Monday, November 28, 2011

Memorial dedication for TWA Flight 128

This post may be a little indulgent, because it is not about the workings of Amberley Village council, but since I won't be sworn in until Wednesday, November 30th, you will just have to indulge me...

On November 20, 1967, tragedy befell the family of Paula and Dr. Fred Wolf, as well as Amberley Village, the small community where they had chosen to raise their family. Paula and Fred were returning from a family visit in Los Angeles when the plane they were travelling on, TWA Flight 128, crashed into the hillside upon its approach to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport.  Fred, along with most of the other passengers and crew on the flight, was killed.  Paula and a handful of other passengers survived, although many were severely injured.

This past Saturday, November 26, 2011, forty-four years after this tragedy, a memorial was dedicated to the victims and survivors of Flight 128, as well as two other similar plane crashes - Flights 694 and 383 - at the Boone County airport.  My husband, Scott, became involved with the group planning the memorial when he first learned of its inception in 2009.  He was instrumental in the choice of a park-like setting for the monument, where families could both play and reflect on their loved ones.  Current council member, Peg Conway, whose seat I will be filling at the end of the month, came with her husband Joe and represented Amberley Village by taking part in the reading of the names of the victims of Flight 128.  If you watch the video, you will also see my son, Freddie -- named after his grandpa Fred -- also participate in the reading of the names, including that of his namesake.

Color Guard at Memorial

                                                         Scott's speech at the dedication

  Reading of the names of Flight 128 victims

                                                   The Memorial Plaque - Flight 128 side

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How Do You Like Your Local Government?

Last night, at the Village Council meeting, Council voted at the recommendation of the village manager to adopt Resolution 2011-22. This is a resolution opposing any action by the State of Ohio to centralize the collection of municipal income tax.  Just last Saturday, the Cincinnati Enquirer published an article regarding the Village of Indian Hill passing the exact same resolution. Indian Hill opposes state's tax plan.  It's important to examine exactly what is going on in the State of Ohio and how the actions of the current administration are having a dramatic, and negative effect, on Ohio's local governments.

In June, the State of Ohio repealed the Estate Tax. Amberley, as is the case with all local governments and schools, relies on the revenue from inheritance taxes to operate the village.  Especially, in Amberley's case, where we enjoy a lifestyle that is unencumbered by business and industry, the elimination of this source of funding proved to be a devastating blow to our budget. Additionally, the governor's budget slashed local government funding by 50% over the next two years. Kasich's budget slashes aid to local governments.  All this, plus the reduction in our property values spells bad news for Amberley.  For more on how Ohio's cuts to local governments are effecting the budgets of other Hamilton County municipalities, read what the Cincinnati Enquirer had to say on Sunday, December 18th. Our council and the new Ad Hoc Committee that is examining our finances have looked and are still looking for additional ways to cut the budget and increase revenue.  Governor Kasich expected it would be an easy fix to simply "share services" with other local governments, but Amberley has a unique situation where it already "shares" services with itself by having a combined police and fire department where all police are fireman already.

Now, the State of Ohio wants to pad its own budget with money our local government would have to pay it to collect municipal taxes when it already costs us less, and is more efficient, to do it ourselves.  Please join Amberley Village, Indian Hill, and the Ohio Municipal League in vehemently opposing any and all efforts by the State of Ohio to take over the collection of local income taxes.  Also, urge our representatives to oppose or reject any new legislation to transfer collection of power to the State of Ohio Department of Taxation.  You can contact our state representatives by clicking this link:  Contact My Representative.

Finally, last night was the last official council meeting presided over by Mayor Merrie Stillpass.  Merrie has served as an upstanding steward of Amberley Village since 1997.  She chaired or served on nearly every committee and she is responsible for the creation of the Environmental Stewardship committee which, in these times of increased environmental awareness and concern over where our food comes from, is proving to be one of the most forward-thinking committees on council.  Her skill and connections as a well-respected urban planner have helped to bring us the designation of Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.  Last year she brought recognition to Amberley Village by hosting World Town Planning Day in our community, as well as using her contacts at the number one design school in the country, UC D.A.A.P., to bring our own Amberley Green to the forefront of urban design.  We will greatly miss her skill, transparency, and most of all, her honesty, as a servant of our village.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Never once did it cross my mind that I could be the lone woman on Amberley Village council.  It did occur to me, on more than one occasion, that we could end up with seven brand new council members (in which case I would be the only female voice), but somehow, when I thought of it that way, I was still thinking of a gender-less body.  I hadn't been elected, so it was pure speculation.  But, here I am, the only woman representing the citizens of Amberley.  It's more pronounced given that our new Amberley Ad Hoc Budget Task Force consists of fourteen men and one woman.

Which is why I decided to 1) blog about my experiences as a council person and 2) call my blog "A(Lone) Wolf in the Village."  The intent of this blog is to inform the Amberley community of the workings of Village Council from my perspective as the sole female elected official on council.  I hope to let you know of initiatives that I think are important for our residents to be aware of and the numerous volunteer opportunities available to enrich your family's experience living in Amberley.

I'm a new council member, so I'll also be honest about my mistakes and what I learn from them.  I'm excited to begin serving the village and honored to have won the confidence of our residents.

Thanks for reading!