Archive for November, 2010
I have decided to surface- albeit for a little while- I have written about Lorain City Schools of late- which has brought to my attention –off the blog and on the phone- various situations and concerns.
The failed November 2010 levy of course and the WHY?(Lorain school board looks to build trust within community)
“HE WHO WILL NOT ECONOMIZE WILL HAVE TO AGONIZE”
The Corner Stone Caper and the wordsmithying that entailed . (That really became for me a bit of joke). I listened and read for nearly 5 days to the he said/she said/ they said this was the case until I finally got cheesed off and browned off enough to ask for “definite” clarification !
However, the episode does point out a fundamental flaw in the system- trying to get to the crux of the matter, even in so simple a task, is frustrating and a myriad of the he said /she said! Two newspapers and 5 days to finally get to the bottom of the tale ( and John Cole still got it wrong on Wednesday – there is a surprise! ;)and this was just a simple missing ( not missing ) artifact- NOW – where trust and money is involved- Oh Boy!
So in the course of all this to-ing and fro-ing and the he said/ she said and the this happened /that happened – with levys and readers also giving me information on other aspects upon which to ponder – especially the financial situation that is effecting Lorain City Schools – a mention of a retreat and the cost thereof this past summer caught my attention.
Now I know the China trip did not go down too well – Remember this post
with my readers at least – but I had nothing to compare it to for “worthiness”
However, this particular Lorain City Schools “SCHOOLS IMPROVEMENT” retreat was on familiar territory- it so happens I too had spent a lot of money on 130 guests at the self same “resort”.
hiring the whole of the rotunda, reception rooms – decorating the place, blocks of sleeping rooms (some for two nights) , two nights of an open bar , three days of food, entertainment etc. etc.
So when I heard the supposed amount of a LCS Retreat function at the same facility I had used and what I paid for 130 people – I decided rather than listening to the he said/ she said /they said to check it out for myself!
November 30th, 2010
Lorain City Schools
Charleston Administrative Center
2350 Pole Avenue
Lorain, Ohio 44052
For the attention of Lorain City Schools Treasurer D. Weber
Dear Mr. Weber
Re: Public records request- Lorain City Schools
Pursuant to the state open records law, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. sec. 149.43 to 149.44, I write to request access to information pertaining to
1. The August 15-17 2010- Retreat for SI for the OIP at Sawmill Creek- Huron Ohio
PO # 303140 – $17,435.94
Please provide itemized billing and a breakdown of the services provided- for example:
(a) How many people attended the retreat?
(b) What was the purpose of the retreat?
(c) How many of the participants were teachers ( k-12 working classroom teachers) (d)How many were Administration ( e.g. principals, Charleston staff)
(e)How many family members of staff were included ( e.g. rooms)
(f)How many rooms were paid for and for how many nights, meals, the cost of “the family day” pool side barbeque?
The account(s) from which the PO’s of this retreat was paid. What was the funding source? If “grant funds” were used to cover expenses who was the “granting authority “and what were the parameters of said grant? Could this funding be used for anything other than a retreat? How much money is left in the grant if any?
PO # 303304 – $500.01
The account(s) from which the PO was paid and itemized statement of billing- what was the funding source, who was the granting authority, what were the parameters of the grant. Could this funding be used for anything other than the purpose billed? How much money is left in the grant if any?
PO# 303538 – $1,860.55
The accounts(s) from which the PO was paid and itemized statement of billing- what was the funding source, who was the granting authority, what were the parameters of the grant. Could this funding be used for anything other than the purpose billed. How much money is left in the grant if any?
Please confirm the total amount for the Schools Improvement “retreat” at Sawmill Creek for Lorain City Schools (August 15-17th 2010) was a grand total of $19.796.50
2. Information on Previous retreats- LCS
Please provide me with the following information:
(a) Number of retreats held FY 2007- 2008- 2009- 2010 inclusive if any?
(b) Where were the retreats held?
(c) Cost of each retreat- PO numbers?
(d) The account(s) from which the PO’s were paid.
(e) What was the funding source for each retreat, which was the granting authority, what were the parameters of the grant? Could this funding be used for anything other than the purpose billed. How much money is left in the grant if any?
3. Premier Speakers –AUGUST 24th-2010I would also like to request a breakdown of the following PO numbers for payment to the vendor – Premier Speakers .
PO#302796 for Speaker Ron Clark $9750.00 on August 24th 2010The accounts(s) from which the PO was paid. Please give an itemized breakdown – such as – how long did Mr. Clark speak, how many were in attendance, where was the function held what was the purpose of the event? If paid for through a grant, who was the granting authority and what are the parameters of the grant and can the grant be used for anything other than speakers.
PO#302891 Premier Speakers $8,750.00 – August 24th 2010The 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
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.
5. Average Daily Membership Data
Please give me the numbers of students as per the Average Daily Membership data as compiled in October 2010
If your department does not maintain these public records or cannot assist with the answers to the questions above, please let me know who does and include the proper custodian’s name and address.
I agree to pay any reasonable copying and postage fees of not more than $50.00. If the cost would be greater than this amount, please notify me. Please provide a receipt indicating the charges for each document.
I would request your response within ten (10) business days.
If you choose to deny this request, please provide a written explanation for the denial including a reference to the specific statutory exemption(s) upon which you rely. Also, please provide all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material.
Please be advised that I am prepared to pursue whatever legal remedy necessary to obtain access to the requested records. I would note that violation of the open records law can result in the award of court costs and attorney fees. Thank you for your assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me should you need further clarification.
CC. Superintendent Atkinson and BOE
To Be Continued…………….
A symbol ( by definition) is something such as an object, picture, written word, sound, or particular mark that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention. Numerals are symbols for numbers (amounts). All language consists of symbols. Personal names are symbols representing individuals
I never gave much thought to symbols before. I knew they existed flashy cars and great houses- symbols of success – derelict homes, crumbling infrastructure, graffiti symbols of decay – statuary gracing community gathering places – symbols of religion-
necklaces symbols of ones faith or beliefs or wealth on display.
Everything around us becomes a symbol of something – November once a month of joy –
Guy Fawkes, children laughing in the garden as we burned a Guy- roasted potatoes , drank hot chocolate and danced in the dark with sparklers- clinging to a little piece of their heritage in Lorain, a symbol of home.
Thanksgiving past where decorations of Christmas were hung before they could eat the symbol of an American Thanksgiving
A book , whose title ironically enough called the ” The Lost symbol” has taken on for me a different symbolic meaning.
It has become the symbol of a last conflict, love and apology. The book sits upon a portfolio case crafted by my son in his old bedroom- I move it to dust and like some precious treasure it is cherished- this novel of fiction ……
How did this book become so important-
In the post “I didn’t know my son” ( written in response to a contemptible letter)- I told of an argument
But in the hours before that argument came to a head he and I had gone to get his prescriptions- he was tired and in a lot of pain- I said maybe I could pop into Borders ( which was across the way)
I would like to buy the new Dan Brown novel-
I could see he was impatient to get back so I didn’t push it. His mood was dour and his eyes narrowed and lips ( always a sign of anger) were tight. He had been on his cell phone to his wife, Angela, as we waited for his prescriptions. He drove back to the apartment in utter silence . He immediately went out by the pool in the apartment – I could see him sitting not moving. I decided he needed space then Nikki called and said that Chris had hung up on her and was very angry.
“but leave him alone mum” he doesn’t want to talk.
“I don’t want to talk”
“You don’t have to -you can listen- I need to talk to you”
I was never a crier before Hodgkin’s I was a fighter, a do-er – this blubbering fool that I have become is down to the helplessness and hopelessness that took away happiness. Chris never knew me as a “crier” before his illness – so as the tears fell splashing onto the table he sat silently as I told him
Chris, being a mother of a son is so much harder than you can imagine – I have tried so hard to give you and Angela the space you both need in this terrible time. I KNOW Chris, that you are feeling that you have no control over what is happening to your body and your life- I know you need some control , another reason why I have tried so hard to stand aside- you didn’t need me in the mix as well -But I am going to honestly tell you now -if this had been Nikki and not you I would have handled things so much differently – just as Nikki is my child I would not have sat back and taken a back seat to decisions as I have with you and Angela.
You see when a son marries he brings into his life another woman- it is very difficult in the best of circumstances for a mother to sit back and watch decisions being made that in some cases I did not agree with in a normal situation- this terrible situation we find ourselves all thrust into makes it doubly hard. But I have deferred to you both and to her “medical expertise” with this obscenity of Hodgkin’s that has engulfed us. It has been one of the hardest things in the world for me not to interfere or to put in my two cents. There have been times Chris when I have doubted my own abilities and lost confidence in myself – I have gone against my own gut feelings and yet there is a voice that tells me to still be protective of you .
I have tried to give you both your space – to be there when needed and to shut up for your sake when I was totally against some decisions. I have tried for your sake because I love you so much I would do anything and sacrifice anything for your health and happiness.
I don’t know the reason why you are so angry with Nikki and I but you have to know neither of us would intentionally do anything to hurt you . We have tried to put you first in all our thinking – We love you always have and always will. “
Angela (Lombardi) ritchey MURPHY by Chris Ritchey
With that I left the poolside and went back into the apartment. Chris followed a few minutes later and then it all came out ( as I knew it would) an argument and accusations the finding out of lies that were told
“we had excluded Angela in decision-making as to driving the truck back to Texas.”
After Chris had called Nikki back and they spoke and she confirmed Jim would drive back with him with the truck and that he wasn’t really mad at her just the hopelessness and helplessness he was feeling – he left – I wasn’t sure where and I was worried- he was in so much pain and on so many pills –
A little while later he walked in patted me on the head as a I sat in the chair and handed me a book as he walked to the bedroom – The Lost Symbol
Chris, too has become a symbol of Loss the loss of complete happiness never to be found again . But there will always be a special place for the book “The Lost Symbol” as it is now a symbol to me of a son’s love and understanding as no other book in my life’s vast library.
Update: Check out Daniel’s further investigation in the corner stone caper
The recent “miraculous” find of a time capsule- and OH! YES!!! that is the word some were saying ” it is a miracle” and nobody knew it was there. As soon as I heard those words I was transported back to younger days and singing the song
Three Old Ladies
Oh, dear, what can the matter be
Three old ladies locked in the lavatory
They were there from Monday to Saturday
Nobody knew they were there
The first one’s name was Elizabeth Porter
She went in to be rid of some overdue water
And she stayed there far more than she ought to
And nobody knew she was there.
The second one’s name was Elizabeth Pomphrey
She went in and made herself comfy
Then she said: “Girls, I can’t get my bum free.”
And nobody knew she was there
The last one’s name was Elizabeth Carter
She was known as a world renowned farter
She went in and played a sonata
And nobody knew she was there.
Now my version:
Oh dear what can the matter be
A corner stones miraculous recovery
Cause NOBODY knew it was there???
The first flush told of heroes The 2nd flush turned into zero’s
The stone that was for safe keeping taken
Turned up a time capsule when shaken
And NOBODY??? knew it was there
The third flush a media scoop
When one newpaper got the rest of the poop
The smell becoming somewhat putrid And fingers pointed ” No you did”
And NOBODY knew it was there
However, just as the song Three Old Ladies morphed into Seven Old ladies I am not sure that this “flush is finished-toilet tales in Lorain ????
In Search of my son- In search of me- Part 14 – LAUGHTER
Part One – In search of my son- In search of me
Part Two – Tourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three – Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four – In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks
Part Five – Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six – The Unfinished Portrait
Part Seven– The Unfinished Portrait- The Artists
(2) Part Two – Who Are We Really?
Part Eight– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight
Part Nine– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight – Part Two
Part Ten (a) – There is an “I” in Death
Part Ten (b)- I didn’t know my son- Chris Ritchey
Part Eleven- Unfinished Portrait the Artistic Gene
Part Twelve- Unfinished Portrait- the Artistic Gene- Part Two
Part Thirteen– A Place of Echoes
Laughter is such an important part of ones life. It is healthy to laugh! Laughter and happiness more important than money- I know……….
I have come to the realization that no matter what wonderful events may come into my life, however funny the antics of a certain little boy –
being totally happy is something that will never again be part of my world. It is a sad statement of fact as part of me and a major part of my happiness has gone from my tangible world. It is as if Chris dying has put a “limiter on laughter” – he always made me laugh out loud type of laughter!
Nikki would complain that Chris always got away with things that she didn’t- its true- because Chris would make you laugh as he was being bad, and sometimes he would be baaaaaaaaadddddd!
“In all my “spare” time , I ‘m making that greenhouse on the side of the garage- but today I had a set back , my son ( sorry) YOUR son decided to help me. I guess he didn’t like my five large pieces of glass to make the window, so he decided to make it ten thousand smaller ones. No one was hurt because the glass was on the other side of the door as he crashed it open driving his big wheel at it full tilt!
He then decided he wanted to find out how many pieces he could turn my 123 inch ruler into and broke it into three pieces before I could stop him as I was dealing with the glass- not to waste time he decided to use all my potted seedlings as a obstacle course as he slammed his way through them and over them on the said Big Wheel- the only thing that saved him from a 17 centimeter hand on a cute little 10 centimeter bum was he innocently looked up and said – ” Help daddy some more?”
Oh Chris you did make us pull our hair out at times……..
I miss you every day and on this day as I remember having cooked your last “proper dinner”, the last time you and I were together in your apartment, the last time we “talked” and all the trauma to come after that last night before the hospital and being with you as they delivered the oxygen. I so miss being happy and I miss you making me laugh – I miss your sense of humour irreverent as it was at times. I wish you could make us laugh out loud again…………
TAH DAH FINALLY THEY ARE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE !!!!
Lorain school board member Jim Smith confirmed the 1914 Lorain High School cornerstone that was unearthed last Friday is the original and only cornerstone from the old high school. Smith made the announcement at a school board meeting last night.
When demolition began in May last year, the district gave demolition group DEM/EX a list of items and artifacts to be salvaged. On that list was the cornerstone with the time capsule inside. Chief of Operations Dan DeNicola said the demolition contractor had the cornerstone and knew the district wanted it, but he never delivered it.
http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2010/11/18/news/mj3694265.txtUpdating the update And one more time-seems there is only one corner stone that of the NE corner- which was stored on the Bender property- apparently according to sources- there was a hollowed space in that corner stone ( awaiting a photo) in which the box would have sat. Now somehow the box was removed / fell/ jiggled out from the corner stone and then well you know the rest…………. is this the last chapter on the Corner Stone Caper ………. Ah Ha Watson time to have a cup of tea!!!!!
UPDATE:As time marches on the tale of the two corner stones continues Rona Proudfoot has more on the subject this morning in the Chronicle
Is it the “Corner Stone Caper”
and “History Held Hostage”?
Or just a lucky find “The Time capsule that (Lorain) Forgot”
One little , two little ,………….
This is the first in the “Open for Discussion” Guest Blog – This post is actually the thoughts and opinions of more than one individual compiled under the nom de plume T- Paine.
What are the limits of charity?
This is a question that is being danced around in Lorain.
There have been at numerous meetings discussing the homeless, crime and general decay we are experiencing in Lorain. There are meetings regarding the growing homeless need. No one is looking at the root of the problem.
There exists in Lorain County a great disparity of social services. While everyone agrees that there is great need and that we should help those that are less fortunate, there should be limits to our assistance and an expectation of change as a result of our investment. If you look at Lorain and the disparity of services that we as a community provide compared to social services by all of the other cities in the county; then we in Lorain are either the nicest, most charitable people or the least intelligent. This would then mean that our surrounding neighbor communities are either made up of the most thoughtless or the most intelligent people.
Most people will say that the people of the surrounding communities are not bad people, even though they do not do the hard work of dealing with social programs or put their community at risk as does Lorain. Then we must conclude that we in Lorain must be the least intelligent for allowing these social programs to put our community at risk. If this is not the case, then why do other communities not step up and take upon their shoulders some of the charity work that is done in Lorain. Instead the surrounding communities send the less fortunate here.
Some will say that the need is greatest here. We agree because we have the programs to house feed and handle the need of a growing indigent population. We are in a terrible downward cycle as a community that is rapidly causing its ultimate demise. We are not serving just the homeless of our town we are now importing the homeless from surrounding cities, counties and states.
Why? Because; to quote a recent transfer from another state,
” I can get free services here in less than a month and back home it takes over a year”.
This individual has no friends in Lorain, no family and no ties to the community or the state of Ohio. Many others from Illinois, Florida, New York, West Virginia, and Kentucky have also come to Lorain for the easy benefits. They are here to take advantage of our social services, since it obvious that they have not come to find work in our depressed local economy.
Hooverville then – Lorain Now?
Lorain suffers from the hypocrisy of those residents of other communities who advocate for social programs for the disadvantaged and badly behaved, yet do not allow Section 8 housing or social programs in their nice community. These people want “someone” to help the less fortunate or demand that government should “do something”, but do they send their children to school where there are children from public housing? Do they shop at or support businesses that are patronized by people on public assistance? Of course not. Lorain bears the burden for them.
We have watched the soup kitchens and shelters grow from caring for a few individuals to being overwhelmed. This has caused additional organizations and churches to open up food kitchens and shelters.
Those waiting for their next meal camp out in the Library, roam the streets, alleys and neighborhoods. There are thefts of numerous items; copper disappears from vacant homes and from homes where the owners are on vacation. Anything that might be of value disappears from yards, outdoor furniture, tools, fences, gutters, siding and downspouts to name a few. Litter and broken windows make Lorain look threatening and uninviting. Aggressive panhandling is back and exists not only in the commercial areas, but in the residential neighborhoods. The police, in many cases know the perpetrator, but are unable to “catch them in the act” and aggressive methods to discourage them could be viewed as violations of civil rights or harassment.
How much more are the diminishing number of tax-paying residents and business people in Lorain willing to tolerate, let alone support? The programs that are offered keep growing and therefore the need keeps increasing as Lorain has the reputation of being “the place” for social programs. These programs have no expectation of an end for those they serve. We are merely warehousing and feeding. We are not teaching a man to fish, we are simply feeding him.
As the tax-paying few continue to leave the city, the tax base and donations will diminish creating an even larger problem. Our community is breaking under the stress created by the inequity that exists in the county. The city has no funds for basic services, crime increases while prevention becomes nearly impossible under the strain. Prisons, other communities and other states send the problems that they do not deal with to Lorain along with the people. The laws have come to protect not the innocent, but known criminals, and make enforcement agencies impotent.
Our neighborhoods and streets become less safe. Crime increases causing further exodus of residents and businesses. Housing vacancy increases causing property values to remain disproportionately low as compared to the rest of the county. Tax payers leave. Schools suffer. Businesses suffer. The spiral continues. Strangers are taking over our streets.
There are many good and decent people that need help and certainly there are some exceptions in all of the situations listed above.
The good people of Lorain are breaking under the burden and several questions need to be asked.
Can we not create limits to our charity that take care of our own without being taken advantage of and having to support the rest of the nation? Why should the good-hearted tax payers in Lorain be made to feel guilty for saying, “No, that’s enough”.
Can we create programs that have an expectation of change or end point, so that those on them have hope and motivation, instead of becoming more statistics of failure?
Can requirements of service be put in place as a reward for good behavior instead of entitlement? Community service projects such as, cleaning up litter, pulling weeds, performing simple chores could be a requirement for receiving services or meals. Our children perform simple chores to help out and develop a work ethic and to understand that nothing comes for free. All of us must perform at our jobs and maintain a good work record to receive our pay. Why can’t this be a requirement of the social programs? We have all heard that there is no value for anything that is given for free. We are not helping people we are making those on public assistance dependent on handouts rather than teaching values. The public assistance programs have become simply another addiction rather than a means to a cure.
Can random drug tests be made a requirement of receiving public assistance? A failed test would require immediate rehab treatment and continued “good progress” in order to maintain assistance. All taxpayers face consequences for not performing well at work or not paying the very taxes that support social programs some employers require monthly drug tests however those on public assistance have no standard to meet.
Why don’t other communities step up?
What are the rights of the taxpayers?
Can Lorain be charitable while upholding the laws that keep our children, homes and streets safe?
These are questions that must be asked if our community is to survive and thrive.
This is simply common sense.
Disclaimer: The views of the “Guest Writer” may not necessarily reflect the views of “that woman” blog
UPDATE on the Update- And then there were two- and no body knew it was there
Update :”Come Watson the games afoot”- our intrepid history detectives are on the trail of “The Case of the History Held Hostage” – it seems there is more to this than meets the eye- 😉
those pesky voices from the past who are calling to be recognized?
The Lorain City Schools and their “past” adventures have been in the news the last couple of days
from a corner-stone of Lorain High School and a time capsule ending up as “fill” or landscaping found by a “student” albeit in a different school system.
I would recommend reading the Chronicle article by Rona Proudfoot it is more in-depth
However the Morning Journal also has some coverage by Freddie Hunt
Photo Mark Teleha
Why the corner-stone ended up where it did ? No matter the demo crew or the LCS the fact is there was “no follow through and accounting” for this piece of Lorain’s past by someone ( sound familiar) – and it was only by luck this “corner-stone ” (which I was told personally months ago would be incorporated somewhere in the new building) could have been landfill for the ages. This was someones “job of work” for which they were compensated by the taxpayers – no matter a private corporation or the LCS system.
And on the local blog “Buster’s House”http://bustershouse.wordpress.com/
Lisa points out the words from the past – have they been lost to Lorain too?
You can also access the complete demolition as covered by Mark Teleha on his blog here