Citizens For A Better Norwood

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is the Norwood Health Dept. at risk post Donna Laake?

As many community members are aware, Health Commissioner Donna Laake is retiring at the end of August. We are saddened, and we cannot thank her enough for her many years of dogged dedication to the health and safety of all Norwood residents and visitors to our community. We wish her every happiness in her retirement. Because of her superb leadership and tenacity and her outstanding staff, Donna is leaving us an incomparable health department that provides vital services, some of them unique to Norwood, that so many of us, our children and other loved ones rely on for our well being.

And that is precisely why we were distressed recently to learn from two emails Gary Arthur, President Pro Tem of the Norwood Health Commission, sent to City officials that members of Norwood City Council have been discussing possible changes that could, from the sounds of it, change how health department services are delivered to our community. We do not know exactly which council members have been discussing this; we do not know if their discussions have been in private or in public meetings; and we do not know if Health Dept. funding will be discussed at tomorrow's Finance and Audit Committee meeting (see blog directly below). What we do know is the City can contract for many but not all current health department services through the Hamilton County Health Department. We plan to find out and publish which services are not available from HCHD, but we already know one vital service that is not: home visits RN Betsy Williams makes to monitor the welfare of some of the most vulnerable among us, adults age 50 or older who are at risk, predominately senior citizens and the elderly.

It is not our intent to induce panic among our readers about this development. Our intent is to inform our readers by publishing factual information and public documents regarding an issue that could potentially impact every single person in our community. Today, we’ve posted the two emails, both public documents, that Gary Arthur sent last week regarding council members’ discussions about the Health Dept.:

1.) 7/22/08 to Finance Committee Chair Chuck Barlow and 11 others and
2.) 7/25/08 to Mayor Tom Williams and 15 others.

We have redacted certain personal information from these, such as Mr. Arthur’s cell phone #, etc. Click here to read both emails. Tomorrow, we plan to publish descriptions of all the services currently provided by the Norwood Health Dept.

Lastly, and we’ll probably be repeating it a few times in the coming days, we would like everyone to consider this: public records show that in 2007, the general fund of the City of Norwood provided $390,000 of the Norwood Health Dept.’s total budget. That’s a cost of only $20, approximately, for every man, woman, and child who lives here.

Finance and Audit Committee meeting tomorrow

The Finance and Audit Committee will meet in Council Chambers at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, August 1.** NCT will televise the meeting live on local cable Channel 4. There are two items on the agenda:

1. Review of 1st half 2008
2. Appropriations

**11:52 AM CORRECTION: We just received an email from the Clerk of Council's office correcting the meeting date to tomorrow instead of next Tuesday as was indicated on their original meeting notice.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Baby Show results and preliminary stats for Norwood Day

Laura Hobbs just posted the results of last week’s Norwood Day, including all the winners of the Baby Show, on the Norwood Business and Professional Women's Club website. Early numbers indicate 1,382 Norwood neighbors attended the event, and more than $6,000 was raised to fund the Club’s community service activities and scholarships. Laura tells us ‘We are very happy with the results; even with high gas prices, our adult attendance was up a little this year. You couldn't have asked for a nicer day. It was great to see everyone who turned out for this event. Many thanks to you and your readers for your kind support!” She hopes to post photos on the website soon, possibly over the weekend, and will let us know the air times of the video Norwood Cable Television produced. Thank you for the update, Laura, and congratulations to the NBWPC for yet another hugely successful Norwood Day at Coney Island!

Committee of the Whole & NCS School Board meeting agenda

The Committee of Whole and the NCS Board of Education are meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5, at the Community Center, 1810 Courtland Avenue. There are two agenda items:

1. Possible school building closure
2. The Kalamazoo Promise

As we reported in this 7/15/08 blog, BOE President Ken Miracle told the Enquirer he hopes Norwood can come up with a version of the Kalamazoo Promise to attract students to the district.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Don’t miss Saturday’s big Back to School Bash!

Every school age child in Norwood is invited to attend the annual Back to School Bash this Saturday morning at Norwood Church of the Nazarene and Norwood Presbyterian Church, co-sponsors of the event. Although attending isn’t mandatory, no child should miss out on the free backpacks, free assortment of school supplies of all kinds, carnival games to win prizes, free lunch and more, all provided by the generous hearts of donors who want our children to have a blast of fun getting the supplies they need to start a successful school year.

Deb Robinson, a member of Norwood Church of the Nazarene, tells us her church started Back to School Bash about 16 years ago and that Norwood Presbyterian Church began partnering with them 4 years ago. She said, “The first year we did it we had 52 kids. Last year we had about 500. Then 50 more kids came in the weeks to follow and just picked up school supplies. There’s no income requirement. That’s part of the reason they play games like bean bag tosses, ring tosses, high striker, etc. to win prizes, plus there will be a moonwalk. The games are free, of course, and all the prizes are school supplies.”

Following last year’s event, parents who attended were surveyed, and about 25% said they wouldn't have gotten any school supplies if it wasn't for the Bash; roughly 47% said they would have only gotten minimal supplies. "Based on those results," Deb said, “we feel like we are really helping the community. In addition to the free school supplies, we have organizations from the community come and distribute information. For instance, the public library comes every year and signs kids up for library cards, HIPPY comes to enroll kids, and our after school programs usually come to pass out information.”

We hope our readers will help spread the word about this extraordinary event by emailing this blog to friends and family who may not know about it.

When: Saturday, August 2; 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Where: Church of the Nazarene, 4424 Floral Avenue and next door at Norwood Presbyterian Church, 4400 Floral Avenue
No Cost: Absolutely everything is free, including hot dogs, chips, and cookies.
More information: 531-7585

7/30/08 CLARIFICATION: Children who don’t reside in Norwood are also invited to the Bash. Norwood Naz Pastor Tim Brooks left this response for a commenter who asked about residency: “We always have would not be taking from anyone if you brought your kids even if you could "afford it." By all means, come on by! Also, you do not have to be from Norwood to come to this.” We just got this response to an email we sent to Deb Robinson: “The Bash is open to any child. Also, we would encourage those parents who feel like they can afford school supplies to let their kiddos come and have fun anyway. We want kids to have what they need, but we have plenty. And we really want kids to have a good time and for this to be a community event, regardless of income.”

Norwood man goes on trial for robbing Boy Scout

David Keeling, 19, of Norwood, is one of three men accused of using a sawed-off shotgun to rob a Boy Scout selling Christmas trees this past December. Unlike the other two accused, Keeling rejected plea deals, and, instead, he goes on trial today before Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge David Davis. According to Judge David Davis, the two who admitted their guilt face maximum prison sentence of 53 and 58 years respectively.

7/30/08 UPDATE:
Today’s Enquirer reports that David Keeling pleaded guilty yesterday to all the robbery charges against him and faces more than 50 years in prison when he is sentenced next month.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Streets and Infrastructure Committee meeting

Per the Clerk of Council's Office, the Streets and Infrastructure Committee will meet in Council Chambers this Wednesday, July 30, at 10:30 a.m. to discuss one agenda item: street resurfacing. Joe Sanker chairs the committee, and Chuck Barlow and Steve Thornbury are the other council members who serve on it.

Norwood City Auditor Jim Stith’s comments re TIF’s

A few minutes ago, Jim Stith left the following comment under our 7/22/08 “Rookwood Exchange Update” blog below. We’re publishing his remarks here because we feel they are blog worthy and could spark a whole new discussion. Thank you, Jim, for taking the time to educate us about Tax Incremental Financing:

TIF’s are not “tax breaks” for the developer or the property owners in the area. A TIF takes property tax revenue which would go to the county and diverts it to the cities debt for improving the infrastructure. A percentage of this new revenue goes to the schools.

This example explains TIF’s in the simplest terms:

Imagine a field of farm land in a city. The county collects property tax for the city and schools at the “farm land tax rate” twice a year. A developer wants to turn into a subdivision. In order to do this the city has to develop an infrastructure of streets, utilities, water, and sewer lines. They must also develop a system of safety and service for this new community. By creating a TIF area the city can sell bonds (borrow money) to finance these improvements and build the infrastructure. The developer then builds the new houses which raises the property value and tax basis for the area contained in the TIF. We will call this the “new tax rate.”

The county collects the new higher taxes “new tax rate” as PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes). The county keeps its portion of the taxes at the “farm land rate”, everything collected above that rate goes into a special fund run by the city. This fund is then used to pay the school district and the bond payments (money borrowed by the city for the infrastructure.

- The school district continues to get revenue from the county from property taxes collected at the “farm land rate”. This is paid by the developer, the value of the property does not go down and will always be at least the rate when the project started.

-The school district makes a percentage (usually 50% but is negotiated in the TIF agreement) of the PILOT revenue paid from the cities special fund. This way the schools continue to benefit from improvement even though it is a TIF area.

-Until the area generates enough PILOT income to pay the bond debt the DEVELOPER MAKES THE BOND PAYMENTS. This way the cities improvements in the TIF are financed only by the improvements and not out of its operating budget.

-TIF areas have geographical and time limits, they are not permanent. (The county and state want their part of the taxes after the debt is paid)

Clear as mud?

We currently have 2 TIF areas, Cornerstone and Linden Point. Cornerstone generates enough PILOT revenue to makes its own bond payments and payments to the school district. Linden point is still subsidized by the developer. The new Xavier expansion will be a TIF.

-Jim Stith
Norwood City Auditor

Take Care Health Clinic at Norwood Walgreens

Recently, one of our commenters posted a glowing review of the clinic now operating at Walgreens on Montgomery Rd. (see this July 17 blog). Wanting to know more, one of us picked up a brochure at the pharmacy yesterday and found that Take Care Health Systems operates a growing number of these clinics at Walgreens stores throughout the U.S. In no way are recommending their clinic to our readers, but we thought it would be worthwhile to at least draw attention to:

1. The cost and payment for being seen by a nurse practitioner: $59 to $74 unless your insurance company can be billed. Check this list to see if your insurer is included.

2. Treatments and services: respiratory illnesses, skin conditions, minor injuries, vaccinations, physicals, diagnostic testing

3. The clinic hours: Mon-Fri 8:00 am-7:30 pm; Sat-Sun 9:30 am-5:00 pm

4. The toll free number for Patient Support : 1-866-825-3227, seven days a week. The Patient Support Center is open 8:00 am to 9:00 pm EST, Monday through Friday; 9:00 am to 6:00 pm EST on Saturday; and 10:00 am to 6:30 pm EST on Sunday.

Norwood man one of two shot in Corryville

According to the Enquirer, Miguel Angel Deras, 27, of Norwood was mortally wounded following what police believe was a fight just before he and another man were shot outside the Corinthian Restaurant and Lounge in the 3200 block of Jefferson Avenue. The shooting was reported at 2:20 a.m. Sunday. The other victim, whose name was not released, was taken to a hospital. Channel 9’s website has the story, too, with a photo of Mr. Deras.

7/30/08 UPDATE:
According to today’s Enquirer, suspect Jonathan Retana, 18, has been arrested and charged with murder and two counts of felonious assault in connection with the shootings. He is scheduled to go before a Hamilton County Municipal Court judge this morning.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Busken’s celebrating birthday with coffee/1 donut for a dime

Next Tuesday, July 29, all 20 locations of Busken Bakery, including the one in Norwood at 4103 Montgomery Road, will be celebrating the company’s 80th birthday by selling one small coffee and one glazed donut per customer for a dime. Company President Dan Busken told the Cincinnati Business Courier, "We are planning to make close to 1,000 dozen glazed donuts," Busken said in an e-mail. "Our normal production this time of year is 1,400 dozen a night (this is all varieties of donuts), so Monday night we will probably fry about 2,000 dozen total donuts."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

“A New Tradition” at the Holy Trinity Festival this weekend

Brian Mumper sent us a reminder that everyone is invited to the Holy Trinity Festival this weekend for “A New Tradition” starting tomorrow, Friday:

Relocating to the Church grounds on Montgomery Rd.

Friday - 6-12 - Featuring "The Avenues" (with Norwood resident Debi Schneider on vocals)
Saturday - 5-12, Featuring "The Remains"
Sunday - 4-9, Featuring "Songs through the Decades" - DJ (Norwood's own Zahnadu Productions).

In addition to a new location at the Church's property right off of Montgomery Rd., we also are introducing our first ever chance at a $25,000 grand prize!!! For more information please check out article at the Enquirer.

Norwood man charged with robbing pharmacy

The Enquirer’s headline is “Man charged with robbing Norwood pharmacy.” The article identifies Frank Fields, 44, of Norwood, as the man accused of robbing Mullaney’s Pharmacy on Montgomery Road in Norwood. Actually, Mullaney’s is in Pleasant Ridge at 6096 Montgomery Rd. at the corner of Ridge Rd. Well, yes, we make mistakes, too, sometimes. But, of course, the big mistake here was made by Mr. Fields, who’s accused of walking into the pharmacy, pointing a gun at employees, and then demanding drugs.

NPD charge woman with driving drunk, dangerously drunk

Yesterday afternoon, the Norwood police stopped a woman driving a van on the Norwood Lateral and administered a field sobriety test. According to the Enquirer, she registered a .339 on the test, which is more than four times the legal Ohio limit of .08. We have no idea how reliable field sobriety testing is, but looking at this chart for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests results, .339 is in the “Death Possible” range. There’s no telling how many lives the NPD may have saved yesterday by stopping this woman, including her own life.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And the best 2008 Norwood Day Parade float is…

Wait a minute, we can’t get the envelope open…oh, here we go. Winning the $500 First Place prize is the “Thank you, Norwood - Burwood Pool is the Best Gift Ever” entry by the Norwood Pool parents. Taking the $250 Second Place prize is the New Haven Baptist Church float, and we apologize for not having the name of their entry available. Congratulations to both for creating such spectacular floats for everyone to enjoy! Other top awards went to Liberty Tax Service, Norwood Indians Football League, Star Strutters Baton Twirlers, and an entry from Hamilton County that we’ll try to fill in later. And we’d like to give a prize to Jane Grote and Donna Laake for Best Female Norwood Day Parade Emcee’s. They were outstanding under pressure and shared interesting tidbits throughout the parade, not the least of which was Donna’s announcement that the City now has 7 automatic external defibrillators (AED’s), funded by a grant from Carl Lindner. And many thanks to Norwood Community Television for bringing the parade live to those of us who couldn’t be there in person.

1:30 p.m. ADDENDUM: We just received an email from Melinda Johnson with the Norwood Chamber of Commerce filling in the missing information above. The name of the New Haven Baptist Church float was “The ‘Cross’ is the Gateway to our Future.” The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Pipe & Drum Corps also received recognition with a special award. Thank you, Melinda, and thanks to everyone at the Chamber of Commerce for making the Norwood Day Parade happen each year. It just gets better and better.

7/24/08 UPDATE: Click here to see photos of the winning float at the Burwood Pool website.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Quatman’s Café wins “City’s Best” burger contest

It’s official - today, Quatman’s Café was named the winner of the online poll for best burger, beating out Zip’s, Arthur’s, and 4 other entries. Relayman attributes the win, in part, to readers who jumped in and voted after we provided the link to poll, but also to a heavy dose of “some Norwood pride.” We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations to Quatman’s for their well deserved win!

Channel 19’s Burwood pool video from Friday newscast

Thanks to Steve Thornbury, we now have the link above to the piece Channel 19 did about Burwood pool (see yesterday’s blog below). Hm…how did he know we wanted to post it but couldn’t locate it on their website?

Rookwood Exchange update: “nothing at all happening”

According to Enquirer reporter Steve Kemme’s article in today paper, Rookwood Partners still has no plans to develop the 11-acre site at Edmondson and Edwards roads until their case with Joe Horney, the last hold-on, is settled. "Nothing at all is happening," said Tracy Nemenz, director of marketing for developer Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate, which formed Rookwood Partners with the Miller-Valentine Group. Joe Horney’s building is the last one standing on a parcel where the weeds and grass are high again, residents living nearby continue to complain, and everyone waits, and waits, and waits some more for resolution. Is it too late to plant corn there and sell it, as one resident suggested?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Burwood pool, parents featured on Ch. 19 news broadcast

For those of us who missed Channel 19’s 10:00 p.m. news broadcast Friday, Burwood parent Robin Mace sent us this report to share:

Fox Channel 19 news showed up at Burwood pool at about 3:30 on Friday, a half hour before the pool closed. The team was excited that we actually had people there. They filmed the kids swimming in the pool. They interviewed myself and Pat Jones, also a Burwood pool parent.

We both told them how wonderful it is to have our pool this year. I said that if we didn't have Burwood Pool, we would be reduced to a sprinkler in the back yard! I showed them the float that we are working on for the Norwood Day Parade. I told them that the float was designed to thank Norwood for supporting us in keeping Burwood Pool opened.

The news team did a good job. The pool looked so pretty and inviting with all of those kids in it. It was nice that they chose our pool to do a "Beat the Heat" story on that very hot day.

Robin Mace

June, 2008 Earnings Tax Report

A monthly feature

Below is the summary information from the Earnings Tax Department‘s June Report. YTD collections through June are down significantly from the 1st Quarter report, which showed a YTD increase of 13.6% over the 1st Quarter of 2007.

June Collections
Individual………….$ 39,063.41
Business……….…...$ 257,164.81
Withholding…….…$ 990,010.01

Collections thru June 2008.….……….....….......$8.407,547.35
Collections thru June 2007.….……..…..............$8,338,055.86
.08% increase in collections over 2007.…….....$ 69,491.49

1st Norwood Community Chorus concert was SRO

Andy Clark, a member of the newly formed Norwood Community Chorus, emailed us over the weekend with some great news about their debut:

“I just wanted to give you an update on the Community Chorus. Our concert on Saturday, July 12 was extremely successful. We had a packed house (standing room only) at Zion United Church of Christ in Norwood. Following everyone enjoyed food provided by the church. We had many great compliments from all that attended. The next concert isn't set yet, but it will be a winter concert, probably in January or February, and I think it will be at the middle school auditorium. But nothing is set yet. Thanks again for the publicity!”

Friday, July 18, 2008

Norwood’s Medpace shopping for new headquarters

We almost wish we hadn’t seen this article posted today at the Cincinnati Business Courier website. They’re reporting that Medpace has outgrown its 135,000-square-foot Central Parke headquarters and will be moving its 500-person work force to one of four Tri-State locations. They will make their selection by year’s end. The former NuTone property on Red Bank Road is at the top of the list, but also in the running are The Landings in Blue Ash, Circleport in Erlanger, and an unincorporated plot in Boone County. Not to whine too much, but could this please be the last corporate exit for a long while?

Norwood Young Professionals celebrating 1st anniversary

We have a special feature today - a guest blog co-written by Jack Weston and Brian Hirsch, Executive members of The Norwood Young Professionals (NYP). Out favorite real estate blogger Jami Stutzman is also member, and when we contacted her Wednesday for an update on the group, we received this informative blog in just a few hours. As you’ll see, NYPs are really on the move with worthwhile projects throughout our community, they know a thing or two about having fun, plus they’ve started a new blog to keep everyone informed about their activities. We’ve added it to our ever-growing list of local links on the right hand side. Happy Birthday, guys and gals!

Guest blog by Jack Weston and Brian Hirsch:

The Norwood Young Professionals, or “NYPs”, are celebrating their first anniversary on July 20. An active group of Norwood residents in their 20’s and 30’s, NYP is an organization geared towards promoting community involvement and pride through social events and philanthropy. The NYPs host monthly happy hours at various watering holes around Norwood, as well as other social events such as tailgates and bowling outings. Recently, the NYPs also sponsored a successful team in the Norwood Relay for Life, raising over $2,000 for cancer research, and worked with Great American Cleanup to spruce up Norwood’s Waterworks Pool in time for the 9-team swim meet held there next week.

Coming up, the NYPs are hosting a kickball game at a Norwood park followed by a happy hour at a local pub on Saturday, August 9. We’ll notify CBN as soon as we have the exact locations. so you'll know where to find us. In September, the group is collaborating on an exciting project with Give Back Cincinnati called “Taking Care of Business” to freshen up the business corridor along Montgomery Road through painting, landscaping, and cleaning. This will bring over 100 young professionals from across Cincinnati to show off the great things our town has to offer.

NYP is growing quickly and looking for even more community involvement. If you are interested in learning more about the NYPs, upcoming events, or to join the NYP mailing list, please check out or send an email inquiry to

Norwood team takes 3rd place in TeenTube Challenge!

Check out this Enquirer photo of our 3rd place TeenTube Challenge winners Arielle Gladish, her older sister Alexis, and their friend Alyssa Harper, all otherwise known as “Team Treehuggers.” Their big win was announced at this past Saturday’s TeenTube Challenge Premiere Party on Fountain Square, and then their video was played on the big screen. Congratulations, girls, and a round of applause, too, for the Norwood Branch Library, Norwood Community Television, and WCET for putting the TeenTube Challenge together for our young people!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

“The art of saving lives” event at Fusion Design

We reported in our 7/10/08 blog below that Byron White with Xavier’s Community Building Institute was scheduled to attend this past Tuesday night’s WNNA meeting to take questions about the Xavier Square project. As it turned out, he did not come to the meeting, but it is hoped he will be at next month’s meeting to respond to questions that were collected from attendees.

One of the owners of the new one-stop real estate company Fusion Design starting up next to Buskin’s Bakery did attend the meeting and gave WNNAers an overview of the services that will be offered. Additionally, he invited everyone to come to a community wide event this Saturday that his company and LifeCenter are co-sponsoring. The purpose of “The art of saving lives” is to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation through art. Highlights will include a live mural painting, a wine bar, hors d’oeuvres, a silent art auction from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and numerous displays of original artwork for sale. All proceeds will benefit LifeCenter’s community education fund.

When: Saturday, July 19 from 6-10 p.m.
Where: Fusion Design at 4101 Montgomery Rd.
Donation: $10 at the door for which you will receive an original piece of artwork from a collaborative mural that will be created during the event by local artists.
More information: 961-5200 ext. 14 or email

Free health screenings at Walgreens next Saturday

The Walgreens Take Care Health Tour will be at our Norwood location from 1-7 p.m. Saturday, July 26, offering six free health screenings worth more than $115 in value. According to this Walgreens website, the WTCHT is on a 300-city, 12-month nationwide health screening tour with 10 customized vehicles that will travel more than 240,000 miles to offer the free screenings from inside the vehicles.

When: Saturday, July 26 from 1-7 p.m.
Where: Walgreens, 4605 Montgomery Rd.
Free screenings: total cholesterol levels, blood pressure, bone density, glucose levels, waist circumference, body mass index
Appointments: not necessary; screenings take around 20-25 minutes from start to finish

Results will be given immediately, and visitors will be encouraged to see their doctors regarding any concerns.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Commissioner David Pepper’s new blog

Several local blogs, including the Cincinnati Beacon, have recently publicized the new “PepTalk” blog Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper started last week. It’s an informative read, and we were especially struck by his Monday entry “Reducing Jail Costs, Reducing Recidivsm” in which he describes the millions of dollars Hamilton County taxpayers spend on health care for our jailed population because of the federal government’s policy of terminating Medicaid shortly after people are incarcerated. Fortunately, there are several remedies in the works, including a recently proposed bill in Congress that would end the policy of terminating federal Medicaid benefits for those who are in county jails awaiting trial. In the meantime, here’s how he says the current federal policy is working to the detriment of taxpapers:

1. It eliminates a critical benefit even before a person has been judged guilty of a crime, violating the basic principle that people are innocent until proven guilty.

2. It represents a massive cost shift from federal Medicaid to county taxpayers to pay for the medical costs of those in jail waiting for trial (if an inmate is not covered, the county is required by law to pay for the medical costs, and we pay millions per year to do so).

3. When a person leaves our jail (whether after serving a sentence, or even after being found innocent), he or she leaves without Medicaid. This has dramatically negative consequences on our effort to reduce recidivism, particularly for those with mental illnesses who rely on medical and drug care to keep them from repeating criminal behavior. Without Medicaid, they leave jail with no way to pay for their medicines. It also costs Hamilton County taxpayers because rather than Medicaid, the care of such individuals will be paid through our County indigent care levy.

Mammogram screenings at Rookwood

The Jewish Hospital Mobile Mammography Unit will be at Rookwood Commons and Pavilion next Monday, July 21:

What: 15-minute mammogram screenings
Where: Rookwood Commons and Pavilion, 2669 Edmondson Rd.
Hours: 7:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
Cost: varies per insurance plan. Financial assistance is available for qualified applicants. .
Appointments required: Call 686-3300.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Excellent news: $5 million facelift for former Fidelity Bldg.

Today’s Enquirer announced that Ashley Commercial Group, based in Edgewood, Ky., “plans to begin work this fall on a redevelopment project expected to deliver 32,000 square feet of office and retail space at Sherman Avenue and Montgomery Road.” The final product of 32,000 square feet of office and retail space at the corner of Sherman Ave. and Montgomery Rd. will include replacing an attached seven-story building on Sherman with a 12,000-square-foot office building. This news certainly takes some of the sting out of last week’s announcements about U.S. Playing Card moving to Boone County and Siemans potentially cutting back at their newly refurbished Norwood plant.

This past February, the Cincinnati Business Courier published this article about Ashley Commerical Group.

BOE divided, delays decision to close school

Today’s Enquirer reports the NCS Board of Education did not take a vote to close to a school during yesterday’s special meetings; instead, they’ve decided to discuss the downsizing issue again at their 5:30 p.m. August 18 committee meeting. Board members did agree on one thing, however. They don't want to change to a K-8 configuration in the elementary schools.

The board was given 3 options from which to choose:
1. Close a building: Carolyn Atwood and Cherie Scott-Geraci said a building should be closed, but no consensus was reached on which one.

2. Put a levy on the ballot: Rick Guy suggested leaving all elementaries in place and going to the voters for more money. "I don't want to see any of them close. ... I don't see that it's the right thing to do right now. I just don't feel it."

3. Make deep cuts: "We just have to bite the bullet," Scott-Geraci said. "We either close a building or deep-cut staff. I don't recommend deep-cutting staff, because that's our livelihood. That's what we do."

Board President Ken Miracle and member Scott Faulkner favor yet another option: find out why one in four school-age Norwood children don't attend public school and try to recruit them. Faulkner told the Enquirer, "We need to stay the course we are now. What can we do to make the numbers go up? What can we do to change the way people feel about us?" The Enquirer article states, “Ken Miracle sees some hope in a possible Norwood version of the Kalamazoo Promise, where Kalamazoo, Mich., students who are eligible to attend college get the costs paid by donors….the district is considering trying to pursue it here to attract students.”

For more on the Kalamazoo Promise, click here and here.

June ’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 just a little differently from the original:

A. Total of emergency responses for the month of June = 421

Medic Runs = 290
Fire Runs = 28 w/breakdown
Average Response Time on Runs = 3 minutes, 6 seconds (city-wide)

Number of incidents by type:
Fire Runs – 28 - (Building, Vehicle, Brush, etc.)
Overpressure, Explosion - 0
Rescue & Medic Unit Assists – 27 - (lock-in, extrications, traffic accidents, etc.)
Hazardous Conditions (no fire) - 22 - (power lines down, arcing, spills, etc.)
Service Call – 15 - (smoke removal)
Good Intent – 7 - (odor of smoke, controlled burning)
False Alarms – 30 - (false alarms, system malfunctions, smoke detector activated, etc.)
Special Incident - 2

B. Fire Hydrant Activity
Fire Hydrants painted: 21
Out of Service Hydrants: 8

C. Bureau of Fire Safety Activities = 558
Total Inspections – 118 - (residential, schools, churches, businesses)
Total Violations – issued 113
Total Violations – corrected 170
Total Block Inspections – 66 - (Unit #1, Unit #2, Unit #3 – Rental & multi-family)
Additional Activities - 91

Monday, July 14, 2008

NCS Board of Education meeting to decide school closing

NCS Superintendent Steve Collier told today’s Enquirer that the BOE “will hold a special meeting to discuss whether to close a building before the 2009-10 school year, and if so, which one.” The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. today at the school district's offices at 2132 Williams Ave.

This past spring, the school district unveiled two options in a series of five informational meetings designed for parents and community members to give feedback on their preferences for either 1.) K-8 Option or 2.) K-6 Grade Specific Buildings Option . "We thought we'd get some clear direction," Collier said. "They were all over the place. In all five meetings, we did not walk away with any clear direction parents or community members want us to go. It did not create a clearer picture for the board like we thought it would."

Two factors are driving the need to close a building: declining school enrollment and the fact the district will be out of money by 2010. Mr. Collier attributed the loss of 100 students per year over the last 10 years to an aging community, houses being taken for development and the number of houses being rented by Xavier University students - not families with school-age children. “The Xavier factor is really a drain," he said. "They're trying to get their students out of those houses and back to campus to live. That may, in the future, create more space for families to move in."

Mr. Collier told the Enquirer, “A decision is crucial now because the district is going to run out of money in 2010. Closing a building could save the district $700,000, mostly in personnel costs, along with utilities and upkeep.”

Burwood Pool parents' yard sale proceeds exceed goal

Burwood Pool parent Robin Mace shared some great news in an email thanking us for our blog publicizing this past Friday’s yard sale at the park. She wrote, “Our yard sale donations event was a big success. We collected over $600!” That’s $200 more than the $400 the parents need to pay for the Norwood Day Parade float they’re building. She continued, “The kids are so excited about building the float and riding in the parade. Our float is unit #100, and we will be lining up on Ashland about 6:00 p.m. the day of the parade. We hope to see you there!”

Friday, July 11, 2008

Enquirer’s “Get Published!” renamed “Share it!”

Yesterday, one of us received the following email from Dianne Gebhardt-French, the Enquirer’s Community Publishing Editor, in which she promoted the recent redesign and expansion of the community web pages, including the addition of blogging. Since curiosity nearly always gets the better of us, we have a few questions: What do our readers think about the Enquirer’s newly designed website, especially the “Share it!” community pages? Will Norwoodians become major contributors/participants? Does the addition of blogging mean the Enquirer has completed their transition to being an interactive electronic news medium...and how much longer do we give the print version?

Ms. Gebhardt-French’s email:

We appreciate your ongoing contributions!

Thanks for using the Cincinnati.Com network to share your news, photos and calendar events and more.

We've redesigned our Web pages and dramatically expanded the ways you can participate. Now you can comment on stories and blog, in addition to posting your stories, pictures and calendar events.

We've changed the name to reflect our open invitation to yo
u: Share. Formerly known as Get Published!, the tool works exactly the same and one log-in works anywhere on our site.

The bottom line is you. You play a vital role in providing the very local news that our online users demand.

The list is exhaustive - neighborhood meetings, rec leagues, cute kid pictures, new businesses, military enlistments, school plays, fundraisers, church events and concerts. Oh, and, festivals, community cleanups, scholarships, sports. You get the point - if it makes your life and community special, Share it! Visit Cincinnati.Com/Share to get started.

New website for NHS Class of ’75

Randy Evans, NHS Class of ’75, emailed us last night to let our readers know he’s finished a new reunion website for his fellow classmates. We’ve installed a link to it on the right hand side, and we want to thank Randy for linking the new site to our blog.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bring your questions about Xavier Square to WNNA meeting

Bill Graff, Vice President of the West Norwood Neighborhood Association, invites everyone to come to this coming Tuesday night’s meeting with any and all questions we have about the Xavier Square project that will be getting underway soon. Byron White with X.U.’s Community Building Institute will be there to get a feel for what community members are curious and concerned about. Any questions he can’t answer on the spot will be addressed at the August meeting when the appropriate Xavier personnel will be present to respond. Aware of the huge impact Xavier Square will have on our community, WNNA has and will continue to keep a watchful eye on the project. This is a great opportunity to get involved and informed and perhaps have some impact as things develop. Click here for a refresher on what’s planned for the square and an interactive map.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda are the two new owners of the former used furniture and appliance store next to Buskin’s Bakery in the 4100 block of Montgomery Rd. They’re having an Open House today at the location for their new business, City Retreats Design Center, LLC. In concept, it’s a one-stop real estate service for buyers and sellers as well as for people whose properties need to be refurbished.

What: WNNA meeting
When: Tuesday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Community Center at 1810 Courtland Avenue

Committee of the Whole meeting with Board of Education

Per the Clerk of Council’s office, a joint meeting of COW and the BOE is scheduled for Tuesday, August 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center at 1810 Courtland Avenue. We’ll post the agenda as soon as we receive it.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Urgent: volunteers needed for swim meet at Waterworks

Recreation Director Jenny Wallace is putting out the S.O.S. for volunteers to help with the big 9-team 2008 Northern Suburban Swim League competition the Norwood Barracuda Swim Team is hosting at J.B. Wirth- Waterworks Pool this month. There will be upwards of 2,000 people in attendance to watch and support 900 swimmers as they vie for top honors. Guests from Blue Ash, Evendale, Greenhills, North College Hill, Sharonville, Springdale, St. Bernard, and Wyoming will be in attendance. Naturally, Norwood Rec. wants everything looking spiffy for the event and all the volunteer slots filled.

Please call Jenny at 531-9798 right away if you’d like to
1. work the concession stand,
2. do announcing,
3. be a “runner” and take results and post them on the results walls,
4. help out in the teams’ hospitality room, and/or
5. generally help get ready for the meeting starting at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 20.

Event info:
Monday, July 21: Pre-lims from 6:30 a.m. ‘til about 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 22: Finals from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Waterworks Pool on Harris Avenue

Admission: Only $1.00

Norwood - First Time Home Buyer Haven

In this blog she posted Monday at Keepin it REAL Estate, Sibcy Cline agent Jami Stutzman says Norwood has replaced Oakley as the place first time home buyers are flocking. We’ve got everything they want: proximity to dining, shopping, and work; affordable older homes with charm and character; and an image that’s on the upswing. Oh, and something else - Jamie says first time buyers want to be where the action is, and we’ve got it!

SWAT team persuades Norwood man to give up peacefully

Dennis Shrader called police to his Norwood Avenue apartment at about 11 p.m. last night and threatened suicide by a drug overdose, according to Sgt. Lou Pauly of the NPD. When officers arrived, he was armed with a knife, and, said Sgt. Pauly, he told them he wanted to “commit suicide by cop” and urged them to shoot him. He was reportedly on prescription drugs over the past several days. The officers called the Swat team, and they convinced Dennis Shrader to give up peacefully by 3:49 a.m. He was charged with inducing panic and disorderly conduct and taken to University Hospital for psychiatric evaluation.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Enquirer: Siemens to cut workforce

Two readers, almost simultaneously, just alerted us to this morning’s Enquirer article stating that German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG will cut about 4 percent of its workforce because of the global economic turndown. The company says about 16,750 jobs will be trimmed worldwide with 12,600 of those jobs in administration.

One of Siemens divisions, Siemens Energy and Automation at 4620 Forest Avenue in Norwood, employs about 400 people. This article on the Siemens website describes the $30 million renovation that was completed at the Norwood facility in December last year. We hope the Business Courier will take the suggestion one of two readers sent them and do an article on how, if at all, Norwood will be affected by the workforce cut.

Just in…U.S. Playing Card announces move to Boone Co., Ky.

Thanks to a reader’s tip, we have this link to a lengthy article in The Earth Times announcing U.S. Playing Card’s move from Norwood in early 2009 to a 570,000 square foot facility the company will be building on a 40-acre site in Boone County. The new $30 million facility will “establish a new manufacturing, distribution and headquarters campus in the Greater Cincinnati region which will house all current operations and accommodate the company's future growth.” USPC President Phil Dolci told The Earth Times, “With the project involving approximately 500 employees, USPC will be one of the ten largest manufacturers in the Northern Kentucky region, and we look forward to getting to know our new neighbors as we continue to invest in this vibrant region that we are honored to call home." U.S. Playing Card, a part of Jarden Branded Consumables, an operating division of Jarden Corporation, started its Norwood operation at 4590 Beech Street in 1901.

12:15 P.M. UPDATE: Another reader just sent this short article about the announcement from this morning's online edition of the Business Courier.

2008 Annual Norwood Day at Coney Island on July 23rd

Wednesday, July 23rd will mark the 73rd time the Norwood Business and Professional Women have sponsored the always fun-filled Norwood Day at Coney Island. The event, which follows the day after The Norwood Day Parade, is the club’s main fundraiser. Member Laura Hobbs says that, “Besides our two scholarships for girls graduating from Norwood High School, we also give a lot of money to local non-profit organizations, including Norwood Service League, Norwood Food Closet, all the schools arts organizations, and the YMCA."

The Norwood Business and Professional Women’s website has all the event information. Tickets for Norwood Day are currently on sale in the Treasurer’s Office at City Hall, 1st floor where water bills are paid, and Donna Laake tells us raffle tickets can be purchased at the Norwood Health Dept. at 2059 Sherman Avenue. Raffle tickets are only $1.00 for a strip of five, and you don’t have to be present to win. The list of prizes includes a Nintendo Wii system, Reds tickets, hotel package, and even more prizes will be added because of recent donations.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Burwood Pool Parents seeking donations for yard sale

Last week, the Burwood Pool Parents’ website announced that they’re having a yard sale at the park on Friday, July 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Proceeds from the sale will help pay the $400 cost of the float they’re creating for the July 22 Norwood Day Parade. They’re naming the float, “Thank You Norwood - Burwood Pool is the Best Gift Ever,“ and it will feature “Santa’s Summertime Sleigh” with a Hawaiian Princess and her court. Click here to contact the parents for more information about the event and how to donate.

Quatman’s in the lead for best burger with 3 days left to vote

Quatman’s Café now has 38% of the vote vs. second place Zip’s with 23% in this online poll for best burger we blogged about last month. Anyone interested in casting more votes can vote once a day each of the remaining 3 days. The best burger winner will be announced July 22nd.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Stacha Hof’s winning essay on symbolism of July 4th fireworks

With the permission of the Norwood Fireworks Committee, we are publishing Norwood High School sophomore Stacha Hof’s inspiring essay, “What do the fireworks sympolize on the 4th of July?” What follows will appear in the program for tonight’s fireworks event:

During the school year, Norwood High School’s ninth through twelfth graders were invited to write an essay on the subject of “What do the fireworks symbolize on the 4th of July?”. We received many wonderful entries, however one of the entries captured the essence of the subject and the thoughts of a young adult regarding patriotism.

It was a tough decision to choose the winner!
Our Essay Contest Winner is: Stacha Hof!!!!
Our runner-up was: Sarah Watson

Below is Stacha’s winning essay. I hope you appreciate her words as much as we did! Congratulations to Stacha and Sarah! Thanks to all the students who participated!

Stacha Hof's essay:
Every year on July 4th, fireworks illuminate the sky all across the country in celebration of our freedom, the anniversary of when our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

I think that the fireworks represent the pride Americans feel, the patriotism in our hearts and minds, and the overall joy we experience when we remember those who have died, from the Revolutionary War to the War in Iraq today, in the name of freedom and for the sakes of all Americans.

Each year as the fireworks launch into the night sky, we pay tribute to the men and women who have given everything to preserve the life that we have become accustomed to, and often take for granted. I myself can’t help but feel a surge of pride each year as I watch the show with my family. A good number of people in my family have served in the armed forces, including my brother. He returned from his second stay in Iraq just last year, and sometimes on Independence Day I’ll catch him staring off into space. I know what he’s thinking about, and I hug him for it.

To me, the fireworks arrive with mixed feelings, and usually all in a rush. I’m proud to be an American, grateful that I live here and can watch the fireworks in the first place without fear. I’m sad for those who died, and grateful to them, too. I’m proud of my brother, of my father, and of my grandfather. Mostly though, to me, the fireworks fill me with hope, and I believe that is what they mainly symbolize.

Our founding fathers hoped and dreamed of a better life in America, and how we celebrate that hope and the steps taken to make that dream into a reality with explosions. of color and light ,and all across the country for a few short hours, Americans have an idea of how the early Americans felt, and we, too, are filled with hope. Without hope, life can seem a pointless and dead-end experience, and that’s why the fireworks are so important.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Norwood Community Chorus performing 1st concert July 12

Several weeks ago, Andrew Clark, NHS graduate, Miami University student, singer, and reporter for the Norwood Times, sent us information about the upcoming, first-ever concert by the newly-formed Norwood Community Chorus. The latest edition of the Norwood Times featured an interesting article Andrew, who joined the chorus, wrote about its origins and the tremendous success it has had recruiting members. For those who might have missed it, here’s a brief summary:

The Norwood Community Chorus started this past January as an outreach ministry for the Zion United Church of Christ after various community members expressed a desire to form a local choral group. It is under the direction of Judy White, who taught many Norwood City Schools choral groups and took them to competitions, including the renowned NHS Silhouettes, and was active in musicals at every level in the school system. Many of the 46 members attended NCS when she was teaching and are enjoying their reunion both with her and former classmates. Among them are our very own Rick Hursh and his wife Sheri, Becky and Rick Geselbracht, Tim Jones, and Brian Frasure.

If any of our readers would like to make a donation to the group to help pay for music and other needs the choir has, contact Judy White at 576-0197.

What: The Norwood Community Chorus Concert
When: Saturday, July 12 at 4:00 p.m.
Where: Zion United Church of Christ at 2332 Sherwood Lane; parking lot off of Indian Mound Ave. Bring your lawn chairs. Click here for directions.
Program: Show Tunes and Patriotic
Directed by: Judith White
Accompanist: Allan Martin
Drums: Greg Stevens
Bass: Mark Cook
Bonus: FREE hot dogs, brats, metts, sandwiches and ice cream will be served at 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

40 people needed for Volunteer Reception Center Training

Guest blog by Donna Lake, Norwood Health Dept. Commissioner

The Norwood Health Department and Cincinnati Health Department are collaborating on a training to be held at Norwood High School on July 28th from 9 am to 3 pm. In the event of an emergency, we know that spontaneous volunteers will be everywhere and willing to help. Experience tells us that you cannot have volunteers just show up at a disaster site. There needs to be an organized way in which volunteers are registered, credentialed and utilized. That is done at a “Volunteer Reception Center.” The training on July 28th is designed to introduce folks to how to set up and man a VRC so that much needed assistance is coordinated. The training will consist of classroom presentation/lecture and then followed up with an actual set up of a Volunteer Reception Center.

The training is free and we need 40 people to take part or it will have to be cancelled.

Volunteer Reception Center Training

When: Monday, July 28, 2008
Where: Norwood High School, 2020 Sherman Avenue
Registration: 8:30a.m.
Training begins: 9:00 a.m.
Training ends around: 3:00 p.m
Cost: FREE; all training materials provided (lunch on your own)
Pre-registration is REQUIRED!

You will learn how:
• Volunteer can make a critical difference during a response to a disaster
• To establish a volunteer center
• To receive and process volunteers
• To match volunteer to the needs of professional responders

Please use the form below to register - Each person attending needs to have a form.

Cut off registration date, July 21, 2008
Fax or mail this registration form to: Ami McLandsborough
Cincinnati Health Department
3101 Burnet Avenue, Suite 320
Cincinnati, OH 45229
Phone: (513) 357-7212; Fax: (513) 357-7262

( ) Yes, I plan to attend the Volunteer Reception Center Training.

( ) No, I am not able to attend the training, but would like to learn more about volunteering opportunities in Hamilton County.

Contact Name:


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Subscribe to our blog - it’s free and easy with FeedBurner

Several weeks ago, a reader suggested we install something called FeedBurner so he and other readers could subscribe to our blog. At first glance, the directions looked easy enough, but things quickly went awry when the rubber didn't meet the road. Thanks to a good friend who installed it in just a matter of minutes this morning, you can now click on FeedBurner at the top of our links list on the right hand side and subscribe. Let us know what you think.

Norwood’s Emersion Design a leader in the “green” industry

This past May, Nikki Marksberry with Emersion Design sent us a press release announcing the firm’s April 19th award by The Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition during the Earth Day celebration at Sawyer Point. The company is an architecture firm in the Hamilton County Business Center at 1776 Mentor Avenue. We were pleased to know from Ms. Marksberry and to report that most of the employees and their family members helped clean Upper Millcrest Park during our April 26th Great American Clean Up Day.

Emersion Design was in the news again last week. Ms. Marksberry sent us two links to a story Channel 9 did last week about a recent meeting the United Steels Workers hosted in Evanston to explore how to create “green” jobs to replace the jobs its members are losing in manufacturing. Emersion Design architect Shawn Hesse is in the forefront of this effort, and you can see him interviewed at his work station in this Channel 9 video or read the video’s transcript here. Ms. Marksberry tells us, “Emersion continues to try to lead the way for sustainability making Norwood, Cincinnati, and Ohio at large a greener place to live work and play.”