Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year's treat from Susan Gartner

Dear Villagers,

Thank you for providing me with an abundance of sweet hometown footage this year. I look forward to videotaping more memorable events in 2010. Special thanks to Virgil and A Yellow Springs Blog for being so encouraging and supportive of my new business.

Happy New Year!

Susan Gartner
Video Pot Pie

Happy 2010 from the Blog

Weather permitting, the Blog will be
downtown for the ball drop tonight.

From desparation to hope to realization: Antioch College was the YS story of 2009

Lee Morgan and Matthew Derr with the keys to the kingdom

An abandoned Antioch Hall floods: Video

Alums and villagers celebrate after inital agreement to sell the college to the alumni: Photos

Signing ceremony makes it real: Video

Alums return to a campus they now own:

Antioch College Chief Transition Officer Matthew Derr giving Antioch Hall the once-over with some alums at the October reunion.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year from YSKP!

Winter Header

YSKP would like to thank all Youth, Parents, and Supporters for making 2010 such a great year! Watch the video below to view a New Year's message from the Bremen Town Musicians! Warm wishes to you and yours from YSKP in 2010!

Register Now for Winter Classes!
See the new Winter class schedule @ New for Winter is Choral Singing with James Johnston and theatre classes for youth ages 5-8. Classes start February 1st, so register today!

Special Session: Musical Theatre Audition In January
The Musical Theater Audition With Jeffrey Murphy
Get ready to try out for your spring musical! Bring monologue, comfortable footwear, and short vocal piece. Jeff Murphy, with 20+ years of musical theatre experience, has coached such legends as Robert Downey, Jr., Natalie Portman and Zach Braf. Don't miss your chance to work with this amazing professional.

Choose one of the following Saturday sessions from 1:30 - 4:30pm: January 9 or January 16. Class size limited. NOTE: Registration deadline is January 4th!

Community Band to resume rehearsals

After a short break following the holiday concert, the Yellow Springs Community Band will resume its rehearsal schedule on Monday, Jan. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school music room. Community members who play or used to play a band instrument are encouraged to join. If you haven't played in years, this is a good way to shake the dust off your axe and the rust off your chops in an encouraging environment. The band rehearses on Monday nights from 7:30 - 9:00. Feel free to just show up. For more information, email YSHS band director Dennis Farmer at

Little Art Short Film Fest submission deadline approaching

The Little Art Theatre will host the Yellow Springs Short Film Festival on Sunday, February 21, 2010 (program to be repeated on Saturday, February 27, 2010).

The festival will include short films that showcase the best of local film making talent, from students to professionals to everyone in between. The festival will also include a works-in-progress segment, and audience choice awards for the most popular films.

The theater is now accepting submissions of short films for the festival--finished films or works in progress. The early deadline for entry is Friday, January 8, 2010 and the regular deadline is Friday, January 22, 2010. The entry fee is $5 for the early deadline and $10 for the regular deadline; entry date will be determined by postmark.

To be considered for entry, the majority of each film needs to have been shot in one of the following counties: Greene, Montgomery, Clark, Madison, Fayette, Clinton, or Warren. (Exceptions may be made if a filmmaker from one of those counties shot their film elsewhere.) Films should be no longer than 15 minutes in length. (A one or two minute leeway will be allowed to suit the filmmaker’s vision.)

To submit a short film, go to which contains the entry form and other submission guidelines. You can also join the festival’s Facebook page for more information and updates:

For more information, contact:
Vanessa Query, Festival Director
Little Art Theatre
247 Xenia Ave
Yellow Springs, OH 45387
(937) 767-7671

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bench to Nowhere: Some you win...

A Cool Town Toon

One reader's buy local experiment: Measuring the bang of a buck

Just about every week I see the ad in the YS News encouraging us to “Buy Local.” Personally, I think it’s not only a great idea, but also a necessity to preserving our unique town center. The argument I often hear about buying local usually involves the price of things in town versus the lower prices at the big name chain store. Time for some research – I always wanted to be a secret shopper.

I started with 13 common grocery store items and did a price comparison between Tom’s and Kroger – you know the store that sits on a site that used to be a wetland. Here’s my shopping list: Cheerios, oatmeal, soy milk, bread, bananas, dog food (lots of dogs in town), flour, rotisserie chicken, lettuce, eggs, ice cream, baked beans and cat food (just to be fair). I bought the same brand names at both stores, did not use coupons, but did assume that I had a Kroger shopper’s card which often results in a price discount.

Ok, Tom’s is more expensive – I’m not sure that’s a surprise to anyone. My $46.48 shopping basket at Kroger turned into $52.71 at Tom’s. However, there’s more than money involved in the shopping experience. It took me 22 minutes longer to make the round trip to Kroger, added an extra 12 miles to my carbon footprint, not one person shopping in the store spoke to me, and not one employee smiled and asked me how my day was going. And Tom’s supports a bunch of local causes like the Food Pantry, the Glen Helen Pancake Breakfast, buying ad space in just about every program brochure and publication that comes along (lots of them) as well as being asked to donate things for prizes, auctions, picnics, etc. Plus, regardless of what the signs say, they provide downtown parking that is used by most everyone. I’m trying to figure out what Kroger or Meijer or Walmart does for the Village – let me know if you have some ideas.

How about gasoline prices? Both the Village stations recently had unleaded gas at $2.58 a gallon while Kroger had it for $2.55. I don’t understand how gas prices work or why the YS stations are almost always a little more expensive. Until there’s at least a ten cent difference, I’ll probably still buy gas in town, but not without grumbling a bit.

Want to see a movie? The most you pay for a ticket at the Little Art is $7.50 and at the Regal Cinemas it’s $10. The concessions at the Little Art are less expensive and they host lots of special events as well as offering free movies for kids on Saturday.

This is not just about one or two places in town – we could do similar comparisons, for the hardware, the drug store, the pizza places, the flower shop, the toy store, the book stores, etc. I’m sure some of them are going to be a bit more expensive than Walmart. So the question becomes, do you want to preserve the flavor of our downtown as a fun place to shop, visit with friends, have lunch, sip a coffee and smile at the tourists? All things considered, seems to me that buying local is a fairly easy decision.

A. Reader

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Yellow Springs Police Chief

Remember that letter published by the YS News accusing the YSPD and its Chief of a number of vague misdeeds..? Among those allegations was that the Chief does nothing in the way of public relations. See for yourself.

This is the 3rd in a series of 30 second videos shot by Joanne Caputo for the Website that will be posted here over the next few weeks. (Music by Cooper Fleishman.)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Springers make Christmas music - free MP3 available

Former villager Tim Eschliman and lead singer in the Christmas Jug Band has a new collection of Christmas music available on the Internet, the blog "Daily Reviews" is reporting. Eschliman sings and plays everything from guitar to kazoo on the band’s new live recording, "On the Holiday Highway." Another Springer, Greg Dewey of Paul's Apartment, plays drums on the collection. The post includes a link to a free MP3 of one of the band's numbers courtesy of

Daily Reviews: Free MP3: Makin’ Merry With the Christmas Jug Band

Creative Memories suit alleges preferential transfers

The St. Cloud (Minn.) Times yesterday reported on the lawsuit against principals in The Antioch Company. The on-line article includes a PDF of the complaint filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Cincinnati alleging over $6 million in preferential transfers.

St. Cloud Times: Creative Memories leaders sued

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Father’s Christmas

It’s Christmas here in Ohio, but it’s still Christmas Eve in Seattle as I check the status for flight 1060 on the Delta Website. The plane is reportedly on time for its 10:30 p.m. departure, but I have learned from personal experience that that status can change at any moment. I call my son’s cell phone. He doesn’t answer. I know he just got off from work and he’s headed for the airport. I leave a message to call me when he gets there. I figure he will call at around 1:00 a.m. our time. I’ll be up. I have visions of him having trouble getting a taxi or being confronted with long lines at the check-in. Holiday travel is a bitch. The TV news has been full of horror stories. I keep checking the Website. The plane is still on time. The phone rings. It’s 1:00 a.m. just like I figured. Hi, Dad I’m at the gate. Good, see you tomorrow, Son. Have a good flight.

A Frank Capra movie is playing on the TV in the living room. Amy is watching a Chinese soap opera on her laptop in bed. The Website says the plane is now boarding. I picture my son with his suitcase, handing his boarding pass to the lady at the gate. I hope he sleeps on the flight. We already had one airline-imposed change in his itinerary that will result in a four-hour layover in Atlanta. Now he won’t get to Dayton until 11:45 a.m. instead of 9:00 a.m. Precious hours lost. He’ll be exhausted by the time he gets here.

It’s now 1:31 a.m. our time. Every time I check the Delta site, I have to remember that the plane is leaving yesterday. It reports that the plane is “awaiting takeoff.” This is a good sign. But I remember what happened with Jet Blue... Nine hours on the runway. "Awaiting takeoff" doesn’t mean a thing. I’m mad enough about that schedule change as it is. I paid good money for this ticket. The retired lawyer in me considers suing them for fraud, but only for a moment.

We were in Seattle in June. It was the first time I had seen my son and daughter in over ten years. As we hugged goodbye he said, see you in another ten years, Dad, his sarcasm a knife in my heart. I offered to buy them both tickets to fly to Ohio. Just let me know when you want to come. He emailed me in September that he wanted to come for Christmas. I would have paid any price for that ticket.

I used to think I was a bad husband, but a good father. Recently, I have come to the conclusion that you can’t be one without the other. We get busy with our own lives. We are self-absorbed, preoccupied and our kids suffer. It’s no wonder the children of the baby-boomers are so screwed up. They will be the first generation to be less educated than their parents. As a nation, we are going backwards. It’s because of fathers like me. I am finally ready to admit it.

My son is 33-years-old and even though he has a full-time job with benefits, which is saying a lot these days, I still worry that he’ll trip over his shoe laces, or not have enough to eat, or miss the plane that will allow me to spend time with him for the second time in six months after not having seen him for ten years.

It’s 1:45 a.m. Flight 1060 is in in the air. This time when I check, a neat little map pops up on the Website showing an airplane over Washington State pointed in the direction of Atlanta. I think I’ll go to bed now, so I can get up early and check the Website for the status of his connecting flight in the morning.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yellow Springs sculptor chosen for firefighter memorial

(Dayton Daily News photo)

Local sculptor John Barlow Hudson won the commission to create the Miami Valley Firefighters Memorial in Stubbs Park in Centerville, the Dayton Daily News reported in two articles today.

Dayton Daily News: ‘Fire Wall’ a deserving memorial to Miami Valley firefighters

Dayton Daily News: Area’s fallen firefighters to be honored by sculpture

The Antioch Co. being sued by former employees

The Dayton Daily News reported today that a trust formed on behalf of current and former employees of The Antioch Company is suing former leaders of the company in Cincinnati’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court. According to the article, among 30 former executives named in the suit are Lee Morgan and his daughter Asha Morgan Moran.

Dayton Daily News: Employees sue Antioch Co. after business moves

Rocky & Pee Wee: Happy Holidays!

Thanks for your support! Have a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for the New Year from
the Blog.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From the YS Chamber of Commerce

Best Wishes for Peace and Joy this Holiday Season
and a
New Year
of Health, Happiness and Prosperity

We value our members and thank you for being such an important part of the Yellow Springs Chamber. We also wish to thank our volunteers and friends in the community who have been so supportive of the Chamber in 2009.

Looking with hope and optimism to 2010.

All the best to you, your family and your organization,

From the Board & Staff,
Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce

YS and area get raves on Columbus Alive Website

It seems we keep getting a lot of attention from the media in other Ohio cities. According to a piece on the Website, the Miami scenic trail is one of the best in Ohio for recreational riding, with a lovely section through Yellow Springs. John Bryan State Park also gets a rave review.

Venture: The Year in Adventure

Radical Crafts Show Video

This is the 2nd in a series of 30 second videos shot by Joanne Caputo for the Website that will be posted here over the next few weeks. (Music by Cooper Fleishman.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Glen Helen Association 4th Annual Members’ Art Exhibition Jan. 10-30

The Glen Helen Association is hosting their Fourth Annual Members’ Art Exhibition from January 10 to January 30, 2010. Show hours are 9:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays in the Glen Helen Building located at 405 Corry Street in Yellow Springs. Admission is free. The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Sunday, January 10th from 2 pm to 4 pm.

The exhibition is a unique opportunity to see the creative talent of Glen Helen’s many supporters. The nature themed wall art is on display in the Glen Helen Building’s main atrium, surrounded by impressive views of the Glen’s 1,000-acre nature preserve. All artwork is available for purchase. A portion of the proceeds goes to support the Glen Helen Ecology Institute.

For more information call the Glen Helen Ecology Institute at (937) 769-1902 or visit

Video from the Carol Sing-a-Long on Dec. 20

Video by Susan Gartner

Monday, December 21, 2009

Presbyterian Church Christmas Eve Services and Performances

The first Christmas Eve service at the First Presbyterian Church beginning at 5:30pm will feature the original play, “How Mr. Mark Stole Christmas”, patterned after the famous Dr. Suess’ Grinch. The play includes the old miser, Mr. Mark, played by Mark Munger, who hates the happenings at the church across the street. He cleverly concocts a way to stop the Christmas Eve service. But the child, played by David Walker, innocently sets Mr. Mark’s heart straight and the angel's song, by Lilly Rudolf, helped him to see more clearly. Other youth cast members include Ally Bothwell, Danny Horton, Elizabeth and Angelina Smith, Alex and Aurianna Hogg. The narrator is Mary Kay Clark, who adapted the play for the church. There will also be traditional carols and scripture with hot cider and cookies to follow.

The 11pm candlelit service will feature a brass ensemble including Tom Jacobs, Marcia Boisvert, Brian Mayer and Mike Coogan. The guest preacher, Rev. Kelley Shin, will deliver the homily, “Make Haste, Take Heart.”

Bench to Nowhere: Pussycats In peril

A Cool Town Toon

Bird count for Christmas

Photo by Roger Reynolds

Everyone who made it out to Glen Helen yesterday for our (first annual) Christmas Bird Count was treated to a beautiful winter day. There was about an inch and a half of snow on the ground when we started, and it snowed on us until about eleven.

We divided the Glen into 9 zones, and sent a team out to each of those. We covered most, but not all of the 25 miles of trails in the Glen, and hit pretty much every type of habitat in the preserve. The area around the pine forest held a number of species not widely found elsewhere, including red-breasted nuthatch, hermit thrush, and golden-crowned kinglet.

We were low on hawks/vultures -- not surprising given the weather. We didn't turn up any owls either. Reasonable to expect that there were three (possibly four) species present, but we missed 'em.

We found 1,545 birds of 33 species, including the following:
Canada goose: 1
Mallard: 4
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed hawk: 2
Mourning Dove: 29
Belted kingfisher: 4
Red-bellied woodpecker: 36
Downy woodpecker: 24
Hairy woodpecker: 6
Northern flicker: 6
Pileated woodpecker: 8
Blue jay: 8
Americal crow: 45
Carolina chickadee: 108
Tufted titmouse: 48
Red-breasted nuthatch: 3
White-breasted nuthatch: 34
Brown creeper: 10
Carolina wren: 13
Winter wren: 4
Golden-crowned kinglet: 4
Hermit thrush: 4
American robin: 163
European starling: 752
Eastern towhee: 10
American tree sparrow: 12
Song sparrow: 4
White-throated sparrow: 94
White-crowned sparrow: 2
Dark-eyed junco: 32
Northern cardinal: 69
House finch: 1
American goldfinch: 6

Big thanks to everyone who came out to help.

-Nick Boutis (in an email to the Friends of the Glen)

Business Retention & Expansion Survey to be discussed at Council meeting tonight

Here is a copy of the Yellow Springs Business Retention and Expansion Survey by the Wright State Center for Urban & Public Affairs (CUPA). The study, which was commissioned by Community Resources, will be discussed at the Village Council meeting on Monday, Dec. 21.

Yellow Springs Fall at the Orchard

This is the first in a series of 30 second videos shot by Joanne Caputo for the Website that will be posted here over the next few weeks. (Music by Cooper Fleishman.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Writers' Workshop - revamped Website and offerings

This from the Antioch Writers' Workshop:

We've updated and re-vamped the Antioch Writers' Workshop web site ( We'll be adding photos and other tweaks soon, but please stop by and learn about:
  • Full Week Experience
  • A La Carte Options (Saturday Seminar, Morning Only Classes and Afternoon Only Focus on Form Seminar)--new in 2010!
  • Faculty and Visiting Agents
Antioch Writers' Workshop was included in the Writer's Digest "events not to miss in 2010" article in the January issue. Stop by our new website, and find out why.

And, just in case you want to get a jumpstart on your 2010 writing goals... registration for both Full Week and A La Carte options is now open! Email questions to

Holiday greetings from YS Community Access

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hi Ho Silver - Celebrants arrive in style for the Fling

Taken at last night's Third Friday Fling in the Springs
by Roger Reynolds.


For those expatriate Springers in such places as Florida and Hawaii, this is what it looked like when we got up this morning in your old home town. Miss it? Christmas is just six days away and we are expecting more.

The Backyard Flock: Maintaining law and order in Chickenland

Sometimes I feel like the sheriff of the chicken run. Trouble is liable to break out at the drop of the hat. I have had to break up fights and smooth ruffled feathers more times than I can count. Chickens are the most selfish, jealous, heartless species I know of. It starts as soon as they are hatched.

Shortly after we got our most recent straight run of six day-old pullets home and under the heat lamp in a big plastic storage bin, we decided to have some fun with them. We dropped a little piece of white bread into the midst of our tiny flock. Immediately, one of them grabbed it and ran for a corner to get away from the rest of the chicks who were in hot pursuit. One of them grabbed the bread out of her mouth and headed off in the opposite direction with the flock after her. This game of keep away continued for several minutes until one of them finally managed to consume the last crumb.

Yesterday, I brought a plate of leftover ham scraps out to my flock of thirteen. The six little ones are full-size now and fully merged into the flock. At six months they are the youngest. At six years Pee Wee, my Rhode Island Red of “Rocky and Pee Wee” fame, is the oldest. As soon as they saw me leave the house with something in my hand, all thirteen gathered at the gate to the chicken run. I was barely inside, when Pee Wee jumped up, grabbed a piece of ham from the plate, and took off to get away from the others. Nothing has changed with maturity.

Chickens don’t share, unless there is more than they can manage to hoard. The hen at the top of the pecking order gets to eat first. Chickens that are newly merged into the flock are usually bullied for weeks. The older chickens will block the door of the coop at dusk in order to keep the little ones out. They only give up when it gets dark and they feel compelled to go in and get up on the roost. Sometimes when I go out to lock them up, I will find one or two of the younger ones roosting in a bush after having given up on trying to gain admission.

Many times, I have pulled one angry chicken off another in what closely resembled the schoolyard fights of my childhood at PS 97 in Queens. I have on occasion found chickens with bloodied combs as they sat laying and refusing to vacate the egg-laying box at the behest of an impatient sister. There are four almost identical egg boxes, but they always want to use the same one. At times I will go out to check for eggs and find the boxes turned over and all askew.

The chickens in the flock that were handled a lot when they were small are still tame. They like to be hand fed and picked up. But if I give too much attention to one, it sparks a reaction in the others who also crave attention. While holding one chicken and petting her and talking to her, I am liable to get pecked on the leg by a jealous sister. When I put her down again, I have to be careful to be sure she doesn’t come under attack. It’s like they want to teach anyone who gets too much attention a lesson not to do it again. They’ll treat her like a Mafia stoolie.

Right now everything is calm. This is probably the best-behaved flock I have had. The big ones have stopped picking on the little ones. I haven’t seen much pecking order enforcement. I think the weather has something to do with it. As selfish as they are, they cooperate when it gets cold, huddling together and sharing body heat. No one wants to be left out.

Every once in awhile, a chicken will go through a spell of bad behavior. Usually, this involves targeting another chicken and not letting up on her. At times like this I will give the repeat offender a timeout. That means getting kicked out of the chicken run. They hate being separated from the flock and will pace up and down along the fence line until I let them back in.

Even my most beloved pets in the flock have performed acts of unbelievable cruelty on their sisters. I’ll hear a cry from the back yard and look out the kitchen window only to spy my dear, sweet Pee Wee, who talks to me every morning when I let her out for the day, holding another chicken down with both feet and pulling out her feathers. This always pains me. Try as I might, I can’t get even the best of them to behave. No matter what I do, feathers will fly.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Antioch College video tour

Antioch College has posted video of a November '09 tour of the Antioch College campus led by John Feinberg '70. Mr. Feinberg is a professional Architectural Conservator and is Antioch College's Building/Systems Coordinator. Mr. Feinberg explains the reasoning behind the renovation of existing buildings on the campus.

Take the tour at

Gretchen Walker - Dec. 13, 2009

Gretchen Walker, aged 78, died at Friends Care on Saturday, Dec. 13. She was a long time resident of Yellow Springs and attended the First Presbyterian Church.

A service dedicated to the life and love of Gretchen Walker will be held Saturday, January 23, at 2pm in the Sanctuary at the First Presbyterian Church followed by a reception in Westminster Hall.

What was that all about..?

Did you read the letter to the editor from James Dickerson in this week's YS News? I don't know Mr. Dickerson. He claims to be a resident, but I don't see him listed in the Redbook. It seems like he has a beef with the Yellow Springs Police Department.

In a letter laced with pejoratives with no specific facts to back them up, other than vague allegations of door kicking and fence busting, he claims our local officers are capable of using tasers to get cats from trees and do a poor job of public relations.

"They profile and discriminate and do things that are illegal and immoral," Mr. Dickerson writes.

He ends his piece with a rant about "an ugly gate in the Glen, making our beautiful Glen trashy, like there are pigs and cows on the other side of the gate."

One can only imagine that Mr. Dickerson had his door kicked in and his fence trashed, but he never says that. And he never says that he personally witnessed any of the behavior of which he complains. His mention of the word "misdemeanor" leads me to believe he might have been charged with something.

If it were not for that priceless item in the "Police Reports" about the guy who reported that he was missing a sum of cash, five bottles of salad dressing and a jar of mustard, Mr. Dickerson's letter would have been the funniest thing in this week's paper. Was that why the News published it? One has to wonder. In the past, it seems they were very careful about publishing unsubstantiated allegations.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rocky & Pee Wee: "Best Hometown" too cool, spirals out of control

Click on image to enlarge.

3rd Friday Fling

Last Minute Holiday Shopping

YSKP holiday play - December 17th - 19th
Yellow Springs Kids Playhouse Presents
The Bremen Town Musicians
Thursday & Friday 7:30p
Saturday 2:00p & 7:30p
The Glen Helen Building, 405 Corry St.

December 18: 3rd Friday Fling, 6-9p
Free Carriage Rides starting at the Little Art Theatre
Shopping, Dining, Wine Tasting & Live Music
Live Music at Brother Bear's Cafe
Sparkling Gift Gallery at Village Artisans

Gingerbread Structure Contest
Judging will be at 7p. Winner receives $50
Sugar Cubes, 134 Dayton St.

December 18th & 19th, 8p
Medieval Mystery Plays
First Presbyterian Church, 314 Xenia Ave.
Free, Donations are appreciated

Through December 19th, 9a-6p
Young's Choose & Cut Trees
Rte. 68 1 mile north of Yellow Springs

Through December 24th
Clay & Cloth, Fran LaSalle Art Quilts & Geno Luketic Ceramics
The Glen Helen Building, 405 Corry St.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A New Year's Resolution

It’s almost that time of the year again – time to get serious about eating better, saving more, buying local, supporting the food pantry, helping a neighbor, going back to school, using less electricity, calling a friend and the list goes on.

My resolution this year is to worry about just the important stuff – maybe the top 5 or 10 things. I’m a pretty good worrier. I can worry about the end of mankind and at the same time worry about “did I put the cap back on the toothpaste.” It takes a lot of energy to worry about everything. So this year, I’m starting early to get all the worries lined up and prioritized so I can concentrate on the really good ones.

I started making a list and here’s where I am so far. There are the obvious things like unemployment, Iraq, Afghanistan, housing foreclosures, world hunger, H1N1, health care, global warming, family violence, N. Korea, Iran, value of the dollar, obesity rates for children, national debt, hate crimes, genetically modified food, terrorism, biodiversity, Fox 45, air and water pollution, Antioch College, factory farms, genocide, declining math scores, homophobia, talk radio, invasive species, racial prejudice, social security, nuclear war and, after last night's presentation at the Little Art, Madagascar – just to get started. I do wonder how world hunger and obesity issues can be on the same list but I’ll worry about that some other time.

And of course, there are things that might be considered “noise level.” That would include motorcycles, trucks, chainsaws, chippers, lawn mower, fighter jets, private planes, commercial planes and the occasional rescue helicopter.

Here’s the problem, I want to be a good community member, a responsible citizen and also support my neighbors. However, and I’m really very sorry about this, I just can’t worry about jet noise this year. I’ve tried to get it in the top 10 but no matter how I sort the list or change the ranking criteria, jet noise just doesn’t make the cut - it’s up against some stiff competition. For now, I'm hoping that things will be better by 2011 and jet noise will make the top 10 and rightfully deserve some serious worry.

Deep down, I know I’m still going to worry about everything. I just need some peace and quiet so I can concentrate. Maybe Santa will bring me ear protectors.

Happy Holidays – A. Reader

A call for Antioch volunteers

Dear Alumni & Friends:

This is an exciting and transformative moment to volunteer at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Antioch College Volunteers are not only at the forefront, but are also the backbone of the current efforts to restore and re-launch the now independent College. As the newly appointed Manager of Volunteer Work, I am continually struck by the dedication and generosity of our volunteers who are rising, yet again, to meet all the challenges we have before us.

Volunteers are contributing thousands of service hours to the College. The 2009 Reunion Work Project attracted the largest group in recent memory, with over 60 hard-working volunteers working to repair the Olive Kettering Library. Next year we hope to Volunteers work in the Antioch gardendouble that number. In addition, volunteers are now coordinating campus mail and recycling; working in the garden and greenhouse; renovating buildings; working the phone banks to reengage alumni around the world; serving on committees and boards; providing administrative and communications support; and donating their diverse skills and expertise in every way possible in order to re-launch Antioch College.

I invite you to join with hundreds of creative volunteers as we continue to make history. I encourage you to investigate volunteer opportunities at our new website, A wide variety of opportunities exist. We have cooperative living space on campus for volunteers who can spend a weekend, a few weeks, or a couple of months working for the College. If you already live in the Yellow Springs area and can volunteer for a few hours a month or a week, we have projects for you. In addition to the volunteer work positions, the next large work project will focus on Pennell House restoration and will take place from January 19-23, 2010. Learn more about this upcoming project at

Previous generations of Antiochians made it possible for us to experience Antioch. Now it's our turn to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to create sustainable and justice centered communities that boldly impact the world. Please visit the new volunteer website and get active today!

Julian Sharp
Manager of Volunteer Work

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Madagascar presentation at the Little Art tonight

Madagascar at the Little Art Theater
Tuesday, December 15 at 7 p.m.

A friendship between villagers Jalana Lazar and Naysan McIlhargey and 14-year-old Bli Toto of Madagascar that developed when Jalana served in Madagascar in the Peace Corps has resulted in Bli living and attending school in Yellow Springs this year.

Naysan, Jalana and Bli's travels have inspired an interesting and educational presentation on Malagasy people, culture and ecology that they will share with the village at the Little Art tonight.

The Bremen Town Musicians - Starts this Thursday

Click on image to enlarge.

For the matinee performance on Sat, Dec 19 at 2pm, YSKP is offering a "Drop and Shop" option for families. From 2-4pm children will be entertained by attending the show and activities giving parents an opportunity to shop alone or just take a break! $10 per child. Register for Drop and Shop by email to

Monday, December 14, 2009

YS Chamber Orchestra - Tuesday, December 15 at 8 p.m.

The Yellow Springs Chamber Orchestra will present it's fall concert "It's Time!" on Tuesday, December 15 at 8 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church - performing music from Haydn's oratorio "The Creation" and his Symphony No. 101 ("The Clock") as well as music by French Baroque composer Jean Phillippe Rameau, arranged by Music Director James Johnston. Come hear some terrific music played by some terrific musicians. Admission is free.

Bench to Nowhere: A vote of confidence

A Cool Town Toon

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Making cheese at Young's Jersey Dairy

Little did I expect that when I interviewed Dan Young, CEO of Young's Jersey Dairy, about their new cheese making operation, that I would be standing in an inch of whey as we talked. If you've heard of curds and whey, it might have been in the nursery rhyme about Little Miss Muffet. But the real significance of curds and whey is the start of the cheese making process.

Raw milk from Young's own Jerseys is heated to 90 degs. until it curdles, then the whey is drained off and the curds are compacted and aged until they are cheese. That's the short version. The long version includes, adding cultures for flavor and rennet to start the coagulation, getting the mix to the proper PH for the various kinds of cheese and different wrinkles in the process that differentiates between a simple Colby and a sharp cheddar.

When the milk curdles the curds rise to the top in a solid mass. Blades on the special cheese making equipment are used to cut them up into small pieces and, thereafter, they settle to the bottom of the whey. It takes about 1200 pounds of raw Jersey milk to make 150 pounds of cheese. According to Dan, milk from Jersey cows gives a better percentage yield as Jersey's have more milk solids in their milk.

Dan's cousin Stuart Young is one of the two cheese makers. The other is Mike Randall, who is also the chief ice cream maker. In this photo, Stuart is measuring the PH of the curds and whey, before the whey is drained off. On this day, Stuart is making cheddar, so the PH has to be just right. There is very little waste in the process as the whey is saved and used for fertilizer on the farm.

Here the curds are being separated and compressed as the whey is drained off.

The compressed curds are cut into blocks. At this point, for most cheeses, the curds would be further compressed and aged. But in the cheddar making process, these blocks will be cut into strings, salted and mixed and then further compressed.

In this video, Stuart is using the cheddar mill to cut blocks of compressed curd into strings.

The strings are salted and mixed three times before being scooped out and put into hoops, the cheese makers' word for molds. According to Dan, "mold" is a dirty word in the industry and he told me that if I insisted using it for this article, that I spell it "mould."

Mixing the curds and salt.

Scooping the curds into the hoops.

Pressure is applied to the hoops.

Cheddar aging at 50 degs. in the cooler.

Dan Young shows off the finished product in the cheese case at Young's where they have been making cheese for about a year.

In addition to cheddar, Young's makes Colby, Jersey Jack (Young's own version of Colby Jack), pepper jack, and fresh cheese curds, which, according to Dan, are popular in Wisconsin, but are just catching on in Ohio. Cheddar takes the longest to make at 60 days for mild cheddar and eight-nine months for sharp.

When they decided to start making cheese, Young's sent Stuart Young and Mike Randall to the University of Vermont's Artisan Cheese Institute. They followed that up with a specially tailored course at the Food Technology Department of Ohio State. The Youngs also visited cheese producing farms all over the Midwest. The equipment pictured above was purchased from a manufacturer in the Netherlands. Dan even made a trip to the Netherlands to tour a farm that has been making cheese for over 400 years.

New to the menu at Young's is fried cheese curds. After 140 years of operation, Young's Jersey Dairy is still coming up with new ways to please their customers.

Note: I have made a correction to paragraph three to read "1200 pounds of raw Jersey milk to make 150 pounds of cheese." I had originally written 120 pounds of raw milk.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Joint Community Chorus/Band Holiday Concert Sunday Night

This year the Community Chorus and Community Band are joining together to give a joint holiday concert in the sanctuary at the First Presbyterian Church. The program will kick off with the chorus at 7:30 p.m. As a special treat in the second half of the program, soprano Jennifer Bateman Gilchrist will perform the delightful piece "The Mistletoe Bough" with the band.

The Backyard Flock: When your Henrietta turns out to be a Henry

When the rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I’ll be gone…
From “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” by Bob Dylan

Sexing chickens (determining whether they are male or female) is a difficult thing to do correctly when they are only day-old chicks. But that’s when it has to be done. Most people who are buying chicks from a hatchery want only females for a variety of reasons: They want chickens that are going to lay eggs; they don’t want to keep a rooster in a densely populated area; and roosters tend to be difficult to get along with.

This subject comes to mind because someone in my neighborhood has been hearing a rooster at 5:00 a.m. and asked me if I had one. It’s not me. I won’t keep one, not only out of deference to my neighbors, but I wouldn’t want to put up with the noise myself. Contrary to popular opinion, roosters don’t just crow at the break of dawn, they are liable to let go with a cocka-doodle-doo at any time of night or day. My girls make enough noise as it is.

When purchasing chicks from a hatchery, the buyer may ask for a mixed batch or a straight run of either pullets or cockerels. Pullet is the name for young hens (under one-year-old); cockerel is what they call young roosters. Hatcheries can only afford to keep chicks for one day. After that, they would have to feed them by the thousands. If you buy chicks from any place other than a hatchery, you stand a higher chance of getting a rooster. While hatcheries are pretty good at sexing, the folks who buy the chicks when they are two days old are not and usually don’t care. So if you by six chicks at a flea market, you stand a high probability of getting four roosters, no matter what the seller told you. But even hatcheries make mistakes. Once in awhile a cockerel slips through in a supposed straight run of pullets and the buyer is not likely to find out until he hears that first telltale crow, months later.

I was in denial the first time I suspected I had a rooster in my flock. I thought I heard something, but I wasn’t sure. They all looked the same. I was never able to catch anybody in the act. But wait, were those little nubs on the back of that one Rhode Island Red starting to grow into spurs? I finally had to admit it to myself when he started to come after me every time I went out to the chicken run. He was a crafty little bugger. He would sidle up to me, hoping I wouldn’t notice, and then try to attack my leg.

One precocious little Araucana started crowing at about four weeks of age. I couldn’t believe my ears; I had to see for myself. Again, it was hard to catch him in the act. But I spied on him till I finally caught him at it. He put his entire little body into it, stretching his neck as long as he could as he let go with a squeaky little cuck-ca-caw. Not only did it make me laugh, but it endeared me to the little guy. So I kept him around for as long as I could, hoping his crow would never get louder than that first squeaky little effort. I called him Scooter because of the way he half-ran, half-flew around chicken land as he chased the pullets. One day my next door neighbor asked me if I had a rooster. I promised him I would get rid of Scooter as soon as I could find a home for him. Fortunately, my friend Nick Ormes, who runs the Ranch Menagerie Animal Rescue, agreed to take him and he is living happily on a horse farm in Beavercreek, where he can crow to his heart’s content and has plenty of girlfriends.

It’s tough getting rid of roosters. Ormes always has too many and that is the case with most animal shelters. Fortunately, he owed me a favor and I was able to cash in on it. In his rescue efforts he has seen too many cases where people have just abandoned unwanted roosters. They assume that if they leave them at some farmer’s gate, they will be taken in. But that is not usually the case. Frequently, they become prey to a hawk, raccoon or the farmer’s dog, before anyone even knows they are there. In that case it would actually be less cruel to make dinner out of them.

People who have been raised around roosters often tell me that they would like to have one around. I have actually had a couple different neighbors lament the fact that I won’t keep one. The trick, if you have a Henrietta that turns out to be a Henry, is to find one of these kindhearted folks that lives outside of town and take advantage of their poultry longings. You can always throw in a hen to sweeten the deal.

Here's a link to a photo piece on Urban Chickens.

Birdwatchers Wanted

Volunteer Birders Wanted for Glen Helen Ecology Institute’s Christmas Bird Count on December 19th, 2009

The Glen Helen Ecology Institute is holding a Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 19, 2009 from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. Volunteers are needed to participate in one of the world’s most longstanding citizen science efforts by counting as many birds as possible in Glen Helen’s nature preserve. Participants should meet at the Trailside Museum at 505 Corry Street in Yellow Springs, OH. Please RSVP by calling Jenny Montgomery at (937) 769-1902.

Volunteers experienced in bird identification are especially needed but beginners are also welcome. Bird watchers can check in at Trailside Museum any time from 8:00 am on and should plan to stay for 1-2 hours. Volunteers should dress warmly and bring binoculars if they have them. Hot chocolate and snacks will be provided.

The bird count will determine the health of bird populations in the Glen and helps support conservation efforts.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Video of the Presbyterian Church benefit last Saturday

Video by Susan Gartner

Bench to Nowhere: Not so shocking after all

A Cool Town Toon

Community Foundation launches Facebook page

The Public Relations Committee of the Yellow Springs Community Foundation (YSCF) has started a new Facebook page. Created by committee member Lisa Kreeger, the page had its official launch yesterday with an announcement to YSCF trustees and members asking them to use their own social networks to encourage friends and family to become fans of the YSCF Facebook page.

One of the first posts on the new page reads: "As YSCF grants regularly go to new projects in the community of Yellow Springs and Miami Township, Community Foundation news is often news of interest to the community as a whole and to those Yellow Springers who have migrated far and wide."

The Community Foundation is also encouraging all community members, their friends and relatives to become fans of the page.

You can access the new YSCF Facebook page by clicking here:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Little Miami Scenic Trail gets attention on the Web

In a comprehensive article on our local bike paths, the Website Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has name the Little Miami Scenic Trail its trail of the month for December.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy: Trail of the Month: Ohio's Little Miami Scenic Trail

Thanks to Laura Carlson for the heads up.

Nobody wants to go outside

Last night I woke in the early morning hours and considered getting up to put another log on the fire in the woodstove. Ultimately, I decided not to leave my warm bed. The fire will last till morning, I reasoned. I was wrong.

As I write this (mostly for those Yellow Springers in the diaspora), the AccuWeather thermometer in the sidebar is reading 18 degs. Fahrenheit. I went to the Chamber meeting at the Bryan Center at 9:00 this morning and the turnout was pretty good, all things considered. But most of the usual suspects were not there. I came home to find messages on my telephone and computer that an afternoon meeting had been canceled.

"I'll contact you after the holidays," the caller said.

In fact, every one of my upcoming meetings has been put off until "after the holidays." Since the holidays start in about two weeks, I suppose I should not be surprised. But I suspect the windchill factor (-6F) has something to do with it.

If you do have to go out, my advice is to dress in layers. In Ohio, which is bordered by Canada on the north and Kentucky on the south, the temperature can change drastically in just a couple hours. Yesterday, we dropped from 50 to 2o degs. over the course of an afternoon. If you don't like the weather, wait a couple hours.

WYSO Food Drive

WYSO is partnering with The Foodbank to help feed those in need in the Miami Valley. The Food Drive will run from December 1st through January 31st.

They are accepting food donations at a number of locations in the region. The Yellow Springs locations are Antioch McGregor, the John Bryan Community Center and at the WYSO offices.

For more information go to the WYSO Website.

Reminder - Visioning Round 2, Saturday morning

You Are Invited
Goals and Values Workshop
Saturday, December 12
10:00am to 12:30pm

Yellow Springs High School Gym

Dreams were shared in the Round 1 Idea
Gathering Workshops. Now Let’s build
the ideas into goals for the future in
Round 2.

We are committed to providing an opportunity for respectful dialog
to build a strong consensus about goals and values for
Yellow Springs & Miami Township.

For more information
visit or call Len Kramer at 767-2324.

The goals developed during this phase are the foundation of the
vision and are the basis for implementation strategies. The goal topics
will provide the structure for more detailed recommendations.

What is the purpose of the workshop?
The purpose of the workshop is to translate the results of the idea
gathering workshops (Round 1) into goals for the future. The intent
is for the public to mold the input from the first round into the
initial policy direction of the vision for the future.

How will the workshop build on what we did
in the first round of public workshops?
Participants will work with ideas and shape a series of goal statements
for 8 to 12 key topics. These goals will provide structure for more
specific recommendations that will be developed later. Participants
will address results of the strong/weak places exercise of Round
1by reacting to draft principle statements (prepared by ACP and
based on community input). To see the results of Round 1, please go

What will be presented at the workshop?
The results from the first round of meetings will be presented,
including: insight on the attendance; quantity and perspective on
ideas and strong/weak places; and next steps in the process.

How will we spend our time at the workshop?
Participants will gather in a large assembly for an opening
presentation that includes: an overview of the night’s agenda; report
in Round 1; testing of initial principle statements via comment cards
(based on strong/weak characteristics). Participants will then join a
small group and consider the input from two of the major topics
from Round 1. They will identify themes within their assigned topics
(from database)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Antioch College Names Derr Interim President

Yellow Springs, OHIO – December 9, 2009 —The Antioch College Board Pro Tempore announced today the appointment of Matthew Allen Derr ’89 as the newly independent college’s interim president. Derr, who has played a key role in the two year effort by Antioch alumni to purchase their alma mater from Antioch University, was formerly Chief Transition Officer. Derr will act in this position until the new president is selected.

“Matthew Derr has been vital to the transition of the College to an independent institution for the first time in 40 years,” said Lee Morgan ’66, Chair of the Board Pro Tempore. “Now is the time to move forward with rebuilding the physical facility, articulating a vision for the future, and preparing to reopen in the fall of 2011” Morgan concluded.

In his role as interim president, Derr will oversee the beginning of the campus renovation, the expansion of the capital campaign, the hiring and organization of the administrative staff, rebuilding strong relationships with the more than 17,000 Antioch alumni and the Yellow Springs community, and, perhaps most importantly, articulating a compelling vision that will drive the design of the curriculum and the profile of faculty to be hired.

Plans are underway in the search process to secure a president for Antioch. The effort is being led by Frances Degen Horowitz ’55, president emerita, university professor, and Interim Jack F. Skirball Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center, and Jay Lorsch ’57, Louis Kirstein Professor of Human Relations at the Harvard Business School.

Most recently, Derr served as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at The Boston Conservatory, a leading performing arts college in the United States. Derr was formerly acting head of school, and prior to that, associate head of school, at The Walnut Hill School, an elite independent arts boarding school where he served for many years. Derr is credited with founding the Unified Application for Conservatory Admission and co-founding the Sphinx Performance Academy for African-American and Latino musicians. A former member of the Antioch College Alumni Board, he served on its Executive Committee. Prior to his post at Walnut Hill, he was director of admissions and financial aid for the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University; associate director of admission at Connecticut College; and as associate dean of admission at Earlham College. He earned his undergraduate degree at Antioch College in history in 1989 and studied at the George Heyman Center for Philanthropy at New York University.

(Antioch College press release)

Day Tripping – Columbus Pt. 2

The newly opened Grange Audubon Center ( is located less than a half mile south of downtown Columbus on the banks of the Scioto River. I grew up in Columbus and can remember this place, literally, as a dump. Over the course of many years the area served as an incineration site, landfill, police impound lot, multiple warehouses, electrical substation, water treatment plant and the list goes on. It finally reached EPA brownfield status in 2002. Makes you want to jump in the car and get over there for a visit.

Today, the location is home to a beautiful, very green, Audubon nature and education center. Lots of work still to be done but its well worth a stop the next time you’re in Columbus to see how a much abused piece of land is being restored to protect native wildlife habitat. Free admission for now.

After visiting the Audubon Center we headed north on High Street to the Short North District – the hub of the Columbus art scene. Lots of places to visit in this area but our two stops on this trip were the North Market and Sherrie’s Art Gallarie.

The North Market ( is an indoor, year round farmer’s market with a few other little shops mixed in just to keep it interesting. And, it’s always a good spot for mid-morning coffee. Our main reason to visit this time was Pastaria Seconda. They have a variety of fresh, hand made ravioli and accompanying sauces that freeze well and make super easy meals when unexpected company shows up – even I can prepare a meal with these ingredients – heat and serve. Allow at least 30 minutes to walk around and enjoy the sights and smells of the market. I don’t think you can visit this place without buying something.

While we’re talking about farmer’s markets, if you haven’t already heard the good news, the YS Methodist Church, starting in January, is going to host a winter farmer’s market with some of the same vendors you see in the summer. More information as details come available.

Next stop, Sherrie’s Gallerie ( A medium sized gallery on High Street with a constantly changing line up of artists that keeps us coming back. We’ve known Sherrie for a number of years and she a big fan of Yellow Springs. Two of our local artists (Alice Robrish and Michael Jones) currently have work in the gallery. Renee is the Assistant Director for the Gallerie and on the side, she’s skates in the Ohio Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby League – remember the movie “Whip It”. Be nice to Renee – she’s cool.

Parking is always a problem in the Short North District – there is a free lot behind Sherrie’s that most visitors won’t find – now you know.

From Sherrie’s or the North Market, it’s just a couple of blocks to I-670 and then its 50 minutes back to Yellow Springs. Our round trip was 4 hours – nice way to take a break from the daily routine – enjoy.

A. Reader

Related post: Day Tripping – Columbus Pt. 1

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bench to Nowhere: The wrong stuff

A Cool Town Toon

Upcoming Events

Holiday Concert
Yellow Springs Band and Chorus
1st Presbyterian Church
December 13, 7:30 pm

Medieval Mystery Plays
1st Presbyterian Church
December 18 & 19, 8 pm
Free, donations appreciated

YS Kid's Playhouse
The New Bremen Town Musicians
The Glen Helen Building
December 17-19, Thu & Fri 7:30p Sat 2 & 7:30p

3rd Friday Fling
December 18
Last Minute Holiday Shopping
Gingerbread Structure Contest
Sugar Cubes, 134 Dayton St .
Judging will be at 7p
Winner receives $50

Kwanzaa Celebration
Karamu Feast (Potluck)
The Bryan Center , 100 Dayton St .
December 26, 6p

Tina Peters named an NAIA All American Scholar-Althlete

Yellow Springs racewalker and runner Tina Peters, a senior at Goshen College, was named an NAIA All American Scholar-Althlete for cross country, according to the college's Website. Earlier this fall, the college produced a video featuring Peters to honor the outstanding student-athletes at the college.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) - Public meeting December 9

The Community is invited to a public meeting about SRTS.- an important community program for child health and safety. Wednesday, 9 December @ 7:30 pm, YS Public Library Meeting Room, 415 Xenia Avenue, Yellow Springs, Ohio.

For more details about the SRTS read the “Safety a concern en route to school” by Diane Chiddister 3 December 2009, page 16, Yellow Springs News
If unable to attend, email or call Ed Armheim, 937.767.3702

Look forward to seeing you Wednesday evening!

Best Regards,

-- SRTS Team, or call Ed Armheim, 937.767.3702

"What Safe Routes to School Matters", 2007 (10 min)

National Center for Safe Routes to School has developed a promotional video to highlight the reasons "Why Safe Routes to School Matter." The video highlights why the United States has seen a decrease in walking and bicycling to school, the consequences of this decrease and the ways Safe Routes to School are a part of the solution. Use this video to promote safe walking and bicycling to school within your community and to give an overview of the basics of Safe Routes to School. For more information, please visit

First snow of the season

I don't know about you, but I was caught totally off guard by the snow this morning. I had to scramble to get down some straw before letting the girls out for breakfast.