Monday, October 27, 2008

Commentary by Lifecare Alliance's Chuck Gehring.


Monday afternoon guest on Bexley Public Radio was Chuck Gehring, president and CEO of Lifecare Alliance. Chuck was invited to discuss the social service programs of Lifecare Alliance and to comment on his estimate of how the Wall Street turmoil will impact on social service agencies like Lifecare Alliance.

Chuck began by describing the core programs of Lifecare Alliance. These core programs are known as Meals on Wheels, Visiting Nurses and Help at Home.

To implement these core programs Lifecare Alliance operates twenty-two meal centers and twelve walk-in health centers in central Ohio.

Many, but far from all, of the individuals in the client populations served by all of the Lifecare Alliance programs are lower income, chronically ill and homebound.

Meals on Wheels serves six thousand meals a day from Lifecare Alliance’s West Mound Street location.

During weekdays, seventy percent of the meals are delivered by volunteers. On the weekend, one hundred percent of the meals are delivered by volunteers.

The six thousand meals are delivered on one hundred twenty-five routes throughout Franklin and Madison counties.

The Lifecare Alliance Meals on Wheels program is among the five largest home meal services in the U.S. The Lifecare Alliance meal program is one of only a few nationwide that provides weekend delivery of meals.

Lifecare Alliance also has specialty meal programs such as Kosher Senior Meals through a program at the Jewish Community Center of Central Ohio. Another specialty meal program uses a local Asian restaurant to provide meals appealing to the palates of Asian residents.

Lifecare Alliance was founded in Columbus 110 years ago. Its founders met at the residence at 1000 Bryden Road. Catherine Nelson Black and her husband Samuel Black, Columbus mayor, were active in the founding of this organization. The original social and health problems addressed by the organization were flooding in Columbus, tuberculosis, and high infant mortality rates.

Impact of Wall Street turmoil.

Impact on Operational Expenses

Expenses have increased for Lifecare Alliance. Milk and gasoline are two examples.

Gasoline costs have risen. Cost of gas for 2008 will exceed the prior year budget by $200,000. The cost of milk provided in meals has increased by forty-two percent.

Impact on Donations

Donations will be effected by the Wall Street collapse. Lifecare Alliance receives donations of appreciated stock. Such gifts provide donors with “double bumps” in terms of income tax. No capital gain tax is due on the gift and the donor can deduct the appreciated value of the stock if the donor itemizes charitable deductions.

The present conditions on Wall Street reduce the total financial value of gifts of appreciated stock to donors.

WCRX Editorial Collective Note: This is one of a continuing series of program features where Bexley Public Radio reports the views of community leaders on the significance of the Wall Street financial collapse.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
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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.

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

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Update to 2007 Bexley Public Radio report on CMOs as toxic assets at banks.

On Friday September 7, 2007, Bexley Public Radio broadcast a report on the threat of "toxic assets' held by banks and other financial institutions.

The report was based on an earlier study prepared by the research staff at the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank.

The sub-title to the 2007 Bexley Public Radio report was "Toxic waste or the green fields of summer?" and it offered the impressions of the WCRX-LP editorial collective on the choppy financial waters of summer 2007.

This current report updates the share price data for the ten banks covered in the 2007 report from the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank. For the reader's convenience, the original 2007 Bexley Public Radio report is attached to the end of this update.

For the nine financial holding companies reviewed in the 2007 report, this present update compares the recent share prices with share prices during the spring and summer of 2007.

These institutions are the owners of ten banks that were identified in a 2007 report of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank as banks that had significant holdings of CMOs.

Commerce Bank, NA . CBC

2007 share prices
April $33
May $34
June $36
July $38
August $37

2008 share prices
September $19
October $10


Merrill Lynch Bank. MER

2007 share prices
April $80
May $92
June $85
July $76
August $72

2008 share prices
September $22
October $16

Countrywide Bank, NA. CFC

2007 share prices
April $35
May $40
June $38
July $35
August $21

2008 share prices
Acquired by Bank of America
Not traded in September and October


Merrill Lynch B&T. MER

2007 share prices
April $80
May $92
June $85
July $76
August $72

2008 share prices
September $22
October $16


Fifth Third Bank. FITB

2007 share prices
April $38
May $41
June $43
July $37
August $36

2008 share prices
September $9
October $8

Charles Schwab Bank, NA. SCHW

2007 share prices
April $19
May $20
June $22
July $22
August $19

2008 share prices
September $22
October $16

New York Community Bank. NYB

2007 share prices
April $17
May $17
June $18
July $17
August $17

2008 share prices
September $15
October $14

Branch B&T, Virginia. BBT

2007 share prices
April $40
May $42
June $42
July $40
August $39

2008 share prices
September $32
October $32

HSBC Bank USA, NA. HSBC

2007 share prices
April $86
May $93
June $93
July $90
August $90

2008 share prices
September $80
October $55

Associated Bank, NA . ASBC

2007 share prices
April $34
May $33
June $33
July $29
August $28

2008 share prices
September $20
October $19

Observation: Most share prices for the relevant financial holding companies have been impacted severely. Share prices for the holding companies owning New York Community Bank and Branch Bank and Trust appear to have been impacted the least severely. The holding companies for the three banks that appeared to be toxic waste dumps in the 2007 report did not suffer to any greater extent than the other holding companies of the seven other banks.

No information about present CMO holdings by these banks was reviewed.

Reprint of the original script broadcast Friday September 7, 2007 on Bexley Public Radio.

My impressions of Wall Street trading activity and financial reporting this summer.

Wall Street journalists described a choppy financial August for banks, lenders and sophisticated investors.

Sub-prime lenders and sub-prime paper were painted as villains and by innuendo the paper became over -valued.

Derivatives, hedge funds, real estate lenders, banks and insurance companies were described, particularly in August, as facing tough times. Some journalists even suggested some investment paper was “damaged without chance of repair.”

The holders of sub-prime paper responded by pointing fingers of blame at the sub-prime lenders.

Class action litigators were licking their lips with anticipation.

In early June someone gave me a policy discussion paper from the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank. It had a catchy title that seemed interesting so I put the paper aside to read later. I didn’t pick it up until Labor Day weekend. The title was “Who holds the toxic waste? An investigation of CMO holdings.”

CMOs are Collateralized Mortgage Obligations. This is the very paper that, according to journalists, was roiling the August financial markets.

“Toxic waste” seems a bit edgy way to describe the financial instruments that banks, insurance companies and mutual funds were buying.

The two researchers at the Cleveland Fed described their research undertaking as using simulations to predict how the risk from Collateralized Mortgage Obligations would “manifest itself” in various interest rate environments. “Manifest itself?” “Toxic waste?” These economists began to sound like evangelical preachers or a couple Al Gores on the stump.

The researchers said they also were looking for evidence of how much of this paper was held and by whom. The researchers said that very limited public information is available except for the reports that commercial banks are required to file.

Accordingly, the researchers concentrated their efforts on the commercial banks sector.

Much of the report concerns common types of mortgage derivatives traded on Wall Street namely Z values, IO values and PO values. (Z’s are security holders who are last in line. IOs are security holders who get interest payments and POs are security holders who get principal payments.)

Obviously the researchers compute the mean reversions for each of these mortgage derivatives. Not surprisingly, they use a Monte Carlo model of stochastic interest rates and mortgage cash flows.

Their principal assumption in computations is that interest rates will follow a discretized Cox Ingersoll and Ross (1985) process with monthly shocks to annual interest rates being decribed by the Cox Ingersoll and Ross formula.

The other assumptions are pretty normal: an assumed upper interest rate boundary of thirty percent and an assumed interest rate volatility based on a fourteen year data base. (fourteen years seems a paltry number of years, but given the similar short existance of CMOs I can understand a rationale for the short span of interest rate data).

A final noteworthy assumption was based on some investment bank estimates. The researchers assumed that there is a nonlinear relationship between prepayment rates and interest rates, that is, just because interest rates rise, prepayment rates will not necessarily rise at the same rate.

From all of these assumptions and some math, the researchers offer their first conclusion: “…[W]e find that under conditions of typical interest rate volatility, the value of these derivatives is highly volatile.”

Good heavens.

It is a banal conclusion but that does sound like the Wall Street that journalists were describing in August.

The general conclusions of these researchers is consistent with their labeling CMO paper as toxic waste: “…CMO contructs can be dangerous.”

For the danger, they cite as examples the 1994 “multimillion-dollar losses” at Akin Capital Management, Piper Jaffray, the Louisiana State Retirement Fund and Yamachi Securities.

Another conclusion: “Unfortunately, the institutions that have assumed the risk in recent years are opaque and it is impossible to determine whether and where there are concentrated exposures.”

So these researchers tell us that CMOs are dangerous papers and that we don’t know who holds this toxic paper except for banks which are required to report their holdings of “toxic waste.”

In the full report, the researchers give the names of ten banks that they think held this “toxic waste” in 2005. For these ten banks, they list the amount of the CMO holdings as a percentage of assets and as percentage of capital.

All of the banks listed are owned by publicly traded financial holding companies.

The information is displayed in Table 4 in the paper.

The information is easy to find, easy to understand and it really seemed to me that the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank was inviting investors to sell these stocks to avoid the risk of the toxic waste that these researchers said the banks held.

Name
CMOs (thousands of dollars)
Percentage of total assets
Percentage of capital

Commerce Bank, NA
$14,551,881
41.89% assets
724.96% capital

Merrill Lynch Bank
$7,930,545
13.14% assets
133.34% capital

Countrywide Bank, NA
$4,946,132
6.76% assets
92.56% capital

Merrill Lynch B&T
$4,460,239
42.47% assets
583.85% capital

Fifth Third Bank
$3,700,011
7.77% assets
75.17% capital

Charles Schwab Bank, NA
$3,424,178
50.13% assets
619.49% capital

New York Community Bank
$2,684,223
10.48% assets
132.87% capital

Branch B&T, Virginia
$2,577,437
11.45% assets
162.71% capital

HSBC Bank USA, NA
$2,339,228
1.66% assets
24.03% capital

Associated Bank, NA
$2,251,297
10.31% assets
150.99% capital


Did investors take the bait offered? Did investors dump the stocks of the banks that these two researchers said held this toxic waste? Admittedly, their list was for banks that held CMOs in 2005.

First a couple observations on Table 4. The CMOs cause noticeable distortions of financial measures for three of the banks. Commerce Bank, Merrill Lynch B&T, and Charles Schwab Bank. These three banks are in first, fourth and fifth positions as to total amount of CMOs held. They are also the top three when it comes to CMOs as a percentage of total assets and percentage of capital.

These are the kinds of distortions that catch the attention of investors and analysts. Also they are the kinds of distortions that give class action plaintiff attorneys whiffs of fresh red meat.

By these three ordinary measures, the three banks Commerce, Merrill Lynch B&T and Charles Schwab appear to be toxic waste dumps.

The Cleveland Fed policy paper is dated June, 2007. I received it sometime in July. Who knows if anyone on Wall Street received the policy paper or even read it.

I decided to make an estimate of whether the policy discussion paper might have had an effect on trading in the stocks related to the banks listed in Table 4.

I could have used trading volume in these stocks. Instead I chose approximate average closing price for the period April, 2007 through August, 2007.

The six months worth of monthly average closing price for the financial holding companies that own the banks in Table 4:

Name of bank and ticker symbol for parent holding company
Month
Approximate average closing price for month, in US dollars

Commerce Bank, NA . CBC
April $33
May $34
June $36
July $38
August $37

Merrill Lynch Bank. MER
April $80
May $92
June $85
July $76
August $72

Countrywide Bank, NA. CFC
April $35
May $40
June $38
July $35
August $21

Merrill Lynch B&T. MER
April $80
May $92
June $85
July $76
August $72

Fifth Third Bank. FITB
April $38
May $41
June $43
July $37
August $36

Charles Schwab Bank, NA. SCHW
April $19
May $20
June $22
July $22
August $19

New York Community Bank. NYB April $17
May $17
June $18
July $17
August $17

Branch B&T, Virginia. BBT
April $40
May $42
June $42
July $40
August $39

HSBC Bank USA, NA. HSBC
April $86
May $93
June $93
July $90
August $90

Associated Bank, NA . ASBC
April $34
May $33
June $33
July $29
August $28

The parent of Commerce Bank begins the period with a stock price of $33 and ends the period with a stock price of $37.

Charles Schwab begins the period with a stock price of $19 and ends the period with a stock price of $19.

Merrill Lynch is the only one with a noticeable decline from $80 to $72.

Similar varieties of trading results appear for the other seven banks.

My common sense conclusion is that the Cleveland Federal Reserve report had no effect on Wall Street trading in the stocks of the parent companies of these ten banks.

Whatever happened on Wall Street during the month of August was not related to the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank policy paper.

Contact us.
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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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.

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

Friday, October 24, 2008

Whitehall Board of Zoning Appeals on car storage at Langley and Hamilton, and old 7-11 store on E Main.

The Whitehall Board of Zoning and Building Appeals met October 22 to hear two cases. Since 1968 property located on Langley Avenue at Hamilton Road, behind a Smokes for Less store has been a storage area for cars. A special permit was granted to Davidson-Green Service Corporation for that use in the General Commercial District (GCD) at that time. The ordinance also had a condition that stated, "...that should such use be abandoned or upon any attempt by the owner, his heirs, assigns, successors, administrators, or executors or assigns to change such use, such special permit shall immediately terminate and the property shall revert back to General Commercial, and such uses authorized in a GCD".

Sean Mchalski purchased the property in July, 2007. He continued to rent space out for old cars, miscellaneous personal property and trash. Code enforcement cited Michalski for the misuse of the property and its unkempt condition.

The only permitted use that would be allowable specified in the code would be to store cars by a dealer or car sales company for overflow parking of a sales fleet.

It was also noted that Michalski never applied for an occupancy permit. According to BZBA Chairman Walter Arms, that if he had done so, perhaps he would have had a better understanding of what would, or would not be permitted as a use.

Board member Bruce Day continuously said that he could not understand why it couldn't be grandfathered in since it's been used for storage since 1968. Service Director Ray Ogden noted that there is no grandfather clause in that particular ordinance. Economic Development Director Dan Lorek added, "This administration is trying to clean these types of problems up in this city."

The property has been a blight for neighbors for many years. Shannon noted that even with a privacy screen and Michalski trying to meet the city half way with the clean up, the code will still not allow that use.

Day and fellow member, Bob Weatherby, voted to allow the use even though it goes against code, and would be as Ogden described, "illegal". Armes and member, Jack Garrett, voted against allowing the use. Larry Morrison was absent from the meeting, so with a tied vote, the appeal was automatically denied.

In the matter of a property located at 3940 East Main Street, a former 7-11 Store, a continuance was granted. Due to multiple code violations specified by Building Inspector Mike McGowan, including mold, the owner, Benderson Development Corp, LLC was issued an order to demolish.

Shannon met with the appellate, who asked the city for a punch list of items to fix as opposed to demolition. Both parties agreed on most points. Shannon said that the owners are making a good faith effort, and he saw no problem if they want to clean up before the next inspection.

Ogden said the city has marked what must be repaired in the parking lot. The owner has begun getting estimates this week, and agreed to have it resolved by the end of the year.

Reported by Dianne Garrett for Bexley Public Radio.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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. Dianne Garrett.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Whitehall School Superintendent Judyth Dobbert-Meloy interviewed on Bexley Public Radio.


Reporter Dianne Garrett interviewed Whitehall School Superintendent Judyth Dobbert-Meloy for Bexley Public Radio on benefits of Bond Issue 82.

Superintendent Judyth Dobbert-Meloy visited WCRX-LP on October 22 to address questions and concerns frequently asked by residents regarding Bond Issue 82.

The following is a summary of some of Garrett's questions and the Superintendent's responses:

Q: How much will the project cost, and how was that determined?

A: The total cost of the project is $78.1 million. The Ohio School Facilities Commission will pay $47,668,000 (61%). Through the bond issue, the community would cover the remaining $30,476,000 (39%). In other words. Whitehall would get five buildings for the price of two.

Q: How were these costs determined?

A: The OSFC has assessed all buildings multiple times to determine the needs. They examined every aspect of the structures, including mechanical and electrical systems, plumbing, instructional space, safety and security systems, roofs, foundations, handicap access and general condition. Many of the problems they found with the facility may not be seen from the street as one drives by. That is because the district tries hard to keep them looking nice. The problems do affect functionality.

Q: The buildings look fine, so why do we need new ones?

A: Other assessment findings included: classrooms too small (under state mandates), outdated technology, insufficient restrooms for staff and students, poor ventilation, buildings too hot in warm months and too cold in winter months, no doors for classroom security, overall lack of security systems, not enough locker or storage space, inadequate science and computer labs, as well as for art and music instruction, cafeterias that must also be used for gym classes and other activities and poor library facilities.

Q: Why not just renovate?

A: Due to the age and condition of the buildings, the OSFC has determined that it would not be cost effective to renovate them. The rule is that when it would cost more than two-thirds the cost of replacement to do renovations, the OSFC recommends replacement. All buildings fall into this category.

If you total the costs just to replace the systems in the buildings, provided by the OSFC, it adds up to $62,000,000. Our portion of this cost would require 5.6 mills and we would still have old buildings when finished. That is why OSFC does not recommend renovations.

Q: How long will the buildings last?

A: They are designed with a life expectancy of 50 or more years.

Q: What are additional benefits of new buildings?

A: The OSFC requires that new buildings be constructed to be efficient and environmentally friendly. They will use 30%-50% less energy; reduce harmful CO2 emissions by 40%; use 30% less water; have better lighting and temperature controls; have improved ventilation and indoor air quality; improve student health and performance, generate savings by reducing operating and maintenance costs; preserve the environment by using renewable resources.

Q: What can the bond money be used for?

A: The money raised from the bond issue and the money received from the state can only be used for capital improvements in the district. These funds cannot be used to pay anyone's salary, or for day-to-day operations of the district.

Q: What about unforeseen construction costs or unexpected costs?

A: All of those issues have been factored into the cost. If a problem arises that will be more costly, possible adjustments will have to be made somewhere in the plans.

Q: What will happen to the auxiliary gym and auditorium?

A: Every effort is being made to tear down and build around them, so that they will be retained. The gym is 20 years old, and will soon be paid off, and the auditorium is one of six in Ohio of that style and size.

Q: How much money does it take each year to maintain the buildings?

A: $500,000 - $750,000

Q: Do school facilities really have an impact on student achievement?

A: From research from the OSFC website:
Studies tell us a lot about the importance of school buildings and their relationship to the community and the students who occupy them. Studies show that academic performance is affected by the educational environment. Students actually do better work in bright, clean, well-ventilated and well-maintained spaces. Teachers say their own performance is enhanced as well.

Studies also show a relationship between substantial school buildings and lower student achievement test scores. Students perform better on tests in schools designed as modern teaching environments. The difference in test scores varies as much as 17%.

Q: Where will students go to school while the new buildings are under construction?

A: The plan is to build on the same property for each school while keeping the children in the old buildings. There are also funds available in the project to help with "swing space" such as portable classrooms or renting space.

Q: What are the benefits of new school buildings to people who do not have children in school?

A: From a study entitled "Public Schools and Economic Development":
* Schools definitely influence residential property values
* Type and quality of school facilities affect economic development
* Quality schools can help make states and local communities more
economically competitive.

Additional information:

The average home value in Whitehall is about $80,000, and the following is a breakdown of what that will cost home owners each month:

2009-2012 $17.29
2013 and beyond $14.03

The figures decrease because Whitehall residents are still paying 1.6 mills for bonds for the high school auxiliary gym. Those bonds will be paid off in four years, and will reduce residents total tax liability by 1.6 mills at that time.

Reported by Dianne Garrett for Bexley Public Radio.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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. Dianne Garrett.

Dianne Garrett reports on a solution for Christmas catalog overload.

The U.S. Postal Service and Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio announced two environmental pilot programs to raise awareness of opportunities to recycle disposed mail and reduce landfill waste.

The programs are called "Read, Respond and Recycle". Their message is that mail is recyclable. Items such as envelopes and advertising flyers qualify for recycling programs if they are shredded. Shredded mail items must be bagged so the shreds don't blow away.

According to the EPA, advertising mail makes up 2.4% of municipal solid waste, while more than 35% of this mail is now recycled.

Forty-three per cent of what is delivered to the Franklin County Landfill is paper or card board that is recyclable.

Central Ohio consumers can recycle for free at any one of the 212 centers operated by SWACO. To find one near you, log on to www.swaco.org.

It is not wise to recycle anything that contains personal information such as credit card offers or bank information unless they are shredded.

Otherwise, burn them. And if you burn it in your yard, don't forget to get an open burning permit.

Reported by Dianne Garrett for Bexley Public Radio.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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. Dianne Garrett.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Matuszak's photo album. Prints available.



Richard and Robin Schuricht, as President John Adams and Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president, engage in a lively debate as part of the Ohio Historical Center's Echoes in Time Theatre. The 30-minute program, which brings to life historical figures, is offered Thursdays at 7 and 8 p.m. at the center at I-71 and 17th Ave. In November the program will be "Letters from the Front," depicting a World War II GI and his wife exchanging correspondence.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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.

John Matuszak reports: Bexley City Council member wants deeper budget cuts.


Bexley City Councilman Ben Kessler wants to cut as much as $500,000 from next year's budget to keep available reserves from dipping to a dangerously low level.

Kessler presented his ideas during an Oct. 21 finance committee meeting. He emphasized that his proposals are "talking points" to get the debate going on achieving real savings in 2009.

The city is projected tp spend $2.1 million more than it takes in for 2009. That would take the year-end general fund balance down to around $200,000. That's in contrast to this year's expected balance of $1.9 million.

Kessler says the $200,000 balance projection scares him, and if the city has a bad year for income tax or estate tax collections - its main sources of revenue - it could find itself "over the edge."

One of Kessler's suggestions is to reduce the amount of money going to the parks and recreation department from the general fund by $200,000. This could be achieved by making the administration of the department more efficient, reducing unprofitable programs and raising some rates.

Kessler has also suggested reducing the transfer to the street fund by $150,000.

Auditor Larry Heiser pointed out that cutting those transfers would affect personnel in those departments.

Council is also looking at a new health care package that could cut costs by reducing the number of claims made by employees.

The representatives are banking on the recommendations of a newly formed economic advisory task force for guidance, while conceding that they can't wait until next year to take action.

Heiser said the 16-member task force is expected to hold its first meeting some time after election day. The group was formed by Mayor John Brennan to study the city's budget situation and make recommendations on ways to cut expenditures and increase revenue - including a possible tax issue on the fall ballot.

The task force is being modeled on a similar effort by the school district before it requested the passage of an income tax.

Councilman Jeff McClelland said that the task force should have a written mission statement to provide guidance, and its proceedings should be open to the public.

Service Director Bill Harvey added that the task force should realize that city officials are looking to make major changes in the millions of dollars, and not just minor adjustments, to its budget picture.

A report is expected by April or May, to give council enough time to decide on a possible ballot issue. Harvey said the task force should have a firm deadline to submit its report.

The next finance committee meeting to discuss the budget will be held Monday, Nov. 3, at 6 p.m. Council has its next regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m.

Reported by John Matuszak for Bexley Public Radio.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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.

Matuszak photos for sale.

Prints are available for $13.40. (s.t. and p. & h.).

Size: 8 1/2/ x 11

Tell us which ones you want.

Send your check to Bexley Public Radio, 2700 E. Main St., Suite 208, Columbus, OH 43209.


Obama campaigns at Genoa Park






Richard and Robin Schuricht, as President John Adams and Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president, engage in a lively debate as part of the Ohio Historical Center's Echoes in Time Theatre. The 30-minute program, which brings to life historical figures, is offered Thursdays at 7 and 8 p.m. at the center at I-71 and 17th Ave. In November the program will be "Letters from the Front," depicting a World War II GI and his wife exchanging correspondence.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Capital University's Fuller Society holds successful public forum on statewide ballot issues.


Tuesday evening, The Fuller Society holds a public forum on the statewide ballot issues being presented to Ohio voters.

After the program segment on the ballot issues is completed, surrogates for the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates offer presentations.

Most members of the audience depart after the issues forum. The photograph above illustrates the smaller audience that remained for the presidential candidate surrogates.

The forum begins almost promptly, at two minutes after 6:00 p.m.

Bexley Public Radio attends and records the discussions on Issues 5 and 6.

If successful, Issue 5 will remove legislative limits on the charges made by payday lenders. Issue 6, if it is successful, will authorize a gambling casino in Clinton County.

The audience totals fifty-five. The audience appears to be mostly students.

Five members of the audience wear “Vote No Issue Five” tee shirts. Another audience member wears an oversized badge that also says “Vote No Issue Five.”

Later these members of the audience are identified as employees of payday lenders. Their jobs hang in the electoral balance. None of these employees circulated their resumes so they appear confident that the initiative petition will fail.

Including the Bexley producer, there are two media representatives working at the forum. One of these media representatives later identifies himself as a Capital student and also member of The Fuller Society. His name is Jed Cooper and he records the forum on video. Is he a media representative? He is kept in the count. Two media representatives are working at the forum.

There are also the two presidential candidate surrogates.

And Cynthia Duncan, the faculty advisor for The Fuller Society, stands in the rear of the audience. Her critical eye watches the details of the proceedings.

The total number of people in attendance is sixty.

Lucas Baker, a member of The Fuller Society acts as moderator. He runs a tight ship. Ten minute segments are really ten minutes long. His precision will make the editing of the recording easy for the radio station.

Baker introduces Jennifer Beck who opposes the casino issue. Beck is an efficient speaker. She has twelve points to make. She makes her points clearly, offers understandable reasons and finishes her presentation in the allotted time.

No one from the gaming industry appears. Rick Lertzman is scheduled to speak in support of the casino but turns out to be a no show.

I imagine that I hear two students in the audience wager at four to one odds that Lertzman will arrive at the Bridge of Learning at 7:00 p.m. The student offering the odds explains that nobody schedules an evening meeting at 6:00. Lertzman probably thinks it is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

My own thought is that people in the gambling industry are unreliable and I’m not surprised that Lertzman doesn’t appear. Later I learn that Lertzman doesn’t appear at 7:00 p.m. He’s not there at 7:30 p.m. And he is not there at 8:00 p.m. either.

I’m not surprised. Lertzman, a man I’ve never met, fits my stereotype of someone in the gambling industry.

Next Lucas Baker introduces the proponents and opponents of Issue 5, the initiative petition to repeal legislative limits on payday lenders charges.

Bridgette Roman is the opponent and wants to end legislative limits on payday lender charges. Roman is an attorney. Her presentation is orderly. To make the point that Issue 5 threatens employment, Roman asks the payday employees in the audience to stand up. The five tee-shirted “Vote No” and one “Vote No” badge employees arise.

Nick Bates is a proponent of Issue 5 and wants legislative limits to be placed on the charges of payday lenders. Bates is a student in the dual law and divinity degree program at Capital University Law School and Trinity Lutheran Seminary. He is accompanied by Suzanne Gravette Acker.

The basic substantive disagreement of these two speakers is whether principles of Christian social justice or principles of Christian business judgment should control payday lending in Ohio. Of course, neither of the advocates was this specific in labeling the principles they were reasoning from.

At some point in Roman’s presentation, the proponents become upset and think that Roman is attacking them personally. Bates expresses personal pride in his own modest pay level and Craig is proud of her organization's tiny budget in comparison to the financial resources rallied against them.

The frisson of Craig and Bates is real but I do not comprehend what actually upsets them.

Lucas Baker notes that the final ten minute segment is complete and then offers the platform to a representative of the League of Women Voters who discusses Issues 1 through 5. This speaker also offers basic instructions and cautions about what to expect on election day at the polls.

The statewide ballot issues part of the forum concludes.

There is no applause when the speakers vacate the stage.

Bexley Public Radio disassembles its equipment.

Lucas Baker introduces the McCain and Obama surrogates.

I loiter in the hallway to pick up details about The Fuller Society that sponsored the evening event. Darious Fequire introduces himself as a member of The Fuller Society. Lucas Baker and Jacob Chapman introduce themselves as members. And finally, I meet Kristina McCann and Jed Cooper, also both are identified as members of the Society. Cooper I know as the media representative operating the video camera.

Fuller Society members. l to r. Jed Cooper, Kristina McCann, Darious Fequire, Lucas Baker and Jacob Chapman. Faculty advisor Cynthia Duncan declined the opportunity to be photographed.

Among the random bits and pieces that I learn is that the society’s purpose is to open up the political arena to students. This evening public forum is a success for that organizational purpose. A former Congressman is present. A representative of the League of Women Voters and activists from Cohio attend together with other lobbyists.

Other bits of information about the Society.

The Society is nonpartisan. The organization is named for Buckminster Fuller. Buckminister Fuller was a mid-20th century social scientist, philosopher, inventor, mathematician, and engineer. He was a syncretist who analyzed social issues from multiple disciplines of knowledge.

The Fuller Society approaches the understanding of social issues from a multidisciplinary standpoint.

The Society functions to provide students with opportunities for interaction with politicians, lawyers, interest group representatives and other social issue advocates.

The Fuller Society exists to serve educational needs of Capital University students by providing extracurricular
professional development and experimental opportunities.

The Society provides students with the opportunity to acquire an understanding of social issues that affect the structure and functions of American society.

Diverse political and personal views are encouraged and students are placed in situations that promote professional career preparation in an open and non-partisan environment.


Faculty advisor Cynthia Duncan says that all of the members are sophomore students and she is hopeful that this will give the organization stability and experience that will help it's growth during the next two years.

None of the Society members identifies himself to me as an officer of the organization. This omission is curious, particularly for an organization involved in political matters.

Politics is about titles and office. And here is a group that eschews any title but “member.” Interesting.

On the walk home, I speculate that The Fuller Society is actually modeled on one of the ancient Greek city-states that permitted no titles among its citizens.

I reject that idea and speculate on whether The Fuller Society is a front for a more insidious secret society. Now that is what this neighborhood needs. A collegiate secret society just down the street from our homes.

That is a story that would be fun to investigate.

Contact us.
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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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.

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

Sunday, October 19, 2008

2008 Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon


Bexley city council has time to consider whether six protesters should be banned from the sidewalk in front of a private residence.

Does city council have time to consider why eight porta-johns are blocking the sidewalk in front of my house.

Eight porta-johns.

Eight. Count them.

These green and gray outhouses stood outside our dining room window. Saturday and Sunday.

The eight outhouses mysteriously appeared Saturday morning.

No “By your leave.”

No courtesy notice. If we had guests for dinner on Saturday night, imagine the conversation.

The outhouses appeared with not even a “Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.”

We identified the culprits pretty quickly.

The 2008 Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon.

The usual Sunday morning run in the autumn. Always a minor inconvenience if you live on the marathon route. But nothing worth comment.

Usually the night before the run, we park our cars outside the route. We did that again this year. No big deal.

Also in years past, the Sunday of the run, I walk to church a little before eight o’clock and find a gap in the runners to get to the church on the other side of the street.

Danger of collision with the runners adds a little excitement to my walk to church.

Again no big deal and I get a kick out of dodging the runners to get to the other side of Drexel Avenue.

In years past the litter has been no big deal either. The volume of litter is always more than after a football game at Capital University or the Gallery Walk, but in years past, the litter has been nothing major.

This year it was different.

On Saturday when the eight outhouses arrived, neighbors called. Some dropped in to comment on the public toilets in front of our house.

Bexley neighbors are funny so much of the commentary was toilet humor. To be expected.

The real change from prior years was Sunday morning.

A four piece rock and roll band started playing before eight o’clock in the morning.

When I first heard the band, I was still inside the house. My first thought was that I was hearing the braying of jack asses.

The band was located at the Capital University entrance. The band’s amplifiers were loud. Very loud. Loud even as far north as Saint Albans and as far east as One Dawson Place.

Inside the sanctuary of my church, the rock band was audible.

A theme of the sermon was listening. Paying attention. My attention drifted from the preacher to the music coming from the street.

What does a rock and roll band have to do with a marathon race?

What does a band have to do with a marathon race for better health.

The band remains a mystery and I wonder if the permit issued for the marathon route included morning musical entertainment.

The eight outhouses blocked the public sidewalk in front of our house.

The result was predictable. People walked though our yard to get around the porta-johns.

As the race went on, toilet paper began to litter the grass in front of the eight porta-johns. To avoid the toilet paper, people ventured further into our yard.

The eight outhouses were not enough. My wife reports that at one point, there were thirty people in line waiting to use the outhouses.



Why was my front yard selected for the public toilets? There are more suitable locations near by.

One hundred and thirty yards from my house and still on the marathon route is a Capital University field. It is on East Main Street from Drexel Avenue to College Avenue. Wouldn't this be a more suitable location for a public toilet than a private residence?

And my favorite for an alternate location is also on Main Street. In front of the city administration building.

The workers for the outhouse company arrived early Sunday afternoon to tidy up. They were apologetic about the litter. One of the workers said the litter was more extensive at the outhouses near the Governor’s Mansion on Parkview.

Subtle that hint that when it comes to outhouses, I’m playing in the same league as the Governor. Of course, the Governor has his anti-capital punishment protesters in addition to the outhouses. I have only eight porta-johns to endure.

Six of the porta-johns have been taken away by two o’clock Sunday afternoon. Two unwelcome protesters remain in front of my house blocking the public sidewalk.

The marathon is almost over for another year.

Opinion by the WCRX-LP Editorial Collective.

Contact us.
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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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.

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

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dianne Garrett reports on threatened AEP electric rate increases.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is conducting a Public Hearing to find out what you have to say about proposed changes to your power company's rates and services.

The Hearing scheduled for your community will be the final chance to tell policy makers about the burden of escalating electricity rates will have on your household and vulnerable residents in your community.

You will be asked to print your name and complete address on a sign-in sheet located in the hearing room. The statement you make at the hearing is considered sworn testimony, which will be considered part of the official record of the case to be reviewed by the Commissioners before they make their final decision.

Before presenting sworn testimony, you will be required to take an oath stating that what you are about to say is the truth. Representatives of the company and other parties will be allowed to ask you questions about your statement while you are under oath. If you have a prepared written statement, it would be helpful for you to provide a copy to the court reporter.

American Electric Power has proposed a plan that could increase rates by 45 percent over the next three years. The company has also asked to delay the collection of costs that would result in increases of more than 15 percent in any one year, which could drive up customers' bills for years into the future.

The dates and locations:

October 21, 2008 at 12:30 p.m.
PUCO
180 East Broad Street
Hearing Room 11-C
Columbus, Ohio 43215

October 27, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.
Whetstone Park of Roses Shelter House
3901 N. High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43214

Reported by Dianne Garrett for Bexley Public Radio.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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. Dianne Garrett.

Dianne Garrett interviews Purple and Pink founder Jowanda Thomas.

Jowanda Thomas, founder of Purple and Pink, joined Dianne Garrett with an on air interview October 15. She shared her touching experience with cancer, as well as her organization, and an upcoming event.

On Sunday, October 31, 2004, Jowanda completed her monthly self-breast examination before getting out of bed. She found a lump, but was not alarmed, because she had a history of cysts, so she passed the lump off as another cyst, but she did notice it was larger. She examined herself again in the shower, and still felt it, but continued with her day.

Her husband, Kevin, is the pastor of their church, Barnett Road Baptist Church. Jowanda woke her youngest of three, and he began singing, "Rise and shine and give God the glory". She sang along as she awoke her older son and daughter.

She said, "When I arrived at church I literally gave no more thought to the lump. I was excited about teaching the Sunday school lesson, Creating a Renewed Trust, from Psalm 73. This Bible passage speaks about Asaph, who despite distractions, never stopped worshipping the Lord. His life was worship. He was born into the tribe of Levi, which meant from birth he was dedicated to help with the religious life of Israel. He was a musician and one who sang Psalms in their worship services. He was the chief musician, played the cymbals and wrote Psalms 50 and 73-83."

She said that like Asaph, she is a worship leader. At their church she leads worship in song, sings lead, directs the choirs and helps choreograph the praise dancers. Through His providence, she felt God had given this lesson to teach, because He knew the word of Psalm 73 would sustain her through what she was about to face. "I related to Asaph's ministry and emotional storms, and I admired his choice to trust God in the end," shared Jowanda.

When she went to see her doctor, she was told that she was facing Stage 3 breast cancer. The doctor explained that would mean chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. She found herself devastated, confused and scared. There was no history in her family of breast cancer.

The day after diagnosis Kevin and Jowanda told their children, Joshua, Kristin and Jonathan. "Immediately we took them out for dinner and a movie. We wanted to teach them that even during the storms, life goes on and that God must be glorified."

The doctors advised eight rounds of chemotherapy, using three different types of drugs. Her first round was December 2, 2004. It lasted three and one-half hours. She described the drugs as very strong, giving her the feeling she was dying. The next day was Kevin's birthday. Instead of celebrating she was rushed to the hospital with all the signs of a heart attack. The physicians initially thought the chemotherapy may have caused blood clots in her lungs. She spent 12 scary days in the hospital.

The days following her release found her weak. All her hair rapidly fell out. Her tongue, fingernails, toenails and palms of her hands turned bluish black. Her skin became rough and peeled, her gums receded and her teeth became sensitive. Like Asaph, she thought how she needed a renewed trust in God.

Jowanda decided that she just could not endure seven more rounds of chemo like she experienced. After talking to her husband, family and parents, she chose to not go through that again.

"I called my doctor to ask if she would removed the cancerous tumor right away. Hesitantly she agreed. While waiting for the surgery date, I did my best to pray, exercise and improve my nutrition. Just five weeks after being diagnosed with Stage 3, the doctors opened me up, but found necrosis...dead tissue. The tumor had shrunk to the size of a pea! The cancer was dead! Prayer! Renewed trust! God! He had moved faster than I ever thought He would. As a result my family, friends and I have experienced first hand the power or prayer."

Jowanda now witnesses where ever she can to make women aware of how early detection and self exams are so very important. She is now four years cancer free! She started Purple and Pink, a support and outreach group. It stands for "Glorifying God and Conquering Cancer". Her organization reaches out to families going through what her own family experienced. Sometimes they provide the money for a family to have some fun together during a difficult time. Or, if they are having difficulty paying a utility bill, Purple and Pink will assist.

On October 25 Purple and Pink will host Benefit Breast Cancer Awareness Concert, featuring nationally known gospel artists, Peggy and Amante Lacey at 6 p.m. Prior to the concert at 5 p.m., Dr. William J. Hicks, Oncologist at the James Cancer Hospital will conduct a public question and answer session.

Also available will be free to low cost mammograms provided by Ohio Health Mobile coach from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. You must register in advance by calling 566-1111.

The event will be at Barnett Road Baptist Church, 1500 Barnett Road. For more information, call 237-8320.

Reported by Dianne Garrett for Bexley Public Radio.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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. Dianne Garrett.

Dianne Garrett: Journal entry. National Cancer Awareness Month.

This is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. I like to call it "National Cancer Awareness Month". During "East Side News Round-Up" on October 15, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jowanda Thomas. She shared her touching story and experience with cancer four years ago, and I found a new friend in Jowanda. You see, I am also a cancer survivor.

My heart breaks for those who have had to endure so much suffering in order to survive, as well as those who did not. I don't know one person who has not been touched by cancer, whether it be themselves, a relative or a friend. I know that I have lost way too many loved ones.

On December 6, 2005 I was diagnosed with uterine cancer, just three days after my birthday. It was found on a routine, yearly check up. Hearing the doctor utter those three little words, "You have cancer", sounded to me like an exploding house falling on my head.
So many things raced through my mind, like, "I'm going to die", "How will I get through this", and I started making a mental note of all the things I wanted to do, and people I wanted to see before I died. My life seemed to suddenly be spinning out of control.

I had my first appointment with my oncologist on December 13. Here was a complete stranger who was going to hold my life in his hands. I'm a spiritual person, and began praying harder than I had in a long time. The doctor assured me that he was 99.99% sure that surgery would take care of it, since it was caught early. And, chemotherapy and radiation would probably never be necessary, but there was no guarantee. So he scheduled my surgery for January 19, and sent me home to enjoy my holidays, and prepare myself mentally for my journey. As he held my hand in both of his, he said that if he thought I needed to be admitted sooner, he would have sent me straight to the hospital that day. Those words gave me some calmness, and like Jowanda, I left the rest up to God. I called upon my faith, and remembered how many storms He had brought me safely through.

I called, emailed and told everyone I could, asking for their prayers and positive energy. My church family gave unbelievable support to my husband and me. I know of three other churches in Whitehall alone who had their congregations praying for me. I knew I had this horrible monster inside of me, and I also knew I wanted it OUT. But with all the positive energy I felt coming my way, I had this amazing peace right up until they rolled me into the operating room.

My doc was right. Surgery took care of it. I go see my docs every six months. Soon I will be three years cancer free. After my recuperation, I learned to say "no" more often so I can spend more time with family and friends, as well as doing nice things for myself. Like Jowanda, I tell everyone I know how important it is to have those yearly check ups, as well as self exams. It's only a small amount of time out of your life each year.

After cancer I see things more vividly. Sometimes it as if colors are brighter, laughter is louder and the smallest happy moments seem monumental. Instead of taking away from my life, cancer gave me insight INTO my life. It just gets better every day! It's amazing from where we receive our lessons and gain strength.

Dianne Garrett, Whitehall, Ohio

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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. Dianne Garrett.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Matuszak photo album.

Sen. Barack Obama greets supporters following an Oct. 10 rally at Genoa Park near COSI.



Matuszak attended the rally. He estimates that thousands of people gathered to hear the presidential hopeful.

Candidates are making frequent appearances in Ohio, an important swing state.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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.

John Matuszak: On the town.

Ever the man about town, Bexley Public Radio correspondent John Matuszak attends light theatre on College Avenue.



Allen Gundersheimer, Fred Luper and Johnny Crawford, veteran Gallery
Players performers, sing "Fugue for Tinhorns" from "Guys and Dolls" as
part of the community theatre's 60th anniversary celebration Oct. 12.

The men entered the stage using walkers, getting a huge laugh from the
audience and later a standing ovation.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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.

John Matuszak reports: New police headquarters for Bexley police.


It's an all-points bulletin - Bexley will have a new police station.

On Oct. 14, after a decade of debate and indecision, Bexley city council voted 5-1 to approve $850,000 in additional spending for the police station project, paving the way for a groundbreaking in the next couple of weeks.

A meeting of the Board of Control - made up of the mayor, auditor an council president - will be held to award one of seven construction bids for the station.

Council President Matt Lampke cast the lone no vote, expressing concern over the future financing of the $7.4 million station with the city's increasingly tight budget. He re-stated his preference for having residents vote on a bond issue for the station.

Lampke did vote yes to allow the ordinance on the additional funding to go forward on its second reading. Councilman Mark Masser was absent, and six votes were needed to suspend the third and final reading.

Councilwoman Robyn Jones commented that the project has had more than enough discussion and was overdue for a final vote.

The 20,000 square-foot station, replacing a 55-year-old building about one-quarter of that size, is slated to be built on property purchased earlier this year on Delmar Avenue on the city's north end.

Councilman Ben Kessler, who was instrumental in shifting the focus of the project to the Delmar site as a cost-saving measure, pointed out that the current station is "literally falling down" and needs to be replaced.

Kessler added that, regardless of what happens with the station, the city is going to have to make drastic changes in its finances in the coming year.

Mayor John Brennan is convening a citizens task force to study the city's revenue and expenditures, and he expects to have recommendations by next April or May. Those recommendations could include a tax increase request on the ballot.

To get the city through it current budget crunch, council could also enact a temporary reduced income tax credit without a vote of the residents, according to Brennan.

The current budget picture has Bexley's end of the year balance down to $200,000 by the end of 2009.

Mayor Brennan told council he has been able to squeeze spending a little bit more, but he can't get to the $1 million balance Kessler had asked for.

Budget discussions will continue at a finance committee meeting on Tuesday, Oct, 21 at 6 p.m. in city council chambers.

In other business, city council voted 5-1 to defeat a proposed restriction on picketing in front of a specific residence.

City attorney Lou Chodosh determined that the law would be unconstitutional and unenforceable.

The ordinance was drafted after residents complained about protesters outside the home of a Bexley doctor who performs abortions.

Chodosh predicted long, expensive legal challenges on First Amendment grounds if the ordinance passed. And he added that it wouldn't keep picketers from marching up and down the street.

He also pointed out that the city already has at least 12 ordinances on the books to handle protesters who get out of hand.

"Leaving this alone is the best course of action we can take. We can protect our citizens without it," Chodosh said.

Again, Lampke cast the lone vote in favor of the ordinance, arguing that police officers culd be trained to enforce the law.

The measure drew a large crowd during debate last month, before i as tabled for further study. No residents spoke or or against the ordinance at last night's meeting.

An America in Bloom award was presented by ground maintenance supervisor Mark Moore. Bexley received a first-place award among 32 cities entered nationwide for landscaping, and a second-place awardamong six cities with populations between 10,000 and 15,000.

Moore said Bexley needs to mount a large-scale volunteer effort to earn a first-place mention next year.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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.

Friday, October 10, 2008

MSMIB continues his reflections on public protests in Bexley.

"Protesters? …Not in Our Neighborhood" by the most sensitive man in Bexley, Simon Doer

What would the neighbors think? Protestors picketing on the public sidewalks of Bexley, Ohio on issues such as abortion or perhaps labor related issues by a union or employees of a corporate executive or students picketing a professor or teacher (probably not a good idea if they are still taking the class)?

It could and did happen when protestors decided to take their disagreement to the sidewalks adjacent to a Bexley resident who served as a physician for an abortion clinic. The result was a doctor, the point of that protest, (buoyed by residents concerned they may be future objects of protest) upset enough to seek an ordinance through city council prohibiting or limiting future protests in front of an individual’s residence.

While other laws address any resulting disturbances from pickets’ behaviors, such as threatening actions, harassment, stalking or acts of violence, at issue here is whether the assembly of protestors on the public sidewalks of the city adjacent to the home of a picketed individual can be prohibited. We are not here discussing publicly owned mansions, such as the governor's on Parkview Avenue (typically hosting protesters opposed to executions) or that of the Ohio State University's president on North Drexel Avenue (not recently hosting protestors, but the potential is there if, for example, the football program was downsized in favor of increased spending on academic pursuits).

It is a delicate (and yes, sensitive) issue. The right to assemble to present grievances and to exercise free speech are guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States and Ohio. Protesters must, however, by law remain on public property, the sidewalk, and not block public entrance or exit. Leaving sticky notes on the sidewalk is not an option for protestors as littering laws are sacrosanct.

Restricting or otherwise limiting those rights cannot be taken lightly and must account, as in the above access rights, for any infringement on the rights of others. Without going into a legal discourse, suffice it to state that you cannot yell “FIRE” in the Drexel (or any other theatre [unless of course there is a fire]) or use imminent “fighting words” as you could harm and infringe on the rights of others, but you can peacefully assemble in public and use your free speech (unless it is after hours and then other nuisance and noise disturbance ordinances come into play).
So, can an ordinance be crafted and drafted to properly and constitutionally limit protesters’ assembly on the public sidewalks adjacent to a picketed Bexley residence? The residence of the pro-choice abortion physician was located on East Broad Street, should the reaction be different when the house is on a small side street like Bullet Park Place? Perhaps the answer is no to both questions.

In a July 26, 2008 article titled “Bexley considers limiting protesters,” reporter Alayna DeMartini of The Columbus Dispatch astutely observed “Bexley is not exactly the next Berkeley.“ She noted that “Upper Arlington had enforced a picketing law until 1995. An anti-abortion activist sued for the right to protest in front of an abortion doctor's home there and won. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found the law to be unconstitutional, so the council repealed it, “ and that “Upper Arlington's former ban reads exactly like the one being proposed in Bexley: ‘It is unlawful for any person to engage in picketing before or about the private residence or dwelling of any individual.’"

Ms. DeMartini wrote that according to Lou Chodosh, Bexley’s city attorney, “the law would allow protesters to march past several houses, but not focus on any one home,” and that “Chodosh modeled Bexley's proposed law after one in Brookfield, Wis. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld it as constitutional in 1988.”
So, if protestors would annoy the neighbors as well as the targeted individual, perhaps the ordinance would meet constitutional muster?

A friend in another Ohio city placed the argument in perspective when he observed that it is more likely the neighbors of the picketed resident would be annoyed and inconvenienced than the targeted individual(s). His point was that the protesters’ target would likely avoid their home during the protest and picketing and stay elsewhere for the time. Meanwhile the neighbors would be subjected to the protestors’ chants and displays.
So from a practical perspective what are the neighbors to do if an ordinance is ineffective to restrict protestors in the neighborhood? Become creative, counter-protest. For example, neighbors could place signs on their lawns (assuming they can comply with the Bexley yard sign ordinance, which may be doubtful), so better yet stand in their own yards with signs stating, “Protestors Go Home,” “Not in Our Neighborhood,” “Protect Our Children,” “Silence is Golden,” “Heave Ho,” or any other number of counter arguments to the protestors’ displays. In this manner neighbors would not address the issue directly (with the potential for altercations), however, could show their peaceful request that the protestors move their assembly elsewhere.

On August 7, 2008, the editorial collective of this radio station reflected on the situation and proposed a compromise ordinance. The text of that comment is provided on the agenctofcurrency blog. The core idea of the editorial collective proposal, which has not yet been proposed in the form of an ordinance nor provided a reading by Council, is that when any Bexley resident attracts demonstrators and protestors, that resident would be “required to provide refreshments [such as water or more properly perhaps mineral water or champagne] and suitable facilities and accommodations for the public protestors.“ “Umbrellas should be available for inclement weather and lawn chairs provided so the protestors can rest.”

City ordinances are intended to be taken seriously and the time taken to consider them through three readings is important, ever ready for any challenge to the supreme courts. This sensitive man has not yet checked it out, but several websites refer to a September 9, 1919 Bexley, Ohio ordinance number 223 that prohibits the installation and usage of slot machines in outhouses. If the ordinance suggestion by the editorial collective of this radio station is to be considered by the Bexley City Council, we hope that ordinance number 223 will be considered as City Council sets the standards for refreshments, accommodations and suitable facilities for public protestors.

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

Thursday, October 9, 2008

John Matuszak reports: Bexley council wrestles with budget, police bids


Is the starting gun ready to fire on construction of a new Bexley police station?

And could a tax increase request be on the horizon?

On the police station, it's "Ready - aim - wait."

As it moved achingly close to approving a bid on the long-anticipated station, council members last night opted to wait at least one more week before giving the green light to the $7.6 million project.

In the meantime, representatives are agonizing over next year's budget and appear anxious about whether they can even afford to build the new station.

At the Tuesday finance committee meeting, council members Rick Weber and Mark Masser argued that the public should be given one more chance to speak out about such a large expenditure - even though the public has been mostly mute over the 10 years the project has been debated.

On the table is an ordinance that would okay spending an additional $850,000 on the construction of the station. The ordinance received its first reading at a special council meeting after the finance committee discussion.

It is expected to have a second reading and a possible vote at the October 14 meeting.

The added expenditure became necessary when the first round of bids came in $1 million over the architect's original estimate, which has since been revised upward.

In the second round of bidding, Thomas and Marker Construction came in with the lowest offer of seven companies with a bid of $5,424,400.

Finance Director Beecher Hale has included the almost $500,000 in debt payments on the financing of the full project in next year's budget.

That budget estimates $11.5 million in spending through 2009, and $9.2 million in revenue, for a budget deficit of $1.6 million.

That scenario would deplete the city's fund balance, taking it from this year's $2.1 million to a little over $400,000 by the end of next year.

The city also has a $1 million rainy day fund for emergencies.

Hale blamed the persistent spending gap on tax revenues that have remained flat over the last several years, coupled with increasing labor, health care and other costs.

He pointed out that Mayor John Brennan and members of the administration have reduced spending requests for 2009 by a little over $600,000 in comparison to the current budget.

That might not be enough, some council members said.

Councilman Ben Kessler suggested that the administration should continue to tighten its belt until the projected fund balance for next year is at $1 million.

Mayor Brennan responded that he might be able to squeeze the budget a little more and get the year-end balance close to $500,000, but doubted the city could reach the $1 million mark.

"I think I've skinned the cat pretty well," Brennan said.

Councilman Weber interjected that the city could improve its bottom line by having residents vote on a tax issue to pay for the police station.

Councilwoman Robyn Jones floated the idea of requiring a balanced budget, but Brennan said that would be a mistake and would require laying off employees, including police officers.

Councilman Jed Morison suggested revisiting the budget in six months, but Kessler is worried that the city doesn't have six months before the global financial crisis worsens.

The budget picture ultimately affects large projects such as the police station, and the current fiscal crisis has officials questioning whether this is the best time to borrow.

Part of Brennan's plan to improve the city's financial standing is to convene a task force of citizens who would study the budget situation and make recommendations on cutting spending and boosting revenue. Those interested can get more information on the city's web site.

This could include a tax increase request next year. Brennan said he would prefer to ask for the increase before the school district places an issue on the ballot in 2010.

Councilman Masser expressed his approval of having a citizens' task force and added that the city needs to find a way to increase its revenue. Masser has been an advocate of a "tax equalization" plan that would bring the income tax rate paid by people who work in Bexley with residents who work outside the city.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Matuszak journal entry: Springsteen appearance at OSU


Bruce Springsteen urges a crowd of 10,000 fans to vote early, during a rally in support of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on the Ohio State University Oval Oct. 5.

Springsteen performed solo acoustic versions of "Promised Land" and "Thunder Road," as well as his
folk-influenced "Youngstown" and Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land."

He had appeared previously at OSU at a rally for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bexley, Ohio. John Matuszak reports on police bids and budget to be revised.


Bexley police bids come in; budget to be revised

Bexley City Council opened a second round of bids for its proposed police station Sept. 30, and appears to have come a little closer to the mark on the estimated cost. The latest figures have city officials hopeful that they might be able to lock in costs and possibly break ground this fall.

The second set was needed after the first bids came in around one million dollars above the architect's estimate of $4.5 million. Bids for public projects must be within 10 percent of estimates, which disqualifie all of the seven bids received.

That led the planners to revise their estimate for the base bid to $5.4 million. The entire project is slated to come in at around $7.4 million.

The low bidder is Thomas & Marker, which submitted a bid of $5,416,000.

Other bidders included Ferguson Construction, at $5,498,000; Charter Hill, $5,571,000; 2K General, $5,591,000; Altman, $5,444,000; Robertson, $5,479,000; and Gutnecht, $5,425,000.

In a memo to his employees, police Chief Larry Rinehart announced the results and predicted that they could see activity on the Delmar Avenue site within "weeks."

Rinehart put weeks in quotations as a sign of his often-stated cautious optimism and the reality that this project has proceeded in fits and starts over 10 years.

The next job for council members and city administators will be to review the bids before awarding the contract. Mayor John Brennan said he will send the bids to the council members, who could act within a couple of weeks.

Council is scheduled to meet October 7 to continue discussions on the city's 2009 budget. Brennan did not know if they would be ready to talk about the bids at that time.

City Auditor Larry Heiser is reporting that next year's budget picture might not be as rosy as previously believed. Officials had hoped to trim at least $1.7 million off of this year's spending. But after receiving updated budget requests from department heads, Heiser thinks that may not be realistic.

The latest budget figures show projected revenue of $9.8 million in 2009, and $11.7 million in general fund expenditures. That scenario would leave the city with a fund balance of less that $250,000 at the end of the year. This year's fund balance is estimated at $2.1 million.

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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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, October 2, 2008

Bexley, Ohio. Buying nursery stock at auction. Amy Maurer's thoughts.

It is interesting that notices of nursery auctions appear in the Fall, and there is a good reason for this. Fall is an excellent time to plant most trees and shrubs. There are a few that do not like to be uprooted at this time of year, but material in Fall auctions is usually either pot grown, or was dug in the Spring and has been sitting in a burlap bag all Summer.

The reasons for Fall auctions are many. Overstocks, not enough room in the nursery, the poorer quality plants that are left after the best have been sold, unpopular cultivars, etc.

What the buyer at these auctions should understand is this-if you can't tell the difference between a good quality plant and a poor one, you might as well bury your money in the ground along with the plant because you could wind up with something that isn't worth having.

A nursery that has a regular Fall sale is putting its reputation on the line. Apublic sale at a fairground keeps the grower anonymous and could be a good "dumping ground" for material that is really substandard. It's the old "buyer beware" mentality. You pay your money and you take your chances.

If I were to go to a Fall nursery auction the fairground location in favor of an auction at the actual reputable nursery. But even better than that, the difference you pay at a sale versus what you a professional plant person such as a landscaper or aborist would charge to pick a plant for you, site it and plant it correctly seems to me a small price to pay for something that will give you many years of joy and appreciation.

Trees that have structural defects will always have these defects no matter how much bigger the trees get. A wound on the trunk of a treet will always be there and will slow the tree's growth. The tree you saved $100 on may wind up costing you a lot more than that when it has to be prematurely removed due to poor performance-and then you'll have to invest in a new treet and start all over again.

It comes down to the old adage that you get what you pay for.

Contact us.
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
Email wcrxlp@yahoo.com
Blog http://agentofcurrency.blogspot.com

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.

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