Seed To Sustainability Workshop

Ridge & Hollow Seed Alliance and Community Food Initiatives (Athens, Ohio) invites seed growers to attend

Seed to Sustainability Workshop Series –a professional training for seed growers and plant breeders.


Workshops are led by faculty from Ohio State University, Ohio University, Miami University and Antioch College as well as staff from Cleveland Seed Bank. The series involves four workshop locations; each location includes four presenters and a locally catered lunch. Workshops provide professional training for seed savers, growers and plant breeders; create the foundation for a statewide seed savers alliance and expand opportunities and reduce barriers for small-scale seed producers in Ohio.








For more information and registration please visit:


The Seed to Sustainability Workshop Series is a partnership project between Ridge & Hollow Seed Alliance and Ohio State University’s Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT). Ridge & Hollow Seed Alliance, a program of Community Food Initiatives, works to build a network of seed growers, preserve Appalachian heritage and increase market demand for locally saved seeds. Community Food Initiatives is an Athens Ohio based non-profit working to foster communities where everyone has equal access to healthy, local food.


Jess Chadwell

Ridge & Hollow Seed Alliance Developer Community Food Initiatives

740.593.5971 |

Fall Art Stroll

Take a stroll through downtown Yellow Springs
to enjoy Art, Shopping, Dining & Entertainment

Special Shopping Events
Asanda Imports
Back to Now
Julia Etta’s Trunk
Design Sleep
Urban Handmade
Glen Garden Gifts
Heaven on Earth Emporium
Wildflower Boutique
Lady Loom
Smoking Octopus
Little Fairy Garden

Music & Entertainment
The Gulch on Dayton St.
Emporium Wines
Little Art Theatre Movies at 7 & 9 pm
Spirited Goat Coffeehouse

Art Openings & Exhibits
Village Artisans Mixed Gardens 2D & 3D Art by Christine
Klinger, 6-9p, Free event
Chris K Gallery
Yellow Springs Brewery Featuring art from Lynn
Aleta’s Café
Spirited Goat Coffee Art by Kristin Gilley, HouseCircle 7 Jazz w/
Gail & Larry
YSAC Community Gallery Femina Magicae
Yellow Springs Pottery
Bentino’s Pizza Local artist Liz Winters on display
Bonadies Glass Studio
John Bryan Community Pottery Malynda Cooper Sculpting
Figures in Clay, Meet & Greet, Slide Talk 6-8p
Mills Park Hotel Lobby & 2nd Floor Gallery

Food & Drink
Sunrise Café
Dino’s Cappuccino’s
Winds Café
Ellie’s Restaurant
Tom’s Market

“Femina Magicae”- Art By Deja Freeman & Madeline Magill Closing Reception

September 15th-October 22nd



From Life, Dreams,

Rare and Mysterious Animals and Other Oddities


Two young, women Artists

expressing their “greatest, most magical joys and deepest traumas”  through Art.


Deja Freeman is a mixed media artist from Columbus, Ohio.  She works primarily on wood (often in the form of cigar boxes)  She is particularly drawn to interesting textures and heavy, woman-centered themes.

“My art is inspired by my own deepest traumas and my greatest, most magical joys. Through painting, I am able to process and communicate my feelings about those experiences. Each piece is highly personal to me- like a journal. The work in this show deals with identity and the growing pains of evolving from the younger, less tired version of myself, to who and what I am now; a wife, a mother, a transplant from a city to a very small town… Coupled with the realities of anxiety and depression, what does that evolution look and feel like? What pieces of myself can I or should I keep, and what pieces have I now outgrown?” 


Madeleine Magill is primarily a painter, although she routinely extends her essence beyond the canvas, into photography and sketches, Madeleine’s artwork represents mystery and unknown oddities. Her canvases are full of medieval worlds, as well as rare and mysterious animals. Her paintings are intense, portraying emotions from euphoric to deeply agitated.  Raised in the Mountains of Colorado, she developed a deep love for nature and exploring it. Each paintings is an adventure to itself, within worlds we only realize through dreams.


Reception September 15th 6-9 pm.

 At the Yellow Springs Arts Council Gallery, 111 Corry St.

The 2017-18 Guide to Yellow Springs


Elder Stories

Stories of village elders paint a story of the village

The Guide to Yellow Springs, produced annually by the Yellow Springs News, is the village in a nutshell, rounded out with articles and essays on a unifying theme.

About a year ago we noted the number of villagers who are living vital and active lives well into their late 80s and 90s. Like many in our youth-obsessed American culture, we didn’t know much about our elders. So we embarked on a series, “Elder Stories,” in an attempt to learn more.

And learn we did. We found that in shining a light on the history of these longtime villagers, we were also shining a light on the history of Yellow Springs, its changes and challenges.

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Pres. Trump’s border wall models take shape in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The last two of eight prototypes for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall took shape Thursday at a construction site in San Diego.

The prototypes form a tightly packed row of imposing concrete and metal panels, including one with sharp metal edges on top. Another has a surface resembling an expensive brick driveway.

Companies have until Oct. 26 to finish the models but Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco said the last two came into profile, with crews installing a corrugated metal surface on the eighth model on a dirt lot just a few steps from homes in Tijuana, Mexico.

As the crews worked, three men and two women from Nepal, ages 19 to 30, jumped a short rusted fence from Tijuana into the construction site and were immediately stopped by agents on horseback.

Francisco said there have been four or five other illegal crossing attempts at the site since work began Sept. 26.

The models, which cost the government up to $500,000 each, were spaced 30 feet apart. Slopes, thickness and curves vary. One has two shades of blue with white trim. The others are gray, tan or brown — in sync with the desert.

Bidding guidelines call for the prototypes to stand between 18 and 30 feet high and be able to withstand at least an hour of punishment from a sledgehammer, pickaxe, torch, chisel or battery-operated tools.

Features also should prevent the use of climbing aids such as grappling hooks, and the segments must be “aesthetically pleasing” when viewed from the U.S. side.

The administration hasn’t said how many winners it will pick or whether Trump will weigh in himself.

There is currently 654 miles of single-layer fence on the 1,954-mile border, plus 51 miles of double- and triple-layer fence.

“I’m sure they will engage in a lot of tests against these structures to see how they function with different challenges,” U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday after touring the construction site.

Trump has asked Congress for $1.6 billion to replace 14 miles of wall in San Diego and build 60 miles in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings.

Here’s a rundown of companies building prototypes, their headquarters and value of their contract.

Two are making one concrete prototype and another using other materials.

CADELL CONSTRUCTION CO., Montgomery, Alabama. ($344,000 for concrete wall, $320,000 for other wall)

Its tan concrete wall is thick at the bottom and narrows considerably toward the pointed top. The other, also tan, has metal poles on the bottom, a metal plate in the middle, and concrete block on top.

The general construction company founded in 1983 says its projects include U.S. embassies in Beijing and Kabul, Afghanistan, terminals at Houston’s George Bush International Airport and renovations to the Denver Mint.

W.G. YATES & SONS CONSTRUCTION CO., Philadelphia, Mississippi. ($453,548 for concrete wall, $458,103 for other wall)

Its models are a darker brown than other prototypes and topped by round beams. Its concrete panel has a plain face; its metal one has a corrugated surface.

The 53-year-old company has worked in a wide range of projects, including a Toyota plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi, a county jail in Olmito, Texas, a marine terminal in Jacksonville, Florida, and a power plant near Panama City, Florida.

Two companies are building concrete walls.

FISHER SAND & GRAVEL CO., Tempe, Arizona. ($365,000 contract)

It’s the only prototype to be built entirely on site — as opposed to being hauled in. Its tan surface gradually narrows toward the top, like a long triangle.

Part of conglomerate Fisher Industries, the company produces sand, gravel and other products for roads, dams and large public works projects. The company is active is 12 western states.

TEXAS STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO., Houston. ($470,000 contract)

The gray surface of the U.S. side is stamped with patterns of different-sized bricks, like a driveway or sidewalk at an upscale home. There is a steel plate on top with prongs that feature at three metal spikes, resembling an agave plant.

Parent company Sterling Construction Co., founded in 1991, specializes in water and transportation projects, including highways, bridges, ports, light rail, wastewater and storm drainage systems. It is active in Utah, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, California and Hawaii.

Two companies were selected to build walls made of materials other than concrete.

KWR CONSTRUCTION INC., Sierra Vista, Arizona. ($486,411 contract)

Its gray metal columns are topped with a large metal plate. The small, Hispanic-owned company counts the Homeland Security, Defense and Interior departments among its largest customers.

ELTA NORTH AMERICA INC., Annapolis Junction, Maryland. ($406,319 contract)

Its solid metal wall features six light blue squares with white trim on the bottom third, topped by dark blue beams and metal plates.

ELTA is a large Israeli defense contractor owned by state-run Israel Aerospace Industries. The company, which makes radar and other gear, opened its new U.S. headquarters in Maryland in May.

30 artists, 22 studios, 1 weekend

Glass, fiber, pottery, jewelry, photography. Wood, sculpture, gourds. Painting, drawing, graphic design, paper art and printmaking. All that and more will be featured during the annual Yellow Springs Open Studios event this weekend.

Twenty-two local studios will be open for visits from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 21 and 22, with 30 participating artists on hand to show and talk about their work. Many of the artists will offer demonstrations of their techniques, giving insight into their medium and creative process.

New to the tour this year, according to Yellow Springs Gallery Coordinator Nancy Mellon, are Celise McKee’s “tiny studio that she hand built” on Dayton Street. “She is a librarian and a wonderful textile artist who makes little creatures and costumes and so many different things,” Mellon wrote in an email. “And we have coaxed Tom Hawley to be on the tour with his wonderful wooden creations — and his home that he has been working on for years.” Also, “this will be the one of first times that Sherraid Scotts’ newly built studio is on view,” Mellon wrote.

The tour route is self-guided. Visitors can walk, bike or drive. Printed guides, with maps, are available at YS Arts Council Gallery, 111 Corry St; the Yellow Springs train station, on the bike trail; and various locations around town. A mobile map and guide also is available on the Yellow Springs Open Studios website, Yellow balloons will mark each of the physical studio sites.

Most of the participating artists will offer their work for sale. And most will have a few snacks and beverages to welcome visitors.

Admission is free.


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BLOG–A Pleasant Future for Wilberforce University

When Yellow Springs native and Wilberforce University professor Cheryl Durgans was seeking out local African-American history, she was told by an out-of-state friend to look into the death of a man named Solomon Pleasant. Pleasant was the grandfather of the woman making the request; he was murdered by his second wife in the 1920s; she then disappeared, never to be seen again. Little did Durgans know at the time, this simple request would result in the ambitious film project “Endless,” which culminates in a debut viewing and cast panel at The Neon on November 1 @ 7:30pm. For tickets, click here

Durgans is a seasoned educator and a dedicated fine artist. An alumna of Spelman College, which is an historically black college/university (HBCU), she has been acutely aware of Wilberforce University, the nation’s first private-HBCU, since she was a child. As an adult and faculty member, she is acutely aware of the recent history of mismanagement, debt, plummeting enrollment, at-risk accreditation, and tarnished reputation of Wilberforce.* She’s also determined to be part of its resurgence. For Durgans, the change begins with curricula. 

Boredom is not just a concern for students, but also for professors. Durgans is not a creature of the lecture hall. She is an artist, a doer, a person who likes to push to the point of risk, believing that there lieth the truth. Thinking about Solomon Pleasant, who was African-American, and how his story might help bring together disparate members of the campus, she reached out to someone she thought would be similarly emboldened and inspired to try something that could assist a renaissance at Wilberforce. 


Several years ago, Elias Kelley was on a flight when his seat mate, a stranger, nudged him and asked what he saw below them. Kelley shrugged and said, “The heartland?” No, the man replied. Nothing is down there. “That’s why they come to me in L.A. to fulfill their dreams.”

Below that plane was the state of Ohio. 

Something about the arrogance and presumptiveness of the statement rubbed Kelley wrong, so the filmmaker and graduate of Clark Atlanta University, where legendary director Spike Lee took courses while at Morehouse College (another HBCU), decided to relocate to Ohio. 

Kelley soon became involved in the local Black Lives Matter movement, which led him to be arrested for participating in the “die-in” at the Beavercreek Wal-Mart where John Crawford III was murdered and for whom no justice has been rendered. Kelley’s activism and professional work brought him into contact with Durgans; together they formed a production company, Shelby & Yellek. Their mission: to tell stories that involve, at every level, African-American and Black writers, actors, producers, and crew.


Jalen Martin, a student at Wilberforce University and an executive producer on “Endless,” is a self-described geek with an arresting smile and surprising profundity. Praised effusively by Durgans and Kelley, when Martin spoke about the film project he emphasized the community that is built when people come together in the creative act. He now feels like he can give a “wuzzup” to football players or women who “are all into makeup” and it is returned with genuine enthusiasm. 

So what is the idea? What is it that they have done that could launch Wilberforce University back into the national spotlight for positive reasons in line with their long, noble history?

With the at-first tenuous support of university administration, Durgans gave her four classes a choice: a term paper or a film project. Overwhelmingly, they chose the latter. In relating the story, Durgans laughed and said, “They spent hundreds more hours on this project than they would’ve a term paper, but the great thing is they wanted to.”  

The social science class was tasked with doing historical research for and the writing of the film. Kelley described how they went to Tarbox Cemetery in Cedarville. There they found Solomon Pleasant’s grave. But they found something else that proved to be the spark that lighted the fire. 

According to Durgans and Kelley, there were 7-10 headstones, all from two families, McMillan and the McCoy, which mark the remains of children under one year of age. Further research showed that a drug company was developing a drug to “cure” what ailed the children. A question arose: Were the drug companies killing children in order to generate future customers for the cure? Kelley shook his head, marveling, and said the plot would be fantastical if there were not historical documents to undergird the main plot details.

Durgans added that the writing of the film is impressive. The movie is a psychological thriller, a genre that is not prominent amongst African-American filmmakers. As filming commenced, the students themselves came to identify things that did not work, and would rewrite scenes on the fly, even with a tight four-day shooting schedule and an additional two-and-a-half days for reshoots. While students rewriting the ending of a film might make most directors nervous, Kelley believed in them without reservation. 

“I don’t play,” he said. “I was mentored in a very strict method. I bring that discipline to my sets. It was hard for some of them at first, but soon students themselves were demanding high standards from each other.” 

With a setting in the 1920s and a shoestring budget, location needs might have stopped them in their tracks. Enter Mary Durgans Willet, Durgans’ mother, who lent her home, even amidst personal trials, for 90% of the shoots. Students in the art appreciation course, like Martin, are the producers on the project. Art history students were tapped to be actors; members of the humanities class round out the production, serving as vital crew members. 

The house itself became a metaphor for the larger project according to all three filmmakers to whom I spoke. Both mentally and spiritually, they noted, the house is a character in and of itself. One must see the film to understand more.


Many of us feel overwhelmed as of late because there are emergencies all around us. From health care to immigration, causes abound for our time, talent, and treasure. It may not seem like supporting a student film is an act of social justice. But I write because I think it most certainly is, especially for us in Yellow Springs. 

The loss of any HBCU will be a national tragedy. I don’t say this lightly or with hyperbole. These institutions are living testimonies of the determination, brilliance, cultural contributions, and legacy of African-Americans, yes. But equally important is that these institutions are part of our national history; as Confederate monuments rightly are pulled down, we should seek to do what we can, individually and collectively, to shore up, through community support, HBCUs like Wilberforce University. 

Yellow Springs and Wilberforce University have been neighbors since 1856. Faculty, administrators, and students alike have lived in the village. Of course, Antioch College is our primary educational concern as a community. But the students of Wilberforce University have created something that, with the right falling of dominoes, could become a multi-episode story that will involve an increasing number of students. It can be a legacy for years to come, and bring deserved attention to one of the most important schools in American history. 

Please visit here to learn more, and stay tuned to #saarinotsorry for more updates. 

*For a good summary, read this article from Higher Ed Magazine   

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Four mayoral candidates offer varied visions for position

This is the last in a series of articles featuring candidates for local office on Nov. 7. This article’s focus is the four candidates running for the seat of longtime mayor David Foubert. 

Pam Conine (Photo by Suzanne Szempruch)

Pam Conine (Photo by Suzanne Szempruch)

Pam Conine

While the Yellow Springs mayor currently has two main functions — overseeing Mayor’s Court and performing ceremonial duties — candidate Pam Conine plans to add a third component to the job.

   A retired teacher of 42 years, Conine wants to use the position to encourage local children and teens to become involved citizens. 

“I’d like to use being mayor to find ways of getting our students to engage in the political process,” she said recently.

Conine would do so by making, at the teacher’s request, presentations to classes on the importance of civic participation. And as a certified reading specialist, she can also see herself helping young children who want to “read with the mayor,” to improve their skills, she said.

“I would connect again with our youth, use my professional skills as an educator to increase their agency,” she said.

Conine is also mindful of the mayor’s responsibility for Mayor’s Court, the local alternative to the Xenia Municipal Court. 

“Mayor’s Court is a historically important part of the village, and many people consider it the most important part of the office,” she said. “I believe Mayor’s Court is very important to the citizens of Yellow Springs and I’ll do everything I can do to keep and support it as long as it’s of use to our village.”

Currently, about 300 small towns and villages in Ohio have a Mayor’s Court that allows the local mayor, or a magistrate, to adjudicate misdemeanor cases. The system allows towns to keep cases involving those charged with minor offenses in the community, rather than sending them to the larger county court system. However, Conine is aware that the Ohio Supreme Court has been critical of Mayor’s Courts in general, and especially those that operate without a prosecutor, as is the case of Yellow Springs. So changes may be coming, she said.

But the changes won’t be coming from her. 

“Should I be elected, I won’t go out and start changing Mayor’s Court,” she said.

 However, she will listen closely to suggestions from the Justice System Task Force, or JSTF, which has been researching ways to make the local Mayor’s Court more effective.

“I’ve been following the work of the task force, and I would initiate no changes to Mayor’s Court until careful reading and discussion of their recommendations,” she said. 

Also aware of many villagers’ interest in giving Mayor’s Court more of a restorative justice slant, Conine plans to attend the symposium on the topic presented by Antioch College at the end of this month.

 Restorative justice is a specific process that brings together an offender, the victim and community members, she said, a process that currently doesn’t fit with the structure of Mayor’s Court. However, Conine does favor using more restorative justice techniques in the court, including possibly creating a restorative justice team.

To the job, Conine would bring not only her skills as an educator, but several decades’ experience interacting with the youth, parents and grandparents of the village. She would also bring extensive community involvement, an even temperment and an eagerness to take the two-day required state training for new mayors.

“I’m a lifelong learner and love the process of gaining this knowledge,” she said.

In some ways, running for mayor is the culmination of Conine’s lifelong interest in the political process. As she grew up, her father was the county chair of a political party in northwest Ohio, and she remembers spirited discussions on current events at the family dinner table.

She went on to specialize in social studies during her teacher’s training, moving to Yellow Springs in 1979 as a Morgan (now McKinney) Middle School teacher. However, the school needed a special ed teacher, so she was hired with the understanding that she would pursue that training, which she did. Conine continued to keep current events in front of her students, and also helped to educate young people on the political process.

Following her 2009 retirement from the McKinney School, Conine went on to teach teachers at Antioch University Midwest. She retired from that job two years ago.

But she has a lot of energy, and running for mayor seems a good way to channel that energy, engage in the political process and give back to the town she loves, Conine said.

  “We live in such a dynamic, diverse, socially responsible village. I do believe it’s a unique place,” she said. “I want to do all I can to preserve and nourish that while serving as Yellow Springs mayor.”

Laura Curliss (Photo by Diane Chiddister)

Laura Curliss (Photo by Diane Chiddister)

Laura Curliss

Local attorney Laura Curliss began thinking of running for mayor several years ago, after she took on a pro bono case involving a misdemeanor charge against a Yellow Springs resident. The case, like many, was heard in Xenia Municipal Court rather than Yellow Springs Mayor’s Court, even though there seemed no good reason why it had been sent to the larger court.

While felonies automatically go to the Xenia court, most misdemeanors can be heard either in the Mayor’s Court (if the officer charges the offense under the Village code) or Xenia (if the charge is under the Ohio Revised Code). While most misdemeanors were kept in the local court during the tenure of former Police Chief John Grote, under chiefs Anthony Pettiford and Dave Hale, officers began sending more cases to Xenia.

Recently, after Curliss made a public records request, she found that the numbers of Mayor’s Court cases have declined significantly in recent years.

“I was disturbed when looking at the cases, that so many were adjudicated in Xenia,” she said.

She believes that Mayor’s Court should be used whenever possible, because it’s far more convenient for local residents to attend court in their own town. And in the local court, the outcomes can be more creative and humanitarian than in the county court.

“If we have Mayor’s Court, we can have more alternative types of resolutions, depending on the case,” Curliss said.

For instance, situations in which a neighbor dispute has evolved into a crime could be sent to Village Mediation, a process that could result in improved relationships and greater understanding, unlike the simple fine that would likely be imposed in the Xenia Court.

And imposing alternative strategies such as mediation means the root of the behavior might be addressed, rather than just the imposing of a fine.

“Recidivism can be high if the core problem isn’t resolved,” Curliss said. “The more I looked into Mayor’s Court, I realized that so much more can be done.”

Curliss is interested in learning more about the potential for restorative justice strategies to be used in the local court, and plans to attend the symposium at the end of the month. 

But she believes there are also problems with the local court, especially because it currently does not use a prosecutor. Almost all other Mayor’s Courts in Ohio have them, Curliss said.

She strongly advocates the hiring of a prosecutor (on a part-time basis) because currently, the mayor has to act as both prosecutor, deciding whether to move ahead with a case, and a judge, deciding the outcome. It’s unfair and difficult for the mayor to navigate both roles, she believes.

Curliss also believes that if the court doesn’t get more use from the community, the Village should not be paying the $60,000 yearly it spends to maintain the court.

“If we can’t bring the cases back to Yellow Springs, I’d be the first to advocate changing the charter” to eliminate the court, she said.

Curliss is the only attorney running for the position, and she believes that her legal expertise would help her run the court effectively. In most communities the mayors, or magistrates, do have a legal background, because they need familiarity with rules of evidence, criminal procedure and the Ohio Revised Code, she said. She doesn’t believe that the 12 hours of training a first-time mayor receives brings a new mayor up to speed.

And while she has the legal credentials, Curliss also believes she has the creativity and compassion necessary to dispense alternative sentences, such as the writing of reflection letters. Curliss said that asking an offender to reflect on why he or she committed the crime, and how it affected the community, could have significant effects.

“I think I can fairly and impartially apply the law, and also be creative about dispositions and sentences,” she said.

One judge in the Hamilton County municipal court requires that those charged with crimes do yoga in the courtroom before proceedings begin.

Would she consider such a practice?

“Yes. Absolutely!” she said. 

Born in Clinton County, Curliss grew up in Blanchester. She attended the University of Notre Dame as an undergraduate, before receiving a law degree from the same school. She also holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Yale Divinity School.

Curliss came to Yellow Springs from Wilmington when former Village Manager Mark Cundiff announced he was leaving the job, and she applied to be interim manager. After getting the interim job, she was soon after appointed as permanent manager. She stayed in that position a year. Shortly after leaving the job, her husband, a hospice physician, unexpectedly died. She has a 21-year-old son.

Currently, Curliss runs a private practice out of her home, and she has done pro bono work for several high-profile local cases, including that of David Carlson, the former villager charged with a felony following the New Year’s Eve ball drop. That charge was later dropped to a misdemeanor.

“I believe I have the ability to help make things better at the Mayor’s Court, if the citizens want me,” she said.

Catherine Price

Catherine Price

Cathy Price

In most things, Cathy Price looks at the big picture. And to her, the big picture involves who we are as human beings, how we’re in relationship with each other and how we can live together in harmony. 

While in her professional life Price chose a profession that requires strict attention to detail — she’s a pharmacist — in the rest of her life, she tends toward the spiritual, inspired by some aspects of Buddhism, Native American practices and the teachings of visionary meditation and personal growth teacher Richard Moss.

“I’ve had an eclectic lifestyle,” she said in a recent interview. “I’ve followed traditional science and alternative medicine, physics and metaphysics. I’ve followed the pulse of life in my own way, and I think that fits with Yellow Springs.”

Price would bring her big-picture focus to the job of mayor, she said. That is, she sees Mayor’s Court as an opportunity to engage and educate those who have stepped over the law in a way that strengthens their bond to the community. Having done so, she believes, they’re less likely to break the law in the future. 

“If people feel a connection with each other, it’s more likely they’ll be mindful of our laws,” she said. “It’s the Golden Rule. You treat others as you want to be treated.”

In some Native American cultures, those who have transgressed are surrounded by a circle of tribal members who focus on the offender with love, she said, stating that in a small way Mayor’s Court could play such a role.

Price has been inspired by what she sees as the gentle spirit of longtime Mayor David Foubert, and would seek to continue that approach to offenders. She would look for creative and compassionate responses to those breaking the law, perhaps asking a person to write an essay on the effects of his behavior on the community or do volunteer work, rather than imposing a fine.

“I prefer not to take money,” she said. “I’d prefer to have people put mental and heartfelt effort into whatever brought them there.”

Aware that use of Mayor’s Court has declined in recent years and that more misdemeanor cases have been sent to the Xenia Municipal Court, Price said she would do what she could to turn that trend around.

“This is our local court. We should make use of it as much as possible,” she said.

Raised in the south, Price has always been interested in visionary topics. Getting ready to attend college, she wanted to study “the nature of reality,” but didn’t know whether to pursue philosophy, psychology, theology or something in the sciences. Her high school counselor suggested that, since she liked science, Price should get a degree in pharmacy, which would provide her a livelihood while she studied more heady topics in graduate school.

After graduating in pharmacy from the University of North Carolina, Price moved to Virginia, where she worked in hospitals and public clinics. She was especially drawn to working with patients in an educational setting, teaching them about how different medications affected their body. With greater understanding, they pursued healthier practices, she believes, and she also sees education as an important component of Mayor’s Court.

“There’s time for that in this court,” she said.

Price has three adult chiildren, the youngest of whom, Amy, graduated from Yellow Springs High School after the family moved to town in 1994. Around that time Price completed a three-year program in meditation and ontology taught by Richard Moss, and she has also studied and practiced the Alexander technique and biodynamic cranial therapy.

Along with Mayor’s Court, Price is keen to pursue the ceremonial duties of the local mayor, including officiating at weddings.

“It’s so joyous,” she said. “I’m pro-marriage. I love weddings.”

Most of all, she’d like the local Mayor’s Court to reflect the distinctive qualities of life in Yellow Springs.

“I want to do things in a Yellow Springs way,” she said.

Gerry Simms

Gerry Simms

Gerry Simms

Gerry Simms points to his father as a significant role model.

“He was always the type of person who said, ‘listen, listen, listen,’” Simms said recently. “He said, ‘don’t talk to hear yourself talk. State your opinion and then be quiet.’”

Simms has followed his father’s advice. Most recently as a two-term member of Viillage Council, his listening stance prompted some villagers to encourage Simms to run for the office of mayor.

Although initially worried that he lacked the law background to be head of the Mayor’s Court, Simms said he was reassured by Village Solicitor Chris Conard that he doesn’t need to be an attorney to be a good mayor.

“He said, you just need common sense and to be able to listen and make decisions,” Simms said.

Simms doesn’t share the concern of some other candidates that more local cases should be coming to Mayor’s Court. Yes, the number of local cases is small, but he believes this number reflects several trends. First, that local police are simply making fewer arrests then they once did, and second, that based on his recent analysis of parking violations, most local crime is caused by out-of-towners.

“That says to me that the vast majority of [local] citizens obey the laws,” he said. 

Mayor’s Court has simply changed over time, he believes, and “there won’t be a lot of people coming before Mayor’s Court.”

However, he does see the mayor as having an important role in addressing those out-of-towners who end up in court.

“We have to get the word out that while we’re a tourist town, we’re a law-abiding town,” Simms said. “As mayor, I would talk to folks, make sure they know they need to respect the law.”

And regarding locals who end up in court, Simms believes that Mayor Foubert has been using restorative justice for years in his low-key approach. Simms supports Foubert’s approach, and like other candidates, plans to attend the end-of-month symposium on restorative justice. 

“I hope many villagers attend,” he said, regarding using the strategy in the court. “We may come up with another way.”

Simms also supports hiring a prosecutor for Mayor’s Court.

“I feel the mayor can’t be both prosecutor and judge. The mayor should be independent.”

If he’s elected, Simms would make the mayor a more visible presence in town, he said, stating that he would attend an wide array of activities.

Simms also sees the mayor’s role as a sort of ambassador for Yellow Springs, reaching out to let people know of the positives of living here.

“The mayor should help promote the village as a walkable, friendly place to live. The mayor could get the word out that we need more business,” he said.

Retired after more than three decades at Wright Patterson, Simms grew up in a small town near Rochester, New York. After heading south to a University of Arkansas campus to play college football, Simms had his consciousness raised on a bus ride home. He had to sit at the back of the bus and when the bus stopped for lunch and other passengers entered a restaurant, he wasn’t allowed to enter.

“That experience had an impact on me,” he said. “I decided that if some day I could make a difference, I would.”

Simms transferred to Wilberforce, ending up with a degree in business management, after which he worked as a loan officer for a bank. Then he moved to Wright Patt, where he worked as a budget analyst with contractors for 30 years.

In Yellow Springs, Gerry and his late wife, Linda, raised two daughters. And even while working and raising a family, he was deeply involved in community life. As well as two terms on Council, he served two terms on the Yellow Springs school board. His list of civic engagement is long, including the Yellow Springs Community Foundation, the 365 Project, the steering committee of the 2010 visioning project, and the board of the Yellow Springs Community Children’s Center, along with other activities.

Through it all, Simms has maintained his love of the village.

“I’ve been here a long time,” he said. “I can’t think of a better place to be.”


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Enterprise funds look healthy

Expected revenues in 2018 for Village enterprise funds — electricity, water, sewer and solid waste — are more robust than they have been in years, according to Village Assistant Manager/Finance Director Melissa Dodd at the Oct. 2 Village Council meeting.

The topic was discussion only. It followed Council’s discussion at its last meeting on the 2018 general fund, which covers most expenses other than enterprise funds, such as police, streets and parks. Council will vote on the 2018 budget at its Nov. 20 meeting.

Enterprise funds are self-sustaining, in that they are intended to be funded solely through utility fees, without help from the general fund.

The enterprise budgets are healthy largely as a result of last year’s rate hikes for electricity, water and sewer, according to Dodd.

“All of the enterprise funds didn’t have enough to operate until the rate hikes,” Dodd said in her presentation to Council.

In 2016 a rate hike for water of 30 percent annually for three years, leading to an overall increase of almost 100 percent, was approved, as was a four-year annual rate hike for sewer of 15 percent, culminating in an overall hike of about 60 percent. Electric rates also went up about 13 percent for residential users.

Other factors have also contributed to the health of the enterprise funds, Dodd said in an email this week.

“The rate increases coupled with much more conservative spending and less equipment purchases and paying off some of the debt from equipment leases and other loans have all contributed,” she wrote. “Overall we are finally able to take a more proactive approach versus a reactive approach.”

In the electric fund, 2018 revenues are expected to come in at $3,714,000, with expenses at $3,674,723. Two years ago, electric fund revenues were $3,138,434 and expenses were $3,756,225, creating deficit spending of $617,791.

The electric fund budget has a surplus of $2,330,412 this year and that is expected to rise to $2,369,689 next year. The recommended electric fund surplus is $1,252,075, according to the budget documents.

The water fund revenues are projected next year to be $1,223,677 and expenses at $897,386, with revenue over expenses of $326,291. The end of year surplus in the water fund will be $960,807, with a recommended surplus of $237,804.

In the 2018 sewer fund, revenues are expected to come in at $1,110,541, with expenses at $894,129, a difference of $216,412. The sewer fund surplus will be $878,898, and the recommended surplus amount is $241,664.

Solid waste fund revenues in 2018 are projected to be $272,600, with expenses of $270,300, a difference of $2,300. The solid waste fund balance is $60,773.

The total revenue for enterprise funds in 2018 is anticipated to be $6,320,818, with expenses expected to be $5,736,538, with a total revenue over expenses of $584,281.

Because some of the funds have been in deficit spending in recent years, the funds haven’t set aside money annually for capital projects, Dodd said. However, given the healthy status of the funds next year, she recommended to Council that $100,000 from the electric fund be diverted to capital projects, plus $50,000 from the water fund and from the sewer fund.

Dodd also presented capital projects requested by department leaders for the electric and street and police departments in 2018.

In the electric department, $75,000 was requested for next year for pole replacement. From the sewer department $15,300 was requested for the Village portion of an Ohio Public Works Commission grant project for the Winter Street sewer.

In the police department, Chief Brian Carlson is requesting $45,000 for a remodel of the dispatch office, $15,000 for replacement of the dispatch console and $8,000 for new computers.

In response to Judith Hempfling, who questioned the need for remodeling the dispatch office, Carlson said the front of the office needs re-configuring because it’s currently possible for visitors to the office to view confidential information from the police computers, which is out of compliance with standards from the Ohio Collaborative. However, he said he will revisit the estimate for remodeling and return to Council at a later time.

In other Council Oct. 2 business:
• Council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance that limits the places people can smoke on Village-owned property. The move followed a previous presentation by villager Shernaz Reporter, who works for the Greene County Combined Health District, which is encouraging municipalities to restrict areas where smoking is allowed. Following her presentation, Council had asked Village Manager Patti Bates to move forward on the issue.

“Tobacco kills more people than heroin and car accidents combined,” Reporter said to Council members at the Oct. 2 meeting, thanking them for their efforts.

According to Manager Bates, Village staff will create designated smoking areas within Village-owned property that are away from doors and the toddler playground.

• Council passed the first readings of several ordinances that will increase tap-in fees for Village utilities to newly constructed homes in the village. Staff had compared current fees to those of surrounding and comparable communities, and the new fees are in the middle range of what other towns charge, Bates said.

• Council heard a presentation from Mark Lindsay of Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission on the value of having a Complete Streets policy in Yellow Springs. Complete Streets is a nationwide effort that encourages municipalities to plan streets in ways that include safe travel for walkers and bikers as well as motor vehicles.

Chris Bongorno of the Active Transportation committee stated his support for having a Complete Streets policy. While the Village has already been proactive in looking at ways to enhance walking and biking in the village, Bongorno said, “We could set the bar higher.”
Council vice-president Brian Housh will write a draft Complete Streets policy for a future discussion with Council.

• Council heard from Arts Council member Nancy Mellon regarding that group’s desire to move its permanent collection from the Antioch University Midwest building to the John Bryan Center. Because the AUM building is now up for sale, the group believes it’s wise to find a new location.
About 180 pieces are included in the collection, according to Mellon, who said that the art work “tells the stories of who we are and what we care about.”

Council members expressed approval for the move, and will continue discussion at a later date.
• Council’s next regular meeting is Monday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers at John Bryan Center.

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