Archive for March, 2011

Lorain City Schools et al- Come together over me ?

http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2011/03/31/news/mj4329571.txt

http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2011/03/31/riverbank-site-for-lorain-high-%e2%80%98dead-as-a-doornail%e2%80%99/

Lorain High from start to finish????


Photo Mark Teleha

He roller-coaster he got early warning
He got muddy water he one mojo filter
He say “One and one and one is three”
Got to be good-looking ’cause he’s so hard to see
Come together right now over me

The Beatles

March 31, 2011 at 11:34 pm 1 comment

Chris Ritchey’s Collage- Colleges – Scholarships LCCC and CIA


As I have written previously here and here I owe so much to Chris’ choice of colleges. They have given me so many insights and wonderful memories of his journey into a creative confident young man.

Chris had a great time at LCCC- he discovered himself and his talent there– I am grateful to LCCC for giving him the opportunity to “Be” Chris.

Nikki and I decided that a fitting “living reminder” (because Chris was not about death and gloom but life) to say thank you with a Leadership Award in his name. He too had received a leadership award from LCCC.

Chris worked hard and found his creative niche both on the LCCC soccer field and in his classwork- both of which culminated with his BFA presentation for Cleveland Institute of Art.

ED NOTE: Once again, just this past week, as I was sorting through this house I found a “disc” with the words power point– I opened it up and there was Chris’s power point presentation to CIA as to why his inspiration was Soccer for his BFA final.

LCCC HPER staff were very supportive of Chris both as a student and during his illness. I asked if they would like a collage of Chris BFA work , since it was at LCCC he started on the road to his BFA and since his “project” was all about “soccer” I thought it may be fitting.

(Chris Ritchey – CIA – BFA project resting on the bleachers he built for the presentation)
I received notice the collage is being displayed in the HPER building PE 104 display case.To that end I asked Mark Teleha if he would he please take a photo of the display for me. He went above and beyond even to taking individual pictures of each part of the collage but it was the last picture that he sent that made the most impact.

In the collage is a picture Chris had to do for CIA assignment –

As I looked at the photo sent by Mark

I realized that you can see the reflection of the photographer ( in this case Mark) as he and his camera are captured from the outside whilst capturing my son in his lens who had captured his own likeness ( as a photographer) from the inside looking out the reverse – a moment frozen in time through the lens of camera….. a connection….. infinity

Nikki and I had the opportunity to help decide the student at LCCC who would receive this year’s scholarship The Leadership Award ( Christopher D. Ritchey)There were some wonderful applicants for this year’s $500 LCCC Leadership Award ( Christopher Ritchey) the choosing was extremely difficult and I am pleased to say we have a really deserving individual for the award.

I am also pleased to tell readers that thanks to the support of family, friends and readers we will once again be able to give an award for $1,500 to a four-year communications and design student in the name of Christopher Ritchey for Cleveland Institute of Art.

Note: those wishing to support Lorain County Community College Leadership Award in Christopher’s name please contact:

Debra L. Richter
Alumni and Scholarship Coordinator
Lorain County Community College Foundation
1005 N. Abbe Road
Elyria, OH 44035
440.366.7758 – Office
440.366.4078 – Fax

Those wishing to support the Cleveland Institute of Art Scholarship please contact:

Attn Amy Bartter,
Cleveland Institute of Art,
11141 East Boulevard,
Cleveland, OH 44106

March 28, 2011 at 11:11 pm 6 comments

I Walked out !!!!- Misrepresentation- Political Platform- Community Safety Forum

DISCLAIMER: although representing CVSI at this meeting the following thoughts, opinions and resulting frustration are entirely my own as an individual and are not to be seen as representing the board or the members of CVSI in any way shape or form!

Maybe I should just not go to meetings– apathy is at least good for the blood pressure.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/lorain-city-schools-the-play-the-passion-the-board/
I have done what I have never done before I walked out of a community meeting!

Charleston Village Society of which I am co- chair and founding member, has for more than 2 decades been involved with safety in the community. We are a 501C3 and therefore do not support any candidate or political party. We leave that to our individual members to be involved in “politics” . Charleston Village Society is about “community” no matter race, creed, religious belief, economic, educational or social background.

We are community and therefore we try diligently to “include” all of our community and we don’t deal in percentages. We try our utmost ( and have been pretty successful so far) to remain “politically” neutral – we try very hard to stay away from the “political arena” and threats of we won’t vote for you behaviors when dealing with our elected officials – no matter their party or if they were our personal preference.

CVSI had the first community policing model back in the early 90’s , we had the first organized “crime watch” nearly 20 years ago . We continue quietly through our neighbors to keep our eyes and ears open and have had a working relationship with the LPD for decades. Our model works for us as a community .


We held the Community Safety Forum in 2005 and worked on a 5 pronged approach – Lorain Police Dept. Lorain City Schools, Lorain Clergy, Lorain City Administration ( Lorain Building Dept. Fire Dept. ) , Neighborhood /Social Services and a “plan”. That plan was implemented and was working until basically the “school” which was at the heart of the plan was no longer available and things changed too dramatically in the birthing of that plan for the model to recover. We have been there done that – we have been “involved” during the years

Why this post? I have been feeling guilty that CVSI needed to be a little more involved on a Lorain City community level, especially with our neighbors in the central part of the city. Since I am the one from our Executive Board who has the availability I attend these sort of meetings. I have, due my personal circumstances, been very lax in doing so recently.

I received a letter from Martha Pye requesting the presence of CVSI at the “2nd Community Safety Forum”. I have worked with Martha for many years and we have shared many a meeting so because she asked I made a special effort and went.

As usual at any community meeting , representatives of Lorain City Council, those running for election and re- election , both mayoral candidates, were present along with the Sherriff, LPD etc.
The tone of the “ safety meeting” was set from the very beginning as focusing on holding candidates and elected officials responsible for all our “ills”- a situation I am sure they are used to – however that was NOT what the meeting was supposed to be about.

IT was apparent from the start there was something else on the agenda other than “safety ” and “solutions” –

Rev Lewis stated:

“We are a community first and need to come together “

Apart from Chief Rivera’s presentation- after the voting rhetoric in the beginning by the MC ??? ( sorry I didn’t get his name I didn’t have a printed agenda with it) on the Lorain Police Dept. and a question from the audience as to “police response time” we were subjected to holding elected officials as to blame and representation based on ethnicity .

And when Richard Romero got to the microphone and started giving stats about non representation of elected offices and reflection of numbers based on DIFFERENCES etc. etc. and literally dividing the community into racial percentages 18 percent this group 25 percent that group and the empassioned rhetoric of division – I left – not without registering my disdain as to the topic of the meeting totally getting away from what was presented to me as a SAFETY FORUM . This to me was more of a political rally, where political biases were evident as well as a division of community- not by the people in attendance but by some who held the microphone.

I sat with Mayor Krasienko , Safety Director Phil Dore , Mayoral Candidate Chase Ritenauer and Dan Given- quite frankly if these individuals who are for the most part in opposition to one another in their electoral races can come together for the sake of the community then the “community” should do likewise! Presenters and participants should put aside political rhetoric and not put “politics “ and “division” before the subject that was supposed to be on the floor “SAFETY “!
The proposed subject of the day

“what can be done , what solutions can we the community do to help solve some of the safety and quality of life issues that face us in Lorain’s oldest neighborhoods”

was buried in rhetoric, blame game and grand standing!

If I want to hold the politicians and elected officials accountable – I will – I don’t need to participate in political diatribe whilst trying to see what can be accomplished to make my neighborhood safer.

Politics and division wasn’t on the agenda – I left – for the simple reason – I was quite frankly offended by Mr. Romero’s “platform” and also the misrepresentation of the subject matter of the forum !

March 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm 8 comments

Comment Policy Reminder

Obviously the LCS situation is very touchy. I do understand about the need for anonymity in some instances . However I cannot post some of the comments coming in if the e-mail is not real along with a nom de plume and the comment is full of what could be seen as a personal attack or unsubstantiated rumour.

I will allow any comment or blog post for that matter under a nom de plume as long as I can verify the statements as facts and I know the author is “real”- I will not share that information – You will have to trust me on that – but those are the rules on this blog – BUT you can be as open and without moderation saying what you like -as you like UNDER YOUR OWN NAME :)Thanks Loraine

March 26, 2011 at 12:27 pm Leave a comment

Lorain City Schools -The Play-The Passion -The Board

I shook off my apathy last night and attended the Board of Education Meeting to do my homework.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/undecided-no-9-lorain-city-schools/

I was a little worried that I might have developed deafness in my self -imposed exile from all things Lorain.

I could hardly hear a word most people were saying as they spoke into the microphone . I wonder what pertinent information I was missing. As we will see later in this post ” not hearing information” can ultimately result in people speaking loudly.

I did hear Mr. Chuck Parsons the facilitator of the meetings held in regard to what is a “wish list” of the particpants of the meetings held for the new high school. Mr. Parsons did state the turnout was low even though well publicized for the meetings as discussed here
http://bustershouse.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/is-that-the-best-you-can-do-lorain/

http://bustershouse.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/no-oops-about-it-lorain-you-did-it-again/

I couldn’t help but add the numbers in my head less than 75 people “wishing” – indicative of the burn out perhaps.
A special meeting March 28 to give more overview of the plans for the new high school . The meeting is at 5 p.m. at the Charleston Administration Center.


We were treated to the children performing “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from Annie – performances at the Lorain Palace April 1st and 2nd – 7 -9 pm – tickets one dollar .

The students were all really enthusiastic and energetic – a joy to watch – they made you smile – one little one was throwing everything she had into her moment in the spotlight – she had the stuff of which actors are made pride and passion in her role .

They also apparently had an impact on Mr. Smith’s decision with regard to endorsing the renewal levy in May, he stated:

I must admit, I was conflicted until watching those kids. You can’t do anything but vote in favor”

Ah! The play’s the thing 😉 and then “the passion” and passion certainly came across the floor to the audience that was left. Only it wasn’t the kids displaying projection and passion it was the BOE members.

As a surface dwelling onlooker who hasn’t attended a BOE meeting since Dee Morgan’s time and the passion of 2007 ,I was somewhat taken aback.

The touch paper was the article in the Chronicle Telegram
http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2011/03/23/lorain-school-district-faces-federal-discrimination-lawsuit/ BOE member Jim Smith brought up the subject of the article and quite frankly it was all down hill from there
He said , they said – I will say- you will not say – we will not say.

The atmosphere was one that you could literally cut with a knife, the undercurrents in that room churned, swirled and eddied around those on stage and we in the audience- the drama , tight lips, spluttering, eye popping , narrowing of other eyes, the clenched jaws, neck tendons showing, rising blood to the faces – it was all there –

great expectations!!! Mr. Dickens ;)!

I sat there wondering whether a functioning board was actually dysfunctional.

You can read the real press take here

Board member threatens grievance over federal lawsuit against Lorain schools

Board President Tony Dimacchia and Smith argued over whether lawsuits involving the schools should be brought to the board’s attention immediately.

While Dimacchia attempted to give him an answer, Smith was questioning the district’s attorney Tony Giardini.

http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2011/03/24/lorain-school-board-member-files-grievance-against-districts-attorney/

After the meeting I asked for some clarification – I spoke to Mr. Diamchia – and Mr. Giardini – (Mr. Smith had left) as to my perception of the conduct displayed from the point of an onlooker-

Whilst I understood “legal” decisions made in all this and the explanation made by Mr. Dimachia echoed in the meeting :

“We don’t do the day-to-day operations of this school district … There is a proper process that goes through any district or any organization. … When there is an issue and it gets to a certain point and it is legitimate and serious enough for the board to hear it, then we will deal with it at that time,” the board president said.


and Mr. Giardini’s quote in the Chronicle

Giardini said he does not inform the board of legal matters until they reach the point where he needs board members to take action. Prior to that point, Giardini said he briefs Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson on legal matters.

Ford was used as part of the analogy as to how things work as far as the chain of knowledge- which I understood but in my opinion there is to me a fundamental difference :

Lorain City Schools although Lorain’s 2nd largest employer and the way “business is done” reminded me that

LCS shareholders are “we the community”-

The money to exist is not derived from selling/ manufacturing/ supplying a commodity from which the corporation makes a monetary profit as is the case with private corporations where Board of Directors are compensated sometimes to the tune of “millions “ for their expertise .

Our board is, in effect, a voluntary board with a tiny stipend, basically serving and representing the community – who placed their faith in them and their willingness to represent we the taxpayer.

Lorain City Schools provides a service-

We ( and I say we because we the taxpayers are the holders of the purse) do not make a “monetary profit from that service”-

We as a community benefit only by those that benefit ( the students) from that service hopefully becoming responsible members of society who will be enabled through their education make life a little better for all as they take over the reins in a “global market” .

It is true that major corporations leave the business of “legal eagles” to be sorted out and are then apprised of the situations as need be. BUT we aren’t corporate America.

In this surface dwellers opinion those that represent the owners of the business –the community -should know through their representatives ( the elected BOE) what is happening in the organization – if not required knowledge then I, at least having sat on many “volunteer boards” would feel more comfortable knowing that my elected representation is at least informed as to what is happening.

A FEDERAL DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT is hopefully not indicative of the day to day operations for LCS.

It has been my experience that the simplest little hiccup can escalate and cause a greater distress.

Personally if it is not the attorney’s job to tell the Board but the Superintendent and the Treasurer as to legal situations then the communication “formally ‘ perhaps through executive session that information should be shared – in my opinion.

If I was a BOE member, I would insist upon knowing so that I could be educated in the everyday workings of Lorain’s 2nd largest employer especially if the day to day business included federal lawsuits :(.

If that had been the case with the situation from last night we would not have been subjected to last night’s performance or the less than flattering “reviews” in today’s papers.
Just my 139,500 cents worth

As always this blog is open to giving space to differing view points on LCS.

March 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm 13 comments

UNDECIDED- NO. 9 ????? Lorain City Schools

UPDATE: LORAIN CITY SCHOOLS SUED FOR DISCRIMINATION

http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2011/03/23/lorain-school-district-faces-federal-discrimination-lawsuit/

I wrote a series of posts recently in regard to the financial situation of Lorain City Schools. I found some of the expenditures ( in my opinion as a surface dwelling voter) “worrying and wasteful” The links to all of the posts are here in my “conclusions” post
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/lorain-city-schools-a-surface-dwellers-conclusion/

As with everything lately, I have put off making a lot of decisions- how I will vote on Issue 9 ( being an Independent I will only vote “issues” in May) has been one of them.

I was shaken from my apathy by a very nice voice on the phone last evening ( March 17th) asking me if I planned on voting in May and would I share the information of how I was going to vote on Issue 9 the Lorain City Schools “renewal levy”?

23.85-mill renewal levy in May. The renewal is a combination of several renewals passed since 1992. It was combined in 2000 to total 23.85-mills, but because of increasing property valuations, the levy only collects an effective 12.9-mills. Morning Journal

According to the Lorain City School figures from the Plain Dealer
http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/10/lorain_county_lorain_city_scho_1.html

Current Lorain City School District Operating Levy Effective Millage for Residential is 24.79 mills. This translates into approximately $63.27 per month for the tax payer with a $100,000 home.
$10.31 per month for the Construction levy- ( you know the new schools etc)
and a further $1.41 for the permanent improvement levy

In previous years ESPECIALLY with a RENEWAL Levy I would have said YES! no hesitation -so I surprised myself when I heard the words coming from me :

“At the moment I am undecided”

Could that be me? What part of my brain was taking over this time?
The caller asked why? And I heard myself saying –

I need more information – I am still hearing of “spending within Charleston Center” that seems to the taxpayer ( remembering that even the grants come from taxpayers pockets) somewhat unnecessary.

I want to see what the Administration is doing to cut rather than add to the bottom line in Administration . Have there been any raises or hiring of non- certified personnel in recent months?

I realize this is a renewal and therefore not raising the amount I spend out each month BUT you see my income has lessened in the years since the original levy was combined in 2000.

I now look out on two foreclosed homes next door one a derelict –

also an abandoned derelict house that has been that way for 34 years or more but still a sad reminder of “acceptance of blight and lowering of the bar by the citizens of Lorain” ( and it is ultimately those that live here that determine what we will accept)

an apartment house with a blue tarpaulin for a roof and a once vibrant school – Irving– across the road that is now a deteriorating warehouse. These “views” are indicative of my mood and frustration .

Irving School was supposed to be torn down and new build by 2005 in its old footprint- There was a sign to that effect. We paid our money and that didn’t happen. We argued with the state at the time and the state said :

“You have lost students you are down to around 10,500

and then
October 2004 (2004-05 school year) = 9,922 students

October 2009 (2009-10 school year) = 8,293 students

– and I was reminded that we are down to around 7,600 ( numbers unofficial) now.

We have had promises broken –

you do this pass this and we will do this



Remember this time line and promises in the glory days of what we will get for our money
http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2002/01/13/top%20stories/2974963.txt

The rehabilitation project involves renovations and additions to five elementary schools, building nine elementary schools, building four new middle schools and renovations to the two high schools……
The master plan calls for the demolition of Emerson, Garfield, Hawthorne, Irving, Lakeview, Larkmoor, Longfellow, Palm and Washington elementary schools and Lorain and Whittier middle schools.

Additions and renovations will be made to Homewood, Lincoln, Lowell, Masson and Meister elementary schools and to Southview and Admiral King high schools.

Spring 2003Construct new facilities and then demolish existing structures at Garfield, Hawthorne, Washington and Longfellow elementary schools. Longfellow would then be turned back into a middle school facility, while Washington would then have the capacity to hold both elementary and middle school classes.

The demolition of the ex-Garfield school site would also happen next year, along with the construction of a new middle school facility adjacent to the board’s Charleston Center administration offices.

Spring 2004Construct new facilities and then demolish existing structures at Emerson, Lakeview and Palm elementary schools and Lorain Middle School. Also, renovations and additions would take place at Homewood elementary and both Admiral King and Southview high schools.

Spring 2005
Construct a new facility and demolish the existing structure at both Irving and Larkmoor, while renovating and adding on at Lincoln, Lowell, Masson and Meister elementary schools.

Spring 2006Construct a new facility and demolish the existing structure at Whittier elementary.


ED NOTE: This is what we voted for folks – but remember plan is a four letter word
When school opens this fall we will have 3 middle schools and 10 elementary schools.

The report card is not indicative of the promises .

Irving is my reminder :

Irving, empty , forlorn a bricks and mortar monument to “fluid plans and promises” daily reminds me Lorain parents were camping out in parking lots to send their children to another school district.
http://www.fox8.com/news/wjw-clearview-schools-txt,0,4709570.story

Private and parochial schools are offering discounts and taking out ads to those in our LCS system to transfer over due to the “failing system” .
http://www.ode.state.oh.us/reportcardfiles/2009-2010/DIST/044263.pdf

I am very concerned at the amount of emails and phone calls I receive from – like it or not- people within and without the LCS who are afraid to speak their mind or concerns for fear of retribution – this to me – one who has spoken her mind on more than one occasion is very, very disheartening. In fact some of the most vocal in 2007 are now “still”

Is this a true reflection of LCS “society “? It is a sad thing that I will not publish the original photo “just in case”!

YES! because obviously good people believe it to be so then it is so- perception is reality………… this belief has been ongoing and if my in- box is anything to go by is escalating . This is one of the saddest situations – Why do good people believe this to be the case? What is LCS doing to allay those fears and is it working ?

Lorain school board looks to build trust within community

Irving reminds me :

Lorain passed levys when other school districts had theirs fail and yet we haven’t been able to raise our test scores no matter which highly paid professionals are in charge.

I asked the caller what would happen if the state took over – they said


our school system would be run by a stranger.

I asked

Would that mean a cut in Administrative staff and salaries or whether or not we would have to “pay the state extra” as well – I asked how many administrative staff and support staff/ non certified staff had been added or deleted since 2007- I asked if the administrative staff ( not teaching staff) budget had increased or lessened during that time.

The voice on the phone did not have those figures to hand .

Irving reminds me I have to do my homework and decide.

Irving reminds me although once a place of learning, with teachers, and children supported by neighbors it is now a “shell of its former self” – used for warehousing

It truly is a sad state of affairs when a LCS neighbor is undecided upon whether to support. Irving now, in my view, is the LCS poster child .

NOTE: AS ALWAYS A DIFFERING OPINION OR MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE VIEW WILL ALWAYS BE GIVEN A GUEST BLOG SPACE

March 21, 2011 at 12:00 am 9 comments

Ghost in the Pond – Deux

It was exactly one year ago today March 19th I wrote the post
The Ghost in the Pond

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/the-ghost-in-the-pond/ telling of my son’s last Mother’s Day present to me :

“Oh Chris ! why would you buy another Koi? you know they never survive the winter”

“I needed to get this one and it’s Mother’s Day so you have to accept it “

as he mischievously grinned up at me from the water’s edge

Last March 19th I wrote:

I was in Chris old room a couple of days ago. I looked out of the window at the pond , the spring sunshine was warming the water. There were flashes of gold as the surviving fish made their way to the warmth and then -a flash of silver.

I was scared to look closer , maybe it was one of the pale goldfish , we have a couple. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the pond for a better look. I can still see my son kneeling by the pond and surreptitiously slipping in that Koi .

Chris would check on the Koi every time he came home , he would ask in the hospital

“How’s the Ghost has it given up the ghost yet?”


All summer long I would check on the koi dreading the fact that maybe something would cause him/her to leave us too.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/ghost-in-the-pond-a-koi-story/
Summer found him/her active and possibly procreating

But inevitably winter comes; the fish huddle at the bottom of the pond

Only Misty on her daily rounds dares to make the journey through the cold checking on her charges . Misty who was Chris’s dog.

A dog who has seen us through such trying months – a warmth , giving unselfishly her love, a joy, a companion who never leaves my husband’s side , this “misty” dog who has kept him from himself these many months

Misty continually makes her rounds as winter’s ice and whiteness turns to brackish brown and the peeping of green through decaying leaves.

The sun warms the earth and the waters of the pond and yes! so far so good an even larger than last year Ghost Koi moves lazily through the warming water bringing once again the smile on a son’s face to a mother’s memory

March 19, 2011 at 12:12 am 7 comments

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