Citizens For A Better Norwood

Monday, January 30, 2012

This week at the Norwood Branch Library

Wednesday, February 01

Movers & Shakers Storytime
10:00 AM
You and your child will shake it together! Sing, dance and enjoy music, movement and fun!
10:00 a.m., Ages 1 - 4

Wednesday, February 01
Preschool Storytime
Enjoy books, songs, activities and more, while building early literacy skills. For preschoolers and their caregivers.
11:00 a.m., Ages 3 - 6

Saturday, February 04
Lego Club
Lego lovers, this is your chance to create and build!
4:00 p.m., Age(s): Children

Friday, January 27, 2012

Possible Channel 12 story today about Ted Kiser

A source just emailed us that WKRC Channel 12 may air a segment about Norwood Law Director Ted Kiser (see blog directly below) during today's 6:00 p.m. news broadcast.

6:45 P.M. UPDATE: No story today because of coverage of the casino construction collapse downtown.

Law Director Ted Kiser’s letter of resignation

Following is Mr. Kiser's letter to the Board of Elections:

January 24, 2012

Board of Elections
Hamilton County, Ohio
824 Broadway
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1345

To Whom it May Concern,

It is my intention to resign the position of Law Director for the City of Norwood, Ohio, effective February 15, 2012.


Ted E. Kiser

UPDATE: Norwood Law Director resigns

An official at the Hamilton Board of Elections we spoke to this morning has confirmed that a letter of resignation has been submitted to their office by Norwood Law Director Ted Kiser. We expect to have the letter later today via a public document request and will publish it immediately.

Developing...Norwood official resigns

Community Development Committee meeting schedule

Council’s Community Development Committee will be meeting the 1st Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. The next meeting is February 6th in Council Chambers. The only agenda item is Community Development Update.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

24 tons of salt used to de-ice streets last week

One of our readers emailed asking if we could find out how the City treated the streets following the recent ice episode. His observation was that the primary streets were salted, but he couldn’t see much evidence that secondary streets were addressed, including his own. We spoke yesterday with Public Works Director Pete Tepe, and here’s what he told us.

Standard operating procedure is to salt the main roads and overpasses first and then the side streets and deadends. As for the latter, salt doesn’t do its job chemically when the ice is thick and there’s insufficient vehicle traffic to mix it up. Many of the side streets were treated, but unfortunately, the smaller truck was out of service so that narrowest streets weren’t salted. Still, Public Works managed to use roughly 24 of the 75 tons of salt on hand.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Exclusive: Preferred Landlord Program details

Founders of The Preferred Landlord Program, which is in the works via a partnership with the City, sent us the following cover letter and program outline to share with our readers. Do you think this approach will help fix the problems associated with Norwood rental properties?


Dear CBN:

Please find enclosed a general outline for your information concerning the Preferred Landlord Program. We have covered the most important aspects of the program and we believe that the bottom line will be a safer community, stability for homeowners and a greater profit margin for landlords plus a greater advantage for commercial economic interest.

The program came to light by concerned property owners who are dealing with the frustration of absentee landlords not having an interest in the City of Norwood or in maintaining their properties. Due to these concerns this program was developed in partnership with the City of Norwood but was created and maintained by the private sector being committed landlords within the city.

We plan to have a public meeting to formally introduce the program. We will notify you as soon as this meeting is scheduled.

Founding members of Preferred Landlord Program.

Preferred Landlord Program

The Preferred Landlord Program has been designed as a landlord oriented property management approach which offers landlords incentives to take responsibility for their tenants. The Preferred Landlord Program is attempting to address aspects of property management that may encourage the elimination of code violations and public nuisances while controlling and preventing illegal activity on rental properties that affect the quality perception of the community and neighborhood.

The Preferred Landlord Program is a completely voluntary program that requires:
· Landlord completes a landlord training program approved by PLL Board and the City of Norwood
· Landlord implements measures to reduce crime in rental housing
· Landlord follows specific guidelines in screening, accepting and retaining tenants on their properties
· Landlords must maintain properties free of criminal activity, code violations and other public nuisances
· Landlord operates and manages rental housing in accordance with applicable city ordinances

The Preferred Landlord Program policies include:
· Mandatory background checks on all adults who occupy the premises
· Mandatory 2 ID’s including driver’s license or state ID
· Mandatory Social Security
· Names, dates of birth, and relationship to tenant of all who will occupy the premises
· Landlords must agree to follow guidelines for accepting tenants with criminal histories:

o Have been convicted of a felony, of any drug related crime, prostitution, violence of any kind, or crimes that involve weaponry of any kind including additional specifics and time limits
o Appear on any Sex Offender Registry

· Landlord required to evict if tenants or tenants’ guests are involved in drugs, criminal activity, or other illegal activity

A partial list of the Preferred Landlord Programs incentives are:
· Discounted inspection fees
· Preferred Landlord property listing
· Assistance in tenant screening
· Training programs
· Shared co-op with other landlords/resources
· Notification of service calls to property
· PLP Landlord /City liaison

This program is constantly being updated and revised as additional information on this type of program becomes available.

The original program has been successfully adopted and modified to fit the needs of many cities throughout the country. The Preferred Landlord Program is building awareness that prevention does reduce, and may even eliminate, crime and unprofitable ventures associated with apartment ownership.

Results of this program are predicted to be:
· Less service calls to the city
· Increased property values
· Rental housing becomes more profitable
· Norwood begins to recover from recent economic decline
· Better quality of life for homeowners, tenants, and our business community.

Monday, January 23, 2012

This week at the Norwood Branch Library

Thursday, January 26
Teen Craft Club!
Spend a cold winter evening with hot chocolate, warm friends and a fun craft.
5:00-6:00 p.m.
Ages 12-18

Friday, January 20, 2012

General Fund 2011 Year End Auditor’s Report

Yesterday, City Auditor Jim Stith notified us that his 2011 Year End Auditor's Report is now available on his website. He says the report will be presented at next Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Following is his cover letter to council:

January 15, 2012

Dear Members of Norwood City Council,

This is the preliminary Auditor's Report for the year ending 12/31/2011. It offers graphical representations of the financial activity in 2011. The report includes breakdowns of revenue sources, expenditures by departments, year to year comparisons, and a break-down of health care and overtime costs. In 2011 the City's General Fund expenditures of $19,428,302 significantly outpaced its revenues of $18,868,568 with expenses exceeding revenues by $559,734. The initial amount carried forward to 2012 is $162,500 before year end encumbrances [pg 4]. Comparisons of yearly revenue and expenses are included in this report [pg 5-6].

While initial 2012 projection show the greatest revenue source for General Fund, earnings tax receipts, remaining steady we do anticipate a decrease in our Intergovernmental revenue of ($821,012). This is comprised of a decrease of ($183,473) with the elimination of the Tangible Personal Property Tax in 2012, a scheduled decrease of ($97,750) in House Bill 66 reimbursement, General Property Tax decrease of ($258,789) and a decrease in Local Government Funds of ($281,000) [pg 9].

Overall the City’s greatest expense was personnel related expenditures at $16,132,209 with the greatest revenue source being local earnings and admission taxes at $13,678,510 [pg 7-8]. The City did well in cutting General Fund expenses in 2011 reducing total expenses by ($2,059,748) over 2010 expenses and by ($2,638,956) over 2009 expenses. We saw a decrease in personnel expenses ($486,441), in contractual expenses ($53,237) and materials & supplies ($249,273) while Debt payments increased $579,922 [pg10-12].

Overtime made up for 3.6% of all personnel costs totaling $582,877 which is an increase of $116,233 from 2010. The City’s largest two departments, Police and Fire, were the largest recipients of overtime. A detailed overtime analysis by department is included in this report [pg13].

Health care costs for the City of Norwood have stabilized for the next year. In 2012 the projected total Health Care costs for the General Fund is $3,184.017. The City is projected to spend $2,355,447 on health care and dental/optical benefits for its current employees and $501,777 on retirees health care with an additional $326,793 paid to the C9 trust fund [pg14]. This represents 17.7% of the total amount available for appropriations.

The City was able to make significant savings in 2011 by paying for $734,000 of its fixed expenses with the Developmental Impact Fund-28. At the end of 2011 the unencumbered balance of the fund is $15,361. These expenses, which were not included in the 2011 appropriations, will have to be appropriated in the General Fund in 2012.

With the projected decrease in revenue the beginning 2012 Certificate of Estimated Resources has $18,028,928 available for the General Fund appropriations. In 2012 the City has $1,941,603 less than the 2011 final appropriations. This represents an additional 9.7% reduction needed for 2012.

This report also contains reference material including detailed revenue reports for 2005 through 2011 [pg15], the 2011 statement of cash position [pg17], and a detailed report with itemized expenses by department [pg18]. The Year End Auditor's report contains the initial totals at the year-end closeout for 2011 and are presented in unaudited form. Fully audited detailed information will be available in the 2011 CAFR which should be completed in the Spring of 2012. I hope you find this information useful.

Jim Stith

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Two Xavier administrators replaced over discrimination complaint

Following this Sunday article detailing a federal investigation of whether or not Xavier University discriminated against two female students who filed sexual assault claims, the Enquirer announced yesterday that Dean of Students Luther Smith, whose actions were the focus of a federal civil-rights complaint, has been reassigned to special projects in the office of the provost. Smith’s boss, Kathleen Simons, associate provost of Student Life and Leadership, has been placed on leave.

What’s your takeaway from the university replacing Smith and Simons? Was this the appropriate response to the circumstances? If not, what should Xavier do?

Ohio 31st Dem. Candidate holding Tweetup Meet & Greet

The campaign for Democratic candidate Luke Brockmeier, who is running in the primary race for our new 31st Ohio District, sent us the following information:

1.) Everyone is invited at attend a Tweetup, Meet & Greet tomorrow, January 18th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Baba Budan’s at 239 W. McMillan in Clifton.

2.) Click here for Mr. Brockmeier’s campaign website where there are individual pages for Norwood and the various neighborhoods in the district.

Publishing this information is in no way an endorsement of the candidate by Citizens for a Better Norwood.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

December 2011 NFD Activities and Statistics Report

A monthly feature

A. Total of emergency responses for the month of December = 344

Medic Runs = 259
Fire Runs = 10 (Building, Brush, etc.)
Average Response Time on Runs = 3 minutes, 6 seconds (city-wide)

Number of incidents by type:
Fire Runs – 10 - (Building, Brush, etc.)
Overpressure, Explosion - 0
Rescue & Medic Unit Assists – 42 - (lock-in, extrications, traffic accidents, etc.)
Hazardous Conditions (no fire) - 8 - (power lines down, arcing, spills, etc.)
Service Call - 13 - (smoke removal)
Good Intent - 4 - (odor of smoke, controlled burning)
False Alarms – 8 - (false alarms, system malfunctions, smoke detector activated, etc.)
Severe Weather - 0
Special Incident - 0

B. Fire Hydrant Activity
495 Hydrants strapped & pumped as needed

C. Bureau of Fire Safety Activities = 534
Total Inspections – 102 - (residential, schools, churches, businesses)
Total Violations – issued 177
Total Violations – corrected 206
Total Block Inspection - Unit #’s 1, 2, 3 - Rental & multi-family: 0
Referrals to Health and Building Depts. - 6
Additional Activities - 43

Monday, January 16, 2012

2011 earnings taxes down $1 M+ from 2010

December 2011 Earnings Tax Report

Individual…………….$ 41,327.10
Business………………$ 199,642.34
Withholding…………$ 694,980.81
TOTAL………………...$ 935,950.25

Collections thru Dec. 2011….……….....…............$ 13,688,639.62
Collections thru Dec. 2010..............................$ 14,706.342.82
7.06% decrease in collections from 2010.……...($ 1,037,703.20)

This week at the Norwood Branch Library

Saturday, January 21
Winter Movie Matinee
Come in from the cold and warm up with a good family winter movie and some popcorn!
3:00 - 5:30 p.m.
All ages

Friday, January 13, 2012

Invitation to build a telescope class at Drake Planetarium

Want to know what special secrets may be hiding in the Milky Way or on Orion’s Belt? Then join us at Drake Planetarium when we teach you how to build your own telescope! We will give each parent-child team a Galileoscope, show you how to assemble it, and train you how to use it to observe the night sky. The Galileoscope is yours to keep.

Date & Time: Thursday, January 19, 2012; 7 - 9 p.m.
Where: Norwood High School at 2020 Sherman Ave.
Cost: Planetarium Members $35, Non-Members $45 for a parent-child team ; additional children can attend for a small fee.
Call 513-396-5578 to make your reservations. Must pre-register for this program. Space for 30 teams only, so reserve your spot today!

As part of our celebration of 400 Years of Astronomy, we are offering classes to families that are interested in a more personal encounter with our Solar System. So, on January 27, 2010, twenty-seven families came to our first "Build Your Own Telescope Class" to build their own Galilesoscope that they could take home and use to explore the Universe.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Westmoreland Keynotes MLK Events at Xavier

Events are free and open to the public, except where noted. For more information, click here.

Sunday, January 15th
7 p.m., Bellarmine Chapel on the Xavier campus

Monday, January 16th
10 p.m., Downtown Cincinnati
Students can sign up in these offices: Multicultural Affairs, Interfaith Community Engagement, Center for Faith & Justice and Student Involvement. Buses will depart from Buenger Circle at 9am. General public should meet by 10:30 a.m. outside the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s Vine St. side. Call 513-333-7706 for details.

Tuesday, January 17th
9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Gallagher Student Center Atrium
Address and diffuse the multitude of civil injustices prevalent today.

4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., Gallagher Student Center, Room 330
Dialogue about injustice, discrimination and civil liberties.

featuring Carl Westmoreland
7 p.m., Cintas Center

This program will infuse a keynote address and reflection that will help students define their journey and how they can address civil injustices of today to ensure freedom for all. For the last four decades, Carl Westmoreland has been a leader in urban revitalization and preservation, from the grassroots community level to national and international arenas. He is dedicated to revitalizing and preserving inner-city neighborhoods and fostering awareness of urban issues, poverty, and race relations. His understanding of these issues and his interest in African-American history spurred him to the creation of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which opened its doors in 2004. He serves as senior advisor at the Center and curator for its main exhibit, the Slave Pen.

Wednesday, January 18th
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Gallagher Student Center, 2nd Floor

7p.m., Conaton Learning Center Kennedy Auditorium

Thursday, January 19th
5 p.m., Hoff Dining Hall
Meal from China; Cost to those off-campus; please call 513-745-4972.

Friday, January 20th
7 p.m., Conaton Learning Center Kennedy Auditorium
Come celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King through spoken work, musical performances, dance and etc.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Come celebrate Norwood being one of the best!

Sunday, January 29, 2012
Refreshments at 2:00 p.m.
Program at 2:30 p.m.

Vineyard Central
St. Elizabeth
1757 Mills Ave.
Norwood, Ohio 45212

The entire Community of Norwood is invited!

Norwood has been selected for the second consecutive year as one of the America’s Promise Alliance 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING, a national competition identifying those 100 communities nationwide that are dedicated to ending the high school dropout crisis by helping young people overcome challenges to succeed. To celebrate our achievement, city officials, community members and students will mark the occasion with a ceremony celebrating this achievement, showcasing thereasons Norwood is among the 100 Best Communities for Young People.

For more
information call:
Laura Ferguson
NCSD After School Coordination/
Norwood Community Coalition Member

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

City awarded $218 K grant to assess former mfg. site

According to the Business Courier, the Ohio State Control Board approved Norwood’s application for Clean Ohio Assistance Funds to assess the former Smith & Nixon Manufacturing facility property at 4817 Section Ave. The $218,993 grant will be used for a Phase II Environment Assessment, which will determine the property’s environmental suitability and possible need for remediation. The current site owner is considering building an 80,000 square-foot office/warehouse facility that will create at least 50 new jobs.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Comparison of 2010 & 2011 NPD Statistics Reports

Lt. Williams sent us total stats for the last two years to share with our readers. These are raw numbers that may be modified. The NPD will be analyzing the data once it‘s final, and he cautioned against attributing the lower totals in 2011 to less crime in the community. He will share the analysis with us when it is completed.

Statistics for 2010:
Part One Crimes Reported: 1200
Part Two Crimes Reported: 1397
Total Reports Taken: 3063
Total Arrests Made: 3291
Total Number of Incidents: 41249

Statistics for 2011:
Part One Crimes Reported: 1251
Part Two Crimes Reported: 1137
Total Reports Taken: 2912
Total Arrests Made: 2484
Total Number of Incidents: 37441

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR):
Part One Crimes include Aggravated Assault, Forcible Rape, Murder, Robbery, Arson, Burglary, Larceny-Theft, Motor Vehicle Theft.

**Part Two Crimes include Simple Assault, Curfew, Loitering, Embezzlement, Forgery, Disorderly Conduct, DUI, Drug Offenses, Fraud, Gambling, Liquor Offenses, Offenses Against the Family, Prostitution, Public Drunkeness, Runaways, Sex Offenses, Stolen Property, Vandalism, Vagrancy, Weapons Offenses.

Lt. Tom Williams
Norwood Police Department
(513) 458-4545

This week at the Norwood Branch Library

Thursday, January 12
Introduction to eBooks
Learn how to use your home computer to search, borrow,
and download free eBooks from the Library’s website.
6:00 p.m.

Friday, January 06, 2012

December 2011 NPD Statistics Report

A monthly feature

The total number of incidents is all police activity for that month including officer initiated actions such as traffic stops as well as radio dispatched runs. The total number of reports is the actual number of reports taken by our police officers for that month including non-criminal reports such as Aided Cases and General Conditions reports. Total arrests include all arrests made in the City of Norwood including arrests for other agencies on warrants or capiases.

Total Number of Incidents: 3152
Total Arrests Made: 234
Total Reports Taken: 215

Crimes Reported:
Part One Crimes Reported: 103
Part Two Crimes Reported: 112

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR):
*Part One Crimes include Aggravated Assault, Forcible Rape, Murder, Robbery, Arson, Burglary, Larceny-Theft, Motor Vehicle Theft.

**Part Two Crimes include Simple Assault, Curfew, Loitering, Embezzlement, Forgery, Disorderly Conduct, DUI, Drug Offenses, Fraud, Gambling, Liquor Offenses, Offenses Against the Family, Prostitution, Public Drunkeness, Runaways, Sex Offenses, Stolen Property, Vandalism, Vagrancy, Weapons Offenses.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

PSA: Benefits of healthy weight loss

Guest blog Brad King

Now that the New Year is upon us many people want to lose weight as part of their New Year’s resolution. The information below is provided by the CDC on what is a healthy weight loss and the benefits of weight loss.

What is healthy weight loss?
It's natural for anyone trying to lose weight to want to lose it very quickly. But evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss isn't just about a "diet" or "program". It's about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits.
To lose weight, you must use up more calories than you take in. Since one pound equals 3,500 calories, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500—1000 calories per day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Once you've achieved a healthy weight, by relying on healthful eating and physical activity most days of the week (about 60—90 minutes, moderate intensity), you are more likely to be successful at keeping the weight off over the long term.

Losing weight is not easy, and it takes commitment. But if you're ready to get started the CDC has a step-by-step guide to help get you on the road to weight loss and better health, click here.

Even Modest Weight Loss Can Mean Big Benefits
The good news is that no matter what your weight loss goal is, even a modest weight loss, such as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight, is likely to produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.

For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, a 5 percent weight loss equals 10 pounds, bringing your weight down to 190 pounds. While this weight may still be in the "overweight" or "obese" range, this modest weight loss can decrease your risk factors for chronic diseases related to obesity.

So even if the overall goal seems large, see it as a journey rather than just a final destination. You'll learn new eating and physical activity habits that will help you live a healthier lifestyle. These habits may help you maintain your weight loss over time.

Have a Happy New Year and hopefully this information can be a new start to improve your overall health in 2012.

Brad King, MPH, RS
Norwood Health Commissioner

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

City Council website updated, City Hall changes

One of the last tasks outgoing Clerk of Council Casey Brown performed before handing over the keys to newly-appointed Clerk of Council Joe S. Geers was updating City Council’s website with contact information for the new council. The Democratic council majority has also appointed Debbie Simpson again to be Council Secretary, replacing Caroline Schirmer. Debbie served as Council Secretary prior to Caroline’s appointment 2 years ago. Another change at City Hall is in Auditor Jim Stith’s office. We understand Bob Laake, who handled payroll, has resigned and that former President of Council Jane Grote will be working in the office in some capacity.

We want to thank both Casey Brown and Caroline Schirmer for the many contributions they made to this blog over the last 2 years. Our readers were definitely better informed about community and government-related matters because of their support.

Good News: NPD gets $15K from Ham. Co. unpaid bond money

According to Fox 19, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Tracy Winkler announced last week that her office negotiated a million dollar settlement with Lexington National Insurance Company on bond forfeitures related to bond agent Ronald Trimble. The payment is for forfeitures that have accumulated over the past several years.

Besides the General Fund of Hamiltion County, the windfall will also be shared with the City of Cincinnati Police Department, Blue Ash Police, Norwood Police, and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Free Christmas Tree Recycling next two Saturdays

Thanks to Norwood Health Commissioner Brad King, we have the following information about Christmas Tree Recycling:

Christmas trees are loved and cherished during the holiday season, but once it ends, many barren trees are thrown to the curb and taken to landfills. However, Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District offers free yardwaste drop-off sites during January for easy Christmas tree recycling.

East: Bzak Landscaping- 3295 Turpin Lane (off Rt. 32) Anderson Township
West: Kuliga Park- 6717 Bridgetown Road, Green Township
North: Rumpke Landfill- Struble Road and Colerain Avenue, Colerain Township

Saturday, January 7, 2012 from noon – 3 p.m.
Saturday, January 14, 2012 from noon – 3 p.m.

Before dropping off your tree or shrubs, be sure to remove ornaments, tinsel, and tree bags. Only materials from Hamilton County residents will be accepted; please bring proof of residency. Items from commercial establishments are not accepted.