Citizens For A Better Norwood

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Appliance recycling days at Public Works

Norwood Public Works is inviting everyone to drop off all those pesky freon-filled appliances we can’t just put at the curb for Rumpke to pick up. Next weekend, for the 2nd year in a row, we can drop off old air conditioners, refrigerators, dehumidifiers, or any other appliance that contains freon. And it’s free!

When: Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Where: Norwood Public Works, 3001 Harris Avenue
Directions: from Forest Avenue, turn on Harris and go past Shea Stadium
all the way to the deadend where there’s a stop sign. Turn right at the sign, and you’ll see Public Works’ employees outside directing everyone to the exact drop-off location.
More information: Public Works at 458-4615

April Fields, Emma McAdow take top honors in NHS Class of ‘07

Tonight, 155 Norwood High School seniors will graduate in ceremonies at the Cintas Center at 7:30 p.m. Congratulations to class Valedictorian April Fields and Salutatorian Emma McAdow, who will be attending Dennison University and the University of Cincinnati, respectively. They are 2 of the 35 graduates listed below who collectively received over $100,000 in college scholarships. Kudos to all!

April Fields
Jeffrey Lahley
Kayla Clark
Sean Huneke
Sarah Guy
Jenna Holmes
Tracy Huff
Alycia Thompson
Sean Huneke
Brittany Uecker
Adriana Jones
Nicole Thrasher
Daniel Couch
Benjamin Casey
Emma McAdow
Caleb Barber
Reynaldo Curioso
Ryan Mullins
Kristin Frost
Russell Moore
Casey Jones
Allyson Knight
Zachary Ellis
Sara Meinking
Wesley Parker
Jenny Buchanan
Ashley Harris
Jeff Lahley
Misty McDonald
Joel Sobel
Kevin Sluder
Ashley Goodman
Damon Hicks
Randy Burgess
Clarissa Kaufmann

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Excellent News: Cincinnati’s Academy of Medicine relocating to Norwood!

According to today’s Business Courier, the 150-year-old Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati will be moving soon to 2300 Wall Street, Suite F at Central Parke. Norwood Community Development Director Rick Dettmer tells us this was news to him, but explained that, understandably, Central Parke management tends to keep tenant leasing information under wraps. However, he was aware of the vacant space the Academy will be occupying.

Here’s a little background on this venerable institution.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why don’t Ohio restaurants post their sanitation ratings?

1.) They aren’t required to because 2.) there’s no rating system

A couple of weeks ago, we asked the Norwood Health Department for their most recent restaurant inspections. We explained to Health Commissioner Donna Laake that our intention was to publish the inspection results on our blog for the benefit of our readers. She told us she, too, plans on providing the information on the new Health Dept. website, scheduled for completion this July. Great, we thought. We’ll go ahead and publish the results between now and July.

Then we saw the 29 inspections and several re-inspections done in March, April and May. Yes, there were a few real “yuck factor” problems that were quickly addressed, but for the most part, as far as our untrained eyes could tell, much of what was on the reports seemed pretty routine: food temperature testing, some floor tiles missing, back flow and water pressure testing, issuance of temporary food service operation licenses, and the like.

What was missing from the reports, we noticed, was a numeric score and/or letter sanitation grade for the establishments that were inspected. Then we remembered we’ve never seen an Ohio restaurant with a posted A, B, or C sanitation rating like we’ve seen in other states. Uh oh, time to call Donna back.

CBN: Donna, we noticed the inspection reports don’t state a numeric or a letter grade for the restaurants.

Donna: That’s right. The State of Ohio doesn’t require it.

CBN: What? (gasping for air) What? Does that have anything to do with why Ohio restaurants don’t post their sanitation ratings for the public to see?

Donna: Yes. The State of Ohio has never devised an A-B-C grading system like other states have.

CBN: (still gasping for air) You, you mean to tell us the State of Ohio has never…

Donna: Yes, that’s right. Ohio has never devised a rating system and is way behind other states on this issue. However, at least once a year, the Norwood Health Department does what is called a “critical control point inspection.” There are 14 points we look at, starting with where the food originates, how it’s stored upon arrival, how it’s prepared; in short, every step from the point of origin to delivery to the consumer is looked at.

So there you have it. Historically, it’s been very difficult for Ohioans to find out how their favorite eateries fare on inspections, unless they wanted to visit their local Health Dept. periodically and ask to see them. But, thankfully, this is changing. Not only is our own Health Dept. going to start providing the information online, today’s Enquirer reports the Hamilton County General Health District is going online, too, beginning this Friday, with reports on 3,000 establishments, including restaurants, nursing homes, schools, etc. But it won’t be with a rating system because there isn’t one. And since there isn’t one, we‘re going to leave publishing the Norwood inspections in the hands of our local experts. We’ve decided we’ll wait a few months, along with everyone else, to view them on the new Norwood Health Dept. website.

The State of Kentucky has been way ahead of Ohio on this issue for many years. This Louisville government website allows visitors to view ratings simply by plugging in the names of restaurants. (We noticed a few “C’s” for Arby’s and Wendy’s locations.) The Lexington, KY Health Dept. website states that the Lexington Herald Leader publishes restaurant inspection results every Wednesday, which they have done for several decades. One of us recalls how the paper used to report both the descriptions of violations and the resulting numeric score, as well as the subsequent re-inspections, once the problems were corrected, with the new scores.

Ohio, or least Hamilton County, seems to be doing some catch up on this issue in terms of making the restaurant inspections more available to the public, but we think a rating system and a requirement that restaurants post their letter grades would be a great addition for consumers.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Norwood Memorial Day Service video clips now playing on YouTube

If you missed yesterday's Memorial Day Service at Victory Park, please take some time to see and hear the very moving speeches. You can also email them on to your friends and family members who may also have missed the service, too.

Clip A

Clip B

Clip C

Sunday, May 27, 2007

"The sounds of thunder"

By Doug Thompson, 1998, for Memorial Day

He snapped awake at 0500, a full 30 minutes before the alarm was set to go off.

For more than 30 years, he had been waking up at 5 a.m. It didn’t matter which time zone he was in or even if it was daylight savings time. When the big hand was on the 12 and the little one on the five, he was awake.

He crawled into the shower and lay there for 30 minutes, letting the hot water loosen up his muscles and numb the throbbing pain of too many arthritic bones.

But the water limbered him up enough to pull on some faded blue jeans, t-shirt and leather vest. It took some effort to pull on the boots, but he managed. Then he strapped on the leather chaps. Three cups of coffee and several accompanying groans later, he headed into the garage where she was waiting.

continue reading here

Friday, May 25, 2007

It’s raining AED’s in Norwood!

Well, make that the August forecast

Thanks to Norwood Health Department Commissioner Donna Laake and Carl Lindner, 7 new automatic external defibrillators, or AED’s, will be on hand by August to potentially save the lives of locals and visitors who have the misfortune of going into cardiac arrest. Council watchers know from the last two meetings that Donna wrote Mr. Lindner asking for his help as soon as she confirmed the only AED’s in the entire City were the several at the Norwood Fire Department. Mr. Lindner quickly responded to her letter with a letter of his own in which he enclosed a generous $15,000 check. Council officially received his donation at this past Tuesday’s council meeting.

So, here’s the deal. Donna tells us that when she placed the order with Medtronics for the 7 new AED’s, the Medtronics’ rep. told her the FDA had put a temporary hold on the devices because the screens are a little too blurry. Medtronics expects to fix the problem in time for an August delivery. The AED’s will be placed in the following locations:

1. One each at the Health Dept., City Hall, the Community Center, Public Works, and Waterworks Park.
2. Each of the two Health Dept. nurses will carry one at all times.

Additionally, 4-5 employees at each of the City locations will undergo training on the proper administration of the AED’s.

What a team, Donna Laake and Carl Lindner! Many thanks to both for helping increase the odds of folks in our borders surviving sudden cardiac arrest.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Breaking news...Gambles' home razed today.

Such a deal - Norwood Joseph-Beth to sell $25 loyalty cards

Starting Monday, Joseph-Beth Booksellers' customers can purchase $25 loyalty cards entitling them to an array of benefits, according to today’s Enquirer. Included in the package are a couple of free meals at their bistro, a 30% discount on newly released books and CD’s, and $10 gift coupons separately for every $200 spent on books and music. To top it off, the “Joseph-Beth Gives Back” program will return 1% of sales to 6 local non profits.

Nice to see the Enquirer acknowledge that Joseph-Beth Cinncinnati is Norwood.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Provisional votes secure school renewal levy win

The 21 provisional votes on the Norwood City Schools renewal tax levy have been certified. The Board of Elections has reported the official count to be 615 for the levy and 595 against, up from the unofficial Election Day count of 599 for and 590 against.

Memorial Day Ceremony at Victory Park

At last night’s council meeting, Mayor Tom Williams put out a special plea for residents to take an hour out of this coming Monday’s holiday to attend the annual ceremony honoring the brave military men and women who have and are sacrificing to serve our country. Victory Park Veterans and American Legion Post 123 are sponsoring this program to commemorate our soldiers.

When: Monday, May 28 at 1:00 p.m.
Where: Victory Park, corner of Montgomery Rd. and Mills Ave.

Defrocked priest worked next to Norwood private school

Convicted sex offenders are required to register with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s department, but what about defrocked priests who were never prosecuted? While details are murky, Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center, located in Norwood next to a private elementary school, may not have had the community’s best interests in mind while employing former priest Kenneth Roberts, formerly of Dallas, as a cook. According to yesterday’s Enquirer, Mary Edlund, chancellor of the Diocese of Dallas, home to the suspended priests, said, "This is part of the dilemma for the church. You still have individuals like this living in society, so you can understand the concern."

The obvious question is why put the individual on a sprawling campus, home to the practice fields for youth baseball and softball teams, next to the only Catholic elementary school in the community? For us as a community, the question may be what do we need to do regarding private organizations that totally disregard the safety of our children?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Urgent - 16 Norwood COPP grads need 800MHz radios!

WNNA letter seeks donations from the community

It’s official. This past Friday night, 16 Norwood resident-volunteers graduated from the Cincinnati Police Academy after successfully completing training for the West Norwood Neighborhood Association-sponsored Citizens on Patrol Program or COPP. (Sounds of hands clapping for these dedicated citizens making our community better!) Bill Graff, WNNA Vice President, tells us they’ll be ready to hit the streets, working in tandem with the NPD, by late June, after further training at the Norwood Police Academy. He added, “This program is open to all Norwood residents and is supported by donations from Norwood residents and businesses.”

What’s needed now, and urgently so, are donations to purchase 800MHz handheld radios so our new COPP grads can communicate with the NPD as soon as they spot suspicious activity on their patrols. These radios are critically needed to make COPP effective, so WNNA’s Bill Graff and Lt. Tom Williams, Jr. of the NPD are jointly sending out the following letter asking community members for tax-deductible donations. You can email this letter to your Norwood friends and family by clicking on the envelope icon below this blog.

Dear Community Member,

We are writing to ask your help with a very important project. As members of the West Norwood Neighborhood Association (WNNA), we are dedicated to improving our community for all who live and work here, as well as creating a neighborhood that is an inviting place to visit.

Our most recently completed project has been an astounding success! After 18 months of hard work by our volunteers, we reopened the Police Substation at the corner of Mills and Courtland. This Police Substation offers residents a place to obtain information, take trainings and hold meetings. It is also a great opportunity to view the collection of Norwood Police memorabilia, including a 100 year old flat iron jail cell. We would have not been able to complete this project without the help of generous donors from the community.

Continue reading here

Donation information:

Make checks payable to:
West Norwood Neighborhood Association COPP
Mail to: Mary Ann Teeter, City of Norwood Treasurer's Office, 4645 Montgomery Road,
Norwood Ohio 45212.
Mary Ann can be reached at 458-4580

Monday, May 21, 2007

Recreation Commission asks for more City funding

Employee costs alone up $14,000+

In a 3/23/07 communication to City Council’s Finance and Audit Committee, the Norwood Recreation Commission made a plea for increased funding, noting that their $185,000 budget has remained flat since 2004 despite increased employee costs (minimum wage, PERS and Worker’s Comp. are up) and increased operating costs due to inflation. Additionally, they state the 1991 van used to transport children, supplies, and equipment needs to be replaced. No word yet on whether or not additional monies from the city are in the works.

Recreation programs/events:

1. Recreation Director Jenny Wallace is still working on getting more comments from community members in support of a Hamburger Helper grant for new playground equipment at Burwood Park. Awards are made at the end of every month. The grant application is good for 6 months, so it’s certainly not too late to put in a good word for the cause. As of today, 97 Norwood residents have logged their remarks, and you can add yours if you haven’t yet by clicking here.

2. Waterworks Pool opens Friday, June 1; Burwood and Victory Pools open Monday, June 4. Pool passes are now on sale at the Recreation office, and you can access the Recreation website here for contact information.

3. Summer Camp at Allison Elementary starts Monday, June 4. This is a fulltime camp funded by the 21st Century grant.

4. The big annual Summer Splash will be Thursday, August 2 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at Waterworks Pool.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

How to adopt a planter in 3 easy steps

Exterior sidewalk planters full of beautiful flower arrangements will be placed in areas of Norwood where local residents commit to being their adoptive, shall we say, caregivers. Norwood Health Commissioner Donna Laake says funding for the planters is provided by a Community Development Block Grant as part of the Streetscape Program. Currently, planters have been placed close to local businesses that have promised to water them and otherwise tend to their overall well being.

Who has not admired the gorgeous planters at the corner of Williams and Floral that Norwood resident Rene Dierker has lovingly cared for the past several years? Planters like those could grace a corner near your house, too, and bring a bit of visual summertime delight to all who pass by. If you want a planter but don’t want the sole responsibility of caring for it, recruit some neighbors to pitch in and help. It’s as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Promise you’ll care for and water them faithfully, then
2. Call Donna Laake at the Health Dept. at 458-4600 and tell her you want to adopt a planter or planters and where you would like it/them placed.
3. Donna will take it from there and make arrangements for delivery to the location at no charge to you.

Friday, May 18, 2007

ACTION ALERT: SB 117 still needs serious work!

Back on April 19, we blogged about the fact that Ohio Senate Bill 117, as written, could spell the end of all local cable programming as we know it. Five days later on April 24, Norwood City Council passed a resolution opposing it. Following is an update on S.B. 117 we just received from Local Voice Ohio. We hope everyone reading this will click on the link to their Action Page and fill out the user-friendly email/fax form to let Representative Tyrone Yates know the 10 serious problems that need to be addressed before the bill is voted on by the House of Representatives. And don’t forget to forward it on to your friends and family members so they can take action, too:

On May 9th the Ohio Senate passed SB 117. Through the hard work of members of the Senate Energy & Public Utilities Committee, local governments, PEG Access supporters, consumer interest groups, the citizens of our state and groups like Local Voice Ohio, SB 117, as passed in the Senate, was an improvement over the bill as it was introduced in January.

However, the bill still needs serious work if it is to be good for consumers, good for communities and good for Ohio.

Now that the bill has moved over to the Ohio House, we need you to make your voice heard once again if we are to be able to fix this dog of a bill.

Please go to the Local Voice Ohio Action Page and use it to let your representative know that SB 117 still needs serious work. Otherwise, he or she should not support it.

Time is short as this bill is being fast-tracked and the whole fight could be over in just a few short weeks. We need you to make your voice heard now. And when you've made your voice heard, please pass this information on to others who want what is best for Ohio so they can make their voice's heard.
Time is running out. Make your voice heard today!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

So how did NCS projected $2 million ‘08 deficit get into print?

Hint: it wasn't the school treasurer

The day after the May 8 election, we took Superintendent Steve Collier to the wood shed for remarks he made to the Enquirer following the 9-vote renewal levy win (see May 9, “The aftermath of Steve Collier’s Bad Math" below). Lest the Enquirer delete them again from their online version as we noticed they did yesterday (they’ve been restored this a.m.), we're publishing all the paragraphs related to NCS from the original May 9 article. Why? Because we’re not finished with Steve Collier or the Enquirer just yet.

In Norwood, the school district narrowly won its five-year, emergency levy renewal by nine votes, with 599 votes or 50.4 percent for and 590 votes or 49.6 percent against. The 4.28-mill levy will raise $1.75 million annually for day-to-day operations, including salaries, materials and equipment.

"I'm very excited," Superintendent Steve Collier said after learning the results. "Our district just couldn't stand to lose $1.7 million of our current budget. It's a vote of confidence for our educational community. It was close, but at least they're still coming through and supporting our schools."

The owner of a $100,000 home will pay an extra $12.13 annually for this levy, bringing the total cost to $126.57 a year. The levy was first approved in 1992 and has been renewed by voters every five years since.

Even though the levy passed, the 2,400-student district projects a $2 million deficit in 2008. The deficit would have been $4 million if the renewal had failed.

Three things:
1.) According to NCS Treasurer Tony Wright yesterday, there is NO deficit projected for 2008. A new 5-year forecast, installed yesterday on the NCS website, will be approved at tonight’s BOE meeting. Mr. Wright confirmed that it shows no deficit until 2009, just as the previous forecast did and just as the previous school treasurer reported last October.

2.) Treasurer Wright doesn’t know how “the 2,400-student district projects a $2 million deficit in 2008” misinformation got into the Enquirer article. Obviously, he didn’t provide it, so that leaves the arrow pointing to either A.) Steve Collier speaking for the district, which is exactly what school superintendents usually do, except in this case, it was misspeaking or B.) the Enquirer misreporting factual information again.

3. Thusfar, the Enquirer has not responded to our email last week asking for a correction. We’ll try again. But isn’t it Superintendent Collier’s responsibility to insist the correction is made? Has he done so? Would the Enquirer ignore a request from the very official who speaks for the district? Ignore us, yes, but ignore the superintendent? We think that‘s doubtful, but if that’s the case, why doesn’t Steve Collier make the correction on the school website for the benefit of parents and other residents? Hey, there’s an idea.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mayor Williams: "When an Atty. General looks into gas prices, they go down."

Great! How soon he can start looking?

Resolution A that would "have the (Ohio) Attorney General investigate price fixing and gouging with regard to the retail price of gasoline and declare an emergency" passed unanimously with all three readings during the 5/8/07 council meeting. Mayor Williams said he's observed roughly an 80% uniformity in gasoline prices throughout the city and told council, "A subpoena is a wonderful thing - it’s time people were brought in to answer questions." Ain’t that the truth.

Will this resolution get some action out of the A.G.’s office or wind up just being a symbolic jesture? Regardless, with gas prices at an all-time high this week, we appreciate Mayor Williams’ effort and council‘s, via this resolution, to call attention to what he sees as possible price gouging. Who knows, when word of this spreads to our local gas retailers, maybe, just maybe, the alleged problem will magically self correct.

No “Taste in Norwood” this year, maybe in ‘08

Oakley resident Tom Wilkinson tells us since only 4 people attended his May 1 meeting at the Community Center to enlist volunteers for an August “Taste in Norwood” event, he’s going to wait and try for ‘08.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Coming soon… carnivals, carwash, blood drive

School Carnivals
Where: Allison Elementary, 4300 Allison Street
When: Friday, May 18, 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Where: Sharpsburg Elementary
When: Friday, May 18, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Band Boosters Carwash
Where: CVS Pharmacy, 5229 Montgomery Road
When: Saturday, May 19, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

For a donation, you can have your car washed and support the NHS Marching Indians Band. Proceeds help pay for summer band camp for band members.

Hoxworth Blood Drive
Where: Hoxworth Blood Mobile, in front of Bed Bath & Beyond, Rookwood Commons
When: Friday, May 25, by appointment

Hoxworth needs to collect blood from 350 volunteer blood donors and 40 volunteer platelet donors each day to keep up with the needs of tristate patients.

Please contact Hoxworth to schedule an appointment at (513) 451-0910 or (800) 830-1091 to speak with tele-recruitment representative.

For information regarding donor eligibility or if you have medical questions, please call Hoxworth’s Nursing Dept. at (513) 558-1304

Monday, May 14, 2007

Something to crow about - Norwood Health Dept. website under construction!

Check it out. This is a spectacular looking website - 11 different categories of pages so far, including Environmental, Health, Nursing, Recycling, Preparedness. This is definitely what the doctor ordered to improve the quality of life for Norwood residents! Health Commissioner Donna Laake tells us the site should be fully functional this coming July. A HUGE thank you to Donna and everyone else involved for this getting this important website off the ground!!

Congratulations to Norwood’s Matt Hursh for Cappies award!!

NHS student actor Matt Hursh was one of 50 students from 28 area high schools recognized at yesterday’s Cappies Gala at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. Matt won the category for best Cameo Actor in a Play. Our readers may recall that he and five other NHS actors got rave reviews from Cappies’ student critics for their performances in “Don’t Drink the Water” this past March.

For those of us who get the print edition of the Enquirer, the picture of the male student on the front page of the Life section is mislabeled as Matt accepting his award. The online edition corrected this mistake.

February ’07 Norwood Police call stats

A monthly feature

The February NPD call report showed an increase in total call volume over the three previous months.

Total NPD calls:
August: 2,853 = 92 per day = 3.8 per hour
September: 2,688 = 89.6 per day = 3.73 per hour
October: 2,850 = 91.9 per day = 3.83 per hour
November: 2,407 = 80.2 per day = 3.34 per hour
December: 2,358 = 76.06 per day = 3.16 per hour
January: 2,546 = 82.1 per day = 3.42 per hour
February: 2,556 = 91.2 per day = 3.8 per hour

Below are the number of calls for some of the more serious incident categories the NPD tracks. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to format with a chart. The first five sets of numbers below is for August through December ’06, followed by January and February ‘07 in this partial breakdown by categories of calls:

Auto Accidents: 78-78-70-75-74 - 2007: 69-80
Criminal Damage: 58-54-47-42-41 - 2007: 41-32
Dom. Violence: 35-34-39-20-27 - 2007: 25- 24
Fights: 40-42-43-37-42 - 2007: 36-35
Burglary: 34-16-26-15-22 - 2007: 23-20
Traffic Stops: 298-184-317-287-189 - 2007: 248-208
DUI: 6-5-11-7-9 - 2007: 1-1
Assault: 20-26-29-14-14 - 2007: 22-21
Noise Complaints: 50-71-49-36-37 - 2007: 31-33
Theft: 145-102-139-125-105 - 2007: 106-80
Theft/Motor Vehicle: 21-12-14-7-12 - 2007: 10-10
Rape/Attempted Rape: 4-2-4-1-1 - 2007: 1-1

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Indy Williams vs. Republican Thornbury for Ward 2 council seat

No Democratic challengers for Republicans Jones, Grote, Kiser

Make that two candidates with the last name Williams on this year’s ballot for local city offices: Democratic incumbent Tom Williams for mayor and Independent Gordon Williams for Ward 2 council. We have no information on whether the two are related or why Democrat Brigid Kelly didn’t file. According to the Board of Elections, Sean Mangialardo should be the Republican candidate for Ward 3. Unofficially, he got 27 write-in votes in Tuesday’s Republican primary and should be certified on May 21.

2007 Candidates

(D) Tom Williams
(R) Al Boehm

President of Council: (R) Jane Grote

Law Director: (R) Ted Kiser

City Auditor: (R) Donnie Jones

Ward 1:
(D) Keith Moore
(R) James Stith

Ward 2:
(I) Gordon Williams
(R) Steve Thornbury

Ward 3:
(D) Chuck Barlow
(R) Sean Mangialardo, pending certification

Ward 4:
(D) John Mumper
(R) Todd Tittle

Council-at-Large Democrats:
Joseph S. Geers, Joe Sanker, Peter Tepe

Council-at-Large Republicans:
Mike Gabbard, Victor Schneider, Cassandra Brown

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

May COW meeting police clips on You Tube

Not only did two Norwood police officers attend the meeting and urge residents to “Call the police!” (see Bessie‘s May COW report below), they also shared some great information about patrols, beats, statistics, Block Watch, etc. Clip C features Norwood resident Casey Brown talking with the officers about the South Norwood problems her husband described in his April letter to council.

We’re really pleased Councilperson Vic Schneider intervened at the April 24 council meeting to get Mr. Brown’s letter read aloud and into the record. Had he not gotten a vote to override the clerk of council’s decision to omit the letter from the agenda, the police officers would likely not have been invited to make their public presentation at the COW meeting, and that, in our opinion, would have been a loss to residents. Thumbs up to Brigid Kelly and Keith Moore for supporting this in April, and thumbs down to John Mumper and Joe Sanker for not quickly grasping the value to the community.

Clip A

Clip B

Clip C Casey Brown

5/11/07 CORRECTION: Thanks to a commenter’s scathing “thumbs down” critique of this blog, we’ve taken a closer look and see that we are guilty of confusion by merging the council events surrounding Tom Brown’s and his wife Casey Brown’s letters into a partially inaccurate 2nd paragraph above. We apologize to our readers.

First off, Mr. Schneider made a request, (not a motion after careful review of the meeting tape), to add Casey Brown’s letter regarding Senate Bill 117 to the April 24 meeting motion to amend the agenda, not her husband’s earlier letter to council regarding South Norwood problems, which did appear on the 4/10/07 council agenda. That action is why we are pleased with Mr. Schneider, and our thumbs down for Mr. Mumper and Mr. Sanker are for their remarks during that meeting.

continue reading here

5/12/07, 7:45 a.m., UPDATE:
The Haloscan comments for this blog disappeared some time yesterday afternoon. Other users reported the same problem on the Haloscan forum yesterday. Usually, comments are restored fairly quickly after they go down. Since the box is still missing this morning, we emailed Haloscan directly about the problem. Fortunately, we were able to retrieve the comments, and they are posted here until Haloscan restores them.

The aftermath of Collier's Bad Math

Superintendent Steve Collier tells today’s Enquirer he’s very excited about yesterday’s 9-vote levy renewal win and calls it “a vote of confidence for our educational community.” Since when is a win based on false advertising (see yesterday’s Enquirer correction blog below) to voters something to be proud of?

As if that’s not outrageous enough, the Enquirer goes on to report a $2 million deficit next year in spite of the renewed $1.7 million levy. Really? Did Mr. Collier have a hand in getting that scary piece of misinformation in print, too? We challenge anyone to find a $2 million deficit for 2008 in the NCS approved five-year forecast. Since when is a 2008 cash balance of $88,565 a $2 million deficit? We think it's when you’re Steve Collier and you either don’t know how to read a forecast or can’t retain key information it contains, you don’t listen when your own school treasurer tells you during a 10/26/06 Finance Committee meeting that 2009, not 2008, is the year a deficit shows up, and the end justifies the means. Either that, or he's working from a revised forecast that hasn't been released to the public, and that would be very questionable as well as improbable. Did he not hear several board members discuss how there was time between then and 2009 to reduce expenditures and thereby avoid a financial crisis requiring a new levy?

And speaking of that October ‘06 meeting, it was clear to us that while then Treasurer Rabe was right about the 2009 deficit, he didn’t have a handle on the facts about two renewal levies, including the one that just passed. As a result, we had to call the Board of Elections to get the truth for our blog, a call he certainly could have made, too, prior to the meeting.

Mr. Rabe is gone. Does his successor Tony Wright have a better grip? Didn’t he know about the Levy Committee’s incorrect “No New Taxes” signs and literature and sound the alarm? Are there ANY internal checks and balances to assure the public is told the truth? Or is it always up to external citizen entities to do the cleanup after the damage is done? Lord knows we can't rely on the Enquirer to check facts before the presses roll.

So Steve Collier is excited about a win based on misinformation. Shame on him.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

School levy passes, Donnie Jones prevails

By a vote of 599 for to 590 against, the Norwood City Schools renewal levy passed by only 9 votes. This may not be the final result if there are provisional votes, which we understand are counted at a later date, or a recount. If the result doesn't hold up, will we see this put to a vote again, perhaps on the November ballot?

Donnie Jones is the Republican candidate for Norwood City Auditor with a vote of 343 to Tom Brown’s 123.

After 6 days, Enquirer corrects NCS levy misinformation on election day

Why the rush?

Finally, a correction to last Thursday’s article appears on the front page of today’s Local Section:

Levy to increase amount of millage

Annual taxes on a $100,000 home in the Norwood City School District would increase $12.13, from $114.44 to $126.57, if voters today approve the renewal of a $1.75 million, five-year emergency levy, set at 4.28 mills. The amount of money the district seeks is not increasing, but the amount of millage needed to raise that amount increased because businesses are paying less tax after the phase-out of the tangible personal property tax. A story in Thursday’s Local section was incorrect.

An extra $12.13 on a $100,000 home certainly flies in the face of this excerpt from Levy Committee Treasurer Larry Parker’s March letter to Norwood parents:

Renewal of the levy will not cost Norwood taxpayers one cent more than they are currently paying. The levy generates about $1.7 million dollars annually, and has since it was first approved by voters in August 1992.

Does Mr. Parker, even at this late date, owe Norwood parents a letter of correction with an apology for his misstatement?

We hope everybody can get to their precinct voting location by the 7:30 p.m. closing time to vote on this issue.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bessie’s COW report for May

Call the police! Call the police! Call the police! That was the emphatic message for Norwood residents from the two nice Norwood police officers who spoke at last Tuesday night’s COW meeting. They were there, of course, because Councilperson Brigid Kelly put resident Tom Brown's April letter to council regarding South Norwood problems on the meeting agenda. Mr. Brown and his wife Casey attended, too, but I didn’t see Ms. Kelly.

So, here’s what the two police officers want us all to do. If we see ANY suspicious behavior, see speeders, drag racing, crimes being committed, hear loud noise, including loud car stereo’s blaring, whatever it is, call the police immediately. If you don’t think it’s an emergency, call the police non-emergency # 458-4520. If you don’t have the non-emergency # handy, call 911; and, no, we won’t get in trouble for calling 911 with a non-emergency report. Even if the police don’t catch anybody from a call, they need us to call so they know where hot spots are popping up and can then devote more patrols to those areas, or they can bring in radar and lasers. The NPD chief and captain are in the process of developing a plan for problem areas, and they really do need citizen input to help identify them, so call the police!

continue reading here

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Norwood Republican political life the topic of two Enquirer articles

One lighthearted, the other…well, disturbing

This is a chuckle. Finally, we all know from today’s Enquirer why Tom Brown threw his hat in the ring for Norwood City Auditor in this Tuesday’s Republican primary with incumbent Donnie Jones. We knew Mr. Brown, at least, wasn’t campaigning for the office. As it turns out, there’s really no race at all, and Mr. Brown says he’ll be laughing if he happens to win and adds, "I'll have a long talk with Donnie to see if he still wants the job." Sounds like he might not be voting for himself this time.

Not a chuckle is this lengthy article about Norwood’s Gary Hubbard's long and unsavory career as a Republican political appointee both here and with Hamilton County. He was recently fired from his position in the Hamilton County Court of Clerk’s office for fixing his own parking tickets.

And if you hadn’t heard the news yet, this Enquirer article reports that both Rookwood Commons and Pavilion were sold at the end of March to JP Morgan for $220 million and that Jeff Anderson is still interested in developing the Exchange.

Friday, May 04, 2007

City Wide Street Sale today and tomorrow

Check out Band Boosters' rummage sale, too

This is a big weekend for finding great bargains. Over 130 Norwood residents are on this list for our semi-annual street sale. Note that some addresses are open for business either today only or tomorrow only, and some are open both days.

The Norwood Band Boosters can use support, too, with their rummage sale tomorrow in the Norwood High School cafeteria on Sherman Avenue from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Make sure you find time to stop by and shop or just make a donation to our award-winning music program.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sex Offender Residency Law About to Change in Norwood

Cincinnati recently changed their sex offender residency law. Currently, convicted sex offenders cannot live within 1,000 feet of schools. The new Cincinnati law incorporates any areas where children may gather, including playgrounds and day care and community centers. The City of Norwood has been working on its own change for over a year, and according to Councilperson Mike Gabbard, the proposed ordinance should be up for a vote within the next 30 days. Mike stated, “We wanted to make sure that the law protects our community but not be so restrictive that we end up in litigation”. The Norwood ordinance will look a lot like the Cincinnati ordinance but will not have a grandfather clause which allows current sexual predators who live by a park to be exempted from the law.

Norwood residents oppose NCS renewal levy. Is COAST undercover…again?

In today’s evenhanded Enquirer article about the Norwood School District’s $1.7 million renewal levy on next Tuesday’s ballot, two Norwood residents speak out against the levy. One of the two, Ed Casagrande, is a former local BOE member from the 1990’s and a current COAST board member, according to a 4/2/07 COAST press release at Certainly, it’s his choice to disclose his COAST affililiation to the media or not, but we find it more than a little interesting that the opportunity wasn’t taken to publicize the considerable COAST anti-tax name in conjunction with his anti-renewal levy position. Is this another example of COAST trying to operate under the radar…again? (See 4/29/07 "Anti-Tax Candidates..." blog below.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Norwood BOE appoints Thomas Pflaumer to hear all expulsion appeals

What are his qualifications, and how much will he be paid?

Effective immediately, the Norwood School Board is no longer hearing expulsion appeals. By a vote of 3 to 2 at their April 19 meeting, the Norwood School Board approved a resolution to appoint a designee to hear all expulsion appeals made by students and their parents.

School board members voting for the resolution voiced concerns that because they likely knew either the student being expelled or the student's parents or family members, they felt it was too difficult to carry out this duty. The two school board members voting against the resolution, Ken Miracle and Scott Faulkner, stated they were elected to make these very decisions. Superintendent Collier stated that some other districts have chosen to appoint a designee, although he did not name those districts.

The resolution names a Thomas Pflaumer as the designee and states that "Thomas Pflaumer has the necessary qualifications to serve as the Board's designee during expulsion appeals". No resume or information concerning Mr. Pflaumer's qualifications was presented. We requested his qualifications from the NCS Treasurer’s office but were told, “There is no document that will fulfill your request.“ We GOOGLED Thomas Pflaumer and found no information on him. Mr. Pflaumer will be paid per hearing but the resolution does not indicate what that fee will be.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

NCS Athletic Dept. looking for tax-deductible donations

The Norwood Athletic Department has a website up promoting their Norwood Pride Project for new athletic equipment. There are five levels of giving, and all include the opportunity for donors to compose text for new brick pavers that will be installed at Shea Stadium. The site provides a printable donor form that must be mailed in by the June 9, 2007 deadline.