Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday September 29. Matuszak reports on McCain-Palin at Capital University.

Bexley Public Radio correspondent John Matuszak reports on McCain-Palin appearance at Capital University.

WCRX-LP Editorial Collective
Bexley Public Radio Foundation broadcasting as
WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM, Local Power Radio
2700 E. Main St., Suite 208
Columbus, OH 43209
Voice (614) 235 2929
Fax (614) 235 3008

Bexley Public Radio Foundation broadcasting as WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM is exempt from federal taxes under IRC Section 501(c)(3). Donations are deductible from federal income taxes for individuals who itemize. Checks may identify the payee as Bexley Public Radio Foundation WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM.

Design is copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2008. All rights reserved. John Matuszak. Photo is copyright 2008. All rights reserved. John Matuszak.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Homer, Alaska Culture Dispatch of Joanna Tornes

Bexley Public Radio’s adventuresome culture correspondent Joanna Tornes telephoned her culture dispatch from Homer. Alaska on Thursday. She greeted listeners with the comment that it was a rainy morning in Homer, Alaska, “It’s just snow in the form of rain.”

Oil dividend check and south migration

Joanna said that the annual south migration of Homer residents is starting and it seems to be starting a little early this year.

Joanna said that at least part the early migration this year has been stimulated by the oil revenue dividend checks that Alaska citizens are receiving.

Joanna then outlined the background of the source of the dividend checks. She said the source is the Alaska Permanent Fund which was established by the Alaska state constitution in 1976 and managed by a semi-independent corporation.

Payments into the fund are made from the revenues of oil (and sometimes other minerals.)

The Alaska Permanent Fund sets aside a certain share of oil revenues to continue benefiting current and all future generations of Alaskans.

The Fund grew from an initial investment of $734,000 in 1977 to the current sum of approximately forty billion dollars.
Joanna said that annual dividends are paid to most Alaska residents who have resided in the state for one calendar year and intend to remain in Alaska.

One other qualification is that the resident have a clean record, no felony conviction.

Other than the year residency requirement there is no distinction based on length of residence in Alaska nor is there any distinction based on age of the resident.

Since it creation, the annual payments to each individual resident have varied from a low of $331.29 in 1984 to a high of $3,269.00 in 2008.

Joanna said that the unusually high payment this year included a one-time rebate of $1,200.00 as recognition of the high retail costs for gasoline that Alaska consumers are paying.

From among her friends and acquaintances, Joanna offered examples of how the oil dividend checks are being spent this year. Joanna said that one friend is using it to pay airfare for a trip to Paris. Another friend is paying the costs for ferrying her automobile to Bellingham, Washington. Others are taking shopping trips to Anchorage and Seattle.

Bush line communications

Joanna also discussed a unique form of communication in Alaska called the “bush line.’ In areas of the state where there are no telephone lines or cell towers, broadcast radio is used for personal communications. People will leave messages with the radio station. The station then broadcasts the messages and the intended recipients listen for the news. The bush line has commercial value for the operators of hunting lodges in remote areas who can learn arrival times for guests, supplies and mail Other residents listen to the bush line radio for news about who is traveling to where, their arrival times, and other normal family events including weddings, christenings and funerals.

Joanna offered the observation that Bexley Public Radio is the Bexley bush line.

Joanna then gave a sample of some light comments on Alaska Governor Sara Palin’s selection as the Republican vice presidential candidate. She also said that a tee-shirt is being sold in Homer that has a picture of Governor Palin with the text “My Governor is better looking than your Governor.”

Burning Basket on Homer Spit

The main Homer cultural event that Joanna described was the fifth annual Burning Basket Festival. This event involves a community creating a basket from found materials followed by a ritual burning of pieces of paper with messages.

Joanna noted the similarity of this ritual to the burning of paper at traditional Chinese funerals. The paper is known as joss paper, or dzi-dzat.

The burning basket event has some funding connections with the popular Burning Man event held each year in the Black Rock Desert, 120 miles north of Reno, Nevada between the towns of Empire and Gerlach.

The Homer event is directed by artist Mavis Muller and involves volunteers creating an oversize basket and sculpture in Mariner Park on the Homer Spit. The volunteers worked for five days at the Spit constructing the basket.
This year's event was labeled "Surpass: A Basket of Remembrance and Unburdening."

On Sunday Sept. 21, the volunteers who worked on the basket and others were in attendance participated in the burning of the basket at sundown. Individuals were invited to offer papers to the flames written with memories for remembrance and shame or guilt for unburdening.

A potluck on Homer Spit followed the ritual. Joanna attended both the burning of the basket and the potluck dinner.

A labyrinth, or circular walking path was also created on the Homer Spit.

Artist Muller has managed 12 burning basket enactments in Alaska, Oregon, California and Hawaii.

The Burning Basket Project has received funding support from the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Rasmuson Foundation and the Black Rock Arts Foundation.

The Rasmusen Foundation was formed in 1955 by the widow of E.A. Rasumsen who was the owner of the Bank of Alaska.

The Black Rock Arts Foundation promotes community-based exhibitions of interactive art and support the artists and organizations that create it. Besides the Burning Man event in Nevada, the Black Rock Foundation prodes funding for accessible, free art to the public that invites direct action with the piece and inspires community.

The primary goal of the Black Rock Arts Foundation is to promote a revival of art's culture-bearing and connective function by removing art from its context in the marketplace and reintegrating it into communal settings.

Artist Mavis Muller can be contacted at

Homer Fashion for the Autumn Season

For a report on local fashion trends in, Alaska. Joanna discussed hip waders and chest waders available in Homer retail shops.

First she noted that it is stylish in Homer to wear hip waders with the tops folded down. The variety of manufacturers and materials is surprising. Colors are limited to tan, brown, green and forest green.

Examples of hip waders and their retail prices offered by Joanna are:

Pro Line Creek Cleated Rubber hip waders are available for $50. These waders are brown. They are made in China.

Stearns Mad Dog 3-ply hip waders are available in green, They have Thinsulate and quick release buckles and are priced at $53.

Hodgman Wadewell hip waders made in China are available for $48. These are green, three-ply and have felt soles.

The Hodgman Bantam Weight hip boots are available in tan and have rubber cleat soles, Priced at $38.

Academy Broadway branded rubber hip wader, steel shank and rubber cleated sole are available for $43. They are made in Taiwan.

Calcutta brand hip boots in tan canvas are available for $49. These are made in China.

Chest waders are also available in Homer.

Calcutta Brand chest waders in brown with cleated soles are priced at $40. These are made in China.

The Calcutta waders are endorsed by Team Calcutta, a fishing competition team.

Joanna described the Calcutta trademark logo as a skull and crossbones with a limp fish held in the jaws.

Hodgman Bantam weight boot foot chest waders are available for $50. The uppers are made from polyester and rubber. Soles are cleated and made from hard rubber. The waders are forest green.

Joanna said that the Hodgman brand of waders traces its company history back to Framingham Massachusetts in 1838.

Beside fishing waders, hot labels in clothing are Carhartt brand of work cloths and XTRA TUFF clothing. Other popular brands are Hetty Hanson of Norway and Grundsons of Sweden. Joanna noted that the Grundsons clothing line is manufactured in Portugal.

Time ran out for the broadcast and Joanna concluded her dispatch from Homer, Alaska.

Volunteers and staff of the Homer Chamber of Commerce contribute money to pay the cost of the long distance telephone charges for the Joanna Tornes culture dispatches from Homer.

Friday, September 26, 2008

John Matuszak reports on Bexley City Council Meeting of September 23.


Capital University's "good neighbor" agreement with Bexley, signed last spring, is being put to the test already with a rash of wild parties being reported. The latest one last Friday included fights, marijuana and several arrests.

At the Sept. 23 Bexley City Council meeting,City Attorney Lou Chodosh said he thinks the agreement is working, and that university officials, including President Denvy Bowman, are responding personally to these problems.

Chodosh reported that Bowman has urged the city to "prosecute to the fullest extent of the law" any violators who end up in Bexley's mayor's court. Those who are arrested are also being referred to Capital for further disciplinary action.

Capital signed the agreement with Bexley to handle complaints about student behavior and trash and beer bottles being left on the streets and lawns. The complaints surfaced when the university sought a zoning change to turn condos for senior citizens on Astor Avenue into off-campus student housing.

The most recent event to get out of hand was an annual gathering of fraternity and sorority members from different universities. That event has already been cancelled for next year, Mayor John Brennan told council.

Residents living near the campus on Sheridan and College avenues have frequently complained about out-of-hand students. The good neighbor agreement came about last spring when Capital proposed to turn condos for senior citizens on Astor Avenue into student housing. that zoning request was okayed by council contigent on Capital'sromise to clamp down on rowdy students.

Another request for a zoning variance by Capital University had residents again questioning whether the institution is a good neighbor at last night's Bexley City Counil meeting.

Council did grant the latest variance that will allow Capital to convert a house at 2361 East Mound Street into offices for its alumni association. The property had been zoned for single-family use. The vote was 5 to 1, with Councilman mark Masser voting no and Councilwoman Robyn Jones absent.

The house is now being used as an honors dorm and is occupied by two students.

The request had residents concerned that Capital is encoraching on residential areas. They also questioning whether the renovation fits with the city's southwest master plan, which directs campus growth to the west side of the city rather than to the east.

Capital's attorney, Don Plank, explained that converting the building to office use creates a buffer between the university's administative buildings and the residential areas of the neighborhood.

The offices will mostly be used for small gatherings and will allow the alumni association to host potentialdonors and others, Plank said.

Another Capital attorney, Troy Bonte, added that the building could be used ocassionally for alumni gatherings for as many as 30 to 40 people.

Bonte told council that the university will be asking for a maximum occupancy of 49 people. But Bruce Langner, the city's development director, said the occupancy limit will be decided after a review of the building plans.

Two residents who rent homes on Euclaire Avenue owned by Capital, Tamara Angle and Melinda Akins, spoke to council and said that the university should be putting more attention into these properties before it spends money renovating.

The women reported that they have had difficulty getting the university to respond to requests for maintenance. Attorney Troy Bonte responded that Capital has hired a new management companyto take care of its rental properties.

Councilman Ben Kessler stated that the university has a lot of space for gatherings and he didn't think this site was a good spot for such events.

Mayor John Brennan suggested that Capital provide a schedule of events at the alumni offices to keep resident and police officers informed. The city has a similar arrangement with Ohio State University President Gordon Gee, who has his home in Bexley, the mayor aid.

Before voting for the zoning variance, Councilman Rick Weber said he was "not jumping up and down' about the new use, but he was comfortable with it and was committed to improving relations with the university.

Weber did add that Capital could make things easier when it comes forward with these zoning requests if it did a better job keeping up the properties it owns.


In other business-

Council's finance committee is expected to discuss next year's budget at an Oct. 7 meeting.

A proposed ordinance to prohibit picketing in front of residences has been referred to the safety committee and will be discussd at its Oct.14 meeting starting at 5:30.

The second round of bids for a new police station will be opened Sept. 30. The first set of bids came in around one milion dollars over estimates, leading architects to revise the projected cost for the project.


It looks like Mozart's pastry shop in Bexley has closed after being open only a short time in the new Gateway complex. But Breugger's Bagels,which had a shop in town for several years, is coming back and will open in the former Woodworker's building at Main and Cassingham, next to the Penn Station sub shop.


Service Director Bill Harvey reported that, because of skyrocketing costs, he has not yet ordered any road salt for the upcoming winter. He told council that the cost has jumped from $50 a ton paid last year to $150 a ton for 1,000 tons. And there is no guarantee of delivery. The city has about 150 tons on hand, and uses 100 to 200 tons per winter storm.

Harvey said he is looking at other options to de-ice streets, including brine and sand. There is also a possibility that crews will only salt main roads and intersections this winter. He said he will wait on a decision by council as to whether to order salt at the higher cost, or wait until the price possibly comes down.

WCRX-LP Editorial Collective
Bexley Public Radio Foundation broadcasting as
WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM, Local Power Radio
2700 E. Main St., Suite 208
Columbus, OH 43209
Voice (614) 235 2929
Fax (614) 235 3008

Bexley Public Radio Foundation broadcasting as WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM is exempt from federal taxes under IRC Section 501(c)(3). Donations are deductible from federal income taxes for individuals who itemize. Checks may identify the payee as Bexley Public Radio Foundation WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM.

Design is copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2008. All rights reserved. John Matuszak.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Sidewalk Debates . Bexley, Ohio.

Tripping the light fantastic on the sidewalks of Bexley by the most sensitive man in Bexley, Simon Doer.

New York, we are not, nor are we Hyde Park, near sister city Bexley, England, yet we take sidewalk debates seriously, … even literally.

Perhaps the Englishman, William Shakespeare, said it best when Ariel, in The Tempest, lightly alludes to this even before the advent of sidewalks in the new world and to candidates being slip-shod when he replies to Prospero's command, 'Before you can say "come" and "go", and breathe twice, and cry, "so, so," each one, tripping on his toe, will be here with mop and mow.'

Okay so what has that to do with this issue and, the example of a student this sensitive resident knows, who while rushing to school with a backpack came face to face with the issue?

Bexley's City Service Department has evaluated city sidewalks needing replacement and repair and Bexley’s City Council approved an ordinance this summer to place financial responsibility on city residents for the repair and replacement of defective sidewalks. Yet, there has been constant debate as to whether the city or residents should bear the cost of fixing damaged sidewalks.

Precedent is with the city avoiding the cost of repairs as a 1948 ordinance placed the burden on each adjacent property owner to maintain the sidewalk abutting their property, until the city took over the responsibility in 2004. Concern with the infrastructure and continuing deterioration of sidewalks led to discussion of whether the city or the residents should be in charge of fixing the sidewalks.

A sidewalk is considered unsafe when there is a one-inch or more gap in between sidewalk squares that could result in someone tripping (and perhaps seeing the light fantastic at that time).

Ah, but what is a property owner to do? Legal liability could well face owners who do not take an active role in their sidewalk maintenance while cities may be able to claim some governmental immunity.

In the 2004 Court of Appeals Eighth District of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, of Bentley versus Collins, the Ohio duty and liability of a landowner abutting a public sidewalk to a pedestrian injured on it was reexamined. Under Ohio law, it is a generally accepted principle that “an owner of property abutting a public sidewalk is not, generally, liable for injuries sustained by a pedestrian. However, there are three exceptions to this general rule where a property owner may be held liable:
“(a) a statute or ordinance imposes on such owner a specific duty to keep the sidewalk adjoining his property in good repair;
“(b) by affirmative acts such owner creates or negligently maintains the
defective or dangerous condition; or,
“(c) such owner negligently permits the defective or dangerous condition to exist for some private use or benefit.”

Many joggers use the streets of Bexley rather than our sidewalks.

Is that a slap at the care we have given our sidewalks?

In April 30, 2008, This Week contributor Gail Martineau reported in an article titled “Service committee supports homeowner-funded sidewalk repairs,” that Rick Weber, council member and service committee chair supported the measure because he said the city has been falling behind on road improvements and needs to free up money.
Bexley has money coming from a 2.5-mil continuing levy passed by residents in 2002 "for the purpose of constructing, reconstructing, resurfacing and repairing streets, alleys, sidewalks and other similar improvements."

The levy produces a little over $850,000 each year. It costs residential property owners $56.47 per $100,000 of assessed property value; that to repair our roadways and throughfares.

Wasn’t that levy really to repair the infrastructure of Bexley’s roadways and to provide wheelchair and other access to the sidewalks, rather than to repair the sidewalks in front of property owner’s residences?

That was not the argument in 2004 when resident Nancy Duffy proposed a resolution altering the 1948 ordinance and the City agreed to repair all sidewalks.

According to the This Week reporter, City Attorney Lou Chodosh said the current debate centers on determining whether the levy was considered a tax or an assessment for city sidewalks. He said he interpreted the levy as an assessment because it was created for the specific purpose of "replacements or repairs of streets, alleys and sidewalks," rather than for the city's general fund.

In 2004, resident Nancy Duffy persuaded council to pass a resolution to pay for all sidewalk-related costs because that use was listed in the levy ballot language. She said to continue to assess residents would be double taxation.

In the same article by Gail Martineau, she referred to Cathy Della Flora, who lives on North Merkle Road, who said residents should not be responsible for repairing their own sidewalks. Della Flora said it was the city's responsibility to figure out how to pay for them.

"You cannot tax someone for something and double dip and ask them to pay for it," she said. "You overspent. It's not my problem."

Martineau wrote that Duffy said the city made poor choices in paying for repairs such as with driveway aprons, the large concrete slabs where the driveway meets the curb.

"Spending public money on private property is a very expensive decision," Duffy said.

Again according to the This Week article, Council member Mark Masser said he supports assessing residents for their sidewalks.

"We are falling further and further behind," he said. "This is one way to finally find some more money."
Martineau further reported that Frank Kass, who lives on North Parkview Avenue, said residents should fund their own sidewalks.

"I feel that the infrastructure in our city is deteriorating faster than we can fix it," he said. "It's our own responsibility to fix our property. We have to keep our infrastructure great."

Suburban News Publications’ writer Sara Johnson reported on September 5, 2008 in an article “Assessment of sidewalks gives
Bexley leaders things to think about” that according to the Service Department, employees assessed the area north of Broad Street, considered as north Bexley, to find 470 sidewalk squares and 10 driveway squares in need of repair for a total of $88,200 as the city's responsibility.

Bexley will be in charge of repairing a sidewalk if damage is the result of a city-owned tree.

Sara Johnson reported that Bill Harvey, City Services Director, identified sidewalks considered for residential responsibility included 430 sidewalk squares and 30 driveway squares for $86,300. [That is similar to the 50 50 arrangement some cities share in the repair of sidewalks with property owners.]

Sara reported that the city discovered that central Bexley, the area between Main and Broad streets, had between 1,200 and 1,300 sidewalks squares that required work and that the area south of Main Street, south Bexley, needs work on around 2,000 sidewalk squares.

She reported that the city spends around $700,000 from the budget on streets, sidewalks and alley repairs.

As to the student with the backpack, there was a double impact when tripping over a public sidewalk the backpack created a second impact with the sidewalk. So whatever the debate, this sensitive resident observes that this is more an issue about the safety of our sidewalks for the users rather than who is to pay for their repairs. Having paid $1,200 to repair all of the sidewalks squares in front of this sensitive resident’s Bexley home, without benefit of the funds of other property owner taxpayers, this writer could be callous to the pleas of the Nancy Duffy’s of Bexley, but is not.

Is this really a debate about who pays for sidewalk repairs? Don’t property owners pay one way or another, either through taxes or direct repairs? Wouldn’t direct repairs be more equitable for all property owners, each paying for the repairs for the sidewalk defects adjacent to their property?

Isn’t this really about protecting that student with the backpack? Aren’t property owners more likely than the city services department to be aware of ongoing issues with the sidewalks adjacent to their property?

The city of Bexley will still cover the cost of repairs caused by the trees they plant.

Do we really need other taxpayers to pay for our sidewalk repairs and us for their repairs? Should I cover the cost of the sidewalk repairs for a large corner lot when my frontage is in the range of thirty or fifty feet? Should all property owners provide for the repairs of the sidewalks in front of Bexley’s largest homes, which reap their market value in ultimate sales – even in this hopefully temporary declining home value market cycle?

This is one sensitive man’s opinion. What’s yours?


The Most Sensitive Man In Bexley
WCRX-LP Editorial Collective
Bexley Public Radio Foundation operating as
WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM, Local Power Radio
2700 E. Main St., Suite 208
Columbus, OH 43209
Voice (614) 235 2929
Fax (614) 235 3008

Bexley Public Radio Foundation operating as WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM is exempt from federal taxes under IRC Section 501(c)(3). Donations are deductible from federal income taxes for individuals who itemize. Checks may identify the payee as Bexley Public Radio Foundation WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM.

"The Most Sensitive Man in Bexley" is a style owned by Bexley Public Radio Foundation.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation.