Sunday, February 15, 2009

Goals, Visioning, Cell Tower, Household Hazardous Waste Disposal

Dear People: Happy Valentine's Day weekend, villagers. At the end of this note is a little green valentine.

Another busy week ahead for Village Council, starting with our meeting on Tuesday evening (2/16), 7 pm. (Note changed night due to the Presidents' Day holiday). I must apologize that I wasn't in my office hours last week. (I had to meet with students and help with an interview at Wittenberg.) But I will be in the Emporium on Monday from 12-1.

Big things on this agenda!

  • RESOLUTIONS: Nature Works Grant, Glen Helen. There are two resolutions related to an exciting project of the Glen Helen Ecology Institute designed to increase wheelchair access, and improve indoor air quality and energy efficiency at the Trailside Museum in Glen Helen. GHEI is applying for a grant from the State of Ohio Nature Works program (part of the Ohio Dept of Natural Resources), but the grant application needs to be officially made by a municipality.

The YS Chamber of Commerce files its annual report with us.

  • 2009 Council Goals: I have attached what should be regarded as a tentative draft of the goals for the council (document entitled CouncilGOALS09Redux.doc). Kathryn Van der Heiden and I compiled them, and, of my own accord, I have tentatively labeled the items as "broadly shared" goals and ones that will require discussion to even get started. Other Council members need to weigh in on whether they agree that these are all the ideas we've thrown out there, and with my designation of the goals as either shared or to be discussed. I welcome your reactions, thoughts.
  • Verizon Cell Tower Site: We were contacted well over a year ago about locating another cell phone tower on village property to better serve the downtown area and the Glen. Mark has communicated at length with Verizon about village needs and concerns. They have four possible sites for us to discuss.
  • Budget/Levy/General Fund "Reserve" Balance: Mark has also provided us with a copy of the original flyer created for the last levy that designated how the monies would be spent, and also information from neighboring municipalities as to their policies regarding how much "cushion" they strive to keep in their general fund.
  • Visioning/Planning: The Visioning Task Force has selected 4 proposals of the 27 firms that originally submitted responses to our RFP. We will be hearing from the task force and discussing these final proposals, possibly moving toward interviews. The four finalists are:
    • ACP visioning + planning (Columbus, OH)
    • Bird Houk Collaborative: Architecture, Planning, Urban Design, Economics (Gahanna, OH) with marketing firm 42 Fish (Columbus OH)
    • Regenesis Group (Santa Fe, NM) with Kinzelman Kline Gossman (Columbus OH)
    • Studio Three LLC (Muncie IN) with JEO Consulting Group (Wahoo NE)
  • There will probably be an HRC appointment made and we'll have a motion to approve Council meeting dates for the year.
  • Then the Manager's report will include an Annual Report for the last year (presumeably this will cover the work of the office over the last year); there will be an update from Antioch University; and a petition from Time Warner claiming that there's effective competition (from satellite dishes, etc.) so that they should no longer have to pay a franchise fee to the village--this could mean the end of Channel 5!
Finally, A citizen asked in a letter to Council about how to dispose of hazardous household wastes. Vicki Hennessey, the newest member of our Environmental Commission, immediately passed on the attached information from Greene County Environmental Services in Xenia. (Thanks, Vicki!) Some things, like batteries and cell phones, are accepted every day during normal business hours; other things like appliances and pesticides are accepted one Saturday a month, and some restrictions apply.

This month's collection is NEXT SAT. FEBRUARY 21, from 9 am-1 pm, so it's a timely notice if you're doing some early spring cleaning. (And it's free to all Greene Co. residents!)

If you have questions about what's acceptable and what's not, you might also check out their website's Frequently Asked Questions. (Click on "Environmental Services")

And that's a little green valentine for all of us!

Thinking Spring--

Friday, February 13, 2009

Further update on efforts to dry Antioch Main Building

From: Lynda Sirk
To: Judith H. and Mark C.
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2009 5:25 PM
Subject: Antioch update

I will try to provide you with an update every 48 hours or so to keep you apprised of the progress in Main Building. Here is the first update:

Work began on drying Main building within the first 36 hours of notification of the break and the workers are making good progress. All work will continue in an effort for a full and fast recovery.

Working with insurance companies, the University received bids from three companies and chose Munters of Hebron, Kentucky to do the remediation work. Munters is an international remediation firm known for efficiency and environmentally friendly technology and they began work Thursday morning. The estimated time for this project is 10 to 14 days.

Munters is a world leader in damage restoration and owns the world’s largest fleet of drying equipment. Technicians will install robust dehumidifiers bringing heat and 2% humidity air into the building to dry affected areas and to control the environment. Munters claims that their deep drying techniques can often reverse the deterioration caused by water damage, as their desiccant dehumidifiers pump extremely dry air into water damaged buildings. This coupled with constant air movement causes the moisture in building materials to evaporate much quicker. In addition to drying the building, Munters will inspect for mold damage.


Lynda Sirk
Director of University Relations
Antioch University

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Main Building Water Damage Updates (rec'd 2/10)

Both these letters are on


February 9, 2009

To: The Antioch College Alumni Board
Fr: The Board Pro Tempore
Re: Antioch Hall

The Board Pro Tempore of the Antioch College Continuation Corporation
shares the concerns expressed by all Antiochians regarding the
condition of Antioch Hall and will be carefully following actions to
address the damage that occurred over the weekend.

Matthew Derr, Chief Transition Officer requested and was granted a tour
of the building and also earlier discussed the situation directly with
Art Zucker, Chairman of the Antioch University Board of Trustees, Toni
Murdock, Chancellor and Tom Faecke, Vice Chancellor. The Board Pro
Tempore also met last evening and had an extensive conversation on this

The Board Pro Tempore feels that stewardship of the entire campus is a
critical responsibility of the Antioch University Board. In particular,
"Main Building" represents both our symbolic home and as well as a
national historic treasure. In the spirit of our collaborative work
with the development of the Letter of Intent, it is the Board's
expectation that the campus be carefully safeguarded prior to its
intended transfer.

Following this statement you will find a link to a document from the
Chancellor's office shared with the Antioch University Board. We
anticipate that more information will be forthcoming.


Letter From Antioch University:

Monday February 9, 2009

To the Community of Yellow Springs,

Over this past weekend, a water leak was discovered in the Main
Building that has, understandably, caused much concern among alumni and
Yellow Springs residents. The break was discovered around 5pm on
Saturday, February 7. Even though public outcry runs counter, cold
weather, lack of heat in the facilities, neglect on the part of the
university, and quick rebound in outside temperature is not the cause
of the current flooding in Main Building. It is early in the
investigation and the University is unable to say definitively what
caused the break.

The source of the water appears to be from a broken pipe in the very
peak of the attic of Main Building, with water contained mostly to the
center of the building. The fire system currently in use is a dry
system, which means that it is not triggered into activation until heat
is detected and, subsequently, pipes become filled with water. This
system, according to Miami Twp. Fire Chief, is perfectly designed for
the attic area of Main Building. Working with sprinkler system experts,
a complete investigation has begun to help determine the cause.

Tom Faecke is overseeing this issue and reports that all water has been
turned off in Main Building. Any remaining standing water in the
building will be addressed beginning Tuesday morning. In addition, a
professional service will begin to dry the building immediately. The
University is also working with insurance carriers to cover the cost of
remediation. It must be noted that even when the power plant was in
operation, the attic space in Main Building remained unheated. When the
break was detected, it was over 50 degrees in the attic so ice is not
suspected. However, that is speculation and a definitive answer will be
determined on further investigation.

The sprinkler system in use in Main Building is legal and has passed
all required yearly inspections according to Miami Township Fire Chief,
Colin Altman.

The pipes in the sprinkler system are 50 plus years old and corroded so
that may very well be the cause but the University will not know all of
the facts until the investigation is farther along. Water may have
pumped for several hours, but not days as has been speculated. Campus
routine inspection schedule had someone walking through, inspecting
Main Building late in the workweek and no damage was detected at that

Initial inspection detects no structural damage to Main Building so the damage
appears to be superficial water damage only.


• the University assessed and documented the damage and is talking
with the insurance company to cover the costs

• a crew will begin Tuesday morning, working from the top floor down,
to remove any remaining standing water from Main Building

• all water will be extracted from Main Building and it will be dried
using fans and heat by a professional company who specializes in this

• The plan is to use 150 fans PER FLOOR to dry the facility

• Auxiliary heat will be used to warm the building during this process

• The remediation process will also remove all wet ceiling tiles and
wet carpet and replace with new once the facility is judged to be
completely dry

• Great care will be taken to dry and preserve the wood paneling
prevalent in Main Building

• During the closure of the College, all equipment was removed from Main
Building so no equipment remained to be damage

• All student records were previously removed and secured in a different
location--no student records remain in Main Building

It is regrettable that this has happened. Please look for updates from
the University as the investigation moves forward and we have more
substantive information to share.

Toni Murdock, Chancellor

Chelsea Martens
co-Community Manager

Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute
305 N. Walnut St.
Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
cell: 440-840-8376

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Addition to PC post (below): Situation at Antioch College--Main Hall Water Leak

Dear People: Late last night I received word about the serious water leakage in Main Hall that a villager discovered late yesterday. This morning, after speaking with Judith Hempfling, I sent the following letter (below) to the Council and the Planning Commission, as well as to our village manager, Mark Cundiff, Ed Amrhein, and our Solicitor John Chambers.

I have asked, below, that this issue be addressed at our Planning Commission meeting tomorrow night (7 pm, Bryan Center, second floor), at least briefly.

A villager also asked me to share with everyone that a group of concerned citizens are calling for people to meet at noon, tomorrow (2/9) at the "horseshoe" on campus in front of the Main Building. They are demanding that the university take action to deal with the damage and preserve the building. The press has been alerted.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts, questions, or concerns regarding this developing situation.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: lori
Date: Sun, Feb 8, 2009 at 11:16 AM
Subject: Situation at Antioch College campus--Main Building

Dear Council, Planning Commission, Mark, Ed, & John: I am writing on behalf of both Judith, who is off on call this weekend, and myself. We wanted to be sure that Council and the Planning Commission are aware of the major water leak that has occurred in the historic Main Building on the Antioch College campus, apparently from the sprinkler system, over the weekend.

A village resident was walking his dog across campus late yesterday when he noticed water seemingly seeping out of the walls of the Main Building in ways that did not seem quite consistent with normal roof melt, etc. He approached the windows of the President's office on the eastern/traditional "front" of the building, and saw water essentially raining indoors, into several inches of water all over the floor throughout the former President's office. He called the MTFR. Looking in through other windows, the resident could see [water] was streaming into the hallways of the first floor, raining in from the upper floors in many places. A video showing the damage as it was happening has been posted on You Tube:

Judith and another concerned resident who spoke to the MTFR last night were told that the MTFR were called to the campus by a resident and had shut off a main connector that was supplying the sprinkler system in the building. Hours later, water, apparently from the upper floors, was still raining down to the lower floors.

Several weeks ago, in fact, a similar problem apparently arose with the sprinkler system in South Hall around Christmas time. At the Miami Township Trustees meeting of January 5, 2009, MTFR chief Colin Altman described being dispatched to the campus at several points for a few problems, in particular when a sprinkler systems had frozen in South Hall--on the fourth floor and flowed down the building and 'did a lot of damage.' Dry wall collapsed, etc. In South Hall, an alarm went off, and water was actually shooting out the building on the fourth floor, he said. Main Building, he said, at around that time had also had a valve leaking from its "dry" system. In the theatre, also, however, a tremendous amount of water damage occurred when a sprinkler froze--apparently one they believed was a "dry" system, but which was not. (It was erroneously reported in a letter to the YS News that this leak was from the roof, but it was not.) There was no alarm to alert officials to this problem, so it was probably on-going for some time. Someone at the meeting commented that 150,000 gallons of water / day was being lost on the campus during that time, but I am not certain who said that or where they were getting their information from. Finally, Mr. Altman mentioned that the Union building also has experienced a lot of temperature fluxuation and condensation which has caused alarms to go off. He said that in those cases the University has been responsive and "has addressed things as best they can." [This is based on my viewing of the DVD of the Jan. 5th meeting of the MTT]

Citizens are expressing several concerns to both Judith and me about the damage to Main Hall:

1) The bricks through to the outside of the building have apparently soaked up a lot of water. When this water re-freezes and thaws again in the coming weeks, this will inevitably weaken the bricks, which provide the structural support for the building. Can they be dried out before this freeze/thaw cycle occurs? Could heating the building in the meantime possibly help?

2) If the building is not thoroughly dried--with more than a mop--mold will be a serious problem inside the building this spring.

3) Have the floors of the building been so thoroughly soaked as to be unsafe?

4) Most importantly, this is an historic building, decidedly the most prominent historic building on the campus, and in our community. Its cultural and historic significance is impossible to overstate. Villagers feel a collective responsibility to the preservation of this structure and its beautiful, landmark spires. They want to be assured that everything is being done that can be done, on our part--whatever that might be--to deal with this situation and protect this tremendous asset.

As a member of the Planning Commission, I request that this issue to be at least briefly addressed at the Planning Commission meeting tomorrow night. A report from Mr. Altman would be helpful, if it can be arranged. I also request that village staff report any further information that they might receive from any sources regarding this developing situation to the PC at that time.

Lori Askeland

Budget Thoughts and PC: Barr Property, new bench, etc.

Dear People: Well, it's been a busy week for Council, focused especially on the budget, and there's an important Planning Commission meeting coming up on Monday evening in which we'll be looking at the revised plans for the Friends Care Senior Housing unit on the Barr property and considering plans for a new, ceramic memorial bench along the bike path (contrary to a Design Advisory Committee report/recommendations from 2003 that suggest that no further such memorials be built along the path)

VC: BUDGET: If you get a chance to look at the budget documents released so far (they are not online yet, but copies are in the library or Bryan Center), or to watch the meeting we had Tuesday which was a kind of walk-through of the tentative plan for capital expenditures from the General Fund--purchases of bigger-ticket items for the village government--I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts.

BUDGET OVERVIEW FROM WHERE I SIT: There are a lot of complexities involved, but I'd say this initial look at the General Fund (GF) looks pretty solid. (The General Fund is the core of our budget, but does not include the budgets for revenue generating areas like water, sewer, electric, etc.) We came out of last year having added to our surplus--we now have over $1.6 million as a reserve.

This is an important cushion to have, given that we do not know what the future may hold, in terms of the economy. If there was a sudden catastrophe that cut deeply into revenues, it's good to have some money that could be drawn from to keep basic services running for awhile, to give Council and staff time to adjust to new realities. Managers and fiscal advisors universally suggest it is not good to run a municipal budget too close to the bone.

Some municipalities have a larger cushion, some smaller, and at our meeting it wasn't clear exactly what our goal historically has been, or what the current council would hope to set it at. Mark is planning to get more us information about how other municipalities determine their appropriate cushion, so that we can make those kinds of determinations.

The reserve that is there, is largely a result of the levy and the cutbacks to staff that have been made over the last few years. Our manager, Mark, and our accountant, Sharon, have approached this year's budget with a goal of trying to add 25% more to next year's reserve (although we probably won't quite make that in all funds, including the GF).

As it stands, with the current, fiscally conservative approach we're rightly taking to most expenditures, we're on track to possibly add 21% more to our surplus in the GF. And that number could be higher if some of the expenditures for the police, for example, are able to be covered by federal moneys known as the "Furtherance of Justice Fund." (That rather Orwellian name is basically drug-bust money.)

So, that being said, there are a few things I noticed that you all might want to ponder and provide feedback on.

GREEN SPACE: The current draft puts $50,000 into the Green Space fund, rather than the approx. $112,000 that the Tecumseh Land Trust suggests would be necessary to get it up to a comfortable fund of $250,000,
in the case of some land coming open this year, which is not a sure thing but there are some very good signs that it may happen, soon, and we'd like to be in a position to act quickly if it does.

WHY I SUPPORT THE LARGER AMOUNT: I look on this money as an investment of the best kind: it can bring many times the dollar value back into the community through matching grants from a variety of sources, and it supports our retention of our identity as a small, walkable/bikeable village. It is a long-standing goal of the community for 40 years to maintain green space in and around the village. While some villagers have characterized such an investment as frivolous in years past, the sense I have from the majority of villagers is that this is a vital part of our history, and should be an investment priority.

There are other things in the general fund that seem mostly non-controversial. There is a proposal to put up security cameras in some places--on the train station and the swimming pool--which some villagers may have concerns about. Please feel free to share your concerns.

PC: BARR PROPERTY (321 Xenia Ave.): The revised plans for the Friends Care Senior Housing on the Barr Property are available for public inspection--I have them in PDF form but, frankly, there are a dozen or more documents and many of the images are really big and bulky--meant to be printed on big 11 x 17 paper. I'll send 'em to you if you want, but unless you have a really fast, bigger screen computer, you may find it easier to just go look at the hard copies in the library and the Bryan Center.

My understanding of the agenda for Monday's meeting is that we are merely "receiving" these final plans for this important property, and that at a near-future meeting we will have the Public Hearing on the Final Plan.

CERAMIC MEMORIAL BENCH ON BIKE PATH: Kaethi Seidl and Beth Holyoke have been commissioned by the Scott family to create a memorial bench along the bike path, on a slab that the Village would create. The bench would be similar to the benches that now grace the library and the corner of Xenia and Corry, and they propose to place it at some point between the Glen Helen driveway and the Women's Park.

The main sticking point that the PC will need to consider is that in 2003, the Design Advisory Committee wrote up guidelines (that were never officially adopted by Council) which would effectively prohibit all further memorial bench installations, with the goal of primarily maintaining relatively pristine green space along the path, and avoiding clutter. There are 13 benches in the Women's Park (I find that hard to believe, but apparently it's true), and four more benches as you down the path toward the Riding Center. There are no benches in the proposed area, north (roughly) of the Women's Park.

I love the ceramic benches, but also agree that we could reach a point where there are too many memorial benches, etc. Is this the best place for such a bench? What are your thoughts?

OTHER PC BUSINESS: We'll be going over our report to Council for 2008, our goals for 2009, and--we hope!--actually completing the revision to the Comprehensive Plan (believe it or don't).


Monday, February 2, 2009

VC: Double Feature! Antioch, Visioning, Econ Dvlpt Tonight; Budget Tomorrow

The suitcase above is by local artist Vicki Toriello-Farmer. I'm not leaving town! It just symbolizes our dynamic local arts community. Ms. Toriello-Farmer's work is featured on the "" DIY fashion page ( is owned by the NYTimes).

Dear People:
It's a double whammy: Village Council meetings both tonight (2/2) and tomorrow night (2/3). Tonight will be a regular meeting, with a very full agenda, and tomorrow night we'll be taking our first look at the proposed budget for the year. Both meetings are 7 pm in the Bryan Center.
Unfortunately, due to obligations at school, I have to cancel my office hours today. Please feel free to call me at home if you need to get together; I might be able to meet people later in the afternoon.

Remember that our meeting packets are online!

Tonight's Agenda:

1. LEGISLATION: A resolution authorizing paying our annual dues ($1,500) for the Business First organization, which helps support, retain, and expand local businesses.

2. SPECIAL REPORTS: Matt Derr, of the Antioch Alumni/Continuation Corp, will give an update on Negotiations, future of Antioch College.

  • Safe Routes to School, report by Ed Amrhein
  • Economic Development w/ Michael Shuman; follow up report (Smart Growth). They've prepared a detailed overview of his talks, his leakage analysis, and published citizen evaluations
  • Visioning/Planning Update: The Visioning Group should have 3 possibie consultants to recommend to Council.
  • We'll be discussing/ planning to update our lease with the Library. (The Village owns the building which is leased to the Greene County Library system)

  • 2009 Goals Update: we have the notes from our discussion typed out
  • We're planning to look at the Bryan Center Guidelines that we give to groups that rent the spaces in the building.

Tomorrow night: 2009 BUDGET. We do not yet have our copies of this document, so I cannot, unfortunately, be any more specific. Needless to say, however, this is probably the key factor in determining what will get done in the coming year. Please attend!