Citizens For A Better Norwood

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Xavier Newswire: Community outreach disheartening, broken

This week’s edition of the Xavier Newswire has both this article and this oped that describe the Community Building Institute’s effort to build relationships with Norwood and Evanston as disheartening and broken. The Institute’s Picket Slater Harrington is supposed to help students on the SGA’s (Student Government Association) Community Affairs Committee build relationships with the two communities; but, apparently, that help has been in short supply and/or ineffective, so the students have not made many inroads. Perhaps as a result of this lack of support from the “adults“ at Xavier, as the Newswire oped puts it, “the Community Affairs Committee has shifted its focus this semester to strengthening relationships between groups on campus."

West Norwood, and especially the Westwood Neighborhood Association, seems to get the lion’s share of the Community Building Institute’s attention, judging from previous media reports we’ve read in both the Enquirer and the Newswire. However, there seems to be a difference of opinion about just how involved Mr. Harrington is. He says he tries to attend WNNA meetings, but both the previous WNNA President Brian Watson and Ward I Councilperson Keith Ward tell the Newswire a different story: he has attended a few meetings only and those were meetings when something directly related to Xavier was on the agenda.

In November of 2004, Xavier announced it was awarded a HUD grant of $392,000 over three years to create a community outreach center to “address specific needs in the Norwood and Evanston communities.“ In view of the Newswire’s unfavorable reporting on this topic, perhaps it's time to ask which, if any, of those specific needs have been successfully addressed with the HUD grant. With the three-year funding cycle over, is there now a lack of money to fulfill Xavier's community outreach mission to Norwood and Evanston?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Guest Blog: Allison parent Jen Seurkamp

How great it is to have a voice and be heard!

Fellow Norwood residents, we live in a city that has a BOE who is willing to have open minds and hear what parents, school staff, students, and other residents have to say. I was so encouraged to learn today via email from Superintendent Collier that the board intends to renew Mr. Count’s contract in March. This has been a great experience for many Allison parents and myself; we've been able to speak our voice, truly be heard, and see action from what we have said. It is empowering as a citizen and gives me hope in the “system.”

Allison Elementary is a school that is full of families that want what is best for our children and work very hard to make sure that they get it. We have seen Allison change for the better in the last four years. It has become a place that welcomes diversity, creativity, parent involvement, and wants every child to succeed. I can’t think of a better place to have my children educated and look forward to all four of my children receiving their grade school education at Allison. Thank you to everyone who supported this and used your voice to make a difference.

I am not naïve enough to think that everyone is happy with this, and I encourage open, honest discussion with Mr. Counts and maybe other parents about how your experience at Allison can be better. I know from experience it works.

Thank you, Board of Education, for listening and responding.

Jen Seurkamp

Classical guitar concert at Xavier this Sunday

This Sunday, Jason Vieux, the youngest winner of the Guitar Foundation of American International Competition, will be performing as part of Xavier’s 2007-2008 Classical Guitar Series. Click here for a delicious sampling of his mastery of the guitar and here for his biography.

When: Sunday, February 3; 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, January 29, 2008

Boom! Norwood pastor’s wife delivers baby in driveway!

We were just sent the Enquirer article recounting the incredible adventure Rev. Timothy Brooks, pastor of Norwood Church of the Nazarene, and his wife Charryse had Sunday morning welcoming their first born into world, specifically on their driveway. The couple went to the hospital at 2:00 a.m. when Mrs. Brooks complained of labor pains but were sent home after hospital workers diagnosed false labor.

Oh, how wrong they were. Shortly after she arrived home, the labor pains became “excruciating.“ Mackenzie Nichole Brooks, not due to arrive until February 22, decided going back to the hospital unborn was a bad idea. Instead, she made her debut on the couple’s driveway, and then the three of them happily rode together to the hospital, umbilical cord still intact.

Congratulations to Rev. and Mrs. Brooks on the birth of their most remarkable baby girl!

Letter to Allison Elementary parents and guardians

Channel 5 aired a story yesterday (see blog directly below) about the effort underway by a group of Allison Elementary parents to persuade the BOE to renew Principal Scott Counts’ contract. In addition to going public with Channel 5 about the issue, they are circulating the letter below to other Allison parents and community members that documents Mr. Counts’ achievements since he replaced Kim Kappler four years ago.

Many of us recall the upheaval during Ms. Kappler’s stint as principal when parents persuaded the BOE to replace her after one year. Subsequently, the BOE allowed a committee of Allison parents to participate in choosing the new principal among a field of finalists. Having allowed parents to help select Mr. Counts, should the BOE invite a new committee of parents to have input on whether or not his contract is renewed?

Dear Allison Parents and Guardians,

Our school board has decided to throw four years of hard work and positive change down the drain. They have decided they are not going to renew Mr. Counts, our principal’s, contract for next year. They have said that we need a “strong disciplinarian” and that our test scores need to go up.

Yes, we do need a strong disciplinarian and our test scores do need to improve. We know that Mr. Counts has and is continuing to address both issues and a ton of other ones that he was faced with since his hire four years ago. When Mr. Counts came to our school we had very out of control discipline problems, low staff morale, bad reading curriculum and scores, and parents who felt like our hands were tied. That is not the case anymore!

Our discipline/ behavior referrals have gone down by more than half in the past two years. This is all documented by a behavior referral tracking system that Mr. Counts implemented two years ago. Discipline is not an issue and has not been for at least two years.

Our test scores have not all gone up, but if you look at the website you will see that our school met all but one of the AYP (adequate yearly performance) goals, which was math. Our performance index scores, which show the trend in school achievement, have gone from 79 in the 04-05 school year to 87.9 in the 06-07 school year. Mr. Counts can not be expected to perform miracles and miraculously clean up a mess of years of poor administration and curriculum in a short amount of time. It takes time and hard work all of which he has done.

Mr. Counts has gone above and beyond what has been asked of him to make our school a better place and is succeeding:
1. Discipline issues are at an all time low – this is documented.
2. Parent involvement has grown every year.
3. New great teachers have been added to the strong core of teachers that have remained – Miss McDonald, Miss Wilson, Miss Barker, Miss Hutchinson, Mrs. Smith, Mr. Dykes, Mrs. Kauffman, Mrs. Martini etc…
4. Our teachers are supported and able to do their jobs because they have an administrator who is willing to support them in a way that actually works.
5. A new reading curriculum was implemented two years ago, which is already beginning to show a positive change in our reading scores.
6. Every year he has had glowing performance reviews – this is public record.
7. He is always available to parents who have questions or concerns.

8. Our children are treated with respect, dignity, and genuine care.

Our children deserve a principal who cares for them and wants them to succeed. They also need some consistency, getting another principal who has to learn the ins and outs of our school will only hurt our children and disrupt the progress that is already happening. We need to keep Mr. Counts. Please contact our school board and ask for the real reason Mr. Counts is not being renewed for next school year. You can find their emails and phone numbers on You can also show your concern and support by attending the next school board meeting at Allison on February 21st.


Concerned Allison Parents

If you have any questions about this please feel free to call any of the following Allison Parents: Jen Seurkamp 731-6427 Kathy Baker 731-3234 Greg Prewitt 351-6366 Mindy Perry 349-4811

Monday, January 28, 2008

Channel 5: Parents fight to keep Allison Elementary principal

Allison parents Michelle Prewitt and Jennifer Suerkamp told Channel 5 news that word has leaked out this could be Principal Scott Counts’ last year on the job and they intend to fight to keep him. Today the two circulated a one-page letter urging other Allison parents to help them. Although Allison’s test scores remain low, disciplinary infractions have dropped from 271 in 2005 to 62 this school year. The BOE could decide whether or not to keep Counts when they meet in six weeks.

1/29/08 UPDATE:
Click here to view Channel 5's video of the story.

December, 2007 Earnings Tax Report

A monthly feature

Every month, John Hanrahan submits an Earnings Tax Report to council. Below is the summary information from the December report, which includes the year-end net earnings taxes collected.

December Collections

Collections thru December 2007.………........$15,577,888.24
Collections thru November 2006.……..…......$13,662.820.96
Increase in collections over 2006..14.02%..,$ 1,915,067.28

Net Tax Collected 2007
Total Collected….$15,577,888.24
Less Refunds…….$ 180,405.86
Net Collected…….$15,397,382,38

Net Collected 2006: $13,532,186.61
Net Increase 2007: $ 1,865,195.77

Friday, January 25, 2008

Xavier Newswire: Norwood restaurateur wants X.U.’s liquor license

The latest edition of the Xavier Newswire has an in depth interview with Will DeLuca, owner of the prominent Betta’s restaurant on Montgomery Rd., that describes his rocky relationship with the university. At issue is a verbal agreement Mr. DeLuca claims he had with unnamed Xavier officials regarding the liquor license Xavier controls as a result of their purchase of the Norwood Café. He says that by his selling the former Center City Collision property on Montgomery Rd. to Xavier instead of accepting other offers he had received, the officials “made a verbal agreement that Xavier would later help him with parking and would try to sell the liquor license to DeLuca.” Elizabeth Blume, Director of the Community Building Institute, explains why the university is not prepared to part with the liquor license.

Xavier Newswire: Local leaders leery of XU

The January 16th edition of the Xavier Newswire has the first of a two-part series investigating the university’s relationship with local communities. Xavier’s Community Building Institute, which helps build relationships with local communities, including Norwood, Evanston and North Avondale, has sought input from community members regarding the types of businesses they would like to see at the proposed Xavier Square development. Local leaders Bill Graff of the West Norwood Neighborhood Association and former councilperson and restaurant owner Will DeLuca are quoted in the article.

There are two other interesting articles on the Newswire’s front page. One has more detail about the Zumbiel implosion delay; the other is an update on the discrimination lawsuit filed by two female professors and includes Xavier’s Internal Report on the matter.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mission to Haiti

Two weeks ago, four members of Grace United Methodist Church joined short term missionaries from Sharonville United Methodist Church and Hamilton 1st United Methodist Church for a construction trip in Haiti to build a church complex. The complex will support the orphanage, school and medical center which were built by previous teams. The members included Wayne Jobe, Rick, Nick and Matt Hursh. Grace is currently preparing a team for a mission to Cuba mission about six months. If you would like more information or participate in the Grace mission program you can email Rick at

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Just in - Jim Stith elected City Auditor

Guest blog by Steve Thornbury

With a vote by the Norwood Republican Central Committee, a major step was taken toward resolving the issues that have been raised over the last year regarding the office of Auditor of the City of Norwood. Norwood resident Jim Stith has been selected by the Central Committee to fill the new term of the Auditor’s position following the resignation of Auditor-elect Don Jones on December 31, 2007.

Mr. Stith presented a compelling case to the Committee that demonstrated his enthusiasm and firm grasp of the range of issues that the new Auditor will be facing in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Particularly impressive was Jim’s report regarding the two weeks that he spent as the interim Auditor in which he met with the Deputy Auditor and the staff to familiarize himself with the key issues and most pressing deadlines. His presentation to the Central Committee included an impressive three-page document listing the specific steps he was prepared to take upon assuming office. The discussion included consideration of issues raised in the most recent Committee of the Whole meeting regarding the need for professional assistance in municipal finance and budget planning. Mr. Stith has assured us that he is prepared to work closely with the current administration to achieve the goals established in the recent COW meeting.

While the vote this past Saturday marked the official beginning of his term, Mr. Stith’s election to the Auditor’s position will be announced on the floor of the upcoming Norwood City Council Meeting this Tuesday, January 22, 2008. A public celebration is being planned; details will be forthcoming.

I would like to the thank all of the individuals who stepped forward to put their names in consideration for the Auditor’s position. In particular, I would like to thank Cassandra Brown. As a candidate for the position, Casey presented extremely compelling arguments in the proceedings on Saturday and made the decision very difficult indeed. Her many contributions to our City, to our Party, and to her friends and family have made all who know her proud to call her a friend.

I would also like to thank all the elected members of the Central Committee as well as those on the Executive Committee who have taken the time out of their busy schedules, particularly through the recent Holiday Season, to meet and vote on the important decisions that have had to be made throughout. The democratic process is a remarkable tool that has served us well these past 232 years. It is a privilege to be part of it here in Norwood in 2008.

Steve Thornbury
Chair, Norwood Republican Party Central Committee

Friday, January 18, 2008

Eat more Wrigley’s gum…

We stole our headline from a reader who just alerted us to today’s Enquirer article announcing that the Cincinnati office of Interbrand, which employs more than 100 in Norwood at 4000 Smith Road, will lead design and packaging initiatives for chewing gum giant Wm. Wrigley Co. of Chicago. Wrigley, with global sales of $4 billion, produces and distributes 16 international brands of gum,mints, breath strips, and candies. It will be one of Interbrand Corp.’s top 10 accounts and is expected to bring new jobs. That’s more great economic news for Norwood and people needing jobs.

Get out the feather boas, Mardi Gras dance coming soon!

Two weeks from tomorrow, the Norwood Athletic Boosters, the non-profit group that does so much to support our student athletes at the Norwood Middle and High Schools, are hosting a Mardi Gras dance at the Holy Trinity Hall. And what a fun-packed evening they have planned for the price of a $15 ticket, plus it’s a great opportunity to show your support for the Norwood athletic programs. They really hope to see you there.

When: Saturday, February 2; 8:00 p.m. to midnight
Where: Holy Trinity Hall, 2300 Drex Avenue
Who’s invited: all ages 21 and over
Attire: Costumes are optional
Tickets: $15; can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling Melissa Jones at 236-1933 or Tim Bryant at 407-0486. Price includes beer, soft drinks, and snacks; music provided by a deejay.
For fun: door prizes, split the pot, and crowning of the King and Queen of Mardi Gras

Commenting policy - should we have one?

Back in August, 2006 when we started this blog, we decided to take a “wait and see” approach to whether or not we’d have a commenting policy. We decided what would guide us would be how often we’d have to step in and moderate. We hoped it would be rarely, and it has been. Here we are 520 blogs later, and we’ve moderated only 8-10 times. That’s a real tribute to our readers who have been overwhelmingly responsible in the remarks they’ve posted here. Thank you.

But don’t think we haven’t had some heated debates among ourselves about certain comments that made several of us cringe. More often than not, those were resolved on the side of not moderating. Along the way, a couple of readers emailed us about comments they felt were highly inappropriate. We agreed, and those were deleted.

The infrequency of problems isn’t the only reason we remain disinclined to having a commenting policy. We don’t want to spend our limited time, unless it becomes absolutely necessary, enforcing one. Recently, the Cincinnati Beacon instituted a commenting policy. We watched as their readers started complaining that it was not being evenly enforced and accusing the blog owners of making comments that violated their own policy! Those aren’t fights we’re interested in. We suspect our readers aren’t, either.

A commenting policy isn‘t our only option, though. Like the Cincinnati Beacon and many other blogs, we could preview comments before they’re published. But that doesn’t have appeal because it would be time consuming and would substantially slow down discussions.

Last week, the Daily Bellwether’s Bill Sloat wrote about his own conflict over comment moderation in a cautionary blog we recommend entitled “Ohio Blog Sued by School Principal: Toledo Lawsuit Tackles Anonymous Comments." Three of us put our names on our first blog on 8/2/06, and we have no desire to be sued over either our blog content or anonymous comments. We will continue to moderate in a way we will think will best protect all of us from litigation.

Our fundamental belief is that one of the best ways we can participate in making Norwood better is to provide an online place where citizens can share in a free flow of information and engage in open, productive dialogue. We hope this blog is a start in that direction. Some would argue that other websites like the Norwood Discussion Board fail, in part, because debates aren’t moderated and quickly degenerate into nothing but name calling sessions and worse. We have absolutely no interest in that model.

Maybe we should have a commenting policy, but we prefer to take things on the rare case by case basis. Here are examples of what we moderate: name calling; profanity (including 4-letter words that omit 1 or more of the letters); excessive speculation and innuendo in the absence of facts, especially when a specific individual is the topic; and comments that insult, demean, belittle other commenters.

We’ll be glad to answer any questions.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ohio Supreme Court rejects abuse case against Norwood priest

According to the Enquirer, a lawsuit filed by a woman alleging Norwood priest Rev. Norman Heil sexually abused her in 1965 was thrown out Wednesday in an unanimous Supreme Court decision. The unidentified woman was a student at Regina High School in Norwood when the abuse occurred. She claimed that after she became pregnant, the priest and a nun threatened that the church would cast her out and the baby would not be baptized if she kept it. The court rejected her attorney’s argument that the alleged threats prevented the woman from filing her lawsuit before the statue of limitations expired. Both Rev. Heil and the nun are deceased.

November 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 = 351

Medic Runs = 256
Fire Runs = 12 w/breakdown
Average Response Time on Runs = 3 minutes, 7 seconds (city-wide)

Number of incidents by type:
Fire Runs – 12 - (Building, Vehicle, Brush, etc.)
Overpressure, Explosion - 0
Rescue & Medic Unit Assists – 21- (lock-in, extrications, traffic accidents, etc.)
Hazardous Conditions (no fire) - 13 - (power lines down, arcing, spills, etc.)
Service Call – 8 - (smoke removal)
Good Intent – 2 - (odor of smoke, controlled burning)
False Alarms – 39 - (false alarms, system malfunctions, smoke detector activated, etc.)
Special Incident - 0

B. Fire Hydrant Activity
City Hydrants checked for leaks - 489
City-owned hydrants Out of Service & require repair/replacement - 18

C. Total Bureau of Fire Safety Inspections/Activities w/Breakdown = 512

1.) Bureau of Fire Safety Activities and Number of Activities:
Total Inspections – 85 - (residential, schools, churches, businesses)
Total Violations – issued 200
Total Violations – corrected 149
Total Block Inspections – 0 - (Unit #1, Unit #2, Unit #3 – Rental & multi-family)
Additional Activities - 78

2.) Breakdown of Fire Division Events:
CAER Meetings
Hamilton County Accountability Committee Meeting
Hamilton County Fire Chief’s Meetings
Eastern Fire Chief’s Meeting
R.A.T. Training
CPR Classes
Civil Service Meeting

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

X.U.‘s Lady Musketeers announce “Swishes for Wishes” game

Yesterday, Xavier’s women’s basketball team announced its 3rd annual “Swishes for Wishes” game will be played at 6:00 p.m., Saturday, January 26, at the Cintas Center when they take on the U.Mass. Minutewomen. What that means is that $1.00 from every ticket sold will benefit The Make-A-Wish Foundation to help make a sick child’s wish come true.

But that’s not all. Lots of fun activities for all ages will also fill the evening. Before the game, the Kroger Kids Zone will feature face painting, cornhole, sign making, basket shooting; and time will be allocated to interact with the mascots and cheerleaders. The Sherwood Rappin’ Ropes will entertain at halftime, and during the game, mini-basketballs, Xavier merchandise and gift certificates will be given away. Following the game, the Lady Musketeers will sign autographs.

And if that’s not enough, in addition to the $1.00 donation from ticket sales, Xavier is auctioning off a luxury suite on The auction runs from Tuesday, January 15 through 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 23. All proceeds from the auction will also benefit The Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Tickets are only $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for youth 17 and under. Groups of 15 or more can get $2.00 off. Groups will be announced on the video board and over the public address system if tickets are purchased in advance of game day. For tickets call (513) 745-3411.

Annual Warehouse Sale by Friends of the Public Library

Friends of the Public Library have scheduled their 12th Annual Warehouse Sale for this coming weekend. Starting Friday, the 3-day event will feature used books, videos, DVDs, CDs, audio books, and more for sale at prices so low, your pocketbook will barely notice…unless you just start grabbing everything in sight like one of us did a few years ago.

When: Friday, 1/18 and Saturday, 1/19 from 10-4 PM; Sunday 1/20 from noon-4 PM; Friends Members’ Preview Sale on Thursday, 1/17 from 5 to 8 PM
Where: 8456 Vine Street in Hartwell; 5 blocks north of Galbraith Road
Pay by: cash, check, Visa or Mastercard
More information: 369-6035

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Update: Xavier delays Zumbiel implosion a 3rd time

On 12/12/07, the Xavier Newswire reported that “Xavier is reasonably sure that the much anticipated event will take place in the early morning on Jan. 19.” Yesterday, we spoke with Debora Del Valle, Xavier’s Director of Public Relations, to confirm this Saturday’s date. As it turns out, the Zumbiel implosion has been postponed indefinitely, the third time it’s been postponed.

The main reason for the delay, according to Ms. Del Valle, is that in the process of preparing the Zumbiel plant for the big bang, contractors found traces of asbestos around the window caulking. As a result, all the windows in the structure will have to be removed so asbestos isn't sent into the atmosphere during the implosion. Contractors are also in the process of pulling up some of the asphalt and tearing down metal buildings on the property. Since there’s no way to project how long the window removal and other prep work will take, the university is not scheduling a new date for the implosion at this time.

Ms. Del Valle went on to say that following the implosion, everything that can be will be recycled. Cranes will be brought in to sift through the debris to salvage steel, which will go to A.K. Steel, as well as concrete and bricks.

Before too long, the university will have a video online about the prep work that’s underway, and we’ll be able to post a link to it as well as to future videos that are being planned.

Xavier is keeping Norwood officials fully informed about their progress on the demolition. They’re even going to send a letter to nearby residents giving them about two weeks notice before the implosion. As Ms. Del Valle said, “We don’t want anyone to be suddenly awakened that morning and terrified about the explosion they just heard.”

Concert this Friday at Zion United Church of Christ

Queen City Balladeers, sponsors of the Leo Coffeehouse, are presenting Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart in a special concert this Friday at Norwood’s Zion United Church of Christ.

When: Friday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $12 general; $10 QCB members & advance
Directions: click here
More information: click here

Also, here’s the January entertainment schedule for Sunday evenings at the Leo Coffeehouse.

Monday, January 14, 2008

COW meeting rescheduled for tomorrow

Instead of meeting the 1st Tuesday this month, New Year’s Day, City Council’s Committee of the Whole is scheduled to meet at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow in Council Chambers. Looking at the agenda below, we wonder if the idea of hiring a budget analyst will be revisited during their discussion of financial planning. COW meetings are broadcast live on local cable Channel 4.

1. Financial Planning and Management
2. Vacant Houses
3. Rental Property
4. Sexual Predator
5. Zoning Ordinance for Sherman Avenue

Norwood’s share of Community Development Block grant

Last Thursday, the Enquirer announced that Norwood is one of 17 Hamilton County townships, villages, and cities to receive part of $5.3 million in federal money for local projects. We called Rick Dettmer, Norwood’s Community Development Director, to find out how much the City has been awarded, and here’s what he told us:

This is the 3rd year of a 3-year funding cycle of the Community Development Block Program. For the funding to continue, Norwood will need to reapply for the next 3-year cycle. The City will receive a total $254,000 in 2008 to be allocated as follows:

$4,000 - Norwood Youth Dental Program
$10,000 - Tree Board for streetscape improvements
$100,000 - street infrastructure improvements, which the City will match using funds from another grant
$125,000 - park improvements

Friday, January 11, 2008

Guest blog: Jeremiah Griswold with Vineyard Central

Yesterday, Jeremiah Griswold emailed us some very exciting news to share about a new arts foundation for our youth that’s just getting off the ground in our community. We encourage you to email this blog to anyone you think would be interested in participating in the opportunities he describes. And, of course, we thank Mr. Griswold for thinking of us. This is yet another example of great things happening in Norwood!


I am excited to share with you the beginnings of a new arts foundation. This work will provide training in all of the arts for talented and motivated youth who do not have the resources to continue or supplement their arts education. It is a faith-based organization at its core, although the focus is on pursuing truth through creating/playing/performing and enjoying great art. The growth of this dream will depend on people like you who might get inspired about this opportunity and respond in some way, big or little. As we push off there is need for arts mentors/teachers, contacts with teachers/students, volunteers of all sorts. It is clearly described on the website that has just gone live........

Please take a few moments to peruse this site, and respond to what moves you. At the least, please forward the information on to others you think might be interested or may know someone who is. Do you know a prospective student? Do you know an artist, musician, writer, photographer, actor, etc who would embrace the opportunity to take on one student? Perhaps you know a prospective High School Junior or Senior who might qualify for the 2008 Scholarship Competition? Make sure they see the information on the website: The information and application for the competition can be downloaded from there. Here is the summary.

2008 Scholarship competition
The st.elizabeth arts foundation represents an outstanding regional network of professional creative and performing artists dedicated to empowering the next generation of artists. We are currently offering a spectacular package of mentorship and training aimed at young artists who can demonstrate exceptional talent, commitment, and motivation, but have so-far lacked access to the training they deserve. For this particular opportunity, we are seeking high school juniors and seniors, especially those who are considering continuing their art education at the undergraduate level.

Jeremiah Griswold
Vineyard Central Church

Cincinnati Beacon: How Hamilton Co. advertises its orphans

Should Hamilton County’s Department of Job and Family Services use the internet to publicize medical information about children in their custody who are available for adoption? The Beacon found the profile, including a photo, of a 14-year-old named Taren in last month’s Hamilton County newsletter. It stated in part:

“…Taren participates in an IEP at school, but is academically on-target… Taren needs help with the way she expresses anger and aggression and improving her behavior. A strong father figure who can model appropriate ways to communicate feelings would be beneficial, as would a family who will support her in ongoing therapy. Medication will be a part of Taren’s life, and she will need help coping with separation and loss.”

That’s just one example. There are profiles of many other children on the HCAdoptweb page that similarly provide details about negative behavior, the need for medication, ongoing therapy, and the like. Doesn’t this violate the spirit if not the letter of HIPAA? And should HCJFS have published Taren’s complete profile in the Enquirer as well?

Why aren't these kinds of details privileged information to be shared privately only with screened candidates who want to adopt? What parent would publish this information about his or her own child on the internet? None we suspect, yet HCJFS is doing it to children in their custody, children they are supposed to protect. The Beacon is right to point out the potential hazards of this information falling into the hands of classmates, especially teenage classmates, who might recognize these adoption candidates from their photos. We know all too well from the recent YouTube fight video what teenagers themselves can do on the internet. HCJFS needs to stop this practice immediately.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Guest blog: Lupe Hoyt of Norwood Service League

We are pleased to announce that Lupe Hoyt will be a guest blogger here from time to time. We look forward to her updates on Norwood Service League’s various services for those in need among us and the opportunities available for community members to pitch in and help. Following is her first blog:

Think back to a time when a caring adult helped you through a tough spell in your young life. Who helped you overcome defeat, low self-worth? Who taught you to look beyond today's circumstance, to dream of success?

Norwood Service League needs more volunteers to serve as Youth Mentors to help guide students toward school success. Over the last four years, 100 students have been matched with a caring adult who helped them with attendance, improving grades and social/peer skills. NSL is serving students at Williams Ave. Elementary and Norwood View Elementary during school year 2007-08. Mentor training is available, volunteers must complete application and pass background check.

Volunteers will meet with students during lunch once a week. Please call 924-1200 to speak with Michelle, Youth Services Specialist. Learn how you can give back to your community through our children.

Lupe A. González Hoyt
Executive Director
Norwood Service League
2071 Lawrence Avenue

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Norwood runner Mary Wineberg: “I guess I’m a late bloomer”

Norwood resident Mary Wineberg may still be headed for next summer’s Beijing Olympics, running the 4x400 meter relay for the U.S. team. Mary told the Enquirer she didn’t realize she wanted a career in track until after she graduated from U.C. in 2002 and was teaching school. In the years since, her times have steadily improved, she left her teaching career, and now the 27-year-old says of herself, “I guess I’m a late bloomer.” Mary qualified for the 400-meters and 4x400 at the Osaka, Japan world championships this past August.

September ’07 Norwood Police call stats

A monthly feature

Total NPD calls:

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
August: 3,167 = 102 per day = 4.25 per hour
September: 2761 = 92 per day = 3.83 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 September through December ’06, followed by January through September ’07 in this partial breakdown by categories of calls:

Auto Accidents: 78-70-75-74 - 2007: 69-80-69-68-80-74-63-70-74
Criminal Damage: 54-47-42-41 - 2007: 41-32-39-53-46-45-53-41-41
Dom. Violence: 34-39-20-27 - 2007: 25-24-30-34-31-31-31-35-42
Fights: 42-43-37-42 - 2007: 36-35-63-56-70-36-58-37-37
Burglary: 16-26-15-22 - 2007: 23-20-24-19-24-17-15-25-27
Traffic Stops:184-317-287-189 -
2007: 248-208-324-373-466-320-622-341-207
DUI: 5-11-7-9 - 2007: 1-1-5-9-10-10-13-4-8
Assault: 26-29-14-14 - 2007: 22-21-17-23-39-26-21-25-35
Noise Complaints: 71-49-36-37 - 2007: 31-33-64-66-78-72-98-36-55
Theft: 102-139-125-105 - 2007: 106-80-96-132-138-118-134-133-109
Theft/Motor Vehicle: 12-14-7-12 - 2007: 10-10-12-12-9-16-9-6-10
Rape/Attempted Rape: 2-4-1-1 - 2007: 1-1-1*-1*-1-2-1-1-1

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

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Community Meal and Movie at Zion United Church of Christ

Here’s a fun Saturday night outing for the entire family. Norwood’s Zion United Church of Christ, 2332 Sherwood Lane, is hosting a Community Meal & Movie, and we’re all invited:

When: Sat., Jan. 12
Meal: 5:00-6:30 PM: LaRosa’s spaghetti dinner with garlic bread and salad; beverages will be provided
Movie: 6:30 PM: “Chronicles of Narnia,” based on C.S. Lewis’ timeless adventures
Directions: click here, then click on Directions
More information: 531-5400

November, 2007 Earnings Tax Report

A new monthly feature

Every month, John Hanrahan submits an Earnings Tax Report to council. Below is the summary information from the November report, which shows a hefty 2007 YTD increase over 2006.


Collections thru November 2007.……….$14,437,711.85
Collections thru November 2006.……….$12,572,433.06
Increase in collections over 2006..14%…$1,865,078.79

Monday, January 07, 2008

Rev. Chris White’s letter to all Norwood clergy

Several days ago, Rev. Chris White, pastor of the Norwood Presbyterian Church, emailed us the following letter to share with our readers. We greatly appreciate her wanting all of us to know about the momentous gathering of Norwood clergy coming up later this month. We wish them much success on this groundbreaking endeavor.

January 3, 2008


Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

You are invited to attend a luncheon gathering of Norwood clergy on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 11:30 AM. Space has been reserved for us in Buffalo Wings and Rings, the new restaurant located in the Quality Hotel.

The pastors from Norwood’s Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ and Wesleyan Churches have already met and would like to widen this circle to include YOU! We’re hoping to develop a network of community clergy who are willing to find common ground in Jesus Christ that goes beyond theological differences.

We have begun a dialogue with the Norwood High School regarding the possibility of re-establishing a baccalaureate service for Norwood’s graduating students. We hope you will come and add your wisdom to our discussion.

Kindly RSVP to the church office via phone (513) 531-1546 or email

Thank you and may God continue to bless you and your ministry!


The Rev. Chris White

Trevor Gummere is new NCS treasurer

Late last week, 3 Ohio newpapers - here, here, and here - reported that Trevor Gummere, treasurer of Coshocton County’s Ridgewood Local School District, has accepted the position of treasurer of Norwood City Schools. He will assume the new post approximately January 26. Mr. Gummere’s resignation took the Ridgewood BOE by surprise during their Wednesday night meeting. After swearing in three new board members, he announced he was leaving to take the Norwood position. He told the Times Reporter newspaper he had been selectively applying for jobs the last three months, and stated, “It’s a family decision between my wife and I. Time to face some different challenges.”

Friday, January 04, 2008

2008-2009 Standing Committees of City Council

The new Standing Committees of Norwood City Council are now posted on Council’s website. These, along with new Standing Rules of Council, were decided at a Special Council Meeting at 11:00 a.m. New Year’s Day. Instead of 6, there are now 7 committees. The former Parks, Recreation and Infrastructure Committee (we think that was the name of it) is gone, replaced by two newly-named committees: Streets and Infrastracture, chaired by Joe Sanker; and Parks and Recreation, chaired by Victor Schneider. Perhaps the biggest news of all is that Ward 3’s Chuck Barlow is the new chair of Finance and Audit, replacing longtime chair Joe Sanker.

Click here for the 2008-2009 Standing Rules of Council. See anything new or different?

Enquirer interviews Norwood’s Regina Russo of Channel 19

Today’s Enquirer features a lengthy interview with Regina Russo, an 11-year veteran weekend anchor and reporter at WXIX-TV. After graduating from Purdue University, she worked at two Michigan radio stations, followed by a two-year stint at a Lansing TV station before coming to Channel 19 in 1996. Ms. Russo and her husband and their 17-month-old son reside in Norwood, not far from the Rookwood Commons restaurant where the Enquirer reporter interviewed her.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New real estate blog by Norwood resident Jamie Stutzman

Norwood resident and Sibcy Cline Realtor Jamie Stutzman fired up a fantastic new blog this past November called Keepin’ it REAL Estate. Jamie’s blog is a must read for current information about and analysis of Norwood and area market conditions, for buying and selling tips, mortgage data, etc. Best of all, though, she’s written five blogs (click on "next page" at the bottom of the first page) so far about Norwood, including five “fab” reasons to move here, a complete listing of our wonderful parks, and volunteer opportunities with the Norwood Service League.

Jamie is with Sibcy Cline’s Hyde Park office and specializes in Norwood, Oakley, Hyde Park, and Mt. Lookout properties. Click here for her Sibcy Cline website where you can read her resume, view her listings, and more.

Some readers may have noticed in recent days that we’ve added the NSC and City websites, our 2 secondary blogs, and some of our favorite blogs to the links section on the right. We’re so impressed with the real estate information in Jamie’s blog and her efforts to promote Norwood that we’ve added Keepin’ it REAL Estate to the links. Way to go, Jamie!

January winter tales, family games at Norwood Library

The folks at our Norwood Branch Library are certainly doing their part to help us ward off the winter doldrums by hosting these two fun events this month:

What: Pre-school Storytime - winter tales that will include stories about snow, winter coats, followed by a crafts session; ages 3-6
When: Tuesday, January 8; 7:00 - 7:45 p.m.
More information: Call 369-6037; no pre-registration

What: Family Game Night - very casual; board games for families and groups of kids, plus cornhole bean bag will be set up; refreshments will be served; all ages
When: Thursday, January 31; 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
More information: Call 369-6037; no pre-registration even though it says so on their website.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Norwood hero Spc. Brandon Rork needs our votes!

Vote for him today and every day

Last month, an extremely thoughtful blogger named Sarah nominated our hometown hero Spc. Brandon Rork for the VA Mortgage Center 2007 American Hero Award. He’s one of ten finalists, all veterans of service in either Iraq or Afghanistan, and as Sarah blogged, “I was thrilled to learn he was chosen as a finalist and that has already net him a sweet $500 prize.”

Now what’s at stake is the big $5,000 prize, and we can all help Brandon win it by voting for him once a day at this VAMortgageCenter website. Just scroll down the page until you get to Brandon Rork, then click on “read more” to see the letters both his parents and his commanding officer wrote about his heroism, then VOTE for him.

Be sure to visit Sarah’s blog The Front Porch Swing to see photos of Brandon, the view from his watch that fateful night on his post, and the terrorist’s truck he stopped from exploding.

Also, by clicking on the email option directly below, you can send this blog to your friends and family members so we can rack up some big winning numbers for Brandon. And don’t forget, you can vote once a day until the poll is closed.

Zumbiel set to implode Saturday, January 19

On 12/12/07, the Xavier Newswire announced that a new date for the implosion of the Zumbiel Packaging Plant has been set: “Xavier is reasonably sure that the much anticipated event will take place in the early morning on Jan. 19.” This is the second time demolition has been delayed. As we reported in this 10/31/07 blog, it was originally scheduled for October, then changed to December.

Pianist Terrence Wilson performing at X.U. this Sunday

This coming Sunday afternoon, Xavier’s Classical Piano Series is featuring Terrence Wilson in concert. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Mr. Wilson has performed with many orchestras both in the U.S. and abroad, and he has received numerous awards, including the Juilliard Petschek Award and an Avery Fisher Career Grant. For more on his musical background, click here.

When: Sunday, Jan. 6; 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: $19 for keyboard side; $17 for right side; 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, January 01, 2008

2008 Inauguration Ceremony

Following the opening prayer by Pastor Chris White of the Norwood Presbyterian Church, all but one of our elected city officials took their oaths of office at today’s inauguration at the Norwood Middle School. Our roving reporter who attended tells us that without explanation, no one was sworn in as City Auditor. As Steve Thornbury clearly stated in the 12/18/07 blog below, “Mr. Stith will finish out the term that Donnie R. Jones vacated with his written notification earlier this year.” That meant, of course, that Jim Stith was appointed to the auditor position only for the balance of the year 2007. Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Jones’ 12/31/07 resignation letter for the 4-year term commencing today was submitted to the Board of Elections. If we receive any updates on the position, we’ll let you know.

Our roving reporter estimated a large audience of about 150+ attendees watched as sons, grandsons, spouses, other relatives and/or friends gave the oath of office to officials. Mayor Williams delivered the keynote speech, which addressed a number of issues, including Norwood’s housing stock. We plan on installing his speech on YouTube in the coming days for the benefit of readers who don’t have access to replays of the ceremony on cable channel 4.

Click here to see pictures of some of our officials taking their oaths of office today.