Citizens For A Better Norwood

Friday, February 27, 2009

City seeks $5.1 million from Federal Stimulus Initiative

Mayor Tom Williams presented the following letter to council members during this past Tuesday’s City Council meeting. It describes 5 projects for which the City has applied for funding from O.K.I and the Federal Stimulus Initiation. Mayor Williams stated the City is exploring every option, but that, “All these programs are out there, but nobody has a clue…it’s the old theory ‘we ran it up the flag pole and whoever salutes it, we’ll take their money.’” The projects are tailored to meet the needs of what the funding sources state they want to hear. He said the City will pay close attention any strings that may be attached accepting funds.

February 24, 1009

Re: Federal Stimulus Initiative

Dear Madame President and Member of Council:

Below is information regarding the Federal Stimulus Initiative.

A. December 12, 2008 - Submitted to Hamilton County Regional Planning, then sent to O.K.I. The only change from the December 12, 2008 application that was submitted to Hamilton County is that the Highland Avenue retaining Wall estimated at $1,500.000.00 was replaced with the Sherman Avenue Improvement Project due to timing to get a project started.

B. Applied to State of Ohio - Federal Stimulus Initiative, February 17, 2009. Confirmation February 18, 2009.

1. Sherman Avenue Improvements - Requested $1,100,000.00 for a Street Rehabilitation Project including new curb and storm sewer upgrades. Also, the replacement of an antiquated traffic signal allowing for safer pedestrian and vehicular movements to adjacent schools.

2. Water Tank Rehabilitation - Requested $1,000,000.00 for rehabilitation of existing 0.5 million gallon and a 1.5 million gallon above-ground storage tanks. Project is part of the City’s Water System Operation and Maintenance Plan.

3. Public Works Pole Barn - Requested $500,000.00 for a new building for storage of Public Works equipment and material. Will reduce maintenance costs and increase useful life of the equipment.

4. Montgomery Road Improvements - Requested $2,200,000.00 to replace antiquated traffic control system with new energy efficient LED signalization, interconnected to enhance traffic flow. Construct 20 bus pads alleviating the pavement rutting and shoving which is both a safety concern and maintenance issue.

5. City Hall Renovation - Requested $ 300,000.00 to replace existing windows in City Hall with new energy efficient windows as part of ongoing upgrades.

Total requested from the State: $5,100,000.00.

C. February 19, 2009 - applied to O.K.I. For two projects that are eligible on their list.
Priority One: 1. Montgomery Road Improvements for $2,200,000.00 for construction in 2010 due to all the requirements that need to be met with federal funding.
Priority Two: 2. Sherman Avenue Improvements for $1,100,000.00 for construction in 2009.

E. February 23, 2009 - received a letter from the Ohio E.P.A. directing anyone with water projects to submit to the State of Ohio - Federal Stimulus Initiative also known as** We will be submitting additional water projects in the near future since the Ohio E.P.A. has suspended any deadlines for submitting potential drinking water project- pre-applications to the agency.


Thomas F. Williams, Mayor
City of Norwood

**The website states that 10,269 proposals have been submitted as of 2/25/09.

Parks and Recreation Committee meeting Tuesday

Councilperson Victor Schneider, Chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee, has called a meeting for Tuesday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.** Following is the agenda:
  1. Council and Commission mutual goals for good of City
  2. Pool Operations 2009 (staffing, hours, etc.)
  3. Parks Operations 2009 (rental programs, clean ups, support groups, etc.)
**We have changed the location from the Community Center to Council Chambers per a revised agenda issued by the Clerk of Council's office.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

NPD’s new bicycle patrols

The Norwood Police Department started a bicycle patrol about 6 weeks ago, and already it has been declared a success. Lt. Tom Williams tells us there have been several arrests, including a felony arrest warrant that recovered a gun and resulted in more charges. The bicycle patrols are used primarily on 2nd and 3rd shifts and are patrolling near our schools both during and after the end of the school day. According to Lt. Williams, “The patrols are not only a crime tool; they’re also a public relations tool because they enable us to be a a greater presence in the community, especially with our youth.”

The patrols are directed in that officers concentrate for short periods of time on targeted areas, like the local business that alerted the NPD their building was getting hit with paint balls. The bicycles are, of course, much stealthier than police cruisers because they can roll up on and catch suspects far more quickly. Cruisers are fitted with bicycle racks; and for safety, both the officers’ jackets and the bicyles have reflectors.

This is great community policing, and we commend the NPD for adding these patrols again. We say again because we know that in years past the NPD did bicycle patrols. Do any of our readers know how long ago that was?

Next week at the library: Book Club, bugs & beehives

There’s a new Evening Book Club at the Norwood Public Library at 4325 Montgomery Rd. This Monday, March 2, at 6:30 p.m., they’ll be discussing The Solist by Steve Lopez.

For the little ones ages 3-6, there will be a Preschool Storytime on Tuesday, March 3, starting at 6:30 p.m. and a program on bugs with the opportunity to Decorate Your Own Beehive!

For more information, call 369-6037.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Council meeting: Executive Session re “imminent” litigation

The second reading of the St. Aloysius Orphanage ordinance was the first order of business at last night City Council meeting. Councilperson Keith Moore presided over this agenda item after Council President Jane Grote recused herself as she did at the February 10 meeting. Drex Avenue resident Henry Jacquez, who spoke in favor of St. Aloysius at the last council meeting, immediately addressed council again in favor of the ordinance and presented a petition signed by 137 residents who also favor the proposed school. 41 residents who live in Ward 4 where the school would be located signed the petition.

After Mr. Jacquez’ remarks, Ward 4 Councilperson John Mumper made a motion for council to go into Executive Session to discuss pending, ”imminent” litigation. Councilperson Victor Schneider asked Law Director Ted Kiser if the litigation was related to St. Aloysius. Mr Kiser said that, yes, one of the issues was related. With that, Building Commissioner Gerry Stoker, Law Director Ted Kiser and Assistant Law Director Chris Brown, and attorney Tim Burke, outside council to the City, were asked to join council in Executive Session.

After a half hour session, council reconvened and the Clerk of Council gave the second reading of the St. Aloysius ordinance. We missed perhaps a minute or less of the meeting at this point, but if we’re not mistaken and please correct us if we are, there was no discussion of the ordinance, and council moved on to the next agenda item. That leaves one more opportunity for council to hear from the public and discuss the ordinance when it has a third and last reading and vote, presumably at the next meeting on March 10.

The use of the word “imminent” to describe the pending litigation certainly got our attention, and our readers may want to comment on and even speculate about this turn of events. All we ask is that unsupportable rumors not be posted here.

January 09 NFD Activities and Statistics Report

A monthly feature

A. Total of emergency responses for the month of January = 310

Medic Runs = 262
Fire Runs = 7 w/breakdown
Average Response Time on Runs = 3 minutes, 9 seconds (city-wide)

Number of incidents by type:
Fire Runs – 7 - (Building, Vehicle, Brush, etc.)
Overpressure, Explosion - 0
Rescue & Medic Unit Assists – 21 - (lock-in, extrications, traffic accidents, etc.)
Hazardous Conditions (no fire) - 18 - (power lines down, arcing, spills, etc.)
Service Call – 15 - (smoke removal)
Good Intent – 7 - (odor of smoke, controlled burning)
False Alarms – 33 - (false alarms, system malfunctions, smoke detector activated, etc.)
Special Incident - 12
Motor Vehicles - 9

B. Fire Hydrant Activity
Checked for leaing w/strap - 490
Extra Hydrants (leakers) - 95

C. Bureau of Fire Safety Activities - 336
Total Inspections – 66 - (residential, schools, churches, businesses)
Total Violations – issued 86
Total Violations – corrected 110
Total Block Inspections – 0 - (Unit #1, Unit #2, Unit #3 – Rental & multi-family)
Additional Activities - 74

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Breaking…Norwood Star launches stellar website today

Norwood news junkies (and who isn’t one?) are about to be in 7th heaven with the new Norwood Star newspaper’s website that opened for business this morning. Putting the 7 Deadly Sins aside for just a minute, Star publisher Vicki Clark and her son Andrew can be very proud of the website they’ve constructed, a website that is sure to be the envy of other Tri-State communities. Not only is there a slideshow of the recent Norwood Community Chorus’ concert on the home page, why, we even see our own blog headlines on the left side (thank you, Andrew!), plus there’s a Community Calendar page we’re sure will be filling up soon, and many other terrific features. It is our pleasure to add to our links on the right.

The first issue of the Norwood Star will be delivered this Friday and Saturday. Here’s what Andrew told us about it:

“We will be delivering to every household, but if for some reason should someone not get one (we aren't delivering to every apartment building because we don't know exactly how many there are) they can pick up a copy at Ameristop (across from the high school) or Linda's Beauty Salon at 2025 Worth Avenue (we are working on UDF, but they want to see the first issue first). If someone is still unable to get one they can contact us through the website and we will get them a copy.”

A Muslim, a Jew, and a Christian walk into the Cintas Center…

At 8:30 pm on March 12 in the Cintas Center on the campus of Xavier University a never-before-imagined comedy event will take place called 3 Comics, 3 Faiths: An Interfaith Comedy Show. It is free to Xavier faculty, students and staff with an All Card. For all others, a $5 donation is requested. E-mail your ticket request to and your tickets will be available at “Will Call.” There is a limit of 4 tickets per person.

A Jewish comic born in Iran, an African-American Christian comic, and a Muslim comic from Pakistan will do a comedy routine. The theme will be “Interfaith Comedy as Interfaith Dialogue.” Each comedian will do a part of the evening. Each knows the others but this will be the first time they have created a routine around this topic. And, it will be the first time they have had to cogently and academically discuss comedy as dialogue.

Earlier in the day on March 12, from 3:00 to 4:30 in Kelly Auditorium of the Alter Building, the three comics will sit on a panel to discuss humor during crises - crying until you laugh. Both events are sponsored by Xavier’s Student Government Association, the Office of Interfaith Community Engagement, and the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue.

Jordan Carlos is an American stand-up comedian with a recurring character on The Colbert Report and is a co-host on the Nickelodeon kids' show "Me TV." On The Colbert Report, he plays Alan, Stephen Colbert's "black friend". Whenever Colbert discusses racial issues, he asks that a picture of him and his African-American co-worker Alan be shown on screen. He is the trio’s Christian member.

Dan Ahdoot is a New York stand-up comedian. He was a contestant in NBC’s reality TV show Last Comic Standing and performed on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. An Iranian Jew, he grew up in Great Neck, New York. When his brother died of cancer, he turned to comedy. In New York City, Ahdoot helped found an improv comedy troupe, wrote freelance for Crank Yankers, and opened for such headlining comedians as Lewis Black, Jay Mohr, and Dave Chappelle.

Kumail Nangiani was born and spent 18 years of his life in Karachi, Pakistan, then moved to Iowa. This Pakistani-Iowan’s comedy covers a broad range of topics from giant squids to chocolate. He has been featured in theaters and clubs around the country and has worked with comedians including Zack Galifianakis, Eugene Mirman and Arj Barker. He is the Muslim of the troupe.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Free child ID kits at Kroger this Thursday

Lt. Tom Williams, Jr. tells us members of Citizens on Patrol and the Norwood Police Department will be handing out free child ID kits and giving child safety tips from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. this Thursday, February 26 at the Surrey Square Kroger on Montgomery Road. They will demonstrate how to use the kit, especially how to fingerprint your child. Child ID kits have everything a parent needs to record personal, contact, dental and medical information. Aways be sure to have a current picture of your child.

BOE postpones intergenerational school, cancels 2/24 meeting

According to the Enquirer, the Board of Education has decided to delay opening an intergenerational school at Allison Elementary until the fall of 2010. Xavier has been notified, and Supt. Steve Collier said “They're fine with it. They could use more time to put it in place. A lot of their funding is coming through grants and other sources. They haven't had time to line up the funding sources, so it's going to take them a while to get up and started. They didn't think they could have things in place by August 2009.”

Delaying the opening of the school by one year also gives the BOE more time to gather community and staff input, collect information on all of the logistics in making this transition, plus the school district will be able to train teachers in the Montessori method. Xavier will be able to meet with teachers and the community to answer questions about the Montessori approach and share its other plans for the building.

Also, per the NCS website, the Special Meeting scheduled for tomorrow to interview candidates for the vacant board seat has been canceled.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Supt. Steve Collier to retire; 9 candidates for open BOE seat

We just confirmed with NCS Treasurer Trevor Grummere that Superintendent Steve Collier announced his retirement, effective 12/31/09, at last night’s Board of Education meeting. Also announced was the retirement of Bob Schnur, Allison Elementary’s principal.

Mr. Gummere provided us the following list of 9 community members who have applied for the BOE seat vacated by Rick Guy. Based on the resumes and cover letters these candidates submitted, the board will select which individuals they will interview in Executive Session at a special meeting scheduled next Tuesday, February 24 at 5:30 p.m. We are pleased to see so many Norwoodians willing to serve our school district.

Rev. Timothy J. Brooks
Lisa Bauer
Justin D. Foust
Gina L. Baer
James Lewis
Dennis Nichols
David H. Bezon
Sarah Horsley
Deborah Vauls

(h/t to our reader)

10:10 a.m. Addendum: The BOE did not vote yesterday on a letter of understanding between the school district and Xavier University regarding the proposed intergenerational school at Allison Elementary. The letter did not appear on the agenda. We understand the board is going to take more time to consider the proposal.

February Quartermania exceeds goals for NSL

Erica Rooks with First Family Network of Women, the group that sponsors monthly Quartermania for charity at the Norwood Quality Hotel, tells us the 50 people in attendance at their February 12th Quartermania was more than twice the number that attended in January. That translates into $81.75 and 17 canned and non-perishable items that will be donated to Norwood Service League, FFNOW’s primary charity. Erica told us, “We're really excited about the turn out and are confident that support within the community will only grow from here. We'll be setting new goals for next month since we exceeded our donation goal this month.”

The next Quartermania event is March 12. We’ve added FFNOW and Norwood Service League to our links on the right.

David Pepper announces website to help working families

Yesterday, Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper gave his 2009 State of the County Address to the Cincinnati Rotary Club and announced this new Hamilton County Helping Working Families website that will help working families get through the current economic crisis. The site, which he also posted on his PepTalk blog, can help residents save on energy bills, prescription drugs, and food; and it also has links to programs for free tax preparation, job-training programs, and federal assistance to cover child-care and medical expenses.

Other key initiatives Mr. Pepper announced during his address and posted on his blog:
  1. a strategy to provide relief to middle class and working families, including expanding successful Foreclosure Prevention efforts
  2. reemphasized job creation strategies
  3. efforts to make the County an easier place to do business
  4. a policy that the County and City will insist that all jobs being created through public dollars be listed and made available to County residents, through the Super Jobs Center
  5. explained that the County will use the stimulus to make strategic investments in construction, energy, transportation, and community revitalization projects
This Cincinnati Business Courier article has more about Mr. Pepper's announcements.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Announcing …this year’s candidates for city offices

Per the Hamilton County Board of Elections, the following Democratic and Republican candidates turned their petitions in by today’s deadline to run for Norwood City offices. As you’ll see, there will be a primary election for Treasurer between two Republican candidates.

President of Council:
(R) Jane Grote
(D) Cheryl Cole

(R) Jim Stith
(D) Joseph S. Geers

(R) Thomas Brown and Robert Weston III
(D) Tim Malony

Ward 1:
(R) Al Boehme
(D) Keith Moore

Ward 2:
(R) Steve Thornbury
(D) Gordon Williams

Ward 3:
(R) Donna Laake
(D) Chuck Barlow

Ward 4:
(R) Todd Tittle
(D) John Mumper

Council-at-Large Democrats:
Joe Sanker, Peter Tepe, David Keszei

Council-at-Large Republicans:
Michael Gabbard, Victor Schneider, Andrew Clark

NYPs at Mound Café tomorrow for some fun

Everyone is invited to Happy Hour(s) with Norwood Young Professionals tomorrow from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the Mound Café at 5226 Montgomery Rd. This is a great way to meet members of this group and other Norwood neighbors as you kick off the weekend.

NYP also wants anyone who is thinking about going back to school for an advanced degree to know about free practice tests that are available this Saturday:

Take a Free Practice Test at Xavier or UC!
If you are considering going back to school to get your MBA, masters, law degree, or even go to med school, this is an event you don't want to miss. Kaplan Test Prep & Admissions (located in Norwood) is hosting their annual February Practice Tests for GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT on Saturday, February 21 on the campus' of Xavier and the University of Cincinnati. You can take the exams on either campus--you choose! The exams are free and your scores are confidential. Register at or call 1-800-KAP-TEST and make sure you choose one of the exams on February 21!

Kaplan will be raffling a FREE COURSE on each campus. Each person who attends will get one raffle ticket--but if you bring non-perishable food items you will get an additional raffle entry PER ITEM you donate!

Get free practice. Bring a non-perishable food item. Give to those in need. And you might win a free course--all in the same day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Henry Jacquez’ speech in favor of St. Aloysius Orphanage

During last week’s Public Hearing on St. Aloysius Orphanage, Drex Avenue resident Henry Jacquez spoke in favor of the proposed school. One of our readers sent us Mr. Jacquez’ email address and suggested we ask him for a copy of his remarks. We contacted Mr. Jacquez, and he quickly sent his prepared speech to us. We have it published below, especially for the benefit of readers who were not able to attend the hearing or watch it on cable Channel 4. If anyone would like to contribute a guest blog in opposition to the proposed school, we will be glad to publish that, too.

Good evening, Mayor Williams, Councilmen, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with you my thoughts on this issue. We are being called in this particular circumstance to make a choice that can positively enrich the lives of children and those that educate them. It is not a hard decision to make when we add Christ to the equation.

James Madison, the chief architect of the United States Constitution stated: "we stake the future of America civilization upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a blessed opportunity for our community to come forward with the Christian principles and values that helped guide this great nation of ours. It is a time to bring Christ back into our society, our culture, our community, our schools, our homes, and our families.

When Jesus shared with us the parable of the Good Samaritan, he is clearly indicating to all of us, the Christian virtue of charity to our neighbor. It was not the priest or the Levite who assisted the man but the Samaritan (an outcast from the predominate society, a common man) that exhibited the compassion and generosity to aid the traveler - robbed, beaten, and left to died.

I ask you to consider the Samaritan's compassion and generosity when I ask you to support St. Al's purchase of our beloved school that provided for many years the Christian education that we so highly regard. Let us put into action our Christian education to those that are seeking the same gift. This is an opportunity to become the Good Samaritans of Norwood.

These children from St. Al's are very much caught up in the complexities of our modern materialist society. They may suffer from the social and economic barriers built into our society. They very well maybe products of our cultural selfishness and materialist endeavors. They may have felt the unbearable pains of abandonment, abuse, neglect, isolation, and acute poverty. They need the help and guidance from qualified educators to guide them back to normalcy. They need a Good Samaritan to provide for them the opportunity much like most of us have received.

When God asked Cain "where is your brother Abel," Cain replied; "Am I my brother's keeper?" The drama of human life began to unfolded. It has been a major problem culturally, socially, economically, and politically ever since. Cain's answer, echoes within this very room tonight. "Am I my brother's keeper? "

Councilmen, you have the opportunity to answer this question according to your will or God's will. It is my understanding that the great gift of life is at the service of others; to love our brothers and sisters, as God loves us. God has entrusted to us, one another. If I have learned anything from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is that when we lose the sense of God in our choices, there is a great and overwhelming tendency, to lose the sense of our neighbor.

These children need our help, our facilities, and more importantly our prayers. We as a community of faith filled Christians have been given the great chance to act as such. By standing by the principles and values set forth by our Heavenly Father and our country's fore-fathers we confirm and witness to ourselves and to our children the dignity and value inherent, in each human person created in the image and likeness of God, regardless of their social, economic, or political status. We have, as a community a great opportunity to act in the way we were taught. The advocating of our Christian values is one thing, but to actually live our lives in making choices by them, is another.

In conclusion, I would like to leave you one last thought, from Noah Webster, the founder of our America Dictionary, he wrote "in my view, the Christian religion is of the most important and one of the first things under a free government, which should be instructed."

Thank you again, for allowing me this humble opportunity to share my thoughts.

In the Peace of Christ,

Henry Jacquez

Xavier accounting students help with tax returns

Area residents and students may be eligible for Earned Income Credit

Xavier University accounting students will help prepare tax returns for low income, elderly and student taxpayers on Monday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. beginning February 23. The students are offering free basic Federal and State income tax assistance to the Xavier, Norwood, Evanston, and Avondale communities through the IRS-sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). The program is also sponsored by the Make Work Pay coalition. Xavier alumni will also volunteer to assist in the review process.

Getting help is easy. First, call 513 745-2828 to schedule an appointment. Then, bring the following items to the appointment:
  1. a photo ID
  2. your W2 (your last pay stub is not enough)
  3. your Social Security card
  4. any tax-related documents
  5. a copy of last year’s tax return (if possible)

The students will be set up in the Schiff Conference Center in Xavier’s Cintas Center. Free parking is available in the Cintas Center lot.

Assistance is available from 5:30-8:00 p.m. on the following Mondays by appointment only:

February 23

March 9
March 16
March 23
March 30
April 6
April 13

Please note: assistance will not be available March 2 because students will be on Spring Break.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Guest blog: Victor Schneider explains that annoying plane

Several weeks ago, some of our readers commented about a noisy plane that frequently flies over parts of our community and speculated about its source. We want to thank Councilperson Victor Schneider for getting on the case and solving the mystery of the plane for us. Following is his guest blog:

I just spoke to the Staff Lieutenant of the State Highway Patrol Post in Lebanon about the plane that buzzes over our houses doing circles. This plane is being used as part of the TRIAD program. TRIAD is the acronym for "Targeting Reckless, Intimidating and Aggressive Drivers". They are working to decrease the amount of major traffic accidents and ultimately traffic-related fatalities. The most effective way is with the "eye in the sky". They aren't just checking speed. They are looking for the tailgaters and improper lane changers as well as the people that leave the house 20 minutes later then they should have and try to make the time up on the highway. Basically the people that all the good drivers are trying to avoid.

I don't have exact statistics for 2008, but for 2007 Hamilton County had the third most fatal crashes of all Ohio Counties, 62 deaths. Over the previous 4 years (prior to 2007) Hamilton County had nearly 145,00 traffic crashes. There have been 238 fatal crashes resulting in 259 deaths in the past four years on Hamilton County Roads.

I hate the noise pollution but after getting to understand the process and what is taking place I am more comfortable with the noise. As I understand it they work this in 2 hour segments or about the amount of time the plane can stay up on a tank of fuel.

Anyone with questions about what the plane is doing buzzing around in circles can email me at

Victor Schneider
Council at Large
City of Norwood

Norwood Book Club meeting Friday

This Friday at 10:30 a.m., the Norwood Book Club will meet at the Norwood Branch Library to discuss Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. For more information about the club, call 369-6037.

2/17/09 Addendum: We have corrected the day of this meeting from tomorrow to Friday.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Vote for Norwood Varsity Cheerleaders NOW!

Thanks to an email alert from Vicki Clark of the soon-to-be-published Norwood Star newspaper, our readers can help Norwood Varsity Cheerleaders win a $5,000 cash prize in MTV’s “Fired Up Cheerleading Challenge.” Twenty cheerleading squads from around the country are competing, and today is last day of voting. We hope everyone will click here immediately and cast a vote for our hometown cheerleaders.

Congratulations to Norwood Bus. and Prof. Women’s Club!

Tomorrow evening, at 6:30 p.m., Norwood Business and Professional Women’s Club is celebrating their 75th anniversary in the Holy Trinity undercroft at 2420 Drex Avenue. This wonderful organization formed in 1934 and a year later started the annual Norwood Day at Coney Island, which, by the way, is scheduled for July 22 this year.

Mayor Tom Williams will be on hand at tomorrow’s festivities to read a proclamation in honor NBPWC, and there will be a performance by a choral group from Norwood High School. Additionally, new officers for the next two years will be sworn in and several new members will be initiated. Former Norwood Health Commissioner Donna Laake will be the group’s new president, replacing outgoing president Kay Stevens.

We’ve added NBPWC to our links on the right hand side.

(h/t to Laura)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Proposed intergenerational school would save Allison Elem.

Approximately 6 Xavier University educators spoke to the Norwood Board of Education Tuesday evening regarding their proposal to start an intergenerational school for Montessori students at Allison Elementary possibly as soon as this fall. The meeting was well attended by NCS teachers, community members, parents, and all but one of the Allison PTA officers.

So just what is an intergenerational school? Jim Gruber, a social worker, gerontologist, and consultant to Xavier on the intergenerational school, explained the premise is that Allison would become a “lifelong learning center” by recruiting parents, older siblings, grandparents, and community members of all ages to serve as mentors to the children with this added benefit: learning would be two-way. For example, computer savy children can teach computer skills to older adults.

The proposed Montessori school would borrow from The Intergenerational School in Cleveland, a successful inner-city charter school founded eight years ago by Peter Whitehouse and his wife. Mr. Gruber said that unlike the Cleveland school, Allison would actually be a Norwood District school based on a lab model, meaning Xavier students doing internships at the school would share the building with the school. This model would foster the opportunity for published research. He added that Xavier personnel “would not be calling the shots. They would be there to help and support.” Additionally, Xavier’s proposal calls for programs at the lifelong learning center that could include an adults day care center, geriatric neuro-psychological and occupational therapy assessments, and courses in pet therapy, caregiving, philosophy, Medicare, Yoga, and more. The center would be revenue-generating.

This Wednesday Enquirer article has more information, including how the Montessori school would start off this fall. Allison students in grades 3-6 would be moved to other Norwood elementaries. The President of Allison’s PTA asked the BOE to consider providing transportation for these children so they would not have to cross risky intersections of heavily traveled Montgomery Road.

Click here to read Xavier’s proposal for Allison. Next Thursday, Feb. 19, at their regular monthly meeting, the BOE will vote on a memorandum of understanding, committing the school district to working with Xavier. Should they approve it, Allison Elementary may very well be spared from closing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Norwood Indians Basketball & Wrestling fundraiser at City Barbeque

Rick Robisch, head coach of Norwood Indians Wrestling, invites everyone to support a special all day fundraising event for Norwood Basketball and Wrestling. If you’ll just print out the form below and take it to City Barbeque this coming Monday, February 16th, and order a meal, 25% of your purchase will be donated to Norwood Wrestling.

Sale Amount:


Name of group: Norwood Basketball and Wrestling
Date of fundraiser: Monday, February 16, 2009
Participating Location: Hyde Park City Barbeque, 3804 Paxton Ave.

Good all day on Dine In & Carry Out Orders

Note: If ordering carry out for large groups, please use our Pig Up’n Go Menu.

Flyer must be presented at time of order to receive credit for the sale.

Flyers cannot be passed out on City Barbeque property. Fundraiser cannot be combined with other promotions or offers. Not valid on gift card purchases.

Check out our menus at
We look forward to serving you to help raise money for your organization!

Please print this out and present at time of order.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

City Council has 1st reading of St. Aloysius ordinance

At last night’s City Council meeting, Council President Jane Grote recused herself from presiding over the Public Hearing on St. Aloysius’ proposed school, citing that she had previously spoken in favor of St. Al’s at a Planning Commission meeting. With that, Ward 1 Councilperson Keith Moore took the gavel, and Council President Grote became Norwood resident Grote and again spoke in favor of the school during the Public Hearing. She argued that the “issue is simple” in that Norwood’s zoning does, in fact, allow for a school to be at the Drex Avenue site. Also speaking in favor were a resident who lives on Drex Avenue and Joe Trauth, attorney of St. Aloysius Orphanage.

Speaking against the proposed school were three residents of nearby Glenside Avenue in Ward 4, two of whom want to see the building put to better use. The third Glenside resident identified herself as a nurse with Cincinnati Public Schools familiar with the types of students who enroll at St. Aloysius Orphanage. As a new Norwood homeowner with a new baby, she expressed concerns about residents’ safety.

After the hearing, Councilperson Steve Thornbury made a motion to have the 1st reading (3 readings are required) of the St. Aloysius ordinance, and what followed was a lengthy, sometimes contentious discussion that often revolved around whether or not the City’s zoning of the property does allow for another school to locate in the building that was former Holy Trinity School and the likelihood of the City having to pay for an expensive lawsuit should council vote against the ordinance. When asked about his position on the matter, Law Director Ted Kiser declined to offer one, stating that he did not want to substitute his wisdom for that of the Planning Commission, which voted 2-1 in favor of the school, plus he did not want his views known in the event a lawsuit ensues. Subsequently, Councilperson Victor Schneider, concerned about possible litigation if council doesn’t approve the ordinance, asked that Tim Burke, longtime outside counsel to the City, be invited to state his opinion and advice at the next council meeting on February 24.

For more details, click here for Enquirer reporter Steve Kemme’s account of the meeting. For those who haven’t yet read the Planning Commission’s recommendation with conditions for St. Aloysius, click here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just in: St. Aloysius’ answers to interview questions

Moments ago, we received the responses to the questions we sent to St. Aloysius on January 22. In her email to us, Chief Operating Officer Joan Tumblison apologized for how long it took to provide the answers and stated that St. Aloysius officials will have these responses with them at tonight’s City Council meeting.

Q. What is your response to a reader’s concern that St. Al’s would “wait a few years and attempt to increase grades K-12 from the current K-8 grade levels and then “bring in your dispensary and psychiatric clinic?”
A. St. Aloysius’s dispensary and psychiatric clinic are housed on Joseph Street in Cincinnati and will remain there. Those buildings were built specifically for that purpose and those services will not be moved to Norwood.

Q. Are there any long term plans to increase the K-8 student enrollment from the current 90?
A. No

Q. Would St. Aloysius consider expanding into the Holy Spirit Center if it were ever for sale?
A. No

Q. What are the essentials of security training for your staff?
A. Our staff are trained in TCI (Therapeutic Crisis Intervention) to help calm a child who is experiencing an emotional or behavioral issue.

Q. Apart from regular staff trained on security procedures, how many designated security personnel will be employed at the proposed school? Will they be armed?
A. There are two staff in each classroom that are trained in TCI and they are NOT armed.

Q. In addition to daily pat-downs, will metal detectors be employed at the proposed school?
A. No.

Q. Have daily pat-downs ever resulted in the discovery of weapons, and, if so, how often in recent times and what kinds of weapons have been confiscated?
A. The only objects we have infrequently discovered are small pocket knives.

Q. What are the consequences for students found with weapons?
A. They are given a warning and possibly a suspension.

Q. What are your procedures in the event a student escapes?
A. Students remain with teachers all day even during lunch. All staff know that students should always be with a teacher or in a classroom. When staff sees a child who is out of a classroom, they ask whose classroom they are in and they then escort the child back to that room or to another teacher or the principal.

Q. Do you have a system in place to warn nearby residents?
A. We have never had to warn residents.

Q. Some residents are concerned that the Norwood Police Dept. will be burdened by calls to the school. Can you provide data on the incidence of calls to the Cincinnati Police in recent times and examples of what kinds of problems generate calls to the police?
A. Norwood Police Department will not be burdened by calls to our school. Calls to the City of Cincinnati Police Department have averaged between 2-3 calls per month for last year.

Q. What is the height of the new chain link fence that will be installed around the property, and will it include barbed wire on the top?
A. The chain link fence will be the same as what is currently in use at Holy Trinity and no it will not include barbed wire as this is a school not a prison.

Q. Does your Reading Road location have barbed wire fencing?
A. No.

Q. Will the height of the current fence that surrounds the playground remain the same?
A. Yes.

Q. Does St. Aloysius carry liability insurance to cover residential property damage or personal injury caused by students?
A. St. Aloysius carries insurance as is required by the Ohio Department of Education for elementary schools.

Q. How consistently are you able to maintain your 4:1 teachers to students’ ratio and 1:1 staff to students’ ratio?
A. This is a self-imposed ratio and we maintain it at all times.

Q. Do you employ substitute teachers and staff to maintain the ratios on a daily basis?
A. We have substitute teachers on staff.

Q. Your website states with regard to your charter school that “in many cases, it is the last resort.” What does this mean exactly?
A. A school like St. Aloysius is the last opportunity for some students to continue their education. We keep children from dropping out of school altogether.

Q. Do you accept students with juvenile criminal records?
A. We accept children from all of the local school districts so we may end up with students with juvenile records-it depends on the local school district and their policies.

Q. We understand students typically attend St. Aloysius for 6 to 9 months before they are reintegrated into their regular schools. What is the incidence of students failing to reintegrate, and are there any further educational options at St. Aloysius for those who don’t achieve reintegration?
A. A child’s home school can always ask that the student come back to St. Aloysius for an additional period or they can extend their original period. There are more incidents of children coming to St. Aloysius because they have failed in their home school’s version of our program rather than the other way around. Many public schools have tried to replicate our programs but they were not as successful as St. Aloysius has been with preparing students to reintegrate.

Q. What is the incidence of student expulsions from St. Aloysius?
A. Very rare.

Q. What types of infractions result in expulsion?
A. The same type of infractions that would cause a student in a public elementary school to be expelled would cause an expulsion here. This happens very rarely as we are here to help the student return to their regular school so the student needs to be here to get the education and coping skills they need.

Q. Is there any truth to the rumor one of our readers reported that one of your students is responsible for the death of a sibling?

Q. Your attorney told the Planning Commissioner that PTA meetings would be the only evening activities at the proposed school. One commenter would like to know the purpose of having a PTA in a “temporary school situation” and asks “would these meetings in fact really to PTA meetings or would they be some sort of family therapy meetings or group therapy meetings?”
A. These are NOT family or group therapy meetings. We have meetings with our parents (e.g. Family Welcome Night) to introduce them to the school, our policies, the teachers and staff just like an elementary school does. We have other meetings with parents to keep them informed and involved in the child’s educational progress while at our school.

Your attorney Mr. Trauth informed the Norwood Planning Commission early on that a discrimination lawsuit would be filed if the school were not approved. He also stated this in an Enquirer article published December 11 prior to the December 17 Norwood Planning Commission meeting when members voted in favor of the school. Some of our readers have commented that the threat of a lawsuit displays arrogance and is an attempt to intimidate City officials into making a favorable decision. One commenter questioned what type of neighbor St. Al‘s will be with “that type of attitude.”

Q. What was the purpose of Mr. Trauth’s threat if not to intimidate our City officials?

Q. Is it still his position that a lawsuit may ensue if Norwood City Council does not approve the Planning Commission’s recommendation allowing the school?

A. Mr. Trauth indicated that St. Aloysius is an elementary school chartered by the State of Ohio and that St. Aloysius wanted to be treated equally with all other schools within the City of Norwood. Mr. Trauth was not trying to intimidate City Officials but merely trying to assure St. Aloysius of equal treatment under the law as afforded other schools in Norwood.

We thank you for graciously answering our and our readers’ questions. In closing, is there anything you would like to tell our readers that we haven’t asked about? (CBN note: St. Aloysius did not add any comment.)

Mayor Williams speaking at Norwood Historical Society meeting

Mayor Tom Williams will be the guest speaker at this Saturday’s February meeting of the Norwood Historical Society. Everyone is invited to come by with friends and take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about what is going on in our city, especially when it comes to buildings that are being razed, renovated, and constructed.

When: Saturday, February 14; 2:00 p.m.
Where: McCullough House at Lindner Nature Preserve on Cypress Avenue
Cost: Free

NYP gathering at Gordo’s tonight

Norwood Young Professionals are having their February executive meeting tonight Gordo’s at 4328 Montgomery Road, but the meeting is open to anyone and everyone who is interested in getting more involved and helping them plan their events. The meeting gets underway at 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Reminder: Public Hearing for St. Aloysius tomorrow evening

Following are two items from tomorrow’s Norwood City Council meeting agenda. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. and is aired live on cable access Channel 4.








Family First Network of Women “adopts” NSL

Erica Rooks with FFNOW tells us they have officially “adopted” Norwood Service League as their #1 Charity, meaning they will be raising money for them each and every month at their Quartermania events at the Norwood Quality Hotel. This month’s event is Thursday, February 12, and Lupe Gonzalez-Hoyt, NSL’s Executive Director, will be there to talk a little about the how the organization serves our community. This is a terrific way to have an evening of fun AND support Norwood Service League. Be sure to bring lots of quarters!

Where: Quality Hotel & Suites at 4747 Montgomery Rd.
When: Thursday, February 12th; doors open at 6:00 p.m.; bidding starts at 7:00 p.m.
Cost: Paddles are $2 each or 3 for $5; bring a canned food or non-perishable item in and receive an additional paddle FREE! Also, when you purchase 3 paddles, you will be entered into our Ring Drawing - win a beautiful ring valued at over $80!
Spotlight Charity: Norwood Service League
Additional: 1.) Bring the most friends and be crowned FFNOW Queen - being Queen is GREAT! 2.) For entry to win another spectacular prize, print and bring this flyer with you from the FFNOW website.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Just in: new “Norwood Star” newspaper starting up March 1!

As soon as Norwood Times reporter and Miami University student Andy Clark and his mother Vicki learned that publisher Ted Hooks was closing the Norwood Times to pursue other projects, they immediately swung into action. We are thrilled to announce that the Clark family is going tp provide Norwood with a new, and from the sounds of it, a much improved monthly local newspaper starting March 1. A Norwood Star website is planned, and we’ll post the address as soon as it’s up and running.

Below is a guest blog authored by Vicki Clark, editor of the new publication, in which she describes some of the great new features they’re putting in place. Please do call, write, or email her if you would like to subscribe, advertise, or contribute news items. We have a feeling the Clark’s are going to have a very successful newspaper. Let’s give them a big round of online applause for all they’re doing to keep us informed about our community!

There is definitely a new newspaper in Norwood - "Norwood Star"!

Our first edition is scheduled to hit the newsstands (homes & businesses) March 1st. The newspaper will begin as a monthly publication. The newspaper will be in an eight page “standard” format. The Norwood Star will have its own website which will allow individuals to make comments and suggestions, as well as place ads and pay for subscriptions.

Our goal is for the Norwood Star to give a full picture of the city. We've approached the Mayor to include a Letter to the City each month. There will be an Education page, Sports page, Area News page, and will include regular features, one being “Where Are They Now” which will highlight past Norwood graduates. There will also be a fun feature..."Eva B's Recipes". The newspaper will also include a Classified section, Worship With Us section, and a Local Service Directory section. We intend to produce a top-rate community publication!

We plan to deliver the first three editions "free" to the public so everyone will get familiar and hopefully buy a subscription. The cost will be $6.00 for six months. We plan to sell the paper at local businesses as well.

We are currently soliciting business to advertise. This is a venture we are undertaking as a family in "uncertain times", but we want Norwood to have a paper and hopefully everyone will support it with their stories and subscriptions! The deadline for placing an ad for this publication is Feb. 20th. Anyone desiring more information and rates should contact me.

Vicki Clark
Norwood Star
P.O. Box 12653
Norwood, OH 45212-0653
(513) 607-8537

Citizens on Patrol meeting Monday

Bill Graff with COPP tells us that even though the group now has 15-16 volunteers for their community patrols, more are always welcome and needed. Now is a great time to get in on the training for their spring, summer, fall patrols. Currently the training is downtown at the Cincinnati Police Dept., but Bill says COPP would like to make the training more convenient by doing it in-house, and he’ll let us know when the time comes. COPP meets the 2nd Monday of each month, and everyone is welcome.

When: Monday, February 9; 7:00 p.m.
Where: Community Center at 1810 Courtland Avenue
More information: Lt. Tom Williams, Jr., NPD, at 458-4545

Two more great programs at Norwood Branch Library

Our Norwood Branch Library on Montgomery Road does a bang up job of engaging our young people in worthwhile activities, and next week is no exception:

Celebrate Black History In the Making: Obama’s Inauguration
What: Create a picture of what you hope Obama will accomplish as president and make a “Yes I Can” can.
When: Wednesday, February 11; 4:00 p.m.
Who: Ages 6-10
Cost: Free

Valentine Craft Program
What: Make a Valentine surprise for someone special
When: Thursday, February 12; 3:30 p.m.
Who: Ages 12-18
Cost: Free

More information: 369-6037

Xavier lecture on the economy: Why the Sky is Falling…

(Or at least the ceiling we put up)

This coming Monday, February 9, the public is invited to a free lecture by presenters Dr. Nancy Bertaux, Xavier Professor of Economics, and Greg Coleridge, Director of the Quaker-related social action organization Economic Justice & Empowerment Program of the Northeast Ohio AFSC. The theme of the lecture is “A Vision of an Inclusive Economy, How to Fashion an Economy for all.” The presenters will deal with questions pertaining to why our present structures for the economy haven’t worked, what changes can be made to these structures to better deliver economic just for all, and how economic justice and empowerment flow out of the Quaker commitment.

When: Monday, February 9; 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Where: Xavier University; Gallagher Student Center Theater
More information: 745-3706

Thursday, February 05, 2009

David Pepper asks Hamilton Co. residents to take survey

Two days ago, Hamilton County Commissioner posted this blog inviting all Hamilton County residents to respond to this 9-question survey about “what is happening in your community.” Several of the questions focus on how Hamilton County can better serve communities. Here’s a sampling:

- How could the County better assist you and your local government with the needs in you community? Check all that apply.
- By order of importance, one being of highest priority, and five being of lowest priority, please rank the following issues your community faces:
-What specific ways could the County be of most assistance to your community?

We’re going to respond to the survey and thought some of our readers might like to as well. Wouldn't it be great if our own local officials conducted a similar online survey for residents to provide feedback, maybe include questions about our City's street repair program and snow removal efforts? We would be glad to help by posting a link a to it.

Norwood’s Jami Stutzman adds green to her real estate resume

Norwood resident Jami Stutzman, our favorite real estate blogger at and active member of Norwood Young Professionals, recently left Sibcy Cline with realtor Libby Hunt for the greener pastures at Comey & Shepherd, a firm that offered the two support in their green business efforts. Today’s Enquirer has this article about changes she has already brought to her new office environment, including a new printer that uses soy-based ink and low-VOC paint for the walls, and about the several organizations she’s involved in that encourage green construction and even green gardening. We confess we’ve never heard of vermicomposting or, for that matter, soy-based ink and low-VOC paint. We wonder if we’ll ever be able to master the green vocabulary, but we won’t worry too much about that because we can always call on Jami for a little help. We wish her great success with all of her green endeavors at Comey & Shepherd.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Update on upcoming interview with St. Aloysius

We just received an email from St. Aloysius telling us the interview questions we submitted on January 22 have been answered except for our question about the incidence of calls made by Cincinnati Police to their Reading Road location. They are waiting to receive the figures from CPD’s District 4. Additionally, the responses to our 19 questions are to be reviewed by two other St. Al officials, one of whom is not available this week. So, we’re hoping to have them back for publication some time in the next 7-10 days. We’ll let you know as soon as we know.

American Legion celebrates Religious Emphasis Week

Citizens for a Better Norwood‘s Co-Chair Rick Hursh serves as Chaplain to our local American Legion Post. As you’ll see in Rick’s blog below about this week's special celebration, our readers are invited to contact him with the names of exceptional young people in our churches for consideration for a Religious Award:

The American Legion Post 123 in Norwood as part of its “Service to God and Country” Programs celebrates the first week of February as Religious Emphasis Week. It is the belief of the Legion that our country will be strong if our people will return to the religious principles upon which our nation was founded. The Legion recommends the following:

Raise our minds and hearts to God in individual daily prayer.
Encourage the placement of a Bible in every home.
Make family Bible reading a part of every day life.
Emphasize religious training of our children.
Encourage weekly public worship of God.

As a family that prays together stays together, so the nation that prays together stays together.

The American Legion would like to recognize the youth of our community who stand out in their place of worship with a Religious Award. Many of the churches in the community have been contacted to identify these individuals, but if you have a young person in mind, feel free to contact us.

This week will culminate with a special service with many veterans groups participating to memorize the sacrifices of Four Chaplains who lost there lives on the USS Dorchester. This service will be held at St. Boniface Church, 1750 Chase Ave. Northside, Sunday February 8, beginning at Noon. This heart warming event will include music and memorial addresses. It is open to the public and should not be missed. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Rick Hursh, Chaplain, American Legion Post 123
Phone: 238-4349

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Xavier’s new webisode videos explain financial aid

Xavier University has created a series of on-line webisode videos delivered by the Office of Financial Aid as an introduction to aid for students, parents and guidance counselors.

“In the past, most students and families have found information about the financial aid process in long, detailed paragraphs which are sometimes very complex,” says Doug Ruschman, Xavier’s Director of Web Services. “Xavier is stepping into the world of its students to deliver the information through the web via short, easy-to-view videos. Anyone can view the videos, and although they speak a little about Xavier, they are valuable for any student looking at college.”

Xavier is going the extra step for students and families this year because of the difficult economy to help them understand the financial aid process and the resources available to them. “This is a great tool both for families new to the financial aid process and as a refresher for those who have been through the process before,” says Aaron Meis, Xavier’s Dean of Undergraduate Admission. “It explains what can be complex and difficult to understand in a way that the average mom, dad and student can understand.”

In the videos, Paul Calme, Xavier’s Director of Financial Aid, explains what the types of aid are and how to get them, and why it’s important to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. Xavier’s priority deadline to submit the FAFSA is February 15, so this is the time of year most families are really looking at different types of aid to see what is available. Aid allows parents and students to gain a measure of financial control in these wild economic times.

“Affordability is something that a family must educate themselves about,” says Todd Everett, Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid. “The webisodes provide information that there are options for families to afford Xavier University. It also stresses the value of a private education.”

In another set of videos at the site, Xavier business majors in the Financial Management 401 course with professor Julie Cagle, share insights into the current economic situation: how the crisis came about, what can be done and what the future may hold. This may be particularly useful to prospective students and their families as they make decisions about investing in college.

Click here to see all the videos.

Program for preschoolers at Norwood Branch Library

Our Norwood Branch Library on Montgomery Road has two fun activities this evening for 3-6 year olds. Starting at 6:30 p.m., there will be a preschool story time, plus they will learn how to make a caterpillar craft out of hearts for Valentine’s Day. Everything is free. For more information, call 369-6037.

Monday, February 02, 2009

February COW meeting canceled

Per the Clerk of Council’s office, tomorrow night’s regular monthly meeting of the Committee of the Whole has been canceled.

2 intoxicated Norwood men caught stealing coins to buy beer

Channel 9 is reporting that Norwood police arrested 2 Norwood residents, 19-year-old Dustin Arbino and 33-year-old Robert Armentrout, for allegedly stealing coins from cars near the BP station on Montgomery Road and then using the coins to purchase beer at the store. The NPD responded to a call Friday about attempted car break-ins near BP and arrested the men, both of whom allegedly smelled of alcohol. They are charged with counts of disorderly conduct while intoxicated and criminal mischief.

As charges go, criminal mischief has always sounded to us a little like the equivalent of getting arrested for a whimsical lark. According to this Wikipedia definition, it’s usually a misdemeanor offense that typically involves any damage, defacement, alteration, or destruction of property, including vandalism and graffiti. Interestingly, the word mischief comes from Old French meschief, which means “misfortune,” from mescheve, “to end badly.” Well, yes, this did end pretty badly for our two allegedly intoxicated and thieving Norwood neighbors, who, according to Channel 9, would likely have eluded arrest had they immediately left the area after stealing the coins. But they didn't, and we just hope if they're found guilty, they'll have to pay for any damage they caused to the cars they broke into.