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Inside: 32-page pull-out guide to all the best of Mason and Deerfield

family | community | life october | november 2010

Introducing: Featuring neighbors who make your community a better place to live

green drinks

Have a beverage, join an eco-movement

fun on the farm

Pumpkin patches, corn mazes ready for families to enjoy

The Arts in Mason Businessman molds city’s reputation as artist’s mecca

meeting the neighbors • Where to Eat • the buzz • what’s new • all-stars from kings and mason connectmason.com

connectdeerfield.com


solutions for ever y

lifeSTYLE Comfort Sleeper by American Leather

2 5 , 0 0 0 S Q . F T. O F U R B A N S T Y L E .


Savannah by Ekornes

Barstools by Elite

Ta n g e n t D i n i n g Ta b l e by Elite

Omnia by Calligaris

Stella by Mobican

11349 Montgomery Rd. • 513-247-9100 w w w. b o v a f u r n i t u re . c o m


IT’S LIKE ONE BIG PLAYGROUP. JUST FOR MOMS. Created for moms and by moms, MomsLikeMe.com is where moms who live near you hang out - and let it all out. New moms. Working moms. Stay-at-home moms. Where you can share stories, swap advice, make friends and even make plans to meet up live.

Join the conversation today.

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october | november 2010

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mason a home for the arts A local entrepreneur looks to create an “artist enclave.� not easy being green Gather, socialize and learn how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. pumpkin patches and corn mazes We help you find the local farms with fall fun on their minds.

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october | november 2010

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contents

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Inside: 32-page pull-out guide to all the best of mason and Deerfield

12 family | community | life

the buzz Catch up on Mason and Deerfield Township headlines and happenings. 5 questions …with Mason For Kids co-chairs Courttney Allen and Julie Womack. what’s new New businesses are popping up in the area.

october | november 2010

introducing: featuring neighbors who make your community a better place to live

19 17 30 14

green drinks

Have a beverage, join an eco-movement

givingback

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fun on the farm

Pumpkin patches, corn mazes ready for families to enjoy

The Arts in Mason businessman molds city’s reputation as artist’s mecca

YOURschools

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one student at a time School supplies are top priority for the Mason Schools Foundation.

meetIng tHe neIgHbors • WHere to eat • tHe buzz • WHat’s neW • all-stars from kIngs anD mason connectmason.com

connectDeerfIelD.com

ON THE COVER: Artist Chuck Marshall and businessman Ramesh Malhotra in front of Gallery 42.

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school news and notes All you need to know from the Kings and Mason school districts. academic all-stars These Kings and Mason students are academic stand outs.

Photo by tony tribble

Inside: 32-page pull-out guide to all the best of Mason and Deerfield begins on page 25.

getconnected! Submit your Mason and Deerfield Township stories, photos and events at your community Web sites, connectMason.com and connectDeerfield.com.

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• Announce your business • Celebrate your kids’ achievements • Highlight community news • Submit your upcoming events for our free calendar listings

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YOURfreetime

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love all around From locals to the rich and famous, the Lindner Family Tennis Center packed the house in August.

Discover OMNIMAX Legends of Flight and Mysteries of the Great Lakes close November 4

where to eat: lucky dog grille New to the Mason area with a family friendly menu in a sports-bar atmosphere. events calendar Dozens of great places to go and things to do.

YOURhome

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meet the ortega family A love of languages led to a lifelong commitment for this family, with ties to North and South America.

YOURhEALTH

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mason resources for breast health increase The color for October is pink, as in breast cancer awareness.

finalthoughts

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welcome home Our Town columnist Richard Stewart is well travelled, but has come to believe the trip back home is always the best.

Coming Soon Hubble opens November 5. www.cincymuseum.org

OMNIMAX Season Sponsor

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YOURcommunity editor’sNOTE

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here are plenty of people doing good things to help their communities, and Our Town has written some of their stories. Expect to see them regularly in coming issues. They’ll take a special tag, “Giving Back,” to recognize the efforts of people who so often give of themselves to help others and make this a better place to live. This issue’s Giving Back feature focuses on the Mason Schools Foundation, a group of volunteers who help provide the basics, and more, for needy families in the school district. Even in a relatively affluent district like Mason, there are plenty of families struggling to make ends meet. Kudos to the foundation for donating their time and talents to help these families.

Michael Clark’s story inside tells a little about what they are doing. • • • • • If you’ve scanned the Calendar listings in Your Hometown Enquirer, you might have noticed an evergrowing list of activities at local art galleries. The galleries and studios are helping transform downtown Mason into an artists’ enclave, bringing shoppers and helping other businesses in the process. Property owner Ramesh Malhotra is promoting the growth of arts-themed businesses, as are the MasonDeerfield Arts Alliance and its signature event, the Mason Arts Festival. Read more about them in Eric Bradley’s story inside this issue.

Do you have an idea for a story? If so, please get in touch. You can reach me at dhofmeister@enquirer.com, or 513-768-8392.

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our town


YOURcommunity

editor contributing editors

art director

photographers

writers

sales manager

retail advertising director

account managers

Dave Hofmeister Liz DuFour

Judy Crist

We Buy Gold

Liz DuFour Joseph Fuqua II Michael E. Keating Malinda Hartong Gary Landers Deogracias Lerma Cara Owsley Jeff Swinger Leigh Taylor Tony Tribble Eric Bradley Michael D. Clark Sue Kiesewetter Chris Reid Jill I. Solimini Richard Stewart Elaine Trumpey

DeerďŹ eld Towne Center Mon-Sat 10a-8p, Sun 12p-5p 5375 DeerďŹ eld Blvd

Mason, Ohio 45040

513.770.4321

Tony Elam telam@cincinnati.com 513.755.4167 Mike Gleason mgleason@cincinnati.com 513.768.8232 Delinda Kennedy Gina Kurtz Julie Owens Angela Paolello Katy Sheehan

Our Town 312 Elm Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 tel | 513.768.6033 fax | 513.768.6086 Our Town is published six times per year: February/March, April/May, June/July, August/September, October/November and December/January

Our Town is published by

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YOURcommunity

thebuzz What’s going on in Mason and Deerfield Township Contributed by Eric Bradley and Michael D. Clark

Photo by Leigh Taylor

In November voters will decide on renewal of an existing tax for Kings Schools and approval of a new operating tax levy for Mason Schools.

medical services open at community center

kings voters to decide renewal of levy

TriHealth opened a 34-physician practice, pharmacy and rehabilitation center at the Mason Community Center on Aug. 23. The medical offices are part of a $19 million expansion of the community center that is expected to be finished in October. To make the move, TriHealth closed its Group Health Associates Mason location at 7423 Mason-Montgomery Road, 1½ miles away near Deerfield Towne Center. A medical-center model at the community center will offer primary care and specialty doctors working together in 27,000 square feet of space. According to Steve Mombach, vice president of ambulatory services at TriHealth, specialty fields will include internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, allergy, colorectal, dermatology, ear nose and throat, endocrinology, facial plastic surgery and reconstruction, gastrointestinal, physical medicine rehabilitation, podiatry and rheumatology. A pharmacy will allow patients to see doctors and get prescriptions filled before they leave. A 4,000-square-foot physical rehabilitation facility operating under the Bethesda name rounds out services. Officials hope TriHealth’s presence and the expansion of fitness space at the community center will bring profitability to the 7-year-old center, which has been given $2.55 million in total subsidies as of the end of 2009, according to city data.

Voters in Kings Schools will be asked to go to the polls again on Nov. 2 to approve a renewal of an existing tax that funds infrastructure needs in the school system. If approved the renewal tax levy would generate $1 million annually to repair buildings, buy buses and upgrade technology. This summer the Kings Board of Education voted unanimously to put a five-year, permanent improvement levy renewal before voters. First approved in 1990 at 3 mills, the property tax has been reduced to 1.57 mills because of higher valuation in the district and Ohio’s automatic rollback on any inflationary increases to previously approved school millage. If approved, tax payments would remain at $48 annually on a $100,000 house. The tax would be collected for five years, beginning in January 2011. In May, Kings’ voters approved the first new operating for the schools since 2004. That tax money pays for the daily operations of the schools, including labor costs, while permanent improvement levies are restricted by law to paying for facilities, equipment and other infrastructure needs. Kings Schools earned an “excellent” rating from the state last year.

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our town

Discover and discuss the latest news, events and school happenings in Mason and Deerfield Township at connectMason.com and connectDeerfield.com.


YOURcommunity

Enrichment. approval expected for mason’s 20-year plan For the first time in a half decade, voters in Mason Schools will be deciding on a new operating levy to fund the daily operations of the school system. During the summer the Mason Board of Education voted unanimously to put a three-year, incremental operating tax on the Nov. 2 ballot. The 11,000-student Mason Schools are the largest in Warren County and earned an “excellent” rating from the state last school year. At the time of the board’s vote members said the new tax is crucial for maintaining the district’s status as one of the top 10 academic performers among Ohio’s 613 school systems. “This levy will preserve the programs and services we provide our students, keeping our schools and community strong,” said Mason Board of Education President Debbie Delp. If approved by voters, the increase would begin collecting tax revenue at 3.95 mills in 2011 and rise by 1.5 mills in each of the next two years for a total rate of 6.95 mills in 2013. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $121 more in annual school taxes in the first year and then an additional $46 for each of the next two years, so by the end of 2013 the total annual increase would be $213.

collage part of community arts celebration Deerfield Township will join art centers around Cincinnati on Sept. 12 to share music, dance, theatre, crafts and art galleries as part of Community Arts Centers Day. The Mason-Deerfield Arts Alliance, in partnership with the Cincinnati Art Museum, is inviting the public to help create a community foundobject collage at the gazebo at Cottell Park, 5847 Irwin-Simpson Road. The community project will then be put on display for two weeks at Natorp’s Garden Store, located at 5373 Merten Drive. More information: www.masonarts.org.

Welcome to Cedar Village. We are a retirement community located in Mason, Ohio, featuring 105 independent and assisted living apartments and 162 healthcare beds. Formed by the merger of two longtime Cincinnati Jewish nursing homes, Cedar Village opened its doors in March 1997. It’s about caring. It’s at the core of everything we do. It’s the gentle touch of a hand, the soft words of comfort. It’s reaching out to steady and support, to encourage and console. It’s the hallmark of all that we do at Cedar Village.

mason seeks new money for operations            For the first time in a half decade, voters in Mason Schools will be deciding on a new operating tax levy to fund the daily operations of the school system. During the summer, the Mason Board of Education voted unanimously to put a three-year, incremental operating tax on the Nov. 2 ballot. The 11,000-student Mason Schools are the largest in Warren County and have never earned less than the state’s top academic rating since 2000.  At the time of the board’s vote, members said the new tax is crucial for maintaining the district’s status as one of the top 10 academic performers among Ohio’s 613 school systems. “This levy will preserve the programs and services we provide our students, keeping our schools and community strong,” said Mason Board of Education President Debbie Delp. If approved by voters, the increase would begin collecting tax revenue at 3.95 mills in 2011 and increase by 1.5 mills in each of the next two years for a total rate of 6.95 mills in 2013. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $121 more in annual school taxes in the first year and then an additional $46 for each of the next two years, so by the end of 2013, the total annual increase would be $213.

Services Provided:

• Driving Assessment Program • Cedar Village Home Care • Independent and Assisted Living • Rehabilitation After Hospitalization • Nursing Care • Specialized Dementia Care

Cedar Village Retirement Community 5467 Cedar Village Drive Mason, Ohio 45040 Tel: 513.754.3100, Fax 513.336.3174 www.cedarvillage.org &(

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YOURcommunity

fivequestions WITH

mason for kids co-chairs

courtney allen and julie womack

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ourtney Allen and Julie Womack believe so strongly in keeping the Mason School District at the top of its game, they have agreed to co-chair Mason For Kids, a campaign to ask voters to approve an incremental tax levy for Mason schools in November. The district, currently rated “excellent,” is seeking a tax increase that will increase property taxes from 3.95 mills to 6.95 mills over the next three years. Property taxes will increase $121 per $100,000 of assessed valuation in the first year (2011), up to $213 in the third year. Allen and her husband, Matt, moved to Mason from the West Side of Cincinnati seven years ago. They are the parents of three children, a fifth-grader, a third-grader and a kindergartner. Womack and her husband, Michael, also moved to Mason seven years ago. Their children are in fourth grade, second grade and kindergarten. Allen and Womack gave us joint written responses to our Five Questions:

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Why did you volunteer to chair the Mason For Kids campaign?  

We are so proud to live here – this is a special place with outstanding schools that are the heart of our community. We feel fortunate to be part of a school system that not only has strong academics and lots of opportunities for its students, but also great teachers who excite our kids about learning. There is little that is more important to us than our children’s education and the quality of life we can provide for them, so it was an easy decision to chair a campaign to keep our children, schools and community strong.

Photo by tony tribble

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our town

Courtney Allen (left) and Julie Womack are working as a team to co-chair the Mason For Kids campaign.


YOURcommunity

2

What will you do to convince voters to support the tax levy?

  This levy simply preserves and protects what we have . . . a first-rate, quality school district. We believe that the strength of our schools directly relates to the strength of our community. We feel confident that voters appreciate the value our schools provide and will vote “yes” to keep quality teachers, updated technology and textbooks, and opportunities for students. Mason residents support their schools, and we know that they want to keep them strong.

3

just so impressed with the number of people who have said “Yes, count me in” and “What can I do to help?”  We did not realize that we would receive this outpouring of support so early in the campaign. It’s been amazing.

Elaine Trumpey

How much time do you spend on an average day working on the campaign?

Every day is different with new challenges, but we usually log eight to nine hours a day. We’re willing to do that because we feel so passionately about this critical levy, and we know that every hour we spend talking with a volunteer, or getting someone registered to vote means that we are that much closer to victory on Nov. 2.

4

Is it hard to juggle your family responsibilities with the demands of your civic life?  

Lots of people struggle with balancing volunteer work, jobs and family responsibilities – and we’re no exception. Our kids are getting pretty used to lots of meetings and take out for dinner. We are also lucky to have the support of our wonderful family and friends during this busy time. Being involved with this campaign, though, has given us an amazing opportunity to work beside some of the most energetic, bright and caring people that we’ve ever met. We are both humbled to lead this team and feel energized by the hundreds of volunteers who are working tirelessly to make sure this levy passes on Nov. 2.     

5

What has been your biggest surprise or best moment as chairs of this committee?  

A levy campaign relies upon its volunteers, and we have made a number of calls to parents and residents asking for their help. We have been

october | november 2010

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YOURcommunity

what’s new in mason and deerfield township

COMPILED BY val prevish PHOTOS BY tony tribble

banana leaf modern thai 101 E. Main St., Mason 513-234-0779 Open since early August, Banana Leaf features lively décor in its two interior dining rooms, one each on the first and second floors. Al fresco dining is offered on a street side patio or in the shade garden, says Dana Tongdangjoue, co-owner. Favorites on the menu include green curry, spring rolls and pad Thai. “For those wanting to try new things, our Banana Leaf creations will be sure to delight,” says Tongdangjoue. “We also offer brown rice and vegetarian inspired dishes. Much of the produce will be organic, and we support locally grown. Don’t be surprised to see the chef open the kitchen door to snip herbs from the outdoor patio.” Entrees for lunch range between $7 and $9 and dinner entrees are $8 to $20. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Mondays. Reservations are strongly recommended.

the k-9 company 9159 Lighthouse Way, Deerfield Township 513-545-7185 or www.thek9co.com Eric Ogletree says it’s his love of dogs that prompted him to open his own dog training, boarding and grooming business in July. He offers pet owners day care, training, grooming and overnight boarding. Ogletree has been a trainer for about five years and is a certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator. “We want to give you back a better dog than you dropped off,” he says. In addition to Ogletree, two other staffers work with training and grooming the dogs. Hours for The K-9 Company are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for day care, and 7 to 8 p.m. for training. Prices start at $25 per day for overnight boarding and range from $10 to $50 for grooming services. Obedience training ranges from $50 to $500, says Ogletree.

dermatology & skin care associates 5160 Socialville-Foster Road, Mason 513-770-3263 or www.dermatologyandskincare.com Elizabeth Muennich opened her dermatology practice and medi-spa in June, offering both full dermatology services, plus health and beauty treatments, including laser hair removal, chemical peels, Botox and Juvederm. Dermatology & Skin Care Associates is the only facility to offer high-speed laser hair removal in the Southernwestern Ohio area, says Stephanie Gloeckler, chief operating officer. Dermatology & Skin Care Associates is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Friday hours are set aside for medi-spa treatments and are available by appointment. Most insurance is accepted, and payment plans are available for medi-spa treatments that are not covered by insurance.

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YOURcommunity

Are you opening a business or expanding in Mason or Deerfield Township? If so, you could be featured in Our Town. Contact Val Prevish at vprevish@fuse.net.

charming charlie 5175 Deerfield Blvd., Mason www.charmingcharlie.com Founded in Houston in 2004, this popular chain of accessories boutiques has been expanding rapidly across the country and opened in Deerfield in late summer. This is the first store in the Cincinnati area, and fans of affordable baubles will enjoy this eye-catching shop with color-grouped items from jewelry to handbags in an upscale atmosphere complete with chandeliered ceilings, says Patty Fadhouli, director of marketing for Charming Charlie. “The selection is extensive. We have something for every style,” she added. Deerfield Towne Center is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more details about the store phone number or specific hours, check the company website (www.charmingcharlie.com) as information was still unavailable as of press time.

kite5 Mason 513-770-9272 or www.kite5.com Suprasanna Mishra and business partner Sam Lynn had a vision while attending Mason High School of starting a web design company that would help small business owners build quality sites at reasonable prices. Today, their dream is reality, and the two, who are now college students, have nearly a dozen clients. Mishra says the company aims its services at small- to medium-size businesses that want a quality website but don’t have a big budget. “We create designs that get them a return on their investment,” he says. Prices for web design are roughly $30 per hour, with projects usually taking between 30 and 50 hours to complete. For a consultation, call the number listed here or go to their website.

subway  107 W. Main St., Mason 513-229-7775 or www.subway.com This newest Mason location in downtown is the second for owner Bhamini Patel, who also operates the Subway restaurant at 1065 Reading Road. Subway is known for its fresh ingredients and made-to-order sandwiches and its $5 foot-long subs. The downtown Mason Subway also features breakfast items and pizza daily. The chain was founded in 1965 by Fred DeLuca and Peter Buck in Bridgeport, Conn. Today, Subway is the world’s largest submarine sandwich chain with 34,000 stores around the globe. Hours for the store are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. All menu items are less than $10.

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YOURcommunity

Mason

creates a home for the

arts By Eric Bradley photos by tony tribble

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ason, Ohio, artist colony. If entrepreneur and long-time Mason businessman Ramesh Malhotra has his way, that’s what the city’s downtown will become. Malhotra has clout to do it. A real estate developer, he owns 11 properties downtown. Chances are if you see an arts or crafts business on or close to Main Street, it’s in one of his buildings. The 65-year-old West Chester Township resident is also head of Malhotra Group Inc., a four-business holding company that tallied sales of $205 million in 2008. But Malhotra, who came to the United States in 1969 and started his first Mason business in 1986, doesn’t bring to mind visions of a cutthroat businessman. Sitting in his Western Row Road office surrounded by art, Malhotra is inviting and jovial. He practices what he calls “spiritual capitalism.” Behind his desk is a statue of a Greek Orthodox priest. In his line of sight in front of the desk stacked with papers is another sculpture, of a gold digger. “I’m not an artist,” Malhotra says as he explains his love of art. “Nobody in my family is an artist.” Instead, Malhotra says he admires passion.

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our town

A mountain climber scales a mountain, though they may fall at any time and die. A painter like Vincent van Gogh paints all his life and becomes famous only in death. In short, there are those who do things for happiness and not out of any prospect of gain. “I love that type of person,” says Malhotra. Malhotra likes to see that “type” of person at his real estate holdings, with places such as Sweet Art of Mine, Greg Storer Art, Gallery 42 and Pop Revolution and others beginning to thrive. The ‘artist enclave’ Besides favoring arts-themed businesses, Malhotra puts his money where his mouth is, so to speak, by paying select struggling artists a salary so they are free to pursue their work. Chuck Marshall, who shows his art at Gallery 42 at Main Street and Mason-Montgomery Road, is one of Malhotra’s beneficiaries. Marshall, 52, lives in downtown Mason and met Malhotra when he was commissioned to paint a picture of Malhotra and Malhotra’s grandson. That was three years ago. Now, says Marshall, Malhotra is a business partner, a friend and a guiding hand professionally and in life. “I find myself asking, ‘Who are you? Are you real?’” Marshall says. “He never fails to amaze me, I can tell you


YOURcommunity

TOP LEFT: Pop Revolution features exhibits and professional custom framing services. TOP: Art on display in the Sweet Art of Mine Gallery. LEFT: Ramesh Malhotra and artist Chuck Marshall with one of Marshall’s paintings.

august | september 2010

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YOURcommunity that.” Marshall and other business leaders in the art scene in downtown Mason are a tightknit bunch and share marketing as well as customers. The goal, says Ben Neal, owner of Pop Revolution, is to create the colony as Malhotra envisions, or an “artist enclave,” as Neal calls it. “Whenever people think Mason, Ohio, they should think, ‘That’s the town that has all the art,’ ” says Neal, 35, of West Chester Township.

Future of the arts The leader of the Mason-Deerfield Arts Alliance, Meredith Raffel, says people such as Malhotra and changes in demographics over the last 20 years have set the area up for the arts renaissance that is under way. After the success of the Mason Arts Festival and other programs promoting the arts – “We came out of the gate looking like we’ve been here all along,” Raffel says. The Mason Arts Council became the Mason-Deerfield Arts Alliance this year. Raffel thinks the final piece of the puzzle in downtown Mason – where businesses >>mason galleries have historically experienced high turnover – is to get more Gallery 42 parking. 105 E. Main St. “Everyone needs to 513-234-7874 take responsibility for the Gallery42fineart.com downtown area to work,” says gallery42fineart@gmail.com Raffel. “It doesn’t matter if Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m Saturday.

you’re selling widgets or artwork. If that store is not accessible, it’s a problem.” Chet Mastalerz, a businessman and Downtown Mason Association president, says after years of parking complaints, a solution may be at hand, but because of ongoing negotiations he declined to offer details before a proposal is formally presented. “There is a plan in process to present to all property owners on a shared-parking arrangement which will open up parking, both for on street as well as completely behind the street, and add parking spaces for everybody involved,” says Mastalerz. Parking issues aside, Malhotra is an optimist – though this isn’t the first time he has tried to establish an artist colony in Mason’s downtown. An earlier effort in the 1990s, when the city was much smaller, failed. “I tried 20 years ago,” Malhotra says. “But they came late.”

Pop Revolution Gallery 105 E. Main St. 513-492-7474 Poprevolutiongallery.com info@poprevolutiongallery.com Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Chuck Marshall Studio and Gallery 105 E. Main St. 513-404-3161 Chuckmarshallstudios.com cmarshall@chuckmarshallstudios.com Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and by appointment Sweet Art of Mine 117 W. Main St. 513-770-4200 Sweetartofmine.com sweetartofmine@zoomtown.com Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday Greg Storer Studio and Gallery 108 E. Church St. 513-403-6255 Gregstorer.com gregstorer@fuse.net Hours by appointment

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TOP: Gallery 42 is owned by Malhotra and offers studio space and fine art exhibits. BOTTOM: Greg Storer, who owns a gallery and studio, completed five murals this past spring along Madison Road as a way to honor veterans. This mural depicts the Korean War. Pictured in the photo are (left to right) William Smith, Otis Clark, Storer, William Griffin, Jr., building owner Dora Lewis and Jerry Saylor.


YOURcommunity

Not easy being

green By Chris Reid photo by TONY TRIBBLE

Eric Routenberg, organizer of Mason Green Drinks, with Mario Thomas, guest speaker Jerry Janzsen and Antwan Gunn, at the Green Drinks event at Building Value.

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ant to help the environment? Care for a drink? Being environmentally conscious involves more than just throwing cans in a recycling container – although that’s a start. To truly be green, one must think green and live green. It’s a lifestyle change that betters the planet, and the smallest steps go a long way. One group, now firmly established in Mason, is reaching out to people hoping to make a difference by giving them an unusual arena to gather, socialize and learn how to live eco-friendly. Sometimes it’s as simple as chatting over a few drinks. Every month, people who work in the environmental field set up meetings known as Green Drinks. This eco-movement has been taking place in bars across the country since the first meeting was held in London in 1989, when a heated discussion within a small group of environmentally friendly fashion designers in a local pub turned into a tradition. In 2001, the official website of the movement, greendrinks.org, was launched,

inviting others to host their own discussion forums in local bars. Green Drinks now holds monthly events in 722 cities worldwide. Mason Green Drinks was established in September 2008 and the first meeting was held in January 2009. The meetings, which are open to everyone, take place on the fourth Wednesday evening of the month from 6-7:30 p.m. in area locations, including Cincinnati. The group’s website describes the meetings as a way to “discuss, network and learn about sustainability – and have a good time doing it.” The premise of Green Drinks is simple: discuss the environment, have a drink. Anyone is invited to sit and chat, and there’s no real agenda to follow. “We want to get as many people as possible together to just network and meet people,” says Eric Routenberg, founder and organizer of Mason Green Drinks. Routenberg, outside sales manager of Info Trust LLC, saw Green Drinks as an avenue for people to exchange ideas and business cards, or just sit and listen in a

friendly, non-threatening environment. Topics of conversation have been as simple as discussing the benefits of recycling and how to stop a leaking faucet, to the more complex issues like global warming and urging government officials to require more reusable sources of energy. The talking points continue to shift and grow — while the drinks keep flowing. Often times, Green Drinks will invite a guest speaker to the monthly meeting “just to spark a conversation,” says Routenberg. Of course, the topic must be environmentally related. The most recent Mason Green Drinks took place at the Famous Neon’s Unplugged in Over-the-Rhine in August and featured a special forum on Cincinnati’s green source for salvaging usable building materials. Jerry Janszen from Building Value LLC was the guest speaker. Along with themes and guest speakers, some meetings have featured promotional perks like a limousine tour of the city, or other ways to help their fellow businessmen while remaining a non-profit. A benefit for october | november 2010

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YOURcommunity women with fibromyalgia is scheduled for the next meeting, Sept. 29 at the Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club in Ludlow, Ky. “I just got so tired of looking around the city and seeing these cigarette butts and trash on the ground,” says Routenberg about founding the group. His concern for the area sparked a movement, and as a result, the Mason chapter of Green Drinks became reality. Most of the early meetings took place at the Fox & Hound Pub on Bowen Drive. Routenberg says he’s seen the group increase with every meeting. “We nearly doubled from our very first meeting to our second,” he says. Steps to create a new Green Drinks for your city are relatively easy. Among them: a reasonable distance from other Green Drinks chapters, maintaining politically neutral, and a desire to help others and the environment. Routenberg became aware of Green Drinks while reading an article in Men’s Journal. Soon after, he made the call to Edwin Datschefski, founder of greendrinks.org, seeking to organize the Mason chapter. Datschefski serves as the international coordinator of Green Drinks and was one of the founding members in London. While Green Drinks has become large in terms of worldwide participants, the philosophy of a small get-together remains the same. Each city strives to host the events in a local bar setting whenever possible, and most new groups start with only a dozen or so participants. It’s not uncommon for a larger city to attract 100 or more people per month to their meetings. Ten to 60 people have attended recent Mason Green Drinks meetings, and the number grows each time. “People have been turning out more for many different reasons,” says Routenberg. Some chapters have noticed that as the group sizes increase, so do the possibilities. It’s not uncommon for events like these to create lasting friendships, partnerships or even romance. Green Drinks also serves as a venue for prospective employment, something that is on the minds of many. As people gather with similar interests, certain opportunities may present themselves. This is something Routenberg has seen as a rewarding byproduct of Green Drinks. “No matter what field it may be in, we all know someone who may fit a job opening,” he says. “It’s always satisfying seeing people come together for others in need and it’s always great when you can relax and toss back a cold Blue Moon with an orange slice, too.” In addition to his responsibilities at his day job, Info Trust, Routenberg works tirelessly on his promotion of Green Drinks. He maintains social networking sites like Facebook and Blogspot daily, and gives updates and news blurbs on the latest Green Drinks news. “We aren’t asking you to do a complete 180 in your lifestyle in one day,” says Routenberg. Habitual changes can be difficult, but Green Drinks aims to make the transition a little easier – and more fun. Of course, you could always come for the drinks.

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W

eeks before Warren County’s largest school system started this school year, volunteers for the Mason Schools Foundation were already busy meeting the needs of the district’s neediest families. Though it’s one of the region’s most affluent school communities, Mason isn’t


givingback

Meeting the needs of the school community...

one student at a time By Michael D. Clark photos by TONY TRIBBLE

immune from the recession – twice as many needy school families turned to the foundation for help this school year. And for the second time since its creation two years ago, volunteers from the Mason Schools Foundation gathered donated school supplies for struggling families. “Even though we are in Mason, there

are people going through hard times,” says Cynthia Satterthwaite, a board member of the foundation. “I know several people without jobs.” The program provided free school supplies to 100 families in the 11,000-student Mason City Schools last year, and this year so far that number has doubled.

Mason City Schools, which has never earned less than the state’s top academic rating, also has seen a steady increase of lowincome students among its enrollment. During the 1999-2000 school year, the district reported that 3.4 percent of its students came from families poor enough to be eligible for federally subsidized free and october | november 2010

19


givingback reduced-price school lunches. That percentage has increased steadily; last school year it was 5.4 percent of all Mason students. Satterthwaite said foundation volunteers are ready to accept more donations in anticipation that even more low-income families will soon be coming forward. “We expect to donate over 400 binders, 800 folders, 2,500 pencils, 700 spiral notebooks, 100 calculators and many, many other supplies for children from preschool to 12th grade,” she says. “We are still looking for donations. One of the most expensive items on middle school and high school students’ supply lists are calculators for algebra. “It’s amazing to see our community pitch in to help some of our own residents. The week before school starts we have a large group

of volunteers, including 25 freshman boys, foundation members, and other Mason families, filling student bags and delivering them to each school. High school supplies will be delivered the first week of school once students find out what items they will need for the trimester. Our Mason community’s efforts and generosity are truly incredible to see in action,” says Satterthwaite. She says as of mid-August the foundation received about $600 in donations of cash and products from local businesses, including WalMart, Walgreen’s, Meijer, Office Depot, Biggs, Costco and Kroger. Individual Mason residents have also contributed financially and donated supplies. Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for the Mason Schools, says, “It’s wonderful to watch families in our community step up to support their neighbors who are facing financial challenges.”

CLOCKWISE TOP RIGHT TO BOTTOM LEFT: Traci Allgor and Cynthia Brown pass out the school supply list to Mason students helping to make back to school packages. Superintendent Dr. Kevin Bright speaks with volunteer students. Mason students Dominick Peranio and Chris Allgor are hard at work putting together school packages. Cynthia Brown instructs students on how to put the back to school packets together.

Financial gifts to the foundation endowment are tax-deductible. Contributions can be sent to: Mason Schools Foundation, 211 N. East St., Mason, OH 45040. Families wanting information on the program may call 513-398-0474.

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givingback

october | november 2010

21


YOURschools

Kings

schoolnotes By sue kiesewetter

‘Spooktacular’ isn’t all scares Prepare for a scary evening of fun and games Oct. 16 when Columbia Elementary School’s PTO presents its annual “Spooktacular” community gathering. The three-hour event runs from 6-9 p.m. at the school, 8263 Columbia Ave. There is no admission cost, but tickets are needed to play the games and activities. They will be sold at the door. “It’s become one of the school’s traditions. Everyone knows it’s the big event of the year,” says Belinda Douglas, PTO president. “We get

people from all over the area. It’s a good, fun, family event with something for all age levels.” There will be pizza, snacks and drinks sold, with most activities taking place in the school’s gymnasium. “There are plenty of games for younger kids who don’t want the scary stuff,” Douglas says. “But for the older kids the haunted walk gives them something to do.” Participants can get their fortunes told, go on a cakewalk, dig through a coffin treasure chest, cross a swamp or climb a spider web, play mini-golf in a graveyard or get a temporary Halloween-themed tattoo. Braver folks can go on a haunted walk behind

the school.

Renewal won’t raise taxes Renewing a permanent improvement levy the Kings Board of Education put on the Nov. 2 ballot will help the district keep its buildings in good repair. First approved in 1990 at 3 mills, the five-year levy has been reduced to 1.57 mills because of increased property value in the district. It brings the district about $1 million a year. Money is used to repair buildings, buy school buses, upgrade technology or purchase anything with a life expectancy of five or more years.

For The Fridge kings SCHOOLS

October 1 Kings Mills Family Knight, 6:30 p.m. 4 Columbia book fair begins; third grade Ohio Achievement testing begins

5 Columbia conferences; J.F. Burns PTO, 7 p.m. 12 Columbia PTO, noon 14 Kings Mills conferences, J.F. Burns Market Day, 5 p.m.; South Lebanon PTO, 7 p.m.

16 Columbia Spooktacular, 6-9 p.m. 18 Kings Mills book fair and Red Ribbon Week begin 19 School board, 6:30 p.m., Kings Education Center;

November 2 Election Day, no school 4 Columbia conferences 5 Kings Mills Family Knight, 6:30 p.m. 9 Kings Mills PTO executive board, 2 p.m.; J.F. Burns PTO, 7 p.m. 11 J.F. Burns Market Day, 5 p.m.; South Lebanon PTO, 7 p.m.; South Lebanon picture retakes 15 Columbia band concert, 7 p.m. 16 School board, 6:30 p.m., Kings Education Center 18 J.F. Burns picture retakes

Columbia chorus concert, 7 p.m.

24-26 Thanksgiving holiday, no school

21 Columbia, Kings Mills, South Lebanon conferences

30 J.F. Burns holiday workshop opens in science lab; Kings Mills PTO, 6:30 p.m.

22 First quarter ends 28 South Lebanon conferences; Kings Mills third grade music program, 6:45 p.m.

29 Report cards go home 22

our town


YOURschools

If approved, taxes would not increase, remaining at $48 annually on a house valued at $100,000. The tax would be collected for five years, beginning in January.

senior campus and goes down to the river. “We’d really like to have the community use the trail,” Fruwirth says. “The more it gets used, the less chance the weeds have to grow. Walking the trail keeps down the weeds.”

Kings sports passes available

Discount cards benefit Kings sports

Sports lovers can still purchase Kings Athletic Sports Passes, good for all junior and senior high school sporting events. A family athletic pass sells for $235 and includes four individual passes good for all events except tournaments. An individual adult pass costs $90. Students pay $70 for their passes. For those who don’t go to every sporting event the Athletic Boosters are offering a 10-game pass. The holder can choose which events to attend. The pass costs $50 for adults and $30 for students. Recent Kings High School alumni can purchase their 10-game pass for $40. An order form can be downloaded from the district’s Web site, www.kingslocal. net. Mail completed form with payment to Kings Athletic Department, Attn: Season Pass, 5500 Columbia Road, Kings Mills, OH 45034

Kings High School’s football program will benefit from the sale of discount cards good

at several businesses within the Kings district and neighboring communities. The $15 card is good at listed businesses through Aug. 1, 2011, says Matt Koenig, athletic director. Discounts are good at Papa John’s Pizza, Kid Coffee, Buck’s Tavern, Eli’s Sports Bar, Wendy’s, other Southwest Ohio eateries and merchants. Discount cards are still available at the athletic office or from Koenig at mkoenig@ kingslocal.net.

Hikers welcome at nature trail After five years of work the Kings Junior High nature trail is ready for use by the community. Every year students in Vonda Fruhwirth’s classes have cleared and mulched a portion of the trail. They worked diligently clearing away brush and spreading mulch – much of it donated from Deerfield Township – to mark the trail behind the school. Using a compass, meter tape, and graph paper, the students have mapped the trail and then made brochures that include a map, wildlife and plants. Among the wildlife the students found were a box tortoise, white-tailed deer, a black rat snake and cardinals. Plants included toadshade trillium and larkspur. The students will continue to use the trail for ecological studies and to get to the Little Miami River where they do water quality testing through a partnership with the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission. “We’re in the maintenance and improving mode now,” Fruwirth says. “We want to get some wild flowers going.” The trail begins past the tennis courts, behind the storage buildings on the junior/

Bon Appétit!

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october | november 2010

23


YOURcommunity

Mason

schoolnotes By sue kiesewetter

Chipman honored by schools foundation

Chad Oswalt, Class of 2011, admires Mike Chipman’s, Class of 1965, world series ring. Photo submitted via SHARE by Mason City Schools

One of the five general partners with the largest financial stake in the Arizona Diamondbacks was the first recipient of the William Mason High School Distinguished Alumni award. Mike Chipman, Class of 1965, was honored at a reception by the Mason Schools Foundation where he was presented with a framed picture of his football teammates. The award is sponsored by the foundation and created to honor alumni who are noted in their field of work or recognized for their expertise and good works. In the early 1980s Chipman founded Chipsoft

Inc., the original owner and developer of Turbo Tax before it was sold to Intuit. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a degree in computer science. He spent five years in research in the Air Force, rising to the rank of captain before returning to civilian life. Two years ago he took five months to hike the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail from near the Mexican border in California into British Columbia, Canada. He resides in Lake Tahoe with his wife, Evy.

Diversity Team wins award The Diversity Team at the Mason Early Childhood Center was named the second

For The Fridge MASON SCHOOLS

October

November

2 Homecoming dance, 8 p.m., middle school

1 Touchdown Club, 7 p.m., high school

4 Touchdown Club, 7 p.m., high school

2 Cross Country/Track and Field boosters, 7 p.m., high school

5 Cyber Safety presentation, 6:30 p.m., high school; Cross Country/Track and Field Boosters, 7 p.m., high school

3 Cheer & Girls Lacrosse boosters, 7 p.m., high school

6 Cheer & Girls Lacrosse boosters, 7 p.m., high school

4 “Little Shop of Horrors,” 7 p.m., high school; Band Boosters, 7:30 p.m.

7 Band Boosters, 7:30 p.m.

5 “Little Shop of Horrors,” 8 p.m., high school; sixth grade

11 Touchdown Club, 7 p.m., high school

social, 7 p.m.

12 School board, 7 p.m., high school; Boys Lacrosse

6 “Little Shop of Horrors,” 3 and 8 p.m., high school

Boosters, 7 p.m., high school

8 Athletic Boosters, 6:30 p.m.; Touchdown Club, 7 p.m.

18 Blood drive, high school; Athletic Boosters, 6:30 p.m.,

9 Boys Lacrosse Boosters, 7 p.m., high school

high school; Touchdown Club, 7 p.m., high school

19 Financial aid/scholarship, 7 p.m., high school

10 Middle school choir concerts, 6 p.m.; winter sports parent meeting, 6:30 p.m., high school

20 DARE graduation, 7 p.m., high school

11 Fall sports banquet, 6:30 p.m., high school

21 Middle school early release, 1:30 p.m.; high school choral

15 Touchdown Club, 7 p.m., high school

concert, 7 p.m.

16 School board, 7 p.m., high school

22 Middle school social, 7 p.m.; fifth grade social, 7 p.m. 25 Touchdown Club, 7 p.m., high school 26 School board, 7 p.m., high school school orchestra concert, 7 p.m. 24 28 Highour town

24

our town

18 Middle school early release, 1:30 p.m.; Wrestling Boosters, 7 p.m., high school

19 Middle school Drama Club show, 7 p.m. 22 Touchdown Club, 7 p.m., high school 29 Touchdown Club, 7 p.m., high school


YOURschools recipient of the Better Together award. The team was selected for the award by the district’s Diversity Council. Members were honored at a school board meeting. For the past six years the team organized a Cultural Fair for preschool, kindergarten and first-grade students and their families. It celebrates all cultural heritages of the students.

Mason Schools Foundation for going the extra mile. Mason Middle School science teacher Jill Arminio and Western Row Elementary music teacher Marylee Vennemeyer each received $250 minigrants for their efforts. “On any given day, you can see Mrs. Arminio and Mrs. Vennemeyer going above and beyond the call of duty for their students

and colleagues,” says Vito Peraino, foundation president. “We are grateful for their example and excited to see the innovative ideas they’ll come up with for taking students even further.” Arminio is on her school’s Green Team, working to make the school more earth friendly while reducing costs. Vennemeyer started a before-school enrichment chorus for which she is not being paid.

Gala planned Oct. 9

The 2010 Mason Schools Foundations’ Gala fundraiser will be held Oct. 9 at the Manor House. Chaired by Kelly Brannock, the black-tie affair is the foundation’s largest fundraiser. It has brought in more than $48,000 during its first two years. This year’s goal is $30,000. “We’re hoping to get more than 300 guests to attend the gala,” Brannock says. “We’ll have silent and live auctions. We’re offering vacation packages and several themed party packages hosted by Mason residents.” Proceeds have been used for the annual school supply drive, to create the Sanako Language Lab at the high school, mini-grants and other projects. The Gala runs from 7:30 p.m. to midnight. Cost is $125 per person or $225 per couple. The cost includes dinner and dancing. There will also be the presentation of the Campbell Family Founder’s Award. Businesses interested in being a sponsor or anyone wanting to donate items for the auction can contact kbrannock@cinci.rr.com

Phased levy to be decided Nov. 2

Voters in the Mason Schools will be asked Nov. 2 to approve a phased in levy that would maintain district programs and help replace lost state dollars. The levy would begin at 3.95 mills and increase by 1.5 mills each of the following two years, with collections beginning in January. In its first year the levy would bring about $6 million. Each of the next two years the amount brought in would increase by $2.2 million. The last operating levy was approved five years ago and since then school officials have reduced spending by $9 million, says Richard Gardner, school treasurer. During that same time, enrollment increased by about 1,200 students. If approved, taxes on a $100,000 house would increase $121 the first year and $46 for each of the next two years.

Teachers honored for going above and beyond Two Mason teachers were honored by the

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YOURschools

s t n e s e r p

academic

ALL STARS

Carlie Sack Mason High School senior Carlie Sack got her love of learning at an early age when she went to a Montessori school. It has stayed with her and allowed her to follow her curiosity into many areas, particularly dance. At the Patty Pille School of Dance, Carlie studies ballet, pointe, modern ballet and jazz along with teaching pre-ballet to preschoolers. She is editor of The Chronicle, Mason High School’s student newspaper. Carlie mentors through Big Brothers/Big Sisters and is an assistant Sunday school teacher at St. Susanna Church. After high school she plans to go to college where she wants to double major in journalism and international relations, with a minor in Spanish before going to law school. To what do you attribute your academic success? My elementary school, Montessori Academy of Cincinnati, motivated me from a very young age. I went to school there for seven years and the Montessori way of learning was a great fit for me. It allowed me to learn material that was beyond my grade level and now, in high school, that eagerness to learn still motivates me. What academic achievement are you most proud of? I am proud of consistently doing my best throughout high school. When I took AP statistics I was proud I got A’s all year. I didn’t think I liked math – I thought the class would be boring, but I enjoyed it and did better than I thought I would. How have academics played a role in your life? Academics just teach me to always challenge myself and to never take the easy way out. I think that will always influence me throughout my life.

Carlie Sack

Mason High Sc

hool

Matthew Drew Though he is still young, curiosity has already served Matthew Drew well. The 14-year-old Kings High School sophomore credits his curiosity with fueling his love of science – a subject he hopes to study through high school and into medical school. “I’ve always wanted to know how things work and why things are the way they are,”says Matthew. “I’ve always liked experiments and science games.” After graduation, he hopes to study pre-med at the University of North Carolina or Northwestern University. How did you get involved with science? I first realized my interest in science when I was around 5 years old. I would ask my mom for random household items that I would do experiments with. This was my favorite thing to do at the time. The first experiment that I remember was seeing what would float by putting different objects in a large bowl of water. I also wanted to take everything apart to see how it worked but my mom wouldn’t let me do it very often.

matthew drew

kings High Sch

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our town

ool

What has been your most exciting moment so far with science? I’ve done a bunch of fun things like taking apart my X-box, Playstation, and computers to fix them but, my most exciting moment was when I built a working motor. I was 7 or 8 years old and my mom bought me a science kit. After a while I finished building the motor, and it worked. That is when I started to realize that science was important. How has science played a role in your life? First, it has made me interested in taking more science classes and trying find activities outside of school that use science. Also, whenever I see or learn something new, I always try to think of the scientific reasons behind it, like how it works or what forces of nature are acting on it. It is one of the reasons I’m interested in medicine, which is why I volunteer at Bethesda North Hospital.


YOURschools

Mauricio Trujillo At Mason High School, Mauricio Trujillo is senior class president and involved in the Ohio Association of Student Councils, where he says he’s learned to be a better leader. Soccer is another passion. Mauricio is involved in T.O.P.S. Soccer, where he plays, coaches and referees soccer games for special needs children. He also plays varsity soccer for Mason High School and for the Cincinnati United Premier club soccer team. After graduation Mauricio is thinking about studying biomedical engineering and medicine in college. To what do you attribute your academic success? Academic success was never my number one concern – being a good, true person was. That’s probably one of the biggest virtues I’ve gotten from my parents: being a good person. They’ve always been my role models…I owe it to them for having my head on straight and for being hard working and determined to put out my best effort no matter how big or small the obstacle. Academic success took care of itself, having these qualities.

mauricio truji Mason High Sc

llo

hool

What achievement are you most proud of? In sixth grade I was chosen by teachers to give a small speech in front of the students at a D.A.R.E graduation. I think that it was really a pivotal moment in which I learned to just toughen up and outdo my shyness. After that day, I’ve been giving many different speeches in front of large crowds with a lot of comfort. It was somewhat a self-confidence achievement. How have academics played a role in your life? Academics add a lot to who I am. Along with sports and morals, it gives me a multidimensional personality that I hold with a lot of pride. Academics have taught me through experience to balance and manage my life and all my activities. I’ve learned to be hard working and determined in and out of the classroom, on and off the field, yet not lose sight of what really matters to me.

Lauren Wilhelm Kings High School junior Lauren Wilhelm likes clarity, and few things in her academic world provide that quality better than mathematics. “Math always clicked for me. There was always a right or a wrong answer. It’s not subjective and I like that,” the 16-year-old says. “I like both the process and results that come from math and you can explain a lot of the world with math,” Lauren says. She would like to study chemical engineering at either Ohio State University, Purdue University or Vanderbilt University. How did you get involved with math? For the seventh grade school year I was recommended for Algebra I, which placed me two grade levels ahead when I reached high school.  This placement has really challenged me and pushed me to be my best.  Of all of my subjects, mathematics has interested me the most because I enjoy figuring out a problem and reaching a final answer. What has been your most exciting moment so far with math? One of the outcomes of my strong efforts this past year paid off when I found myself exempt from all my exams after receiving all A’s for the year and on the midterms.  This enabled me to begin my summer vacation four days early. How has math played a role in your life? Mathematics along with my other honors classes has taught me that hard work pays off and I can be proud of my accomplishments.  It has also taught me how to successfully manage my time between sports and my school work. Mathematics has opened the door for more opportunities such as an engineering camp at Purdue University this summer, and being part of a team working for an MIT grant.

lauren wilhel

kings High Sch

m

ool

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YOURfreetime

s

present

academic

ALL STARS Hannah Sliger

Mason High School senior Hannah Sliger likes to help. At school she is a tutor with the Spanish Club and does volunteer work as part of National Honor Society. This past summer she went to Bolivia on a mission trip with Hope Church’s youth group. She also teaches preschool and grade school religion classes at the Mason church. After graduation Hannah is thinking about going to Miami University and studying Spanish, math and education. To what do you attribute your academic success? Academically, I am pretty selfmotivated. I know what I am capable of and I don’t want to achieve anything less. My dad was the salutatorian of his class at Mason High School and seeing how successful he was makes me want to try harder and be successful in academics as well.

hannah sliger Maso

What academic achievement are you most proud of? Getting an A in Dr. Johnothon Sauer’s honors pre-calculus class last year. I worked really hard in that class and had an A all trimester but at the end it dropped to a B. I had to do really well on the final exam to bring it back up. I didn’t think I would be able to do it but I studied hard anyway and ended up doing well enough on the final exam to get an A in the class.

l n High Schoo

How have academics played a role in your life? I have learned the importance of managing my time and setting priorities. Schoolwork comes first and sometimes I have to make sacrifices in order to study or finish homework. My parents are always encouraging me to do my best and are willing to help me when they can. They don’t put a lot of pressure on me to get good grades, they just want me to be doing the best that I can. I put pressure on myself to do well and get the grades that I want.

Nate and Miranda Onnen Twins Nate and Miranda Onnen have plenty in common, but the Kings High School juniors’ interests split when it comes to their favorite academic subjects. Miranda favors English, while Nate prefers mathematics. And both might end up at the same college, because both have Dartmouth College and Brandeis University on their lists. Miranda also is interested in Williams College and Nate is also considering Boston College and Union College. How did you get involved in your favorite academic subjects? Miranda: I love to read. My parents used to read to me every night before we went to sleep. They instilled in me a love of reading that’s just never gone away. Nate: My math career began with first grade math, learning arithmetic. Arithmetic turned into multiplication and division and that turned into algebra, and algebra turned into calculus. I always had great teachers along the way. What has been the most exciting moment so far in your academic areas? Miranda: Beyond my love of using a larger vocabulary, I feel like English doesn’t creep into my life beyond the daily needs of reading and writing. Although, I will admit, I have been known to pick up a classic or two from the local library. Nate: The most exciting moment came this past year with the various test scores I received. I got a perfect score on the math portion of the ACT, a 5 on the advance placement calculus exam, and an 800 on the SAT2 in math. It was just rewarding to see what all my hard work over the years brought.

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nate & miranda onnen kings High School

How has your academic area played a role in your life? Miranda: My number one choice right now for a major is political science due to my love for government … I would very much like to be a part of the body that runs our nation. Nate: Once I got to understand it, I began to see math everywhere. I realized that math is just a tool that allows me to do many more things in my life.


Congratulations to this month’s High School All Stars for a job well done! YOURfreetime

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YOURfreetime

ABOVE: Bill Irons of Irons Fruit Farm uses a GPS devise to guide his tractor when cutting a maze into the corn field. RIGHT: This 2008 photo shows Alisyn Allgeyer playing among the pumpkins at the Schappacher Farm.

A

working farm a few miles north of Mason’s downtown business district transforms into a hub of activity each fall when hordes of visitors come out to choose a “perfect” pumpkin from the 12-acre pumpkin patch on the family-owned property. The Schappacher Farm, situated on 65 acres along U.S. 42 between Mason and Lebanon, welcomes as many as 15,000 guests on weekends in late September and throughout the month of October. Some visitors arrive in the family car. Others ride the rails on the Pumpkin Patch Express. The leisure train ride sets off from the Lebanon train station three times a day on weekends in October. Passengers disembark at the farm for a one-hour stopover. They have time to ride out to the pumpkin field in a wagon or find their way through the corn maze. Still others come on a field trip with their preschool class. The farm played host to about 3,000 schoolchildren last year, says Butch Schappacher, 56, who operates the farm which is owned by his parents, Alfred and Minerva. In fact, the original idea for planting a pumpkin patch came about when his daughter’s preschool teachers were looking for a field trip destination more than 15 years ago, Schappacher says. Schappacher also cuts a maze into six acres of corn each year. He doesn’t create a unique design or theme. “Kids just like to run in a cornfield,” he says. Usually, he cuts the corn with a lawnmower before it gets too high, but this year excessive summer heat has delayed the work and he’ll have to cut it by hand and bundle the stalks, he says.

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All of the activities are free. Families can come to spend a day at the farm, says Schappacher. “They don’t have to spend a lot of money.” Call 513-398-0904 or e-mail at sschappach@aol.com to make arrangements. The family operates a seasonal produce market at the farm as well. Schappacher Farm: 3829 S. U.S. 42, Mason, OH 45040. Hours are: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Information: 513-398-0904. Other farms in southwestern Warren County have pumpkin patches and corn mazes as well. Jeff Probst of Blooms & Berries Farm Market in Hamilton Township cut the 2010 design for his maze into his field in early August. Probst is collaborating with the Cincinnati Museum Center on the “Explore Cincy” theme. Stops inside the maze will reflect other Cincinnati-area attractions that area residents may want to consider for day trips and staycation ideas. Blooms & Berries Farm Market, 9669 South Ohio 48, Loveland, OH 45140. Hours are: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday (corn maze and play area only); Fall on the Farm, Sept. 25-Oct. 31, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday. Information: 513-697-9173 or Fallonthefarm.com. Bill Irons of Irons Fruit Farm in Lebanon has chosen a theme of “Cars” for this year’s corn maze at the farm, which has been in his family for 65 years. Irons was thinking back to his first car, a 1966 Mustang, when he came up with the idea, he says. He has a hands-on way of creating the design. He plots it out by hand on graph paper, but then uses a GPS


YOURfreetime

Pumpkin patches and corn mazes By Elaine Trumpey photos By TONY TRIBBLE and liz dufour

device to guide his tractor when it comes to actually cutting it into the corn. Recent corn mazes have had an election theme (2008) and a Bengals theme (2007). Sometimes, it takes a longer-than-expected time to get permission to use a particular theme so he starts the planning process almost a year in advance, he says. “I’ve already got next year’s idea formed in my head,” he says. Hayrides to the farm’s pumpkin patch run between noon and 5 p.m. during the last weekend in September and all October weekends. The wagon ride is free. Guests pay for the pumpkins by the pound. Irons Fruit Farm, 1640 Stubbs Mill Road, Lebanon, OH 45036. Information: 513-932-2853 or www.ironsfruitfarm.com. Hours are: June through October, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. In November and December, the market closes at 5 p.m.; in January and February, hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon - 5 p.m. Sunday. The market is closed March through May. Hidden Valley Fruit Farm features a pumpkin patch, mini-train rides, a corn maze, a child-sized hay bale maze, and tractor-pulled hay rides. Special events on the market’s calendar include: Apple Daze, Sept. 18-19; The Ohio Cider Fest, Oct. 2-3; and Halloween Fun, Oct. 30-31. Hidden Valley Fruit Farm, 5474 N. Ohio 48, Lebanon, OH 45036. Hours are: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily. Information: 513-932-1869 or www. hiddenvalleyfruitfarm.com. Other farms and farmer’s markets in Warren County: Keepin It Country Farm, 5511 Township Line Road, Waynesville, OH 45068. Hours are: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays through

October. Information: 513-934-2001 or www.keepinitcountryfarm.com. Activities include: Pumpkin patch, hayrides, pony rides, corn maze, mini-train rides, draft horse wagon rides, petting zoo, a barnyard playland, and a farm market and gift shop. Mason Area Farmer’s Market: Mason Middle School parking lot, 6370 Mason-Montgomery Road, Mason, OH 45040. Hours are: 8 a.m. - noon, Saturdays through September (Check web site for October dates). Information: www.masonfarmersmarket.com. Deerfield Farmers Market: Landen Station, 3292 Montgomery Road, Loveland, OH 45140. Hours are: 9 a.m. - noon, Saturdays through October. Information: www.deerfieldfarmersmarket.com. Downtown Lebanon Farmer’s Market: Main Street parking lot (corner of West Main and South Sycamore streets), Lebanon, OH 45036. Hours are noon - 6 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 21. Information: 513-228-3171 or jmillard@lebanonohio.gov. The Black Barn Greenhouse and Farm Market: 1161 W. Main St., Lebanon, OH 45036. Hours are: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily. Information: 513932-2093. Spaeth Farm Market: 1469 S. State Route 741, Lebanon, OH 45036. Hours through October are: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday; closed Mondays. Information: 513-932-2151 or www.spaethfarmmarket.com. Schuchter Farm Market: 2041 E. U.S. 22/Ohio 3, Morrow, OH 45152. Hours are: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily through October. Information: 513899-2595. e-mail prs2137@roadrunner.com.

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Love all around T

housands of fans – from celebrities to little kids in tennis gear – streamed into Western & Southern Financial Group’s Masters & Women’s Open from Aug. 7-22, enjoying sun, sights and championship tennis. This year’s reigning champions, Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters, will return in 2011 to an expanded Lindner Family Tennis Center with six new courts, and a new ticket office and entry plaza. The 2011 tournament will host both men’s and women’s tournaments simultaneously, making the expansion essential, said Ken Berry, president of Tennis for Charity. Tennis for Charity owns the land and leases the facility to the tournament. The new facilities will be ready for the 2011 event, which opens Aug. 13.

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Center court is almost full of spectators during the Western and Southern Financial Group Masters and Womens Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.

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Nick Lachey with Kim Clijsters (left), who went on to win the women’s singles title, and Marion Bartoli.

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Bootsy Collins in the house.

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Victoria Azarenka signs autographs for fans.

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Roger Federer won the men’s singles title.

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Generations of fans enjoy the show.

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Ominous skies herald in a rain delay.

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Mardy Fish signs an autograph for fan Aaron Siems.

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Family-friendly food and fun Photo by tony tribble

Lucky Dog Grille 729 Reading Road Mason 513-204-5825 A huge group of families from my son’s baseball team – about 40 people – decided to descend on the Lucky Dog Grille one Friday night. I cannot lie – the staff did not seem thrilled to see such a large party arrive unannounced so late in the evening. It took a little while for them to pull together enough tables for us, but the kids couldn’t have cared less. They were quickly occupied by the games, pool table, DJ and dance floor. Once they got us seated and past the admittedly annoying ordering process – we all needed separate checks and had to hunt down our kids to get this done – our wait staff cheered up, and the service was good considering the amount of people they were dealing with. The specialty at Lucky Dog is wings – they’re grilled instead of deep fried and you can choose from 15 different sauces that range from mild to flaming hot. My daughter ordered six barbecue wings with blue cheese dipping sauce ($5.49), and they were big, meaty

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and delicious. They also have nine different types of Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, and my husband and son both ordered the Lucky Dog Philly Sandwich ($8.49). Nicely marinated sirloin steak was shredded and topped with sautéed onions, banana peppers and provolone cheese on a good-sized sub roll. My husband, who has eaten cheesesteak sandwiches in the city they were named for, was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and quality of the sandwich. My son is a teenager – need I say more – and ate his sandwich in about two bites, so we can only assume he enjoyed it. Most of the sandwiches and burgers come with a side, and they both chose the fries, which were very good. I had the club sandwich ($7.99) and enjoyed the fact that you have a number of different bread and cheese choices that included marble rye bread and pepper jack. I chose wheat bread and topped the stack of ham, turkey and bacon with cheddar cheese. Nothing


new here, but a good execution of a classic sandwich. My other daughter ordered the chef salad ($7.99) even though I counseled her not to. It has been my experience that restaurants that specialize in bar food don’t do justice to salads. This time I was pleased to be wrong – ham, turkey and chopped bacon were piled on a generous portion of a really fresh, gourmet lettuce blend. And no surprise, my youngest ordered her usual – chicken nuggets and fries ($4.99), though they call them chicken chunks at Lucky Dog. I’m actually becoming a connoisseur of tiny, tasty deep-fried chicken bites, and I rate these pretty high. I’m not sure what my daughter looks for in a nugget, but I’m all about chicken-to-breading ratio. These get high marks for offering a big bite of juicy chicken coated in a thin layer of breading. Its slightly more creative menu makes Lucky Dog Grille a nice alternative to the usual post-sports watering holes in Mason.

For more restaurant reviews or to rate and review where you’ve eaten lately, visit connectMason.com or connectDeerfield.com.

Jill I. Solimini

Seconds by polly campbell

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Houston Inn 4026 S. Ohio 42, Mason 513-398-7377 www.froglegking.com A big salad bar and frogs’ legs are the most famous offerings at this restaurant that’s been feeding people in Mason since 1953. But most customers, many of them senior citizens, eat traditional food like steaks, prime rib and pork chops. The salad bar is piled with traditional choices such as mashed potato salad, pickled beets, deviled eggs and cucumber salad.

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Aponte’s Pizza 753 Reading Rd., Mason 513-336-7400 www.apontespizza.com They do it New Jersey-style at this

Let us ORCHESTRATE your dream. For the perfect products for your kitchen or bath, stop by a Ferguson showroom. It’s where you’ll find the largest range of quality brands, a symphony of ideas, and trained consultants to help orchestrate your dream. With showrooms from coast to coast, come see why Ferguson is recommended by professional contractors and designers everywhere.

family-owned pizzeria on Reading Road. Their pizza features a thin, handtossed crust, homemade sauce and whole-milk mozzarella. They’ve got specialty pizzas, favorites of the Aponte daughters, as well as build-your-own. They also have a full menu of salads, sandwiches, pasta and entrees.

APPLIANCES

FAUCETS

Cincinnati: ©2010 Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

PASSIONATE PEOPLE

11860 Mosteller Road

FIXTURES

LIGHTING

(513) 326-2999

FERGUSON.COM

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Events calendar For even more event listings, visit connectMason.com or connectDeerfield.com.

Benefit

Business

Turkey Cup

West Chester OH Networkers

Oct. 16, noon-5 p.m., Mason Pub, 753

Nov. 24, 5-7 p.m., Office Suites Plus, 9075 Centre Pointe Drive, Suite 450, West Chester Township. Open networking and round table discussions. Share ideas and promote you business. Food

Reading Road, Mason. Two-person scramble. Benefits Cincinnati Korean American Association. $35-$40 per person. Reservations required. 513-339-1005.

and drink provided. Email registration required: jgonzalez@brsinsurance.com 513-276-1983.

Civic Warren County Democratic Party Executive Meeting Oct. 20 and Nov. 17, 7-9 p.m., Warren

County Democratic Party, 1975 N State Route 42, Lebanon. Public welcome to attend. Ages 18 and up. 513-228-2400; www.warrencountydems.org.

Boy Scouts from Troop 51 in Waynesville (left to right) Jake Trapp, Will Gourley, and Nick Young work a food booth during the 2009 Ohio Sauerkraut Festival.

Photo by Jeff Swinger

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Concert Ohio Hayride Country Music Show Oct. 16, 2 p.m., 7 p.m., Keepin It Country

Farm, 5511 Township Line Road, Waynesville. 2 p.m. show airs on 910 WPFB and 7 p.m. show airs on 89.3 hybrid FM. With Richard Lynch and his Musical Friends, other local and regional talent and national acts. T. Graham Brown. $99 season ticket, $25. 513-934-2001; www.keepinitcountryfarm.com.

450 vendors, food booths and entertainment. 513-897-8855; www.sauerkrautfestival.com. Pioneer Harvest Festival Oct. 16, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Oct. 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Caesar’s Creek

Road, Waynesville. Soap and candlemaking, corn harvesting, squash, pumpkins and more. Meet Daniel Boone and tour Indian Village. $7, $3 children; free ages 2 and under. 513-897-1120; www. caesarscreekvillage.org.

Pioneer Village, 3999 Pioneer Village

Craft Shows Loveland High School Arts & Crafts Expo, Nov. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Loveland High School, 1 Tiger Trail, Loveland. More than 200 artists and crafters selling jewelry, baby items, woodcrafts, candles, dips and seasonings, pottery, purses, floral, ceramics, photography and more. Lunch available. Benefits Loveland Athletic Boosters. 513-476-5187; http://lovelandathleticboosters.com/craftfair.htm. Mason First Church of God Fall Craft Show & Open House Nov. 5, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn Mason, 5200 Natorp Blvd., Mason. Booth space available, $25. More information available at suzie.craftshow@ gmail.com. Presented by Mason First Church of God. 513-317-8502.

Festivals Ohio Sauerkraut Festival

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Oct. 9, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Opening ceremony 11 a.m. Music by Sand Gap 11:30 a.m., Richard Lynch and his Musical Friends p.m., Fintan Band 2:30 p.m., Jet Set 4 p.m., and the Corner Cats 5 p.m. Oct. 10, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Community church service 8 a.m. Music by Willow Creek 9:30 a.m., Ohio River Minstrels 11 a.m., the Ohio Sauerkraut German Band 12:30 p.m., Waynesville High School Band and Chorus 2 p.m., and The Rejects 4 p.m. Downtown Waynesville, Main, High and Miami streets, Waynesville. More than

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YOURfreetime Halloween

Howl-O-Fest

Pumpkin Patch in the Park

Halloween Haunt

Oct. 2 through Oct. 31, noon-5:30 p.m.,

Oct. 23, 1-5 p.m., William Harbin Park,

Oct. 1 through Oct. 30, 7 p.m.-1 a.m.,

Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason. Picnic Grove. Costume parade at noon, costume contest, trick-ortreating, petting zoo, Hay Bale Maze, Pumpkin Patch, Dance Party, mask painting, games, and goodies. $48.99, $27.99 online ages 3-61; $31.99, $21.99 online ages 62 and up, and under 48 inches tall; free season passholders. 800-288-0808.

1300 Hunter Road, Fairfield. Pumpkin decorating, face painting, kids’ crafts, games and more. Includes hayride to the pumpkin patch to select a pumpkin. Refreshments available. 513-867-5348; www.fairfield-city.org.

Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason. More than 500 ghastly creatures emerging from the darkness, 14 highlyintense and chilling haunted attractions and some of the most hair-raising rides on the planet including the Beast, Diamondback, Vortex, Drop Tower and more. Not recommended for children (Nickelodeon Universe area closed). Free with park admission or season pass. 513-754-5700; www.visitkingsisland.com. Haunted Trails, 6-10 p.m., Caesar’s Creek Pioneer Village, 3999 Pioneer Village Road, Waynesville. Fridays-Sundays in October. $5 discount available online: www. caesarscreekpioneervillage.com. 513-8971120; www.caesarscreekpioneervillage.com.

Great Pumpkin Fest Oct. 9, 2-6 p.m., Keehner Park, 7211 Barrett Road, West Chester Township. Featuring children’s not-so-scary haunted trail, pumpkin patch, horse and wagon rides, petting zoo and inflatable rides. 513-759-7304; www.westchesteroh.org.

Pioneer Trick or Treat Oct. 28, 3-6 p.m., Caesar’s Creek Pio-

neer Village, 3999 Pioneer Village Road, Waynesville. Goodies and spooky stories. All ages. 513-897-1120. Haunted Trails Oct. 31, 6-10 p.m., Caesar’s Creek

Pioneer Village, 3999 Pioneer Village Road, Waynesville. $5 discount available online: www.caesarscreekpioneervillage. com. 513-897-1120.

The family-friendly Howl-O-Fest opens at Kings Island, with plenty of Halloween fun to keep the kids and grown ups busy!

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Photo provided


YOURfreetime Lebanon Trick or Treating

Recreation

Shopping

Oct. 31, 5:30-7:30 p.m., City of Lebanon,

Circle Pet Health Fair

Hearthwarming Holidays

Oct. 3, 1-3 p.m., Circle Tail, 8834 Carey

Nov. 5 through Nov. 7 , 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Waynesville Historic Business District, Main Street Area, Waynesville. Step back in time to small-town USA and a quaint village filled with nostalgic holiday open houses. Presented by Waynesville Merchants Association. 513-897-3003; www. waynesvilleshops.com.

Lebanon. 513-932-3060. Mason Trick or Treating Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m., City of Mason, Mason.

513-229-8560. West Chester Trick or Treating, 6-8 p.m., West Chester Township, West Chester Township. 513-777-5900.

Lane, Pleasant Plain. Circle Tail Training/ Education Center. Dog vendors and veterinary health practitioners from various modalities available for consultations and treatments of dogs. 513-877-3325; events@circletail.org.

Nature Perimeter Hike Nov. 13, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Cincinnati Nature Center at Long Branch Farm and Trails, 6926 Gaynor Road, Goshen Township. Park in the Creekside Parking lot and meet at the Creekside Barn. Hike on Perimeter Trail at Long Branch Farm & Trails with Executive Director Bill Hopple. Start and end at Creekside Barn, staying on outer trails. Moderate terrain. Distance: approximately five miles. Bring lunch and water bottle. Ages 12 and up. No dogs please. Members free; $5 nonmembers. Registration required. 513831-1711; www.cincynature.org.

Photo by cara owsley

On Stage

Get back to the things you love.

The Crucible Oct. 28 through Nov. 7, 8 p.m., Mason Intermediate School, 6307 Mason Montgomery Road, Mason. Arthur Miller’s drama set in the New England town of Salem, Mass. with a plot based around the events occurring during the Salem Witch trials in 1692. Presented by Mason Community Players. $15, $10 students and seniors. 513-398-7804; www.masonplayers.org.

If pelvic pain affects your daily life or has gotten worse over time, it may be time to see a specialist. The physicians at The Christ Hospital Women’s Surgery Center are experts in minimally invasive techniques to treat the many possible causes of pelvic pain, such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and other gynecological problems. Which can mean less pain. Less scarring. Shorter recovery time — and a faster return to the things you love.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

To find a doctor who specializes in minimally invasive surgery, call 513.585.1000.

Nov. 5 through Nov. 20, 7:30 p.m.,

Loveland Stage Company Theatre, 111 Second St., Loveland. Musical comedy about six young people learning that winning isn’t everything and losing isn’t all that bad. Presented by Loveland Stage Company. $16, $14 students and seniors. 513-683-4950; www.lovelandstagecompany.org.

TheChristHospital.com/women | Caring Above All.

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The Ortega family from left to right: Millie, Piero, Amy and Clara.

Meet the Ortegas by Jill I. Solimini photography by deogracias Lerma

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A

love of the Spanish language set the course of Mason High School Spanish teacher Amy Ortega’s life. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati, Amy packed her bags and headed for Costa Rica and a job at a linguistics school teaching English to pilots, flight attendants and businessmen. “I started as a math major, but a teaching assistant I met changed my life, and I started taking more Spanish classes,” says Amy. “I studied in Mexico and that gave me the itch to do more traveling. That led me to Costa Rica, and the rest is history.” Piero Ortega, a native of San Jose, Costa Rica, always envisioned living in a different country. His mother, originally from Nicaragua, and his father, who was born in Chile, both left their homelands to make a new life in Costa Rica. By the time Piero was 23, he had visited more than 28 countries, including Germany, where he studied sports science, adding to the degree in physical education that he earned from the University of Costa Rica. A mutual love of swimming brought the two together. Piero was working as a swim coach at the Costa Rica Country Club and a mutual friend gave Amy, a former high school swimmer, a two-week pass to the club. During those two weeks, a friendship formed that soon grew into more. “Neither one of us spoke the other’s language perfectly,”

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RIGHT: Warm wood tones create a inviting atmosphere in the kitchen. BOTTOM: Serving as the center of family activity, the great room opens into the kitchen area with a blend of cream, teal and mocha colors.

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remembers Amy. “We definitely spoke ‘Spanglish’ for a long time.” “Our first date was to a rainforest and a volcano,” says Piero. “I didn’t call – I just showed up.” In 1997, after dating for a year, Piero and Amy married at a small civil ceremony in Costa Rica and began their life together there. Eight months later, Piero’s dream of moving to another country became a reality when they made the decision to have the birth of their first child occur in the United States. They moved to Cincinnati in 1998, and Clara was born a few months later. “Adjusting to the U.S. was not hard because visiting many countries has made languages come pretty easily to me,” says Piero, who also speaks German, Portuguese and Italian. His background in sports and love of swimming led him to his first jobs. He ran the aquatics program at Kids First and then spent 10 years as the aquatics specialist at Tri-Health Fitness and Health Pavilion. However, two years ago Piero made a career change and took a position with Sallie Mae, working in the loan servicing and collections department. “It’s perfect for me because it is a bilingual position,” he says. “I am able to use both English and Spanish.” Since moving to the U.S., Piero has been able to maintain his involvement in the Costa Rica Swimming Federation. He traveled to Indianapolis in 2004 for the World Short Course Swimming Championship, where he held the role of manager for the Costa Rican team. His father, Ricardo, is the vice president of the Costa Rica Swimming Federation and has been to several Olympics as a swim coach. “Technology is a wonderful thing,” says Piero. “I use Skype to continue working for the Federation and to keep in touch with my family.” After returning to Cincinnati, Amy made the switch from teaching English to teaching Spanish at a private elementary school where she developed a K-8 Spanish program. She then taught at Mount Notre Dame High School for seven years before making the move to Mason High School, where she has been teaching Spanish II for two years. “I really enjoy the kids at this age,” says Amy. “High school is where CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT: View from the dining area of the kitchen into the great room bathed in natural light. Millie and Clara’s bedrooms reflect their individual styles and love of brilliant color. Sculptures and wall accents carry a South and Central American native culture theme throughout the Ortega home.

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YOURhome I need to be. With my sarcastic sense of humor and type of personality, it’s just a good fit.” In the past, Amy has taken groups of students to Spain and back to Costa Rica. “It’s wonderful seeing Costa Rica through the kids’ eyes,” she says. “There is so much to do and show them – swimming, hiking, horseback riding – all through this beautiful country.” Their own children – Clara, now a seventh-grader, and their second daughter, Millie, a fifth- grader – have traveled to Costa Rica numerous times to visit family. “We keep in touch with our cousins on Skype, too,” says Clara. “I can definitely understand more Spanish than I can speak,” adds Millie. Clara would love to travel and has an interest in Asian cultures. “I would like to take Mandarin Chinese in high school,” she says. In addition to playing lacrosse and double bass in the orchestra, she enjoys Manga – Japanese comic books.

Millie plans on playing lacrosse in the spring and enjoys cooking. “I would love to open a restaurant in Paris called Chez Platypus. I would be the chef and also the stand-up comedian.” Both girls love animals and have a small menagerie including a German shepherd, a cat, a dwarf hamster and two parakeets. The entire family loves nature, and this led them to purchase some property in Tennessee where they currently camp but hope to build a second home in the future. “Tennessee reminds me a bit of Costa Rica,” says Piero. “The mountains and lakes make me think of my homeland. “I think my life here in the states is better,” he says. “My daughters have brighter futures here – life would have been limited there. “I do miss it though, I get homesick, and I talk to my family every day – my father is my best friend. “Someday we will come full circle. We will head back to Costa Rica to retire.”

BOTTOM: There are plenty of activities to keep the family busy in the game room.

Photos.com

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Never a better time to think about breast health as Mason resources increase

YOURhealth

contributors: trihealth and the city of mason

From national organizations to local groups, awareness starts in October but continues year round.

Jennifer Sweeney, breast cancer survivor and 2010 Honorary Bat Girl for the Cincinnati Reds. The breast cancer survival rate increases dramatically with early detection and treatment.

Photo by malinda hartong

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his year marks the 25th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the annual October campaign dedicated to awareness, education and empowerment. In 2010, an estimated 207,090 new cases of breast cancer will occur among women in the United States. An estimated 39,840 women will die from breast cancer this year. (Source: American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts & Figures 2010) While these numbers are staggering, they are just that – numbers – and the reality is that each breast cancer case is individual. It often takes a personal experience with a friend or family member’s breast cancer to empower a woman to become aware of her own risk factors

and take action. Getting screened by a health care provider and having regular mammograms as recommended is key. There are a number of personal risk factors, which vary in terms of having a strong, moderate, or weak increase in risk for breast cancer. Among the strongest risk factors are age, being female, carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, having a family history with more than one immediate family member having breast cancer, high breast density, personal history of breast cancer and radiation treatment during youth. Family history and personal risk factors need to be discussed with your individual health care provider to gain a complete picture. october | november 2010 45


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>>Get Healthy! Live Well in Mason Take advantage of these programs for better health. The Prevention and Care of Diabetes A Three-Part Series We invite you to join us for a three-part program focusing on pre-diabetes and diabetes through screenings, a one-time nutrition consultation, and an education session featuring physicians from Group Health Associates.

Celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Live Well in Mason October 17 >> Making Strides Against Breast

October 6 >> Free Fasting Cholesterol

and Glucose Screenings 7 - 10:30 a.m. Mason Municipal Center Registration is necessary. A 12-hour fast is required (no food or drink other than water).

October 20 >> Free Nutrition Consultations

with a Registered Dietician Mason Municipal Center Receive a free 20-minute consultation. Especially appropriate for those who have been struggling with elevated blood sugar levels. By appointment only.

GO PINK Week at Mason Community Center October 25-31 >> Mason Community Center

with Diabetes? 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Mason Community Center Live Well in Mason presents: “The Prevention and Care of Diabetes,” featuring physicians from Group Health Associates. Free luncheon included. Pre-registration is required.

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8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Mason Community Center Digital mammography screenings. Please call to schedule an appointment. Check with your health insurance provider to see if it will cover the cost of your mammogram.

October 27 >> Live Well in Mason presents Wellness Wednesday: Wear Pink Day “Making Strides against Breast Cancer: Helping Celebrate More Birthdays” 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Mason Community Center. Presentation and informational booths. Pre-registration is required.

To register for a Live Well in Mason program, please call the Mason Community Center at 513-229-8555, ext. 5547, or stop at the Customer Service Center at the Community Center

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participants and members who make a minimum $5 donation to the American Cancer Society will receive a Partners in Wellness gift. Ask staff for details.

October 25 >> TriHealth Women’s Health Van

November 3 >> Are You at Risk or Dealing

Cancer of Greater Cincinnati Walk. 9 a.m. Yeatman’s Cove in Cincinnati Please call to register as part of Team Live Well.


YOURhealth TriHealth Women’s Health Van at Mason Community Center on Oct. 25 The brand new TriHealth Women’s Health Van is scheduled to be at the Mason Community Center, 6050 Mason-Montgomery Road, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 25, to provide digital mammography screening on-site. Scheduled to be completed in September, the new mobile mammography van has the Mason Community Center as one of its first scheduled stops. The TriHealth Women’s Health Van will make early detection of breast cancer available to women in Greater Cincinnati and the surrounding areas, regardless of their ability to pay. The van will take digital mammography screening to areas where women have difficulty accessing health care, as well as to corporate clients such as the City of Mason, to make screenings more convenient for women throughout the region. The van also will increase the number of screening mammograms by being a highly accessible and visible community resource. TriHealth will schedule mobile mammography screenings at local churches, grocery stores, companies, health clinics, nursing homes, and other venues. All screening mammography patients will be tracked through the hospital’s

Know the Warning Signs of Breast Cancer Due to the increased use of mammography, most women are diagnosed at very early stages of breast cancer, before symptoms appear. However, not all breast cancer is found through mammography. The most common symptoms of breast cancer are a change in the look or feel of the breast, a change in the look or feel of the nipple, and nipple discharge.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure® recommends that you: Know your risk • Talk to your family to learn about your family health history • Talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer (see below) Get screened • Ask your health care provider which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk • Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at 20, and every year starting at 40 Know what is normal for you and see your health care provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes: • Lump, hard knot, or thickening • Swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening • Change in the size or shape of the breast • Dimpling or puckering of the skin • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away Make healthy lifestyle choices • Maintain a healthy weight • Add exercise into your routine • Limit alcohol intake

Mammography Reporting System, a tracking system to help encourage regular screenings. Nyota Stoker, who has a master of public health degree and more than 10 years experience in community health services, began as TriHealth’s mobile mammography coordinator in June. She is working to build her team of three mammography technicians. Two staff members will be on the van serving patients at all times. The TriHealth Women’s Health Van will be fully accredited as a mammography screening clinic of TriHealth. Appointments to receive a digital mammogram on the TriHealth Women’s Health Van will be made in 10-minute intervals, and patients should expect to spend 20-30 minutes to be seen. For those who have insurance, that information will be taken when the appointment is made. “TriHealth and its hospitals, Bethesda North and Good Samaritan, are names people know and trust, and our number one goal is to provide women with optimal screening and care,” said Stoker. “With the digital mammography screening, the tech can see the image on the screen. Then a hospital radiologist will read the films and provide the results to the patient and her physician within two weeks,” she said. For more information or to schedule a mammography appointment with the TriHealth Women’s Health Van, call 513-346-5170. Group Health Associates’ Recent Move Makes Regular Mammograms Even More Convenient Through a partnership between TriHealth, Group Health Associates, and the City of Mason, Group Health Associates’ full service and multi-specialty medical center in Mason recently moved to the Mason Community Center. The new location provides more space and expanded office hours. “We’re delighted to move to the Mason Community Center where patient convenience adds value to the services we provide. In addition to increased availability through expanded office hours, we will also have on-site mammography, which we did not have at our previous Mason office,” said John M. Samol, M.D., an OB/Gyn with Group Health Associates who sees patients at both the Mason and Kenwood locations. As a TriHealth resource, mammography results from the Women’s Health Van will go directly to the desktop of TriHealth physicians through their electronic medical records system. “This is the kind of convenience and efficiency we can expect when mammogram screenings are done through our TriHealth on-site clinic or the mobile mammography van,” said Dr. Samol. When Dr. Samol was asked what message he wants women to get when considering their own breast health, he said, “I want to encourage each patient to communicate with her physician regarding her own specific situation. Screening guidelines are important, but they are guidelines, and breast health is an individualized process with recommendations for each patient.” He encourages every woman to be fully aware of her personal and family history as related to breast cancer and to discuss her own personal combination of risk factors with her health care provider. The Mason Community Center is at 6050 Mason-Montgomery Road, on the north end of Mason High School. For the complete schedule, visit www.imaginemason.org and click on the Partners for Wellness logo. october | november 2010

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Finalthoughts

Welcome home By richard stewart

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” George Moore I went on a particularly enjoyable vacation a couple of months ago that included a few days in the mountains, a few days at the ocean, and a few days amid four generations of family. Yet, enjoyable as this diversion was, I find with each passing year that I enjoy nothing so much as time at home. As a young man just graduated from college I had essentially one overriding ambition – getting out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Of course, I also wanted to be famous and wealthy, heart-stoppingly handsome, and admired for my intellect. But, mainly, I wanted to escape the Midwest, eradicate winter from my life, and, like many young men, “see the world.” In the words of the great anonymous philosopher (and/ or popular Daughtry song): “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” And, I did. Well, I am not famous, wealthy, handsome or admired, but I did manage to engineer an escape from the city of my youth, lived for several years along the incomparable Emerald Coast, and have walked the streets and sidewalks of great cities and small villages around the world. Over the past three decades, I have traveled via planes, trains and automobiles to places far and wide literally around the globe and to nearly every state of our union. (Still have not found any reason to be in North Dakota.) I have witnessed, participated in, and eaten things that, as I child, I was not able even to imagine. Yet, I have at last ended up very near the place from where I started. And, as it turns out, I am OK with that. You can talk to a great many folks who long for and thoroughly enjoy international travel. I tell you now that I no longer count myself among them. I am sure I would take more pleasure in these pursuits if the rest of the world would just agree to speak English, use U.S. dollars, and serve American-style pepperoni pizza with Diet Coke. Believe me when I tell you that eating in a Chinese restaurant in no way simulates actually eating in China. Quickly, off the top of your head: how many shekels, euros or yuan should you expect to spend on dinner? Do you know the French translation for: “Why in the hell is this airport so confusing?” Alas, the people of the world seem intractably intent on preserving their own cultures, currency and culinary preferences.

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our town

My children scoff incredulously when I explain that the actual Eiffel Tower looks just like the one at Kings Island, only bigger. Seriously, I would advise sparing yourself the security lines, uncomfortable overseas flight, and considerable expense of visiting the real one. But, then again, the amusement park doesn’t offer runny cheese or expensive wine, so maybe that might interest you. Movies always make foreign locations seem exotic and fascinating; the denizens are portrayed as romantic and free-spirited adventurers who enjoy life in some characteristically different manner or on some deeper level than Americans. In my experience, once navigating a way around the language barrier, I find that most folks, worldwide, do very similar things – they get up in the morning, go to work, try to pay their bills and save their money so the family can take a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., once every three or four years. Bottled water seems to be the one other international constant. I am not suggesting or advising that there is anything innately superior to my home or hometown, merely that there is a familiar comfort that cannot be replicated elsewhere. No beer ever tastes as good as the ice cold one enjoyed in my own backyard on July 4th with my friends. The driver’s seat in my car is more comfortable than any first-class seat on any plane. Even the best hotels frown upon wandering down to the kitchen at midnight looking for a Pop-Tart. As will be attested by anyone who has spent a few thousand nights in a hotel, there really is no replacement for the sublime comfort afforded by one’s own bed. With each passing year, I find that I more fully appreciate the wisdom of Dorothy Gale. There really is no place like home. Richard Stewart advocates seeing the world for yourself, making a huge fortune doing something cosmopolitan and chic, and then returning to Mason where your generous donations can be used to lower our tax burden. Comments and concerns may be addressed to stewart.richard @yahoo.com.


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