Citizens For A Better Norwood

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

NYP invites everyone to Friday happy hours(s) at Gordo's

Norwood Young Professionals sent this special invitation to our readers:

Join the NYPs at the new hot spot in Norwood, Gordo's, on Friday for happy hour(s). We'll celebrate the success of the Taking Care of Business event and just enjoy some time mingling with neighbors! Gordo's is located at 4328 Montgomery Rd. There will be folks arriving right after work (5:30ish) and hang out until 9:00 pm or the party simmers down, whichever occurs later. Hope to see everyone on Friday! Feel free to bring new neighbors and any friends from outside of our great town!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Steve Johns with CCR on the Norwood Health Department

Following is an email Steve Johns with Citizens for Civic Renewal sent last Thursday to CCR BEST members. Just what is CCR and why does our Health Department issue interest them so much? Why does Mr. Johns refer to Norwood residents this way: “As usual the citizenry is up in arms…?" We recognize some names on their Advisory Council on this page of CCR’s website: Roxanne Qualls, Tom Neyer, Jr., Henry Winkler, Rep. Steve Driehaus; but are there any names of Norwood residents listed on the entire page? A quick glance at other pages, including this page, suggests CCR is involved in Cincinnati and Hamilton County issues. Why was Mr. Johns ready as early as last Thursday to spring into action to help Mayor Williams, and should the Mayor accept CCR's help to consolidate?

From: Citizens for Civic Renewal
Subject: CCR - BEST - Norwood Health Department
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 11:57:44 -0400

Dear CCR BEST members: Please see this link regarding the discussion the City of Norwood is having about merging its health department with Hamilton County's. As usual the citizenry is up in arms about losing services while the elected officials see a potential annual savings of $350,000. You might recall that Norwood is one of a handful of Hamilton County cities and villages that still have a health department. For the citizen perspective see You might want to express your support for consolidation by contacting Norwood Mayor Tom Williams at 458-4501 -- 5701 Varelman Ct., Cincinnati, OH 45212 I will be contacting the Mayor if CCR can be of any help with this process. Thanks

Steve Johns Citizens for Civic Renewal
3805 Edwards Road #549
Cincinnati, OH 45209
513-458-6610 (f)

(h/t to our reader)

Norwood resident’s open letter: X.U. students’ bad behavior

One of us found the following letter on the front porch Saturday morning and was able to speak with its author Russell Johnson and his wife just a couple of hours later. The Johnson’s South Norwood home is nearly surrounded by Xavier houses. They said many of the students living in them are routinely rowdy, destructive, and, yes, publicly indecent. Russell is organizing a neighborhood picnic to which two key Xavier officials will be invited. This a great opportunity for residents to band together to find solutions to a problem that is negatively affecting the quality of living for many Norwood families. We applaud Russell for stepping up to address it, and we hope readers who share his concern will email him at the address he provides.

Norwood Residents!

Are you tired of getting awakened up at 2am by a Xavier Student party?
Do you request that they quiet down only to have them get louder after you leave?
Do you wake up to beer cans and fast food wrappers in your yard and strewn in the streets?
Have you had enough of disrespectful or disruptive behavior by Xavier students?

Xavier’s off campus policy states that students living off campus should ‘integrate into the community and be good neighbors’. If you don’t feel the Xavier students living near you are living up to this expectation it is time to take action.

I am looking to organize a neighborhood picnic with guest Dr. Luther Smith the Dean of Students at Xavier, as well as Angie Kneflin the Assistant Director for Apartments and Off-Campus Living for Xavier. This is an opportunity to open a dialog with the Xavier administration, air your concerns about existing conditions, and provide feedback and suggestions for how to improve the situation. If you are interested in such a forum, please e-mail me at let me know your name and e-mail address where I can reach you with an invitation.

In the mean time, Xavier has encouraged us to report any disruptive behavior to the Xavier Police in addition to the Norwood Police. They should create an ‘Off Campus Incident Report’ which should include the address of the house being disruptive and the names of any students involved (if you have them). Included below is a quick glance guide for reporting incidents (nice and easy to read for those 2am phone calls).

Sincerely –
Russell Johnson
Concerned Norwood Resident

Xavier Incident Reporting – Quick Reference
Please report rowdy parties, excessive alcohol consumption, property disrepair, inappropriate or illegal activity with the following procedure:

1. Write down the address of the house.
2. Write down any students involved.
3. Call Xavier Police to report the incident.
a. Call 513-745-1000
b. Give them the address and student names collected above.
c. Be sure to request an Off-Campus Incident Report be created.
4. If it is warranted, contact the Norwood Police to report the incident
a. Call 513-458-4520
b. Give them the address collected above.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Two Norwood leaders urge council members to keep NHD

Following are two letters that were given to council members at last night’s Committee of the Whole meeting. The first letter is from Deb Robison, Coordinator of Children and Family First at Norwood City Schools, and the second is from Pastor Tim Brooks with Norwood Church of the Nazarene.

Dear Council Members:

The Norwood Health Department is a vital service in our Community. It is more than a convenience or a luxury service offered to the citizens of Norwood. The Norwood Health Department is essential in keeping our children, families and senior citizens safe and healthy.

I won’t repeat the services offered. You are aware of that. However, I would like to share with you some of the outcomes of these services. The Norwood Health Department received a grant for a smoking prevention program. Along with the Norwood City Schools school nurse all elementary school third and sixth grade students receive this evidence based life skills training. And it works! Bi-annually, our schools participate in the Coalition for a Drug Free Cincinnati PRIDE survey. The results of the survey are longitudinal. Our overall scores for students who smoke have decreased between 2001 and 2007.

- 8th grade usage went from 38.4% in 2001 down to 12.5% in 2007
- 9th grade usage held even (no increased which had happened in other years)
- 10th grade usage decreased from 39.3% in 2005 down to 24.8% in 2007
- 11th grade students decreased from 33.6% in 2005 down to 29.5 in 2007
- 12th grade students decreased from 34.8% in 2001 down to 32.3% in 2007

This is only once example of the tangible benefits of having a local health department that is committed to the citizens of Norwood. There are literally dozens of comparable programs/services I could tell you about. Although I am certain that the Hamilton County Health District would provide quality services, the scope and practice of those services will be greatly diluted. Such a strong level of investment of partnership is not highly likely from a county-wide service provider.

During this time of tightening our belts, I can certainly appreciate the interest in reducing the costs through the elimination of services. I would urge you as a Council to get creative. There certainly must be a way to continue these essential services to our community. I have faith that this Council can make that happen!


Deb Robison

Family and Children First Coordinator
Norwood City Schools

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a pastor closing in on my second anniversary in Norwood. During this time, I have made it a top priority in my ministry to ensure that people’s needs are met in real and tangible ways. During this time, I have used the Health Department as a resource to help meet these needs. Due to the fact that I am otherwise engaged tonight and that I trust there are many prepared to speak in favor of the Health Department and its services, I would like to share one story, of many, in which the Health Department has helped a parishioner of mine, as well as a personal testimonial.

Jennifer is a nursing student. She is not poor; but she is a full-time student, a full-time mom, and a part-time cook at a national restaurant. She is counting pennies to make sure that her three kids are provided for a swell as paying for school to secure her family’s future. I admire Jennifer for this. She was told before an internship that she needed to get a series of vaccines or she would be taken out of the internship and allowed the opportunity to continue her studies a year from then. She would be unable to afford traditional health care in time to get the first of these shots, so she turned to the Health Department. Our Health Department stepped in and helped Jennifer, the do-it-all mom, make sure that she could complete her education. What a testament of a wonderful civic service!

I have also used the Health Department. In January, my wife and I delivered our first child in our driveway here in Norwood. Because the hospital had sent us home, we did not have a traditional birth with a doctor in a labor room. As such, the hospital would not issue a birth certificate. The Health Department has guided us through this unusual circumstance to make sure that Mackenzie, our daughter, has a Social Security Number and a Birth Certificate. I dread to imagine how this would have worked out without the help of a top-class Health Department.

Health Departments are a central agency for any top-class city. As we continue to work together to energize, equip, and improve Norwood, we must do so with a fully funded Health Department. It is a necessary resource for us to be who we are. Please remember this as you decide the fate of this vital service.


Rev. Timothy J. Brooks
Norwood Church of the Nazarene

Republicans: keep funding NHD, hire Health Commissioner

In this article in today’s Enquirer, reporter Steve Kemme says that approximately 60 Norwood residents attended last night’s Committee of the Whole meeting during which two Hamilton County Public Health officials presented services they would provide should City Council elect to close or modify the Norwood Health Department in favor of a contract with HCPH. Following the presentation and questions from council members, approximately 30 residents spoke of the outstanding services the Norwood Health Department provides and asked questions about the presentation. Many spoke in favor of keeping the department. The Enquirer article quotes several of the speakers: Emily Wands, Robin Mace, and Deb Robinson.

Possibly because Mr. Kemme had a deadline to meet prior to the 10: 00 p.m. closing minutes of the meeting, he did not report that Councilperson Steve Thornbury asked for a vote on the following Minority Report of the meeting. Mr. Thornbury read the report aloud from previously prepared typed copy:

We the undersigned members of the Committee of the Whole recommend that Norwood City Council pass a resolution affirming its support for the continued operation of the Norwood Health Department with future appropriations for the indefinite future to adequately support operations and services at their current level.

Further, we recommend that the Norwood Board of Health be encouraged to proceed directly in the process of hiring a full-time Health Commissioner so as to guarantee the continued efficient and effective operation of the Department.

Councilperson Keith Moore immediately took issue with the Minority Report, expressing shock and even anger that Mr. Thornbury or anyone could come to the meeting with it typed up in advance of the presentation. Mr. Moore went on to say, essentially, that the NHD is funded and that he himself needs to study the matter further and gather more information in order determine whether or not there is duplication of health services with HCPH and at what cost services can best be delivered to the community.

Mr. Thornbury replied that the fact that he had prepared the report in advance did not mean that he was going to read it. Rather, he prepared it in advance in case he felt after hearing the nearly three-hour presentation/discussion that it was necessary. He emphasized that the fabric of the Norwood Health Department is jeopardized by delaying the decision any longer and that he wants a Health Commissioner in place and the basic operations of the NHD affirmed as soon as possible by City Council.

COW Chairman John Mumper said the committee would not be issuing a report of the meeting and that the presentation was but the first step in council considering a contract with HCPH. A vote on the Minority Report was not taken. Instead, the minority members will sign it, and it will be presented at the next City Council meeting on October 14. Minority Republican council members Michael Gabbard and Steve Thornbury were present last evening, but the third member, Victor Schneider, was absent.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Enquirer: Large crowd anticipated at COW meeting

In his article in today's Enquirer, reporter Steve Kemme states that a large crowd of Norwood residents is anticipated at tonight’s 7:30 p.m. Committee of the Whole meeting when Hamilton County Public Health officials present their proposed $21,900 contract for health services. City Council will not make a decision on the contract tonight.

Kemme reports that last year the NHD cost the City $390,000 if revenue from department fees is subtracted from the City’s total allocation. Included in the services NHD’s five employees provided for that amount are: home health care, school services, immunizations, treatment of communicable and chronic diseases, child car seats and safety instruction, inspections of restaurants, grocery stores, infectious waste and public swimming pools. Norwood health inspectors investigate about 1,600 nuisance complaints each year. The Norwood Health Department has been operating since 1890.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Format for tomorrow's COW meeting

During last night City Council meeting, Councilperson Steve Thornbury asked Committee of the Whole Chairman John Mumper to elaborate on the process by which members of the public will be allowed to speak regarding the presentation Hamilton County Public Health officials will be making at the COW meeting tomorrow evening. Our understanding from Mr. Mumper’s reply is that the format will be as follows:

1. HCPH officials will make their presentation, followed by questions from council members. This part may take up roughly an hour.

2. Members of the public who arrive prior to the 7:30 p.m. start time and fill out a form requesting to speak will have, perhaps, 2-3 minutes to ask questions. These questions will not be answered during this segment, which may also take up about an hour.

3. Approximately the last half hour or so, council members will have the opportunity to direct questions that haven't yet been answered to HCPH officials/other pertinent people present, and these questions may include questions the public asked earlier.

Last month, we published former Norwood Health Commissioner Donna Laake’s comparison of services currently provided by the Norwood Health Department with those Hamilton County Public Health provides on a standard basis. You may find it helpful to review her analysis in advance of the COW meeting.

Classical guitar concert at Xavier this Sunday

This Sunday, guitarist and lutenist Richard Savino will be performing as part of Xavier’s 2008-2009 Classical Guitar Series. Mr. Savino, both a soloist and an accompanist, was chosen twice by Andres Segovia to perform in master-classes in Geneva and New York and was the first solo guitarist to win the Artists International Carnegie Recital Hall Debut Competition.

When: Sunday, September 28; 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: $13; Senior Citizens 60 years old & older receive $3 discount; $3 for students grade school (at least 8 years old) through college with ID.
Tickets: 745-3161

Mammogram screenings at Rookwood

The Jewish Hospital Mobile Mammography Unit will be at Rookwood Commons and Pavilion this coming Monday, September 29:

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, September 23, 2008

Fenwick Park Grant project

The following letter from Norwood Recreation Director Jennifer Wallace to Norwood City Council appears on tonight's council meeting agenda:

September 17, 2008

Norwood City Council

4645 Montgomery Rd.
Norwood, Ohio 45212

Dear Madame Chairperson and Members of Council,

We received a letter from council requesting information about the Fenwick Park Grant project. We have received the bid information from playground equipment companies and we have received new picnic tables and benches for the park thanks to Donna Laake and the recycling fund. We are going to set up a meeting with the Mayor and Joe Geers to go over the playground plans and see about what improvements we can do to the restroom with the remainder of the funds available. If you have any additional questions please let us know. Thank you for your time.


Jennifer Wallace,
Executive Director,
Norwood Recreation Commission

Cc: Mayor Williams
Joe Geers, Service-Safety Director

Xavier Newswire: 12 students arrested by NPD this year

Lt. Tom Williams: “we have a job to do”

The current issue of the Xavier Newswire reports the Norwood Police have arrested 12 students in the opening weeks of school when, according to the NPD’s Lt. Tom Williams, “the biggest parties are going to happen.” These 12 arrests don’t include other citations and arrests made by Xavier Campus Police following notification by the NPD.

The Newswire states that students living in off-campus housing are “probably” being patrolled by both Campus Police and Norwood Police, and, according to Lt. Williams, the NPD has recently increased their patrol of the south end of Norwood. “During the school year we do step up our controls at the south end. Especially at the beginning of school, end of school and during the breaks because usually we know that that’s when the biggest parties are going to happen,” Williams said. He believes the student problems are not as bad as previous years and that Xavier “has done a good job emphasizing respect toward neighbors.

Lt. Williams told the Newswire that he encourages students to be cooperative and courteous with police and to assist their friends who may be making bad decisions, adding, “Try to be your brother’s keeper.” He said the main concerns for the NPD are underage drinking, public intoxication and disorderly conduct and advised, “If you’re being loud and disorderly, you’re going to be arrested.” While the Norwood police would be happy to talk to students and answer questions, he said, “they have to understand we have a job to do.”

Monday, September 22, 2008

August’08 NFD Activities and Statistics Report

A monthly feature

A. Total of emergency responses for the month of August = 414

Medic Runs = 280
Fire Runs = 34 w/breakdown
Average Response Time on Runs = 2 minutes, 52 seconds (city-wide)

Number of incidents by type:
Fire Runs – 19 - (Building, Vehicle, Brush, etc.)
Overpressure, Explosion - 0
Rescue & Medic Unit Assists – 23 - (lock-in, extrications, traffic accidents, etc.)
Hazardous Conditions (no fire) - 7 - (power lines down, arcing, spills, etc.)
Service Call – 4 - (smoke removal)
Good Intent – 17 - (odor of smoke, controlled burning)
False Alarms – 49 - (false alarms, system malfunctions, smoke detector activated, etc.)
Special Incident - 0

B. Fire Hydrant Activity
Hydrants flow tested: 5
Out of Service Hydrants: 10
Hydrants painted: 153

C. Bureau of Fire Safety Activities = 611
Total Inspections – 177 - (residential, schools, churches, businesses)
Total Violations – issued 187
Total Violations – corrected 162
Total Block Inspections – 46 - (Unit #1, Unit #2, Unit #3 – Rental & multi-family)
Additional Activities - 39

Friday, September 19, 2008

UPDATE: NYP’s Norwood clean up event tomorrow

Norwood Young Professionals tells us that everyone who has volunteered for their Taking Care of Business event will meet up at Norwood High School at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow before they start their beautification projects in the Norwood business district. It’s still not too late to volunteer. Just click here to sign up.

COW meeting stays in Council Chambers

John Mumper has responded to Steve Thornbury’s request on behalf of some individuals who wanted a larger venue for next Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting (see yesterday’s blog below). Mr. Mumper is keeping the meeting in Council Chambers because the sound and video conditions at the Community Center are inadequate and because NCT cannot broadcast the meeting live on cable Channel 4 from that location.

In anticipation of a sizable turnout for the meeting, Mr. Mumper is putting a requirement in place we’ve never seen used at COW meetings: members of the public who wish to speak about the Health Department issue will need to arrive early to fill out a form similar to the one required to address council members at their regular meetings. Mr. Mumper will then collect the forms and use them to determine how much time each speaker will be allocated.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Public Service Announcement about wind storm debris

Councilperson Steve Thornbury has talked with Norwood Public Works and tells us their official position is that if residents can bundle debris to Rumpke standards, please do so. That way the debris will be removed with your next regular pick-up and leave less for Public Works to have to do. If not, it may be as much as two or three weeks before Public Works can ultimately get the loose stuff sitting on the curbs shredded, but they will get to it.

Mr. Thornbury also contacted the Norwood Health Department, and they have assured him that they will not be hassling people in the next few weeks for brush and debris on the curb like they might in normal circumstances. The Health Department also reports having just brought in a new supply of yard waste bags citizens can pick-up for free to help with the bundling process.

Lastly, Mr. Thornbury says that Public Works is aware there are two major downed tree situations that involve power lines and that are still unresolved. P.W. is awaiting action on the part of Duke Energy. One tree is on Cypress Way, and the other is at Floral and Slane. At this time, P.W. could not give Mr. Thornbury any estimate of when Duke will be able to get to them.

4:45 PM UPDATE: Councilperson Michael Gabbard just sent us an email to share with our readers:

Just some info of benefit for our community. I just spoke with the Mayor, and he and Joe Geers taped a message to be run on cable Channel 4 about what to do with debris.
Place your debris at the curb, not in the street but like your garbage cans-at the curb.

Public Works will be touring the city collecting debris. We still have some residents that don’t have power and a few streets still closed, but the city is doing what it can to help get things back in order so PLEASE exercise patience.

I have witnessed several acts of neighbor helping neighbor,and it makes me even more proud to live in the wonderful city of Norwood.

Michael Gabbard

Residents request larger venue for COW meeting

Currently, next Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting at which Hamilton County Public Health will present a $21,900 contract to provide health services is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. On behalf of what sounds like a fair number of interested residents, Councilperson Steve Thornbury has sent the following email this morning to COW Chairperson John Mumper:


Due to the number of individuals who have expressed an interest in attending and/or speaking at the upcoming COW meeting, I have been asked to request that the venue be moved to the Community Center. I think it would be a good idea.

I've copied the rest of Council and other interested parties if anyone would like to weigh-in with an opinion.


Steve Thornbury

Two free Jazz Ensemble concerts at Xavier

Recently, we discovered a series of free jazz concerts and very inexpensively priced choir, chamber music, and dance concerts at Xavier this school year. By inexpensive, we mean $2 and $5 ticket prices. As time and space allow, we will publicize them, starting with these two free Xavier Jazz Ensemble concerts:

When: Sunday, September 21 at 8:15 p.m.
Where: Long Recital Hall
Directions: Turn on University Drive from Dana. Turn right to park. Enter the first building and turn right to the recital hall in Room 101.

When: Friday, September 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Gallagher Student Center

Click here for a map of the Xavier campus

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tonight's Recreation Commission meeting canceled

Recreation Director Jenny Wallace tells us the Recreation Commission has canceled tonight's regular monthly meeting. It is rescheduled for next Wednesday, September 24, at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Center, 1810 Carter Avenue.

Board of Education meeting tomorrow

We just learned from BOE President Ken Miracle that power has been restored at 2132 Williams Avenue. The school board will meet at that location as planned at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Gospel Explosion Concert at Cintas Center this Saturday

The Evanston Community Council is hosting a Gospel Explosion Concert this Saturday to celebrate the newly established Evanston Community Scholarship Fund. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the scholarship fund.

When: Saturday, September 20; 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Cintas Center
Ticket prices: $15 for adults; $10 for seniors (65+); $5.00 for youth and college students with ID’s; free for children 3 and under
To purchase tickets: call 281-2775
Performers include: Xavier University Gospel Choir, Northern Kentucky University Gospel Choir, New Wine Youth Choir from Tryed Stone New Beginning Church, One Mime for Christ Ministries, and Emmanuel Sign Praisers.

Lynn Ellis’ letter praising Norwood Citizens on Patrol

Recently, we obtained the following letter Norwood resident Lynn Ellis wrote to Lt. Tom Williams who sponsors Norwood Citizens on Patrol. Ms. Ellis’ account of an incident she witnessed at Kroger proves that COP volunteers are a valuable asset to our community. They’re always looking for new recruits to train for patrols. Call Lt. Williams at 458-4545 if you’d like to volunteer.

August 25,2008

Lt. Tom Williams:

I am writing to tell you about an experience I witnessed in evolving the Norwood Citizens on Patrol. The week of August the 19th, I was sitting in the Kroger parking lot watching a group of 4-5 teens dressed in white tees and wearing dew rags, playing loud music and harassing female customers going into the store. They had positioned themselves by the entrance of Krogers and Lees nails. As I was getting ready to go inform the sheriff on duty at Krogers, Norwood Citizens on Patrol came into the lot and walked the plaza sidewalk in front of the empty storefronts. The teenage boys were watching as they approached and at first didn’t seem phased by their appearance. The second group of citizens patrolling approached and both groups stayed in front of Lee Nails near the group of teens.

Citizens on Patrol stayed there until these kids were so uncomfortable that they left. That’s not all! The teens went across the street to stand in front of the Speedway watching the patrolling citizens. Citizens on Patrol crossed Montgomery Rd. and the teens seeing this, quickly dispersed.

I was impressed! All the Norwood Citizens on Patrol had to do was stand next to these troublemakers and that was enough to intimidate them.

Storeowners and neighborhoods need to welcome and encourage this group to keep up the good work and the word needs to get out to the thugs that Norwood isn’t going to take their behavior anymore. Having a group like Norwood Citizens on Patrol sends that message loud and clear and it is obvious from the reaction of these t gang wannabes that fled.

Thank you to the Citizens on Patrol, and thank you, Lt.Williams, for your work with this group.

Yours truly,

Lynn Ellis

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

WNNA meeting tonight, Norwood BPWC meeting canceled

Bill Graff with the West Norwood Neighborhood Association just informed us that the Community Center at 1810 Carter Avenue has power, so their September meeting will be held there this evening as scheduled starting at 7:30 p.m.

Laura Hobbs with the Norwood Business and Professional Women’s Club left a comment under a blog below that their meeting for tonight has been canceled. The group will skip this month and meet as scheduled October 21. She added, “The October meeting is our annual craft auction, where members bring a craft item they have either made or purchased for auction that evening. It's fun and usually raises a good amount for our service projects. I will update our Web site as soon as I get power back at my house!”

Norwood Kroger jammed with shoppers

We’ve never seen the Norwood Kroger as busy as it was yesterday afternoon or been as challenged to find a parking space. Shoppers came from far and wide since, as is reporting, 58 Kroger stores in Cincinnati alone lost power. One shopper at our local store came from Tri-County because no stores in that area are open. The good news is we have no damage to major roadways, so supplies are coming in to replenish stores and gas stations.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Norwood City Schools closed tomorrow

According to this list on the Enquirer website, NCS is one of many area school districts that will be closed again tomorrow. With Duke Energy officials saying it will take up to 7 days to restore power to all their customers, will NCS will be open at all this week?

Fundraiser for NHS at opening of new Norwood Chipotle

The Enquirer is reporting that the new Chipotle Mexican Grill at Surrey Square will celebrate its opening with a fundraising event for Norwood High School’s student activities fund on Thursday, October 2 from 5 - 8 p.m. Donate $5 and receive a burrito and soft drink. NHS Social studies teacher Rick Robisch told the Enquirer, “The fundraiser event will help our continued goal of finding alternate methods of raising funds that directly benefit our students. We take pride in our school and community and we look forward to seeing everyone come out to support not only our school but a new business in the Norwood area.” For more information, call 351-0100.

UPDATE: Allison petition at Krogers this week

Sarah Horsely tells us the Allison parents team has gathered at least 400 signatures on the Allison petition (see 9/13/08 blog below for the text) since Saturday, and there may be more because she wasn’t been able to reach all of the team members this morning who collected signatures over the weekend. Several of the parents will be outside Krogers' front door this week from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. asking Norwood residents to sign the petition.

The Allison parents are encouraging everyone to attend the Board of Education meeting at 6:00 p.m., this Thursday, September 18, at the BOE offices at 2132 Williams Avenue when they plan to present the petition and address Superintendent Steve Collier’s recommendation that Allison Elementary be closed. This meeting is the first opportunity for school board members to vote on closing the school.

UPDATE: Republican Grand Opening still on today

Steve Thornbury just reported that the power is on at the new Hamilton County Republican satellite office at 4218 Montgomery Road, so today’s Grand Opening will go ahead starting at 6:30 p.m. The Norwood Papa John’s Pizza is without power, but plans are in the works for plenty of pizza to be delivered by the restaurant’s downtown location. Mr. Thornbury understands the wind damage may prevent a number people from attending, but he hopes everyone who can will stop by, even if it’s just for a few minutes to talk about your challenges following the wind storm.

Aftermath of Sunday’s high winds

One of us got off easy from yesterday’s wind storm with no loss of electricity and just a panel of privacy fencing blown down. A friend who called wasn’t so lucky. She and her husband arrived home to find their chimney gone as well as parts of the roof, but the electricity was on. She said other homes on Carthage Avenue suffered damage, too. We pray none of our neighbors were injured by flying debris or any other mishap, that there weren’t any home or business fires, and that Duke Energy will quickly restore power to all who lost electricity. What’s the state of Norwood this morning? Are all six of our schools open today?

10:50 AM UPDATE: Duke Energy updates this Customer Outage Data by County Chart every five minutes. Currently, a total of 593,326 Duke customers without power, and 265,763 of these are in Hamilton County.

Volunteers still needed for NYP's Norwood clean up event

The Norwood Young Professionals are still recruiting for volunteers to join them this Saturday, September 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to help paint, landscape, clean up and otherwise beautify the Norwood business district on Montgomery Road. They’re teaming up with Taking Care of Business, the City of Norwood, and Xavier University for this huge event, but more people are needed to reach their goal of 125 volunteers. Click here to sign up. As NYP says, “You will not regret it, as it’s fun, a great way to meet new people, and it feels good when you’re done!” Lunch will be provided by local businesses; and for fun, the day will end with a celebration of a job well done at Norwood’s own Stone’s Lanes with bowling, food, and drinks!

11/17/08 UPDATE: We just got this email in from NYP: "Last call for Taking Care of Business! We currently have 23 NYPs signed up for Saturday's Taking Care of Business event with Give Back Cincinnati. Our initial commitment was 25 volunteers, so we hope to have at least a couple more come on out and help us represent Norwood! In total, over 130 people have already signed up for the event...this is sure to be a successful day for Norwood that you won't want to miss!"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Petition to delay Allison Elem. vote at Walgreens this morning

Since Tuesday’s announcement in the Enquirer that NCS Superintendent Steve Collier has recommended that the BOE close Allison Elementary (see 9/10/08 blog below), a team of Allison parents (and there may be parents from other local schools) has quickly formed to persuade board members to study the matter further and not vote to close Allison at their Thursday, Sept. 18 meeting next week. Last night Fox Channel 19 did a story about their effort, and we will post the video when we are able locate it.

Sarah Horsely, one of the Allison parents on the team, has informed us that this petition, which includes 9 specific questions the BOE is urged to address before voting, is being circulated in advance of next Thursday’s BOE meeting. This morning between 8 and 11 a.m., team members will be at our local Walgreens on Montgomery Rd. collecting signatures. From there, the group will break up and go door-to-door in various neighborhoods; and next week, at least one of them will have the petition at each of our schools. As soon as the group has Krogers’ permission to collect signatures, we’ll post their schedule at that location. If any of our readers would like assist the team or have additional information, you can email Sara at

The petitions says, in part:

We do not believe that closing Allison Street Elementary will be beneficial to any of our Norwood City School students or that it will create long term savings for our city. We look forward to continued dialogue, including a public roundtable where these and other questions can be addressed. We firmly reject the closing of our school.
Thank you.

By signing below, I am in favor of the Norwood City School Board to conduct further analysis and answer the nine questions provided above be answered before making any final decisions on closing a school.

11:00 AM UPDATE: Sarah tells us Krogers has given the Allison team permission to collect signatures, and the group hopes to have several of their members there this afternoon roughly in noon to 5:00 p.m. time frame and, perhaps, tomorrow as well. Tentatively, they plan to be at Krogers after school next week, roughly 4 - 7 p.m., and we’ll post the schedule once it’s confirmed.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Norwood Republican campaign office Grand Opening

Steve Thornbury sent us a flyer promoting the Grand Opening of what is believed to be the first ever Hamilton County Republican campaign satellite office in Norwood:

Grand Opening of the Hamilton County Republican Campaign Satellite Office.

Operated by Norwood GOP.

Join us in celebrating the entire slate of Republican Candidates.

When: Monday, September 15, 2008 6:30 p.m.
Where: 4218 Montgomery Road, Norwood; 2 blocks south of Surrey Square
Food: Papa John’s Pizza, drinks and snacks will be served.
More information: Contact Jerry Klems at 885-5744 or Steve Thornbury at 373-9653 (

With its centralized location, convenient access to both major Intersates, high traffic count, exceptional visibility and proximity to multiple political districts, the Norwood Montgomery Road office will be a valuable resource for the full range of National, State and Hamilton County campaigns. The Norwood GOP PAC is committed to operating and staffing the office throughout the remaining days and weeks to assure victory in this, the most important election in our lifetime.

A note to candidates:
There will be ample room in the space for each of you to display your campaign materials. And while we’re pretty certain we have at least some yard signs from everyone’s campaign (as of Friday, September 12) be prepared to replenish our stock and bring your newest campaign literature to set up at your individual display.

Donations to help support the office are encouraged. Make checks payable to “Norwood GOP.”

Open letter from the West Norwood Neighborhood Association

Yesterday, Bill Graff with the West Norwood Neighborhood Association asked us to publish the following open letter from WNNA to Norwood community members. As you will see, the future of WNNA is in question, and that should concern us all. We’re crossing our fingers that some of our readers will be inspired to jump in and help save what is one of the most productive civic groups we have. For one thing, we all owe WNNA a big debt of gratitude for all the work they put into the recent forum with Xavier officials regarding Xavier Square and getting it aired on NCT - a huge public service to residents. How about a big, supportive turnout at their September meeting next week and keep this group going and growing?

West Norwood Neighborhood Association at a Crossroad

The West Norwood Neighborhood Association has successfully served the west Norwood residents as well as the Norwood community at large. The WNNA has held monthly meetings dealing with many quality of life issues for Norwood residents over the past 10 years. A non-political origination, the WNNA has tried to inform Norwood residents about issues that affect their lives on daily basis. Past issues addressed by the WNNA are to name a few: elections forums, 2 community Police substations, assisted in acquiring 800 MHz police radios for the NPD, organizing Citizens on Patrol city wide, Section 8 housing issues, Xavier East Campus project meeting with residents.

We view the WNNA as being at a crossroad in 2008. The number of residents attending the WNNA monthly meetings has dwindled to an all time low. We are asking Norwood residents what direction do you see for the WNNA in the future or what can we do differently? If the attendance at next Tuesday’s September 16th, 7:30 pm monthly meeting is as low as in the past year, it would show a lack of interest by the residents of continuing with the WNNA. If the residents at this meeting show no interest, current officers would reluctantly dissolve the WNNA. If active dues paying members and residents show interest by attending this meeting, we would take on new projects with members’ commitment and help.

Marlene E. Boehme

William A. Graff
Vice President

Maryann Teeter

Vivian C. Graff

Norwood Section 8 housing down 26% from 1994

The Enquirer has done an analysis of 15 years of local and federal housing statistics. Their research shows an unequal relocation of poor families in Hamilton County. 60% of all Section 8 housing in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky is located in Hamilton County and has doubled since 1994 to about 11,000 this year.

Roughly 60% of the 11,000 units are on the West Side, which has 51% of the region’s rental units, and that’s a 5-percentage-point increase since 2003. Colerain Township, Columbia Township, Mount Airy, College Hill and Forest Park all have seen triple-digit increases in the number of Section 8 renters in just the past four years.

In contrast, the Enquirer’s neighborhood tally chart shows that the number of Section 8 housing units in Norwood has declined 26% since 1994, from 321 total units to the current 238 total units. Norwood has 2.6% of all the housing that is subsidized. Does the Enquirer’s research satisfy our readers that Section 8 housing is not on the rise in our community, and that, in fact, it has declined substantially over the last 15 years?

Six start-ups graduating from Ham. Co. Business Center

During an open house starting at 11 a.m. today, six business ventures will be recognized as they graduate from the Hamilton County small-business incubator at 1775-1776 Mentor Avenue. According to today’s Enquirer, this class is one of the most successful ever to graduate in the 21-year history of the Hamilton County Business Center. Combined, the group has more than $10 million in revenues, up from less than $100,000 when they arrived, and their payroll has grown from 13 employees to 62.

H.C.B.C. Director Brian Taylor says Scenario Learning LLC, one of the most successful, has grown to about $2 million and 12 employees since coming to the incubator six years ago. The company, a supplier of online safety training for school employees, has acquired its own office space in Silverton with the help of a small business loan.

The other graduates are

Best Express Foods, a supplier of frozen foods to niche markets such as schools, hospitals and the military.

Skilled Trades, a Dayton, Ohio-based company that is expanding into Cincinnati and other nearby cities, providing skilled construction trades personnel to contractors.

Somatic Digital LLC, which developed a touch user-interface technology that links paper directly to digital content.

ZQI Inc., a consulting firm led by John Zurick that specializes in leadership, strategic planning, fundraising and project management.

Ace Tech Services, which refurbishes and resells prepress equipment.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stith’s hosting get-together with U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot

Norwood City Auditor Jim Stith and his wife Jennifer are hosting an informal gathering this Saturday with special guest Steve Chabot, and we’re all invited. Following is their invitation, which includes how to R.S.V.P. if you’d like to attend:

Please join
Jim & Jennifer Stith


For a get-together with

Steve Chabot
Saturday, September 13th 4-8 PM

The Stith’s
1816 Weyer Ave
Norwood, OH 45212

Join us for a fun time grilling out with music, corn-hole, games, and relaxed conversation.

R.S.V.P. by email

Ham. Co. Sheriff’s Dept. sits on Norwood man’s jail break

Norwood resident and convicted thief Bruce Bing was housed in the Queensgate Correctional Facility on $160,000 bond following accusations he broke into at least 2 Norwood homes and stole cash and jewelry. The Enquirer is reporting that Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department personnel discovered him missing from the facility on September 3, but the public was not told of his escape until now. He has not been caught.

Bing was part of an 18-member kitchen crew that day and was counted by an officer as they served breakfast last Wednesday. Sometime after, he escaped unnoticed. Steve Barnett, spokesman for the Sheriff said, "We inadvertently didn't put out a release like we should have. It was an oversight…That facility is not a very secure facility. It’s very possible to squeeze out of there.” He also noted that budget cuts have things even worse.

The Enquirer article includes a picture of Bruce Bing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hamilton Co. Public Health to make contract presentation

At last night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Tom Williams and Committee of the Whole Chair John Mumper announced that representatives from Hamilton County Public Health are scheduled to make a presentation to the COW on Thursday, September 25. The presentation will describe the services HCPH would provide should City Council decide to contract with HCPH. Mr. Mumper said the public will be allowed to speak and/or ask questions at the meeting, though some limitations may be put in place depending on how big the turnout is.

For background if you missed it previously, click here to read former Norwood Health Commissioner Donna Laake’s comparison of current services provided by the Norwood Health Department with services Hamilton County can provide. Also, click here for HCPH Commissioner Tim Ingram’s 7/30/08 letter to Safety-Service Director Joe Geers stating the $21,901 price for contracted services.

Supt. Collier recommends closing Allison Elementary

Today’s Enquirer is reporting that Superintendent Steve Collier recommended closing Allison Elementary at last night’s school board committee meeting. He cited declining enrollment at the school and told the BOE, “Allison Elementary is basically closing itself through the Public School Choice program.” As a result of Allison’s low scores on state standardized tests, parents can choose under the PSC program to send their children to either Sharpsburg or Williams elementaries. Collier says the program has caused enrollment at Allison to drop from 400 students in 2006-07 to the current 260 students. Under his plan, 200 Allison students would attend Sharpburg Elementary, and 60 would attend Williams Elementary.

Closing Allison would save about $600,000, mostly in personnel costs, not enough to keep the district from seeking renewal levies in 2010 and 2012. A new levy could also be on the ballot in 2012.

The first opportunity for the school board will have to vote on Collier’s recommendation is at their next board meeting on September 18.

Xavier’s Liz Blume to speak at Norwood Chamber meeting

Liz Blume with Xavier University’s Community Building Institute will be the guest speaker at the Monday, September 15, luncheon meeting of the Norwood Chamber of Commerce. She will be giving a presentation on the Xavier’s expansion projects.

Where: Cintas Center at 1624 Herald Avenue
Time: 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch followed by program
Cost: $12/members and $15/non-members
For reservations: Call 513-956-7935 or email

2008 Fall Semi-Annual Yard Sale Directory

There are nearly 80 yard sales on the directory. If you missed getting on the directory, just leave your address under this blog, and we'll add it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Charity Yard Sale this Friday and Saturday

One of our readers is inviting everyone to stop by a charity yard sale to raise money for The Cincinnati Spina Bifida Association and The Junior Arthritis Foundation. The goal is to raise $2,000 and to raise awareness about both organizations’ causes. Any items not sold will be donated to Goodwill of Cincinnati.

Where: 3915 Forest Avenue, Norwood
When: Friday and Saturday, Sept. 12 and 13, from 8:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This yard sale is scheduled both days of Norwood’s Fall Semi-Annual Yard Sale. We hope to publish the directory of all the yard sale addresses later today.

WNNA meeting with X.U. officials airing on NCT

The August 19 meeting of the West Norwood Neighborhood Association with a panel of five Xavier University officials answering questions about Xavier Square is now airing on cable Channel 23:

Sunday’s at 5:00 p.m.
Monday’s at 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday’s at 9:00 a.m.
Thursday’s at 6:00 p.m.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Demolition for Xavier’s Hoff Academic Quad begins today

Today at 11:00 a.m., Messer Construction will begin demolition of a number of houses along Ledgewood Drive and Dana Avenue, and a Cincinnati Bell structure. No auto traffic will be affected, as all work will occur behind a fenced area. Pedestrian traffic is restricted in the immediate area and parking along Ledgewood is not allowed. Demolition will begin at the Bellarmine Circle end of the street.

Xavier’s Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Bob Sheeran says about 60,000 yards of earth will be moved during the Quad project. “We’re going to be partnering with the [Cincinnati] Park Board and take some of that dirt to Owl’s Nest Park,” says Sheeran. “They will use about half the dirt.”

Additionally, about 75% of the material from the demolition will also be recycled. That includes concrete, bricks, and materials from retaining walls, parking lots and driveways. This continues a practice which saw 90% of the material from the demolition of structures on the nearby Xavier Square site recycled. “All the steel was sent to AK Steel in Middletown,” Sheeran says. “A lot of the electrical equipment was salvaged by another company from Lexington.”

Wooden Nickel, a local architectural salvage firm, went through the houses on Ledgewood to salvage architecturally unique items. The sites were also safely cleared of asbestos and other materials commonly used at the times these homes were built. Messer Construction will be the general contractor for the Quad project. Todd Sadler, Messer senior project manager, says at the high point of construction, as many as 400-500 workers could be on site.

The new Williams College of Business and Learning Commons on the Hoff Academic Quadrangle and a new Central Utility Plant across Dana Avenue are scheduled to be completed in time for classes in the fall of 2010. A groundbreaking for the Quad will held on Friday, September 26 at noon. Details about that groundbreaking are forthcoming.

Work will begin on the Xavier Square site later this fall.

For updates and more information on Xavier’s construction, you can visit, which features a live webcam and periodic videos about the projects.

High demand moves Kennedy lecture to larger venue

Xavier University has moved the Robert Kennedy, Jr. opening lecture of the 2008-2009 Ethics/Religion and Society series to the Cintas Center Arena. “Ticket distribution began at 9:00 a.m. last Tuesday, and by 4:00 p.m., every last ticket was gone,” says E/RS co-chair Elizabeth Prem Groppe. “We have moved the location to accommodate the demand for this lecture.”

Kennedy will speak at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 2 on “Our Environmental Destiny.” While there is no charge for admission, tickets are required. For the general public, a maximum of 4 tickets per person may be obtained at the walk-up window at the Cintas Center open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Click here to download the form to mail with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. For information on ticket availability, call 513-745-3411 ext. 7.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Democratic Club City Wide Cookout tomorrow

Councilperson Keith Moore tells us everyone is invited to stop by for a good time at the Democratic Club’s Cookout tomorrow at Lower Millcrest Park. It starts at 4:00 p.m., and there will be food and drink, raffles, prizes, corn hole, etc.

Finalist for Health Commissioner takes another job

This past Tuesday, recently retired Health Commissioner Donna Laake sent the following email to Mayor Williams and members of the Norwood Health Commission. Last Friday, Gary Arthur, President Prop Tem of the Norwood Health Commission, informed Mayor Williams that the Health Commission had suspended its search for Donna Laake’s replacement (see 8/29/08 blog below.)

Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 6:43 pm

Unfortunately, I received news today that the second of the three individuals who were chosen for 2nd interviews took another job. Matt Coleman, in my opinion the best candidate, waited as long as he could for the resolution regarding the Norwood Health Department before accepting a position in Tennessee. His wife had been laid off at Hamilton County Public Health in May due to the dissolving of the Tobacco Foundation and the loss of grant funds. Ironically, HCPH recently received a new grant from the CDC and was in the process of contacting his wife to return to work when Matt accepted the position in Tennessee. It is a real loss since he was young and enthusiastic and willing to do whatever it took to become a successful health commissioner for our city.

-Donna Laake

Finance & Audit Committee on Monday

This coming Monday, September 8, the Finance and Audit Committee will meet at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers. There is one agenda item: 2008 Appropriations.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Norwood City Wide Open House this Sunday

Norwood resident, Sibcy Cline real estate agent, and our favorite real estate blogger Jami Stutzman told us two weeks ago about an incredible idea she had to showcase Norwood homes for sale - a city wide open house featuring nearly 25 listings. Well, bless her heart, with lightning speed, Jami has managed to put it all together; and this Sunday, September 7, is the big day. The homes will be open from 1:00 until approximately 4:00 p.m., plus free food and even prizes are going to be part of the extravaganza. Jami deserves a lot of kudos and support for her extraordinary marketing idea for Norwood, and we hope our readers will help out by spreading the word. Jami has this map of all the listings at her blog Keepin’ it REAL Estate, plus maps will be available at each home. Below are the addresses of all the open houses. The 7 digit numbers are the MLS reference numbers:

1. 1136229 - Active - 5332 Hunter Ave. Norwood - $ 87,500
2. 1136218 -Active - 2340 Quatman Ave. Norwood - $109,875
3. 1124812 Active 2231 Ronda Ave. Norwood - $109,900
4. 1123530 Active 4125 Bell St. Norwood - $112,900
5. 1115955 Active 5059 Grandview Pl. Norwood - $114,900
6. 1139912 Active 5010 Stewart Park Norwood, OH - $114,900
7. 1128830 Active 4247 Franklin Ave, Norwood, OH - $119,900
8. 1127052 Active 2547 Ida Ave. Norwood - $124,900
9. 1133407 Active 4805 Oak St, Norwood - $129,900
10. 1140533 Active 4214 Franklin Ave. Norwood - $131,000
11. 1131356 Active 2520 Sheridan Ave. Norwood - $141,707
12. 1119120 Active 1833 Hopkins Ave. Norwood - $147,900
13. 1120661 Active 4017 Huston Ave. Norwood - $149,900
14. 1129454 Active 4534 Forest Ave. Norwood - $149,900
15. 1140787 Active 1823 Mentor Ave. Norwood - $150,000
16. 1116347 Active 3828 Regent Ave. Norwood - $179,900
17. 1126414 Active 3955 Hazel Ave. Norwood - $179,900
18. 1117458 Active 2525 Cypress Way Norwood - $184,900
19. 1135569 Active 3830 Spencer Ave. Norwood - $185,000
20. 1117419 Active 2226 Washington Ave. Norwood - $189,900
21. 1140852 Active 3824 Hazel Ave. Norwood - $199,900
22. 1141920 Active 4311 Ashland Ave. Norwood - $315,000
23. 1140477 Active 2848 Cypress Way Cincinnati - $74,900

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Last Exchange hold on Joe Horney sells for $1.25 million

The Enquirer is reporting that Rookwood Partners has purchased Joe Horney’s vacant rental property at the 11-acre former Rookwood Exchange site for $1.25 million. Horney, one of the three homeowners who won their challenge of the City’s use of eminent domain against their properties in a ruling by Ohio Supreme Court, is relieved the case is over and said, “I have no comment beyond that.” Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate marking director Tracy Nemenz said Rookwood Partners haven’t made any specific development plans yet for the site.

Party for Donna Laake this Friday

In case any of our readers need a little reminding, the celebration honoring Donna Laake, who just retired after serving 16 years as our Health Commissioner, is this Friday at the Mound Café, 5227 Montgomery Road. The party conveniently gets underway at 5:15 p.m. for the after work crowd. No end time for the festivities has been established, but one of the party planners emphasized that the Mound closes at 1:00 a.m. for all the late night revelers.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Xavier hosting “greatest living Latin American poet”

Nobel prize nominee and Nicaraguan Catholic Priest Ernesto Cardenal will read from his 1989 work Cántico Cósmico, accompanied by the English translation, at Xavier University’s Gallagher Center Theatre on Monday, September 8, 2008 at 7:30 pm. Admission is free and all are welcome. For more information, please call 745-4240.

Many critics consider Fr. Ernesto Cardenal to be the greatest living Latin American poet, often compared with another Nicaraguan poet, Rubén Darío. Well-known as a spokesperson for justice in Central America, he served as Minister of Culture under the Sandinista government in Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990. He was educated at Jesuit schools in Nicaragua and in Mexico and then at Columbia University. He was ordained a priest in 1965 in Nicaragua.

Fr. Cardenal’s appearance is made possible by Voices of Solidarity (VOS); Student Organization of Latinos (SOL); Xavier’s Spanish Club, Department of Modern Languages in the College of Social Sciences, Health & Education; Ethics, Religion and Society Program; the Academic Service Learning Semester Programs, the Latin American Studies Minor and the Office of the Provost.