Monday, July 29, 2013

Back Story: See below

I long suspected that the folks who were sending me announcements to be posted on this blog were not actually reading it. Now I have proof positive, as event announcements continue to roll in, in spite of my post a few days ago (see below), announcing that I would no longer be posting them. There were to be occasional exceptions, however, for events where I have personal involvement. So here's a list of upcoming stuff or organizations I am involved with:
  • Community Band - We have a concert this Saturday night at 7 p.m. on the Mills Lawn (to move indoors to the gym if it rains). Here's the blurb from James Johnston: The program is in honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 "March on Washington", and also the 150th anniversary of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.  Music includes marches, ceremonial pieces, a medley from Bernstein's "West Side Story" and selections by Aaron Copland, including the popular "Lincoln Portrait", narrated by Rev. Derrick Weston, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in YS, and Director of the Coretta Scott King Center at Antioch College.
  • Center Stage - "The Three Penny Opera" will be performed in the Antioch Amphitheater during the last week of September and the first week of October. My involvement with CS is as 10-Minute Play Coordinator (see below).
  • Third Annual Yellow Springs 10-Minute Play Festival - Performances will be over two nights in the end of October. Right now, we are accepting script submissions. The deadline is Labor Day. Got anything for me? The plays are starting to roll in. Scripts and inquiries to
  • Yellow Springs Community Foundation - Nonprofits with Miller Fellows, you are reminded that we are having a debriefing session at 4 p.m. on Monday, 8/5, at Antioch. Those looking for Miller Fellows for next year should take a look at the RFP on our website,

I know your organizations and events are as important to you as these are to me. But, if I make an exception for one, I will have to start making exceptions for others. And soon I will find myself back in the announcement business. Your best bet is Facebook (see below).


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Back Story: Of dogs and groundhogs

Allen Street Al is back living under the deck after a two year hiatus. He couldn't have picked a worse time to reopen the tunnel that runs next to our foundation, as our granddog arrived last night for a week-long visit while his mommy and daddy take a vacation in D.C.

Our resident groundhog disappeared a couple years ago, around the time Suki was reaching her maturity. So it was only natural to assume that common sense prevailed and he decided to move elsewhere - like on the other side of our fence. But in the last couple weeks, we started having sightings, again. First he was snapping off snow pea pods in Amy's garden and dining alongside the crew out in Chickenland. Now, he has taken to sunning himself in the middle of the backyard, grazing casually on the un-mowed grass, despite the fact that, a couple times a day, Suki has bolted from the house and given chase all the way into the thicket along our back fence.

Last evening, shortly after his arrival, Rhesus entered into the fray, altering the dog/groundhog dynamic drastically. Suki can run fast, but Rhesus, with his longer legs, can run even faster. A few years ago, before we got Suki, Rhesus was visiting and actually caught a groundhog. I had to go out there and break it up before one of them got seriously hurt. Groundhogs can be fierce fighters when cornered - and they have teeth that can eat through concrete. I actually pulled the dog off the groundhog, which looked at me gratefully before hightailing it to the escape hatch it had dug under the back fence. Since then, we have heard stories of the R-dog's feats - catching and killing squirrels, snatching birds out of mid air...

You learn something new every day. I always thought of my dog as a herder and a watchdog. That goes with being an Australian Cattle Dog. Even before Rhesus arrived to join the chase, I noticed that Suki always gave Al fair warning before going after him. She would fly out of the house, barking, and let him stay about a body length ahead, until he was safely on the other side of the fence. Groundhogs are slow. Suki is pretty fast. I got the sense that she was just running him off her turf. Last night, when Rhesus spied him in the garden, he took off after him without making a sound and almost caught him. The same thing happened with a cat, early this morning.

The difference is that Rhesus, with his hodgepodge ancestry, is a hunter and Suki is a watchdog. They have different motivations. In general, Rhesus tends to bark a lot less than Suki does. When they are out in the backyard together, Rhesus is constantly moving about with his nose to the ground. Suki will do that for a few minutes when she first goes out, but soon places herself strategically on the top step of the stairs leading up to the deck, from which she can survey the entire neighborhood and keep an eye on the neighbors. When she is in the house, she can often be found staring out one of the windows - looking for trouble. I was comforted by this when we had that string of break-ins in town awhile back.

All this has given me a new appreciation for all those little yappers that bark at us from their houses as we go by on our evening walks. Good for you, you little junkyard dog wannabes. You serve your masters well.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Notice re Blog announcements and ads

Dear Readers:

You may have noticed that, for sometime now, the Blog has not carried paid advertisements from commercial businesses in its sidebar. Now, the editor is taking it one step further... Henceforth, the Blog will no longer be posting announcements - at least on a regular basis. Facebook has made this service unnecessary. If you want to know what's going on in town, subscribe to some of the many "Yellow Springs" Facebook pages.

I may continue to post Walter's cartoons. As he is not a Facebook person, I think he might have trouble finding another venue. I will probably continue my "Back Story" and "Backyard Flock" pieces and maybe publish a story or poem or opinion piece every now-and-then. Announcements will probably be limited to events with which I am involved or just general self-promotion.

Part of this decision is dictated by my job and my dog, both of which are demanding more of my time. And that's okay - I am dedicated to both.

If you are one of my blog's followers (an option on Blogspot), I assume you will get a notification when I post something. However, for those who are not, I will take advantage of Facebook to alert my usual readers that I have posted something.

Thanks for your support. It's been a fun run.

Time to walk the dog...


Bench to Nowhere: Zombies..? Oh, not again...

A Cool Town Toon

Click on image to enlarge.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Job opening for financial person - Repost

The Yellow Springs Community Foundation is seeking to fill the part-time position of Financial Administrator. The job description and a list of qualifications may be found on the foundation’s website at Resumes and cover letters should be sent by email to no later than July 19, 2013. Candidates for the interview process will be contacted after July 24, 2013. Starting salary will be commensurate with background and experience.

Bench to Nowhere: Raid!

A Cool Town Toon

Click on image to enlarge.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

News from the Chamber

EnviroFlight in the News
Thanks to a recent report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations local agribusiness EnviroFlight has received a great deal of national attention. 
The report, entitled "Edible Insects, Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security" sports a picture of EnviroFlight owner Glen Courtright on the front cover with a feature about the business in the section about using insect as animal Feed.  To read the report, click here.
First came the article "The Power of Flies to Save the Barbeque Season" from  That was followed by an article from "Your Meat Should be Raised on Insects." Later this month, CNN will be in town filming a news segment. 
To learn more about EnviroFlight, click here to watch a great video developed by the Greene County Department of Development to highlight successful Greene County businesses created by students and staff from the Greene County Career Center. 
Glen Courtright of Enviroflight

One of our good guys is down

Jimmy Chesire, beloved by all from tee-ballers to to Writers' Workshop denizens, was walking his dog, as I often do mine, up at Ellis Pond, when somehow he fell and hit his head on a rock. Just like that, he went from a guy, enjoying canine companionship and the scenery north of town, to a seriously injured patient in intensive care in Kettering. As improbable and as scary as that is, perhaps we can identify with it. I know I can.

Jimmy has suffered a serious brain injury that required five hours of surgery and a medically induced coma that will last for several days. The prognosis, which was not so good when he was first examined a couple days ago, has improved. Perhaps someday, he will be out at Gaunt Park again kibitzing with the little ball players and writing about it for the newspaper. We can all pray for that.

Meanwhile, there is something else we can do. When something like this happens, family is stretched to the limits. Of course, his wife Robin and daughter Adrienne have more on there minds than preparing their next meal. So an account has been set up at Current Cuisine that can be donated to. This allows them to stop in and order whatever they please, drawing on the account to pay for it. You can simply drop in and tell them that you are donating to the Jimmy Cheshire fund.

Meanwhile, let's keep Jimmy and his family in our thoughts and prayers. If you know Jimmy, you have had the pleasure of meeting a really great human being, always ready to help, and a true inspiration to treat one's fellow human beings with love and dignity.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Concert info - Saturday Night - a two fer...

In rescheduling the Community Band Concert due to the fireworks cancellation, it was decided to combine it with the Summer Music Camp Concert at Mills Lawn School, Saturday, July 6.

6:30 p.m. - Summer Music Camp concert begins - please come and support the kids if you can!

8:00 p.m. - Yellow Springs Community Band concert - a potpourri of patriotic music suitable for something like a 4th of July Fireworks display.

WYSO deal closed

Have you noticed the new announcement on WYSO, "a community service of Antioch College for the Miami Valley and beyond?"

The finalized agreement to transfer ownership of WYSO from Antioch University to Antioch College was completed on July 3, according to an email announcement from the radio station. Here's the rest of it:

All staff members working at WYSO become employees of Antioch College effective the date of the execution of the acquisition documents and the agreement, and transfer will not impact programming or operations of the station.

While concrete plans are still in formation, the College and WYSO hope to create an enhanced learning environment for Antioch College students through one of the country's top professional, NPR-affiliated radio stations.

General manager of WYSO, Neenah Ellis, said that she is looking forward to collaborating with the College and students on projects she can already imagine, and many more that will evolve as the partnership deepens.

"The possibilities for collaboration with the College are tremendous," she said. "Everything from students doing co-ops at WYSO to working with the faculty and staff members. The learning opportunities we're anticipating will be endless."

Fireworks canceled - will reschedule later this summer

This from a Facebook post from Karen Wintrow at the Chamber:
4th of July Fireworks have been CANCELLED this weekend. The reschedule date is yet to be determined but will be later in the summer.
This also means there will be no band concert tonight. The concert may be rescheduled independently of the fireworks - possibly Saturday night indoors at Mills Lawn... Check back for updates. 

The parade is still on for Saturday at 3 p.m.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

4th of July Yellow Springs style

Community Band to play on the Fourth

 Think Americana...

The music starts at 8:00 and will last until just before dark. And that's when the fireworks begin.

IFO the hill at Gaunt Park

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Back Story: Good Man Gone

I learned at Community Band rehearsal last night that Dennis Farmer has resigned as the YS Schools Band Director. Not only was Dennis one of the best band directors and music teachers in the history of our schools, he was also a thoughtful and caring teacher. This is a terrific loss to our school system. I wish it weren't so...

I heard some of how this came about, but it would be wrong for me to report it here, as it would probably be inaccurate and incomplete. Suffice it to say Dennis was not happy with increasing demands the school administration was putting on him. In the opinion of others, supposedly in the know, he took as much as he could, until he couldn't take no more.

I have known Dennis in two contexts, as director of the Yellow Springs Community Band and as my son's school music teacher a few years back. When Dennis took over the band director job in town several years ago, he agreed to continue the community band tradition and enhanced it with careful rehearsal and direction, and by instituting the annual band alumni/YSHS-McKinney/Community Band concert. The band got better under his direction and eventually former Antioch College Music Department head James Johnston joined him to share the duties. It has been a great collaboration. The band has never sounded better.

But here's the important part: Dennis, as a teacher in general was more caring about his students' welfare than you would expect from a music teacher. My son was diagnosed with a learning disability as he was entering McKinney and was afforded an IEP. As his parent, I attended periodic evaluation sessions with the Special Ed Director, the school psychiatrist and some of his teachers. Teacher attendance at the meetings was spotty, and I always understood that, for the most part, it wasn't that they were blowing us off, it was because their duties required them to be elsewhere. Some of them, however, were blowing us off.

After Dennis took over, he started attending these sessions. My reaction, the first time, was what is the band director doing here? Who would expect..? Over the years, he kept showing up. But it didn't take long for me to learn why. From time-to-time, Dennis would collar me at Community Band practice and inform me about my son's behavior in band. It wasn't that he was ratting him out - it was that he was genuinely concerned. He still asks about him, even though he graduated four years ago and hadn't been his student for an additional two years before that, because he had left YSHS to attend the Greene County Career Center.

This is the man we are losing - a model teacher by all accounts and in my personal experience. Why is this so? Is it because in this town that prides itself as being artsy and has more music groups than you would normally find in a town ten times its size doesn't truly value music education? I'd hate to think it... But, in other school systems, when money gets tight, it's music and art that go first. Was there some ultimatum put to Dennis? As I said, I don't know for sure. But when good teachers start quitting, we should start asking why.

YSKP to visit feisty bayou people

YS Kids Playhouse presents two weeks of  "Fais Do-Do!"

In 2013 the YS Kids Playhouse, a youth theater in Yellow Springs, will revisit one of its most popular and inspirational musicals. Gaston Boudreaux – the Cajun Robin Hood resets the classic story of have and have-nots in the bayous of Louisiana.

The evening is a family event with an all-youth cast who portray feisty bayou people, colorful politicians and a chorus of dancing oysters and crawfish. Beneath the lively story, however, the production poses important environmental as it develops a future generation of environmental stewards.

The Tecumseh Land Trust and the Miami Conservancy are partners in the current production whose theme “Taking care of the place you live is food for the soul”.

This original work features classic Cajun and zydeco music as it entertains, provokes and inspires in a magical tale of human ingenuity in concert with awe of the natural world.

The production features live music and takes place under the stars in the Antioch Amphitheater.

Please support the YS Kids Playhouse by attending these events:
·      July 10, 7pm (Antioch Amphitheater) – “All-Access Backstage Pass” Dress Rehearsal Fundraiser – Your $25 donation gives you a behind-the-scenes preview of YSKP’s summer show with wine & cheese. Enjoy John Fleming’s creative process first hand!
·      July 11-14 & 18-21, 7:30pm (Antioch Amphitheater) – Gaston Boudreaux – The Cajun Robin Hood – Our concessions this year include Corner Cone ice cream, crawfish & crab cookies, po-boys and more...Come early to enjoy the festive atmosphere!
     July 16, 7pm (Emporium) – Wine Tasting & Music with Tucki Bailey & the YSKP Players
JulJuly  17, 7pm (Antioch U. Midwest) – Trouble the Water – Special screening of Carl Deal & Tia Lesson’s documentary with NOLA guests Linda Schexnaydre & Jeanne Dumestre.

More information about this and other YS Kids Playhouse productions can be found by visiting

Monday, July 1, 2013

Job opening for financial person

The Yellow Springs Community Foundation is seeking to fill the part-time position of Financial Administrator. The job description and a list of qualifications may be found on the foundation’s website at Resumes and cover letters should be sent by email to no later than July 19, 2013. Candidates for the interview process will be contacted after July 24, 2013. Starting salary will be commensurate with background and experience.