Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Xavier delays Zumbiel implosion

Last week's issue of X.U.'s Newswire reported the following:

“The Zumbiel Packaging plant, originally slated for demolition in early October, will be towering over Xavier for at least another month. Xavier's President of Public Relations, Kelly Leon, stated that the plant will be demolished "on a Saturday in December." For many Zumbiel's implosion will symbolize the true beginning of Xavier's campus expansion project. Plans for an event to celebrate Zumbiel's demolition are still being discussed.”

A new beginning, but also the end of an era.

What’s your neighborhood’s walk score?

Back in August, Building Cincinnati did this fun blog about Walk Score, a web-based tool that tells the walkability of a property’s neighborhood. Just enter your home address, and it calculates the distances from that address to shopping, restaurants, bars, schools, etc. and then uses a formula to caluculate a “walk score.” If your home is for sale and rates a high “walk score,” it might be a useful marketing tool.

Here’s the scoring breakdown:

* 90-100: Can live fairly easily without a car
* 70-90: It's possible to get by without a car
* 50-70: Some businesses within walking distance, some require the use of a bike, public transportation or a car
* 25-50: Few destinations are within walking range, most require the use of a bike, public transportation or a car
* 0-25: Forget about walking

Classical guitar concert at Xavier this Sunday

This Sunday, Thomas Viloteau, winner of the 2006 Guitar Foundation of Ameria International Competition, will be performing as part of Xavier’s 2007-2008 Classical Guitar Series.

When: Sunday, Nov. 4; 2:30 p.m.
Where: Gallagher Student Center Studio Theater; handicapped accessible; free parking
Directions: Enter the main the entrance at University Drive where the stone pillars are. Either park along University Drive or proceed to the new Gallagher Student Center on the right (by circle driveway); park below on the left.
Individual ticket prices: $12; Senior Citizens 60 years old & older receive $3 discount; $3 for students grade school (at least 8 years old) through college with ID.
More information: 745-3161

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Letter from NCS nurse to parents re: MRSA

The NCS website has the 10/29/07 letter district nurse Kathy Strasser sent to parents regarding the Superbug MRSA that has been in the headlines repeatedly in recent days. She assures parents “that all district buildings are following guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health regarding the prevention MRSA, including proper cleaning of school facilities." She also includes answers to frequently asked questions about MRSA’s symptoms, how it’s spread, and how students can protect themselves from getting infected. This is valuable information everyone should have.

NCS school board history

Have you ever wondered why five people would run for two seats that require an enormous amount of work for very little pay? Especially for the benefit of those who may be new to Norwood in the last few years but even for those who might prefer to forget the past, we've pulled a few pieces from the old archives.

February, 2004:

I Team Report Part 1

I Team Report Part 2

I Team Report transcript

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cable Channel 4 schedule for local candidates’ videos

NCT tells us that starting at 3:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, Tuesday, October 30, the videos local candidates have taped will be begin playing on local cable Channel 4. City candidates’ videos will air between 3:00 and 7:30 a.m. followed by the BOE candidates’ videos between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. Then the schedule repeats starting at 8:30 a.m. and will repeat continuously through midnight, November 5, Election Day eve. The candidates’ videos will be the only programming during this time frame.

July ’07 Norwood Police call stats

A monthly feature

The total calls for June broke a 6-month upward trend, but July shows an increase.

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
May: 3,341 = 107.8 per day = 4.49 per hour
June: 2907 = 93.7 per day = 3.9 per hour
July: 3163 = 102 per day = 4.25 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 July ’07 in this partial breakdown by categories of calls:

Auto Accidents: 78-78-70-75-74 - 2007: 69-80-69-68-80-74-63
Criminal Damage: 58-54-47-42-41 - 2007: 41-32-39-53-46-45-53
Dom. Violence: 35-34-39-20-27 - 2007: 25-24-30-34-31-31-31
Fights: 40-42-43-37-42 - 2007: 36-35-63-56-70-36-58
Burglary: 34-16-26-15-22 - 2007: 23-20-24-19-24-17-15
Traffic Stops: 298-184-317-287-189 - 2007: 248-208-324-373-466-320-622
DUI: 6-5-11-7-9 - 2007: 1-1-5-9-10-10-13
Assault: 20-26-29-14-14 - 2007: 22-21-17-23-39-26-21
Noise Complaints: 50-71-49-36-37 - 2007: 31-33-64-66-78-72-98
Theft: 145-102-139-125-105 - 2007: 106-80-96-132-138-118-134
Theft/Motor Vehicle: 21-12-14-7-12 - 2007: 10-10-12-12-9-16-9
Rape/Attempted Rape: 4-2-4-1-1 - 2007: 1-1-1*-1*-1-2-1

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

RDD Photo Blog promotes Xavier student’s Evanston survey

With the candidate blog series over, we’re playing all kinds of catch up. Way back on October 9, Ryan Dlugosz at RDD Photo Blog provided a link to a survey about neighboring Evanston that a Xavier friend of his is doing. The purpose of the Evanston Revitalization Survey is to give direction to a project she’s involved in to help revitalize Evanston. (Coincidentally, we were contacted and interviewed earlier this month by a Xavier student whose professor made his class aware of our blog.) It's intended for respondents local to the Cincinnati area. We think that includes Norwoodians who would like to participate. It's anonymous and takes about 5 minutes to complete.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Easy access to archived candidate blog series

As each candidate’s blog is archived, we’re adding his or her name to this blog so our readers can click on the name(s) and quickly access the archived blog(s) they would like to see.

Archived candidate blogs:
Ward 1: Keith D. Moore
Ward 1: Jim Stith
Ward 2: Steve Thornbury
Ward 3: Sean Mangialardo
Ward 4: Todd Tittle
Ward 4: John Mumper
Council-at-Large: Casey Brown
Council-at-Large: Victor Schneider
City Auditor: Gerald D. Owens
Mayor: Al Boehme
BOE: Cheri Scott-Geraci
BOE: Lisa Bauer
BOE: Lynn Ellis

Good news: Former Norwood dairy to make skin-care gel

A 65-year-old Polish immigrant/biochemist, Dr. Piotr Chomcsynski, will soon be manufacturing a skin-care product on the site of the former Kasemeyer Dairy at the corner of Carthage Ave. and Dale Road. His company, Cinna Health Products, produces Noredol, a non-prescription ointment Dr. Chomcsynki developed to reduce the redness and blemishes from the skin condition rosacea. Immigrating to the United States in 1986, he took a position at U.C.’s College of Medicine and has earned international recognition for his work in genetic research. Norwood officials are very pleased that this “non-polluting, low-impact business” won’t disturb nearby residents. Opening next spring, the new plant will employ 20 workers.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Judge orders guilty Norwood water balloonist to pay $2,500

The Enquirer is reporting that Norwood resident Rodney Smith, one of 3 men arrested for a dangerous water balloon caper in downtown Cincinnati Oct. 5, was sentenced by Judge Julia Stautberg to 6 months probation, 100 hours of community service and payment of $2,500 in restitution. Smith said the 3 are recent graduates of a local film school and were making a video. We have to wonder if their misguided scheme might have involved putting it on YouTube…

10/26/07 UPDATE: According to today’s Enquirer, Judge Stautberg didn’t buy Rodney Smith’s film project story. She told him, “…you need to think ahead of the consequences of your actions, not just try to make people look foolish, which I think was your goal.” She’s not returning the confiscated video equipment to him, either, since the cases of the other 2 defendents are pending.

Halloween in the ’wood

Halloween at Lindner Park
Starting at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday, 10/27/07, Norwood Recreation and Public Works are hosting Halloween at Lindner Park on Cypress Way. The Rec. office tells us each child will receive a bag of goodies, and the Costume Contest winner(s) will be awarded bags containing…well, that’s going to be a surprise. Then there’s a walk along the Haunted Trail. But be forewarned, according to Councilperson Vic Schneider on his recent “Quick 20” cable show, the trail gets scarier and scarier the later it gets, so best to take the wee ones on this walk early in the game.

Halloween night
After much thought and deliberation one council member indicated was a bit too much, council passed an ordinance Tuesday extending Halloween Trick or Treat hours by ½ hour to 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31.

Building Cincinnati updates Linden Pointe. Hello, Enquirer?

Kevin LeMaster has a photo update of Linden Pointe at Building Cincinnati with a reference to Steed Hammond Paul signing the first lease. His pics include both the 100,000 square-foot office building as well as the retail portion. Where’s the Enquirer on this story? It is a story, isn’t it - premier architectural firm going “green” as long awaited first tenant in new ten-building, $105 million office/retail project? What gives? Lunch at Anna’s for anyone who can locate an Enquirer article about this. We’ve searched and come up with zippo.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

$1 million bond for suspect Norwood police chased and caught

Following a chase yesterday, Norwood police officers caught Leopoldo Mesa, 23, and arrested and charged him with failure to comply and trafficking in drugs. The officers found 6 heroin balloons on him. The Enquirer says Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Mark Waters today told Municipal Court Judge Cheryl Grant that Mesa has ties to the criminal organization “whose past procedure is to bond him out and move him to another city or back to Mexico.” Noting she gave $2 million bonds Tuesday to accused drug dealers from Arizona and Akron, Ohio, the judge set Mesa’s bond at $1 million.

Congrats to the NPD officers on this big arrest!

Poll on Issue 39, the 8-mill renewal levy

This is the last unscientific poll we’re doing before Election Day. Naturally, we think it will be interesting to compare the results of our readers’ votes with the results on November 6. So far, 48 votes have been cast on our 10/18/07 Issue 27 poll below, with 31 voting against and 17 in favor. What do think? Should the 8-mill renewal levy be passed again? The cost to property owners is $74 per $100,000 of value. Below is the official ballot language as it appears on the Hamilton County Board of Elections website:

Issue 39
A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage

A renewal of a tax for the benefit of the City of Norwood, County of Hamilton, Ohio, for the purpose of CURRENT OPERATING EXPENSES at a rate not exceeding eight (8) mills for each one dollar of valuation, commencing in 2007, first due in calendar year 2008.

Should Issue 39 be passed again?
Undecided free polls

NOTE: Our poll on Issue 27, the proposed jail tax, has been archived, but you can still cast a vote on it by clicking here.

Steed Hammond Paul signs 1st lease at Linden Pointe

And they’re going green

At last night’s council meeting, Mayor Williams told council the architectural firm Steed Hammond Paul has leased the top floor of the new Linden Pointe building after looking at 400 other options. A March move is planned.

According to the 10/19/07 Business Courier, SHP is launching an interior design project to make its office space green. Among the green features will be light sensors, window blind systems that adjust based on the amount of daylight, furniture, carpet and paint made of 100% recycled materials. The firm is forging a partnership with the developer Al Neyer, Inc. to help incorporate green features into future developments.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Enquirer: “YouTube video case proceeds”

The Enquirer is reporting the following:

A 13-year-old girl accused of videotaping a fight between two girls at Norwood Middle School and then posting it on YouTube will face a charge of complicity to assault in Hamilton County Juvenile Court.

The victim’s mother, Jan Perone, requested this morning that the charge be officially filed. Perone had the choice to allow a hearing officer determine the case outcome, but declined. The hearing was not open to the public.

Perone previously requested that the girl accused of assault also have official charges filed. Both girls face hearings Oct. 31.

10/24/07 UPDATE: In today’s Enquirer, the 13-year-old fight videographer tells her side of the story. She says the victim picked the fight, is confident the truth will come out in court, and that when it does, “this will look pretty bad for her.”

August 07 NFD Activities and Statistics Report

A monthly feature

This monthly Norwood Fire Department report is brief enough that we can publish it in its entirety, though we do format it just a little differently from the original:

A. Total of emergency responses for the month of July = 404

Medic Runs = 302
Fire Runs = 32 w/breakdown
Average Response Time on Runs = 2 minutes, 44 seconds (city-wide)

Number of incidents by type:
Fire Runs – 32 - (Building, Vehicle, Brush, etc.)
Overpressure, Explosion - 0
Rescue & Medic Unit Assists – 29 - (lock-in, extrications, traffic accidents, etc.)
Hazardous Conditions (no fire) -21 - (power lines down, arcing, spills, etc.)
Service Call – 3 - (smoke removal)
Good Intent – 2 - (odor of smoke, controlled burning)
False Alarms – 15 - (false alarms, system malfunctions, smoke detector activated, etc.)
Special Incident - 0

B. Total Bureau of Fire Safety Inspections/Activities w/Breakdown = 733

1.) Bureau of Fire Safety Activities and Number of Activities:
Total Inspections – 95 - (residential, schools, churches, businesses)
Total Violations – issued 242
Total Violations – corrected 302
Total Block Inspections – 11 - (Unit #1, Unit #2, Unit #3 – Rental & multi-family)
Additional Activities - 83

2.) Breakdown of Fire Division Events:
NIMS 300 & 400 Training Class
EMA Emergency Ops Software Meeting
Hamilton County Accountability Committee Meeting
Hamilton County Fire Chief’s Meetings
Eastern Fire Chief’s Meeting
CAER Meeting
CPR Classes
Civil Service Meeting

Monday, October 22, 2007

Candidate blog series: Mayoral candidate Alfred Boehme

Alfred 'Al' Boehme
Candidate for Mayor
City of Norwood

In a nut shell: I moved to Norwood at age 12 with my grandmother and younger brother Harold. I attended Williams Ave School and Norwood High School. I served in the US army and US navy reserves. I have fond memories of a more gentle time while growing up in the city of Norwood.

I remember in the 1950's Norwood had more industry for its size than any other city in the world. Our large industrial base gave us security, low taxes and excellent city services. On a Friday night the sidewalks were crowded on Montgomery Road, and sometimes one had to walk in the street. Both movie houses were packed, restaurants full, window shoppers galore, and men would go to the bars for a refreshing cold drink to meet their neighbors or friends from work to reward themselves for a hard week of work at one of the local factories.

Wow! How times have changed. Our industrial base is gone, our jobs went to other countries, their people are coming here (legally and illegally) taking our remaining jobs. Dangerous products are flooding our market, the crime rate is through the roof, and the city has experienced its worst financial situation since the depression.

We, as residents, are finding it harder to manage paying our rent and mortgage payments, filling our gas tanks, stretching our food dollars, and trying to find a little spending money. As a possible future mayor I, along with council and other city officers, cannot correct the larger national and international issues, but we can sure have a positive effect on our local issues and way of life.

1. Continue the 'belt tightening' policies of the previous administrations and get these roads fixed now!
2. Make wise decisions before large ticket items spending.
3. Stream line our building department and public works.
4. Maintain the high rating of our police and fire departments.
5. Chase common criminals out of our city.
6. Encourage slow, thought-out planned development of our lost industrial and blighted areas.
7. Education: Let’s raise our graduation rate and lower the drop out rate.
8. Move out the disruptive students along with their parents; that's where the problem lies.
9. Put pride back in the school system.
10.Taxes: Get financially stable and then lower or eliminate Norwood's share of the county tax if possible.
11. Pride: Change the negative image that others have of our community, and set up a volunteer committee for those that wish to help.

There are many wonderful, caring residents and city employees who have the best interests of Norwood in their hearts. So do I, as well as those around me. My brother and his wife and my 2 daughters are all property owners in Norwood and care about our community. Do You? I ask, what have you done for your community? What have I done for my community? I have been a volunteer on the Zoning Board of Appeals for 10 years and donated my salary back to the city during the time we were paid. During the remodeling of the Police Sub station, I volunteered many hours installing new electric and soliciting material donations from area businesses. I worked with others to clean up at the community center and around the city. I attended many seminars at my expense that benefited the city in my capacity as a BZA member. I am also a volunteer member for the American Legion.

I have past experience as a business owner of a residential electrical wiring company for almost 40 years, a real estate agent in Norwood for 10 years, former Vice President of America Health Tech, maintenance supervisor for a 170-unit apartment complex in Sharonville. And many trade schools too numerous to list.

Please get involved and help make our city return to the fine community it once was.

I need your help and your vote to accomplish the above.
Please vote 'Boehme for Mayor' on November 6th.
Time for a change.
Thanks to CBN for its community service.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Enquirer: “The courage to be a candidate”

As today’s Enquirer editorial points out, technological advances are making it easier for candidates to get their messages to voters. At the same time, these same electronic instruments, including blogs, are being used to by anonymous posters for personal attacks and name-calling that serve to dissuade talented citizens from running from office. And according to some mayors and school board members, the abuse follows them into elected office. It’s a bad recipe that deprives us all of being able to choose the best among us to run our government and schools. Throw in the prior commitments of family/work responsibilities and community volunteerism, and it becomes a wonder anyone seeks public office.

Which us brings us to the candidate blog series we’ve been running the past 3 weeks. By Monday when we post the last candidate blog, 13 candidates running for local office will have accepted our invitation to appear here. Frankly, we’re both pleased and astonished at the number who agreed to take the plunge at the height of the campaign season's other demands on their time. While slanderous comments are verboten here, these candidates have taken the risk of being openly criticized, as some have been, and that requires a degree of fortitude in our book. Some of the candidates have answered commenters’ questions. We’d like our readers to know that that’s an unexpected bonus because it was not required in the terms of our invitations. Some of you may have been as amazed as we were when multiple candidates quickly and convincingly challenged the veracity of charges made by two anonymous commenters…which, by the way, relieved us of the need to moderate, another bonus. But the biggest bonus of all has been the opportunity these courageous candidates have given us to be more informed voters this year.

For more information about Norwood candidates, visit the League of Women Voters' and the Enquirer’s Election Guide.

Steve Collier semi-finalist for Monroe Superintendent

Thanks to a tip from one of our readers, we have the link above to the 10/18/07 Hamilton Journal News announcement that NCS Superintendent Steve Collier is one of six candidates being considered for the top job in the Monroe Local School District. This past Monday, the Monroe BOE eliminated 9 other candidates from consideration and will interview the remaining six before the end of the month. If memory serves, this is not the first time Mr. Collier’s candidacy for other superintendent positions has been made public since being name NCS superintendent. If this is the third time, perhaps it will be the charm.

Friday, October 19, 2007

BOE Candidate series: Lynn Ellis

Lynn Ellis
Candidate for Board Of Education

I was born and raised in Norwood, went to Norwood View Elementary, and graduated Norwood High School in 1978. You might know my father, Clyde Hill (NHS 1947 now deceased) or my mother, Mary Jane Hill. It’s also possible you went to school with my brother Ed Hill, or cousins Kate, John, Rob or Susan Hill.

After I graduated from high school, I went on to college, received my degree and taught in private school. I married Kent Ellis in 1987, and we have two sons, Zachery (grad. 2007 and U.C. Chemistry Major…freshman) you may have seen in the school plays, and Micah at Allison Elementary. He is our basketball player. I have served our community by: Secretary 3yrs. WNNA, Ohio Reads Tutor, Asst. in Kindergarten at Allison (a few years), past member PTA, Historical Society, Superintendent's Advisory Committee from 2000 - 2003.


1. Improve District Test Scores:
I want all of our children to be able to compete in the world for jobs and in further education. Norwood Schools need to provide the best education possible. Being in Continuous Improvement for 7 years is unacceptable. I believe we are in this situation because of poor leadership. We have to stop rewarding poor performance by our administrators. A few years ago, an elementary school became terribly dissatisfied with their principal, and they fought to have this principal removed. Instead of terminating the principal, the district created an administrative position for the individual. This is a bad practice. Strong Leaders make Strong Schools.

I also believe it would be worth our while to investigate similar districts that are succeeding and implement those practices that make them successful. Teaching to the test isn’t working. Our children need a well-rounded curriculum. I would love to see Latin as well as other courses back in our school system. The district talks about the level of poverty we have here in Norwood; the best way out of poverty is education. We have willing and caring staff members; let’s use them to their full potential.

2. I will spend tax dollars wisely and responsibly:
I am a firm believer in using the competitive bid process for all major projects. I know our children need to be safe on the playground, but did we need to spend $42,500 on rubber mats at every school? Were there alternatives? Could we have gotten a better price? I don’t know; there was no research done, and the competitive bid process wasn‘t used. The district needs to stop spending on cosmetic and unnecessary purchases. Examples: $30,000 high school sign; $20,000 for an entrance to Allison, and I am sure you all have your favorites. There is at least one elementary school that needs a new roof, and all of our schools need updated wiring and plumbing. When you can’t plug the overhead in without unplugging a fan, that is a bad situation. I believe preventive maintenance along with a good maintenance plan would benefit our district. This would be a proactive step rather than a reactive folly. As your School Board member, I will be accountable and responsible with the children's, taxpayers’ and citizens’ tax dollars.

3. Repair the relationship between the school district and community:
As a parent who has been to all committee and board meetings for the last 2 years and spoken at quite a few, I don’t feel like I am heard. The two new members are trying, but unfortunately the majority isn’t. I am sure there are others that feel the same way. I have attended meetings fairly regularly for close to 7 years and have been astonished by the lack of reaction from the school board towards those who speak. The district needs to include the community, especially the parents, in those decisions that will impact their children. I believe we need to tape all meetings, including committee meetings. The board needs to be transparent in the way they do business, so that the public knows exactly what is happening in every meeting. As your board member, I will listen and consider your ideas.

I have always run on a platform of accountability and responsibility and believe that with those two things our Norwood City Schools will be successful. I truly believe together we can change things for the better. Let’s work together toward that goal. Vote Lynn (Hill) Ellis for School Board and remember, “ Our Kids Win with Lynn.”

Jenna Bush coming to Norwood Joesph-Beth 11/27/07

Jenna Bush will be discussing and signing her first book Ana‘s Story: A Journey of Hope at Norwood's Joseph-Beth Booksellers on Tuesday, November 27. The story is based on the struggles of a girl born with AIDS she met while working as a UNICEF intern in Latin America and the Caribbean. A portion of the proceeds from the book’s sales will go to UNICEF. The Cincinnati not-for-profit Stop Aids is co-hosting the event at Joseph-Beth.

Where: Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 2692 Madison Rd, Rookwood Pavilion
When: Tuesday, November 27, 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $25 tickets are mandatory and include the book and Stop Aids bracelet with $4.00 donated to Stop Aids. Limited tickets are available; 3 books per person.
Also: Jenna Bush will not personalize, sign memorabilia, or pose for photographs. Each customer will have to pass through security prior to entering the store, so please allow time for the security check. Do not bring large backpacks, signs, banners or packages to the event. When passing through security you will be handed your Stop Aids bracelet for the event.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Easy access to archived candidate blog series

As each candidate’s blog is archived, we’re adding his or her name to this blog so our readers can click on the name(s) and quickly access the archived blog(s) they would like to see.

Archived candidate blogs:
Ward 1: Keith D. Moore
Council-at-Large: Casey Brown
Ward 4: Todd Tittle
Ward 4: John Mumper
City Auditor: Gerald D. Owens
Ward 2: Steve Thornbury
Council-at-Large: Victor Schneider
BOE: Cheri Scott-Geraci
BOE: Lisa Bauer
Ward 1: Jim Stith
Ward 3: Sean Mangialardo

Poll on Issue 27, the proposed jail tax

We’re always interested in what our readers think about the issues of the day, so we hope you'll cast a vote in our unscientific poll on the much-debated jail tax. Below is the “unofficial” ballot language for Issue 27 as it appears on the Hamilton County Board of Elections website:

A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage.

Resolution of the Board of County Commissioners of Hamilton County, Ohio, increasing the rate of levy of the existing sales tax pursuant to the provisions of R.C. 5739.021 for a fifteen year period (one-half of one percent for eight years followed by one-quarter of one percent for seven years) to be used for the purpose of SUPPORTING CRIMINAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE JUSTICE SERVICES IN THE COUNTY, INCLUDING: PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION MEASURES TO REDUCE JAIL OVERCROWDING, CRIME PREVENTION MEASURES, ADULT AND JUVENILE INMATE REHABILITATION MEASURES, OPERATION OF NEW DETENTION FACILITIES, AND TO ACQUIRE LAND AND OTHER FACILITIES BY PURCHASE OR LEASE FOR SAID PURPOSES.

Should Issue 27 be passed?
Undecided free polls

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

SeniorLink expands Norwood Day Center

Yesterday’s Enquirer announced that TriHealth’s SeniorLink location in Norwood has expanded their facility by an additional 9,100 square feet. TriHealth Seniors’ Health director Brett Kirkpatrick said the expansion will “enhance the programming that already exists for the 464 participants throughout our three locations and provide new opportunities for our participants and other members of the underserved elder community.”

Click here for information about SeniorLink and the various services they provide to help people 55 years and older with chronic health needs live independently as long as possible.

Guest blog: Keith Moore on why he voted for the levy resolutions

Many of our readers will recall Councilperson Vic Schneider’s 8/17/07 guest blog telling why he voted against the 8-mill levy resolutions council passed placing the issue on the November ballot. Today, Councilperson Keith Moore gives the other side and tells us why he voted in favor of the resolutions that allow Norwood voters to decide whether or not to extend the levy another five years. We want to thank Mr. Moore for accepting our invitation to present the opposing view. If any of our readers would like to submit a guest blog in answer to Mr. Moore's, just email us at

Why I Voted to Put the Renewal on the Ballot
Keith Moore

1. To give YOU the choice.

Council could have made the decision that you don’t deserve to vote on a renewal, because you have to be “protected” from these kinds of difficult decisions. But it’s your money. It’s your city. It should be your decision.

Plus, it’s a general election, so it won’t cost any more to add it to the ballot.

If the renewal is rejected, then we move forward from there. We won’t be able to accomplish all the things that we’d like to, but things won’t be nearly as bad as what I first walked into on Council.

2. I think it’s a good deal for you.

This is an unusual levy renewal. Some levies are about raising taxes (either to keep the status quo or add a new service or facility), but the Hamilton County Auditor’s office says that passing this renewal will not raise your taxes.

Most levy renewals are about avoiding big cuts. We don’t need this renewal to keep the status quo.

But are you happy with the status quo? I’m not. I want good streets, state of the art equipment, better parks . . . and did I mention streets?

You’ll get a better city without raising taxes.

By cutting costs, working more efficiently, and bringing in new business, we’ve clawed our way back to financial stability - without gutting basic services like police, fire, paramedics, and recreation. But for six years, we have rejected dozens of possible improvements, simply because there was no money.

If we pass a levy renewal, we can begin major investment in our streets and infrastructure, upgrade equipment, improve our city facilities, and put money away for future financial downturns.

Everybody says “We need a street program.” Easy to say, but you have to pay for it. If the renewal passes, we’ll have a very different street program than if the renewal is defeated.

3. Why a renewal and not a Streets Levy?

A special-purpose infrastructure levy was my first choice. But then we learned from the Hamilton County Auditor that replacing our existing levy with a special-purpose levy would actually cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The State is phasing out the personal property tax that businesses pay under a levy. For the next few years, the State will be paying cities and school districts a subsidy to make up for that lost revenue - but not for new special-purpose levies.

4. Why not wait until _____(fill in the blank)_____?

Because we have serious problems right now. The existing levy expires the end of 2007, so delaying the decision even a couple of months means another year of the status quo.

Now that we don’t have to scramble just to make payroll every other week and keep the lights on, we finally have the time and energy to put long-term, structural changes into place. But that takes time - and the streets and equipment and buildings won’t get any better by waiting until we have every i dotted and t crossed.

Is that a good reason to not let you vote on a renewal? The way I see it, keeping the renewal off the ballot won’t punish the city’s financial planners nearly as much as it will punish you - and your car’s suspension.

[By the way, I, Keith Moore, guided by my conscience, voted the way I thought was best for the city. Just like all the other members of Council. Personally, I was quite surprised by the accusation that putting a levy ON the ballot was the safe, easy, non-disruptive thing to do - especially in an election year.]

Why I voted to put the renewal on the ballot came down to two basic issues:

1. I trust the people of Norwood to know what’s best for them.
2. A renewal, in my opinion, gives us a better city without having to pay more.

So now it’s up to you. Don’t forget to vote.

Keith D. Moore
Norwood City Council - Ward One

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Candidate blog series: Ward 3 candidate Sean Mangialardo

Sean Mangialardo
Candidate for Norwood City Council, Ward 3

My wife Amanda and I have been married for six years. We have two sons, Spencer (5) and Leo (4), both of whom attend Sharpsburg Elementary & Preschool. We have lived in Norwood for about six years now. We rented on Williams Ave. after we got married and then purchased our home on Norwood Ave. a few years back. As first time home buyers, we appreciated the stock of fairly valued older homes that Norwood had to offer compared to its midtown neighbors. Our family regularly attends Crossroads Community Church.

I'm currently a Corporate Real Estate Advisor with CresaPartners. I assist corporations with strategic planning and lease and purchase negotiations. Prior to joining Cresa, I was a Manager with RiverPoint Capital Management where my emphasis was on investment management and equity market analysis. Amanda is a professional violinist who uses her talents in a whole variety of different ways around town.

As you probably noticed from the above, I'm relatively new to Norwood and am a younger person. I believe both of those details make me a good candidate. Our city could benefit from some new blood and youthful enthusiasm. I don't believe that knowing Norwood's history book cover to cover and having many relatives here necessarily makes you a qualified candidate. Decisions within council chambers need to be based upon what's best for all citizens, not just certain ones. If you remember, I ran for City Treasurer two years ago and was defeated by a slim margin. I took that as a success considering my infancy within the community and realized that my message was received and widely supported. Many of my goals during that campaign I've carried forward to this one. I'll touch on my three main ones below:

Finances - I'm a firm believer in less governmental control, low taxes, and fiscal responsibility. A city administration has to not only have a solid budget, but also the courage under fire to stick to it. Just like a corporation has to answer to its shareholders, city hall must answer to the taxpayer. Our revenues are only going to continue to increase, so I believe this is of utmost importance. Forecast, plan and then diversify funds accordingly, i.e. street improvements. Proactive instead of reactive. All of the time instead of just during election time.

Technology - We must take advantage of technology in order to modernize our city services. Objectives such as making sure that all city employees are appropriately trained on their departments systems and giving citizens the ability to pay bills online benefits both city hall and raises communication and service levels. Also, with all the construction being done around town, why not send out a weekly "Construction Update" via email to a database of citizens and interested parties like the City of Mason does? A motto I like is "User Friendly Government - Easy to Operate, Understand and Deal With."

Development - Norwood is one of the most attractive locations in the county to bring a business. The success of Rookwood and Cornerstone and the completion of Linden Pointe are all great testaments to that fact. Let's continue to entertain new opportunities by offering incentives and support, and retain our current businesses by continuing to improve their working environment. This goes for the residential market as well where we need to support people in their improvement efforts and market Norwood as a quality place to purchase a home and raise a family.

I end with a challenge to you the citizen, the voter. If you're truly satisfied with the present and feel confident about the future, then you have my utmost respect for going to the polls and choosing the same leadership in order to stay the current course. However, if you're frustrated and tired of talking about the same issues and continue to have the same questions without any answers, then I ask you to consider making a change. There are qualified and energetic candidates ready to have an opportunity to break through the mold of the old and make a difference in our community, but they need your support. I feel I am one of those candidates and so I humbly ask for your vote on November 6th. Together, we can make a difference!

Thank you for your time, and thank you CBN for this opportunity,

Monday, October 15, 2007

Candidate blog series: Ward 1 candidate Jim Stith

James P. Stith II
Republican Candidate for Norwood City Council Ward 1

My name is Jim Stith, and I am the Republican Candidate for Norwood City Council to represent Ward 1. My website details my history and plans for the future. Please visit it for more information including my personal experience and activities in the community.

We moved to West Norwood almost 7 years ago and have chosen to raise our 3 children here. Jen and I like the diversity and potential of our community and intend to live here for many years to come. I want to represent West Norwood on City Council and focus on improving our area of the city. When elected, I will be your representative. It does not matter if you are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent I will represent all of Ward 1 on Norwood City Council.

I am not a career politician; I am just a guy who lives in a neighborhood that I feel is being neglected. I am frustrated that our voice is not being heard, and I want to represent my neighbors on council and help improve our quality of life. I am just a regular guy who is passionate about our neighborhood and excited about the potential that exists. This is where Jen and I have chosen to raise our family.

According to my pedometer, I have walked over 30 miles in the past month going door to door trying to meet the voters in Ward 1. I have tried to knock on all your doors and meet as many of you as possible. If you were not home I left fliers and absentee ballot information. I am sorry if I missed you, but I still would love to meet anyone who wants to talk about our city.

As I walked I noticed many things I had not seen before, things you don’t notice driving by at 25 MPH. The conditions of housing, both good and bad. Kids playing in the streets. Neighbors on their porches and working in their yards. The condition of our sidewalks and curbs.

In talking with some of my neighbors, I have been shocked by some of the things I have heard. So many residents have reached a level of frustration that they want to move away but are afraid they cannot get any value on the sale of their house given the state of the community. Complaints about crime and the response of the police. Frustration at the lack of response from absentee landlords.

I see that things are getting better, house by house, street by street, in clusters throughout our community. Walking through our neighborhood I see people who take pride in where they live, improving their houses, flying the Flag, cleaning their yards and the streets in front of them. Families buying homes, turning what were rental properties once again into homes. We can all point out the properties that are run down, but we need to encourage and help those who show an interest in the community. We need to support the local homeowners improving our community and focus on the absentee landlords who do not even live in our state.

There are several major issues I am interested in. Each is detailed on my website. I have included details on a few of those that follow.

Budgeting and Financial Responsibility
Spend less than we make. More detail below.

Development of an effective Street Plan
This program will establish a system for maintaining our infrastructure. Detailed below.

City Income Tax Reform
We need to re-evaluate the changes made by the Democrats and modernize our tax system.

Bring Norwood into the 21st Century
My goal is to help implement a program that will modernize our city services by utilizing the computer software we already own but do not use.

Establishment of a Blue Ribbon Committee for Development
Planned and controlled development.

Support our Emergency Services

Housing Improvement and Development
By beautifying our city entryways and improving housing while encouraging new development we can remind people why Norwood is the “Gem of the Highlands”.

Norwood for Our Kids
The Norwood for Our Kids project will improve the services and activities for the young teens in our city keeping them off the streets and out of trouble.

Development of an Effective Street Plan
I have always been amazed at how many streets get repaired just before an election and at which streets are replaced afterwards. I would like to create a long term plan for street repair and replacement. This program will establish a system for maintaining our infrastructure.

Everyone wants to know when their street will be repaved. This system will provide a long term plan for repairs and repaving. By grading each street we can project when streets will need repair or replacements. While emergency repairs will continue, the backbone of this program will be maintenance.

As a city we also need to work closer with utility companies to establish schedules for under street projects. This way we can try to avoid tearing up streets that were recently paved.

While I cannot promise that your individual street will be resurfaced upon my election, I will work to establish this program which will establish a time frame for repairs and replacement of all streets.

Budgeting and Financial Responsibility
I am happy to say that over the past eighteen months with hard work and sacrifice my wife Jennifer and I have become debt free except for our house. This was done by learning to spend less than we make, save money, and eliminate the use of credit from our lives. This personal philosophy will be used in the establishment of a balanced budget for our city.

It took me until I was almost 40 to finally listen to what my Grandmother always said, “You should live on less than you make," “have a written budget every month," and “save for a rainy day.” If only I had paid attention earlier.

The city has to have a written budget. One that spends only money we generate. Until then we will continue in our financial difficulties. We all have to tell our money what to do and make it work for us rather than always chasing more money. If we ran our household budgets the way the city handles its money our homes would be in foreclosure, our cars repossessed and credit card companies calling us every day.

We must all remember that we can not borrow our way out of debt. You can’t dig your way out of the bottom of a hole. As it says in Proverbs; “The Borrower is Slave to the Lender.”

I hope I can bring some of this common sense to our City Council.

City Income Tax Reform
We need to re-evaluate the changes made by the Democrats and modernize our tax system. Our income tax code was written in 1953; and even though it has been reviewed recently, it desperately needs to be updated. This system continues to penalize individuals who receive 401K plans rather than pensions and makes no allowance for families who use health care savings accounts or invest for their children’s futures. The current plan has rewards for city and government employees who have pensions and full benefits and effectively doubleas taxes those of us who work for private companies or are self employed. We’re taxed on our 401K contributions when they are made and when they are withdrawn at the time of our retirement. While other tax rate is stated to be 2%, it is actually possible to pay a much higher rate if you work in more than one of our surrounding cities. This system is broken and must be repaired and brought into the 21st century.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Norwood mayoral candidates pledge negativity-free campaigns

Really? In Norwood? Hooray!

Calling the race for mayor between Democrat incumbent Tom Williams and his Republican challenger Al Boehme “tame,” Friday’s Enquirer explained that both “have pledged to keep their campaigns free of negativity.” Could this spell the end of what the article called “bruising politics” in our burg? Maybe the beginning of issues-based campaigns sans dirty tricks? We’ve certainly seen signs of the latter in the content and tone of the candidate blogs we’ve published, and we want to take this opportunity to thank all the candidates for their thoughtful submissions. And thank you, Tom Williams and Al Boehme, for setting a new tone of civility for Norwood political campaigns.

Friday, October 12, 2007

BOE candidate series: Lisa Bauer

Greetings, fellow Norwood residents:

I’m Lisa Bauer and I’m running for a seat on the Norwood City Schools’ Board of Education. As a candidate and as a voter, I’d like to thank the Citizens for a Better Norwood for giving us all the opportunity to know our candidates better, discuss issues, and so to make better decisions on Election Day November 6th.

My husband and I have lived in Norwood since we were married in June of 1984. We chose this community because we thought it would be an excellent place to raise a family. The Norwood City School District played an important part in our decision. We saw a place where our children could enjoy the benefits of an urban district in an environment that was small enough that we could have meaningful input into their educations. Three sons later, we’ve been grateful to be an active part of our children’s school life through PTA and various school committees. Our oldest son, Aaron, is a 2006 graduate of Norwood High School, our middle son, Keith, is a junior at Norwood High School, and our youngest son, Greg, is a seventh grader at Norwood Middle School. All three of our boys have spent their entire K-12 careers in the Norwood City School System, attending Sharpsburg as their elementary school.

When my oldest son started school, I asked his kindergarten teacher her perceptions of the Norwood City School District, and she told me that from her perspective, Norwood was one of the area’s best kept secrets in terms of being a great place to teach. Certainly, my husband and I have shared her opinion of the district as we’ve partnered with it to raise children who are ready to make contributions to society and fulfill their dreams. My reason for running for School Board is to do my part to ensure that parents in Norwood continue to have the same opportunities we did as they raise their children. In order for this to happen, I believe we need to work to forge partnerships of trust between the community and the schools. I see my experience as an active Norwood parent and resident as the greatest asset I would bring to the School Board. I intend to seek out and listen to concerns of parents and community members, ask good questions at Board meetings to get concerns addressed, and follow through within my powers as a Board member to get needs met. Here is some other information that may help you make your decision on November 6th:

Priorities in Office
*Ensure school resources are used first to give all Norwood students opportunities to discover and develop their talents.
* Develop effective partnerships between parents, school, and community based on mutual respect and trust.
* Develop and enforce policies requiring administrators to use district resources efficiently, respectfully, and ethically.

1. Parent of children who will have attended Norwood City Schools from 1993-2013
2. Volunteer in the schools and community
3. Experience in Education
4. Experience in journalism, covering school boards and the City of Norwood

Biographical Highlights
· Occupation: Assistant Professor of Education, Wilmington College
· Parent of children who will have attended Norwood City Schools from 1993-2013
· Norwood resident since 1984
· Ed. D. (Literacy), University of Cincinnati, 2003
· M. Ed. (Elementary Education), Xavier University, 2000
· B.S. (German-English Secondary Education), Miami University, 1985
· B. A., (German-English), Miami University, 1984

I have information listed on the Web at these locations:

My campaign website:

The League of Women Voters’ Smart Voter Page

The Cincinnati Enquirer 2007 Voting Guide

Update to our last Rookwood Exchange update

Following our 9/13/07 Rookwood Exchange update, we received an email from a reader challenging a statement we had made based on what our source had told us, namely, that “Mr. Anderson has not made any offers, meaning that since last summer’s Ohio Supreme Court decision in favor of the holdons, not a single offer to purchase either property has been put on the table for their consideration.” Knowing this reader to be credible, we decided to go back to our source and inquire further.

We asked our source to respond to this claim our reader emailed us: “There have been very serious negotiations for the purchase of those properties during the last several months.” S/he replied that the statement was not accurate because there have not been negotiations on the properties in the last several months, serious or otherwise. We then asked if there have ever been ANY negotiations, serious or otherwise, since last year’s Ohio Supreme Court decision. Our source replied that there were negotiations back 7 months ago around March when settlement was reached with the Gambles, but the offer(s) “were not worth considering.” and “not serious” and were, therefore, forgettable, forgotten, and not mentioned during the previous conversation on which we had based our blog.

With this revised statement from our original source, is it still legitimate to suggest that Jeff Anderson has appeared to be something of a holdon himself? Maybe. A “not serious” offer is still an offer, but, according to our source, it was the only one and there have been no others in the intervening 7 months. Our reader who emailed us had an interesting point of view on this worth sharing: “If they don't want to sell, then they shouldn't want an offer. If they do want to sell, then they should make an offer to sell.”

Thursday, October 11, 2007

BOE candidate blog series: Cheri Scott-Geraci

Cheri Scott-Geraci
2144 Williams Avenue
Candidate for Norwood City School Board

I have lived in Norwood for 40 years. I am a product of the Norwood School District. I attended Sharpsburg Elementary and Norwood High School. My mom Venita (Dugan) Scott graduated from Norwood in 1947. My sister Sue Scott Schwankhaus graduated from Norwood High School in 1971 and was a teacher at Sharpsburg Elementary until her death in 2001. I have a lot of history with this community and this district. I have been married to Chris Geraci, a 1977 graduate, for 27 years, and we have four children: Matthew, 25, Amanda, 23, Adam, 19, and Maegan 11. Matt and Amanda graduated from Purcell Marion High School, Adam graduated from Norwood High School in 2006 and Maegan is in the sixth grade at Williams Ave Elementary. After graduating from Norwood High School, I attended the University of Cincinnati and received an Associate of Applied Science Degree. I have worked in the banking industry for 27 years and am currently a Vice President, Corporate Trust, for Huntington National Bank.

I decided to run for School Board because I feel that we aren’t doing enough to improve and promote our District. This district has a rich history of graduates who have become very successful in their lives. We need to continue that success. I don’t believe that the administration is making the right choices for our students or our stakeholders. We need open honest communication from our administrators regarding the issues facing our district. We need more accountability and responsibility from administration on decisions being made that affect our students. We need to raise the bar and set a higher standard for our district. I’m very tired of hearing excuses for why we aren’t succeeding instead of hearing solutions or taking action to help the district succeed in the future.

I think we should work more closely with our City leaders to improve our community involvement with our District. I am tired of hearing young couples say that they are moving out of Norwood because they don’t trust the school district. This is a problem that needs to be addressed and resolved. Obviously what we have been doing isn’t working, so we need to change. We need to change attitudes from administration on down. We need to change the outsiders’ perceptions of our district. We need to change the way we are running our school. I want to help make these changes when I am elected to the board.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Easy access to archived candidate blog series

As each candidate’s blog is archived, we’re going to add his or her name to this blog so our readers can click on the name(s) and quickly access the archived blog(s) they would like to see.

Tomorrow, we’ll start posting the blogs submitted by board of education candidates. We hear there may be one or more additional city candidate blogs in the works. If so, they will be published next week following the BOE candidate series.

Archived candidate blogs:
Ward 1: Keith D. Moore
Council-at-Large: Casey Brown
Ward 4: Todd Tittle
Ward 4: John Mumper
City Auditor: Gerald D. Owens
Ward 2: Steve Thornbury
Council-at-Large: Victor Schneider

Gummo gives rave review of our readers’ comments

Yesterday, one of our visitors, Gummo, turned blog critic and gave a thumbs up review of comments our readers posted under the 10/5/07, “Retirees lawsuit…” blog below. Gummo wrote, in part, “In all my years of watching this site and the Discussion Board I've never seen such swift, well-considered, and well-stated summaries of such a complex issue. I'm not sure how many different people are responsible for the above posts but you are all to be congratulated for your efforts. You've stated facts, kept the opinions muted and limited, and put the entire issue in perspective.” Gummo took the words right out of our collective mouth and said it better than we could have.

We want to thank those who took the time to present their points of view on the retiree trust fund issue and for putting it in a historical context many of us were unaware of. Although we can’t vouch for the accuracy of the content, following are some excerpts we found especially striking. If any of our readers can present the other side of this coin as cogently and persuasively as these commenters have, we hope they'll to contribute to the dialogue about this “complex issue” in the comments box.

Fact: The Retiree C-9 Trust fund has been in existence since 1975. Norwood employees, mostly Police and Fire, gave up other pay and benefits for over 30 years, in order to keep the medical.

No, it isn't illegal. It was thoroughly researched by the Law Department in 1975 and was modeled after other C-9 trust funds.

No, St. Bernard's trust fund was not found to be illegal. In fact, St. Bernard retirees, experiencing the same plight with their City as Norwood retirees have experienced with ours, SUED ST. BERNARD and won.

City workers bargained for medical coverage at the expense of other lucrative working conditions enjoyed by other cities' employees and by workers in private industries.

Starting about 2002-2003, Norwood stopped making it's legally required payments to retirees for office visits, out of pocket expenses and prescriptions, which employees had bargained for and been receiving. No notice was given. The payments just stopped.

Employees submitted copies of bills they already paid, for re-imbursement per the agreement with the City, but were told by the firm handling payments "your cap has been reached". There was never a cap. Retirees had negotiated a full health coverage in exchange for other benefits given up for decades. Retirees tried to ask questions but were ignored by City Hall.

This continued for the past 5 years...

Meanwhile, retirees were "cut off" in mid-year & had to scramble to pay insurance premiums promised by the City, and pay for office visits and prescriptions only to submit them to the City and get NO RESPONSE. THEY WAITED, WAITED, WAITED, NO RESPONSE FROM THE CITY!!! Many bills are unpaid to this day....

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Boston TV station reports Norwood Middle School girls' fight


10/10/07 UPDATE:
1.) Today’s Enquirer reports two girls involved in the Norwood Middle School locker room fight have been arrested: one is charged with assault for the attack on another girl; the other is charged with complicity to assault.
2.) At approximately 11:00 a.m., MSNBC interviewed Lt. Tom Williams, Jr. of the NPD about this episode. Unfortunately, we only caught the end where Lt. Williams explained how YouTube gives people, these youngsters, an opportunity to have their 15 minutes of fame.

10/11/07 UPDATE: Today’s Enquirer has this editorial deploring YouTube for victimizing the victim a second time by allowing the assault video to be posted on their website for 21/2 weeks.

10/11/07, 4:45 p.m. UPDATE: The Enquirer is reporting that the victim in the middle school fight is scheduled to appear on “Good Morning, America” tomorrow, Friday.

Candidate blog series: Council-at-Large candidate Victor Schneider

Victor Schneider
4007 Floral Ave.
Norwood, Ohio 45212

Here it is. This should give the general public, you the reader, an understanding of what I stand for and why I am running for re-election to Norwood City Council.

I was raised in Norwood on Forest Ave. My parents moved to Norwood for the stellar schools. My siblings and I attended St. Matthews which evolved into Gressle and proceeded on to Norwood Junior and Senior High. I have 2 brothers and 3 sisters, and all of us gradated from Norwood High School.

My siblings moved around a little with stints in the Military and various colleges. My oldest brother George and other older brother Tim both decided to live in Norwood. I lived in Pleasant Ridge for a short period of time to meet the location requirement to be a member of the Amberley Village fire department. When I changed jobs, I decided to move back home and have lived in Norwood practically my whole life. I now have 4 children that my wife Debi and I are raising. We lived on South Madison and then moved to our current home on Floral Ave. My oldest son, Vic, is attending St. Xavier High School, Max and Maddie are going to the consolidated Catholic School, St. Nicholas Academy in Deer Park, and my youngest son Wil is attending Williams Ave. elementary. At the current time, keep our fingers crossed, they enjoy the schools that they attend and seem to be doing well. So that is probably enough about the family. Oh yeah, I better mention that my sisters have all taken up residence outside of the City of Norwood. We don’t hold it against them.

A few of the community activities I am involved in:
Boy Scouts of America – CubMaster Pack 9
American Cancer Society – Relay for Life
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – Light the Night Walk
Norwood Council – Knights of Columbus

Through these activities I have worked to have fun while also helping out some very worthy causes. I enjoy spending time with my family at these events as well as the planning and organization that takes place to put on these types of events and activities.

I have been a member of Norwood City Council and enjoy being involved in the decision making process. I have tried and will continue to ask questions and understand the necessity of the actions that take place within the legislative part of your local government. We have all heard of issues that arise and actions that have been taken on our behalf, the general public, that make you wonder what the thought process was. My goal has been to make informed decisions, decisions based on fact and actual data that help improve the lives we lead. I base these decisions on a few solid principals that I have learned and from my experience in the below listed positions that I have held.

A few of the positions/certifications that I have held:
Mayor – City of Norwood
Director of Service
Superintendent of Public Works
PT Firefighter
Public Works – Laborer
Emergency Response Chief – Sumitomo Manufacturing
Certified Peace Officer – State of Ohio
Certified Boiler operator
Property Manager

I feel confident that with the guidance of you, the everyday resident of Norwood, and utilizing my background, I bring to the table some capabilities that will help on City Council. I have televised the “Quick 20” program on local cable to try to explain what is happening at a City of Norwood Council meeting. I have worked to make sure that before Council meetings you get the inside scoop. I have tried to be responsive to questions asked and I have tried to answer all the calls made to my home. I will continue to work to make the City of Norwood as strong as possible. Please feel free to comment on this Blog posting and also feel free to contact me at my home number which is 513-631-3972 or email me at Thank you for taking a few minutes to read this information.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Candidate blog series: Ward 2 candidate Steve Thornbury

Steve Thornbury
Candidate for Norwood City Council, Ward 2

For the last twenty-one years, my wife and I have owned a home on Floral Avenue where we have raised our two children and enjoyed the many benefits of living is this remarkable community. Both of our children were fortunate enough to have gone K-12 in the outstanding Norwood City School District where they were taught by some of the area's finest teachers.

Today I am employed as senior copywriter at HSR Business to Business, a nationally recognized leader in traditional and interactive marketing communications to business audiences.

Since settling in Norwood twenty years ago, I have been involved in numerous civic organizations and initiatives.
1. Two terms as a member of the Norwood Community Television Access Board (NCTAB) where we helped raise awareness of the opportunity every Norwood resident has to create their own public access programming to air on local Time Warner Cable Channel 23
2. The Norwood Historical Society where I am currently serving as secretary and treasurer
3. The Norwood Fireworks Committee, as a founding member of a group of private individuals who have revived the great tradition of a Fourth of July celebration of our Country's founding and freedoms
4. The Norwood Service League where I currently serve on the NSL Executive Committee
5. Current Chair of the Norwood Republican Party and secretary of the Norwood Republican Club

Political Philosophy
The relationship between the average citizen and their government and elected officials has never been worse. Both sides have been poisoned by decades of mistrust, poor communication, and confusion over the proper role of government.
The result is an atmosphere where, on one hand, elected officials have become reluctant to speak honestly, plainly, and directly to the citizens they serve. While on the other side of the divide, a broad cross-section of citizens have lost-touch with their local government.
My goal as an elected official is to take what I've learned from thirty years of observing and participating in local political and volunteer activities and use it to bring government and the people it serves closer together.

For government, that means improving communications by reaching out to individuals and groups that have a stake in the decisions we make on Council. Efforts must be made, for example, to help people understand the important role of Council committees. It is in committee where the individual citizen can learn the most and have the greatest impact. Yet few among us understand how to best utilize this opportunity.

On the citizen's side, it means making a commitment to step forward and participate, even in small ways, in the process of government. It can be something as simple as a the occasional phone call to their representative or as involved as participation in a local political campaign. It could mean volunteering with groups such as the Norwood Tree Board, the Service League, the Health Department, or the Norwood City School District. Experience has shown that even the briefest exposure to the everyday workings of our local government and local organizations gives the participant a much greater appreciation for how much work it takes to run a large city such as Norwood.

If elected, some of the key areas where I will focus my efforts will be:

Protect the strong property values in Ward 2.
Work with the Law Department, the Building Department, and law enforcement to give our city sharper legal teeth to more effectively enforce codes, hold irresponsible property owners liable for their actions, and prevent student housing from destroying our historic neighborhood atmosphere.

Support strong public services from all departments.
Assure proper funding for every department by providing critical oversight of spending so that funds are fairly assigned and critical needs are met.

Focus Council's attention on consistent infrastructure improvements.
Advocate for moving beyond the mentality of "crisis management" of the aging systems under our streets to a coherent program of carefully considered, planned infrastructure improvements.

I respectfully ask for your vote on Tuesday, November 6 and I look forward to serving the people of Ward 2 in the years ahead.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Retirees’ lawsuit: Norwood is violating trust fund for benefits

Today’s Enquirer is reporting that attorney Mike Allen has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on behalf of 200 retired City employees. The suit claims the city has been illegally refusing to reimburse uninsured medical expenses and is, thereby, violating the terms of a 1971 trust fund. Referring to Norwood‘s recent financial crisis, Allen said, "We're not unsympathetic to their financial plight. We're still willing to work with the city if they're willing to negotiate. But to date, that has not happened."

On 6/18/07, Channel 5 filed this report about the delinquent reimbursements that stated, “Retirees claim the city placed a cap on health care funding without their knowledge and that the cap means many of them will be out of medical coverage by the end of June.”

Candidate blog series: City Auditor candidate Gerald Owens

My Name is Gerald D. Owens. I am running as a write-in candidate for Norwood City Auditor for two reasons:

1. Both political parties know that our current Auditor is living in Orlando and has a job there as that city’s Treasurer.
2. The Republicans are supporting him, and, evidently, the Democrats are, too, because they are not running anybody against him; and both parties know about it.

They say he can do the Norwood auditor job by internet. But they have not told the public that he lives in Florida.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like paying him as much money as we do to vacation in Florida. We pay him more money than most people make that live in the City of Norwood. I thought that to hold public office in Norwood you had to live in Norwood. Owning property in Norwood and working 900 miles away is not living in Norwood.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Candidate blog series: Ward 4 candidate John Mumper

John T. Mumper
Council Ward Four

* 4th Ward Councilman – 1976-77, 2004-05, 2006 – present.
* Currently chairman of the Committee of the Whole and the Safety, Police & Fire Committee, and a member of the Finance & Audit Committee.
* Councilman At Large – 1984 - 1985
* Clerk of Council – 1983, 1988, 1989
* Lifelong resident of Ward Four

* BSBA Accounting, Xavier University
* 37+ years of work in the accounting / finance field.

* In the Past: Norwood Knothole, Norwood YMCA, Norwood Bi-Centennial Committee
* Currently: Annual Norwood Day Parade, Holy Trinity Festival, Variety Players, Men’s Club and Building & Grounds

Family Man
* Married to Kathy (Dettmer) 37 years
* Three married sons and one daughter living in Norwood:
* Brian & Amy (Dwyer)+Kate, Jack & Chad.
* Jeff & Kim (Porcano)+Julia, Jacob & Jessica
* Scott & Joy (Sandri)+Samantha, James, and Elizabeth.
* Younger daughter, Katie, owns John’s childhood home.
* Joe & Missy (Goodman) and their new son, JT, live in the historical section of Newport, KY.
* Older daughter, Kristen, also lives Newport.

For the record:

Norwood City Council has done an excellent job during the past four years of keeping the City of Norwood on the straight and narrow without any additional debt. Council has brought the city out of fiscal watch and has provided the Police, Fire and Public Works with new equipment to provide better service to the citizens. Council was able to provide equipment acquisition by using the state lease program, instead of adding additional debt. This is just an example of one of the many things accomplished by council during the past four years.

It is now time for Norwood City Council to provide a plan for the repair of streets. This plan will begin with a few streets being repaired in October, 2007 and will continue when the 8 mil renewal levy is passed by the citizens of Norwood. This renewal will result in no new taxes, due to the fact that it is a renewal based on the value of Norwood residential property in 1987. The current and future cost to the owner of a $100,000 house is approximately $74 per year. This renewal will allow council to provide a balanced budget for 2008 and hopefully for several years thereafter. The future financial state of the City of Norwood depends on the economy and a continuing stable base of companies and their employees paying earnings tax.

The renewal will be Issue #39 on the ballot on 11/06/07. Please support Issue #39 to keep your city moving forward and providing you with better services and better streets.

Thank you,

John Mumper, Norwood City Council, Ward Four