College, also in Manhattan, he thought he wanted to be a businessman. One semester of accounting and a psychology course he enjoyed convinced him otherwise, he said. He graduated Cum Laude in Psychology. With an M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Clark University and he decided he wanted to be a life-long teacher of Psychology and write great books.

“I wanted to be a version of Mr. Chips,” Fishbein said.

But again, his academic life took another unforeseen turn. After one semester of teaching psychology in the graduate program at Roosevelt University in Chicago, he was recruited as head of the department.

“I was a pretty fair teacher,” Fishbein said. “But I found I could contribute more by working on bettering the interaction between faculty and students. It was only natural that I would ascend to administration.”

He quickly learned that wasn’t going to be all that easy when he took a job as a Dean at Russell Sage College. But eventually, his biggest critic grew to be his strongest supporter, he said. His last stop before Yellow Springs was as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs for the past 5 years at Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH.

Fishbein and his wife Mary Ann Oppenheimer will reside in Beavercreek. Oppenheimer is a professional fundraiser for the nonprofit sector and they are not sure from whence her employment opportunities might come. Beavercreek will presumably offer a convenient jumping off point for both of them.

“Beavercreek is just a little bit away from the city and the campus,” he said. “I might sleep in Beavercreek, but I will really live in Yellow Springs.”

He recently agreed to serve on the Board of Community Resources and is looking to be active in the community in other ways.

His first challenge at McGregor will be to help populate a board of trustees from the ground up. The Board of Governors of Antioch University recently amended its bylaws to provide for independent boards for each of its five colleges, the first private university system to do so. So this week, Fishbein will be spending much of his time talking to prospective board members. Dayton Chamber of Commerce President Phil Parker has already been selected as chair of the interim board, which will ultimately be comprised of 15 members. Five have already committed to sit. The colleges are each required to seat 11, the minimum number to launch a board, by September.

“I am looking for people who can help me expand my networking role as ambassador for this institution,” Fishbein said. “I am looking for trustees who care about McGregor as an educational institution, who will take it and move it forward.”

Fishbein has a three part vision for Mcgregor. The first is as a college community that understands that it is a family dedicated to the students of the region.

“This campus is its own institution,” he said. “It must chart its own path.

The second part has to do with identity.

“Who are we in the public mind?” he said. “Ohio is rich in education. We have well defined areas of expertise.”

He lists those areas as teacher education; liberal studies for students who don’t fit elsewhere; conflict analysis and management; and responsiveness to working adults. Other areas of need will be identified, he said and education will be delivered in a variety of ways: online, where the subject matter lends itself to the medium; low residency where students take courses online, but come to the campus for a week three times a year; and the traditional classroom.

“Antioch has a tradition of face-to-face education,” Fishbein said. “For some programs, we do not want to disturb that. But online education is a way of spreading the reach of the institution.”

He noted that McGregor is well positioned to assist those who for a variety of reasons, including the current downturn in the economy, might be looking to change their careers.

The third part of his vision is “program diversity.”

“We have high quality programs, but not enough of them,” he said. “We have room in our mission to do that which we are not doing.”

One example he gives as an area of concern for the Dayton region that might give rise to a program is “health and wellness.”

Asked about possible future relations with a revived Antioch College, should that occur, Fishbein said, “If Antioch College opens under the current plan, no one will wish them well more than we will. However, Antioch McGregor will continue on its path doing what we do well. If there are points for collaboration, that will be okay.”

He also hopes to collaborate with the region’s community colleges and other institutions of higher education.

As for such programs as the MIIND (McGregor Institute for Intellectual Development) Chautauqua series and the Yellow Springs High School immersion program, both of which were leading to increased relations between McGregor and residents of the village before his arrival, Fishbein said that while he is still learning about these programs, he would be more than happy to continue any productive associations. The advantage of collaboration with the high school, he said, is that it is an opportunity to open students’ eyes to higher education by bringing them to a college campus.

“It’s a chance for the college faculty to enlarge their dreams and aspirations,” he said.

Fishbein is determined to move McGregor forward in a number of ways.

“The problem for higher education is that the weaknesses that are being revealed have always been there,” he said. "[Early educators] didn’t anticipate the resources it would take to sustain our current system of higher education. We have to provide new models for higher education to sustain itself.”

He hopes to test out new possibilities at McGregor and reach out to students in effective, but affordable ways, he said.

Referring to those who think of digital technology as being disruptive to education he said, “The invention of chalk and the black board was once viewed as the death of education as we know it. We can use these new tools to do a better job of educating.”

Expansion on Double Whammy

In response to a reader comment to his last Retroterm of the Day, local writer Ralph Keyes offers this expanded version of the subject, taken directly from his latest book, I Love It When You Talk Retro: Hoochie Coochie, Double Whammy, Drop a Dime, and the Forgotten Origins of American Speech:

When she was secretary of state, Madeleine Albright baffled China’s ambassador to the United States by asking him to treat her nicely because it was Sadie Hawkins Day. Any American of a certain age knew what Albright was referring to: an annual race run in Dogpatch, USA, where the comic strip Li’l Abner was set. Worried that his homely daughter Sadie might never get married, Dogpatch resident Hezebiah Hawkins or ganized an event to make sure this didn’t happen. On October 16, 1937, the mayor of Dogpatch proclaimed, “Whereas there be inside our town a passel of gals what ain’t married but craves something awful to be . . . we hereby proclaims and decrees... Saturday, November 4th Sadie Hawkins Day, whereon a foot race will be held, the unmarried gals to chase the unmarried men and if they ketch them, the men by law must marry the gals and no two ways about it.” This race, which became a recurring episode in Li’l Abner, inspired decades of Sadie Hawkins Day events in American schools, including dances to which girls invited boys.

At the peak of Li’l Abner’s popularity, the antics of buff, amiable, dimwitted Abner Yokum and his hillbilly pals in Dogpatch fascinated some sixty million readers of nearly nine hundred newspapers. From 1934 to 1977, the words and phrases Dogpatch residents liked to toss around—natcherly, druthers, and as any fool can plainly see—were picked up by readers. Nobel laureate John Steinbeck, who considered Capp himself worthy of a Nobel, said Li’l Abner’s creator “not only invented a language but . . . planted it in us so deeply that we can talk it ourselves.”

Capp’s real contribution to retrotalk was characters and settings so vivid that three decades since his death in 1979 we still refer to them. Stephen King characterized the hardscrabble Maine town where he grew up as “Dogpatch with no sense of humor.” Critic Rex Reed compared King himself to “an overweight Li’l Abner.” On NBC’s West Wing, U.S. president Jed Bartlett called his elderly secretary “Mammy Yokum.” This referred to Abner’s mother, a wizened little woman with a black bonnet and corncob pipe clamped in her teeth who dominated Pappy Yokum and everyone else in her vicinity. Mammy Yokum was the only Dogpatch resident able to thwart the dastardly Evil Eye Fleegle. This gnomish, scowling, zoot-suited hoodlum from Brooklyn could flatten any man or woman alive with “nature’s most stupefyin’equipment—THE UNLIMITLESS POWER OF THE HUMAN EYEBALL!” Fleegle harnessed this power by focusing one eye on his targets while pointing in their direction. That was a whammy. Capp then upped the ante by having Fleegle train both eyes on his victims and point at them with two fingers. This was a double whammy, powerful enough to topple the Empire State Building or melt a locomotive going full steam. In an era when swollen SUVs clog our highways and combo meals are routinely supersized, one seldom hears about single whammies any longer. References to double whammies, on the other hand—two strokes of misfortune endured at once—are commonplace. The lethal combination of drought and wildfires in southern California is a classic double whammy.

Some Dogpatchers worked at the Skonk Works brewing liquor from dead skunks, old shoes, and other debris. They called this concoction Kickapoo Joy Juice. That name remains synonymous with any strong drink, usually cheap, often homemade (and has become an actual brand of soda pop). The name of this drink’s brewery inspired Lockheed Martin’s research and development department to call itself “the Skunk Works.” Working in tents and big packing crates, 120 skunk workers needed just forty-three days to build the first World War II–era airplane that could fly faster than five hundred miles an hour. Skunk works was subsequently applied to any loosely knit group within a larger organization whose members engage in creative activity.

Not far from Dogpatch was the Valley of the Shmoon, home to a band of smiling creatures shaped like bowling pins who lived to make human beings happy, even when this meant rolling over and dying so their flesh could be consumed. Shmoo flesh tasted like whatever the consumer wanted it to taste like: chicken when fried, steak when broiled, oysters on the half shell when eaten raw. Their skin made sturdy lumber when cut thick, or fine leather if cut thin. Shmoo eyes made excellent buttons, their whiskers outstanding toothpicks. During the late 1940s and early 1950s Shmoos captivated Americans, even appearing on the cover of Time magazine. Decades later Time called an Alexander Calder sculpture “shmoo-like.”

One of Capp’s most endearing—and enduring—creations was a forlorn little man in rags who was followed about by a dark cloud raining down on his head. This cloud signified the misfortune that always accompanied the figure below: Joe Btfsplk. Since we all feel like Joe Btfsplk at times, “Btsflpk” remained part of the national conversation long after his creator had the ultimate misfortune of dying. Columnist Bob Ortman once reported that “during a Colorado vacation I discovered that I have that rare Joe Btfsplkian talent to turn on clouds. . . . All I had to do was walk outdoors.” Since Joe’s last name is hard to pronounce and harder to spell—“Joe Btfsplk,” he’d say, “pronounced B-t-f-s-p-l-k”—we sometimes content ourselves with referring to someone who, like him, lives under a dark cloud or a black cloud. “Union Carbide has been like the cartoon character with a black cloud over its head,” reported the New York Times.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Double whammy

In the comic strip Li’l Abner, a gnomish, scowling hoodlum named Evil Eye Fleegle could flatten any man or woman alive by focusing one eye on his targets while pointing in their direction. That was a whammy. When Fleegle used both eyes and two fingers, this double whammy was powerful enough to topple a skyscraper or melt a locomotive going full steam.

Reposted with permission:

Publishers Weekly recently published Keyes' essay "Why I Write."

YS Drug Ring Arrest

The Dayton Daily News is reporting that suspected Umoja Iddi Bakari cohort Robert F. McDonald has been arrested in Georgia. McDonald is described as "an integral part of a drug ring that brought cocaine and marijuana into Yellow Springs for distribution." He faces an eleven count indictment in Greene County.

Dayton Daily News: Yellow Springs Drug Ring Fugitive Arrested in Georgia

WDTN-TV: Most Wanted Fugitive Captured

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Former YS resident may make America's Most Wanted

The Greene County Dailies Website reported yesterday that the Greene County Prosecutor's office has sent information on three men to the America's Most Wanted television show. One of the names submitted was that of Robert F. McDonald Jr., an alleged associate of Umoja Iddi Bakari, who is wanted for drug trafficking and money laundering. Bakari, a former resident of Yellow Springs, reportedly committed suicide while in custody in Georgia on an extradition warrant to Ohio last year. McDonald is described in the article as having had residences in Yellow Springs and Xenia in the past.

Greene Councy Dailies: Greene County’s most wanted to be featured on TV show

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Jump on the bandwagon

Ornately decorated vehicles wended through towns where circuses were about to appear. Musicians atop this “bandwagon” blasted their instruments. During the late 19th century politicians employed “band wagons” of their own before rallies. They said that those eager to join a campaign as it gained momentum resembled the young boys who tried to jump on their bandwagons.

Reposted with permission:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

March 26, 2007 email to YSCASC

Subject: My vision of a Center for the Arts

Dear Center for the Arts Steering Committee:

Thanks for this opportunity to finally be heard. And please pay attention, because this is very important.

If we are going to have a “Center for the Arts,” I believe we need to build something, something that will truly be a center. I know there is a great deal of sentiment for keeping what we have. For a few people that has translated into not building a physical structure. Some of that may come from fear of controversy about its location. But I feel that if we do not build a true physical center, we will eventually lapse back into what we are, a town bursting at the seams with artists, including a great number of theater people, with no theater and no central point for collaboration.

I feel that the steering committee is taking the right approach in moving slowly, without preconceptions, and trying to include everyone. Perhaps I am just impatient, but I feel that the format of the recent workshops did not provide me (or others) with an adequate opportunity to tell you my vision. It has nothing to do with the four senses we explored in every session, but to do with the one that was so obviously missing: Sight! What I think it should look like!

I am sure you plan to get to that at some later date, but I can’t wait to tell you. I think it should be a building that has at its core an acoustically sound theater with adequate seating. Adjoining it should be a smaller black box theater. There should be a group of studios, appropriate for the different disciplines, and offices enough for all the arts related nonprofits in town.

I believe that from the casual day-to-day contact between artists of different disciplines great ideas will flow. I envision collaborations such as have never before been seen. That kind of contact and those kinds of collaborations will happen only when artists are working side-by-side, or wandering through each others open doors, or sipping coffee with one hand while thumbing through someone’s play, or staring at their painting, or listening to their music, or watching them pirouette…

I like to leave the door to my Community Foundation office at 108 Dayton Street open. Upstairs, there is a yoga studio; next door, a small gallery (formerly Open Books). People stick their heads in. I tell them to pull up a chair. Some of the best conversations/biggest ideas I’ve shared in this town have occurred under those very conditions. I can only imagine what it would be like if there were more artists in the building to rub shoulders with. This is our chance to make that vision come true. This is our chance to be each others muse. We need a true center.

Thank you for your time and attention.


Virgil Hervey


Dated: May 19, 2009

I may poke fun at you from time-to-time on this blog (a humorous metaphor is hard to pass up), but I assure you that you have my personal support in your change of heart about new construction. I hope you will reread my email and consider my ideas anew.

Pee Wee & Rocky: Flashback to 2007

Center for the Arts Planning New Construction

Jerome Borchers, Chair of the Yellow Springs Center for the Arts Steering Committee, told Village Council last night that the committee has an option to purchase the lot at 102 Dayton Street (corner of Railroad Street) as a proposed site for the construction of a new Center for the Arts. The change in focus from using existing structures to new construction, he said, was brought about by the closing of Antioch College and campus facilities the group was considering. In a press release issued today, YSCASC outlines their plans including the revival of Yellow Springs Center Stage, a 501 (c) (3), to serve as owner of the property.


Press Release



Center for the Arts Announces Downtown Location for New Arts Facility in Yellow Springs

Yellow Springs, OH, May 19, 2009 – The Yellow Springs Center for the Arts Steering Committee, in a presentation to the Yellow Springs Village Council on Monday, May 18, announced the proposed location for a new performing arts facility.

The 13-member Steering Committee selected a location in the village’s downtown district, at the intersection of Dayton St. and Railroad St. Currently a vacant lot, the site was once occupied by the Linkhart Grain Elevator, demolished in 2004, and may have been the site of the village’s first train depot.

The Railroad St. site was among more than a dozen locations considered by the YSCA’s Facilities Task Force. The task force, comprised of YSCASC Vice Chair Jane Baker, Ellen Hoover, Rod Hoover, Richard Lapedes, and Louise Smith, applied a long list of selection criteria, including availability, cost, visibility, adequacy of scale, availability of parking, catalytic economic value, centrality, walkability and bikeability, construction costs, green potential, and community acceptance. According to YSCASC Chair Jerome Borchers, “The Steering Committee unanimously accepted the task force’s recommendation. The potential for synergies and the beneficial impact of this location on our downtown’s economic and social vitality make it a great choice.”

Said Borchers, the intent is to build, “a high-quality facility for performing arts and a variety of related activities in the heart of Yellow Springs’ village center. This facility will be used by many existing theater, music, dance, art, and other cultural and educational groups in Yellow Springs. And it can host various community events and hopefully will spark the new arts and educational activities. “

Should the Antioch College Continuation Corporation be successful in its fundraising and negotiations with Antioch University, leaders of that effort view the new facility as one that could serve as a primary venue for the new Antioch College theater and dance programs. Lee Morgan, Chair of the ACCC Board Pro Tem, stated that "the new Antioch College looks forward to a collaborative performing arts program with the community that will focus energy in the village center.”

This new arts facility is the most ambitious aspect of the YSCASC’s three-part plan to strengthen Yellow Springs’ identity as a center for creativity, innovation, and the arts; capacity to produce, manage and promote cultural and artistic work in the public arena; and facilities for the creation, presentation, learning, and enjoyment of the arts. This plan, which came out of three days of community meetings, held in March 2007 at the First Presbyterian Church, has already yielded success in the revitalization of the Arts Council, support for stabilizing the Little Art Theatre, and business planning for the year-round operation of YS Kids Playhouse.

The YSCASC has been working as a project of the Morgan Family Foundation, but it recently took a necessary step in order to move forward with a purchase option on the property. Representatives from the group met in February with 10 former members of the Yellow Springs Center Stage Board of Trustees to request that that organization be revived in order to serve as the legal entity that would own the property. Center Stage, a community theater organization that produced plays from 1971 to 2003, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Jean Hooper, a Center Stage founder and long-time artistic director died in 2007, but, said her husband Bill Hooper, “Jean hoped that Center Stage would one day again be useful to the community. I think she would approve of these efforts to build a new theater for the community.” The former board voted to revive the organization, with the active members of the YSCASC serving as its new board of trustees.

The YSCASC will be working through the summer to perform due diligence on the site and to develop an operations and business plan. A new task force is being created to meet with individuals and organizations that will use the facility to revisit their needs and plans for future programming, and a public meeting is planned in early to mid-August.

“The YSCASC has devoted countless hours to this effort over the past several years,” said Borchers, “and I’m very appreciative of the work of all its past and current members. The assistance from our consultants, Tom Borrup and George Sutton, has really made the difference with our progress. We will move forward, with the vision developed at the community meetings as our guide, to create an arts facility that is financially sustainable and environmentally responsible, and will serve our community.”

The other current members of the YSCASC are Jane Baker, Harden Ballantine, Anita Brown, Mary Campbell-Zopf, Luke Dennis, John Fleming, Paul Graham, Ellis Jacobs, Rick Kristensen, Amy Lee, Rob Lytle, and Gayle Rominger; Laura Carlson serves as Project Coordinator.

Monday, May 18, 2009

New comment on old post prompts poll

CT posted a comment on Art or Annoyance: Fear and Loathing in Yellow Springs regarding the barbecue that operates on the BP Lot on weekends. In an effort to find out what readers think about this, I have placed a poll at the top of the sidebar. Your participation will be greatly appreciated.

Flouride discussion group forming

This from Stephanie Zinger:

A new group is forming to discuss the pros and cons of adding fluoride to our water. Please send your name and phone number to if you would like to be included in upcoming meetings. The goal is to get a productive and healthy discussion going. Please join us. Thank you!

Village Council Meeting Tonight at 7:00


Comments from the Public are welcomed at two different times during the course of the meeting: (1) Comments on items not on the Agenda will be heard under Citizens Concerns, and (2) Comments on all items listed on the Agenda will be heard during Council’s consideration of said item. A Sign-In sheet will be made available on the small table at the rear of the Council Chambers. Please write your name and the topic you wish to discuss.



Spring Clean-Up Week of May 18th

Minutes from the April 27, 2009 Special Meeting
Minutes from the May 4, 2009


The Clerk will receive and file:
AMP-Ohio Newsletter(s)
Steve Conn re: Resignation from Environmental Commission
Marianne MacQueen re: Home Inc. Presentation/Affordable Housing
Strickland & Barbash re: Grants to Businesses & Communities
Ohio & Huntington Bank Launch $1 Billion Partnership
Mayor’s Monthly Report
OML re: H1N1 Flu Info/Stockpile
OML re: Legislative Update
OML re: Legislative Bulletin/Week of 5/17/09



YS Art Council/Center of the Arts

OLD BUSINESS (7:30 pm)
Economic Development

Revised Comprehensive Plan/Appendices/Reference List


Lori AskelandEnvironmental Commission
Lori AskelandPlanning/Bike Com/N Gateway (on file)
John BoothVillage Mediation Program
John BoothHuman Relations Commission (on file)
No Rep. Community Council
Judith HempflingCable Advisory Panel (on file)
Kathryn Van der HeidenLibrary Commission (on file)
Kathryn Van der HeidenReg. Planning Commission-Greene County
Karen WintrowChamber of Commerce (on file)
Karen WintrowMiami Valley Regional Planning (on file)
Wintrow & HempflingEnergy Task Force
Wintrow & Van der HeidenVisioning/Planning Task Force (on file)

The next meeting of the Council of the Village of Yellow Springs will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 1, 2009 in Council Chambers, John Bryan Community Center, 100 Dayton Street.

Items for discussion on Monday, June 1, 2009:
Council Notes

Home Inc Presentation (July)
Community Garden Policy
Bryan Center Guidelines
Domestic Partnership Registry
Updated Language regarding Hate Crime, etc
Banner Policy
Village Blogging Policy-Personnel Manual
Parking Lot Paving Project/YS Schools
Next Steps/Shuman-Economic Development
CIC/CR Economic Development
Planning Commission Requests from Annual Report
ICMA Public Library Innovation Grant Info
Recycle-Bryan Center
HRC-Domestic Partnership
Sidewalks-Rules and Regulations-Village Manager/Guidelines
Electric /capacity, contracts, capital projects, equipment
Green Space Legislation
Blue Ribbon Finance
Tree Committee
Personnel Policy Manual Update
Guidelines for Utility Resolution Dispute Commission
Fairfield Pike/Polecat Rd. Citizen’s Petition Update
Marking State Route 68 Bikeway
Conservation Easement-Well Fields
Parks and Recreation Master Plan



Sunday, May 17, 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

On a quiet afternoon

It was about 3:00 in the afternoon on Thursday. I was letting the baby chicks play in garden in my backyard in the south side of town. It was sunny and warm - the perfect kind of day to get them out from under the heat lamp and into the fresh air. Then the jets came out to play.

I sent an email to the public relations officer at the ANG base a couple weeks ago. I have let it go too long without a response. I will try to give them a call this week. When I interviewed him for the News awhile back, the Colonel was cordial, but unbending. In the end, it always seems to boil down to the same thing - how much pollution are we willing to tolerate for the sake of economic development.

Frankly, I think this is one we cannot win. But I'm curious to know if they have been reading the letters to the newspaper and what their reaction has been.

More video: Chicks playing in garden (The contrast is striking.)

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Scoop

After the Civil War, reporters borrowed “scoop” from merchants who used that verb to mean going one up on competitors. Journalists still use scoop to mean being first out with a news story. That term has recently shape-shifted to refer to exclusive or inside information. (”Get the scoop on Britney.”)

Reposted with permission:

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Scoop from the Coop

Click on image to enlarge.

Council meeting Monday night: Economic development and Center for the Arts update

On the agenda for the Yellow Springs Village Council meeting this coming Monday May 18, 2009 at 7 PM will be a discussion on economic development and an update from the Center for the Arts Steering Committee. Contrary to what they were saying after the big village powwow, the word now is that they have located a site for new construction.

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Goldbrick

In the late nineteenth century goldbrick referred to a piece of cheaper metal that con men painted to look like gold. Eventually this term referred to all manner of swindles. By 1918 goldbrick was applied first to unqualified military officers, then to any soldier who didn’t do his job. In time this noun became a verb: to goldbrick, or goof off.

Reposted with permission:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Parade needs organizer

Dave Triplett, who has given so freely of his time and energy in organizing the 4th of July Parade for the past few years, is stepping down and looking for someone to take over for this year's parade. The person who is willing to take this on will be the beneficiary of Dave's accumulated knowledge and guidance. This is a fun event. It would be a shame if we didn't have one this year.

Dave can be reached by email at or by phone at 2012.

YS Mayor, Police Officer and Fire Chief moonlight as fashion models

Mayor Dave Foubert, Police Officer Naomi Penrod, and MTFR Chief Colin Altman were among 34 "local celebrities" who strutted their stuff on the runway Saturday night to raise money for the Red Cross.

Greene County Dailies: Local celebrities put on the glitz

Upcoming events

Note: The Library Association's Annual Meeting scheduled for Saturday has been cancelled. It will be rescheduled for a later date.

Today - Chamber of Commerce meeting at noon at the Bryan Center, Rooms A & B.

Today - School Board meeting at YSHS at 4 pm [read post]

Tonight - YS Schools Spring Music Fest at Mills Lawn at 6 pm [read post] - On the lawn - will move into the gym if it is raining.

5/15 - Third Friday Fling in the Springs

5/15 - Silent Art Auction, 108 Dayton Street, 2nd Floor - 6 - 9 pm. [read post]

5/15-16 - Bike Yellow Springs - races at 5 pm on 5/15 and 10 am on 5/16 [read post]

5/16 - WYSO Garage Sale [read post]

5/16 - Community Yard Sale [read post]

5/23 - 5k Fun Run f/b/o Shelley Colbert [read post]

5/23 - Village Clean Up [read post]

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Pollyanna

In Eleanor Porter’s 1913 novel Pollyanna, eleven-year-old orphan Pollyanna Whittier lives in the dark attic of her dour aunt’s home. Through the power of irrepressible good will Pollyanna melts the frozen heart of her bitter aunt, and lifts the spirits of all she meets. This novel and its many sequels were phenomenal bestsellers. In time “Pollyanna” or “Pollyannish” came to suggest sunny naiveté.

Reposted with permission:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bench to Nowhere:

A Cool Town Toon

Click on image to enlarge.

Related post: School Board to discuss trimming programs

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Pyrrhic victory

In what is now northwestern Greece and southern Albania, King Pyrrhus who ruled a small country called Epirus, was notorious for tolerating enormous casualties among his troops. After suffering a hideous loss of soldiers and officers while vanquishing the Romans in a 279 BC battle, Pyrrhus observed that one more such victory would do him in. In his honor, any apparent success won at high cost is still known as a Pyrrhic victory.

Reposted with permission:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Post-Stutzman’s, Nick Ormes is still caring for the animals

Back in 2005, Nick Orme’s had to leave the farm where he was living in Beavercreek and find new digs. That would have been a problem for just about anyone. But for Nick, the hassle of having to move was exacerbated by the fact that he had to do something with all the ducks, chickens, guinea hens and geese people had surrendered to his care over the years. Fortunately, around that same time, someone told him that Gary Stutzman was also caring for owner-surrendered animals on his nursery property in Yellow Springs. Nick came up to take a look, and thus started a relationship that lasted for some three years.

“I could see that Gary needed help,” Ormes said in a recent interview. “There were problems with how the animals were being fed and in protecting them from predators. I asked him if he wanted help.”

Nick ended up moving his camper onto the nursery grounds and splitting his time between living on the property and in an apartment in Yellow Springs, so he could be up early in the morning to feed and water the animals.

“The volunteers were only able to feed the animals on their own schedules, but they needed to be fed in the morning,” Ormes said.

Over the course of the next three years, Ormes worked as a full-time volunteer caring for the animals at the nursery and working to establish a nonprofit animal shelter, even as Stutzman’s personal problems brought the nursery business to a halt and necessitated his absence from the property for several months. When Stutzman returned last November, he was faced with an eviction notice from the Village of Yellow Springs, which owns the real estate, and most of the physical property had been attached with tax liens.

While he was gone, he’d had many of the animals removed from the property. When he returned, he took steps to evict Ormes and the rest of the animals that Ormes had been caring for at his own expense. Recently, Village Council gave Stutzman a 90-day extension on the eviction and he continues to do business there. There are still a few animals on the property.

Once again, Ormes found himself on the move, this time having to find temporary lodging for some 200 animals including rabbits, turtles, lizards, cats, dogs, chickens, ducks, geese, donkeys, horses, pigs, peacocks, goats, sheep, and a variety of exotic birds. Many of them are what he calls “special needs animals.”

“I had to find homes for everything from finches to horses,” Ormes said.

Fortunately, the organization he founded, The Ranch Menagerie Animal Sanctuary, which he is working to establish as a 501 (c) (3), was the recipient of a bequest that has allowed him to continue to purchase equipment, feed, and medical attention for the animals. He used the money to establish a fund at the Greene County Community Foundation to pay for the animals’ care.

Ormes was able, on short notice, to find like-minded folks who would take in the animals on a temporary basis. They are now spread around on family farms in Troy, Beavercreek, nearby Clark County, and Xenia. Every morning Ormes rises and makes the rounds, bringing food and other supplies to each of these places.

“Some people will not let us pay for food,” he said.

He is actively looking for a suitable location to establish his sanctuary. He would like to have it in Yellow Springs, but barring that, anywhere in Greene County, especially Miami Township where he can find between 20 and 100 acres would do, including the Stutzman’s property should it become available.

“100 acres would be ideal,” he said. “We could use some of the land to grow hay for our own use and to sell in order to be self –sustaining.”

Recently, I visited one of the places Ormes is keeping his animals, five acres with a couple barns in Greene County. The owners, Jerry and Susie have asked that I not reveal their full names or the location, because when people find out that they take in owner-surrendered and rescued animals, they will be flooded with requests and people might even abandon animals at their front gate. They have been taking in special needs animals for eight years. They have as much as they can handle right now.

When I arrive, Ormes and the owners are waiting for a farrier to work on the hooves of a crippled, 25-year-old donkey called Molly who was brought here from Stutman’s. Molly has a bad knee and often lies down in her stall. She has trouble getting up without assistance and gets bedsores that require treatment. Her front hooves need to be trimmed to improve the way she plants them when she walks on her bad knee. She is at once rambunctious and friendly.

“We spent $700 out-of-pocket on Molly for the ferrier and shots,” Jerry tells me. “It costs about $2,000-a-year for a horse, plus problems.” He often worries about having enough hay to get through the winter.

While we wait, Susie leads a blind pony called Sugar from the barn to a fenced in area. When they got Sugar, she was pregnant. Her two-year-old colt is out behind the barn with a half-dozen horses grazing on a hay bale.

Alongside the barn are three geese I recognize from Stuzman’s. One of the females is sitting on a clutch of huge eggs in a converted animal carrier. A male is guarding her and screams at us as we approach. Chickens are running everywhere. According to Ormes, the geese had been adopted out, but they were returned because the people hadn’t realized how loud they could get.

“Recognize that banty rooster?” Ormes asks as we tour one of the barns.

I do. It is one I gave to Ormes last year. We called it Henrietta until it grew a fancy tail and sharp spurs. After that it was Henry. When Henry started to crow, he had to go.

The farrier arrives. It takes three people to hold Molly as he works on her hooves. When he is done, her gait is noticeably improved.

“She looks a lot better than the last time I was here,” the farrier says. “She is gaining weight.”

Nick, and Jerry and Susie are pleased.

The Ranch Menagerie Animal Sanctuary has a five-member board and twelve additional volunteers. You too can help a pigeon-toed duck that keeps tripping itself, a one-eyed rooster, a blind pony and a crippled donkey. Volunteers or those wishing to adopt can contact Nick Ormes at Tax deductible donations can be made to The Ranch Menagerie Animal Sanctuary Fund at the Greene County Community Foundation or to P.O. Box 123, Yellow Springs, OH 45387. For more information, visit on the Web.

AYSB goes over 5000 hits

In case you have not noticed, A Yellow Springs Blog's hit counter went over 5000 sometime during the night. We are getting over 100 hits on most weekdays and from 30-50 per day on weekends. Thanks for your patronage! And a special thanks to those of you who have posted comments.

If you have news or announcements you would like posted here, or would like to inquire about how to purchase an ad in the sidebar, please email me at .

We had a good turn out at the Community Band Concert last evening, depsite the fact that the information did not make it into last week's newspaper. Hopefully, this blog had something to do with it. Or maybe they just wandered over to see what all the noise was about...

Library Association Box Lunch, Saturday

The annual meeting of the Library Association will be held in the Great Room at the Senior Center this Saturday at 1:00 pm. Reservations have been slow, so the deadline is being extended to 6:00 pm today. Please call 212-3991 if you are interested.

Related post: Library Association Annual Meeting

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: The real McCoy

In mid-19th century Edinburgh, the G. Mackay distillery produced a well-regarded whiskey. When comparing this product to imitators, Scotsmen talked of “the real Mackay.” Scottish migrants brought this catchphrase to the United States and applied it to anything considered authentic. Over time its spelling was changed to “the real McCoy.”

Reposted with permission:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bench to Nowhere: Another Bush Gone

A Cool Town Toon

Click on image to enlarge.

Related Post: Bushwhackers at Presbyland

Senior Project: Silent Art Auction 5/15

Hi all, thank you for giving me a moment of your time to share some information with you about an exciting up coming event.

Zane Reichert, a Yellow Springs High School Senior, asked me to share information about his senior project with people in the community that I think might be interested in the arts. He is working with the Yellow Springs Arts Council to organize an silent art auction. The art work that is up action is from local Yellow springs artists and the proceeds from the auction will be split 50/50 between the artist and for the support of the high school art program.

The action will be this Friday night May 15 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM at the Art Space above Design Sleep.

There will also be live music and refreshments.

As an artist I applaud Zane's effort to support artist in Yellow Springs and Art in the High School. I encourage all of you to show your support by attending this Friday.

If you are an artist and would like to have a piece of your work included I am sure that Zane would love to have it.

Please share this information with anyone you think may be interested.

Theresa Mayer

Community Band in Kings Yard tonight

Bring your lawn chairs or blankets. The Yellow Springs Community Band is giving a concert a 7 pm in Kings Yard.

Please tell your neighbors and friends as this announcement did not make it into the paper this week.

Related Post: Community Band in Kings Yard this Monday

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: On tenterhooks

Beginning in the Middle Ages washed wool fabric was stretched tightly on wooden frames called tenters.. The wet fabric was attached to L-shaped hooks along the tenter’s perimeter to keep it from shrinking. When in a strained state we still say we’re on tenterhooks.

Reposted with permission:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Police cars, fire engines, ambulances, helicopters descend on YSHS

If you caught some of the action up at the high school yesterday afternoon, you might have been concerned. Relax! It was only a pre-prom crash exercise, one of those annual pep-talks to try to keep our kids safe on prom night.

And by-the-way, the teachers, administration and parents all desrve kudos for their efforts in this department. Keeping the kids in town by hosting the prom at an [almost] local venue (see comments) and having a post prom party at Pass It On Kids on Dayton Street are great ideas. The prom is Saturday night. It's a relief to know that our teenagers will not be driving late at night on some shoulderless two-lane blacktop out in the cornfields.

Schedule of events

Here is a schedule of upcoming events that have been posted on AYSB. A link has been provided to the original post for more information. If you have an event you would like to promote on this blog just email the information to

5/11 - YS Community Band Concert in Kings Yard at 7 pm [read post]
5/14 - School Board meeting at YSHS at 4 pm [read post]
5/14 - YS Schools Spring Music Fest at Mills Lawn at 6 pm [read post]
5/15-16 - Bike Yellow Springs - races at 5 pm on 5/15 and 10 am on 5/16 [read post]
5/16 - WYSO Garage Sale [read post]
5/16 - Community Yard Sale [read post]
5/16 - YS Library Association meeting and luncheon at the Senior Center at 1 pm [read post]
5/23 - 5k Fun Run f/b/o Shelley Colbert [read post]
5/23 - Village Clean Up [read post]

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sound Off and Celebrate May 16

The Yellow Springs Library Association will hold its annual Spring Meeting on Saturday, May 16 in the format of a box lunch social with music and conversation. The event will be held in the Great Room at the Senior Center from 1-3 p.m. Music will be provided by pianist Mark DeLozier.

Tickets are $8.00 Paid reservations must be in to the library by May 11. You do not have to be a member to attend, but membership is only an additional $5.00. You may join at the meeting.

Get more information about the YSLA Spring Luncheon: PDF with reservation signup or call 212-3991.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bench To Nowhere: The Art of Extinguishment

Another Cool Town Toon mid-week bonus

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Mr. Peepers

Robinson J. Peepers, the bespectacled junior high school science teacher played by Wally Cox on television from 1952 to 1955, left his name behind as shorthand for timid, spectacles-wearing men like him: Mr. Peepers.

Reposted with permission:

School Board to discuss trimming programs

The School Board meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 14 to discuss the Education Plan for next year has been moved to the High School at 4pm. According to Schools Music Director Dennis Farmer, the board will be considering recommendations to decrease the orchestra teacher position to five-sevenths and cutting the compter graphics teacher position completely. There are a few other computer classes at the high school, but not enough, and kids are often closed out of them year after year.

"My concerns are the woeful lack of computer offerings here already and the difficulty they will have hiring a quality orchestra person part time with no benefits," Farmer wrote in a widely circulated email.

According to concerned parent Theresa Mayer in another widely circulated email, they will also be looking at special ed services.

Both are urging concerned voters to attend the meeting if they can and/or contact the board members with their input:

Aida Merhemic , President

Anne Erickson, Vice President

Sean Creighton, Member

Richard Lapedes, Member

Angela Wright, Member

Community Band in Kings Yard this Monday

The Yellow Springs Community Band will give its first outdoor concert of the year on Monday, May 11 at 7 p.m. in Kings Yard. James Johnston will conduct.

If the weather does not cooperate, the concert will be moved to the Mills Lawn School gym.

The program, as is usually the case when our friends and neighbors give a concert, is an eclectic one:

Salvation Is Created - Tschesnokoff
Festive Overture - Dmitri Shostakovich
Marche de Concert - Houston Bright
St. Louis Blues - W.C. Handy
Stardust - Hoagy Carmichael
Theme From S.W.A.T. - Barry DeVorzon
Leroy Anderson, A Legacy In Sound - arr. Robert W. Smith
Perthshire Majesty - Samuel R. Hazo
Selections from Mary Poppins - Ricahrd M Sherman & Bobert B. Sherman

Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair.

Other Band News:

The Fourth Annual Spring Music Fest on the Lawn will take place at Mills Lawn School on Thursday, May 14 from 6 - 9:15 p.m. Hear 250 kids from throughout the school system perform in various combinations and genres, while dining on grilled burgers and hotdogs, soft drinks, side dishes, and home-made desserts. If you would like to volunteer to help out or would like to join the Music Boosters, email Dennis Farmer.

Here is a link to the Music Fest Website.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bushwhackers at Presbyland

Last year, due to a misinterpretation of the Village's efforts to keep its sidewalks passable, the First Presbyterian Church so severely pruned its bushes along Xenia Avenue that most of them were unable to recover. This week, they brought in a backhoe and pulled them all out. I never liked that hedge anyway.

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Doofus

In 1958 a new character was introduced to the comic strip Popeye: a dimwitted nephew of the sailor man named “Dufus.” Over time the re-spelled term “doofus” became slang for clueless individuals.

Reposted with permission:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bench to Nowhere: The Art of the Noisome

A Cool Town Toon

Click on image to enlarge.

My two-cents: The banner kerfuffle

Throughout the history of our country (and in other countries as well), it has been our custom to display images of our leader in public places. Barack Obama is our President. It is not a political statement to hang a rendering of the President in a public place, unless you include unequivocal language or imagery that makes it such. There is nothing unequivocal about this piece. As is often the case with art, it can mean different things to different people.

I am glad Village Council decided not to remove the banners from the Yellow Springs Banner Festival as recommended by the Village Solicitor. And I thank the artist, Lisa Wolters, for gracing our town with such a fine piece of work.

If anyone made a political statement, it was the person who raised this issue in the first place.

Margaret Morris Dean, mother of Myra Dean Banion

Margaret Dean, mother of Myra Dean Banion of Yellow Springs, died on May 2.

Springfield News-Sun: Margaret Morris Dean

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: Dance Card

At parties a century ago women hung small cards from their wrist on which they jotted down whom they’d be dancing with. That’s what we refer to when we say “My dance card’s full.”

Reposted with permission:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Man charged with assaulting YS officer ruled incompetent

According to an April 29 article in the Greene County Dailies, Corey White, who was shot three times by Yellow Springs Police Officer Timothy Knoth after allegedly assaulting Knoth with a fire poker, was declared incompetent to stand trial on April 28 in Greene County Common Pleas Court.

Greene County Dailies: Man charged with assaulting officer ruled incompetent

Saturday, May 2, 2009

5K Fun Run and Walk Saturday, May 23

5K Fun Run and Walk Saturday, May 23rd 2009
Shelley Colbert
5K Fun Run and Walk

Benefiting the Shelley Colbert Donation Fund and
the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

Saturday, May 23rd 2009
The Bryan Center-Yellow Springs, Ohio
Race begins at 9:00 AM
Walk begins at 9:15 AM

Race-day check-in and registration begins at 8:15 AM

Picnic lunch begins at 11:00 AM (don't forget your picnic blanket!)

The Event- The Shelley Colbert 5K Fun Run and Walk will be held Saturday, May 23rd. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Shelley Colbert Donation Fund and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. The 3.1 mile route will begin and end at the Bryan Center in Yellow Springs, Ohio. A picnic lunch will follow for all participants.

5K Race Awards-Prizes will be awarded to first-place winners in the following categories:
Overall First Place, Men's, Women's, and Teen's (ages 13-19)

Registration-Pre-registration (until May 21st)-$25 for adults, $15 for children ages 6-12.
Race-day registration-$30 for adults, $20 for children. Children ages 5 and under are free.
Registration forms are available on this website or at US Bank-Yellow Springs branch and Tom's Market in Yellow Springs.

Sponsorships and Donations-All registration fees and proceeds from this event will equally benefit the Shelley Colbert Donation Fund and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. All participants will receive an event t-shirt* and lunch following the event.

Sponsorship is a great way to raise money for this important cause. We encourage everyone to enlist friends and family to make a sponsor donation for your participation. Items are awarded based on the amount of your sponsor donations and to those wishing to make personal donations at the following levels:

$ 50 donation-Fun Pass to Young's Jersey Dairy
$100 donation-$25 gift card to choice of local stores and restaurants
$200 donation-$50 gift card to choice of local stores and restaurants
$350 or more donation-Four tickets to Paramount's Kings Island or
$100 gift card to choice of local stores and restaurants

Directions-The Bryan Center is located at 100 Dayton Street, Yellow Springs, Ohio:

From the Columbus area, take I-70 West to I-675 South. At exit #20, turn left on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road. Continue on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road for approximately 5 miles. Pass through Corry Street intersection. The Bryan Center will be on your left.

From the Cincinnati area, take I-75 North to I-675 North. At exit #20,turn right on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road. Continue on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road for approximately 5 miles. Pass through Corry Street intersection. The Bryan Center will be on your left.

*Note-Shirts are provided to all pre-registered participants. Although we will do our best to accomodate everyone, those registering on race day or after May 21st will not be guaranteed a shirt or the correct size.

Shelley Colbert 5k Website

Friday, May 1, 2009

Update: School buses ready to roll again

The vandalism that was done to the Yellow Springs Schools fleet of buses overnight has been cleaned up by Schools Facilities Manager Craig Conrad and crew, and Career Center and Special Ed kids had bus service this afternoon. The buses will be ready for service as usual on Monday, according to Susan Griffith at the board of Ed.

Related post: School buses vandalized, fleet grounded

Ralph Keyes' Retroterm of the Day: No skin off my nose

Calling an inconsequential event “no skin off my nose” references the way boxers described a wimpy punch: too weak to scrape skin off an opponent’s nose.

Reposted with permission:

Bob Hamilton, long-time Community Band member

Bob Hamilton of Springfield, who played alongside his son Mike for many years in the trumpet section of the Yellow Springs Community Band, died yesterday at Ohio State University Hospital East. Bob retired twice from the band as he got older and his chops started to fail him. But he loved playing so much, he kept coming back. He retired again recently as his health began to decline. The Community Band will play Hoagy Carmicheal's Stardust, Bob's signature trumpet solo, to honor him at their concert at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 11 in Kings Yard.

Springfield News-Sun: Robert F. Hamilton

School buses vandalized, fleet grounded

The scene at the bus barn at 7:30 this morning as police investigate an
apparent case of vandalism to the district's entire fleet of school buses.

Officer Al Pierce with Facilities Manager Craig Conrad and an unidentified employee (L) from the bus barn look on as Officer Naomi Penrod surveys the damage inside one of the buses.

Someone set off the fire extinguisers inside all of the school buses late last night or early this morning, grounding the entire fleet, according to Board of Education Administrative Assistant Susan Griffith in an early morning phone call, informing me that I was going to have to drive my stepson to the Career Center.

"Fortunately, this is a waiver day," she said when asked about the impact on the district as a whole. "Well, I guess there's no 'fortunate' about it."

Since the rest of the school population had the day off anyway, only the kids who needed to be bussed to the Greene County Career Center and special education programs were affected.

Up at the high school parking lot, Police Officers Naomi Penrod and Al Pierce were investigating as two employees from the bus barn looked on. Inside one of the buses, a white powdery substance could be seen covering most of the surfaces. The assessment by school employees was that the mess could be cleaned up.