Your health, our government and our food.

Breville BJEF10XL Ikon juicer

The juicer of “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead” Breville BJE510XL Ikon 900-Watt Variable-Speed Juice Extractor

A few weeks ago I posted this:

Right now, my favorite product is this Breville BJE510XL Ikon 900-Watt Variable-Speed Juice Extractor. I’m 5 days into a 30-day juice fast and feeling great. You can buy one of these juicers and help support the site- and get healthy. If you’re wondering why I’m doing the liquid diet- you should watch this movie: “Fat Sick and nearly Dead.” You can watch it via Netflix streaming or for free online via the site. I’m inspired by the movie and my friend Pastor Jimmy Mann who has juiced for years. If you know him, you know you won’t find a more healthy, energetic, positive person.

via The best ad agency in Dayton Ohio supports esrati.com.

Five days is nothing. I’m at day 26 now, and although I’ve had a few meals out- sushi, salads and the wonderful half socca with salad at Olive, an Urban Dive, for the most part- it’s been juice 3x a day, nuts and my homemade hummus (plantain chips from Trader Joe’s are amazing btw). I also have eaten bananas, apples, oranges, and carrots and celery (to scoop the hummus).

I’m down 15 lbs. I haven’t felt as much energy, mental acuity and gotten as deep a sleep ever. And, I’ve not been hungry. Sure, it’s been hard watching people at work eat Pizza Bill’s amazing “Buffalo Chicken Ranch” pizza (our office favorite- since our video guru, Max, suggested the recipe to Bill). It’s definitely helped that I’ve been doing this with my amazing partner, T.

On the recommendation of a friend who works for a bariatric surgeon (the guy who does surgery to help you lose weight if you don’t take my advice now). I also watched “Forks over Knives.” There are a slew of movies you can watch to tell you what you don’t want to hear: our diet of over-processed food, promoted by a government funded by lobbyists for big agriculture, is making us sick, fat and walking medical disasters waiting to happen.

Going carb-, sugar- and meat-free- essentially vegan, raw- was something I never thought I’d do. But, considering the way I feel and how easy this has been- I’m wondering why should I go back?

Since I’ve never been a coffee or caffeine drinker- and have always preferred water over soda, and I don’t drink alcohol- this diet was probably a lot easier for me to adopt than it will be for many of you. Don’t get me wrong, I still miss steak, gyros, Skyline Chilli- but, I don’t miss how I felt when those were part of my diet. And, for me, day 2 of juice wasn’t fun- let’s just say, don’t plan on going too far away from a restroom.

We have a lot of libertarian commentators on this site, who are always talking about personal responsibility- and taking government out of everything. The new health-care provisions which were helped by Thursday’s Supreme Court decision aren’t really the answer to solving the health-care problems in our country- changing what we eat would.

I’m not going to go into all the statistics about how our nation comes in 37th in health care, or leads in heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer, or how inefficient our health-care system is, or what the costs of treating all these diseases is annually- including the loss of productivity. I’m also not going to go into the effect of the “Western diet” is having in China- where the introduction of our over-processed, meat- and carb=centric diet is causing the same outcomes. We can skip the cost of the pharmaceuticals that are prescribed to “treat” the disease- instead of curing the cause. I’m not going to talk about the stupidity of having mandated health “insurance” instead of just putting all the money directly into direct health care. All of these facts, figures, and data are easily available elsewhere, and covered in the movies. And, besides these two movies- there are a ton more.

The list of movies about eating healthy, raw, organic, local, vegan, unprocessed, and the impact on health, the economy and productivity – ultimately telling a story that our government has lied to us and waged a secret war on our health through bad agricultural policy and horrible health suggestions;

  • Food Inc
  • Food Matters
  • King Corn
  • The Future of Food
  • Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat
  • Botany of Desire
  • To Market to Market to Buy a Fat Pig
  • Blue Gold: Water Wars
  • Sweet Misery
  • The Real Dirt on Farmer John
  • Food Fight
  • American Meat
  • What’s organic about organic
  • Fresh
  • Fast Food Nation
  • Processed People
  • A Delicate Balance
  • Eating
  • What’s on your plate, and of course
  • Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
  • Forks over knives

Each movie has a site, and reviews- and if I had hours, I’d build links to all. Many are available on Netflix instant. There is one doctor who keeps appearing in many of them: Dr. Joel Fuhrman who has a best seller, Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition, which you can read to find out that you should be eating  a lot less meat, cut out sugar, carbs, alcohol and caffeine.

In terms of cost of the juicing diet- we’re spending about $150 to $200 a week to juice for two.  We’re also not eating out much- saving a lot of money. The biggest issue is that our refrigerator fills fast- and empties quickly- and cooking for the kids adds another meal to prepare. On average it takes about 20 minutes to clean, peel, prep the ingredients for juicing and about 3-5 minutes to clean up after. At first, we were following recipes from the “Join the Reboot” site from the movie Fat Sick and Nearly Dead- but soon we started winging it- it also didn’t help that they redesigned their website and made the recipes harder to use.

On making juices: our favorite ingredients are raw ginger, lime, carrots, apples, strawberries, cucumbers, oranges, lemons, rhubarb, grapes, broccoli, pears, peaches and pineapple- then throw in kale, Swiss chard and beets as the “it’s good for you ingredients” and you can live happy. Our rule of thumb has become: never to take the juicer apart until you taste it- so if you need to doctor the juice you can. The only absolute loser in the juicer was radishes- which with just a few made the juice have a pucker factor fail.

I’m not going to post before and after pictures either- no one wants to look at me- but, I’ve lost at least 2″ to 3″ off my waist, and will probable continue to lose inches as I continue this diet and up my workouts (work has been incredibly busy lately).

Even if this diet doesn’t appeal to you, next time you are out- start looking at people and counting the numbers of people who could do with losing 15 lbs. or more. Think of the costs of the diseases and health issues that come with the ever-expanding waistlines. What is the impact on our health-care costs and productivity?

Next time you have a physical, look at your cholesterol, triglycerides and risk factors for heart disease- and ask, if you can afford the treatment and the impact on your life?

While we believe in cheap, abundant food- Dollar menus at fast-food restaurants, processed prepared foods at the grocery stores- they come with a hidden price tag that can far exceed the “savings” up to and including a premature end to your life.

Go take a hard look in the mirror- are you happy with what you see? If you are ready to change your body and feel a hell of a lot better, take my advice and buy the juicer above- and start drinking your way to feeling great.

The Dayton Daily news sensationalizes every Dayton VA mistake

On the day after the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on health care, the Dayton Daily News chooses to publish a front page story on a tiny screwup by the Dayton VA. Coincidence? Or, an attempt to sell their rag?

The VA medical system is the largest health care system in the United States, and unlike the for-profit hospitals, they don’t buy full page ads in the DDN on a regular basis, or advertise on Channel 7. And, as a veteran who gets all his care there- they also don’t use paper records- and haven’t for the last 7 or 8 years- when they made the switch to entirely digital record keeping- something the DDN fails to mention in this article:

A disabled Marine veteran received a letter from the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center this week stating that personal medical records for him and other veterans — documents including birth dates and Social Security numbers — were found in the former home of a deceased VA staff employee.

Angelo Arnold, 51, of Centerville said he plans to contact a lawyer about suing the VA to allege that his privacy rights were violated.

The letter from the VA said “records pertaining to you” were among those found in the Centerville home of a deceased former employee. The current owner of the home contacted Centerville police after finding a lid-covered box of records this spring in the home’s attic.

Arnold said a Dayton VA official told him the records included his and those of 15 other veterans. The VA confirmed that number Thursday night and said it is notifying each veteran.

“This is a grievous injustice to veterans,” Arnold told the Daily News in an interview Thursday. “My rights have been totally violated. Someone has to be accountable at the Dayton VA. This sends a message that certain VA staffers are very careless and reckless with our files. Our case files should be protected.”…

Arnold received the letter from the Dayton VA Wednesday, and on Thursday obtained copies of approximately 300 pages of records. Those records dated to 1980 and included a detailed accounting of his injuries, medications and medical conditions.

via Veteran’s records found at home of deceased VA employee.

While Mr. Arnold rightfully should be unhappy with the VA, unless there is proof that either these records were used for malicious purposes such as identity theft, or that these records weren’t already digitized and in his file, thereby causing his benefits to remain unchanged- his claims sound more like the coaxing of a reporter or an accident-chasing attorney than most vets I know who get their care at the Dayton VA.

While it is in vogue to say things like “we need smaller government” or “government doesn’t do as good a job as the private sector” when it comes to the VA, by all accounts, the level of care for the tax dollar is much more effectively spent. And, despite the wayward dentist who should have been fired long ago at the Dayton VA, compared to the debacle at MVH where patients died from Legionnaire’s disease soon after the new wing opened, this records issue isn’t even worth a blurb on page 6.

Help the savior save ISUS

Last week, I wrote about a great charter school that was shutting down, thanks to the way Wall Street has destroyed the housing market.

ISUS, or “Improved Solutions for Urban Systems” has been making a difference in our community for over 20 years. All that of what founder Ann Higdon had built, was about to go to the auction block, destroying any chance of ISUS rising back up.

In Saturday’s DDN we learned that local businessman Craig Vauhgn of Vaughn Interior Concepts was in negotiations to buy the equipment and building to keep it in place, whole. This had been in the works for about two months- and while keeping the assets in place and together so the school can restart, the school probably won’t be open next year.

As any one in education can tell you- closing, even for a year, can cut the number of students down considerably and make it even harder to meet the economies of scale required to make the school work.

This is where you can help. Right now, Chase bank is sponsoring another one of these feel good grant competitions. They are giving away $3 million to 12 small businesses- and while I could be asking you to vote for my business, like local businesses Commuter Advertising and Freeze Frame,  I’m going to ask you to sign in and vote for ISUS- which gives our community a resource for the future- well trained, skilled crafts people to build our future. You have to sign in via Facebook at www.missionsmallbusiness.com

If the link doesn’t take you directly to the project- please search for “Vaughn Interior Concepts” and vote.

I find it disheartening that the most powerful country in the world is still capable of buying the F35- at $135 million a pop, but we’re forced to hold fundraising motorcycle runs, bake sales and concerts to put ISUS back in business.

There are people in this community that could write a check for $500,000 right now to put this school back in operation- I can think of three who make over $3 million a year- running companies that gain between half and ALL of their revenue from the taxpayers via the Federal Government. Two of them run Premier Health Partners, one runs Caresource. Mr. Vaughn has stepped up to buy the building and the assets, and will work to support the school in reopening- but, as a small HUBzone, WBE, SDBE, EDGE certified business, he has limited resources.

Mr. Vaugh, a Chaminade Julienne grad, employs 20 people on E. Third street. They make, sell and install custom commercial and health care cabinetry and are a distributor for Midmark, another local company. Believe it or not, while doing work for the VA, Mr. Vaughn has difficulty selling to Premier Health Partners who often overlook local companies (although they are trying to make an effort to do better).

If you know someone who can step in and keep the school operating next year, we’re going to work to change the business model so that the school isn’t dependent on selling the homes they build and the students are going to learn new fine cabinetry skills to make them even more employable thanks to the new partnership with Vaughn Interior Concepts.

To me, Mr. Vaughn is a local hero. Please, help them with your support of the Chase Mission Business Challenge- and tell your friends.

Thank you.

 

PTAC needs defib STAT

With the shutting down of EMTEC the Southwest Ohio office of PTAC (which serves 33 counties) is about to flatline. If the government acronyms mean nothing to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Why you should care is another matter.

EMTEC was the “Edison Materials Technology Center” or if you read their site:

…is a non-profit, member based organization that develops technology and business strategies, sponsors and manages collaborative technology projects and programs, and provides technology and business-based assistance that facilitate the commercialization of our member companies’ new technology.

EMTEC’s focus is on products and technologies in Advanced Materials, Advanced Energy, and Instruments, Controls, and Electronics with a commitment to our mission of accelerating technology to market.

With over 25 years’ experience, EMTEC provides technical coordination, business assistance, and commercialization support to Ohio’s industry, universities, and government labs to strengthen Ohio’s industrial competitiveness in advanced energy, instruments controls, and electronics, automotive, metals and castings, nanomaterials, composites, biomaterials, and other advanced materials markets.

via Edison Materials Technology Center (EMTEC).

They had offices in Research Park that were always very quiet, with people working in little offices. I always marveled at the display in one of the small fishbowl conference rooms of “technology” they had assisted with- including a mockup of a fuel cell from UltraCell (a company that proved to be a mirage of smoke and mirrors).

But, they were the “sponsoring host” to our PTAC- or Procurement and Technical Assistance Center- an organization that helps businesses register and prepare to do business with the federal government- sponsored by the Defense Logistics Agency.

Read the boilerplate govspeak from the site:

The DoD Procurement Technical Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program was established by Congress in 1985. The purpose of the program is to generate employment and to improve the general economy of a locality by assisting business firms in obtaining and performing under federal, state, and local government contracts.

The Defense Logistics Agency, on behalf of the Secretary of Defense, administers the DoD PTAP.

The Program is funded through a cost-sharing Cooperative Agreement with the Department of Defense to establish Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs), who are charged with assisting businesses in learning how to do business with federal, state, and local governments.

PTA Centers are a local resource available at no or nominal cost that can provide assistance to business firms in marketing their products and services. They offer training to businesses on how to research and bid on contracts, assist with registration requirements, provide bid-matching services, and assist with pre and post contracting issues.

via Procurement Technical Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program.

Now if you are scratching your head asking isn’t this what the Small Business Administration is supposed to do, you probably aren’t alone. However, since doing business with government is nothing like doing business in the public sector- it might make a little sense.

If you’ve never heard of CCR, ORCA, MPIN, TPIN, the FAR, FBO, or a GSA Schedule consider yourself lucky. We’ve built an entire subculture of complexity around doing business with the government. Instead of simplifying and streamlining – we created a whole new order of bureaucracy to “help” you navigate it. This is where PTAC comes in. They provide assistance and guidance in making sure you’ve filled out every possible form and met requirements to sell widgets to the government and do business with large “prime contractors” who already do business with government. And if you can stomach it all- and have the time and money to jump through all the hoops- they come in quite handy.

As a founder of VOB108 (now called VOB Ohio), a group of Veteran Owned Businesses, PTAC supported our group and our efforts to provide assistance to vets in business and wanting to re-enter the workforce- helping us find members and providing meeting spaces and help spreading our group’s message. Without them, our organization wouldn’t be where it is today- running a Vetrepreneurs Academy for over 45 vets to help them start and refine their own businesses.

And while the real answer may be that we just need to simplify our government contracting pipeline, so that proposals I make to the government are only 6 pages like I do to my clients, instead of mini-books of 150 pages or more, in the immediate short run, the loss of the PTAC services to Southwest Ohio could hurt our competitiveness.

As of next Friday, June 29, PTAC will also die with EMTEC. Possible new “hosts” or “sponsors” that would make sense are the Dayton Development Coalition (finally giving them a real reason for existing other than as high-priced quasi-governmental lobbyists), the Entrepreneurs Center, UDRI, or even sponsorship by a large government prime contractor like GE- that should feel the need to give something back to the community after getting such a big tax break for their new offices on South Patterson Boulevard.

Then again, we could realize that our entire process of government contracting is far from “free markets at work” and we could just shut down the entire PTAC program and tacitly acknowledge that the only real guarantee of government deals is by making large donations to your congressman and be done with it. Because as far as I have witnessed, that’s the best way to land a government contract.

 

When Wall Street destroys hope

There have been more than a few jokers on Wall Street who made over a billion dollars in a year as “hedge fund traders.” If you wonder where your home values went, your pension money went, or why your city can’t figure out how to pay for street lights- if your IQ is bigger than your shoe size, you should be able to put two and two together and realize you’ve been robbed.

For what would be less than rounding error on these men’s tax returns, a charter school that has been transforming lives and keeping young men and women out of prison and poverty for 20 years is going to close.

ISUS (Improved Solutions for Urban Systems) was the first alternative charter school in Dayton. Run by one tough woman, Ann Higdon, she created a high school for kids who weren’t doing well in a regular school- or had already dropped out, where kids would learn, hands on, how to build and repair homes. They even had a modular home assembly line in the building. She was a bit of a celebrity on the vocational education circuit and has won numerous awards.

The school stayed in business partially based on profits from selling the homes that the students built. Thanks to the Wall Street meltdown, that model broke.
For the lack of buyers, 200 kids (at one point the school had over 300 students) and a staff of 38 will be on the street next year. The building- which the frugal Ann never bothered to buy a proper sign for, is about to be auctioned off.

If you calculate the difference between a lifetime of crime or welfare for the kids she’s trained and the benefit to society from having these kids with real skills and jobs- over 20 years, for 100 kids per year- that’s 2,000 kids you won’t have to pay for a lifetime of food stamps or prison bills.

What did we get from the wizards of Wall Street? Where was the trickle down?

Or- if we stopped allowing our political offices to be sold to the highest bidders- we could put $1 million down on saving this worthwhile program- instead of donating to the Romney campaign.

There is one quote in the DDN story on ISUS worth repeating:

“What ISUS is focusing on is, ‘Where is the support coming from?’ ” she said. “I think ISUS is too good of an idea to give up on.”

via $2M debt ?to close charter school.

ISUS was a proven program that worked. It was an education program that saved us money. It was one of the great things in Dayton that most of us hardly knew was there and now it’s going to be gone.

This is why Wall Street needs real regulation. This is why we need to stop believing that spending billions on elections will buy us good government or that it’s free speech, when it in fact makes political speech extremely expensive and carefully worded.

Dayton Public Schools would do well to try to absorb ISUS and find a way to put it back in business- but they too are cash strapped.

It’s sad that we can find money in our national budget to keep the C27J or continue on the road to reckless spending on the F-35 and spend trillions on Afghanistan, but can’t find the money to keep a school open.

It’s also insane that David Tepper of Appaloosa Management, made $4 billion in 2009 on Wall Street- as our economy collapsed.

If there is still justice in America, I’m not seeing it.

Has perfecting the weapons of war made war obsolete and terrorism the only option?

Throughout history, with each new war-fighting technology the inventors thought they had created the ultimate deterrent to war. From the catapult, to the machine-gun to mustard gas to nuclear bombs and ICBMs the idea that if you build the ultimate weapon, war as we know it will end, because who would be stupid enough to attack knowing they would be guaranteed to lose and die?

The problem with this entire scenario has been pointed out time and time again, that wars aren’t fought by the people who start them. It wasn’t George W. Bush on the front lines of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” nor was it Congress.

Make that slight change, and we’d stop making war and probably make some real progress in our country.

There are two very different military weapons systems that amaze me as a rational, thinking former paratrooper- and both give me reason to believe war as we know it is obsolete.

The first is the ultimate infantry weapon- the Switchblade man portable drone:

Seeking to reduce civilian casualties and collateral damage, the Pentagon will soon deploy a new generation of drones the size of model planes, packing tiny explosive warheads that can be delivered with pinpoint accuracy….

The new Switchblade drone, by comparison, weighs less than 6 pounds and can take out a sniper on a rooftop without blasting the building to bits. It also enables soldiers in the field to identify and destroy targets much more quickly by eliminating the need to call in a strike from large drones that may be hundreds of miles away.

“This is a precision strike weapon that causes as minimal collateral damage as possible,” said William I. Nichols, who led the Army’s testing effort of the Switchblades at Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Ala.

The 2-foot-long Switchblade is so named because its wings fold into the fuselage for transport and spring out after launch. It is designed to fit into a soldier’s rucksack and is fired from a mortar-like tube. Once airborne, it begins sending back live video and GPS coordinates to a hand-held control set clutched by the soldier who launched it.

When soldiers identify and lock on a target, they send a command for the drone to nose-dive into it and detonate on impact. Because of the way it operates, the Switchblade has been dubbed the “kamikaze drone.”

via Pentagon to soon deploy pint-sized but lethal Switchblade drones – Los Angeles Times.

Never again will grunts be pinned down by a sniper who has the high ground, never again will a mortar tube behind a hill or a howitzer miles away be a problem. Pull out one of these compact air forces in your back pack and kill the enemy. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide and no need to call in air support.

Of course, further in the article, we see foreshadowing of the next problem: creating a way to defend against enemies with the same weapons:

The Switchblade “is symptomatic of a larger problem that U.S. military and aerospace companies are generating, which is producing various more exotic designs,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Assn. “This technology is not always going to be in the sole possession of the U.S. and its allies. We need to think about the rules of the road for when and how these should be used so we can mitigate against unintended consequences.”

The Switchblade is assembled in Simi Valley by AeroVironment Inc., the Pentagon’s top supplier of small drones, which include the Raven, Wasp and Puma. More than 50 Switchblades will be sent to the war zone in Afghanistan this summer under a $10.1-million contract, which also includes the cost of repairs, spare parts, training and other expenses. Officials would not provide details about where the weapons would be used, how many were ordered and precisely when they would be deployed.

The second system is the gold- and diamond-encrusted F-35. What? It’s not bling? At a cost of $135 million each and a total cost of a trillion and a half dollars for around 2,400 planes rational people have to wonder what else you could do instead of buying weapons of war and investing in avoiding war? The project has doubled in cost, while our enemies that we can fight with these planes have been replaced by people who live in caves or compounds cut off from technology.

The basic premise of war is to take by force what is not yours and control it. The deployment of the nuclear bombs by the U.S. to end WWII broke one part of that equation- in that there was nothing left of Hiroshima or Nagasaki worth controlling after the bombing. A big part of the reason we were willing to use the bomb was because the Japanese had shown a dedication to fight to the death, to even sacrifice their lives as kamikazes to win at all costs. War no longer works when one side doesn’t care if they die or not.

This is why terrorism exists and why better, bigger, faster weapons are obsolete. A terrorist’s goal is to take and control the intangible, he doesn’t want your property or your country, he wants to take residence inside your head and control your thoughts and emotions. We don’t win wars with guns and bombs but with psychology and propaganda. Osama Bin Laden may be dead, but he gave our country new irrational fears that we’ve reacted to in asymmetrical fashion to a radical degree.

With the cost of these wars bankrupting our country and the policies of the people we’ve put in power creating an economic divide, we have become the kind of country that bred the very people we’ve sworn as our enemies. Countries with incredible poverty ruled over by a rich monarchy or a corrupt un-democratically elected government. With every single local government struggling to pave roads and keep street lights on, we have wasted trillions building schools and hospitals in Afghanistan and Iraq.

With the ability to change our government beyond the reach of the common man, with congressional seats costing well over a million dollars apiece and Senate seats way more, we are heading in the same direction as war- the only options left are unconventional and our next “American Revolution” will start much as the first one- by “terrorists.”

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Ignore this at your own risk. It’s time to question how we can continue to believe we can buy peace with weapons of war. We don’t need to elect Democrats or Republicans anymore- we need to elect members of the peace party, or we’ll forever be doomed to a world at war.

Dayton Public Schools reconfiguration challenges

When I grew up in Cleveland Heights, we had elementary schools from k-6, junior high for 7-9 and high school from 10-12. To me, that was the way it was. It was a little odd that 9th grade counted as high school but you weren’t at the high school, but that’s the way it was. As I was finishing elementary school in a building from the twenties, they were building a new elementary school in the parking lot next door and were closing off the street the school was named for to have enough room to build the new modern “open” building. From the day it was built, teachers have struggled with noise from the open plan, where classrooms didn’t have walls to the ceilings or a door. Progress.

Luckily, Dayton Public Schools didn’t fall for the open floor plan in their 28 new buildings, but they did structure the buildings originally for PK-8 and 9-12. Of course, it wasn’t totally consistent, with Stivers being a 7-12 building, but close enough (note it’s the only school that we kept the old building and just added new wings).

Since the de-seg order, almost all DPS kids were bused, so “load balancing” of kids to the school was relatively simple- just drive the kids to the right building, no need for placing schools where the school age population is. As we’ve learned in the attempt to switch back to “neighborhood schools” shifting populations makes for difficult allocation of kids to schools- add in a steadily fluctuating enrollment in charter schools and things get very complex.

To make matters worse, thanks to annexations and strange map-drawing skills, Dayton looks more like an octopus than what most cities look like. Throw in bold geographical and man made dividers like rivers and interstates, it makes getting kids to schools a major undertaking- never mind what you have to do with kids once you get them into the buildings.

Wright Brothers Elementary School with construction sign

A few old parts were saved, like Wright Brothers Auditorium

When the state offered the 2/3 financing of new buildings and voters passed the levy for the new buildings (a bonanza for the construction industry) money was allocated based on enrollments at the very beginning of the charter movement when virtually anybody could open up a school and start getting $5k per kid, per year, while teaching in a building that didn’t have to meet any of the same standards required for the public schools. When many of these failed, their students bounced back to DPS causing a new crunch on space. Unfortunately, to keep the demolition companies happy (also major donors to politicians) we agreed to demolish all of our old buildings. I’ve been watching the very slow progress as Patterson-Kennedy is destroyed- a building built better than any of the new buildings. These could have served as over-flow and load balancers in some cases, but it’s too late for that.

Despite the fact that Harvard is able to teach in 250 –old buildings and Cambridge in 600 year-old buildings, taxpayers were told that public school education couldn’t be done in our existing old buildings- while charters managed to do just fine in the same old buildings (Emerson Academy is at the end of my street and seems to be performing above DPS averages in a building from the 1920s and Richard Allen Academies are also doing well in the old United Way building on Salem). Even UD has managed to sell a high-dollar educational experience in old buildings, imaging that.

It now seems that educators in Dayton are having second thoughts about not having middle schools. Unfortunately, we don’t have buildings to spare or necessarily in the right places, so we’re considering expanding the high achools to 7-12 with Belmont coming online now, others may follow. There is no chance of building anything new- and of course, we were in a huge rush to tear down the former Julienne which might have served well as a central junior high, albeit a large one.

None of this is easy logistically. Unfortunately, the best solution might be to work collaboratively with some of the charters that have extra space in their buildings, however that’s almost like asking for a Hatfield/McCoy marriage.

As a neighborhood-focused community activist, what I find most disconcerting about the whole gerrymandering of kids and schools by market forces is that our neighborhood children have an incredibly hard time getting to know each other well- with most neighborhoods having kids in 5-10 different schools. East End Community Services has worked incredibly hard at connecting their neighborhood with Ruskin School (a rare instance of a charter coming back into the DPS system) and creating a true “community school.” To me, this is the major downfall of deseg. busing and our public/charter school configuration: kids don’t know their neighbors.

Cleveland Heights had true neighborhood schools. Of my friends from high school (with a graduating class of about 850) the people I’m still most connected to as I turn 50 are the ones who went to elementary school with me. We had between 80 and 100 kids in my grade and so I’m extrapolating that there were 8 elementary schools in the district (they’d actually closed a few due to declining population when I was in grade school). Kids in Dayton aren’t getting that shared experience that I had- and that’s a shame. Somehow, we need to figure out how to reconfigure our neighborhoods so that despite kids going to so many different schools, we can at least give them a stable connected community to build their long-term relationships that have meant so much to me.

As I drove past the former Boys and Girls Club at Keowee and the U.S.-35 off ramp (the strangest place to put a kids’ facility I think I’ve ever seen) I noticed that the building was for sale and it looked like the charter school had left. I then drove down Hickory Street past the old YWCA which was given to the neighborhood by Virginia Kettering in 1971 and stopped being a Y or a neighborhood facility sometime before 1986 when I moved into South Park. The city also just closed and sold off the Bomberger Teen Center and has cut the number of neighborhood Recreation centers down. How are we supposed to give our kids what we took for granted? How can we compete with the seemingly stable districts in our suburbs like Kettering, Oakwood or Beavercreek?

I have a vision for bringing  our neighborhoods back to being neighborhoods, the problem is I’m finding mostly deaf ears. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Full disclosure: My company, The Next Wave has done some work for DPS, this post doesn’t contain any proprietary knowledge or information and wasn’t written on behalf of the district or with its permission or oversight.

A Dayton Streetlight Tax: because the Dayton City Commission can’t do its job

day in the life: day in the light

Creative Commons License marya via Compfight

Now we have the Dayton City Commission about to shift the cost of lighting the streets to the property owners in Dayton because it has been so busy giving away the store that there’s no money left for basic services:

The City Commission will vote next Wednesday on a streetlight assessment that will affect just about every property owner in the city, raising around $3 million to cover the cost of the lights and improve at least one-quarter of them.

“I look at this an investment program that will give the city better lighting for safer streets and save us money,” City Manager Tim Riordan said prior to the first look at the proposed resolution.

The six-year assessment would cover all property in the city, including such tax-exempt properties as churches, and city, state and federal buildings.

It would shift the cost of the streetlights from the city’s General Fund, which covers the day-to-day operations of the city, directly to property owners.

via Streetlight fee on city commission agenda.

This tax will raise about $3 million a year and is scheduled for 6 years. Calculation will be based on property value, not lineal feet of street, so people who have dark streets will be paying for the blazingly bright Belmont Business District just because the commission can add a tax.

Part of this money will be used to switch existing lights over to LEDs which consume a lot less electricity. Federal law requires cities to start making the switch – with each switched fixture costing half as much to run over the course of the year. We’re required to replace at least 1/3 right now according to the city manager.

Instead of raising our taxes, might it have made sense to take the UPS/Emery air freight building at Dayton International Airport from UPS and started scrapping it ourselves- raising at least $4 million just from the diesel generators and the stainless steel fuel farm? Add in the $7 million UPS paid the city to get out of their lease, and we’d have $11 million to spend right away on replacing mercury vapor lights and cutting the cost in half citywide. There was also a pretty sophisticated conveyor system that could have been sold or scrapped for several million more. Instead, we gave it all away to IRG, including a check right off the bat for $3.5 million.

So, the reason you are about to be taxed for streetlights is really not because we’re broke, but because you, the voters in the city of Dayton decided to elect some dim bulbs to the city commission. Note, Mayor Gary Leitzell was the only one who voted NO to give away the valuable asset of the UPS/Emery Air Freight hub to the vulture capitalists at IRG.

 

The best ad agency in Dayton Ohio supports esrati.com

Shameless self-promotion here. Since 2005, I’ve been supplying Dayton with the best forum on issues, insiders, politics and news on esrati.com. This site is read by the people who want to know what the Dayton Daily News is either too understaffed to cover, lacking in institutional knowledge to cover or connect the dots (since Cox refuses to negotiate a contract with the union- and can’t keep talented people here) or doesn’t have the balls to poke at the establishment (of which they think it’s their duty to support and be a part of- new head honcho Julia Wallace is a member of the Dayton Business Committee).

Then there is me. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told “you’ll never do work in this town” for writing what I write on this site. Luckily, there are some fine people in Dayton who still believe that having great advertising and supporting the voice of the people is good business.

The Next wave logoSince I own The Next Wave– Dayton’s best ad agency, it, by default, supports this site. Every time you see a post on this site, figure you just took an hour of my time away from my business or my family. Your comments are the only reward I get.

What we do at The Next Wave is still a mystery to many of you- since you are still not calling 937-228-4433 to set up a meeting to discuss how you can effectively grow your business, so I’m going to give you a list of services and even add examples of businesses around town that you may be familiar with.

I’ll start with the ones you all can use:

Business card design and printing. We can get you 500 4/c both sides, business cards printed on premium 16pt stock with AQ coating for under $15 We do this for all of our clients. Design is not included in the $15 price, but we’re still reasonable on that. We can also do plastic cards, silk cards, fold over cards- you name it. We have some info at www.thenextwaveprinting.com

We also print sales sheets, menus, postcards, etc.- all at amazingly low prices. See the link for the printing.

We teach the www.websitetology.com seminar every month in Dayton. Next one is this Tuesday- and a few seats are still available . If you want to learn how to have a site like this- or one like The Next Wave, or maybe www.pizzafactory.biz or www.f2cfnd.org you should come to the seminar. We teach you how the web works with insight into Google and organic SEO in the morning- and how to use WordPress as a CMS in the afternoon. CMS stands for Content Management System- and it makes it so easy to run a website you’ll be amazed. No geek or HTML required. We’ve been teaching people this (including our competition) since 2005.

Of course, we can also build websites, manage social media, host your site, help you implement a CRM (customer relationship management) tool and manage email campaigns as well.

If you have a business and only have a website- you are missing the second most used search tool on the web. Having video on the web is essential for success. We have a full time videographer on staff and can produce video on a dime. If you’ve read this site during campaign season, I’m sure you’ve seen what we were able to do to cover candidates’ nights and to make my campaign videos.

Most importantly, we help grow businesses. Everything from naming and branding to packaging and advertising. We do everything a business needs to efficiently get their message out. We use the most efficient modern tools to collaborate and spread your message to potential customers and to keep your existing ones.

When you look through our portfolio of work you’ll see many brands you are familiar with locally. We do everything we can to promote and help local Dayton businesses- including providing a directory of all the local advertising agencies so you can compare and shop intelligently. We want strong competition.

As you may notice, I don’t put advertising on this site- although I have the readership. If you want ads- go read www.daytonmostmetro.com which also is supported with money from UpDayton. I do on occasion post links to products that I like on Amazon.com and make a small commission when you click through to buy them or anything else from a link here.

Right now, my favorite product is a Breville Juicer (see link below). I’m 5 days into a 30 day juice fast and feeling great. You can buy one of these juicers and help support the site- and get healthy. If you’re wondering why I’m doing the liquid diet- you should watch this movie: Fat Sick and nearly Dead. You can watch it via Netflix streaming or for free online via the site. I’m inspired by the movie and my friend Pastor Jimmy Mann who has juiced for years. If you know him, you know you won’t find a more healthy, energetic, positive person.

If you really like this site and don’t have a business that uses our services, I’ve also got a link to my Amazon wish list in the sidebar. Feel free to send gifts :-)