Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Welcome new Burwood websites to our online community!

The folks that organized the campaign to save Burwood Pool and clean both it and the park up this past Saturday, Great American Clean Up Day, are at it again. Now they’ve started not one but two websites to keep Norwoodians up to speed about their plans and progress to return Burwood Park and Pool to their former glory. We’ve added both sites to our links on the right hand side.

Resident Bob Mace tells us this Burwood website is a general website for the whole community. Check out the before and after pictures of Saturday’s clean up as well as a description of what the 30+ adults and children actually did that day to spiffy up the place and get things ready for painting. Amazing!

Then there’s this Burwood blog where community members can post information, comments and suggestions about the park/pool transformation. Congratulations to these folks for adding two sites to help keep us informed and engaged in this great, ongoing project at Burwood! What will they come up with next?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Part II: NCS Downsizing K-8 Option

Filed by Lisa Bauer

To readers: This blog outlines the first of two options Superintendent Steve Collier is currently asking Norwood citizens to consider for downsizing schools (See yesterday‘s Part I below.) CBN readers are encouraged to post their input on this blog in the comments box. It is another way for citizens to give school district administrators and the school board members feedback on how to address the declining enrollment in Norwood City School District.

Superintendent Steve Collier said that one plan for making the Norwood City Schools’ use of its buildings more efficient is to designate four buildings to house students in grades K-8. If that is the downsizing plan that is adopted, he said, the Middle School, “which can hold easily 800 kids,” would be used as a K-8 building along with three other existing elementary schools.

In this plan, Collier explained, Norwood elementary school students would be divided as follows:

1. Around 550 in a "large attendance area" would be assigned to the Middle school.
2. Other students in smaller attendance areas would be divided into three other existing elementary buildings that would serve 300 to 400 students per building.

Further, Collier said, in the K-8 building plan, there would be no intradistrict enrollment, meaning that students would be required to attend elementary school wherever the district assigns them. "You may live close to View and have to go to the Middle Schools," Collier emphasized.

Collier said that advantages to this option include the ability to keep neighborhood schools intact, even though district lines for attendance would have to be redrawn. Collier said he suspected that since the community is used to neighborhood schools, it may be more comfortable with this solution. In addition, he said, Norwood would not have to bus students, which could cost the district thousands of dollars. He gave a “ballpark figure” of around $60,000 per year for bus service expenses, although he said the district has not asked bus companies for estimates yet.

Collier said a disadvantage of the K-8 building solution is the costs of refitting the Middle School to accommodate small children. Another concern he mentioned included having small children on a school campus that would be housing grades K-12, since the High School is connected with the Middle School and the two buildings share a schoolyard, auditoriums, and a cafeteria.

Other questions Collier raised about this solution included where and how to distribute the books in the Middle School library if they had to be divided between four elementary schools and how to handle the lunch schedule for elementary students attending the former Middle School. It would be impossible, he said, for the High School cafeteria, which currently serves both the Middle and High Schools, to schedule serving lunch to students in grades K-12.

Along with the logistical problems of converting the Middle School building, Collier added that if the district goes from K-6 elementary schools to K-8 elementary schools, there would be several disadvantages for students in grades 7 and 8. They included:

1. Loss of opportunity for Middle School students to take algebra classes for high school credit and foreign language classes, since the district couldn't afford to assign teachers of these subjects to each K-8 building,
2. Loss of extracurricular opportunities, since the district cannot afford to have teams for each elementary building (although Collier said that it might be possible to figure out some solution for dropping students off at one locations),
3. And, no band or orchestra at the Middle School as it would be impossible to schedule existing teachers to travel to four different buildings to work with seventh and eighth graders.

Finally, Collier said that using this plan, all elementary students would lose computer labs at school because all the rooms would be needed for classrooms.

Collier emphasized that he is not invested in either plan for downsizing the district. He and the School Board, he said, are committed to using community feedback to see what Norwood

The other downsizing solution, grade-specific buildings, will be explained Thursday in Part III of this series.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Enquirer: Bond Hill Showcase Cinema closed

Thanks to one of our readers for letting us know the Showcase Cinema in Bond Hill at the Norwood Lateral and Reading Road closed today. The company declined to comment, but their spokewoman said a statement would be issued. It's been years since we've seen the parking lot full of cars, so this doesn't come as a huge surprise. What drove attendance down - safety issues?

Part I: Superintendent Collier explains downsizing, seeks input

We want to thank NCS Superintendent Steve Collier for sitting down with our school reporter Lisa Bauer last month to discuss the specifics of why the school district needs to downsize and to explain the options being offered to the community during their five “Planning for the Future of Norwood City Schools” informational meetings (see this 4/18/08 blog for the schedule.) Input from community members is key to decision making, so both Mr. Collier and board of education members will be checking in to see what our readers have to say about the two options. Part II of this 3-part series, the K-6 Option, will be published tomorrow, and on Thursday, we’ll publish Part III, K-6, Grade-Specific Buildings. Of course, attending one of the informational meetings will provide the best avenue for understanding the two options. Following is Part I:

Filed by Lisa Bauer

Since the end of Spring Break and over the next few weeks, Norwood City Schools Superintendent Steve Collier will be meeting with parent and community groups to get input on making some tough decisions about Norwood City Schools. Collier explained that downsizing needs to take place in order to be financially responsible to taxpayers. He noted that for the past few years, Norwood’s enrollment has been shrinking by about 50 students per year, but that the lost revenue was handled by cutting school staff.

“We’ve been doing it for the last five years,” Collier said, adding that when staff members resigned or retired, they were simply not replaced. “You haven’t heard about it because nobody lost their job. We are shrinking our staff.”

At this point, Collier said, the district needs to expand its cost-cutting efforts and that looking at how it uses its buildings makes the most financial sense. And that’s where his attendance at community meetings fits into the equation.

Collier said he will be presenting two options for downsizing to the community. The first option involves making all grade schools K-8, and using the Middle School as one of the K-8 buildings. The second option involves housing different clusters of grades pre-K through six in four different buildings and continuing to use the Middle School and the High School in the way they are currently being used.

“I don’t want to convince (community groups), but to show them the options and get feedback,” Collier said, noting that each option has advantages and disadvantages to be considered. He emphasized that school officials have no particular preference for one option or the other. They and the School Board simply wish, he said, to have community input on the decision before School Board members vote.

Collier said area architects are evaluating the cost-effectiveness of operating each of the five Norwood elementary school buildings, Sharpsburg, Williams Avenue, Allison, Norwood View and North Norwood, which hasn’t been used as an elementary school by Norwood in several years.

“North Norwood is open for discussion,” said Collier, adding that the building is in good shape and that the architects said it might be the most cost-effective building to use, given the fact that it would be easiest to install an elevator there. “We want to make it a very logical decision based on current repairs, future repairs, and the geography based on current enrollment of students.”

In any event, Collier said, closing one elementary building will save the district money by eliminating the need for support staff and food service. “Most of the teachers you’ll still need, though,” he added. “You’ll still need them because the students are still there.”

In addition to feasibility studies of buildings, Collier said that school district officials were researching and visiting schools in the area such as Winton Woods, Finneytown, Deer Park, Mason, Madeira and Lebanon that have grade-level buildings rather than K-6 buildings. “Educationally it’s sound, but we’re concerned,” Collier said, explaining that both school administrators and the School Board are aware that parents and the community may not be happy to have neighborhood schools eliminated.

Collier said that gathering community input and taking time to make a decision that weighs all the factors means that no changes will be made until 2009-10. However, he said that he hoped to have the decision about what building to close made by summer.

“We’re pretty much status quo for next year, but there’s a lot to do to make changes, he said.”

Explaining the details of each plan being considered to redistrict Norwood’s elementary school students would take up more space than one blog posting will allow. Therefore, in the next few days, individual postings covering both plans will be posted on the CBN Blog. Readers are encouraged to post their opinions of the plans. Collier said he and School Board Members would be interested in seeing the reactions of CBN readers, so be sure to consider the option, click on “comments” and let us know what you think.

May means Xavier’s Spring Music Festival

Choices range from ballet to brass

Starting this Wednesday evening, Xavier’s Spring Music Festival will get underway with music department ensembles and groups performing each of 3 nights this week. The festival is open to the public in the Gallagher Student Center Theatre. The charge for Xavier students is $2 per concert; $5 for all others.

Wednesday, April 30th 7:00 p.m.: The night will open with Diane Campbell’s dance classes, which will perform dance styles from hip hop to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. This will be followed by the Student Brass Ensemble.

Thursday, May 1st 7:30 p.m.: The Xavier Orchestra, conducted by Kelly Kuo, will perform music by Bach and Barber. The Xavier Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by Ronald Montgomery, will round out the evening with works by Ticheli, Holsinger and others.

Friday, May 2nd 7:30 p.m.: The Xavier University Women’s Chorus, under Linda Bursarow, will open the evening performing an international program of choral music. The ballet students of Sasha Hart will take the stage next. The festival will end with a The Edgecliff Vocal Ensemble, under the direction of Tom Merrill, which will perform selected spirituals.

Friday, April 25, 2008

News at the Norwood Health Department website

If you haven’t visited the Norwood Health Department website lately, now’s the time. They keep adding news and other information about the incredible array of services they provide to the community. We appreciate the time and effort they put into this site to provide information vital to our and our children’s quality of living.

Recently, we paid a visit and were pretty wowed by this front page news - a photo of Health Commission Donna Laake receiving a certificate of appreciation last month from the Latino Educational Assimilation Resource located on Paxton Avenue. The group’s mission is “to help public emergency, health and educational services communicate with the growing Hispanic population.” They have donated Spanish translators, dictionaries, tapes, carrying cases, and other material to help Health Department personnel better communicate with our local Hispanic community. According to their website, the Norwood Fire Department has asked for Spanish translator machines and other supplies they’ll be providing them with this year.

If you‘re interested in healthier meals when dining out locally, click here to see the 12 Norwood restaurants that achieved the Gold Plate standard awarded by Health Department through the Gold (Great Options in Lower-fat Dining) Plate Program. As their brochure states, “when choosing these options you not only benefit your own health but also support these restaurants’ efforts to benefit our community.”

To put our own stamp on that support and also do our part to help the Health Department “spread the word” about their services and news, we’ve added their website to our links on the right hand side.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Just in - Thank you letter from Norwood Rec. to citizens

We just received the following letter from the Norwood Recreation office:

The Norwood Recreation Commission would like to thank all those citizens who signed the petition to keep Burwood Pool open and those who came to our April 16, 2008 meeting to show their support to keep Burwood Pool open. The commissioners would really like to send each individual citizen a thank you, but we are unable to do that because we do not have all their addresses. We were impressed to see the people come together and show their support for our community park. Thank you for your time.

Norwood Recreation Commissioners

Kevin Henges
Kevin Moreland
Scott Faulkner
Tom Kemper
Jennifer Wallace, Executive Director

Burwood Park Spring Clean Up this Saturday

As everyone knows, this Saturday, April 26, is a big day in our community. The Norwood Tree Board is celebrating Arbor Day from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Community Center, plus it’s the annual Great American Clean Up Day, sponsored by the Recreation Commission. In keeping with the latter, the residents who organized the recent successful campaign to keep Burwood pool open are leaving nothing to chance with regard to spring clean up at Burwood Park. They’ve been distributing a flyer inviting folks to drop by Burwood at 9:00 a.m. this Saturday and donate a couple of hours to help them. And bring any or all of the following: rake, garbage bags, and pruners.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pianist Gleb Ivanov performing at X.U. this Sunday

This coming Sunday afternoon, Xavier’s Classical Piano Series is featuring 23-year-old Russian pianist Gleb Ivanov in concert. The Washington Times described his talent as “larger than life…eerily like the ghost of Horowitz.” In fact, among the international competitions he has won was Best Performance of a Beethoven Sonata at the First International Vladimir Horowitz Competition in Kiev in 1995.

When: Sunday, April 27; 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, April 22, 2008

NHD hosting “Introduction to Tristate Medical Corps"

We just received this flyer from Norwood Health Commissioner Donna Laake describing the critical need for local volunteers to sign up for the Tristate Medical Reserve Corps. With only 6 fulltime employees to handle emergency disasters, the Norwood Health Department needs “average citizens, both medical and non-medical, who have volunteered to receive basic training and assist us in an emergency… TMRC volunteers can be as active as they choose and can respond in areas that they designate. If someone wants to only volunteer in Norwood, that’s fine.”

This Thursday evening, April 24, the NHD is hosting an “ “Introduction to the Tristate Medical Reserve Corps” at Norwood High School for anyone who might be interested in volunteering. There’s no requirement to sign for the TMRC even after taking part in the training.

When: Thursday, April 24 from 6 - 8 p.m.
Where: Mini Auditorium at Norwood High School, 2020 Sherman Avenue
Reservations: Call the Health Department at 458-4600 or email
Bonus: A light meal and refreshments will be served.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Marcus Patterson appointed Deputy Auditor

Following is Norwood Auditor Jim Stith’s letter informing City Council of his appointment of Marcus Patterson to the position of Deputy Auditor.

April 6, 2008

Dear Madame President and Members of Council:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Marcus Patterson as the new Deputy Auditor for the City of Norwood. Mr. Patterson is a financial professional with experience in accounting. He holds a Bachelors of Science from N.C. A&T State University and has just completed an MBA in Accounting from Indiana Wesleyan University. He has previously worked for 5/3 Bank as a Securities Accountant.

Mr. Patterson is a sound professional who is anxious to work for out City and help our office run efficiently. He is exactly the type of experiences individual we have been looking for. Mr. Patterson has the skills the Auditor’s office requires to move into the future.


Jim Stith

cc: All Elected Officials and Department Heads

BOE extends Superintendent Collier's contract to 2011

Yesterday’s Enquirer reported that the April meeting of the NCS Board of Education will be at 6:00 p.m. this Thursday, April 24, at Norwood High School, 2020 Sherman Avenue. Building usage and grade configurations will be discussed. At last month’s meeting, the BOE abolished the assistant superintendent position and extended Superintendent Steve Collier’s contract to 2011.

116th Norwood Day Parade scheduled for July 22

The Norwood Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the annual Norwood Day Parade, has chosen “Norwood: Gateway to the Future” as the theme for this year’s event. The parade will get underway at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 22. The deadline for submitting the entry fee and application to appear in the parade is Monday, June 30. Click here to download the application form.

8:40 a.m. Addendum: Thank you, Laura, for the information you provided in the comments box regarding the 73rd Annual Norwood Day at Coney Island. It deserves front page status:

“The Norwood Business and Professional Women's Club would like to invite everyone to Norwood Day on Wednesday, July 23, at Coney Island. You'll be seeing posters and other publicity around town soon, but please save this date for a great day with your family at Coney Island at a special rate of $17 for those age 4 and up, $4 for kids 2-3 and free to infants under 2. We'll also have our annual Baby Show, bingo, the combination raffle with great prizes, and corn hole and horseshoes. All proceeds benefit our scholarship fund, which each year helps two girls graduating from Norwood High School.”

X.U.'s 2nd Annual Rummage Sale starts this Thursday

The Xavier University Student Government Association Executives, Voices of Solidarity, Student Organization of Latinos and Earthbread are sponsoring the two-day 2nd Annual Rummage Sale.

The proceeds of the Xavier rummage sale will go to the Nicaraguan Scholarship fund which benefits Latin-American college students from the families that Xavier students stay with during the Service Learning Semester in Nicaragua. Unsold items are donated to the Salvation Army. Bookcases, chairs, lamps, clocks - anything students do not want to haul home - will be for sale at great prices for a great cause.

When: Thursday, April 24 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and Friday, April 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Where: the greenspace in front of the Gallagher Student Center.

Friday, April 18, 2008

NCS hosting community wide planning meetings

Yesterday, Jen Seurkamp alerted us to this Norwood City Schools’ flyer inviting everyone to attend any of their five upcoming “Planning for the Future of Norwood City Schools” informational meetings:

Monday April 21: Norwood View Auditorium; 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 23: Allison Elementary Auditorium; 7:00 p.m.
Monday, April 28: Williams Elementary Auditorium; 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 30: Norwood HS & MS in HS Library; 7:00 p.m.
Monday, May 5: Sharpsburg Elementary Auditorium; 7:00 p.m.

Call 924-2500 if you need more information.

Derek Webb in concert next week at St. Elizabeth’s

Singer-songwriter and acclaimed folk musician Derek Webb will be performing with his band next Thursday evening in the auditorium at St. Elizabeth’s. His wife Sandra McCracken, Nashville's Allie Rogers, and local folk favorite Liz Bowater will open the show. There‘s no assigned seating, so it’s first come, first served.

When: Thursday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: St. Elizabeth’s auditorium, 1757 Mills Avenue
Tickets: $12; Click here for advance ticket information or email Sharon at

Friday Media Olio

1. The NCS website has these pictures of the Allison chess champs Jen Seurkamp told us about in her 4/11/08 blog below.

2. The Bengals website has the full story on how Norwood firefighter Jeff Lackmeyer was able to get autographed footballs and other Bengals items for the Indian Mound Café fundraiser he organized last Saturday to benefit the families of the two fallen Colerain firefighters. Late Thursday morning, just two days before the event, injured Bengals linebacker Eric Henderson got word Jeff needed help and immediately went into overtime, quickly buying the footballs to get his teammates’ autographs before they left town for the weekend‘ He also persuaded the equipment manager to donate visors and the marketing department to donate banners and towels.

3. The Enquirer published this informative article by Bill Graff, Norwood Citizens on Patrol Chairman, in which he details exactly what Citizens on Patrol volunteers do to keep our community safer. If you’d like to become a COP volunteer, call Lt. Tom Williams, the NPD’s Community Affairs Officer, at 458-4545 or attend the April COPP’s meeting this Monday, 4/21/08, at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Center, 1810 Courtland Avenue.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rec. Commissioners: $$$ wasn’t why pool was closed

Last night’s Recreation meeting opened with Commissioners Henges, Faulkner, and Kemper and Recreation Director Jenny Wallace introducing themselves to an audience of about 50+ adults and children. They gave short bio's about their longevity as residents and their longstanding ties to Recreation and other Norwood institutions. Among the attendees were City Council members Steve Thornbury, Victor Schneider, and Mike Gabbard, and City Auditor Jim Stith.

Next, approximately 15 residents addressed the Commissioners. Most were also longtime residents with strong generational ties to Norwood’s parks, especially to Burwood. Several mothers, now grandmothers, spoke about how important Burwood pool had been and remains in the lives of their children and now their grandchildren. Several stated they weren’t able to afford the higher cost of Waterworks pool and that Burwood was far more suitable for young children. Concern was expressed about the poor maintenance and inadequate trash pick up both at Burwood and other parks.

At least 3 residents challenged the low attendance data that led to the Commissioners’ decision to close the pool, citing sign up forms that weren’t always available, resulting in inaccurate record keeping. They expressed certainty that 2007 attendance was, in fact, up over the previous year, with an average of about 45 daily swimmers.

In answer to one resident’s question, “What does it take to keep Burwood pool open and address the other issues with our parks?”, Councilpersons Schneider and Thornbury later supplied the answers: keep doing what you’re doing and take your message to the next City Council meeting on April 28th. Heads began nodding in agreement, indicating a consensus that council will be their next stop.

When Commissioner Henges announced after a brief recess that Burwood pool would be open this summer after all, he stated that a lack of money was not the reason the Commissioners had voted earlier to close it. He said there is concern that fewer and smaller families in Norwood are sufficient to justify keeping the pool open long term. Attendance and other issues will be evaluated as they decide the pool’s fate after this summer season.

Among the many memorable remarks of the evening were some supplied by Mr. Stith, who quoted one of his grandmother’s favorite axioms - “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” As a 7-year resident of Norwood, Mr. Stith believes maintaining our parks and the recreational activities they provide for our youth is key to attracting and keeping families like his and others as homeowners. He went on to say, “Our parks give us a small town, community feel; and if we chip away at that feeling, we’re going to lose.”

8/21/08 UPDATE: Yesterday’s Enquirer had this blurb about last Wednesday’s Recreation meeting. It reports the final total of petition signatures at 820. Of these, 65 were on the children’s petition.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rec. Commissioners vote to keep Burwood pool open!

After listening to approximately 15 members of the public make the case tonight to keep Burwood Park open, Recreation Commissioners Scott Faulkner, Ken Henges and Tom Kemper took a short recess to consider the matter. Within minutes they reappeared and announced that Burwood pool would be open this year for one year while they evaluate its future. Those in attendance, approximately 35 adults and half that many children, immediately applauded and cheered their decision.

We’ll have more about the meeting in the morning, but be sure to watch tonight’s 11:00 p.m. news on Channel 5 for their coverage of tonight’s meeting. We understand Channels 12 and 19 have also done stories.

Update: 700 signatures on Burwood pool petitions

Last Thursday (see 4/10/08 blog below), we reported that residents, parents and Norwood students were circulating petitions in a effort to persuade the Recreation Commissioners to reconsider their February decision to close the pool at Burwood Park. This morning, we received emails from two parents involved in the “Please Help Save Our Pool” campaign. They reported that approximately 700 signatures total have been collected; of these, at least 50-60 have been collected by the students. In addition to the petition campaign, the group has been distributing a flyer encouraging community members to attend tonight’s meeting of the Recreation Commissioners at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Center when the signed petitions will be presented.

Evening of Cajun fun this Saturday at Speckled Bird

If you’re looking for “a little something extra” this Saturday night, the Cajun band Lagniappe performing at the Speckled Bird Café should fit the bill. That’s the very definition of the Cajun French word agniappe. Lagniappe plays an eclectic mix of traditional Louisiana style Cajun, New Orleans Jazz, Zydeco, and Eastern European tunes.

Where: Speckled Bird Cafe, 1766 Mills @ Carter
When: Saturday, April 19; 9:00 to 11:00 p.m.

Classical guitar concert at Xavier this Sunday

This Sunday, Italian international guitarist Edoardo Catemario, winner of the 1991 Andres Segovia guitar competition, will be performing as part of Xavier’s 2007-2008 Classical Guitar Series. He started his music studies at the age of 5 and gave his first solo recital when he was 10. He has performed with orchestras all over the world and is also in demand as chamber musician.

When: Sunday, April 20; 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

Monday, April 14, 2008

Norwood firefighters raise $3,500 for 2 fallen firefighters’ families

Donations still being accepted

This past Saturday night, the Norwood Fire Department held a well attended fundraiser at the Indian Mound Café to benefit the families of fallen Colerain Township firefighters Robin Broxterman and Brian Schira. Norwood firefighter and paramedic Jeff Lackmeyer told Channel 9, “We had a lot of people coming up to us asking what they could do to help, so we thought we’d put something together.”

The NFD’s Capt. Montgomery told us earlier this morning, “The benefit was entirely Jeff’s idea, and it was a huge success. The Mound was packed Saturday night, TV stations were there covering it, and a grand total of $3,500 was donated by the end of the evening.” All of the money will go directly to the families of the fallen firefighters. It’s not too late to donate - just drop your donation off at the fire station at 4725 Montgomery Road.

Mars on display this month at Drake Plantarium

On April 20 and 24, Drake Planetarium’s MarsQuest program will delight audiences with photos of Mars “as seen in the night sky, through binoculars and telescopes, and from our Mars explorations.” Also included will be recent information obtained from the new Mars landers. Patrick Stewart, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek, will narrate.

When: Sunday, April 20 at 2 p.m. and Thursday, April 24 at 7 p.m.
Where: Drake Planetarium, 4th floor of Norwood High School, 2020 Sherman Ave.
Cost: $6 advance, $7 at the door
Pre registration required: Call 396-5578

No Evanswood Festival this spring…lack of interest?

On September 30, 2006, Xavier hosted the first Evanswood Festival, an event that was the brain child of the university’s Evanston-Norwood-Xavier (ENX) Academy. It was intended to be an annual event to build a greater sense of community among the three entities. Last August, Picket Slater Harrington, with Xavier’s Community Building Institute, told us the 2nd annual Evanswood Festival had been rescheduled from last fall to this spring. That is no longer the case.

This past Thursday, we learned that Byron White, formerly with the Community Building Institute but recently promoted to a new position at Xavier, will remain involved in any future Evanswood Festivals. His assistant told us plans for this spring’s event were scrapped because there were not enough volunteers within Xavier or from Norwood and Evanston to proceed. She went on to say, however, that it’s not too late to stage a Fall 2008 festival if individuals, civic organizations, businesses, etc., step forward soon to help. Anyone who is interested should email Byron White at

Friday, April 11, 2008

Guest blog: Jen Seurkamp reports on Allison chess feats

A big thank you to Allison parent Jen Seurkamp for sending us a blog about the astonishing Allison Elementary 5th and 6th graders’ showing at the recent Queen City Classic Chess Tournament. As you’ll see, they were up against more experienced players but managed to make some great placements. Congratulations to all the Allison chess stars and to their fantastic coach, Mr. Dykes!

Allison Elementary sent 27 fifth and sixth graders to the Queen City Classic Chess Tournament held at Paul Brown Stadium on April 4th and 5th. The students had a chance to play local and international masters on Friday night and tournament play was held on Saturday. This tournament is attended by close to 700 students at all playing levels. It is one of the largest chess tournaments in the Midwest.

The club is coached by Mr. Dykes, Allison’s 5th grade science teacher, and is open to students in the 5th and 6th grade. Most of the students have been playing for only one to two years. The 5th grade team came in 5th place overall in the 5th Grade unrated and had at least four kids in the top 20. The sixth grade team won 1st place in 6th grade unrated division. Four players on that team, Kareem Khalil, Alex Jackson, Carter Wilson, and Zack Mann placed in the top 10. The fifth grade team came in 5th place and had 4 Players place in the top twenty.

This is an amazing accomplishment for the students and the school. Some of our kids played children who had been playing for seven to eight years and we held our own, if not won the matches. Our team was complimented multiple times by the stadium staff and tournament staff for great behavior and organization. Many parents and grandparents spent the entire day at the stadium cheering our kids on. It was an amazing day for the kids, the parents, Allison Elementary, and the Norwood school system.

Jen Seurkamp

Finance Committee meeting next Tuesday

The Finance and Audit Committee will meet at 6:00 p.m next Tuesday, April 15, in Council Chambers. Two items are on the agenda: 1.) 2008 Appropriations and 2.) Salary Ranges.

12/15/08 UPDATE:
Tonight’s 6:00 p.m. Finance and Audit Committee meeting will be televised live on Norwood Community Television’s Government Access Channel 4. A topic of interest will be discussion of the current and potential salary ranges for several existing and proposed positions including Law Director, Assistant Deputy Auditor, Safety Service Director, and Budget Analyst.

1st Qtr. 2008 earnings tax collections up by $475,000

This December 2007 Earnings Tax Report showed a net total of $15,397,382 in earnings taxes was collected in 2007, a 13.7% increase of $1,865,195 over the total net collected in 2006. This month’s 2008 1st Quarter Earnings Tax Report shows a significant gain in total collections vs. the 1st quarter of 2007:

March Collections
Business………….. .$149,613.70
Withholding……… $980,523.39

Collections thru March 2008.………..$3,976,535.84
Collections thru March 2007.………..$3,501,389,22
13.6% increase over March 2007.……$ 475,146.62

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Residents & students protesting Burwood Pool closing

Residents and parents both in and near Norwood have banded together in a concerted effort to keep Burwood Park pool open. In March, we published this 2/25/08 letter from the Norwood Recreation Commissioners to Norwood City Council announcing the pool closing. According to one of the group’s organizers, there are 5 “Please Help Us Save Our Pool” petitions circulating in a local door-to-door campaign that started this past Sunday. In just a few days, approximately 300 signatures total have been collected. Additionally, some highly motivated children are circulating their own petition at one of our schools.

The organizers and the children will be presenting their signed petitions to the Recreation Commissioners at their monthly meeting next Wednesday, April 16, at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Center, 1810 Courtland Avenue. A number of the group and others plan to address the Commissioners about the issue. According to the Recreation Commission office this morning, Monday, April 14 is the deadline to turn in registration forms to speak at the meeting.

Following is the petition. If you would like to sign it, please email and arrangements will be made to get your signature.

Please Help Save Our Pool
Burwood swimming pool is a small neighborhood pool that is open to all Norwood citizens and their children. The pool is not located on the main drag, like Victory Pool, nor is it supersized with water slides and snack bars, like Waterworks Pool. Instead, Burwood is tiny, nestled in a quiet park setting, perfect for families and, really, for anyone who just wants to relax by the pool on a June or July afternoon. In addition, Burwood is affordable to most families, at 2.00/person a day, as compared to 6.00/person at Waterworks. Burwood, while small, is a vital resource for our children; it provides an outlet for safe, supervised, fun and exercise during the hottest days of summer. The atmosphere at Burwood is family oriented and lends to an environment in which all who visit feel welcomed and safe in a way that no other Norwood pool can. In addition to swimming and a small playground, a number of parents also provide daily arts and crafts opportunities, snacks, and supervision for all of those who attend. The City of Norwood wants to close this pool! Please help us save it—there really is no place like it—come and see!! Thank You!

4/11/08 UPDATE: Yesterday, the door-to-door petition campaign gathered approximately 150 more signatures. That brings the total number of signatures collected up to about 450 with 5 days left for canvassing before next Wednesday's Rec. Commission meeting. One of the organizers tells us a number of residents were unaware of the pool closing prior to being approached with the petition and that most went ahead and quickly signed it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Free Xavier lecture this Sunday: scholar/author Robin Wright

This Sunday, April 13, author Robin Wright, currently the diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post, will be appearing at two Xavier events that are free and open to the public. As part of the university’s 2007-20008 Ethics/Religion & Society lecture series, Ms. Wright will speak on “The Future of the Middle East: Dreams and Shadows.” In 2003, she was awarded the United Nations correspondents’ Gold Medal for coverage of international affairs. In that same year, she became a regular panelist on the “Meet The Press” roundtable on NBC.

What: Ms. Wright’s informal discussion with political science students/faculty
When: Sunday, April 13 at 3:00 p.m.
Cost: Free
Where: Long Recital Hall in Edgecliff building
Directions: See #13 on this campus map

What: Ms. Wright’s lecture on the Middle East
When: Sunday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m.
Cost: Free
Where: Schiff Banquet & Conference Center at the Cintas Center
Directions: See #61 on this campus map

Annual Healthy Kids Day at Lindner YMCA

This Saturday, April 12, the Richard E. Lindner YMCA is hosting a free, community wide Healthy Kids Day designed to teach children about healthy and safe lifestyles. In addition to a nutrition and health fair featuring healthy snacks, games and crafts for the kids, representatives from the Norwood from the Norwood Fire and Police Departments will be in attendance. The annual event is part of YMCA Activate America, a public health initiative.

When: Saturday, April 12 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m
Where: Richard E. Lindner YMCA, 2039 Sherman Avenue, Norwood
Who’s invited: Everyone
Cost: Free
Bonus: Initiation fee will be waived for new members who enroll April 12
More information: 731-0115

Monday, April 07, 2008

X.U. basketball player Drew Lavender arrested Sunday

According to the Enquirer, Xavier basketball star Drew Lavender, 23, of Columbus was arrested Sunday at 2:15 a.m. for disorderly conduct while intoxicated and possessing marijuana. He was asked by the police several times to move out of a Cincinnati street intersection “and refused until apprehension.” Police said they found the marijuana on Lavender when the searched him. He was released Sunday after his $2,000 bond was posted, and his next court day is May 2.

P.F. Chang’s exec. chef, brother arrested at Dew Drop Lounge

The Enquirer is reporting that Noberto Banderas, a Kenwood Country Club employee, and his brother Gonzalo Banderas, executive chef at P.F. Chang’s, were arrested and jailed following a Sunday fight at the Dew Drop Lounge on Montgomery Road. Among the charges filed against them are gross sexual imposition (too gross to describe here), disorderly conduct while intoxicated, and two counts of assault.

February 08 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 a little differently from the original:

A. Total of emergency responses for the month of January = 345

Medic Runs = 259
Fire Runs = 8 w/breakdown
Average Response Time on Runs = 3 minutes, 9 seconds (city-wide)

Number of incidents by type:
Fire Runs – 8 - (Building, Vehicle, Brush, etc.)
Overpressure, Explosion - 0
Rescue & Medic Unit Assists – 18 - (lock-in, extrications, traffic accidents, etc.)
Hazardous Conditions (no fire) - 12 - (power lines down, arcing, spills, etc.)
Service Call – 4 - (smoke removal)
Good Intent – 1 - (odor of smoke, controlled burning)
False Alarms – 43 - (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 - 11

C. Bureau of Fire Safety Activities = 618
Total Inspections – 117 - (residential, schools, churches, businesses)
Total Violations – issued 220
Total Violations – corrected 203
Total Block Inspections – 0 - (Unit #1, Unit #2, Unit #3 – Rental & multi-family)
Additional Activities - 78

Wonder Worms coming to Norwood Library

This Saturday, The Norwood Branch Library is hosting a Wiggly Squiggly Worm event. Hamilton County District Soil and Water Conservation will be there to introduce kids to the wonderful worms of worms and how they are vital to our environment.

Where: Norwood Branch Library at 4325 Montgomery Rd.
When: Saturday, April 12 at 2:00 p.m.
Who: Best for ages 5-12
Cost: Free; no advance registration required
More information: Call 369-6037

Friday, April 04, 2008

Guest blog: Mike Gabbard, Co-Chair of 2008 Relay for Life

Two days ago, we published information Mike Gabbard sent us about next Wednesday’s Relay for Life meeting at the Norwood Presbyterian Church. Today, we have a guest blog from him with many of the details about the actual event as well as the goals he wants it to achieve this year. We hope you’ll use the email option below to send his blog to friends and family members you think will be interested in participating this year.

About the event:
This year, lifelong Norwood resident Mary Deaton and I are the Co-Chairs of the American Cancer Society’s 2008 Relay for Life event at Shea Stadium on June 20th and 21st. It will start with an opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m., followed by all the cancer survivors walking the first lap. Afterwards, they will go to a special area for a special survivor dinner just for each of them and a guest. We’ll have gifts for them along with a nice dinner.

We are looking for ANY survivors of cancer to come be a part of this so we can honor you. It doesn’t matter if you have just been diagnosed and are currently going through treatments or if you’re a 20-year survivor. We just want to give you special honor opening night because the first lap and the dinner are a very special part of this event. If you’re not a cancer survivor but know people who are, please have them contact me so we get them registered - they get a t-shirt. They can come that night, too, and still be a part of the event, but we’d like to get as many survivors as possible registered.

At 9:00 p.m., we will turn off the lights and have a luminary ceremony. This, too, is VERY special part of this event. It’s at this time we honor those that are fighting and fought and won the battle against cancer. We also remember those who lost their battles. The track will be encircled with luminary bags, and each will be read aloud. It’s a very emotional time.

This year’s goals:
Last year, Relay for Life raised $80,000, and our goal this year is $85,000. As the Co-Chair, I am pushing to get more teams formed. Walgreen’s is one of our major sponsors, and since their regional headquarters is here in Norwood, they require all the Cincinnati/Hamilton stores to have teams in the Norwood event.

SO, we will have about 50 teams from Walgreen’s and about 25 community teams. I am hoping to get more teams from the community, i.e. businesses, churches, clubs, family teams. If you know of anyone that you think might be interested, let me know and I'll personally go talk with them. I'll keep you informed with updates on how we're progressing. In the meantime, please call me if you’ve read anything here you think you could help with. I hope to see you at our kick off meeting next Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. (we'll have some things going on at 6:00 p.m., too, if you'd like to come earlier) at the Norwood Presbyterian Church.

Mike (Gabby) Gabbard
Phone #: 200-6846

NHS Reunion Web Community gone…for now

Last Wednesday, we published a guest blog by NHS alum Randy Evans telling us all about the new Reunion Web Community website for all Norwood High School alumni. We installed a link to the site right away. At Randy's request, we have deleted it for now. Randy sent the following message to our readers explaining why:

Please accept our apology; unfortunately, over the past few days, circumstances have changed to where the reunion site will not be used as an all alumni site for Norwood High School. I'm not sure at this time if the site will remain a reunion site or go in another direction.

Randy Evans
NHS Class of 1975

Friday Media Olio

1. Check out these photos of the Norwood Marching Indians marching in the Findlay Market Opening Day parade. The weather was rainy, but the Marching Indians sounded great!

2. The Lindner YMCA at 2039 Sherman Avenue is inviting all us ladies to an evening of pampering that will also “open doors to new opportunities for children in the Norwood area whose families are having financial difficulty. Money raised will be used by the Richard E. Lindner’s scholarship fund that last year allowed 400 children to participate in sports and other character building activities who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford fees." Called the Heart 2 Heart Women’s Night In, the event costs $35 ($45 at the door” and will feature spa treatments, tantalizing food, a mini manicure, hair analysis with hand and arm massage, and much, much more. For more information or to make a reservation, please call Kristy Orr at the Richard E. Lindner YMCA, 513-731-0115. Click here for all the details in the Enquirer article.

3. Sibcy Cline real estate agent Jami Stutzman did a Norwood Linden Pointe Update this week at her Keepin’ it REAL Estate blog.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Just in from Mike Gabbard: 2008 Relay for Life

We want to thank Council-at-Large Mike Gabbard for sending us the following information about a community wide organizing event next week for The American Cancer Society’s 7th Annual Relay for Life on June 20 and 21:

Have you been affected by CANCER?

Personally? Family member? Friend? Co-worker?

Would you like to help:

the lives of those that have battled cancer?
Remember loved ones lost to the disease?
Fight Back against a disease that take too much?

Please come find out how you can Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back and do so at a fun, family-oriented event.

When: Wednesday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Norwood Presbyterian Church, 4400 Floral Avenue (rear entrance)
Contact: Mike (Gabby) Gabbard at 200-6846

Get a family, company, church or club team together for a night of FUNraising.

Norwood Tree Board celebrating Arbor Day on April 26

Norwood Health Commissioner Donna Laake, who somehow finds time to serve as advisor to our wonderful Norwood Tree Board, tells us this year’s annual Arbor Day will be celebrated on Saturday, April 26. Be sure to stop by for the seedling giveaway, plant swap, and silent auction. Here’s the Tree Board website with all the info (they’ll be putting this year’s date up soon); and for all you history buffs, click here for the history of Arbor Day.

When: Saturday, April 26; 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m
Where: Norwood Community Center gymnasium at 1810 Courtland Avenue
Who: Everyone’s invited
More info: Call 458-4600

Free permits now available for Semi-Annual Yard Sale

The Norwood City Treasurer’s office tells us the free permits for the May 2 & 3 Semi-Annual Yard Sale are now ready for pick up. Be sure to get a permit at least a week in advance of May 2 to get your address published in the directory.

Yard Sale Dates:
Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Free Permits:
Monday through Friday, 8:00 - 5:00 p.m., City Treasurer’s Office, 1st floor City Hall, 4645 Montgomery Road

Community blood drive this Saturday

Hoxworth Blood Center is conducting a community blood drive this Saturday at the Holy Trinity Parish Hall. If you’ve never given blood before, here’s some information from the Hoxworth website that describes their safety procedures and the various tests they run to assure the blood donated is free from infectious diseases.

When: Saturday, April 5; 9 am - 3 pm
Where: Holy Trinity Parish Hall, 2300 Drex Avenue
Bonus: Hoxworth offers free cholesterol screening tests to all donors.
Reservations: Appointments recommended. Call the Norwood Health Dept. at 458-4600

Enquirer: NCS boys’ basketball coach out

NCS is looking for a new boys’ basketball coach. Following the Indians’ 0-21 record this past season, coach Josh Havens’ contract is not being renewed. His overall record for three seasons was 12-52. Norwood athletic director Jason Testerman told the Enquirer, “The program is just going to move forward in a new direction.”