LOVELAND, OHIO - These Canada geese were born Friday afternoon in the parking lot of a nearby big-box store. Canada geese are one of the most widely distributed waterbirds of North America. Ranging in size from 22 to 48 inches long and wingspans of more than 6 feet have been recorded. Full grown they can weigh from 3 to 24 lbs. Migration routes are passed on from generation to generation, with parent geese teaching their young. Canada geese are well known for their V-shaped flight pattern, especially during their spring and fall migrations.
Canada geese migrate by day or by night and are capable of travelling thousands of miles at a time. They use landmarks and even stars to guide them to their destination.
In the spring, when they arrive at their nesting place, the yearlings (geese hatched the year before) leave their parents and join yearlings from other families. They move away quite a distance; sometimes hundreds of miles. These young geese will not find mates and nest until they are about 3 years old.
Canada geese usually build their nests on the ground near water. A site is chosen by the female with good visibility that allows her to see intruders approaching. Nests are commonly built on small islands, pond- and riverbanks and sometimes on muskrat and beaver houses. They have also been seen using the nests of other birds such as ospreys, hawks, owls and herons. If possible, a pair will nest in the same spot every year.
BABRAK TANA, AFGHANISTAN - An Afghani man helps Army Lt. Col. Mark Martinez as he administers de-worming medicine to livestock during a Civilian and Veterinarian Medical Assistance mission in the village of Babrak Tana, Afghanistan, on April 14, 2005. DoD photo by Sgt. Michael Abney, U.S. Army.
LOVELAND, OHIO - As expected, the Loveland City School District Board of Education took no action Tuesday night on a proposed Tax Increment Financing District (TIFD). Instead, they heard a presentation by the Superintentant on changes to the State budget that has passed the House of Representatives and is now before the Senate. After the Senate passes their version of the budget, and if any changes are made, it moves to a conference committee where the two bills are reconciled. The budget would then go to Governor Bob Taft for his signature.
Because the House version of the budget contains provisions that change how the State school foundation formula is calculated with regard to TIFDs and other property tax incentive tools, the Superintendent recommended against the Board approving the agreement at this time. Superintendent, Dr. Kevin Boys said that after receiving advice from their bond counsel, it was his recommendation, "To take no action." He said there is a lot of ambiguity in the budget passed by the House.
Boys said he had talked with Loveland City Manager Fred Enderle and said, "I think the City will have some concerns as well." Boys also noted, "Our inaction will prevent the TIFD from moving forward." Because of the thirty-year length of the agreement, the City needs School District approval to implement the TIFD. New language in the State budget would prevent cities and school districts from using state education money to subsidize a municipality's infrastructure improvements.
About two hours later, City Council passed the TIFD ordinance on a recommendation from the Loveland City Manager who said Council should go ahead and establish the TIFD now, so it would be "grandfathered in", hoping that the final version of the State budget would not affect "already established districts."
According to a scenario outlined by the City Manager, by going ahead and passing the ordinance (that still contains the un-signed agreement with the School District) - if the District never signs the agreement with the City, the City would then be obligated to share "income tax revenue" on a 50/50 basis for any new jobs created in the downtown.
Enderle stated that the reality of the situation from the School District's perspective is, "There's probably going to be less" income tax funds available than the property tax funds. He said this would not be a detriment to the City because the income tax payments to the School District would be less than if they sign the City's proposed agreement. He said that it would then probably be more in their interest to sign the agreement, than to later only share in half of the income tax revenue.
Councilwoman Katie Showler asked council to wait until their next meeting to vote on the ordinance because of proposed amendments that were put on her desk just as the meeting started. She wanted to be able to "digest" the changes and consider how they would affect the School District. "That concerns me at this point," Showler said.
Councilman Rob Weisgerber said that he would not be at the next meeting and would like to vote on it immediately. Showler's motion to postpone the vote failed, 1-4.
Showler then expressed concern that the School District had not yet signed the agreement contained in the ordinance and therefore not in agreement with it. "Unless the resolution is signed and passed at their Board meeting, I'm going to have to vote no on this. I don't want the schools to lose out on this and that's what I feel will happen in the long run, without the signed document"
In expressing his support with moving forward with the ordinance, Councilman Dan Daly said, "I have as much interest in the school system as any other parent." Daly said, "Even with this amendment, I don't see this as a move against the school district at all. I certainly wouldn't be supporting this if I thought it was hurting the schools in any way. In fact, even in the worse case scenario that the City Manager pointed out, "They would still be receiving fifty percent of the income tax."
Mayor Brad Greenberg said the TIFD would 'kick start' economic and housing development in downtown Loveland.
Councilmen Rob Weisgerber said, "I am disappointed we couldn't get a certified resolution from the School District. We will continue to work with the School District so they're not going to lose out extensively. So, I am going to support this."
Weisgerber's residence was previously on a map of the TIFD when he discussed and voted to move the ordinance to its final vote. However, It was not included in the map of the district as approved by council last night. Weisgerber, by his yes vote, voted his residence out of the district.
Showler voted No. Weisgerber, Daly, Greenberg and Todd Osborne voted, Yes. Councilman Joe Schickel was expected to be at the meeting but did not attend. Paul Elliott, who had previously asked that Council delay the vote until he would return from vacation, was also not present.
LOVELAND, OHIO - Dr. Kevin Boys, Superintendent of the Loveland School District said on Monday that because of new uncertainty over the State budget, the School Board would not vote on the proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District Agreement. A vote was expected at Tuesdays Board meeting on signing an agreement between the District and the City of Loveland to move forward with a tax plan that affects future tax growth in Historic Loveland.
"There is no resolution on the agenda with regard to the TIF agreement. I will however, be presenting some information on HB 66 (House Budget Bill)," said Boys. He said the pending bill makes changes to how the school foundation formula is calculated with regard to TIFs and other property tax incentive tools. "Of course, the budget is now in the Senate where changes are likely to take place and then it moves to conference committee where the two bills are reconciled."
Boys said, that due to the uncertainty surrounding this bill, the Board's legal counsel recommended the Board take no action at the current time.
In a memo to City Council on April 19, City Manager Fred Enderle said, "We have recently been informed by the Ohio Municipal League that the House added a provision to this years budget bill that would dramatically affect TIF's statewide. We, along with other state wide organizations, cities and townships will join in an effort to get the State Senate to eliminate this provision."
Enderle said the legislation impacts the proposed Downtown TIF. It means we would have to make up the 23 mills to the School District; therefore, the City would not have sufficient bond capacity to make the proposed improvements. "As you know I have steadfastly indicated I would not recommend bonding for any improvements until we have a binding development agreement, to guarantee sufficient tax revenue to retire the bonds; however, this legislation precludes us from even getting to step one of attracting the interest of developers," said Enderle.
In a recent letter to the Greater Cincinnati Local Government Manager's Association, Loveland Assistant City Manager Tom Carroll said, "We should oppose this on principle alone. The State continues to 'tweak' laws like statutes governing TIFs that take tools out of our toolbox. Moreover, we in Loveland find this change to be bad because of immediate detrimental impacts to a major downtown revitalization effort we have been working on for some time. Loveland has been negotiating a TIF agreement with our school district for eight months, finally reaching an agreement this month. This proposed change undercuts our hard-fought agreement with our schools."
Ohio law allows a local government (county, municipality, or township) to designate the new value added to a parcel or group of parcels to be exempt from real property taxation. This does not, however, change the taxpayer’s obligation, nor does it change the total valuation on the taxpayer’s property. A taxpayer located within a TIF district continues to make payments in an amount equal to the real property tax liability. But TIF payments are then directed to the local government to fund certain infrastructure needs within the community. Local governments with TIF properties usually enter into agreements with the local school district(s) to offset the school’s loss in tax revenue resulting from the exemption.
State Rep. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati who told the Hamilton Journal that local governments are "cheating the state" brought the amendment to the State Budget forward. Seitz's amendment prohibits creating "area wide" TIFs after Dec. 31 - but allows "project-specific" ones to continue.
The area-wide TIF District's value is excluded from the total value of property in a school district - an important factor in the state's formula for distributing state education money to local school districts. This according to Seitz, makes school districts with large TIFs seem poorer on paper than they actually are, and the State makes up the difference. Seitz says this unfairly drains the state education fund. Taking more money out of the State education fund and subsidizing a municipality's infrastructure improvements is part of what Seitz wants to prohibit.
Most of you know I am rapidly approaching the end of my time here in Afghanistan and my time in uniform. For those of you keeping track (I know I have been!), I’ve been gone from home the better part of 28 months now.
I’ve missed a bunch of birthdays, lots of holidays, two seasons of my son’s football games and two seasons of my daughter’s basketball games. I’ve missed holding hands and having coffee on the deck with my wife a hundred times, snuggling on the couch with my daughter on Saturday morning, wrestling with my son, fried chicken and blackberry cobbler, working in the garden, and playing that silly game with my dog Punkin. My boy has turned into a man and now outweighs me and could bench press me with little effort, my sweet little girl has grown a foot- and I think they’ve had to grow up a lot faster than I would have liked. I lost two incredibly important people to me (Grandma and Grandpa Williams, God rest their loving souls) without having the chance to shed a few tears with my best friend Butch. My family and friends have carried on very nicely without me. I’ve lost a lot of time with my people.
I’ve missed a lot, but it comes back to a question I have been asked before… has it been worth it? Truthfully, I have a hard time answering that with a simple yes or no. Life just hasn’t always come in black and white the past couple years. Never mind my own experiences, I have watched enough flag draped caskets carried on to a waiting airplane to be taken home to a grieving family, and know enough people who bear traumatic physical and emotional scars of this war to not just toss off a glib yes. I can’t answer or comprehend for anybody but me. Compared to many soldiers, I have paid such a small price. Compared to their families, mine has had it easy. The enormity of their sacrifice is beyond measure. I stand in awe and am humbled by their lives.
In other ways, life has been very black and white. I’m old fashioned that way, but I am a believer in the sanctity of Duty, Honor, Country. I believe in perseverance until a task is done. I believe in saying what you mean and meaning what you say. I left home with faith that come whatever, it was okay, for Greater love than this, no man hath, than to lay down his life for his friends.
I suppose nearly every man who has ever gone off to war has contemplated his mortality, has contemplated what it would be to be no more of this world, has contemplated leaving his wife a widow and his children fatherless. So he has to ask, without knowing the outcome, is he ready to die for what he has said he believes in? He has to ask ahead of time, is it worth it?
I have never, not for a minute, forgotten why I am here and why I am doing what I am doing. Rewind three years seven months…I will always remember the sickening feeling as I stood in my classroom the morning of September 11, 2001 and watched with my high school seniors as airplanes slammed into the World Trade Center, and the helplessness as the twin towers collapsed and thousands of my American brothers and sisters were murdered. I will always remember laying awake most of that night, and the moment of moral clarity that dawned that night and continues today. I will always remember going upstairs that sad night to kneel by my children’s beds, watching them sleep in peaceful innocence even as the world had gone mad, and knowing that this was no kind of world to pass down to them.
For over two years now I have witnessed history up close and personal- I have witnessed 50 million people unshackled from the bondage of tyranny. I have watched a people who never had the opportunity to choose their leaders in their entire history turn out in numbers that made me swell with pride for them. I have seen the tide of tyranny turn as Afghans have risen to the occasion and not only fought for their future, but worked for peace and rebirth from the ashes of twenty three years of war- I have seen them reject the ways that led to our presence here. I have made close friends with soldiers from not only the US, but also from Romania, New Zealand, Yemen, Egypt, Albania, Jordan and Australia. I have become friends with many Afghans, and hope that some day I will be able to return to this land in a time of peace and have a cup of chai and share a platter of Turkmen Pallau with them.
We have come a long way since the dark days of September 2001, but I’m not naïve- we still have a long way to go. This war isn’t over for the United States of America, and its not over for the world. In all likelihood, this war is probably not over for me and mine. But ignoring it or hoping it will go away are not answers. I thought then and know now that what happens here in Afghanistan will affect what happens in America, whether we follow through or if we walk away.
I know that the look of hope in the eyes of Afghan children is the same look of hope in the eyes of my children. I can’t help but believe that our children’s future in America is inescapably linked to that of the children of Afghanistan- that a hopeful tomorrow for Afghanistan’s children is a peaceful tomorrow for America’s children. I pray that we don’t tire of the cost now, for fear of the heavy price that we all will surely pay later with the lives of our children.
We have started something here, and I’m not just talking about the war. I believe we have begun to turn this tide of hatred and tyranny. I hope and pray we finish it. I knew coming here that freedom wasn’t free, and that I, with thousands of my fellow Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen and our families were among the many whom were called on to help settle the bill. I think, I hope, that in some small way my family and I have paid part of the tab, that through our small sacrifice we have contributed to a better world for the Afghans and their children, and for ours as well.
But back to the beginning, has it been worth it? For my first principles- yes. For the progress that has been made here and the hope that has come to these people- yes. For the hope I have that we have turned the worldwide tide against terrorism- yes. For the brotherhood I have had, yes. For the strength of character this has given my family- yes.
Even as I wrap up my time here, many others around this world of ours will drive on and continue in the battle against terror…please remember them in your thoughts, prayers and how you live your life. And always remember the many who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so that you and I can be free. I will never forget… hope you won’t either.
All my best, Dave DAVID N. VOLKMAN LTC, CA, USA Operations Officer Directorate of Civil-Military Operations Combined Forces Command- Afghanistan
LOVELAND, OHIO - "Well, he has been there while it has been discussed, but I don't see a problem with that. The problem is that he participated in the discussions," said Loveland Councilwoman, Katie Showler. "I have also had private discussions with him where he said he was concerned about how the tax district might affect his brother's property." Showler and Councilman Paul Elliott told Loveland Magazine this week that Loveland Vice-Mayor Joe Schickel has discussed the proposed Downtown Tax Increment Financing District (TIFD) in executive sessions of both City Council and the quasi-government, Community Improvement Corporation (CIC).
They also said Schickel has discussed the purchase of land (by third parties) within the proposed tax district, behind closed doors. Schickel and members of his family own twelve properties in the district and could stand to benefit by the shift of tax money away from the Loveland City School District into a special City fund. Schickel is also Treasurer of the City's Community Improvement Corporation.
"Well, wait a minute. They're discussing what went on in executive session? Don't they know they're not supposed to do that," was Schickel's response to the allegations.
Recently, and leading up to the final votes on the tax proposal, Council changed its Rules of Council to prohibit a Councilmember from talking about what was discussed in their executive sessions. The resolution passed with Schickel voting yes.
Loveland's Mayor, Brad Greenberg said, " These executive sessions concerned the purchase or sale of specific real estate in downtown Loveland. The executive sessions did not relate to approval of the TIF. Simply put, Vice-Mayor Shickel has no conflict of interest regarding the purchase or sale of specific real estate in which neither he nor his family has an ownership interest."
Elliott said that Schickel has attended executive sessions where the tax plan was discussed, "and was involved in these discussions." Elliott noted that on March 8 of this year, Schickel himself, made a motion at a CIC meeting to go into executive session to discuss the sale or purchase of property. Although council was not discussing their purchase or sale of property, they did discuss the possible sale or purchase of property by third parties within the proposed tax district. Elliott said that the tax proposal was discussed at this meeting, as well as other executive sessions that Schickel attended and took part in.
An Ohio Ethics Commission Information Sheet titled, PROPERTY MATTER AFFECTING A PUBLIC OFFICIAL OR EMPLOYEE says, "The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) prohibits an official from taking any formal or informal action on any matter that would provide a definite, pecuniary benefit or detriment to property he owns."
The official is prohibited from, voting, participating in discussions, participating in deliberations, making recommendations, providing advice, and formally or informally lobbying.
The (ORC) also prohibits the official from participating with respect to land use, zoning, or other property matters before the public agency that affect land adjacent to or near his property, if the matters will result in a definite and direct benefit or detriment to the value of his property.
In the Ethics Commission Information Sheet titled, PROPERTY MATTER AFFECTING A FAMILY MEMBER it further says, "ORC Section 102.03(D) prohibits an official from using the authority or influence of her public position, formally or informally, in any matter that would render a definite and direct financial benefit or detriment for a person with whom the official has a close family relationship, such as a spouse, sibling, child, or parent."
In interviews with Loveland Magazine, Elliott and Showler were careful not to discuss the specifics of the deliberations, or reveal or harm the third parties. Loveland Magazine was also cautious about receiving information other than about the generic nature of the closed-door meetings, who attended, and who took part in the discussions.
Section 6. Of the proposed tax ordinance says, "That it is hereby found and determined that all formal actions of this Council concerning and relating to the passage of this Ordinance were taken in an open meeting of this Council, and that all deliberations of this Council and of any of its committees that resulted in such formal action were taken in meetings open to the public, in compliance with all legal requirements including Section 121.22 of the Ohio Revised Code." Elliott says that this statement is not true and he could not vote for the tax plan because of this one section alone. He says the tax plan has been discussed several times behind closed doors and that all "formal actions" have been taken in open meetings, but that not all "deliberations" were in meetings open to the public. Elliott has reviewed the Ohio Revised (ORC) code section 121.22 and comes to the conclusion that the TIFD should never have been discussed behind closed doors, nor the third party purchase or sale of real estate in Downtown Loveland. Further, Elliott says that deliberations leading to final votes on the TIFD legislation behind closed doors, is an apparent violation of the ORC, and anyone could challenge its passage in court.
Properties in the Proposed Downtown TIFD owned by Joe Schickel or his family:
200602A011A SCHICKEL JOSEPH 202 LOVELAND AV 200602A012D SCHICKEL JOSEPH RAILROAD AV 200602A012E SCHICKEL JOSEPH TAYLOR ST 200602.012. SCHICKEL MARTIN D 200 RAILROAD AV (Brother) 200602.013B SCHICKEL MARTIN D 206 RAILROAD AV(Brother) 200605.006C SCHICKEL MARTIN D 126 SECOND ST (Brother) 200605.007C SCHICKEL MARTIN D SECOND ST (Brother) 200605.004C SCHICKEL MARY ALICE 127 W LOVELAND AV (Mother)
200602A017C DORFF DANIEL J AND MARTHA C HARRISON ST (Sister) 200602A018C DORFF DANIEL J AND MARTHA C HARRISON ST (Sister) 200602A017B DORFF DANIEL J AND MARTHA C TAYLOR ST (Sister) 200602A018B DORFF DANIEL J AND MARTHA C 210 KARL BROWN WY (Sister)
The tax plan says in part, "…those Public Improvements are necessary for the further development of the parcels of land described in Exhibit A attached to this Ordinance (such parcels are hereinafter collectively referred to as the "City of Loveland Downtown TIF Incentive District" and "further improvements to the parcels in the City of Loveland Downtown TIF Incentive District occurring after the date of this Resolution are exempt from real property taxation."
In a "Certificate of Engineer" prepared by City Engineer Chad Ingle, the tax money will be used for the design and construction of public streets, walkways, bike paths, the creation and enhancement of buffer areas, recreation areas, environmental remediation, and the purchase of property rights and easements in the district.
The City administration has maintained that under a Tax Incentive Agreement they hope the Loveland City School District will sign on April 26, the District will be "made whole." The City will pay the School District an equivalent amount of money out of its General Fund and not from the additional property taxes it will collect. The additional property tax monies will go into a special City fund to pay for improvements, only in the TIFD.
The properties owned by Schickel and his family within the TIFD, will be covered under this plan for thirty years.
SYMMES TOWNSHIO, OHIO - The Loveland High School after prom is just that, "An awesome night after the prom," according to Ashley Pizzato. The school is transformed into another world for 5 hours of fun. Each year a new theme is chosen and scores of tireless volunteers began the process. It starts two weeks after the last after prom, to begin gearing up for the next year. "It is a massive undertaking."
Fundraisers are held all year long. Pie sales, split the pot at basketball games, Burger Bashes at the Loveland Madeira Wendys, TGI Fridays, Prom Fair, direct donations, begging local businesses, grants from P&G, Sams, Middle School PTA, classroom sponsorship, and all school booster organizations, help out. The fund raising committee said they have left no stone un-turned looking for cash.
Pizzato said, "Our budget is approximately $15,000. That's a lot of money for a high school party. But this is not an ordinary party. This is a drug and alcohol free adult chaperoned night of fun."
Organizers say that last year; more tickets were sold to the after prom, than to the formal dance. Ticket price to the student is $10.00. This year they will have lots of large inflatable games, sumo wresting suits, the tour de France (toilet seats on wheels), 2 full length movies in the auditorium, a disco, a spa, a restaurant (with tons of food), a chocolate fountain, and a room full of the latest video games.
"There was a Public Service message on TV in the 1980's that asked the question 'Do you know where your kid is?' With after prom you can say yes," Pizzato said, "Every year teenagers are lost on Prom night to under age drinking and driving. It is Loveland High School's way of providing a safe and fun environment for our children. This program benefits the entire school district. Your child may not be attending the event, or even going to our school district, but this keeps our streets safer that night, for everyone."
A preview of the After Prom is open to the community just prior to the event, from 9:00 - 10:30 P.M. on May 14. This is an opportunity so the public, donors, volunteers, and parents can see the fruit of the labors. Pizzato says, "Please come take a round the world tour."
Terese Heinzelman, one of the organizers said, "The committee is always looking for more volunteers and donations. If you are interested: firstname.lastname@example.org. "A Huge thank you goes out to the greater Loveland Community for all of your help and support."
LOVELAND, OHIO - by Katherine Foster and Sarah Mosby
The Loveland Middle School students have done it again! Over 100
students from the seventh and eighth grades auditioned for this
swashbuckling tale. Over forty students have been selected to the fill
the roles of cast and crew. They are working hard to put together
another great show for you to enjoy.
The Three Musketeers is a classic story, originally a novel written
by Alexandre Dumas. If you are not familiar with the tale, it is about
three brave knights, a musketeer want-to-be, some evildoers (after all,
no story is complete without an enemy) the royal family, and a gorgeous
lady in waiting. The Three Musketeers is taken to a new level in
Loveland Middle School’s production.
The Three Musketeers opens April 21 and runs through April 23.
The curtain opens at 7 P.M. Tickets may be purchased at the
reception desks of Loveland Middle School and Loveland Intermediate
School beginning April 4. We hope to see you there. We don’t want you
to miss out on the fun!
LOVELAND, OHIO - Loveland Magazine has waited for six days for Loveland Clerk of Council, Linda Cox to provide public documents; a proposed ordinance and an agreement between the City and Loveland City School District. The agreement and ordinance will be voted on at the next Loveland Council meeting on April 26.
Cox has refused.
The City is proposing to implement a Tax Increment Financing District (TIFD) for the Historic District of Loveland. If fully implemented the tax plan has the potential to drastically change the very nature of the entire City. It has the potential to be an historic change; its merits to improve or degrade the quality of life of the community and schools will be judged and debated for many years to come.
There are a number of reasons Loveland Magazine wanted to publish the actual documents, and further questions are raised in a Letter to the Community by Councilman Paul Elliott published below.
Chief among Loveland Magazine concerns is the impact to the Loveland City School District and that two Loveland Council members who own property in Loveland's downtown area have participated for many months in advocating for the TIFD; both at the council table and in the quasi-governmental, Community Improvement Corporation. Although, Council member Rob Weisgerber's residence is no longer on the map of the proposed TIFD, it was included in a previous map when he discussed and voted on moving the TIFD proposal forward. Councilmember Joe Schickel and members of his immediate family own several properties included in both the previous and newly released map
At last week's council meeting, Schickel finally reclused himself from voting on the ordinance that Loveland Magazine is seeking from the Council Clerk. The occasion was the "First Reading" of the ordinance when it was introduced at the Council table. The ordinance was not read in full, nor discussed, only the short title was mentioned.
Because of the unusual circumstances of the meeting (Student Government Night where students from Loveland High School sit in as City Council Members) the ordinance was not discussed or debated by the elected officials. This one time a year, annual council meeting is run by the students and the elected officials are at the table, but are not allowed to debate or discuss the issues of the day.
Because of the nature of that meeting, and that Council Member Paul Elliott cannot attend the next meeting scheduled for April 26, a motion was made to have the second reading of the ordinance postponed until Elliott returns. The motion was defeated with Schickel reclusing himself, Mayor Brad Greenberg, Weisgerber, Todd Osborne, and Dan Daly voting no. Katie Showler joined Elliott in voting for the two-week delay, but did not have the votes to postpone the final vote until Elliott could discuss the ordinance.
Loveland Magazine made the records request so the documents could be posted in the magazine. Cox will presumably provide paper copies of the documents, but Loveland Magazine requested the documents in their original form (digital files) so they could be read by its readers without the scanning process that degrades the files and makes them less readable and legible. State law instructs cities to provide public documents in their original form if so requested.
Council Members make up a majority, voting block of the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC). The CIC is incorporated in the State of Ohio, by an action of Loveland City Council. At a recent re-organizational meeting of the CIC, Council Member Schickel introduced a motion and then voted to appoint himself as Treasurer of the CIC. The corporation is an integral part of the proposed TIFD plan and will likely receive and re-distribute some of the tax funds generated by the TIFD to where Schickel and his family own property. Under the TIFD, any future increase in tax assessments resulting from improvements to these properties will be diverted away from the Loveland City School District and used for improvements within the TIFD.
One of Loveland Magazine's missions is to provide information to its readers via direct links to, and when available, put the actual documents related to a particular issue on the website. We want useful and valuable information to be only a "mouse click away" for our readers. We want an informed public, and a public that can make up their own minds about issues, and have information not filtered through the interpretation of others.
Loveland Magazine will continue to pursue the TIFD ordinance documents in a form that can be useful to our readers.
LOVELAND, OHIO - A Letter to the Community by Paul Elliott
There is an important item coming before council soon. It is a TIF proposal that covers a large amount of land in the Historic Downtown area. City staff has scheduled the public discussion of this for a time when I will be out of town so I will share my thoughts through this letter.
A TIF is a way to redirect tax money. It takes dollars that would normally be collected and distributed according to levy votes and redirects them for a specific period of time into the city treasury (in this case Loveland). TIFs are a good way to fund specific clearly drawn public improvements that will enable specific clearly drawn private improvements that will cause a natural increase in all property values. The TIF should last long enough to payoff the improvement but is not supposed to be an open-ended cash vacuum. A TIF should be focused and it should be clear that the taxpayer whose money is being redirected is getting something that is worth the temporary interruption of financial support for the entities normally supported by voter approved tax levy. (for example: our school system, vo-tech programs, mental health services, senior services, park districts etc.)
That said, I feel that the TIF that is being proposed for Historic Downtown does not meet the necessary standards to have my support.
1. The proposed TIF will redirect our tax dollars for 30 years. This is just too long a time. For many of us it is the practical equivalent of forever.
2. The proposed TIF does not specifically describe the improvements that it will fund. It is vague and open ended.
3. The proposed TIF does not identify the specific private improvements that will be made that justify this investment of public funds.
4. Our school system is being asked to enter into this 30 year agreement which gives the city control of tax dollars that the voters intended to be sent directly to the schools. No one can predict needs 30 years in advance and if the schools are caught short there will be additional school levy requests put on the taxpayers to compensate.
5. I am troubled that a councilman who is one of the chief promoters of this TIF owns significant property in the TIF area as do several other members of his family.
To sum up, a TIF can be a good tool for community improvement, but should not just be a long term, unfocussed sweep of tax dollars into the control of those that the voters did not intend. This proposed TIF is too long term and too vague to be responsible legislation. Therefore I cannot support it in this form. This tough-love approach is not the easy path. I hope other council people will also insist that this proposal be redefined, focused and carefully trimmed if it is to be considered. I hope that our school board will also practice tough-love because they have the legal authority to say NO and prevent this irresponsibly drawn TIF from going forward.
Thanks for listening. If you agree that this is not the way you want to determine who gets to spend a big chunk of your tax dollars for the next 30 years please call your elected representatives both on council and the school board to tell them your views.
LOVELAND, OHIO - The footwear retailer DSW, yesterday issued the findings from its investigation into the theft of credit card and other purchase information from some of its customers. The theft was previously reported in a March 8, 2005 press release. The data stolen was purchase information from DSW customers who shopped at certain DSW stores primarily between mid-November 2004 and mid-February 2005. DSW said in a press release, "The key facts reported were just verified in the forensic investigation by one of the nation's leading computer security firms."
DSW said customers at their Rookwood and Springdale stores are affected, but not at the Governors Hill Drive store in Symmes Township.
SYMMES TOWNSHIP, OHIO - "Afraid of Opera? Worried that all that singing is just too highbrow or bizarre or in some arcane foreign language? Well, here's a way to get a big taste of a terrific art form, at a mini-investment of time and money." Brian Gladue Editor, Ovations
The Loveland Arts Council, as part of its Third Annual Opera Outreach effort is coming to Loveland High School, with a professional presentation of "How Nanita Learned To Make Flan", performed by up and coming singers with the Cincinnati Opera, complete with full-blown costumes and scenery. This multicultural Opera-for-all-ages (not just kids) was written by Enrique Gonzalez-Medinas, commissioned by the Cincinnati Opera Education in 2004, and is performed in Spanish and English, so anyone can follow and enjoy.
"How Nanita Learned to Make Flan" is based on the popular children's book about the young Nanita and her adventures in making flan (a delicious crème caramel custard dessert). This 45-minute opera begins at 3 PM, with $3.00 tickets available in advance by calling (513) 241-2742 and at the door.
And while you're there.... before and after the Opera, take in a FREE ART SHOW exhibiting some terrific artwork by students of the Loveland School District. This annual open house and exhibition is called "For the Love of Art". Tour the art wing at Loveland High, browse through students' artwork, meet these young artists, and see some of them at work! Art will be on display from 2:00 till 5:00 PM.
Take advantage of this Arts and Culture "double-header": view the artwork before or after enjoying a delightful affordable professional opera presentation.
Sunday, April 24
Opera at 3:00 P.M. (Tickets available in advance by calling (513) 241-2742 and at the door.)
LOVELAND, OHIO - "We need as many patrons as possible to join some of the staff at this rally," said Loveland Branch Librarian Rosemary Ogg.
Ogg is calling on Loveland area residents to join her on Fountain Square on April 20 at noon, to show that, "The support that exists for the Public Libraries of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCH)."
A library awareness rally, Libraries Make a Difference, will be held on Fountain Square on Wednesday, April 20 from noon to 1:00 P.M. It is sponsored by the Friends of the Public Library, the rally will focus attention on the value libraries provide to the community and raise awareness of the devastating effect the proposed state budget reductions would have on library service. The event will include a live forum for customers to share comments on how the library has made a difference in their lives. Scheduled speakers will include members of community councils, social service agencies, schools, and individuals who will share their stories of how the library has changed their lives. Children’s Librarians have been asked to have area school children create colorful murals that will be displayed on the Square. There will also be music and information booths manned by volunteers ready to discuss concerns and answer questions.
Taped footage and photographs of this event will be shared with State Legislators in Columbus on April 27.
Ogg said, "If you can attend, please let us know. We may be able to help with transportation. If you are coming on your own, we would still like to have a rough estimate of Loveland supporters."
"We will have a sign for Loveland, so that all of us can be together as a group."
If the state budget currently being debated in the legislature were passed it would mean an additional annual loss of $2.5 million to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The cuts would be even more devastating if the legislature passes the Governor’s tax reform plan. These funding slashes threaten the Library’s ability to provide the hours, books and materials, and the services the community needs.
Time is of the essence. The Ohio House of Representatives concluded its budget hearings on March 18. It is anticipated that they will introduce their substitute proposal on April 4. The budget bill is expected to move to the Senate in mid-April. The Libraries say that these cuts will do unacceptable damage to our communities. They urge patrons to contact their local representative in Columbus and say; the Legislators’ means of contact in order of their preference is email, telephone, and letter.
Approximately 95% of the Library’s funding comes from the Library and Local Government Support fund, which is a percent of the State of Ohio personal income tax collection.
"Public libraries are vital. They contribute to the state’s economic strength. Job hunters, students, schools, small businesses and senior citizens depend on library services. Libraries add to the quality of life of all citizens and build strong families and communities. Additional cuts in funding for libraries will reduce Ohio’s competitive edge."
"At a time when state leaders are struggling to find a way to equitably educate our children, it is counterproductive to take away support from one of the most important learning centers in the community—Ohio public libraries."
Inadequate Library funding will have a ripple effect through the whole community with a particularly adverse impact on education and lifelong learning.
According to PLHC, library services provided FREE last year included:
- Reference service around the clock—24x7
- Loan of 1.8 million items for use in area classrooms
- Internet access at all 42 library locations
- Over 150 research databases accessible from the Library as well as remote locations
- Classroom visits
- Over 15,000 free programs designed to encourage reading.
- GED workshops and testing
PLCH lists these additional Consequences funding cuts could bring in the future if funding doesn’t increase and costs continue to rise.
- Fewer hours open. In 2003, open hours were cut by 10% or a total of 231 hours a week throughout the county. Twelve branches may soon close three more days a week and Sunday hours may be eliminated.
- Services cut. Mailed patron notices for holds and overdues will be eliminated.
- No new libraries. The last new library built in Hamilton County was the Harrison Branch, which opened in October 2001. Without building funds, the Library is unable to respond to population growth and demographic shifts.
- Deterioration of facilities. Confronted with reduced funding, the Library’s proactive maintenance program was stopped in 2002. Now repairs are addressed only on an emergency basis. Under these conditions, buildings will deteriorate faster, will cost more to repair, and will be less inviting.
- No library improvements. Only two improvement projects have been completed since 2001—the Westwood Branch, a project begun before the funding shortfall, and Clifton Branch, funded through private donations.
- Fewer books, DVDs, videos & CD’s.
- Less selection, longer waiting for what you want. System-wide delivery of materials may cease, requiring you to travel farther to get what you want.
- Expensive reference materials will become unaffordable. As the collection ages, the Library will be less able to provide up-to-date information. Gaps in the collection will grow and these missing materials will quickly become unavailable.
- Fewer computers. As aging equipment fails but cannot be replaced, fewer computers will be available. You’ll need to wait longer to access the Library’s catalog or get online.
- Less qualified staff. As the Library becomes a less desirable place of employment, the best-qualified staff may leave.
- Fewer librarians. With fewer librarians on the job, your wait for reference assistance or to check out the things you want to borrow will get longer. Storytimes, after school adventures, computer training and other programs currently presented by staff will be drastically cut.
- Some library branches may be closed.
- Diminished quality of service. The Library’s ability to serve lifelong learning needs, such as school readiness and literacy, will be diminished. As those who can afford it are able to purchase a wide variety of accurate, timely materials and to buy alternative services, those with fewer economic resources will be disadvantaged by having less access to up-to-date information, services and technology.
- Fees may be charged for services that are now free.
LOVELAND, OHIO - Shooters Supply has appealed the denial of their
zoning permit application to the Loveland Board of Zoning Appeals
(BZA). According to Loveland City Manager, Fred Enderle in his Weekly
Report to City Council, the City received an appeal on April 13 from
Shooter's Supply. "Instead of pursuing a variance from the 200 foot
rule in Section 150.146, they have appealed Gerry Stoker's decision
that denied them their building permit because they argue Gerry erred
in his interpretation that the 200 foot applies in this case."
Enderle told Council, "We think it clearly does apply."
Enderle said the BZA will meet on Wednesday, April 20 at 5:30 P.M. to
set a public hearing on this issue and the public hearing will probably
be held in early to mid May.
Shooters Supply had to take their case to the Loveland (BZA) according
to a ruling issued by Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker on
March 25. Dinkelacker said all administrative appeals must be exhausted
in the City of Loveland before Landeira (owners of the land where
Shooters Supply wants to build an indoor shooting range) can seek
remedies in Common Pleas Court. Landeira had previously sued the City,
seeking a court remedy, without first going to Loveland's BZA.
Loveland's Zoning Code provides for an appeal process if decisions of
the Loveland Zoning Administrator are disputed. The Loveland BZA is a
three member board appointed by the Mayor and Council to hear such
disputes. If parties are not satisfied with a BZA decision, they may
then turn to the court for relief. Loveland's Zoning Administrator,
Gerald Stoker had previously turned down Landeira's zoning permit
because the property is within 200 feet of a residential zone. Landeira
does not dispute that the distance to Deer Ridge Apartments is inside
the 200 feet minimum, but said that the apartments are in a Special
Planing district and not in a Residential District. Landeira by-passed
the BZA process and went directly into Common Pleas Court.
For Background information, read JUDGE TELLS SHOOTERS TO GO BACK TO LOVELAND on April1.
LOVELAND, OHIO - "We are excited to host a delicious and fun event to raise funds for the tsunami victims of Sri Lanka. Our TASTE of SRI LANKA will include our lovingly prepared food, as well as bid and buy auction and door prizes donated by local businesses." said Triset De Fonseka, owner of Aralia Resturant.
The family of Aralia Restaurant is organizing and hosting a fundraising event to help the tsunami victims, in efforts of rebuilding and reconstructing areas affected by the "horrifying" disaster. The theme of the fundraising event is "Taste of Sri Lanka" and will be held this Sunday, April 17 at 4:30 - 9:30 P.M.
De Fonseka said, "We hope you will join us for this opportunity to help thousands of people left homeless by the recent disaster."
The tickets for the Taste of Sri Lanka are $35 each. Tickets are available at the restaurant. "Please bring your friends for a fun and delicious evening." Feel free to call De Fonseka with any questions at 513-697-8777.
Triset De Fonseka
All proceeds from the event will be given to Sri Lanka Catholic Relief Services. The restaurant is located next to the Post Office on Loveland Madeira Road in Loveland.
Anderson Township, Ohio - Sheriff Simon L. Leis, Jr., Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, reports that the body of a 25 to 35 year old white female located in the Little Miami River on Wed., April 13, 2005 has been ruled a homicide by the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Section is attempting to identify the victim.
The victim was wearing the following jewelry and clothing:
1) Gold necklace with two (2) charms that are both a child holding a bear; one charm bears the name Sandra and the other the name Sara
2) Gold “Watch It” wristwatch with a white face
3) A two tone gold and copper colored bracelet bearing hearts
4) White “Nobo” athletic shoes with blue soles matching a blue stripe on the shoes
5) Dark colored cargo pants
6) Black brassiere
Anyone who has information as to the identity of the victim is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 825-1500 or Crimestoppers at 352-3040.
Please click on the following link for complete details:
SYMMES TOWNSHIP, OHIO - The Annual Spring Spirit Sale is Saturday, April 23, 10 A.M. - to 4 P.M. in the High School cafeteria at 1 Tiger Trail.
The TIGER CLAWS-ET has sweatshirts, tee shirts, stadium chairs, blankets, flip flops, umbrellas, jackets, signs, etc., that promote school pride. All proceeds from the sale go to the Athletic Boosters who support school sponsored academic and athletic teams, grade seven through twelve.
In the past, the Athletic Boosters have purchased track and tennis jackets, travel bags, a whirlpool for the athletic training facility, a soccer team shelter, and a tennis windscreen. In addition, the Boosters sponsor college scholarships, meet the teams and awards nights, senior nights, and the Homecoming Parade.
They have also purchased wrestling wall mats and banners for the Middle School gym.
All of these activities promote school spirit and enthusiasm.
LOVELAND, OHIO - Paxtons Grill in its second week of searching for Loveland's 2005 male and female "Idol" put on an extraordinary show last Saturday night at the local restaurant.
Kate Westfall, a resident and local artist won the first week's competition and Jody Lang traveled from Ashland, Ohio to win last Saturday's female competition. Lang and Westfall have been friends for seventeen years and performed a duet last Saturday in costume, as "Delilah" and "Batrina."
You can read more about Westfall in CALENDAR PUBLISHED BY LOVELAND ARTIST, published on April 1.
The contest continues for four more weeks and the winners in the male and female category win prizes each week and become eligible for regional competition and a $500.00 grand prize.
The search for Loveland's Idol resumes at 9:00 P.M. this Saturday, April 16.
Paxtons is located in Downtown Loveland on West Loveland Avenue, next to the Loveland Bike Trail and Scenic Little Miami River.
SYMMES TOWNSHIP, OHIO - These photos are from the dress rehersal of the spring musical starting Wednesday night at Loveland High School. Close to 100 students are working hard to bring you this year’s Loveland High School musical, Footloose!
Find out what happens when a young man from the big city of Chicago moves to a small town that has banned dancing. The age-old story of adults and kids struggling to communicate is told through the instantly recognizable music of Kenny Loggins and the show stopping dance numbers.
The tradition of opening night as "Family Night" continues with an early show of 7:00 P.M. and all ticketswill be $6.00 on Wednesday, April 13. Tickets for Thursday through Saturday’s performances (at 7:30 P.M.), will be $8.00 for adults, $6.00 for students and seniors. All seats are reserved.
Tickets go on sale to the general public at the high school box office starting the week of April 4, 10:45 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. daily through April 15. Tickets will also be available at the door. Call the drama hotline, 697-3857, for more info.
April 13, 7:00 P.M.
April 14 - April 16, 7:30 P.M.
Loveland High School auditorium