Posts filed under ‘education’

Feb 3rd – The Toilet Bowl – Chris Ritchey-

chrisart collage

There are over 1,500 posts on this site now. Some are more popular than others. Searches are driven by information on particular subjects and some by images that have been uploaded to the internet. There is one post that ranks above all the rest everyday, it is the first in ranking bringing in thousands of hits in any month since it’s inclusion in 2010 . It is the photos included in the post that drives the traffic .

I am not sure how you would feel about this “still life” for classwork (?)2003 as having been interesting to so many every day since I first uploaded it . The work was not included in my collage of you or even in the “art show” . I am not sure what the message was if any – just a classwork assignment????? – but it has a following every single day and seemingly the most popular of any of the jpgs I use of yours with nearly every post.

Les toilettes comédie by Chris Ritchey

Les toilettes comédie by Chris Ritchey

I watched a commercial for Poo- pourri and thought well maybe you were before your time

Sweet Toilet by  Chris Ritchey

Sweet Toilet by Chris Ritchey

So many times I have wished I could ask you why or what when looking at your work and so many time each day I miss your humor as I watch this world spinning into chaos and justice fleeting. I wonder what you would say about the current political situation, how you would express visually all that I cannot put into words………..I love and miss you more each day………

 the Dancing man - Chris Ritchey

the Dancing man – Chris Ritchey

February 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

Sept 3rd- a day / life captured – Chris Ritchey

chrisart collage

I have some of your work from Cleveland Institute of Art

displayed appropriately in most rooms , even the bathroom.


One of your first tries at glass making- the glass frosted and slightly wonky but it holds the Daffodils of spring, red Roses and Lavender of summer and the Chrysanthemums of fall , reminders the seasons and years as they continue to pass.

Your work has brought me comfort, longing, as well as tears. I went through your portfolio in those first “tearing” weeks when we all were so fragmented – one didn’t know where we began and ended, lost in a maelstrom of disbelief and pain. I found the photographs , “another assignment”A Day in the Life of a College Student. There you were in those photos brushing your teeth, making breakfast – such as it was- all the things that are so everyday- studying , taking care of the garbage ,


playing X- box –


working on projects, having a beer – all there . These simple acts of living archived and not meaning much of anything to anyone else but to us the world.

The wall of your apartment adorned with another photography assignment , and the subject Angela- less the angelic person her name implies (in my opinion .)
The work showed another side to this young woman – one I came to know all too well during the dying days and afterwards. You captured in the lens of the camera something hidden to the eye. I remember saying to you


“there is a darkness in these photos- Chris and I don’t think her mother would be pleased so I wouldn’t show them to her .

There they are on the wall frozen in the camera lens and time . A part of your day and your life but one I would so like to forget.

I have a day in your life , the simple acts of living, stopped by the camera just as your life was stopped and now we are frozen in the loss of you. In amongst all the projects , drawing, design a very special piece of your work has given to us something that is always lost when someone dies – captured in the amber and gold glass – your breath. This work is cherished above all else because it contains the breath of your body locked in beauty.

Breath of Life - Celtic Knot - Chris Ritchey

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

We have such a lot of YOU but not enough to take away the pain, only YOU walking through the door once more could do that …. I love you

September 3, 2016 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

The Dunce’s Cap- green, yellow, red – singling out the children


It has been many years since I watched my little 2nd grade daughter stand across the street , tears falling down her cheeks, holding her tummy as she lined up to go into Irving School.

Holding my hand up with total honesty, I hated the fact that every day of the week for months I had to turn my children over to the personality , thoughts and teaching ability of people who were comparative strangers. I breathed a sigh of relief when K- 12 was over and done with.

The reason my little girl was so upset was her 2nd grade teacher, a person who delighted apparently in sending a message to the class by “accidently” getting their hair caught in her bracelets among other pseudo teaching techniques such as pinching .
My little girl was petrified, although she hadn’t had her hair caught, the threat was there as it happened to her little friends. This fear manifested itself physically , tests ( and some gastric tests that were not pleasant for the child or her mother ) were done. Discussion with the pediatrician turned up the child’s fear. Obviously , I contacted other mothers and two of us went to the principal, who naturally supported the “bracelet /bangle woman” .

” Oh! don’t read too much into this , children exaggerate, get things wrong, after all they are only six and seven ….. I will talk to the teacher yada…. yada…. yada .”

Not to be fobbed off, and since it was still warm weather, I stood under the open window of the classroom to hear and see for myself the teaching of this “bangle batterer” . The children weren’t exaggerating . And I, therefore, dealt with the situation, but I can still see that little face on those horrific school mornings .

Now, of course, discussions with friends, who too, have little grandchildren (we grandmothers tend to chat about our perfect grandchildren) and this green- yellow -red “card” or “table” way of teaching . I suppose this is the latest version of the dunce cap

So placing pupils in Dunce’s corner could breach a pupil’s human rights, say councils. This has been used as a punishment in schools since Victorian times. But the original purpose behind ‘Dunces’ was to help pupil to learn better.

In the 13th century, a Franciscan monk and philosopher, John Duns Scotus, developed a ‘duns cap’ to be worn by children who needed something to help them focus. Detractors of Scotus made fun of the cap. Over time the ‘dunce’s cap’ came to be associated with ‘stupid’ children, and was eventually misunderstood and used to stigmatise and make fun of such children

OH! I know from whence I speak- 1st day of school – 4 years old -taken from my nice warm home environment to a large classroom with desks- children crying . I still remember, over a half a century later, being singled out, made to sit on a stool in the corner ( no cap) as an example of bad behavior because I couldn’t stop crying. Miss Waters ( probably dead by now) was forever burned into my brain and I felt the pain of stigma and shame for the first time. A cuddle of understanding would’ve worked wonders or even a tissue , a positive distraction may have done the trick- but sitting on a high, hard, uncomfortable stool as an example to others what they would suffer was not the way to get a 4 year old to stop crying. roxeth manor

end of caning

My elementary school of the day and the school governors did not frown upon corporal punishment. The Head Master strolled the playgrounds with his cane- and not to help him walk – it was his caning stick for little back sides and or hands – and for the girls- a leather slipper.

The end of caning and the slipper didn’t come into play in Britain until 1981

Evening Standard, London, 30 January 1981The last day of the cane — beaten at last

And it wasn’t just England where the teachers wrath could be felt- Canada – New Brunswick was my next “schooling” experience- there you were controlled with the strap for misbehaving – this was not banned until 2004!


The strap has also been used on minors in reformatories and in schools. The latter was particularly prevalent in Canada, applied to the student’s hand, until abolished in 2004, but there, in modern times at least, it was generally made of canvas/rubber rather than leather.

The other recommended teaching tool in Canada was the “shame basket” not having done anything worthy of the strap or paddle ( the paddle being given by the principal in the library) whereas the strap was dished out in the classroom.

Ah! Miss Green( also probably dead) you will live on in my memory- not for being a great teacher- but for that strap hitting my palms and the look on your face

No ! the shaming wastebasket stood next to the teacher’s desk. The wastebasket made of metal and quite large became the receptacle, not of papers and trash, but children who were thought less than perfect. You had to stand in the waste basket for the rest of the lesson – you are a “waste of space” lesson to be learned. I spent many an afternoon standing in the basket for “questioning” Miss Green.

And now same principle, different teaching tools, the green , yellow, red- Ok! I get it teachers need tools for behaviors – but who really sees the shaming of yellow and the punishment of red – the other little 5-6-7 year olds?

Are you telling me a professional who has obviously has been through the courses of “How to Teach” and has the diploma and student loans to prove their education- has to resort to shaming to get their point across? Ultimately, that is what it is shaming – whether it is a board with marked cards or tables at which the child has to sit for a predetermined length of time .

No More Green Light, Yellow Light, Red Light Behavior Management Plan!
The Safe Keeper System

I have tried the famous Red Light Classroom Management plan that is used in classrooms across America. (Every child begins each day on a green light. Certain behaviors and choices will change their light to yellow or red. Usually, yellow and red lights had consequences attached to them like loss of recess and so forth.) As a behavior management tool, it simply did not work in helping children learn to make better choices. It did succeed in providing consequences for misbehaving children – an important fact! But those same children kept “misbehaving.” It was not teaching them new skills.

There has to be a better way because if you are expecting “peer pressure” to work for you – I suggest you look at what is happening in this country – the more despicable the behavior the more people are “following” .

Bear in mind little ones in kindergarten, 1st , 2nd and even third grade don’t have agendas – they are trying to learn and they all learn at a different pace – they aren’t your enemy – they are in your care – little sponge like minds soaking in every day’s experiences- be careful what you do to that little person and the experiences you teach .

If you have a problem “call home”, email or send a note to the parent, stop categorizing these little ones – they need reading , writing and arithmetic, not being stigmatized.

The best teachers I had, were not of the punishing kind, they found my strengths and strengthened my weaknesses.

Thanks Miss Calder/ Mrs. McKay , Mr. Laidlaw and Mr. Lee because of you I Blog!!! Oh! yes, and I had Miss Green for Grammar – now all is explained !!!! Don’t get me started about “core math” being a product of the horrendous experimental “New Math in Canada ”

Click to access oshea.pdf


The name is commonly given to a set of teaching practices introduced in the U.S. shortly after the Sputnik crisis, in order to boost science education and mathematical skill in the population, so that the intellectual threat of Soviet engineers, reputedly highly skilled mathematicians, could be met.
Topics introduced in the New Math include modular arithmetic, algebraic inequalities, bases other than 10, matrices, symbolic logic, Boolean algebra, and abstract algebra These topics have been greatly de-emphasized or eliminated in US elementary schools and high schools curricula since the 1960s.

October 15, 2015 at 3:45 pm 10 comments

General(ly) Gillmore – Lorain the early years- Pt. 3


Part One

Part Two

As I research further and further with old maps etc. I realized just how much the Gillmores owned in this settlement – 1,000 acres was huge . The family cleared land whilst keeping a wary eye out for the Indians and the British. They cut their paths through from their “homesteads, cabins, dwellings” through the forests to trade at a trading post on the other side of the river or to the little community growing up next to the port.

How terribly hard this must have been even on good weather days. I cannot begin to imagine how hard the life was for those that came after the Revolutionary War leaving what amounted to the “civilized society of those times” to eke out a whole new beginning but this family was no stranger to new beginnings. .
According to the “Gillmore Genealogy” written by
Mr. Claude Charles Hamel Amherst Ohio- revised 1954)

The Gillmores (Gilmore) descended from Robert and Mary Ann (Kennedy) Gilmore who came to America August 4th 1718 as part of the Scotch- Irish contingency ( Presbyterians ).

The Scotch-Irish were Presbyterians. They had splintered away from the official English church. In 1688 the ascension of William to the English throne brought relative peace to Ireland. The Scotch-Irish were allowed to practice their religion, but were required to pay the church of England 10% of everything they produced. The land they lived on and worked was only leased to them by the crown – they could be evicted at any time.

They arrived on the Brigantine ROBERT to the port of Boston- there was an outbreak of smallpox on board and they may have wintered in Boston. . They ( the Scotch- Irish) petitioned the New World



In the Spring of 1718, a body of Scotch-Irish from Northern Ireland sent a petition, signed by 319 representative men on 26 March 1718(1), to Governor Shute of Massachusetts Bay in the New World requesting land for settlement.

“We whose names are underwritten, Inhabitants of ye North of Ireland, Doe in our own names, and in the names of many others, our Neighbors, Gentlemen, Ministers, Farmers, and Tradesmen, Commissionate and appoint our trusty and well beloved friend, the Reverend Mr. William Boyd, of Macasky, to His Excellency, the Right Honorable Collonel Samuel Suitte, Governour of New England, and to assure His Excellency of our sincere and hearty Inclination to Transport ourselves to that very excellant and renowned Plantation upon our obtaining from His Excellency suitable incouragement. And further to act and Doe in our Names as his prudence shall direct. Given under our hands this 26th day of March, Anno Dom. 1718.”

sign nutfiled
Robert arrived in Nutfield ( now Londonderry New Hampshire) – at an early date the eastern half of David Cargill deeded a lot of 70 acres to Robert Gillmore for the site of a fulling mill

Fulling Mill ( cloth)

Fulling Mill ( cloth)

This lot was north of his son’s Williams lot in the same range and near Beaver Pond. His son was one of the original proprietors of Londonderry NH with two shares

Robert had a son William born around 1686 in Ulster Ireland – 1753 Londonderry NH. William in turn had a son

Ruggles Woodbridge

Ruggles Woodbridge

James Gillmore, born in 1728 was the father of Edmund Gillmore Sept 28th 1765 the same Edmund who arrived in 1811/12 in to what is now known as Lorain .
James did serve in the Revolutionary War at the age of 49 he marched with Lieut. Col. Ruggles Woodbridge albeit for 6 days but obviously felt strongly enough to sign up and answer the call:’s_Regiment_of_Militia

“They came to America, not as discoverers,
but as the pioneers of their race ; they defended the
frontiers against Indians, and their numbers in the
South so much augmented the forces in the Revolu-
tionary army that they may fairly be said to have
saved Washington from defeat.”

Edmund, reached what is now known as Lorain, claimed his land and built a log cabin- after the home was ready he left his son Aretus, in charge and returned to Massachusetts for the rest of his family returning with them by ox team in June of 1812.

The first election for township officers was held in the home of Justice of the Peace John S Reid on April 17th 1817 Edmund was one of the two judges of the Election. Edmund was also elected one of the two Overseers of the Poor . Also the first school was opened in an unoccupied cabin belonging to Edmund Gillmore – Schools were then maintained by private subscription , as the state had no general education until 1825.

The third school : 4th Street
4th street school

During 1853, a two-story frame building was constructed on Fourth Street. This was the only schoolhouse within the limits of the town until 1870 when a four-room, two-story brick building was completed. The cost of this building, which later became a part of the high school, was fifteen thousand dollars. The building site had been purchased for an additional two thousand dollars.

They lived on this farm for the rest of their lives………………..


September 13, 2014 at 4:37 pm 5 comments

Too soon old – too late smart – The Tests


It all started with an IQ test in Canada – I was about 14, happily running about third in my class- behind two boys- Fred and Mike ( Fred was the top of the class in all respects, Mike- 2nd in all things, which was frustrating to him) and then there was me. I was content – I never studied – only did written homework and honestly didn’t care where I stood in my class rankings . I hated school!

Then came the results of the IQ test ( I hadn’t cared about taking that test whereas others were panicked) . Unfortunately, I , along with another “girl” Debbie scored in the “160 to 179 – Exceptionally gifted and in some classifications 145-164 – Genius. This came as a great shock to the males in question as well as family and teachers!

You would think I would have been pleased- far from it- my academic life became hell. Teacher’s conferences –

Loraine is not living up to her potential – Loraine needs to knuckle down- Loraine is wasting her gift!


Fred , the pressure of trying to live up to family’s and self-imposed academic “high bar” committed suicide a couple of years later. I don’t know what happened to Mike and Debbie- the last I heard- was running her own business and happy.


I, on the other hand, still kept and keep plodding along – wasting my gifts and my brain apparently – since hardly anyone ever listens to what I so succinctly try to point out – I have, for the most part, given up trying to change the world. ,

My observations do eventually see the light of day , usually about three years later, and I smile with a little self patting on the back with a quiet ( told you so). Of course by then the damage is done. Now, I only jump into the pan or the fire when the situations affect me and mine.

I did, for a bit of laugh, take one of the online IQ tests . No longer am I exceptionally gifted just moderately so .

I have to admit I am surprised at the results , with the state my brain is in after “grief” has made it its own domain, I am amazed I function at all, but apparently I do .

IQ tests, standardized tests ,
ACT, SAT’s O levels – A levels you need a higher IQ than mine was or now is to make sense of the “testing”. I just remember Freddie and what tests meant to him


I know that my mum, who left school ( as it was back then


Children whose parents are unable or unwilling to pay grammar school fees and who do not pass the scholarship examination go to local authority Central Schools, where they stay until the age of fourteen. These are a relatively new innovation and some rural districts still do not have them, the children staying at elementary school until they reach the school-leaving age. The central schools provide a less academic education than the grammar schools.

especially for a female) on her 14th birthday ( 81 years ago), could read, write, ( both cursive and printing), with a better understanding of grammar than I obviously acquired 😉 , still holds her own when it comes to math, percentages fractions division and multiplication and a smattering of algebra, the old “times table” used and still used extensively. My mum left school knowing her country’s history , geography , literature ( the greats) which has given her a voracious appetite for the written word. and world affairs.


All this and more – being a “girl” -she had home economics classes – cooking, laundering, sewing and general housekeeping. All this by the age of 14. My mother and her brother both won scholarships from the local authority ( school) to the
grammar school- (

1. ( Brit ) secondary modern school Compare comprehensive school (esp formerly) a state-maintained secondary school providing an education with an academic bias for children who are selected by the eleven-plus examination, teachers’ reports, or other means)

However their parents , although the school fees were paid for under the scholarship, could not afford the accoutrements, uniforms, sports equipment etc that would be a requirement.

nurse charlotte 001

My grandmother, my mum’s mother, left school at 11 – she became a midwife and a nurse before bringing 6 children of her own into the world.

In my dotage, I perceive what is happening to educational system and the majority of the dumbing down of our youth ( not only in this country) as the “tests” are revised, made mandatory, argued over curriculum changed for the tests rather than the student.

I wonder, if we have not gone back to what was considered the uneducated masses – at least by the standards of my mum’s generation?

OECD education report: subject results in full

New survey ranks U.S. students 36th in the world – How do we improve? by Megan Coleman

June 9, 2014 at 12:43 pm 2 comments

TRUTH IS THE DAUGHTER OF TIME! A crying Shame – Dr. Cheryl Atkinson

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

I was not attacking – I didn’t raise my voice- I was not abusive and quite frankly any CEO or head of any organization would have dealt with me and my questions as nothing but a minor irritation.

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.

However, with those “tear breaks” Cheryl managed to stop the momentum of the questions – smiles all around as I left – I never did get a satisfactory answer to those questions 😉

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!

Dr. Cheryl Atkinson left Lorain for Dekalb School System where it seems history repeats itself……..

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!

February 9, 2013 at 6:15 pm 22 comments

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING ???? City (Lorain and Schools) Heard of consequences???

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” –

This new policy ( although we can agree as taxpayers the abuse of sick time should not be tolerated- the cure is as bad as the disease)

Not all my own work 😉

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”

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.
Thanks Tim

Now maybe not an explosive email in and of itself but on the heels of what occurred during the week previously….. can one blame Mr. Smith for drawing attention to the “lacking of open leadership”

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.

Jim Smith

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”

June 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm 30 comments

Lorain City Schools and the City- finally friendly?

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.”

June 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm 16 comments

Press Release from the Office of the Mayor- Chase Ritenauer

June 12, 2012
City of Lorain
Office of Mayor Chase Ritenauer
Phone: 440-204-2002

City of Lorain Proceeds on Considering Donated Property Without Schools; City Expresses Support for School Administration and Vows to Work Together for Success

LORAIN, OH – Some weeks ago, the Lorain City School District approached the City of Lorain to discuss a potential collaboration with respect to property owned by Mr. Joe Lucas. The City of Lorain has been exploring potential sites for a service center to house multiple city operations, and the potential for collaboration with the school district was welcomed. 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.

Within the past few days, it has been made clear that multiple meetings and discussions have been held without the City’s knowledge. These meetings included discussions and facts central to the decision making process. As a result, the City is moving forward on its own with assessment of the Lucas site along with other potential sites. The City is welcome to future collaboration with the schools as well as with other entities so long as mutually shared goals are established at the forefront of the process.

Mayor Ritenauer supports Superintendent Branham, whether he finishes out his contract or whether he and the Board agree for him to continue on through December, and the School Board and wants to work with them in achieving success this November and beyond. 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.

June 12, 2012 at 1:59 pm 11 comments

Mayor Chase Ritenauer- Video MJ- What he didn’t say????

OK I am more confused than ever – well not really 😉 I believe I have this figured out- this morning the Morning Journal has a video piece re the new Lorain High School

and just for clarification I could care less where they put the new high school I just think this toing and froing for the past years is indicative of bureaucracy at its best!

1. Mayor Ritenauer states the City of Lorain has wanted to combine the City of Lorain Services ( paraphrasing) a service complex

This idea and the sites for such a complex has been around for years and nearly came to fruition with drawings a couple of times. I believe during those years the ” deciders of the moment” and it was under at least two administrations that I personally know as my husband ( communications) was involved in meetings due to having to move communications and FCC licenses etc.) He has been retiired for 4 years. I believe it was decided on about 30-35 acres would be needed to do it right – salt – building, storage, electrical , street dept, fire , police, utilites mechanics and all that would be required as needed those city services.

They have, from time to time ,reached out to partner with other entities and I believe the Lorain City Schools have been included with their “service needs” that could be met by also sharing the SERVICE complex. I don’t have a problem with that as a taxpayer – (on the surface of it” because it is the surface we aren’t told “all of the information” with these things-) I will withhold my final “stamp of approval”

2. The Lucas site became available which the city could use as their service complex – all well and good.

3. According to some “unofficial ” sources there is apparently a developer interested in developing the lakefront area especially since the “power towers” are scheduled to go away.

All studies that have been done in recent years have stated City Hall is a bone of contention with any development – it sits on prime real estate- the views are spectacular…… Lorain City Hall needs to go elsewhere ( the Staubach Report).

Ah! the confluence of air, waters and timing beats against the bastions

In Mayor Ritenauer’s video he states ” a joint service center” ( we know what that is ) and a JOINT administrative center” the administrative center being offices for city government ( city hall???) and Lorain city schools “administrative center” ( Charleston) all on one acreage. AHHHHHHHHHH now it makes sense (somewhat) all the toing and froing

Is Mr. Ritenauer proposing the service center and administration center all on the old Admiral King site therefore having to build the new high school in the woods for which they have already had the land donated?

I think we have it finally sorted. Combining the service and adminstrative offices into one large complex of “government ” .

At least twice maybe three times Mayor Ritenauer makes mention the

“schools had come to me”

but he never said WHO?? Was it the Administration of – Superintendents office??? the members of the Board of Education??? WHO from Lorain City Schools had the authority from LCS to approach the mayor for inclusion?

Because it seems to me this has not done Lorain City Schools any good in the eyes of those of us that pay the taxes both in the city and for the schools. Personally this looks like a comedy of errors…………

I just wish the interview had asked some “hard questions” such as the courts, the police dept communications all would have to be sorted that also exist in that structure of City Hall – Oh maybe St. Joes center??? for those we will see what the Chronicle articles bring later this morning.

Cleveland is the only Ohio school district where the mayor appoints school board members rather than the voters choosing them. Ritenauer said he hasn’t talked to local state lawmakers about how a mayoral takeover of the deficit-ridden Lorain Schools could be done, but “nothing is off the table.”


Prenosil stressed commission members wouldn’t tell board members where to build referencing a former colleague’s comment about “building a McDonald’s on the moon” if there were money for it.

“Everything has consequences,” he said. “We’re not going to say, ‘No.’ We’re going to say, ‘Does everyone understand what they’re getting themselves into?’”

I am rife with speculation .Transparency with ‘political speak” is not transparency . And remember the taxpayer is also part of this equation and we are never wrong because we speak with our vote.

June 12, 2012 at 11:45 am 4 comments

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