Posts tagged ‘Lorain City Schools’
I am not a fan of “basketball” although I have written about it and its “king”
I was first introduced to the game by its sound, as a neighbor’s son got his hoop on the garage. All evening long even after dark ( on came the security lights) day after day, night after night you could hear the thump , thump, thump bang shake rattle of the back board hour after hour..
Luckily for me, we moved . My introduction to the sport of basketball was a negative, it ranked up there with barking dogs and Chinese water torture.
In recent days in this neighborhood we have seen an elementary school playground become the place , not of children’s laughter as they slide down slides, climb and play ball, but of consternation and criminal activity; definitely not the intended use of the facility .
Not playing around; Disturbing activity at Admiral King Elementary playground draws concerns
It had become the “gathering place” of “ASB’s” anti- social behaviourists”- these are the young ADULTS who move in , take over and generally don’t give a damn for society except their own. There was much ta do in the neighborhood anger and complaints about the behaviours emanating from the playground long after school was over.
“I’ve seen grown men urinate on playground equipment, people having sex on the slides, smoking pot and who knows whatever else,” Watchorn said. “There are basketball games that go on till all hours of the night, drug deals; terrible language; it goes on constantly.”
Even the intended use of the ” hoops” by the neighborhood children was negated. Instead the ASB’s took over.
Ironically, as I have watched the dialogue unfold menacing and disgusting behavior ( abhorrent to those of us in another society) , open foreplay, fornication , foul language that was as repetitive as the thump, thump, thump, bang, rattle off the backboard- urination on the equipment , culminating in a neighborhood arsonist ( who also went to the playground for the “hoops”) setting fires not once but apparently 3 times but it was the request to remove the hoops that caused consternation among some of the powers that be!
“Where are their priorities ?”
I was amazed therefore, to see how even those who proclaim their place in leadership and society focused not on the “quality of life issues” but becoming irate and passionate about saving “basket ball hoops” on a ELEMENTARY SCHOOL playgound . Some of the people, for whom I have the greatest respect, were defending basketball hoops rather than the quality of life of individuals who are affected by this anti- social behavior.
Lorain school officials remove basketball hoops from Admiral King(Morning Journal)
The priorities seem very confused to me so let me be clear:
1. The repetitive noise of the “game ” hour after hour after hour into the early morning has been shown to cause heightened stress levels which in turn can cause health problems . Your decisions ( BOE and Lorain City schools) could be seen to create a possible public/ private nuisance and not only in the Admiral King Elementary neighborhood. .
“To constitute a nuisance, either public or private, the acts complained of must either
cause injury to or obstruct the reasonable use or enjoyment of another’s property”
A common, or public, nuisance is the doing of or the failure to do something that
injuriously affects the safety, health or morals of the public, or works some substantial
annoyance, inconvenience or injury to the public. Commonwealth v. South Covington &
Cincinnati Street Railway Co., (1918), 181 Ky. 459, 463. To be considered public, the nuisance
must affect an interest common to the general public and it is not necessary that the entire
community be affected, so long as the nuisance will interfere with those who come in contact
with it in the exercise of a public right. W. Keaton, D. Dobbs, R. Keaton & D. Owen, Prosser &
Keaton on the Law of Torts, 645 (5th Ed. 1984).
A private nuisance is an interference with a person’s enjoyment and use of his land. The law recognizes that landowners, or those in rightful possession of land, have the right to the unimpaired condition of the property and to reasonable comfort and convenience in its occupation
2. In this particular situation around Admiral King Elementary,for those BOE members who are trying to save hoops rather than quality of life for their neighbors:
These hoops are being denied to the very children for whom they were meant ! You are introducing an element to a playground that adversely effects your young students.
I don’t think that was the intended use of such equipment
3. If Lorain City Schools wish to give the general population access to the “basket ball ” courts etc. then there must be accountability by the Lorain City Schools. You are confusing a playground with a public park, in my opinion. I don’t believe it is up to Lorain City Schools to provide entertainment to adults at the expense of the children , students and neighbors. Apparently these full court hoops are becoming a magnet for moronic behaviours.
There has to be “rules’ – LCS – you do not let your students run amok in your buildings and playgrounds , spitting, urinating , acts of a sexual nature during the school day. Why then, should you allow such usage after hours? It doesn’t make sense! Does your definition of quality of life and responsible behavior end at the end of the school day?
No , if the desire is to keep this equipment available to the “general public” then it carries with it the responsibility of “refereeing ” of the usage .
It means signage, limited hours and “policing”- NOT BY THE NEIGHBORHOOD, NOT BY THE RESIDENTS, NOT BY THE LORAIN POLICE DEPT BUT BY THE OWNERS OF THE PROPERTY- LORAIN CITY SCHOOLS ( and apparently since the State of Ohio paid 81 percent for the building of the new facilities ) BY THE STATE!
To those that cry foul to the taking down of the hoops I would suggest “involvement” , intelligentsia, and consideration for those who feel the ripple effect of your decision-making!
The last few days have found even my “auto pilot” the part of me that takes over in my “present life” having issues. I usually rely upon my auto pilot to see me through the days when my brain has me elsewhere in the past.
However something is amiss, I have waited to have it “clear” or like some kind of emotional pacemaker kick in . Not happening.
Pride Day, Settlers’ Watch, reading about “circumvention and diversion ” which is ripe for a post, Success for All fiasco, transparency in the hierarchy of Lorain City Schools, Cheryl Atkinson and her 76 trombones, scholarships and how Thomas the Tank Engine and the Cuyahoga Valley trip “tanked”, arson and cretins of Lorain
any number of subjects I am in a sort holding pattern
As I walked back from Settlers’ Watch last night knowing that I had a post half-finished to put up for this morning I started to feel quite unwell. I wondered
is this it? Am I done with this planet?
I wasn’t too concerned, I admit it, after all I had had shower and clean underwear but the thought crossed my mind if I tanked the last post on my blog would be the last thing written, my last words so to speak. Oh! I have my obituary half written – after the dreadful obit with regard to my son no other bugger is writing mine so that has to be finished so it can be the “last post” :) . I wonder if you know how weird it is to write your own obit?
People eating and laughing and sharing news of the day in the ICU waiting rooms whilst waiting for my son’s last breath left me disgusted and full of anger. The Gypsy Caravan that attended my son’s last days was to me abhorrent and tasteless and not of my culture or his and robbed death of dignity .
I read his Obituary on Saturday in the local paper. Was this my wonderful young man whose life was put into so many cents a line? Was this MY Chris – I could not let that be the last words written about my son so I have composed a letter which I hope will be a more fitting epitaph to one whose passing has broken a mother’s, father’s and sister’s heart.The Unbearable Pain of Being
I have been involved with truths somewhat this week- my own struggle with “truth” :( more on that later)— the truths of the inadequacy of the “system” that is Lorain Property Maintenance Code ( the ‘orrible truth”) —–
and will we ever know the truth???
DR. Cheryl Atkinson came to Lorain (2007) – she was touted by one and all as the saviour of Lorain City School system. Her accolades rang from the lips of members of the educational community- the Lorain Board of Education- ( the fact is at one time -then President of the BOE Tony Dimacchia gave her a glowing recommendation- albeit to go elsewhere and then was shocked ;) )
-the ethnic community rallied around as did support from so many organizations and people of this community , the City of Lorain- the administration and her council people , even to the editor of the local newspaper ( Tom Skoch, Morning Journal). Dr. Atkinson had a plethora of resources upon which to draw. This community desperately looking for the way forward and offering her the help she needed. Lorain and her schools wanted Dr. Atkinson to succeed – her success meant our success!
In fact, in hindsight, we were so desperate for someone to lead us “quickly and efficiently” out of the quagmire that had become Lorain City Schools, to bring in a fresh perspective, to be able to do the “tough love” as she presumably had no “relationships or agendas” ( but hopefully the one ) which should’ve been “the health of a failing school system”, we did not see the tree for the forest of hope in this woman’s ability.
The story that started well with co-operation and hope soon became a community in conflict with itself- derision on the Lorain Board of Education- armed guard ( Lorain Police) protecting the superintendent from the public at School Board meetings escorting her to and from those meetings . Questions as to favouritism, spending that seemed superfluous to education. It was precisely that concern that led me to a public records request
This above post and request led to a meeting with a meeting with Cheryl Atkinson and I must say a “staff of people” .
I remember well that day I was shown into a conference room – I must admit I was a little flummoxed at the amount of staff required for a relatively simple Q and A meeting with Dr. Atkinson,
Superintendent Atkinson, Mr. Stewart, Mr. De Nicola, Mr. Woods, Ms Sanchez, Ms Tansy on December 6th, 2010
I looked at the amount of yearly compensation paid to them for their expertise as we gathered around that table and smiled inwardly – all for the benefit of answering my fairly simple and straight forward questions from me?? a blogger?? I was flattered. ;)
NOTE: You can find the answers to those and links to the previous posts on the subject here
But one question answered itself for me at that meeting – and Cheryl Atkinson answered without saying a word. On three occasions as I asked questions, that weren’t particularly “hard” but needed a clarification, Cheryl left the room those three times in tears in response to those questions – One question asked was about the relationship of Lorain City Schools and Compassion Baptist Church expenditure-
4. Compassion Project. Compassion Baptist Church
PO#303647 – $10,000.00
The accounts(s) from which the PO was paid. Please give an itemized breakdown of this PO exactly what this money was used for from what funding source or granting authority was used to pay this PO what are the parameters of the funding or granting authority and can the funding source be used for other services. I further request a copy of the service contract for services provided in the 2010-11 school year under said project.
this had a red flag to me because HUD was requesting records of their expenditures
HUD seeks more Lorain records on Compassion Baptist Church
Another question I had was about the expenditures for mentoring which included her husband and then money going to religious organizations for events – what was the criteria for these events to be subsidized by the Lorain City School system. Simple questions and only needed a straight- forward answer – one would have thought
In my opinion, Cheryl Atkinson was not a CEO, not a leader with strength of conviction and certainly knew how, with tears and emotion shaking in her voice, to ” derail” any further questions”-
Her staff looked on with concern for their boss, showing the discomfort they felt for her with long looks as she left the room, yet again excusing herself time and time again, with a catch in her throat – apologizing for her emotions.
Mr. Ron Stewart a consultant to LCS – shook his head sympathetically offered her a tissue as she left the room- He looked at me his eyes almost “brimming”
“Oh she has a great heart, she puts this system first in all she does , she will call me late into the night at my home with her concerns”.
I looked at this man, for whom my taxpayers money was paying a nice sum, and thought- excuse me but why is a CEO calling you at home late at night- surely this is business and should be conducted as such- I wondered whether we were paying extra for late night reassurances on his bill? ) but I kept my thoughts to myself – it was not the time or the place to get into personalities.
Were the tear breaks a manipulation by a woman who knew the result of such behaviour to have on the meeting or was she truly such a “weak and weedy ” individual worth the quarter of a million and more we paid for her expertise. ( In hindsight a crying shame!)
Either way, I left that meeting knowing Lorain City Schools, no matter what the answers to the questions, they were in big trouble with such a person at the helm- a fact of which I made mention to more than one BOE member and supporter of Lorain City Schools – and that is the truth!
for more money and greater exploits although some would argue “exploitation”….
“At times, she seemed more interested in her county-issued car, her personal security and her text messages (requiring the services of yet another taxpayer-paid attorney, Mike Bowers, former Georgia Attorney General!) than any kind of real work focused on educating children. We believe it is these ‘missing’ text messages that caused her to vacate her post. She exited quickly and quietly, slipping away to tend to her ailing father, and the details of his reported January 23, 2013 death, but never returning, instead sending her (taxpayer funded) attorney – literally imposing a checkmate on the Board and leaving a school system of nearly 100,000 students without a leader. Nice lady!
Eric Barnes’ – Heroes Walk
A lot of dirt has been moved, beds have been prepared, tons of recycled crushed concrete placed and rolled and placed again and concrete pads laid in the past few weeks. Please bear in mind this is a donation and volunteer driven project.
We are very lucky our project coincided with the fact the City of Lorain and Lorain Utilities Dept. had to take the area where the “sludge bags had been stored ” and re-do the parking area and grassy area.
Charleston Village Society, along with our sister organizations Black River Historical Society and Lorain Growth Corporation were able to piggy back onto their project and as they designed and re graded the property to cut a path way through the trees joining Settlers’ Watch and the Admiral King Tribute space.
Please see video and article in the Morning Journal by Jessica James
So. where are we now?
Thanks to the generosity of Lorain City Schools donating the two granite benches , from the soon to be torn down Admiral King High School, we are able to honor the two graduates of Lorain City Schools with a bench each -
Army 1st Sgt Bruce Horner ( Admiral King High School)
and Marine Lance Corporal David Hall ( Southview High School).
Each Tribute garden space will include a piece of hardscape art work- loosley based on a maritime theme
The hardscape pieces will be set in blue glass mulch and white limestone to tie in with the anchor center piece at Admiral King Tribute Space
At each entrance way ( Settlers Watch and Admiral King Tribute Space will be a sign – Eric Barnes’- Heroes Walk - the sign will be cutwork and have a 3 dimensional look- the colours are navy blue, silver and white incorporating the anchor from the Admiral King Tribute Site and the Eric Barnes Eagle from Settlers’ Watch. – smaller versions of the signs will be placed at each tribute garden with the name of the fallen hero and information pertaining to each son of Lorain
There are a great many other aspects to the walk- it will still be a work in progress until next summer. However we would like to invite everyone to the dedication of the walk way on Sunday November 11th and 11 am. 2012. 1st and Oberlin- Lorain Ohio
As always any donations goes 100 percent to the project – Should you wish to donate or help out in any way you can send your check to
Charleston Village Society Inc- 1127 W 4th Street, Lorain Ohio 44052 ( mark Heroes Walk on the memo portion) – should you wish to volunteer time , plants, ideas please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 440-246-6046
ED Note I am sending these thoughts to the City for tonight”s meeting -
To the Administration and City Council, Community Development
Just take a walk across the park, from whence this city started – go west along 4th street – two blocks to my block of 4th street – you don’t need to go far to see Lorain and what has happened since those founding fathers platted the city from the corner of that little park….. Come take a tour —-
One Block on 4th street – what happens here on my block IS Lorain’s story
One school – Irving- closed by Lorain City School system – used as storage for two years- sold- rehabbed and now opening in the fall as a “Charter School” – gone is Lorain City Schools from my block- my taxes will pay for a neighborhood school at least and not a warehouse.
15 homes are on my block
4 rentals- ( 3 multifamily units)
3 empty homes- (2 of which are derelict)
8 owner occupied ( 6 of which have owners now that are considered senior citizens)
One home is of significant historical value- this home of one of the founding family members of this city – Gilmore- and still has a direct descendent under its roof. There are other homes that have historical value but their worth is fading fast
The remaining 7
4 rentals – One good landlord, One bad , Two indifferent ,
3 of which are multi-unit rentals
One multifamily – used to be a single family home – one unit or another always up for rent – with a side business of car repair
One multifamily – with a temporary roof fix of a blue tarp with 2 by 4’s ( must work because that temporary fix has been there for at least 3 years. )
One multifamily– A GOOD multifamily rental with a landlord who is involved and keeps his property clean and a good neighbor.
One supposedly single family home rental ( used to be owner occupied until the owner died and couldn’t sell the house) The house has fallen badly into disrepair in two short years- more than one family in the house- broken storm window lay like solar panels on the porch roofs. The owner (Landlord) never available .
One – Foreclosed( twice) now being dumped by the bank onto the market – for a great loss $13,000- a loss of over 50 thousand dollars since it sold in 2004 and effecting market values of remaining homes.
Two- derelict homes one scheduled for demolition the other vacant and derelict for 40 years !!!!!!!
The stats tell the tale the owner occupied 8 just over 50 percent …..but 80 percent of those owners are nearing their sell by date – What will happen to those homes – do you think after we are dead new young families will move in as owners or will they too become rentals? The history has shown, on this block, they become rentals! And remember seniors and income tax???
Of the remaining 7 homes
Nearly 60 percent are rentals( business of rentals) and 43 percent are abandoned/ derelict ….
Those who have looked out from the windows of City Hall the 7th , 5th and 3rd floor for the past decades – who can see this little block from those windows and those that walk out of the council chambers only have to open their eyes to see what has happened to Lorain- HER story is here and is still being written!
The ordinances have always been on the books- enforcing them is another “story”- Time to start!!!!
This has been a rough week in the city of Lorain- the thought processes seem to have become discombobulated. What started off as possibly “good ideas and with good intentions”- caused angst, chagrin, anger, media posturing and distrust from those that are paying the piper ( the tax payer) and has caused “thatwoman” to have “What were they thinking or were they moments”
First up the City vs the Schools and the meetings that confused and “riff’d ” a relationship.
Following hot on the heels of that “storm in more than a tea-cup” came Lorain’s New Safety/ Service Director Robert Fowler enacting the “Lorain Sick Abuse Policy” -
Now this little inconsequential blog and this particular Lorain – nut job’s “ opinion ( Mine) really won’t make much of a difference in the world of “not thinking through the consequences of ones actions”. In the F word of Futility world where I now reside, I did react to the fact that is “well thought out???” NOT!!! policy had allowed Lorain a spot on the “nationaL news circuit”. Bravo!!!! there is no such thing as “bad publicity ” maybe this is a new marketing ploy to get Lorain on the map! One can only hope there is a “plan” -
Although, once again this week, another “withdrawal”
LORAIN, OH (WOIO) -
The City of Lorain is on blast this week after checking on workers who ‘call in sick.’
This, after the city started using a nurse to knock on the doors of sick employees, checking to see if employees are abusing sick time on the city’s dime.
The Lorain Police Department Union just sent a scathing letter to the city because employees weren’t notified of the new policy. The department made the discovery after a nurse showed up on a sick dispatcher’s door step. The worker was so upset by the surprise visit, she began to cry.
The union claims the new policy is in clear violation of their privacy. “They are totally not trusting us. They give us a gun and badge, but yet they are going to send a nurse to our house to take our temperature and blood pressure. It’s uncalled for” say LPD employee Kyle Gelenius.
City officials say the nurse visits began after they noticed a pattern develop in some departments over sick time abuse.
Now, it appears the city will be rethinking the knock on the door and will sit down with unions in the city to discuss it.
“We are a new administration, and we are going through some growing pains. Unfortunately, this is one of them. We will work through it, hopefully we have the best services for the citizens of Lorain, and we will go from there” says Derek Feuerstein with the City of Lorain.
Now if that wasn’t bad enough we then have to go back to Lorain City schools and the fact they once again made front page for their meetings – was it and “agenda meeting” or whose agenda??? ;)
Did not Mr. Williams the Board of Education President learn anything from his trip of “meetings called ” that was a levy wasn’t a levy meeting only to send out the following email :
Dr. Branham, Dale Weber, Bill Sturgill, Tony Giardini, Tim Williams
I am requesting the 5 of us meet at 5:00pm for a 30 min. meeting in Dr. Branham’s conference room.
Additionally I am requesting Mr. Giardini be present at our meeting. We will define our meetings not the public perceptions.
We are on the same team and will be expected to perform as such. The boards legal council is clearly defined and has not been changed. That is The Law Firm of Mr. Giardini. Our Supt. is Dr Branham. Any and all discussion of this topic should be among the board not the public nor the media. I am also requesting we temporarily suspend all communication to the media except through formal press release. This is simply a request and is open for discussion. If needed we can discuss everything in public and I do mean everything. There are no victims here. We signed up for this. If there is a battle we all lose. There is no moral high ground for any one of us to take. Every one of are involved in the politics of this school district and this city. That’s our job. There are plenty of examples to be cited. If there are any concerns, objections or conflicts to this 5:00 o’clock meeting please let me know.
At the start of every school board meeting the Pledge of Allegiance is recited. The following words are part of that Pledge; “and to the Republic for which it stands”. In a Democratic Republic the public elects individuals to represent them at all levels of government. That includes members of the Lorain City Schools Board of Education. I believe that the citizens of Lorain deserve to know the facts and I will continue providing those facts.
Do some school board members believe that the board will determine what the public, and the media, should know? I certainly do not. To hold meetings and hide conversations from the public defeats the very purpose of the 1st Amendment to our constitution, “Freedom of Speech”
This amendment also guarantees “Freedom of the Press” to protect the right of every citizen to be fully informed. While the purpose of the meeting in question probably did not break the law, I believe it broke the spirit of the law.
In closing, I am happy to inform the public of what I learned on Thursday. Plans for the new Lorain High School Urban Learning Campus are moving forward. By sometime in August the architects hope to unveil the initial drawings of the building for public inspection. The building will stand on the site of the present high school.
Message to those whom are elected to represent “we the people” and/or who are being paid with our dime:
Please THINK of the consequences of one’s actions – before you go tramping around in the corridors of power – we can’t afford any more lawsuits, mythering, bad publicity , angst and division of community . You see all of the above are supposed to be representing ME the taxpayer- the voter – the nut job and I want more THOUGHT put into the “Thought Process”
After all the hand bags at dawn scenario played out between The City of Lorain and Lorain City schools in the past few days:
What the paper said:
Dr. Branham has an Op Ed in the Morning Journal which is explains the “how did this happen” aspect
DR. ED BRANHAM: Lorain school chief responds; ‘Keep politics, personal agendas out of schools, school decisions’
I met with the Mayor on June 4, 2012, to discuss how the city and the schools could work together on the type, amount and cost to the taxpayers for the November school levy. This meeting was necessary because Mayor Ritenauer communicated to the Board that he would actively work against any income tax levy for the district. I was unaware at that time of any new high school site plans or donations of any property. Mr. Giardini, acting independently of the school district and the Board of Education, presented the possible land donation to the city and/or schools for a possible new high school/shared site. I did not approach Mayor Ritenauer with this proposal
ED Note: That statement by Mr. Branham may explain a lot- communication seemingly lacking and also since Mr. Giardini apparently was acting “independently” perhaps it wasn’t clear to the City of Lorain that he was not acting as the Lorain City School’s attorney and thereby not representing the schools.
You can see where the confusion may have started. Communication and going through a “chain of command” or proper procedures/protocol and less “multi- tasking ” is imperative . In my opinion presenting the “idea” re: the high school movement to the Lorain City Schools as an entirety first and foremost and not at a levy meeting- could have stopped a lot of the rhetoric of the past few days.
Also, in my considered opinion, Mr. Williams as BOE President needed to have taken a “clear stance” and suggested the idea be presented at a different time and not further muddied the waters by requesting the following of the city:
After meeting with the schools on June 4th, the City, at the request of the School Board President, composed a letter discussing the potential for collaboration.
Mr. Williams should have been wearing his BOE hat at this point – I don’t believe he was !
Lorain High School deal fades; Mayor Ritenauer backs off, Branham objects to ‘politics’
And the statement that Ritenauer issued also affirmed his support for Branham. Ritenauer said, “While approaches to management will inevitably have philosophical disagreements every so often, the city looks forward to those conversations and ultimately wants to see the Lorain City Schools be successful and will work with the schools to that end.”