Citizens For A Better Norwood

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Judge cites Norwood case in e.d. decision against Cincinnati

Taxpayers must cough up $335,000 to restaurant owners

Last year’s Ohio Supreme Court decision in the Norwood case was used as a basis for Judge Ralph Winkler’s recent ruling in favor of two Clifton Heights restaurants that were on the receiving end of bad eminent domain behavior by the City of Cincinnati. The judge issued a stern warning when he wrote, “The City of Cincinnati should in the future be very careful when it initiates eminent domain proceedings against private-property owners. In this case, the city lost taxpayers’ money to legal fees and expenses.” Unfortunately, this probably isn’t the last time the Norwood case will be put to good use by a court reprimanding a municipality for abusing its power of eminent domain.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Drinking involved in Norwood domestic violence episode

Norwood resident Brian Braun is behind bars, accused of delivering a terrific beating to his wife Friday night following dinner and drinks out. We hope she has a full recovery and is taking the appropriate steps to secure her safety. If judged guilty, Mr. Braun deserves to sit in jail a good long time.

Recreation budget needs on Finance Committee agenda

We are pleased to see the Finance Committee has placed essentially this communication on the agenda for the meeting they’re having tomorrow, July 31, in council chambers at 5:30 p.m. We understand Recreation has also sent the committee pictures of the van they hope to replace.

As we all know, Finance and Audit Committee meetings aren’t televised on local cable Channel 4, so anyone who wants to tune in to the discussion about Recreation funding needs to make a personal appearance. Perhaps some residents will even want to participate in the discussion.

1. 2007 Appropriations
2. Miscellaneous Claims

1. Letter from Lt. Williams re: Fund 25
2. Letter from Lt. Williams re: Fund 25
3. Letter from Recreation re: Budget Need

Norwood native “Big John” Murray making it big on VH1 show

“Big John” says going from obscurity as a security director for various bands to being publicly recognized as a character in a VH1 reality show is causing him to lose his mind. Why are we not worried? It’s great to see a homegrown fellow make it to the big time!

Look up in the sky, it’s a plane!

Hey, you’re not supposed to be able to see that plane!

At a recent council meeting, Councilperson Vic Schneider asked Mayor Williams if he could do anything to tone down the sources of noise that he said are negatively affecting the quality of life for Norwood residents. In addition to the sirens from the city’s own fire and police vehicles, he referenced the loud Air Care helicopters and the noise from a plane that patrols I71 near Norwood. If memory serves, the city’s sirens were the only source the mayor said he would/could possibly address.

But wait a minute, what and whose plane patrols I71, and how long has this been going on? As wild coincidence would have it, a friend reported just two days later she had been stopped by the police at I71 and the Dana Avenue exit because a plane had clocked her going 20 mph over the speed limit. Uh oh, it was time to call Lt. Tom Williams, Jr. at the NPD and get to the bottom of this plane business.

Lt. Williams told us the Ohio State Police patrol I71 with a plane, so we called them and spoke with Sgt. Brian Welling, who generously answered our questions. He said the 10-year-old plane patrol program, for lack of a better term, operates with 7-8 planes for the entire state, and one of them is assigned to Greater Cincinnati. “Typically,” he explained, “it’s out every day covering 6-7 counties in S.W. Ohio. On I75 for Butler and Hamilton Counties, it’s at least every 3 days for several hours.”

Sgt. Welling went on to describe how it works: Every ¼ mile, there’s a white marking on the interstate pavement. Once the pilot spots a vehicle s/he thinks may be speeding, s/he uses a timing device to record how long it takes the vehicle to travel ¼ mile and does this several times for accuracy. The time is converted into miles per hour, and then the pilot radios the officer on the ground, who then flags the speeder over.

Very interesting. "But what about the noise from the plane that our councilperson says is disturbing the peace in our city?" we ask. Sgt. Welling replied that the pilots are high enough (in altitude) most of the time that they can’t be seen or heard, and that he himself had never heard plane noise from the ground.

We believe Sgt. Welling has never heard the plane, but we can also imagine there have been exceptions to the plane flying too high to be heard by Norwood residents. It doesn’t sound like anything can be done to abate the plane’s noise, but there is something we can all do to avoid getting caught by OSP planes patrolling Ohio interstates, and we all know what that is.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Coming soon…interviews with Cincinnati Rollergirls

Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we’ll be featuring interviews with some of the Cincinnati Rollergirls next month. They’ve been getting quite a bit of press lately, and they certainly added a thrill to the Norwood Day Parade as they skated down Montgomery Road. Sadistic Sadie tell us she and 3 of the other skaters grew up right here in Norwood, so we’re really hoping to get a little time in with each one of them so our readers can get a sense of what drew them to take up this sport. If you've got any questions you'd like us to ask them, leave them in the comments box.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Councilperson Moore answers a reader’s question

Several days ago, one of our readers named “J” left a comment under this blog we did updating the COP Program. “J” describes ongoing havoc tenants in one apartment are creating for everybody in the building and asks what the other 10 apartments' dwellers can do about it. We approached Keith Moore, and he provided a helpful answer for “J” and anyone else suffering from a similar problem. Thank you, Mr. Moore. As a reminder, cable subscribers can pose questions to Mr. Moore and Mayor Williams during the live broadcast of the cable show they host on cable channel 4 at 7:00 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Thursday’s of each month. If you miss the live broadcast, check the replay schedule, also on channel 4.

“J’s” Question: What can someone do about apartment residents who continually have the police at their apartment, are constantly fighting in their apartment, hallway and parking lot, throw stuff from their balcony if someone begins arguing with them from the sidewalk, have people yell from them in the middle of the night to come to the balcony because the apartment building is securely locked, who's relatives go to the basement and bust the coin operated washers and dryers to get to the money. The landlord knows this goes on but she lives in New York and the person she has as a manager comes over long enough to collect the rent checks from the box. The police come every time, sometimes someone gets arrested, sometimes they don't. What can the other 10 apartments do to have these people removed??

Mr. Moore’s response: Good question. For the most part, individual police officers (and building and health inspectors) respond to calls and resolve situations on an individual basis. If there are persistent problems with one person or group of persons, that may require a different approach.

When the police respond to a call about disturbing the peace or domestic violence or a host of other things, they are limited to what they see or what a witness will testify to about that particular incident.

There can be other ways to deal with people who are simply a nuisance to a neighborhood, but that aren't committing serious crimes.

And if there are serious crimes involved (such as drug dealing), an investigation can take time - during which the neighbors (and hopefully the dealers) don't know that the police are investigating.

I am glad to see that J and/or her neighbors have been calling the police, which is always the first step.

What I would suggest at this point would be to contact the Mayor directly at 458-4501 with the address and some dates and details about the problem. (Or call a member of council, although what we will do then is contact the Mayor.)

The Mayor can pull together information on runs and calls by the police, health, building, and fire departments, and then work with those departments and the law director to find the most effective strategy. That may include charging the tenants or landlord under the Disorderly House ordinance, a longer-term police investigation, code enforcement, executing outstanding warrants, or more informal approaches. And whether or not the landlord is available or cooperative is one of the factors to be considered.

There are a number of possible approaches, and which will be most effective will depend on the details of the situation. And the person most able to pull all the pieces together would be the Mayor.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Not buying the renewal levy “earmarks” resolution

For the second time in a week, the Enquirer’s Steve Kemme writes today about the earmarks in Resolution B., a companion to Resolution A. (see text of both below), both of which city council passed 2 days ago. Today’s article is entitled “Norwood Streets atop wish list.” For many of our daily readers, as well as regular council watchers, what Kemme reports is not news. This does give us an opportunity, however, to ask the question, does the resolution mean anything?

First, let’s start with the numbers. The 8-mill renewal levy will generate $8,500,000 over five years. With Resolution B., “this Council hereby expresses its intent and desire to allocate” $400,000 for streets, $200,000 for capital improvements, and $100,000 for a rainy day fund. If each of these amounts were set aside annually over the five years, it might mean something. Mr. Kemme has reported in both of his articles that the earmarks are annual, but the language in Resolution B. doesn’t so designate. And since it doesn’t, that amounts to only $80,000 for streets, $40,000 for capital improvements, and $20,000 for the rainy day fund per year, less than 8.2% over the 5-year term of the proposed levy.

Our second bone of contention is that this is not a binding resolution. Council certainly isn‘t pretending that it is, and Assistant Law Director Ted Kiser who wrote it confirmed to us that it‘s not binding. “This Council” is the one expressing its intent to allocate some of the funds, but “this council” will be replaced with a new council in January, 2008, potentially one with a different majority with entirely different intentions on how the levy’s revenues should be allocated if it passes.

As many of us in the community remember, the NCS Board of Education passed a similar resolution for a 3.4-mill building levy Norwood voters passed in 1995. It did not take long for the school board to break their own promise and put an unknown amount of money into the general fund. Some of the building improvements promised to the community never came about, and attempts to reconcile how the money was spent by subsequent school treasurers were fruitless. (Keep that in mind on Election Day.)

In conclusion, we’re not saying we are for or against the 8-mill renewal levy, but we are absolutely against Resolution B, the most meaningless document we’ve ever seen “this council” approve. We’re not buying one of word of it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

And what a Norwood Day Parade it was!

As far as we’re concerned, everybody in the parade and everyone who worked behind the scenes to make this event as wonderful as it was should get an award, and that includes the emcees Donna Laake and B105 FM’s Amanda Orlando. But there are only 7 trophies to go around, and this year they went to:

1.) President’s Trophy: United Dairy Farmers
2.) Board of Director’s Trophy: LuAnn’s Hair Beautique
3.) Erin McNeal Trophy: Grace United Methodist Church
4.) Judges’ Choice Trophy: Growing Place Church
5.) Musical Trophy: Star Strutters Baton Corp.
6. ) 1st Place $500: Norwood Business and Professional Women
7.) 2nd Place $250: Green’s Flower Shoppe

Congratulations, everyone!

The Daily Bellwether's blog about our "Norwood Times" blog

As the Daily Bellwether points out, it's more than a little interesting that the first issue of "The Norwood Times" newspaper appeared less than a week after the announcement that the Cincinnati Post would stop its daily afternoon publication on 12/31/07. Will Ted Hooks be successful in "defying conventional wisdom about the prospects of the publishing industry?"

8-mill levy renewal headed for November ballot

Councilperson Schneider the only holdout

Last evening, city council passed both levy resolutions during the last of 3 special council meetings devoted to the task of making a decision in time for the 8-mill renewal levy to be placed on the November ballot. The full text of the two resolutions is in a 7/20/07 blog below. For the sake of brevity, we will refer to them as they are labeled, A. and B.

Councilperson Vic Schneider was the only “no” vote on resolution A., and last night he explained why. Mr. Schneider says the budget is not being taken care of properly and that too much time is taken generating revenue instead of making sure the money coming in is being spent properly. These remarks echoed what he said during Friday’s special meeting when he stated his concern that there’s no plan in place for exactly how much levy money is needed and for what. Mr. Schneider has frequently criticized the budget process during his term on council.

Later, during discussion about Resolution B., which passed unanimously, Mr. Schneider said he was voting for it because of the spending restraints it intends, and he hopes the money intended for streets will be used for matching funds for grants. Then he added that the 3 earmarks in the resolution would not be necessary if the city had the proper finance people in place within the administration. He contends they would earmark the money “because it’s the right thing to do without council having to do it.”

The latter statement elicited a follow up question from John Mumper, who asked Mr. Schneider if he was commenting against the current treasurer and auditor. Why, yes, he was. He believed both should be at council meetings when millions of dollars are being discussed; both should be much more involved in the process. He also took Mayor Williams to task (again) for pushing for a part-time budget analyst (council set aside funds for the position last year) but then allowing it to fall by the wayside as the city’s financial health got better.

In response, Councilperson Sanker defended the absent mayor (again), claiming that interviews for the part- time budget analyst position have been ongoing. He did not, however, defend against Mr. Schneider’s remarks about the city treasurer and/or auditor.

In the coming days, we’ll have more to say about some of the discussion during the 3 special council meetings. We're still researching one topic in particular before we can publish the facts we're collecting from the county auditor's office.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The new “The Norwood Times” - Ted Hooks, editor

Since not all of us have had the first issue of this paper delivered to our front porches yet, we’ve had to share. Assuming some of our readers haven’t received it yet, either, here’s a short description:

This is a 12-page publication full of ads, both large and small, placed by mostly local businesses. Many have discount coupons. Sadly, one ad announces the owners of Bogle Jewelers are retiring and selling all merchandise at 25% off. There are also interesting bio’s about several of the business owners. From the looks of it, Mr. Hooks’ advertising sales have gotten off to an excellent start.

Now for the primary content. Although this first issue is tagged, “Special Norwood Days Edition,” a more apt tag might have been “Special Edition - The Dark Side of Norwood Knothole.” The front page does carry an article about this week’s citywide events, but there are three pieces about two incidents at separate ball games that resulted in criminal charges. One is a front page story entitled “Norwood Umpire Charged” that recounts how an umpire allegedly threw a face mask at a teen whose younger brother was playing in a game on June 13. The mother filed charges, then took her son to the hospital where x-rays showed a severe bruise. Then Mr. Hooks, a longtime baseball coach, writes an editorial about an injury he received last year at the hands of a father whose son was playing on his team. He, too, followed up with a charge. The third piece is a letter to the editor by the parent who charged the umpire last month. And, yes, names are named, and no detail is spared, seemingly.

In both instances, the aggrieved parties and their supporters are displeased with how the Norwood Knothole supervisors responded to the two episodes and are circulating a petition to have two officers removed. Charles Russ is spearheading the effort. So far, 300 signatures have been collected.

We’re a little suprised by the sheer volume of words devoted to the Knothole stories. Obviously, Mr. Hooks’ wanted them told, and that's his call. But after all that ugliness, it was refreshing to see Debra Simpson’s three book reviews in her column “Summer Reading…With Touch of Norwood.”

The paper doesn't state whether it's a weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly publication, and we don't see any contact information for Mr. Hooks. Presumably, we'll come home one day and find a second issue on our front porches.

7/23/07 ADDENDUM: We’ve just been alerted to this 1/29/04 Peter Bronson column about Norwood Knothole, entitled “Adult battles could ruin kids’ games.” With similar issues over 3 years ago, it makes the current uproar seem like déjà vu. Bronson ends the piece with, “After all, it's not the kids who are wrecking baseball - it's the alleged adults.” Isn’t that the truth?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Developing...Norwood has a new newspaper!

First edition of Ted Hooks' "Norwood Times" on front porches today.

For the 115th time, the Norwood Day Parade is almost here!

It gets underway this Tuesday, July 24th, at 7:00 p.m. with hundreds of parade entries, marching bands, floats, clowns, politicians and aspiring politicians, baton twirlers, and who knows who and what surprises might be seen, strutting their stuff down Montgomery Road between Ashland and Elm Avenues. Sponsored by the Norwood Chamber of Commerce, this year’s parade theme is “Norwood Chamber’s Golden Anniversary - Come Celebrate With Us.”

And for the 72nd time, Norwood Day at Coney Island is the following day, Wednesday, July 25th. Here’s everything you need to know about that event.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Text of the two 8-mill levy renewal resolutions

Following are the two resolutions before council regarding the five-year, 8-mill levy renewal. Both got their first readings last night at the first of three Special Council meetings called by Mayor Williams. They will be read a second time at tonight's meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on local cable Channel 4.


read on


WHEREAS, Council for the City of Norwood anticipates levying a renewal of an eight (8) mill tax in excess of the ten-mill limitation; and

WHEREAS, Council wishes to demonstrate to the voters of the City of Norwood how such revenue will be spent, should the voters pass the renewal of said levy; now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the City of Norwood, State of Ohio:

SECTION 1. That this Council hereby expresses its intent and desire to allocate the proceeds of an eight (8) mill tax levy renewal in the manner described in the attached Exhibit A.

Contingent upon the renewal of the 8 Mill Tax Levy and it generating enough funds, it is the City’s intention that the following amounts be earmarked for specific purposes to ensure that the citizens of Norwood receive the specific benefits as outlined below:

$400,000.00 is to be earmarked for Streets
$200,000.00 is to be earmarked for Capital Improvements
$100,000.00 is to be earmarked for Reserve

Temps plead guilty, but judge calls Rep. Tom Brinkman “the real criminal”

Did he change petition addresses or not?

State representative and C.O.A.S.T. co-founder Tom Brinkman got an earful yesterday from Judge Robert Ruehlman about what Ruehlman says was his complicity in an election fraud case. Rep. Brinkman was not indicted, but two Labor Ready temporary employees who circulated petitions last year to repeal Cincinnati’s gay-rights ordinance were indicted for changing addresses of signees. The prosecutor told Judge Ruehlman that Rep. Brinkman admitted that he himself had changed more than 1,000 addresses, but Brinkman says he personally did not change any information on the petitions. Who’s not telling the truth here?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Drake Planetarium repeats “Planet Patrol” for July program

If you missed Planetary Investigator Sam Snork and his assistant Elmo trying to find the source of disturbing radio emissions last month , you can catch up with them next Thursday at the Drake Planetarium. They use the latest in crime-solving equipment to explore each planet in the solar system looking for clues to unravel this mystery.

When: Thursday, July 27, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m
Where: Drake Planetarium at Norwood High School, 2020 Sherman Avenue
Tickets: $6 in advance, $7 at the door
Pre-registration is required; call 396-5578

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mayor Williams wants $700,000 from 8-mill levy earmarked

The Enquirer reports that Mayor Williams wants to earmark $700,000 of the proposed 8-mill, five-year, renewal levy that council will be discussing at 3 special meetings we announced in the blog directly below. Under his plan, $400,000 would committed to street repairs, $200,000 for capital improvement, and $100,000 for a reserve fund. That would leave $1 million of the levy’s total annual revenue for the general fund. Councilperson and Finance Committee Chair Joe Sanker supports the proposal. Councilperson Vic Schneider isn’t sure the city can legally commit the tax revenues to specific funds. He favors a new levy on the ballot that would reflect current property values.

The article states that only two special council meetings have been scheduled. We just reconfirmed with the clerk of council's office that the schedule directly below is correct.

Just in: Mayor Williams calls 3 Special Council Meetings

The renewal of the 8-mill levy that expires this year is the topic for all three meetings. Each will start at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers. As soon as the clerk of council office tells us if NCT will be able to televise any or all of the meetings, we'll do an update with that information.

According to the Board of Elections, if council decides it wants to put the 8-mill renewal levy on the November ballot and/or a smaller levy for a specific purpose like street repair, it must pass a resolution as soon as possible to that effect and send it to the Hamilton County Auditor. Upon receiving council's resolution as to the type of levy and its purpose, Dusty Rhodes has five days to send a letter back to council certifying each levy. Then council must pass a second resolution, attach the letter from Dusty Rhodes, and deliver both documents to the Board of Election by 4:00 p.m., August 23.

Special Meeting dates:
Thursday - July 19th
Friday - July 20th
Monday - July 23rd

7/19/07 UPDATE: NCT will broadcast all 3 meetings live on cable Channel 4, per the the clerk of council's office this morning.

ODE releases preliminary test results for grades 3 through 8

These Ohio test results show that scores are up overall, but 5th and 6th graders did poorly on a new social studies test, and new science scores weren’t anything to rave about. The results won’t be official until after Friday, July 27 because Ohio school districts have until that date to request corrections to the state data. The scores for grades 3-8 represent 18 of 30 indicators on the Local Report Card, due for release mid- August.

The state’s goal is for 75 percent of students to score proficient on all tests. Click here to see NCS scores and how they compare to other Hamilton County districts.

Don’t forget the Norwood Library’s 100th celebration Saturday

Includes display of 100 historical photos of Norwood

Today’s Enquirer has several interesting tidbits about our library's colorful past. Did you know it started in 1898 in a drugstore? Or that it operated from a state liquor store when it was closed for renovation? Or that the second floor was the site of the local Draft Board during WWII? The festivities are from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Citizens on Patrol update

Lt. Tom Williams, Jr. of the NPD tells us the COP volunteers started walking West Norwood streets at the end of June and have done three patrols so far. As coordinator of this NPD-sponsored program, he accompanied them on their first two patrols. The COP Program was the brainchild of the West Norwood Neighborhood Association, born out of a need residents felt to try to make their area of town safer. That’s why the program is starting up there, but the intention is to expand patrols throughout the city.

For now, the COPs’ patrols are scheduled between 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m., but down the road the volunteers can choose to expand their hours. They walk in groups of at least 3, wearing dark blue shirts emblazoned with “Norwood Police Citizens on Patrol” in white letters.

The 800MHz radios are in, but now Lt. Williams is waiting for the shoulder microphones, which are on back order. The radios, purchased with two large corporate donations and other donations, will enable the volunteers to quickly summon police officers to trouble spots.

Since several more residents have expressed interest in volunteering, Lt. Williams says he may schedule another training in September. If you’d like to talk to him about becoming a volunteer, he’ll be at tonight’s WNNA meeting demonstrating one of the new radios. You can also call him at 458-4545. The meeting gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center, 1810 Courtland Avenue.

Monday, July 16, 2007

H.B.154 would abolish mayors’ courts - good or bad idea?

We asked Councilperson Keith Moore

At their 6/26/07 meeting, Norwood city council members passed a resolution opposing H.B. 154 which, if passed by Ohio’s legislature, would abolish all mayors’ courts by 12/31/07. According to this analysis of the bill, the legislative authorities of municipal corporations with populations greater than 1,600 could establish community courts to replace their mayors’ courts. Would Norwood go ahead and establish a community court? That seems likely, if Councilperson Keith Moore’s views about the downside of this proposal are widely held on council; otherwise, all the Norwood mayor’s court cases would be referred to the downtown Cincinnati courts where the administration of justice might not reflect our local standards.

We asked Mr. Moore to comment on this proposed legislation. He told us our mayor’s court generates between $25,000 to $30,000 per month, but quickly added, “That’s nice to have, of course, but it’s not the only reason to have a local court.”

So what are the other reasons to have our own court? According to Mr. Moore, “It’s Norwood laws that are enforced on Norwood's court, which means that what is important to us is important to the magistrate. (Unlike the judges and prosecutors downtown, who have other priorities than what's best for Norwood.) Partly that's a question of not sweeping things like code enforcement out of the way, but it's also impacts sentencing. Community service, fine amounts, restitution, and jail time are better focused within the community than in the courthouse downtown among defendants from all over the county. Plus, the police, the inspectors, the defendants, and the prosecutor don't have to waste a whole morning and $7 on parking to travel downtown for a disorderly conduct charge or a trial on a speeding ticket.”

Who could disagree with those reasons? If you would like to contact our state representative Tyrone Yates about this bill, you will find his email address here.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Cheri Scott-Geraci files for Norwood BOE race

As of today, Cheri Scott-Geraci is the only candidate who has filed with the Hamilton County Board of Elections for this year's Board of Education race. The four-year terms of BOE President Rick Guy and member Debi Gay expire this year. Both have been elected multiple times. The filing deadline for the BOE race is August 23. We will post the names of all the BOE candidates as we collect them from the Board of Elections.

Click here if you missed our previous blog with the candidates who filed for Norwood city offices.

Institute for Justice: New Ohio eminent domain law is weak

IJ attorney Bert Gall, one of the lead attorneys representing the holdons in the Norwood case, had this to say in response to our email seeking comment on the eminent domain law Gov. Strickland signed earlier this week: “Unfortunately, the new Ohio bill just isn't very good. For Ohioans to get real eminent domain protection, there's probably going to need to be some citizen-driven initiative.” He also sent a 6/29/07 press release that analyzes some of the measure's fundamental weaknesses from the prospective of Steven Anderson of the IJ’s Castle Coalition. Mr. Anderson testified before last year’s Eminent Domain Task Force as well as before both the House and Senate committees this year.

Text of 6/29/07 press release:

Arlington, Va.— The Ohio Legislature could have protected property owners across the state. Instead, they passed some of the weakest eminent domain reform in the nation.

On Wednesday, June 27, the Ohio Senate passed a weakened version of Senate Bill 7. The legislation originally offered substantial eminent domain reform to home and small business owners across the state, but the House removed all of the significant protections. A companion measure, Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would have applied SB 7 to all local governments in Ohio, earlier failed to pass the House. SB 7 now awaits the governor’s signature.

“There was a real chance for reform this year, but in the end, very little will change for home and small business owners in Ohio should SB 7 become law,” said Steven Anderson, director of the Institute for Justice’s Castle Coalition, a national grassroots advocacy group committed to ending the private-to-private transfer of property using eminent domain. The Institute for Justice successfully defended homeowners in Norwood and Lakewood, Ohio, from eminent domain abuse. Anderson testified before last year’s Eminent Domain Task Force and committees in both the Senate and House this session.

read on

Cruise-in car show & car wash to benefit Children’s Hospital

Precious Chances, an organization that raises money for worthwhile causes, is hosting two major charity events at our local Quality Inn to raise money for Children’s Hospital. Between next month’s car show/car wash and the Black & White Ball in October, they hope to raise a total of $20,000. A portion of the monies raised will go towards Halloween and Christmas parties for the patients at Children’s Hospital. Anyone who would like to volunteer some time to help with the events should contact Jami Mazza at 709-4151. You'll enjoy talking to Jamie - her enthusiasm is highly contagious!

The cruise-in car show is open for cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Registration is free, and trophies and dash plaques will be awarded.

Saturday, August 11; 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where: Quality Inn, 4747 Montgomery Road
Admission: a donation
Car wash: noon to 5:00 p.m.
Extra’s: Silent auction; food and drinks for sale
More information: Jamie at 709-4151 or

We’ll post details about the Black & White Ball closer to the October 6 date.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bill Goecke was a great citizen of Norwood

We are saddened by the passing of Recreation Commission member Bill Goecke. Bill was appointed to the Recreation Commission to replace his brother, Mark, who passed away in March 2004.

Bill will be missed by the community he served and the hundreds of Norwood children he coached over the years.

April ’07 Norwood Police call stats

A monthly feature

The April NPD call report showed the highest number of total calls since we started this feature last August. We understand warmer weather can be a factor in higher criminal activity and call volume.

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
March: 2,927 = 94.4 per day = 3.93 per hour
April: 3,210 = 107 per day = 4.46 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 are for August through December ’06, followed by January through April ‘07 in this partial breakdown by categories of calls:

Auto Accidents: 78-78-70-75-74 - 2007: 69-80-69-68
Criminal Damage: 58-54-47-42-41 - 2007: 41-32-39-53
Dom. Violence: 35-34-39-20-27 - 2007: 25-24-30-34
Fights: 40-42-43-37-42 - 2007: 36-35-63-56
Burglary: 34-16-26-15-22 - 2007: 23-20-24-19
Traffic Stops: 298-184-317-287-189 - 2007: 248-208-324-373
DUI: 6-5-11-7-9 - 2007: 1-1-5-9
Assault: 20-26-29-14-14 - 2007: 22-21-17-23
Noise Complaints: 50-71-49-36-37 - 2007: 31-33-64-66
Theft: 145-102-139-125-105 - 2007: 106-80-96-132
Theft/Motor Vehicle: 21-12-14-7-12 - 2007: 10-10-12-12
Rape/Attempted Rape: 4-2-4-1-1 - 2007: 1-1-1*-1*

* This number was in the “Sex/Crime” category. “Rape/Attempted Rape” category wasn’t in the report for the particular month.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Enquirer credits Norwood for newly signed eminent domain bill

Yesterday, Gov. Strickland signed Senate Bill 7, which would have prevented Norwood from condemning the Gambles’ home and the properties of the other holdons at the proposed Rookwood Exchange site “because the city would have had to prove the neighborhood was at least 70 percent “blighted.” As is widely known, the so-called blight study commissioned by the developer found the neighborhood was not “blighted” at all, but was “deteriorating.“ A year ago, attorney Tim Burke lost the City’s argument before the Ohio Supreme Court that the area’s “deteriorating” condition was justification for the use of eminent domain.

The unofficial online version of Senate Bill 7 has this definition of “blighted area”:

(A) "Blighted area" and "slum" mean an area in which at least seventy per cent of the parcels are blighted parcels and those blighted parcels substantially impair or arrest the sound growth of the state or a political subdivision of the state, retard the provision of housing accommodations, constitute an economic or social liability, or are a menace to the public health, safety, morals, or welfare in their present condition and use.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Norwood teacher & resident Paul Schember named an Outstanding Science Teacher

Conversations, Connections, Collaborations, or C3, a 3-year-old partnership led by the presidents of U.C., Northern KY University, and X.U., has recognized Norwood Middle School teacher Paul Schember with an Outstanding Science Teacher award. He is one of six local teachers to receive the award this year. Teachers are nominated for the awards by their principals “for not only showing extraordinary skill in the classroom, but also for their involvement in their home communities. Congratulations to Paul Schember for his excellence in the classroom and his contributions to our community.

Norwood Soccer Association Golf Outing

When: Saturday, July 21, 2007; 10:00 a.m. tee time
Where: Indian Valley Golf Course, 3950 Newtown Road, Cincinnati
Cost: $55 per person, due day of the outing; two-person teams
Grill out: immediately following at Lower Millcrest Park; beer, food, prizes, cornhole
Cost for grill out: $10 for non-golfers who would like to attend
R.S.V.P to : (513) 617-6831

Monday, July 09, 2007

Suspicious-looking gym bag closes Montgomery Rd. this a.m.

Thankfully, another good ending here. Traffic reopened shortly after 10:30 a.m. when the Norwood Police found nothing suspicious in the bag.

Special COW meeting this Wednesday, 7/11**

Instead of the usual COW meeting in council chambers this past Tuesday, council members used the time to tour various Norwood houses, houses that are vacant, dilapidated, etc. NCT followed along with a camera and filmed the tour. Now, COW Chair John Mumper has called a special meeting this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. with one agenda item to discuss: vacant housing problems. The clerk of council’s office tells us Mr. Mumper is hoping NCT will be able to play the house tour video during the Channel 4 live broadcast of the meeting. We look forward to hearing council’s suggestions on how the vacant housing problems can be solved.

**Our previous headline erroneously stated the meeting was scheduled for tomorrow.

New property tax savings for all 65-year-old Ohio homeowners

The New Homestead Property Tax Exemption that took effect 7/1/07 drops the old income limit entirely and raises the exemption from $5,700 to $25,000 for senior citizens and the permanently disabled who occupy single-family homes. According to Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes, the number of county residents who qualified under previous homestead exemption rules was 9,000. With the new, less stringent rules, he expects that number to jump to 50,000 to 70,000 of the county’s 275,000 homeowners.

The county auditor’s website has this Q.&A. informational page about the new guidelines and how to apply for the exemption.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

RIP, Beverly Sills, surely the most joyful Rosina ever

Saturday, July 07, 2007

New rail proposal includes a “side connection to Norwood, Evanston, H.P., X.U.”

Is that code for Norwood?

Today’s Enquirer piece about the new Cincinnati-to-Milford rail service proposal caused some morning coffee to sputter, followed by some gagging, followed by some sheer panic, all due to lingering P.T.S.D. from the last proposal 5-6 years ago to bring light rail down Montgomery Road here. As we all know, we were spared when Hamilton County voters resoundingly nixed that boondoggle at the ballot box, but scars remain, and it’s too easy to hit the panic button whenever we see Norwood mentioned in new, less ambitious rail proposals. This latest one is on display at Cincinnati City Hall, which is to say we probably won’t see it. Instead, we'll see what we can find out with an email to Commissioner Portune. In the meantime, do any of our readers have information to share about this? The maps here at the Eastern Corrider website aren't comforting.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Norwood Library celebrating 100 years

By now, most everyone has probably seen the Norwood Library’s banner announcing their Centennial Celebration on July 21st to which everyone is invited. Christine Mersch’s book “Images of America - Norwood” has a little history about the library:

"Edward Mills donated a 120 foot-by-173 foot lot on the corner of Weyer Avenue and Montgomery Road for the library, and $23,000 in grant money from the Andrew Carnegie fund helped get construction started. Building got underway on October 1, 1905, and the library was officially opened for business on July 22, 1907. The Norwood mayor at that time, Charles Jones, oversaw the organization and building. The early library enjoyed success, especially during the Great Depression (1932-19345), since patrons had no money to buy books at stores. "

Centennial Celebration particulars:

When: Saturday, July 21 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Where: Norwood Library, 4325 Montgomery Road
Entertainment: Barbershop quartet, historical slide show, roaming magician, clown
Extra's: Refreshments, balloons and fun activities for all ages
More information: 369-6037

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Patrick Henry arrested for bungled Bogle’s ring theft

Chased, maced, then caught by the NPD

First of all, how dare anyone rob anybody, but anyone who would rob the fine folks at Bogle’s Jewelry deserves a special place in the Hamilton County Justice Center and an even more special one in the state pen. The other suspect arrested was driving the getaway van on a suspended license. What a stupid, though terrifying, duo.

Then we have the heinous acts (too revolting to describe here but also deserving of some special places in the pokey) of 26-year-old suspect John Sellers that were on display across the street from Friday night’s youth baseball game at NHS.

In both of these episodes, it sounds like the suspects were swarmed with lighting speed by the NPD, which really makes the case why we should all call the police the moment we spot suspicious/criminal activity. And to the Norwood police, we say, “Jobs well done.”

7/5/07 UPDATE on Friday’s armed robbery at the Shell station: According to the NPD officer we just spoke with, no arrests yet. Of course, he couldn’t say much because it’s an ongoing investigation, but they will probably catch the suspects because “we almost always do.” The station's video cams have been helpful. He indicated that criminals, not overly bright, aren’t much concerned about getting caught because all that’s on (what’s left of) their minds is stealing to pay for the next drug fix. They recently caught one just a block from scene of his crime.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The American Legion Norwood Post 123

During the Norwood Day Parade the first thing you will see is the Honor Guard of the American Legion carrying the flag that these men and women served under during war time. In addition, the American Legion holds ceremonies and services throughout the year honoring those who have lost their lives and those still serving, defending our Nation.

What is less known is the work they do in the area of youth baseball leagues, Oratorical Competitions, scouting sponsorships, flag education, scholarship information, Children's Miracle Network, Ronald McDonald House, youth suicide prevention, Halloween safety and many other programs.

The American Legion Post 123 in Norwood, Ohio needs your help locating and contacting individuals who have served in the United States Military during times of war so that they can become active in their local Post. The cost of membership is about $35, and the eligibility dates and branches of service can be found at the American Legion website below. In addition, you can call the Norwood Post 123 at 396-7337. The Post is located at 5129 Montgomery Road.

The American Legion

Yes, America is beautiful

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What’s so great about Norwood?

During the 4/22/07 council meeting, Mayor Williams asked council to consider an idea that would certainly be a first for Norwood: advertising the many attributes of our city in order to attract new businesses and new residents. He cited the fact that Hamilton, Ohio advertises. The mayor believes Norwood is turning a corner and it’s time to let the outside world know how much our city has to offer. If council gives the ok, funding would likely come out of Economic Development.

Mayor Williams may be on to something. We’re always surprised when we sometimes find even our own residents are unfamiliar with amenities we take for granted. For instance, Rick met a young woman recently who’s been jogging on our sidewalks because she didn’t know she could run at the state-of-the-art track at Shea Stadium. She didn’t even know we have a stadium!

So, with all of this in mind, plus what we recently learned from Jordan Realtors about why people buy here (see 6/28/07 “Four reasons…“ blog below) we thought we’d take a stab (as time permits) at producing our own amateur version of a "here‘s what‘s great about Norwood" video for YouTube. We know what we like, but to make sure we include the best of the best, since YouTube videos are restricted to 10 minutes, we invite our readers to leave comments about what some of their favorite things are about our community. As always, you can click on the envelope below and email this blog to your friends and family for their input, too.

“Super couple” soap stars coming to Norwood Joseph-Beth

People of a certain age will never forget Julie’s and Doug’s steamy love affair on “Days of Our Loves” back in the…well, let’s just say it was a long time ago. Susan Seaforth and Bill Hayes, who played the soap opera lovers, fell in love in real life, too. On Tuesday, July 10th, at 7:00 p.m., they’ll be discussing and signing their autobiography “Like Sands Through the Hourglass” at the Rookwood Joseph-Beth Bookstore. Not that any of us ever did this, but do college kids still skip classes to watch the soaps?

Monday, July 02, 2007

One more time - 4th of July fireworks at Shea Stadium

If you missed our earlier blog about the fireworks, here’s the event info again:

When: Wednesday, July 4, 6:30 p.m. ‘til after the fireworks at dusk
Where: Shea Stadium, 5600 Harris Avenue
Admission: free, but the Norwood Service League invites everyone to bring a nonperishable food item for their “Christmas in July” Food Drive.
Fun details: B10.1 Good Times, Great Country radio will be on hand. Food and giveaways from DJ Statt
Great Entertainment: DJ Steve Carson and the NHS Marching Band
More info: 731-4287