Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lt. Williams gives a few tips on ATM safety

After last week’s media reports that 123 U.S. Bank customers’ accounts and PIN numbers were read by a “skimmer” thieves placed on an ATM on the bank’s property, we contacted Lt. Tom Williams, Jr. with the NPD for some advice on how we can try to protect ourselves when using ATMs. As it turns out, it’s not so easy because, as he told us, these devices are often difficult to spot. Newer ATMs have flashing lights called LED indicators around the card slots that tell you the card readers are legitimate. If the flashing lights are covered up, don’t use the machine because a skimmer may be installed. Click here for pictures of various devices from an Australian Security firm’s Power Point explainer.

“First and foremost, everyone needs to familiarize themselves with what their ATMs look like normally, so if anything appears different, they shouldn’t use the machine and should report it immediately to the bank, the retailer, and/or the police. The skimmer reads the card numbers as the card slides past the skimmer and into the slot, but one way to protect yourself is to always cover the pad with your hand when entering your PIN number in case a camera has been placed nearby or even someone behind you is observing.”

Lt. Williams says to be especially cautious when using an ATM machine that’s new to you, especially if it’s in a high traffic retail store or mall. It may actually be easier for the thieves to install and retrieve skimmers in high traffic areas.

The U.S. Bank thieves haven’t been caught yet, and police cannot comment on the ongoing investigation.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Free: Appliance Recycling/Tire Drop Off Weekend

Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11 for the absolutely free Appliance Recyling and Tire Drop Off Weekend at Public Works for Norwood residents only. Recycle old freon-filled appliances that can’t be left at the curb for Rumpke, and throw in worn out tires with the rims removed while you’re at it. Bring old refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, dehumidifiers or any other appliances that contain freon. Public Works won‘t have unloading capabilities, so be sure to bring some extra hands if you need help with heavy appliances.

When: Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Where: Norwood Public Works, 3001 Harris Avenue
Directions: from Forest Avenue, turn on Harris and go past Shea Stadium all the way to the deadend where there is s a stop sign. Turn right at the sign, and you’ll see Public Works personnel outside directing everyone to the exact drop-off location.
More information: Public Works at 458-4615.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Xavier awards scholarship to NHS student Abby Ray

Abby Ray, daughter of Cathy Ray, has accepted an Honor Award from Xavier University. She will graduate from Norwood High School, where she is active in JCG club, service learning, and as a reading tutor. Abby plans to major in occupational therapy at Xavier. All incoming freshmen are evaluated for Xavier’s Trustee and Presidential Scholarships and the Honor and Schawe Awards and award levels vary.

This week at the Norwood Branch Library

Tuesday, March 23rd
Preschool Storytime
6:30 p.m., Ages 3-6

Wednesday, March 31st
Preschool Storytime
11:30 a.m., Ages 3-6

For more information, call 369-6037.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Norwood Recreation Easter Egg Hunt tomorrow

It’s almost time for Norwood Recreation’s annual Easter Egg Hunt at Water Works Park. Children will be divided into 4 age groups, including a group for babies at least 6 months old who will, of course, hunt for eggs in the arms of their parents/other adults. As always, there will be prizes, too. Some of the eggs will have numbers inside that will indicate prizes, all of which will be age appropriate for the winners. Last but not least, the Easter Bunny will be there to thrill the kiddies. Recreation has teamed up with Walgreen’s this year to take free pictures. You can pick them up at the Walgreen’s on Montgomery Road and even order prints for a nominal fee.

When: Saturday, March 27: Pictures with the Easter Bunny at 9:30 a.m.; egg hunt starts at 10:00 a.m.
Where: Water Works Park on Harris Avenue
Who: All ages 6 months to about 10-12 years old
Cost: Free
More information: 531-9798

Xavier sponsors “Coming to Understand Haiti” 3-part series

On Sunday March 21 at 7:00 p.m., Xavier University’s office of Peace & Justice Programs and four student clubs will kick off a free three-part series open to both the campus and the community entitled, “Coming to Understand Haiti: Past, Present, and Future.” The goal of the series is to continue to raise our communities’ awareness of the situation in Haiti by reaching beyond fundraising toward a deeper understanding of the cultural and geopolitical context of Haiti and to explore the role of the international community in the county’s past, present, and future.

The first event on Sunday March 21 at 7:00 p.m., exploring Haiti’s past, will include a short film and discussion led by Dr. Julia O’Hara of the Xavier history department and a closing reflection by Dr. Chris Pramuk, Xavier professor of theology. The second event in the series will take place, Thursday, March 25 at 7:00 p.m.. The exploration of the present situation in Haiti will be led by Dr. Richard Gosser, Director of Partners in Progress for Haiti with an international aid overview provided by Vince Costello of the International Red Cross. The final event in the series, a panel discussion on Sunday, March 28 at 5:00 p.m., will explore options for Haiti’s future. Panelists include Katy Ryan, Catholic Relief Services and Dr. Mark Boardman, Miami University professor of geology. All events in the series will take place in Kelley Auditorium in Alter Hall on the Xavier campus.

There is no cost for attendance, although donations will be welcomed at each event, and no RSVP is necessary. “Coming to Understand Haiti: Past, Present, and Future” is a collaborative event sponsored by Peace & Justice Programs, Students for Economic Justice, International Students’ Society, Voices of Solidarity, and Student Athletes Advisory Council.

NHS art students team up with American Cancer Society

On Wednesday, March 24, Norwood High School art students had the opportunity to display their work at the local American Cancer Society Musekamp Family Hope Lodge. The lodge is at 2606 Reading Road in Cincinnati and serves as a free "home away from home" for up to 75 out-of-town cancer patients and their caregivers while they receive treatment, visit doctors, or undergo surgery while in Cincinnati. The only cost for the guests is the food.

Earlier in the month, students took a field trip to the facility in order to understand the impact that this has on cancer survivors and their caregivers. After a tour they settled in and drew one point that they found to be most interesting. Those pieces of art were displayed Wednesday from 6:00- 8:00 p.m.

Todd Tittle, Co-Chair of this year’s Norwood Relay for Life event sponsored by the American Cancer Society, told us, “We had over 20 guests from the Hope Lodge join over 40 students and guests in a night of food and art. It was very well received by all who came, and the artwork on display was of high quality from talented artisans at Norwood High School. Thanks to our talented artists, their families and guests for making this is rousing success. It helps bring the community together in a night to Celebrate, Remember, and Fight Back all in the name of HOPE.”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Two volunteer opportunities this Saturday

We received an email from Norwood Young Professionals describing two projects this Saturday, March 27 that could use some more volunteers:

Taking Care of Business with ENX
The Evanston-Nowood-Xavier (ENX) partnership is putting on an event on the border of Norwood in Evanston where they will be painting two businesses on Montgomery Rd. The event starts at 9:00 a.m. and will be comprised of volunteers from the Evanston, Norwood, and Xavier communities. ENX is a partnership created to try to foster collaboration and community between the three groups. Please respond to NYP at if you would be willing to volunteer, and we will send you more specific details about the event.

NEXUS Community Garden Build Day
Volunteers from Evanston, Norwood, and Xavier are welcome to help build raised beds, move soil, and get the new garden ready for planting. Meet at the garden site at 9:00 a.m. ready to work! The garden is located on the fringe of Xavier’s campus where the railroad tracks cross Cleneay. Parking available at the back of the old Norwood Plaza parking lot. Refreshments will be available mid-morning. Visit this website to learn more. To RSVP contact Molly at 745-3560.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Community training to prevent childhood sexual abuse

Guest blog by Deb Robison

The Norwood Community Coalition is participating in an initiative called Darkness to Light. It is a national program aimed at reducing childhood sexual abuse through the training of adults. The website is Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune has established a work group to address the concerns childhood sexual abuse. Through their research, the committee has recommended Darkness to Light to be a county wide initiative. Some facts:
  1. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by age 18
  2. 90% are abused by someone trusted by the child or family
  3. 40% are abused by a member of the family
  4. the cost per child for intervention and treatment is $14,345 annually
  5. In Hamilton County the immediate costs of child sexual abuse are over $9.3 million dollars
Darkness to Light provides a Seven Step Prevention Program which educates adults on both the effect of abuse and strategies for preventing abuse. This evidenced-based training is designed with the adult learner in mind. Members of the Norwood Community Coalition have committed to a goal of reaching 500 adults who live or work in Norwood with this training.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and we will be celebrating by offering dates for community training. Our first two confirmed dates are Thursday, April, 29 and Thursday, May 20. Both will be at the Norwood Middle School library from 6:00-8:30 with dinner provided (with an RSVP). You need only attend one of the sessions. Both of the dates are hosted by the Norwood After School Programs and are open to anyone in the community. While the training typically costs $10 per person we have been fortunate to have 200 slots covered by a grant to Children’s Hospital. Additionally, with drug confiscation money, the Norwood Police Department has sponsored JoAnn Payne (Social Worker in the High School) to become a local facilitator. We are also extremely grateful to the Caleb Tate Fuller Foundation which has agreed to provide funding after the Children’s Hospital Grant runs out.

Anyone with questions or a desire to attend training should contact me at 924-2768 or via email at

Deb Robison
Family and Children First Coordinator

3/2/6/10 UPDATE: Deb Robison tells us a third training has been added. It will be from 12:30 - 3:00 p.m. at the Norwood Branch Library on Thursday, April 4.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Campaign to stop EPA’s plan for Hilton Davis cleanup

Last month, we posted this blog about the Ohio EPA’s proposed plan to clean up the toxic waste at the Hilton Davis site on Langdon Farm Road in Pleasant Ridge. The property abuts our own Fenwick Park. The EPA’s proposal is under fire by the Pleasant Ridge Community Council and others for being inadequate. If allowed to go forward, it will merely entomb the toxic waste under a think layer of soil instead undertaking a thorough clean up. At tonight’s City Council meeting, members will be voting on a resolution opposing the EPA’s “statement of basis for corrective measures for Hilton Davis.”

Casey Brown sent us the following email from the Pleasant Ridge Community Council’s Hilton Davis Committee asking concerned citizens to send letters and emails objecting to the plan:

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As promised, we are sending key points to help you write a letter ormessage about Hilton Davis to the Ohio EPA. If you have not done soalready, we urge you to write a letter and send it AND email it to the Ohio EPA (copied to Gov. Strickland and the PRCC) by March 26; there are some"talking points" below to help you draft a letter. If you are very pressedfor time, then please - at the very least - just copy the text below, paste into an email message and send it to the EPA (copied to Gov. Strickland and the PRCC).

We would greatly appreciate it if you would forward this message to at least one other neighbor or friend and ask that they write a letter/message, too, and pass it along.

You may not realize it, but your action right now to write a letter/message to the Ohio EPA is so important to the 25-year effort to clean up Hilton Davis. In advance, thank you for doing it.

Julie Olberding
PRCC Hilton Davis Committee

Click here for suggested content for letters and emails and for all letter/email contact information.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Babies’ and Children’s Spring Clothing Sale this Saturday

One of our readers, a Norwood resident, is participating in the upcoming Eastern Hills Mothers of Twins or More Club’s tag sale and asked us to help publicize it.


Saturday, March 27th
8:00 till 12:00 noon


Half-price sale @ 11:00 a.m.

On 1500 Nagel Road (corner of State & Nagel)
(I-275 Five Mile Rd. ext. /approx. 1 mile east of Beechmont & Anderson Towne Center)


This week at the Norwood Branch Library

Tuesday, March 23rd
Preschool Storytime
6:30 p.m., Ages 3-6

Wednesday, March 24th
Preschool Storytime
11:30 a.m., Ages 3-6

For more information, call 369-6037.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Norwood firefighters rebuilding Norwood girls’ softball field

Since 1984, the Norwood Firefighters Association has contributed thousands of dollars to the Plogman and Condron Scholarship Fund, which was set up to honor the memories of Norwood firefighters Robert Plogman and James Condron who died a few years earlier in the line of duty. Each year, the fund awards two Norwood High School seniors $3,000 scholarships. To date, approximately $70,000 in scholarships has been awarded. The primary way the NFA raises funds is their annual golf outing, which will be held April 24, at Glenview Golf Course. For more information, call the firehouse at 458-4562. The NFA also receives contributions from local organizations like Norwood Moose. Some of these funds are funneled to projects that benefit children, with an emphasis on Norwood children.

Firefighter George Schneider told us, “Other than the NFA scholarships, our $25,000 rebuilding of the Norwood girls’ softball field at Norwood High School is the largest single project we have ever undertaken. Some of the work is contracted, like the concrete under dugouts Cook Concrete & Waterproofing is doing for cost. Last week, our firefighters spent several days putting on roof structures. They are installing fencing in the outfield that can be taken down later for other uses.”

The project will be completed in time for the March 30 Opening Day of Norwood Girls Softball. The Norwood Firefighters Association invites everyone to come and enjoy complimentary hotdogs and soda. Pure Rock 96.5 Radio will be broadcasting before the game, and Channel 19 Anchor Meghan Mongillo will throw out the first pitch and is expected to cover the event.

Funeral arrangements for Rick Dettmer

One of our readers sent us the funeral arrangements for Rick Dettmer:

Wednesday, March 24: Visitation 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Naegele, Kleb and Ihlendorf Funeral Home at 3900 Montgomery Road.

Thursday, March 25: Mass 10:00 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church, Norwood.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

NCS eliminating public preschool program

Today’s Enquirer has more detail about the $1.7 million Budget Reduction Plan in Superintendent Rob Amodio’s 3/15/10 guest blog below. The 20 teaching positions that will be eliminated affect 12 teachers in elementary buildings, 3.5 positions at the middle school and 4.5 positions at the high school. As a results of these cuts, NCS will eliminate its public preschool program, which is not a state or federally mandated program. Mr. Amodio said, "It was a great resource for the community, but we just can't pay the bill."

Additionally, French will no longer be taught because of decreasing enrollment, and 25 supplemental contracts will not be filled, including department chair positions. No sports will be eliminated, but there will be fewer coaches in sports where participation numbers don't justify the current number of coaches. Administrative costs will be reduced with the retirement of one administrator.

“Ohio’s doctor” visiting Norwood Health Dept. tomorrow

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) director, Alvin D. Jackson, M.D., will travel to three local health departments this Friday to visit Norwood City, St. Bernard City and Sharonville City Health Departments to discuss public health priorities and answer questions from local media.

When: Friday, March 19, starting at 8:30 am at Norwood City then at 10:30 a.m. till 11:00 a.m. at St. Bernard City and ending with Sharonville City at 2:30 pm.

Who: ODH director, Alvin D. Jackson, M.D., and representatives from the respective Health Departments

What: Meet with local media to discuss public health priorities

Where: Norwood City Health Department conference room, located at 2059 Sherman Ave, Norwood, OH 45212. St. Bernard City Health Department main office, located at 110 Washington Ave., St. Bernard, OH 45217. Sharonville City Health Department office located at 10900 Reading Rd., Sharonville, OH 45241.

“Ohio’s doctor,” as Dr. Jackson is known, has a long history of providing health care to Ohioans. Before being appointed director of the Ohio Department of Health in June 2007 by Gov. Ted Strickland, Dr. Jackson served as medical director of Community Health Services in Fremont, Ohio. In that role, he provided primary medical care to rural residents and to migrant workers in the fields. Dr. Jackson also has served as chief of staff of Fremont Memorial Hospital and as a staff physician at the Sandusky County Health Department.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Longtime economic development director Rick Dettmer passes

The Enquirer is reporting that Rick Dettmer, 57, was found dead at his home Monday, just four months after he retired a 28-year career as Norwood’s director of community development. The cause of death has not yet been determined, and funeral arrangements have not been made yet.

Mr. Dettmer is credited with being instrumental in bringing about Norwood’s financial rebound following the 1987 closing of the General Motors plant by persuading developers to build Central Parke in 1990. That was the first of many commercial and office projects he helped bring to the City under both Republican- and Democratic-controlled administrations.

We send our condolences to his surviving family members, which include his sister Kathy Mumper and her husband councilperson John Mumper and to his brothers Larry, John, and Roger.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

February 2010 Earnings Tax Report shows decrease

A monthly feature

For the first time since March 2009, earnings taxes decreased for the month of February.

Individual………….$ 69,461.33
Business……………$ 20,743.23
Withholding………$ 963.351.75

Collections thru February 2010….……….....…...........$ 2,555.501.62
Collections thru February 2009.............................$ 1,652.950.13
3.81% decrease in collections over 2009.……………….$ (97,448.51)

Monday, March 15, 2010

BOE approves $1.7 million budget reduction

Guest blog by Superintendent Rob Amodio

At the March 9, 2010 meeting of the Norwood City School District Board of Education, a plan approved with a 5-0 vote which would reduce the district budget expenditures for the fiscal year 2011/school year 2010-11 by $1,699,999.00. This decision has come forth as we have embarked on the process to stabilize the financial future of the district by combining these budget reductions along with placing a Substitute Levy on the ballot for May 4, 2010. As we have communicated prior, this levy combines two existing Emergency Levies while lowering the taxes paid into the two levies for our community members by $8.00 per $100,000 of property value.

Following is the approved plan, which shows the amount of savings for each position:

Budget Reduction Plan for Fiscal Year 2011

Administration: $6,218
Cost Reductions through Attrition

Educational Aides: $143,773
Reduction from 21 to 11 Aide Positions
Five (5) Hours per Day Maximum Hours

Building Budgets: $66,000
Reduction of All Principal Building Budgets

Cell Phone Contract: $7,400
Switch from Cincinnati Bell to Sprint/Nextel

Copier Contract: $30,000
Savings from New Vendor Contract

Office Support Staff: $30,347
Eliminate One (1) Position

Pace Television Contract: $55,595
Contract Expired/Will Not Renew

Supplemental Contracts: $42,879
We Will Not Fell Twenty-Five (25) Positions

Teachers: $1,234,782
Reduce by Twenty (20) Teaching Positions

Repurpose Allison: $83,005
Relocate Special Education Pre-School Classes to K-6 Buildings

Total Savings: $1,699,999

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Rob Amodio
Norwood City School District

Petting Zoo this Saturday at the Norwood Branch Library

Tuesday, March 16th
Preschool Storytime
6:30 p.m., Ages 3-6

Wednesday, March 17th
Preschool Storytime
11:30 a.m., Ages 3-6

Thursday, March 18th
ESOL Conversation Group
6 p.m.

Friday, March 19th
Friday Morning Book Club & On The Same Page Community-Wide Book Discussion
The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
10:30 a.m.

Saturday, March 20th
Sunrock Farms
Portable Petting Zoo
3-4 p.m., Families

For more information, call 369-6037.

Friday, March 12, 2010

February 2010 NFD Activities and Statistics Report

A monthly feature

A. Total of emergency responses for the month of February = 349
Medic Runs = 264
Fire Runs = 1 (Building, Brush, etc.)
Average Response Time on Runs = 3 minutes, 16 seconds (city-wide)

Number of incidents by type:
Fire Runs – 1 - (Building, Brush, etc.)
Overpressure, Explosion - 0
Rescue & Medic Unit Assists – 40 - (lock-in, extrications, traffic accidents, etc.)
Hazardous Conditions (no fire) -11 - (power lines down, arcing, spills, etc.)
Service Call - 10 - (smoke removal)
Good Intent - 8 - (odor of smoke, controlled burning)
False Alarms – 15 - (false alarms, system malfunctions, smoke detector activated, etc.)
Severe Weather - 0
Special Incident - 0

B. Fire Hydrant Activity
Strapped hydrants. Pumped as needed - 497

C. Bureau of Fire Safety Activities = 569
Total Inspections – 164 - (residential, schools, churches, businesses)
Total Violations – issued 237
Total Violations – corrected 103
Referrals to Health and Building Depts. - 3
Additional Activities - 3

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Free: Parent training by Talbert House at Sharpsburg today

It is not too late to plan to attend!
Anyone who may benefit from this training is invited.

Talbert House -Project STEPS
Family Peer Support Program


A Free Parent Training
Understanding the Evaluation Process for an IEP/504 Plan

Thursday, March 11, 2010 6:15 p.m.

With Robin Bryant from
The Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities

Sharpsburg Elementary Auditorium
4400 Smith Rd
Norwood, Ohio 45212

For more information contact
Family Peer Support Specialist: Cherie Brittain

Light Refreshments Will Be Served

RSVP @ or

All participates who RSVP will be entered in a drawing; must be present to win

Free: Xavier to host roundtable with King Records musicians

Do you know:
  1. What record company had the first integrated house band?
  2. What was the second record company to hire an African American in an executive position?
  3. What record company recorded the first live concert album?

Learn more about Cincinnati's path-breaking King Records at a roundtable with King Records musicians Philip Paul, Ed Conley & Otis Williams. This free event is open to the public and will be Monday, March 15 at 3:30 pm in the Schiff Conference Center of Xavier University’s Cintas Center.

In September, 1943 Syd Nathan of Cincinnati started King Records. In early 1956, King received a demo from a young Georgia singer named James Brown, and the rest is history. Brown recorded "Please, Please, Please" and “Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" while with King. Other noted King artists included the Stanley Brothers, Hank Ballard, Wynonie Haris, and Grandpa Jones. Its Evanston site was a one-stop shop where everything was done - recording, making masters, pressing, designing and printing album covers, warehousing and shipping. Nathan pressed just a few records at a time and drove them to area radio stations. If they were a hit, he made more. This is why many King records are so rare. Sixty-five years later, a local group of enthusiasts and dreamers is jumpstarting King Record’s rebirth. On November 23, 2009, King Records was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Answers to the questions above:
  1. 1. King Records
  2. 2. Henry Glover was A&R Director of King Records in 1949
  3. 3. King Records recorded “The James Brown Show Live at the Apollo” in 1963
For more, see and hear this 4-part playlist of King Record’s artists from a WVXU Radio series.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And the award for Excellence in Financial Reporting goes to…

City Auditor Jim Stith

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has awarded the Certificate of achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the City of Norwood for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. The GFOA, a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals, presented the award to City Auditor Jim Stith because his department is designated by the government as primarily responsible for preparing the award-winning CAFR.

Regular readers will recall this 2/26/10 blog in which we reported the Auditor of State had approved the 165-page 2008 CAFR, the first to be published since 2003. Mr. Stith told us, “Producing the 2008 CAFR required a complete overhaul of our accounting system and was made possible by the hard work of our Deputy Auditor Marcus Patterson.”

Congratulations to our hardworking, dedicated City Auditor and his Deputy Auditor Marcus Patterson for bringing home this piece of gold to our city!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Part III: Mayor Williams answers readers' questions

Q. We the COP while on Patrol make note of street lights out, traffic signals out, etc. We report the outages to the proper maintenance group by phone, email, fax. In the case of the traffic signal lights, Norwood Public Works does the repairs very quickly. But when it comes to street lights not working, we report the outages to Duke Energy Repair by fax and phone. The problem is nothing gets repaired; The last contact I had with Duke Repair I was told, "The street light repairs are Norwood Problem.” When did the street lights become the responsibility of Norwood Public Works?

A. Duke Energy is responsible for street lights, even in our parks, because we pay for them. The City is responsible for traffic control lights. Either Public Works makes the repairs or we contract for them.

Q. Can anything be done to decrease the amount of pan-handling and begging for money around Surrey Square. I have had a few come to my front door also. Is there an ordinance in place?

A. Any individual who comes on your property to solicit money must get a Solicitor’s Permit from the City in advance. Nonprofits like the Girl Scouts and religious groups are exempt; they can raise money door-to-door for charitable and religious causes. Call the Norwood Police Dept. immediately if the individual soliciting money is not with a legitimate charity or religious organization, and they will remove the solicitor from the premises.

Norwood police officers will get panhandlers who become aggressive and/or intimidating to move on, but the police must operate within individuals’ rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. If you are approached by an aggressive panhandler at Surrey Square, call 911 immediately if you have a cell phone or alert Kroger or one of the other retailers to make the call.

Q. I attended a public meeting on Oct. 28 discussing the Natural Gas Aggregation Program that is coming to Norwood. My understanding is that the company providing the gas is going to try to lock us into a low price for at least a year. What is the status of this program and when is it scheduled to go into effect?

A. I have signed the Natural Gas Aggregation Program ordinance City Council passed at their February 23rd meeting. The original ordinance stated the City would do part of the work. The version City Council passed amended that section so the City is not responsible for any of the work. Now the ordinance goes to PUCO (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio) for approval. It will become effective later this year, but I can’t give an exact date for when the approval process will be complete.

Q. from CBN: What do you hope to accomplish in the last two years of your current term in office?

A. I want to make sure we don’t go into debt and find ourselves back where we were a few years ago. Our financial stability is number one. We have a reserve, and I hope we don’t have to use it. Our situation is not doom and gloom, but we have to be careful about spending.

At the close of the interview, Mayor Williams had some words of praise our hometown newspaper Norwood Star and its publishers, the hardworking Clark family. He sees the monthly publication as a real asset and hopes community members are showing appreciation, too, with subscriptions to the paper.

5% Day at Whole Foods Market to benefit NSL

Tuesday, March 16 will be 5% Day at Whole Foods Market located at Rookwood Commons to benefit Norwood Service League. Five percent of the day’s sales will be donated to NSL which helps needy people in Norwood. Lupe Gonzalez-Hoyt with NSL told us, “We encourage everyone to shop for your family or visit the store to check out their groceries. Look for the display table and say “Hi“ to NSL staff, sign up for Norwood Do Right Walking Clubs, and more.”

Monday, March 08, 2010

Part II: Mayor Williams answers readers' questions

Q. I would like to know at what point of disrepair are the sidewalks the city maintain considered for replacement? I would invite him and others to drive by the Allison school and see what parents have to deal with everyday when the take their kids to school. This is where the pre-school is now located and the sidewalks on Allison are just down right embarrassing! Especially considering they just "repaired" the road.

A. The City considers sidewalk replacement on a case by case basis. With regard to the sidewalks at Allison, those are the school’s responsibility.

Q. Why are our Emergency dispatchers not highly trained? Why other than basic computer training is there no other professional training for our dispatchers?

A. Capt. Rump at the Fire Department is taking an instructor’s course to become a Certified Instructor later this year so we can do our own training. He will train our dispatchers in everything they need to know.

Q. Besides tearing down a number of bad houses (7-8 close to me), what are we doing to encourage new families to move into Norwood, especially ones that want to buy, not rent?

A. One way we are encouraging new families to invest in Norwood is with the Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) ordinance council passed last year. It encourages home ownership by providing a tax exemption on the increased assessed valuation resulting from improvements/remodeling made to properties. We are also making sure our parks are maintained for all families.

Q. Is there any disaster plan for Norwood in writing ? If so, who would be in charge or responsible for the implementation for the plan.

A. The Health Commissioner and representatives from the Fire and Police Departments met. The goal is not to eliminate the Master Plan, but we do want to simplify the plan so someone can pick it up and implement it, if for instance, one of the chiefs is out of town. If there is a chemical spill, the Fire chief would be in charge; if it’s disease, the Health Commissioner could be in charge. Everyone else would operate in a support capacity.

Q. I see on your web site you as Mayor ask for Norwood residents to volunteer, but we see none. I have talked with many residents who have offered to volunteer in the city but are turned away by your office. So, if you don't want them then don't ask for volunteers.

A. I don’t ever remember someone contacting my office and then being turned away. Anyone who would like to volunteer can call my office at 458-4501, and we will be glad refer you to Norwood Service League, Norwood Recreation, churches, and other local organizations that need volunteers.

Part III will be published tomorrow.

This week at the Norwood Branch Library

Tuesday, March 9th
Preschool Storytime
6:30 p.m., Ages 3-6

Wednesday, March 10th
Preschool Storytime
11:30 a.m., Ages 3-6

Thursday, March 11th
ESOL Conversation Group
6 p.m.

For more information, call 369-6037.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Part I: Mayor Williams answers readers’ questions

As promised, Mayor Williams sat down with us several weeks ago to answer the questions our readers posed when we solicited questions for the interview. We very much appreciate the two hours Mayor Williams spent on this project, which he jokingly described as an “open book” test since we made sure he was aware of questions in advance. We think he would prefer something more along the lines a “pop quiz,” so if we do this again, maybe we’ll ask our readers to email their questions to us. Thank you, Mayor Williams, for answering our readers’ questions.

Why does he allow the landlords of houses rented mainly to XU students, and others, to not have to maintain the property? What is the status of managing landlords in general to maintain property?

A. There is absolutely no special treatment for any landlords. We don’t allow any landlord to not maintain rental property per our building code, which readers can access online. One thing I don’t ever want to have to do is look in a camera and explain the loss of life in a fire that resulted from codes not being enforced.

There are always problem property owners who are not going to comply with orders issued by the City, including some who are motivated by a desire to affect their bottom lines. I encourage residents to call the Building Department at 458-4510 to report complaints about properties so they can be followed up. Penalties for violations range from fines to jail, to ultimately demolition. Currently, we have about 4 properties that are candidates for demolition.

Q. What are the plans for Medpace and The Playing Card Building?

A. Belvedere manages the Medpace property, and I don’t know what their plans are. Regarding USPC, until the business climate picks up and banks start making loans again, there is not going to be a lot of interest. There has been one low-ball offer only so far.

Q. What are the mayor’s plans to bring business back into Norwood?

A. After Rick Dettmer retired as Community Development Director, we brought Greg Orosz in on a contractual basis. One of his ideas is to do city planning in sections. A CD may be put together to send out, but first we will go to the Community Development Committee with proposed plans and then ultimately to City Council. The proposal will not be a Master Plan for the City.

Q. What is the status of hiring a new Community Development Director?

A. We are going to delay filling the position until the process I just described is complete.

Q. When is Linden Pointe going to go ahead with the rest of the development? What is there is nice, but not near what we were promised. I'm looking forward to a nice hotel, some good restaurants, etc.

A. Linden Pointe will move along again when the economy improves and money is available.

Q. How soon is Surrey Square going to be finished?

A. Surrey Square doesn’t have a completion date, but they are going at it strongly.

Q. Is there an ordinance that limits the number of people/families that can live in one house? If so, what is the limit and what can we do if we know of a house that is over the limit?

A. The limit is 4 per rental housing unit, but identifying the exact number of tenants is difficult because that can change from day to day. Last year, a program with the Norwood police and the Building Department was started. A beat officer might report something, and a building inspector would follow up with an inspection. Now the program is being expanded by bringing in the Health Department and the Fire Department. The Building Commissioner is the coordinator. They will meet and evaluate the houses with the most complaints, the most police runs, etc. Citizen complaints can trigger an action, so again I encourage residents to call the Building Department at 458-4510 to report problems.

Part II will be published Monday.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Free: 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. March 8 through April 12.

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).

Getting help is easy. First, call 745-2828, to schedule an appointment. Appointments are scheduled only at 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm, afterwards it is first come first served for the other time slots. Then, bring the following items to the appointment:
  1. a photo ID
  2. your W2s, 1099s (your last pay stub is not enough)
  3. Social Security Cards (you, your spouse, and your dependents)
  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. Parking is available at the Cintas Center.

Assistance is available from 5:30-8:00 p.m. on the following Mondays:
  1. March 8
  2. March 15
  3. March 29
  4. April 5
  5. April 12

Please note: assistance will not be available March 22 because of conflicts with the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament taking place at Cintas Center.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Safety Service Director announces water rate increase

The following letter from Safety Service Director Joe Geers appeared on the February 23 City Council meeting agenda:

February 18, 2010

Re: Water Rate Increase

Dear Madame President and Members of Council:

During the Finance Committee meeting on February 16, 2010, a report was given by the City Auditor to the Finance Committee. In this report, it was noted that the operation portion of the water budget will be in the red at the end of 2010 due to increases in labor costs, material costs, operational costs, health costs and equipment costs. In order to break even at the end of 2010, there will need to be a 10.50% increase in the water rate. This includes the rate increase that will be passed on by the City of Cincinnati. In 2009 it was estimated there should be a 14.79% increase, but the increase was 9.80%. So, it was stated that it could be spread out over two years, which it will be.

This letter is to serve as Council’s official notification of an increase in water rates for the City of Norwood. As per Norwood Codified Ordinances, Chapter 925, Water Charges, the Service Director is to notify Council in written form of every increase in water charges or assessments at least thirty (30) days prior to implementation of same. You are hereby notified that the water rates will increase 10.50% effective March 23, 2010. In 2008, the General Fund had to supplement the Water Fund in the amount of $316,000.00 which shouldn’t happen since the water system is a utility and should be self supporting. With that being said, it would have required a 14.79% increase to meet the budget deficit and keep a larger reserve for contingencies, but a 9.80% increase occurred.

The history of water rate increases from the City of Cincinnati has been:

2002 = 1.1%
2003 = 2.5%
2004 = 3%
2005 = 5%
2006 = 7.6%
2007 = 7%
2008 = 6%
2009 = 5.9%
2010 = 3% (estimated)

The 10.5% increase will add the following for a minimum bill for a three (3) month cycle for residential wage:

5/8” meter size: From $30.33 to $33.51 = $3.18 increase
¾” meter size: From $33.17 to $36.65 = $3.48 increase
1” meter size: From $57.31 to $63.32 = $6.01 increase

When you divide the quarter increase by three (3) months, that is equal to:

5/8” meter = $1.06 a month
¾” meter = $1.16 a month
1” meter = $2.00 a month

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Joseph C. Geers, Director
Public Service-Safety

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Jack Morgenroth has big plans for Norwood's baseball program

Last week, the Enquirer announced that NCS Athletic Director Jason Testerman appointed long time baseball coach and 1965 NCS graduate Jack Morgenroth to head Norwood’s baseball program. The article describes a plan for success he has devised for Norwood called BUNT (Bring Up Norwood Talents) as well improvements that are in the works for the Norwood varsity baseball field at Upper Millcrest. All baseball players age 11 and up who are Norwood residents should immediately contact Mr. Morgenroth at 771-5764, so he can help them with their development.

h/t Relayman

Vote every day again for Refresh Burwood Park & Pool grant!

Since Refresh Burwood Park & Pool did not win the $250,000 grant in the Pepsi Refresh Project contest for February, Jenny Wallace, Executive Director of Norwood Recreation has reapplied for another run at it in this month’s contest but with an added twist in order to boost votes. She has developed a partnership with Cincinnati Soapbox Derby whereby their supporters will vote for our project and Refresh Burwood Park & Pool supporters will, hopefully, vote for their $25,000 project.

How to vote:

1. Vote once a day every day this month by clicking here for the Refresh Burwood Park & Pool grant.

2. Click here to vote for the Cincinnati Soapbox Derby grant.

Initially, you will be asked open an account by providing your email address, a password, birth date, etc.

Visit the Norwood Recreation website to see a prototype of the proposed Burwood project.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Norwood Auditor gets surprise award at Lincoln-Reagan dinner

City Auditor Jim Stith thought he was simply one of hundreds attending Friday evening’s annual fundraising Lincoln-Reagan dinner put on by Ohio Republicans. The event was at Paul Brown Stadium and featured Minnesota’s Congresswoman Michelle Bachman as the keynote speaker. Without warning, Mr. Stith suddenly found himself being presented with the 2010 Taft-Shuler award by former Congressman Steve Chabot. The award recognized Mr. Stith for “dedication and commitment.” Sources tell us he was both "surprised and honored." Congratulations to our City Auditor!

Norwood Residents Recycled 794 Tons in 2009!

Thanks to Health Commissioner Pamela Walker-Bauer, we have the results of Norwood’s 2009 recycling efforts in the form of the following congratulatory press release from Michelle Balz with the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services:

Congratulations Norwood residents! In 2009, you recycled 794 tons of metal, glass, plastic, and paper. Residents saved resources, conserved energy, and reduced pollution by recycling.

The recycling efforts in Norwood:
· Conserved enough energy to power every home in Norwood for a week.
· Reduced more greenhouse gas pollution than if every household in Norwood did not drive a car for 20 days (almost three weeks!).
· Saved 5,765 trees from being harvested.

Recycling reduces pollution so the air we breathe is cleaner, conserves natural resources so we will have them to use in the future, and decreases the energy needed to make new products. Recycling also boosts our local economy by creating 169,000 jobs and $6 billion in annual wages just in the State of Ohio.

On average, each household in Norwood recycled 171 pounds in 2009. That’s 7.26% of all the waste you generate. If you would like to see even more material recycled in 2010, check out the list below to make sure you include all these materials in your recycling bin. Don’t have a bin? Norwood makes it easy! Call 242-4600 to request your bin today!

Good Work, Norwood, your recycling efforts made a big difference!

Recyclable Materials
Plastic bottles and jugs (remove lids)
Glass bottles and jars (remove lids)
Empty aerosol cans (remove lids and tips)
Aluminum and steel cans
Paperboard (cereal boxes, etc.)
Junk mail and envelopes
Magazines, catalogs, and phone books
Office Paper
Brown grocery bags
Clean pizza boxes

Have a question about recycling? Call Hamilton County’s Recycling Hotline at 946-7766 or visit

This week at the Norwood Branch Library

Monday, March 1st
Monday Evening Book Club & On The Same Page Community-Wide Book Discussion
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 2nd
Preschool Storytime
6:30 p.m., Ages 3-6

Wednesday, March 3rd
Toddler Jam Time!
10 :30 a.m., Ages 1-4 With Adult
Preschool Storytime
11:30 a.m., Ages 3-6

Thursday, March 4th
ESOL Conversation Group
6 p.m.

For more information, call 369-6037.