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honoring VETERANS

love a child

Mason Veterans Memorial honors and educates

International adoption as a journey of faith

FINAL CHAPTER Kevin Bright’s legacy will live on at Mason School

family | community | life

New school year, new leader Inside: Your 32-page pullout guide to all the best of Mason & Deerfield Township starts on page 25.

Mason Schools’ new superintendant, Gail Kist-Kline, is up for a challenge


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honoring those who serve Mason Veterans Memorial not only honors past and present military but educates too. making a difference The Romanos wanted to make a difference in a big way, for Tommy it was life changing. DR. GAIL KIST-KLINE TAKES THE lead As new superintendent of Mason Schools she is up for the challenge.

From Colerain Township to Union Township to Loveland, the Network is providing the local information YOU want. From what’s going on with your neighbors to what’s happening around your community, the Network provides comprehensive and engaging community news and information. Visit to check out your new community web site TODAY and find out what’s happening in your backyard. While you’re checking out the community webpage, add your own news and photos. It’s fun and easy. You can post anything from an anniversary to an event using Share. Visit

october | november 2011


contents honorinG veterAnS

love A child

mason veterans memorial honors and educates

international adoption as a journey of faith


the buzz Catch up on what’s making headlines in Mason and Deerfield Township.


5 questions …with Don Helbig, Kings Island public relations manager.


FinAl chAPter Kevin bright legacy will live on at mason School



19 12


New school year, new leader





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ON THE COVER: Dr. Gail Kist-Kline is the new Mason Schools superintendent, here she stands in front of Mason High School. Photo by sam greene. Join us Facebo on ok!

Serving Mason and the surrounding areas. Community Center Members get the best discounts. .

getconnected! Submit your Mason and Deerfield Township stories, photos and events at your community website

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academic all-stars These Kings and Mason students love learning and are tops in their classes. school news and notes All you need to know from the Kings and Mason school districts. the shining legacy of kevin bright The departing Mason Schools superintendent has left big shoes to fill.

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

38 our town

be prepared, save a life Being off duty didn’t keep Tom Wentzel from coming to the aid of Mike Santoro.


mason Schools’ new superintendant, Gail Kist-Kline, is up for a challenge

inside: Your 32-page pullout guide to all the best of mason & deerfield township starts on page 25.


clyde bennett: a man transformed This successful defense lawyer feels time spent in jail has made him a better man.

family | community | life



what’s new New businesses are popping up in the area.



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where to eat: westshore New York-style pizza and Philly favorites sure to tickle your tastebuds. events calendar Dozens of great places to go and things to do.



abc’s of strength training Student athletes need a plan before spending hours in the weight room.



the great escape Our Town columnist Richard Stewart wants to be a superhero, or not.

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

Opens October 14, 2011

34 october | november 2011


EDITOR’sNOTE from the desk of



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he school districts are both at the top of the ratings heap, but new Mason Superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline has ramped up several in scale. Kist-Kline has moved from Wyoming Schools’ enrollment of 2,000 to the 28-squaremile, still growing Mason school system of 11,000 students –including the largest high school in Greater Cincinnati. She replaces Kevin Bright, who has moved on after 13 exciting years as superintendent that saw Mason grow to the giant it is now as suburban grown moved north along I-71. Is Kist-Kline worried? Not so much. “It’s an exciting opportunity and I don’t have any concerns about it,” said the threetime participant in Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon. While we’re at it, we take a fond last look at Bright, Ohio’s superintendent of the year in 2003. Hard to believe that in Bright’s 22 total years in Mason schools, the district grew from 2,500 students to the present-day 11,000. One more note on scale: That enrollment is about twice as big as the entire city of Mason in 1970, the year the once-sleepy village out on the edge of nowhere gained city status. An underappreciated gem in Mason is the Veterans Memorial in front of the municipal center. It was completed in 2003 and not only honors all veterans, but is a place for quiet contemplation. Those who helped create it agree it is too often overlooked, one of the finest memorials anywhere. Those who are interested can still purchase bricks to honor family members for $50 each, which will be placed into the memorial. Members of the community can also purchase “Patriot Roses” for $5 each, which are placed on the memorial each Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Do you have an idea for a story? If so, please get in touch. Reach our editor at or 513-755-4157.


Jim Rohrer

contributing editors

Liz DuFour

art director



Judy Crist Liz Dufour Sam Greene Tony Jones Rachel Richardson Leigh Taylor Tony Tribble Sarah Elizabeth Bailey Michael D. Clark Polly Campbell John Johnston Sue Kiesewetter Paul McKibben Janice Morse Rachel Richardson Jill Solimini Jeffrey Stewart Richard Stewart

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Chad Schaefer 513-768-8235

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Mike Gleason 513.768.8232

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Our Town 312 Elm Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 tel | 513.755.4157 fax | 513.768.8340 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

october | november 2011



thebuzz What’s going on in Mason and Deerfield Township Contributors are Paul McKibben and RACHEL RICHARDSON

Photo by Liz dufour

Matt Ouimet, recently hired as president of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which owns Kings Island, spoke about ‘virtual passes’ while in town visiting the park.

kings island may start using ‘virtual pass’ Kings Island’s parent company continues to study a virtual pass that could hold a person’s place in line, the new president of Sandusky-based Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. said while visiting the park here. The visit was one of Matt Ouimet’s first to Kings Island since Cedar Fair named him president June 20. He will succeed CEO Dick Kinzel, who will retire on Jan. 3. Ouimet spent 17 of his 20 years in the amusement park and hospitality industry with the Walt Disney Co. Ouimet, 53, gave no timetables, but said the company will “probably go there” regarding a virtual pass that could hold a person’s place in line until a predetermined time. He said announcements may be coming later this year about new attractions at the park, which will mark its 40th anniversary next year. He said Cedar Fair will do attractions specific for Kings Island; but if something works at another park, Kings Island guests will benefit. For example, the WindSeeker swing ride opened this year at Kings Island and Cedar Point.

deerfield township workers receive one-time 2% raise Full-time, non-union workers in Deerfield Township received a one-time 2 percent payment instead of raises for this year and last year. “It’s a cost-saving measure ... and (trustees have) indicated an interest in looking at a pay-for-performance plan in the future,” said Lois McKnight, assistant township administrator. “So this was a way to control future costs while they investigated other ways to calculate raises or benefit pay.” Warren County commissioners gave 2 percent raises for non-union employees for this year. Last year non-union employees did not receive a raise.

injured mason officer gets $1.9 million award A Warren County jury awarded Mason police officer Scott Miller and his wife, Dana Miller, nearly $1.9 million in damages and pain and suffering from a 2010 accident when he was hit by a car. It was the second time Miller found himself in the way of a moving

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our town

YOURcommunity vehicle. He was wrapping up a traffic-crash investigation on Kings Island Drive in May 2008 when he was struck by a vehicle. He was able to rebound from that accident and returned to work – with screws and hooks implanted in his back – after 14 painful months of recovery. But after only eight months back on the job, a car hit Miller as he directed traffic in February 2010 outside St. Susanna Catholic Church on U.S. 42 in Mason. The resulting injuries ended the career Miller says he loves. He took a disability retirement in December. Miller had traffic stopped outside the church when he was struck by a vehicle operated by Eleanor R. Donovan, 78, of Mason. Donovan panicked and left the scene but later turned herself in. Her license was suspended for 45 days and she was fined $400 for failure to stop after an accident.

sinclair community college looks to expand mason campus Dayton-based Sinclair Community College expects to open another building in two years at its Courseview campus in Mason. Enrollment has grown at the Mason campus since it opened in fall 2007 by 262 percent. The campus had 1,250 students last fall. “We’re at capacity now basically in terms of students and classes at the Courseview campus center,” said Madeline Iseli, Sinclair’s vice president of advancement. Sinclair was the first brick-and-mortar campus college campus in Warren County when Courseview opened. The building is along Interstate 71. Sinclair owns a 32-acre parcel across the street. Iseli said issues such as how much space the college needs and what programs are needed are being studied. Iseli said the plan is to maintain operations at the current building when the new one opens. Iseli said the new facility would cost millions but didn’t have a precise figure. She said Sinclair offers 21 degree and certificate programs through the Courseview campus. Sinclair officials are aiming to have construction completed in June 2013 with classes starting in the new building two months later.

no fire levy in mason this year City Council won’t ask voters to approve an increased fire levy this year. An extension of the levy, a renewal that did not increase the tax, was last approved in 2008. It expires in 2013. Mayor Don Prince said the city will continue to look for cost savings through such practices as bulk purchasing, though he noted expenses are beginning to eat into reserves. Funding from the state of Ohio has also decreased, he said. There will be no staff reductions, city officials said.

golf team has new head coach Tim Lambert now heads the Mason High School boys’ golf team. Lambert comes to Mason from Lakota West, where he’s coached the girls’ golf program since 2002. In 2006, he led the team to Lakota’s first and only OHSAA Girls’ State Golf Championship. He replaces Michelle Lipka, who recently accepted the vacant head coach position of the girls’ golf team at Mason. Under his leadership, Lambert led the Firebirds to four district championships, three top Enquirer rankings, four sectional championships and five Greater Miami Conference titles. Lambert, who played four years of varsity golf in high school, is a 1989 graduate of Miami University with a degree in Landscape Architecture. He attained Professional Status in 1990 and is the current director of instruction at Four Bridges Golf Academy. He took over a boys’ program that last year finished second in the GMC and fourth overall in the Southwest Ohio District.

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fivequestions WITH


DON HELBIG Kings Island probably has no bigger fan than Don Helbig. Helbig was a season pass holder from 1981 until he went to work for the Mason amusement park in 2007. He is in his fifth season as its public relations manager. Before joining Kings Island, Helbig worked 18 years in professional hockey as a public relations/media relations director and radio play-by-play announcer with several teams. He worked for the now defunct Cincinnati Tigers and Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. He also was with the Cincinnati Cyclones and teams in Greensboro, N.C. and Albany, N.Y. Helbig, of Fairfield, is married to wife Laura. Daughter Maria, 16, works at Kings Island as part of the Peanuts Party in the Plaza show and as a character escort. A roller coaster enthusiast, Helbig has ridden Kings Island’s classic Racer roller coaster 11,991 times from 1981 to July 24, the most recent count when Our Town talked to him the next day.


How does being a roller coaster enthusiast help you in your current job?

It’s allowed me to identify with our guests because there’s nothing that they’re going to experience during their day that I didn’t over the 26 years that I had a season pass.

2 Photo by tony tribble

DON HELBIG, Kings Island Public Relations Manager


our town

What’s your favorite roller coaster anywhere?

It’s not the best one I’ve been on, but my favorite one is going to be the Racer as it was the first roller coaster I ever rode. I was 9 years old in 1972. The year before, the last year that Coney Island was open, my family was at the park the last day it was open. I was going through the line for the Shooting Star and as soon as I sat down in the seat, the noise of the second train coming back in kind of freaked me out. So I got out of the seat and didn’t ride. So the next year the Racer was just so massive and it was the biggest thing at Kings Island at the time. My cousin convinced me to go on it. He paid me 50 cents to ride with him and after that I was hooked.


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I would have to say White Water Canyon (at Kings Island). I like those rides. They’re a little bit unpredictable. It’s not the same experience every time. Sometimes you can go through and ride White Water Canyon and just get totally drenched. Another time, you might just get a little nicked on the shoulder but the person across from you got drenched. It’s a relaxing kind of a ride. It’s about as close as I’m going to get to whitewater rafting. After that, I’ve always enjoyed the train.


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Do you prefer wooden or steel roller coasters?

Wooden roller coasters. I’m a traditionalist. So I was riding wooden roller coasters before there were all of the steel roller coasters. Steel roller coasters are great. They’re very smooth in comparison to a wooden roller coaster. But to me, there’s nothing that beats a really good wooden roller coaster.


What is something that most people probably don’t know about Kings Island?

Even though it’s been here since 1989, it’s that the water park Boomerang Bay is included free with park admission. That’s one of the most frequently asked questions that we get either by email, by phone and coming up to guest services. I think the other thing might be just the associates that have worked here throughout the years. A lot of them have become pretty prominent people. (The list includes entertainers Carmen Electra, Drew Lachey and Nick Lachey. Also, sports broadcaster Lewis Johnson, actor Woody Harrelson, former Cincinnati Bengal Brian Blados and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters). By Paul McKibben

october | november 2011



what’s new in mason and deerfield township

COMPILED BY Jill Solimini PHOTOS BY tony tribble

Emeritus at Long Cove Pointe 5535 Irwin Simpson Road, Mason, OH 45040 513-229-3155 or

The welcoming entrance to Emeritus at Long Cove Point, which opened its doors this summer.

Emeritus at Long Cove Pointe, a new senior residential and assisted living community, opened its doors this past summer. This state-of-the-art community was built specifically for seniors whose needs range from active independent living to assisted living to memory care. The facility includes 81 apartments with five floor plans that range from cozy studios to deluxe one bedroom suites. Homemade meals are served restaurant style each day in the elegant dining room and there are diverse, full-time activities, programs and scheduled transportation to off-site activities and appointments. A nurse is available 24/7 and weekly housekeeping, linen and laundry services are available. A Personal Transitions program and financial resource options are among the wealth of tools the staff has in place to help residents and families make the move into senior living. For more information or to set up a visit, call or visit the Emeritus website.

Cooper’s Crepes 513-310-5181 or Try made-to-order, hot off the grill crepes at Cooper’s Crepes, a mobile unit now roaming the streets of Cincinnati. The crepes, thin pancakes that come with fillings instead of toppings, can be ordered in a variety of flavors including the The Usual – lemon and sugar, The Buckeye – Ghirardelli chocolate chips and Reese’s peanut butter chips, or That’s My Jam – fruit jams including strawberry and blueberry. Prices range from $3.50 to $4.00. Cooper’s Crepes can be found at the Powder Keg Harley Davidson Store in Mason and has made an appearance at Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield. Visit their website and check their blog to find out where and when you can find them. Have an event you will like them to attend – go to the Book Us page on their website to reserve them. You can also visit them on Facebook or Twitter.


our town

“The Management” Peter Barton stands ready to whip up some crepes.


Are you opening a business or expanding in Mason or Deerfield Township? If so, you could be featured in Our Town. Contact Jill Solimini at

Magical Moments Preschool Mason United Methodist Church 6315 Mason Montgomery Road, Mason, OH 45040 513-459-9426 or (under Our Communities) Magical Moments Preschool offers a loving environment for its students. The experienced staff strives to ensure that children love to come to school and learn to respect one another. The school offers two sessions – a morning session that runs from 9:30 to noon and an afternoon session that runs from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. The Pre-K class is either three or four days a week, and the 3-yearold class is held two days a week. While both classes have a thematic based academic focus, the 3’s class places an emphasis on creative play and social skills, while the Pre-K class focuses on age appropriate prereading and pre-math, as well as art, science and music. They also teach beginning sign language and plan monthly activities. Magical Moments Preschool is currently taking registrations for the 2011-2012 school year. Please call for more information or to schedule a tour.

Classrooms and teachers, at Magical Moments Preschool, are ready for students to arrive.

Buckeye Running Company 4200 Aero Drive, Mason, OH 45040 513-234-0666 or

Shop for apparel and accessories at in the first, and only, run specialty store in Mason.

Buckeye Running Company is the first and only run specialty store in Mason. They custom fit their guests by conducting a gait analysis to help them achieve the best footwear fit. “As a former runner and coach at the high school and collegiate levels, I realize the importance of getting the proper footwear fitting. At Buckeye Running Company, you can expect to receive excellent personalized service from knowledgeable staff to get the best footwear for your needs,” says owner Steve Nester. Buckeye Running Company carries 11 footwear brands including Adidas, Asics, Brooks, Mizuno, Nike and Saucony. They also carry many different manufacturers of apparel and accessories to take care of any runner’s needs. Join them on their free group runs every Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. – all ability levels are welcome. They are open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

october | november 2011



Honoring those

who serve By Sarah Elizabeth Bailey photos by tony tribble


he Mason Veterans Memorial is not only a place for community members to come and honor their loved ones, it’s also a place to learn. Council member Charlene Pelfrey, an original member and current secretary of the Mason Veterans Memorial Committee formed in 2000, described her experience of planning the memorial. “We wanted the Veterans Memorial to not just be a place for reflection and to honor our dead and current military, but we wanted it to be educational as well,” she said. Pelfrey said the memorial was made possible through the help of Mason Schools’

MEMORIAL FACTS The memorial is located at 6000 Mason Montgomery Rd. How to donate: Buy a brick to be placed at the memorial for $50 Purchase a “Patriot Rose” for $5 Contact council member Charlene Pelfrey at


our town

fundraising efforts, private businesses and the members of the community coming together. Finished on November 8, 2003, the memorial is fantastic and, according to Pelfrey, hasn’t gotten enough notice. “I couldn’t tell you the ecstasy when we dedicated this,” she said. “People need to know this is here, not just in Ohio, but throughout the region.” From the beginning, Pelfrey said she gladly volunteered with other members of council – Peter Beck and Betty Davis – to kick-start the memorial committee. “The greatest honor that I had was serving on the committee itself, watching veterans who had been shot down, who had purple hearts, who’d lost limbs, loved ones and who had seen and sacrificed so much,” she said. A Touching Design Located in front of the Mason Municipal Center, the Mason Veterans Memorial has a variety of features that honor all American veterans and encourages understanding of the history behind each major war. Astronaut Neil Armstrong and Congressman Rob Portman were a part of the dedication for the Memorial in 2003. It is located away from the sounds of the main street and slopes gradually into the ground surrounded by trees and flowers to give a private feeling for visitors. The Monoliths: In the center of the memorial, a timeline of 11 stone monoliths

represent each major U.S. military event starting with the Revolutionary War. The heights of the monoliths correlate to how many men and women gave their lives in each conflict. Each pillar has information describing the event, including descriptions of the main players and leaders at the time. Each declared war is represented through the Persian Gulf War. A final short monolith is placed at the end to represent the hope for world peace one day. The Benches: Words such as “courage,” “dedication,” “loyalty,” and “perseverance” decorate six stone benches placed within the area of the memorial. When entering the memorial area, the first bench on the left depicts the memory of the events of September 11. The Wall of Tears: Perhaps the most touching aspect of the memorial, the Wall of Tears is located at the end of the memorial site. Made of granite, the black wall spreads across the back of the memorial site and features trickling water from the top of the wall. The wall represents the tears that have been shed by Americans in the pursuit of freedom. It also contains meaningful quotes that describe the sacrifices veterans have made. The Eternal Flame: Next to the Wall of Tears stands the Eternal Flame. This part of the memorial serves to recognize prisoners of war and those missing in action. The bright


Tom Plummer, a WWII Veteran, has dedicated time and effort to building the memorial in Mason.

light boldly stands out against the darkness of the backdrop behind it. A Place for Donation: Near the entrance of the memorial site is a place where an American Flag stands within a stone wall. The stone wall features each of the five major branches of service. Around the bottom of this place is an area for donor bricks that serve to honor specific veterans. Another paved area close by serves to give the community a place to honor individual people. Veterans Reflect For Vietnam veteran and current Mason Mayor Don Prince, the memorial is truly meaningful. “It’s very important to me to have a place where we recognize those who have served and those who have sacrificed,” Prince said. Prince is a U.S. Navy Veteran who served from 1966 to 1969. Although Prince was not an original member of the committee that initially designed the memorial, he appreciates the private setting it offers. “I really like the sense of place this provides,” he said. “You are in a somewhat private setting when you walk down and you’ve got some solitude.” Prince said his office is right inside the

Mason Mayor Don Prince and council member Charlene Pelfrey at the Veterans Memorial in Mason.

october | november 2011



“Breaking Ground” painted by Todd Prince in 2004, depicts soldiers from each war at the site of the memorial with the Mason Municipal Center behind them.

Mason Municipal Center overlooking the memorial, which he said has daily visitors. Overall, he said, “I truly believe this is one of the finest veterans memorials this side of Washington D.C.” For World War II Veteran Tom Plummer, the Mason Veterans Memorial is one of a kind. “I’ve seen veterans memorials in other communities and none are like this,” Plummer said. “This one is educational and tells a story.” Plummer, 89, is actively involved with the Mason Veterans Memorial Committee. He served in combat during WWII in France and Germany. Plummer fought in the Battle of the Bulge and received many medals in recognition of his efforts in service. He lost both close friends and high school classmates during the war. “It means a lot


our town

to me because I know people who gave their lives,” he said. Future Plans In regards to the location and promotion of the memorial, the Mason Veterans Memorial Committee has plans in store. “We want this memorial to be more visible and prominent,” Plummer said. “We want people to know where this is.” Prince explained additional signs are planned to promote the location of the memorial, and there will be a new sign appearing close to the road soon. He also said people can expect more usage of the memorial for events throughout the year in addition to Veterans Day and Memorial Day celebrations. To get involved, people can purchase

bricks to honor family members for $50 each, which will be placed into the memorial. Members of the community can also purchase “Patriot Roses” for $5 each, which are placed on the memorial each Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Prince also said a special sidewalk section will be created for sailors and crew aboard the U.S.S. Mason, the namesake ship he said the council has a long term relationship with. As for future additions to the memorial, Plummer was quick to mention the War on Terror. “This will also be a place for the ones that are serving now in Afghanistan,” he said. For more information, contact council members at

Clyde Bennett:


A man transformed

Clyde Bennett back at home after spending 18 months in prison.


fter living in an 8,000-square-foot Heritage Club mansion, Clyde Bennett II crammed a few belongings into a locker and spent his nights on a federal prison cot. The drastic change of address transformed him. Now back home, Bennett says he has become a better man – and a better criminal defense lawyer. “Prison was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” he declares. “It made me 10 times better – and this is going to sound corny, but it’s the truth: It allowed me to focus on God and to focus on myself.” Bennett, 47, who had admitted to a federal financial crime, spent his 18-month prison sentence improving himself inside and out. He studied the Bible. He pumped iron. He ran about four miles each day, jumped rope and did calisthenics. But he couldn’t serve as a jailhouse lawyer. His suspended law license forbade him from giving legal advice to fellow prisoners.

By Janice Morse Our town file photos

So he shifted to a different leadership role. “I was a pretty popular guy in prison; I was the fitness guru at Morgantown,” the Federal Correctional Institution in Morgantown, W.Va., Bennett said. “I would work out, at a minimum, four to five hours a day. It was my therapy. Then, I’d help train the other guys.” Standing 6-feet-5, Bennett weighs in at a lean 190 pounds. His broad shoulders and 29-inch waist stand out whether he’s wearing Under Armour workout clothes or a business suit. Since his release from prison in October 2009, he has continued exercising in his home gym and at Lifetime Fitness, Deerfield Township. Before being imprisoned, Bennett had focused on winning cases and achieving prominence, prestige and prosperity. “Before, it was about how many plasma televisions you could have in your mansion. It was about how many black BMW’s you could drive. That’s what I was about. And I did not glorify God. I glorified myself,” he said. “I got caught up in it. God tried to get my attention in many

october | november 2011



Bennett believes the time he spent being prosecuted and incarcerated in prison was a wake up call from God that he had become too prideful and needed to refocus his energy and passion.


our town

ways, and I didn’t listen. He allowed me to go to prison so I could put my attention on Him.” Now, after regaining his license to practice law this spring after a three-year suspension, Bennett approaches life from a more spiritual perspective, he says. “I think my life exemplifies pride before destruction. I was an extremely proud person. I was too prideful. I tried to gratify myself. I serve God now. I serve the Lord’s will. You find out his will by reading the Bible and going to church.” Still, Bennett has lost none of his flashy courtroom style. Jaws dropped among observers in May when they saw Bennett show up as the lawyer hired to defend Marcus Anthony Isreal, the suspect accused of running a vehicle into Sgt. Brian Dulle – Warren County’s first sheriff’s deputy to die in the line of duty. It’s his first high-profile case since the Ohio Supreme Court restored his law license April 29. Bennett says his own legal troubles changed his perspective on how he practices law. “Before, I was passionate, I was successful…I had empathy for my clients. But my understanding of what my clients were going through was with limitations, because I never experienced what they experienced,” Bennett said. “Now I understand what it’s like to be investigated, prosecuted and incarcerated. I know what it’s like, and I don’t want that to happen to anyone.” He makes no apologies for vigorously defending people who are accused of the most heinous crimes. He admits many of them, in fact, are guilty. But he says they’re still entitled to the best defense he can deliver – and an acquittal if he can secure one. “I don’t care if you killed your mother – you’re entitled to a strong, passionate defense and a victory,” he said. “It offends some people, but that’s how I truly feel.” Bennett’s passion for his profession took hold during his childhood. Growing up poor in Cincinnati-area housing projects, the young Bennett saw his father going in and out of courtrooms, jails and prisons for burglary and drug offenses. “I remember those days as a child, taking

givingback the long road to London, Ohio, to London Correctional Institution. It wasn’t fun. I didn’t like it,” he said. Based on that experience, Bennett made a tough decision as he prepared to fulfill his own prison term in Morgantown: He wasn’t going to subject his two children to a 293-mile car ride so they could visit their dad in prison. “I decided the best thing for me to do was not expose my children to prison – let them live their lives; let them do what they do,” he said. “So I did not see my children for 18 months. It hurt like hell, though.” Although the experience of seeing his own dad behind bars hurt him, that was what inspired Bennett’s future career. In his eyes, his dad’s lawyers did shoddy work, yet gladly collected legal fees while his family struggled to pay for food, clothing and shelter. It infuriated him. And it spawned a dream – one that initially threw his mother for a loop. Bennett’s mom, Elaine Southerland of Springdale, wanted her son to apply his intelligence to a medical career. She actually gave him a stethoscope as a collegegraduation gift, hoping to push him to become a doctor. “I just wanted him to do something that I thought would have been very important to people. He had always been the type of child that wanted to do something big – always,” Southerland said. “He decided that, yes, being a doctor would be ideal. But in the middle of the stream, he changed his mind, and I really wasn’t aware of it.” Some of his friends finally broke the news to her – and she gave her blessing to her son’s dream because she recognized that he would not excel unless he pursued a career that he felt strongly about. “I had to follow my heart and my soul,” Bennett said. He not only aspired to be a lawyer, but one who stood out. “I wanted to be a part of one of those big, fancy law firms, like the guys on ‘LA Law,’” Bennett said, referring to a popular TV show that ran from 1986-94, while Bennett was attending college and law school. And so Bennett’s dream came true. He was hired by the prestigious Cincinnati law firm, Dinsmore & Shohl.

>>About Clyde Bennett Personal: Age 47, married with two children. Early history: Born at General Hospital (now University Hospital) in Cincinnati, one of four children in his family. Grew up in English Woods and Lincoln Heights.

Education: Graduated 1982, Princeton High School; 1987, bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in preparation for medical school, University of Cincinnati. Decided to save money for law school instead; worked two years as a co-manager of the former Kroger store on Seymour Avenue, Roselawn, before enrolling at University of Dayton in 1989. Earned law degree in 1992. Employment: Upon passing the Ohio state bar exam in 1992, went to work for Dayton law firm of Freund, Freeze & Arnold, where he practiced medical malpractice defense and insurance defense. Then became associate in 1994 at the Cincinnati law firm of Dinsmore & Shohl, became a full-equity partner in 2000. He practiced malpractice defense, general civil defense and criminal defense, practiced federal criminal law in New York, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Resigned from Dinsmore & Shohl in September 2007, then admitted to a federal financial crime: “structuring” $240,000 into small bank deposits to avoid scrutiny. Community: Attends Vineyard Community Church, Springdale, volunteers at Cincinnati Country Day School and serves as a volunteer referee for youth football in inner-city Cincinnati.

While Mike Allen was Hamilton County prosecutor from 1999-2005, he saw Bennett work with “bad facts” – damning, abundant evidence – but often walk away with good results for his clients. “He’d win cases that he’d have no business winning, because he’s such a good trial lawyer,” Allen said. That success attracted a lot of buzz, a lot of clients – and fat paychecks for Bennett. It all came crashing down in 2007. Bennett got busted for the way he deposited $124,000 during 2002-03. Federal authorities launched an investigation, dropped it, then reopened the probe in 2007 and prosecuted Bennett. He went to federal prison after pleading guilty to “structuring” – splitting the $124,000 into small chunks, less than $10,000. Thus he avoided the threshold amount that requires banks to report deposits to the federal government – regulations set up to help federal officials detect illegal activity that could be connected to large sums of money. Bennett says all the money he deposited was legally earned income. His explanation for the numerous small deposits: Leery of banks, Bennett had socked away dough for years. The amount grew so large, he felt uncomfortable holding

onto it. He also wanted to make a down payment on his house. But he didn’t want to arouse suspicion by depositing such a large sum, fearing he’d be targeted for his zealous criminal defense work. He knew it was “wrong” to purposely avoid making deposits exceeding $10,000, he says. If he had known what trouble would follow, “I would have gone down to the bank with a duffel bag full of the $124,000, slapped it down and said, ‘Here, go ahead – investigate,’ ” Bennett said. In recommending Bennett for reinstatement, an Ohio lawyer-discipline board wrote: “He has taken full responsibility for his actions and expressed complete remorse and shame for his misconduct.” Jonathan Coughlan, Supreme Court disciplinary counsel, said attorneys convicted of felonies are sometimes reinstated, as Bennett was. “Each case is viewed on its own merits,” he said, “so there is no flat rule that if you do ‘X,’ you can never practice law again.” Bennett now is striking out on his own. “I’m going to be a lone wolf,” he said. Bennett said he plans to open law offices in three cities: Hamilton, Cincinnati and Dayton. He thinks people will trust him again october | november 2011



After being released from prison, Bennett feels he can better empathize with his clients and has returned to practicing law.

despite his criminal conviction. “What I did in the eyes of most people was not that egregious. My crime did not involve a client. My crime was victimless. I didn’t take anything from anybody; I didn’t owe anybody,” he said. “It was a victimless crime that involved me putting my money in my bank account in a manner that didn’t fit with bank reporting requirements.” Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Norbert Nadel says he was surprised and pleased to learn Bennett was returning to practice law. “He’s one of the best trial lawyers I’ve ever seen,” Nadel said. The judge described Bennett as bright, astute and passionate about his work, adding, “He’s somewhat of a throwback to the more flamboyant lawyers of the past.” Bennett’s loud voice and aggressive style can rub some people the wrong way. But Bennett makes no apologies for his courtroom swagger – and he says it’s backed up by “proven results,” victories touted on his website, “I challenge you to find any lawyer that has done what I’ve done. I’ve won 10 homicide cases – acquittals – and had two hung juries on murder cases. I’ve won four or five federal jury trials, and I’ve won countless other high-profile cases,” he said. “I’m back and I’m ready to fight, more than ever.”

>>Some of Bennett’s big cases 2007: In one of the last cases attorney Clyde Bennett II handled before he stopped practicing law to deal with his personal legal troubles, he defended Lamont Hunter, who was convicted and sentenced to death for killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son, Trustin Blue, in Hamilton County. Despite that bad outcome for Hunter, Judge Norbert Nadel, who served on the panel that imposed the death penalty on Hunter, recently said he remembers Bennett being “very thorough” in his defense of Hunter and “did the best he could with what he had to work with.” 2007: A jury convicted Bruce Suggs Jr. of Mason of two weapons charges but deadlocked on the three most serious charges he faced, alleging he helped a gunman who fired at West Chester police, wounding two of them before killing himself. Bennett said the verdict, though split, was “a huge victory for the defense” because Suggs had faced a minimum of 22 years in prison on the charges that hung the jury. Suggs was later convicted in a retrial with a different lawyer. 2006: A Hamilton County jury acquitted Eric Jackson of two murder charges – one for a woman and one for her fetus – after concluding he fired in self-defense during an argument with another man. The shot missed Jackson’s target and hit Tawnia Kirksey, who was 10 weeks pregnant. Kirksey’s mother, Daisy Kirksey said at the time: “He got off with murder. I feel like the justice system failed.” The verdict also stunned prosecutors, who had argued that Jackson meant to kill the other man, Eli Wheeler, and did not fear for his life. 18

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2006: The two people accused of killing 1-year-old Jamira Chenault of Forest Park were acquitted in separate Hamilton County trials. The Forest Park toddler died of a head injury in December 2004. Her two caregivers, cousins of her mother, were accused in March 2005 of accidentally killing the child. Bennett represented both defendants who were found not guilty, Johnathan and Takola Glover. 2006: Anthony McClain of O’Bryonville, in prison for 11 years before being granted a new trial, was acquitted of murder after being retried for the 1995 killing of 17-year-old Phillip White in Evanston. 2005: A Hamilton County jury acquitted Betty Thomas of Westwood on a charge of murder in the August 2004 shooting of Grady A. Madison. Prosecutors had alleged Thomas lured Madison away from a group of friends in Springfield Township to rob him. At trial, three officers and four eyewitnesses testified to the shooting. “After all of that, and she was found not guilty of murder,” Bennett said recently. “I shocked myself with that one.” 2005: A Butler County jury acquitted a Springfield Township teenager, Adrian Reynolds, of murder and convicted him of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter in the beating death of a 17-year-old Fairfield boy. Reynolds was charged in 2004 with murder while he was 16 years old after authorities found Brandon Mitchell beaten to death behind a Fairfield apartment complex. Prosecutors contended that Reynolds started the fight, punching and kicking Mitchell several times while he was on the ground until he was

unconscious. Bennett argued that Mitchell started the fight. 2002: Bridget Stovall was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2001 drowning of her two children in a saltwater bath in Hamilton County. She had faced a potential death sentence, but instead was ordered to undergo mental treatment. 1999: One of Bennett’s most satisfying victories came in the case of Jimmy White. “I received a lot of heat for representing Jimmy because everybody thought he was guilty and the crime was so heinous and egregious. It was outrage from the public,” Bennett said recently. “The evidence was seemingly overwhelming but I didn’t believe Jimmy did it.” White was accused of ambushing a 14-year-old girl near railroad tracks, tying her up, cutting her all over her body with a razor blade and sexually assaulting her. Bennett had argued White was a victim of mistaken identity. The victim was unable to identify White as her attacker until several neighbors alleged he was the suspect, Bennett had argued. At the time, Bennett told the Cincinnati Enquirer: “This was a brutal, heinous, horrible crime. But Jimmy White did not commit it. He knows it, I know it, his family knows and now a jury knows it.” Prosecutors said tests of blood, partial fingerprints and other physical evidence did not link White to the crime. White’s first trial in 1998 had ended without a verdict when the jury declared it was deadlocked, with 10 of 12 jurors voting for acquittal but two voting guilty. Source: Cincinnati Enquirer archives, recent interviews with Judge Norbert Nadel and Clyde Bennett II


Making a

difference By John Johnston photos by LEIGH TAYLOR AND PROVIDED


leven-year-old Morgan Romano’s eyes lit up. “I see ’em! I see ’em!” he exclaimed as his parents, Chris and Jenny Romano of Deerfield Township, appeared April 1 in a walkway at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Atop Chris’ shoulders was Tommy, a smiling 4-year-old boy they had just adopted from Ethiopia. The Romanos, exhausted but exuberant after 16 hours on planes, soon were surrounded by their four biological children and more than a dozen family members and friends holding welcome signs and balloons. Somebody handed Tommy a small U.S. flag, which he waved enthusiastically. “Welcome to America,” Chris Romano said as he bounced the boy on his arm. The Romanos’ adoption journey began 20 months ago when Chris and his four children volunteered to assemble food packages for A Child’s Hope International/Kids Against Hunger-Cincinnati. They listened as Larry Bergeron, the founder of the organization and a former church pastor, told of the plight of children around the

world. He described ways that caring people could make a difference, including adoption. “He concluded his presentation with a question: What are you going to do?” Chris Romano recalled. “It was a powerful moment.” So powerful, in fact, that it set Chris and Jenny Romano, both 43, and their biological children – Morgan, 11; Julia, 12; Madison, 14; and Miranda, 16 – on what at first seemed an improbable path toward international adoption. “I remember thinking, ‘No, God. We have four (children),’ ” said Chris, who is a Deerfield Township trustee. He also runs a technology company and a social network for people with chronic illness. Jenny is a YMCA gymnastics instructor. They worried about the adoption cost, an estimated $32,000, which didn’t include medical expenses once they brought the child home. They didn’t have that kind of money. “(But) the more we talked about it,” Chris said, “the more it seemed like the right thing to do.” Operating under the belief that they were being called by God, they

october | november 2011


givingback chose a Christian adoption agency, Holt International, and told agency workers they wanted to quickly make an impact in a place with great need. If that meant taking an older child with special needs, so be it. In May 2010, the family received a referral for an Ethiopian boy. They were told he couldn’t walk or talk because of schizencephaly, a rare neurological condition characterized by abnormal slits in the brain. That didn’t scare them off. Chris has learned to live with a neurological condition himself; he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2003. Even before meeting him, they began calling the boy Tommy. Said Jenny: “Our first reaction was, we need to help him, get him out of where he is, and see if we can help him function and succeed in life. All God’s children need a chance, right?” Some friends and family members questioned the wisdom of adopting a special-needs child from another country. “We know this will be hard,” Chris wrote on a blog he started

Left: Family and friends wait patiently for Chris and Jenny Romano to arrive back home with Tommy after traveling 16 hours from Ethiopia. Below: The Romano’s biological children welcomed Tommy with signs, balloons and open arms.


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givingback to chronicle the adoption journey. “Just think of the lessons he can teach us; about struggling and hardship; compassion and humility; love and commitment; walking a mile in another’s shoes.” Soon after accepting the referral, the Romanos were immersed in a sea of tedious requirements. A social worker did a home study to determine their suitability to adopt. Chris obtained a medical clearance saying his MS wouldn’t be a problem. The couple filled out mounds of paperwork, collected documents, waited in lines, wrote checks. Financial assistance came from a variety of sources, including $5,000 from a charity called Brittany’s Hope. Last Christmas, a number of checks arrived from people in the community who wanted to show support for the Romanos, including some the family doesn’t know well. By January, the costs of the adoption were covered. That’s also when Chris and Jenny made the first of two required trips to Ethiopia and met Tommy for the first time. He had lived in what’s called a care center – essentially an orphanage – for two years. His right hand was permanently clenched. He stood awkwardly on his right foot and had terrible balance. But he could walk. And though his vocabulary was limited, he could talk. “We were floored,” Chris said. In mid-March, they were cleared to return to Ethiopia for a visa interview, the last step before bringing Tommy home. On that trip, they met Tommy’s birth mother. “She was more than gracious,” Jenny said. “And so thankful. I think she wanted mostly for (Tommy) to have a dad.” Through a translator, the woman told the Romanos that the boy’s birth father, a hard-working carpenter, had died of typhus. She asked the Romanos to teach the boy to love God, respect his family and remember her. They promised to do so. On a weekday morning in the Romano home, Tommy is devouring his second bowl of chicken and potato soup. Soon, he’s walking around the table to a stereo. He’s learned to turn it on and crank the volume. Since arriving here, he has been checked out thoroughly by doctors at the International Adoption Center of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He does not have schizencephaly, but cerebral palsy, which has a better prognosis. A temporary leg cast has improved his mobility. “Tommy has delivered a measure of joy to our house that I could not have predicted,” Chris said. And 20 months after the Romanos set out to make a difference, they see it happening with Tommy. “Certainly you feel it,” Chris said, “when you wake him up in the morning and he looks at you with a huge smile.”

Above right: It was smiles all around as Chris introduces Tommy to his new immediate family and to life in America. Right: As a direct result of the Romano’s actions Tommy’s progress with his special needs and development in general is showing great success.

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Mason Fire Chief John Moore, left, Mason Fire Lt. Tom Wentzel and Mason Mayor Don Prince as Wentzel receives the city’s firefighter of the year award.


ike Santoro remembers waking up in intensive care at Jewish Hospital wanting to know where he was. A nurse asked him if he knew what happened to him. “I said ‘no.’ And she said ‘you were dead before you hit the floor’ and then she pointed across my bed and she said ‘this guy saved your life,” Santoro said. Next to him was Mason fire Lt. Tom Wentzel. About four hours earlier, Wentzel came to Santoro’s rescue at The Cheesecake Factory restaurant at Kenwood Towne Centre. Wentzel was having lunch with a friend. Santoro was their waiter. Wentzel’s off-duty heroics on that day was one of the reasons he


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received the city’s firefighter of the year award for 2010. “Personally, I think that it’s not an individual award. … You’re only as strong as your crew,” said Wentzel, who has been with the department for seven years. Wenztel was given the award for his performance throughout the year and for coming to Santoro’s aid, Mason fire Chief John Moore said. At the department, Wentzel is in charge of its public education program and training firefighters for its rapid assistance team, a group that intervenes in an emergency involving a firefighter. “He’s a natural born leader (and) takes his work very seriously,” Moore said. “He’s very methodical and meticulous about all the


Be prepared,

save a life By PAUL MCKIBBEN photo provided

details of making sure things are ready to go (and) things are done right.” Wentzel and his friend were Christmas shopping last December at Kenwood Towne Centre. He said while eating at The Cheesecake Factory, he noticed a man lying on the ground with a couple of bystanders kneeling down to assist him. Wentzel walked over to see if he could provide any help. He didn’t know that the man was Santoro, his waiter. Wentzel noticed that Santoro didn’t look good. Wentzel couldn’t detect a pulse and started performing CPR. A woman who stopped by said she had just learned CPR and inquired about helping. Wentzel told her to begin breathing for Santoro.

Wentzel also applied an automated external defibrillator device on Santoro, who eventually got his pulse back. Sycamore Township paramedics took over Santoro’s care after arriving. Santoro, 46, of Mount Healthy, learned he actually suffered cardiac arrest. He credits Wentzel for saving his life that Dec. 8, 2010 day. “If he wouldn’t have been there, I would have been dead because I didn’t have a pulse for two minutes,” Santoro said. Later that afternoon, Wentzel visited Santoro in the hospital. “It’s a different connection when you’re actually sitting there talking with somebody and then something like that happens,” Wentzel said.

october | november 2011



Strengths, growth and a



New Mason Schools Superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline.

By Michael D. Clark photos by Sam Greene


f you want to get a quick “read” on what kind of person the new Mason Schools superintendent is and what she is about, take a glance at how she signs off her e-mails. “Celebrate What is Right in this World! Dr. Gail Kist-Kline.” That positive motto is no façade for the new leader of one of the best school systems in Greater Cincinnati. And she believes any proper celebration of


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student learning requires a team approach. “I learned a long time ago that ‘we’ are smarter than ‘me.’ I plan to spend a considerable amount of time listening to what people believe are the district’s greatest strengths as well as the most important opportunities for growth,” Kist-Kline says. Few new school leaders are more prepared to hit the ground running than Mason’s new superintendent. An avid runner and occasional marathoner,

Kist-Kline’s on-the-move style is exactly what Mason school board members were looking for when they hired the former Wyoming Schools leader as their new superintendent. And in some ways it’s a high-orbit, lateral move for Kist-Kline among two of Southwest Ohio’s top academic districts. But in scale, a larger challenge looms for the public school veteran. She is switching from Wyoming Schools’ student enrollment of 2,000 to the 28-square-

mile, still growing Mason school system of 11,000 students – and the largest high school in Greater Cincinnati. She will also be the first female superintendent in Mason Schools’ history. But characteristically, Kist-Kline didn’t break stride when she started Aug. 1 - replacing acclaimed superintendent Kevin Bright. He is leaving after 13 years as superintendent to become assistant superintendent for the Lakewood Schools near Cleveland. “It’s an exciting opportunity and I don’t have any concerns about it,” says the three-time participant in Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon. A quick glance at her resume reveals why. Under her seven years of leadership at Wyoming, the district never earned any academic ranking less than the top category possible under Ohio’s annual grading system. Moreover, the district often finished among the top 10 among Ohio’s 613 in academic performance. Recognized statewide, Kist-Kline was sought after by the Ohio Department of Education and Buckeye Association of School Administrators’ leadership council to help design state standards for measuring other superintendents. “Gail Kist-Kline has a reputation among her colleagues of being an intelligent, articulate and inclusive yet decisive leader,” said Tom Ash, director of government relations for the Buckeye Association of School Administrators. “Her voice is reflected in the several policy initiatives we have undertaken over the last three years. Her contributions on the Women in Leadership Committee have been especially important to our organization as we continue our efforts to increase the number of females in leadership positions throughout the education community,” Ash said. Sheryl Felner, president of the Wyoming Board of Education, praised Kist-Kline for her “innovative leadership” in working with staffers and others to bring changes that “transformed our district to meet the needs of 21st-century learners. “She built upon our historically outstanding academic and financial results by strategically planned implementation of technology to support instruction, problem-based learning and leadership development. Additionally, we appreciated Dr. Kist-Kline’s strong focus on fiscal discipline while delivering outstanding educational results,” Felner said. Kist-Kline is the daughter of a former school board member and got the teaching bug young, growing up in College Corner, just north of Oxford, home of Miami University. The proximity to that college continued as she earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees there before achieving her doctorate in educational leadership. She went on to teach at Miami between stints as an assistant principal at Lakota Schools, a principal at


Dr. Gail Kist-Kline

>>The Gail Kist-Kline file Age: 50 Family: Married to Keith Kline, principal of Lakota East High School. Kline was a recent finalist for the recently filled Lakota superintendent’s position. They live in Liberty Township in Butler County and have two grown children. Hometown: College Corner, north of Oxford. Education: Undergraduate, graduate and doctorate degrees from Miami University. She is a former faculty member of the school. Previous job: Superintendent of Wyoming Schools in Hamilton County for seven years. That district, along with Mason Schools, is among the top 10 academic performers in Ohio.

Hobbies: Runner. She has participated in the Flying Pig Marathon three times.

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Embracing Mason’s focus on excellence and being eager to listen and learn makes Kist-Kline a great fit for Mason Schools’ superintendent position.

Princeton Schools and principal at St. Joseph Consolidated School in Hamilton. Before her stint at Wyoming, she was the curriculum director at Princeton Schools. Detail-oriented and comfortable using data of all sorts, she impressed Mason school board member Kevin Wise during interviews when she began to quiz Mason Schools Treasurer Richard Gardner, widely considered the dean of Southwest Ohio treasurers. “When we introduced Gail to Dick Gardner, she actually interviewed him and her questions showed us she has a deep 26

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understanding of school finance,” Wise said. Mason Board of Education President Debbie Delp said “she’s a proven local leader who understands the environment in which we work and she has a network of resources developed through her involvement and leadership of many statewide initiatives. “She engages people in conversations that let them share their ideas and concerns, and listens closely for key messages that can be incorporated into district goals and action plans. Most of all, she embraces our focus on excellence. Student learning is foremost in

the work Gail does ... a priority that meshes perfectly with our goals for Mason Schools,” Delp said. Kist-Kline describes her management style as “I lead leaders.” And at the top of her “to do” list for her first Mason school year is “to listen and learn.” “I definitely will spend a lot of time in the schools getting to know the people and residents in the community,” she said.



ALL STARS Tajana Schneiderman For Mason High School senior Tajana Schneiderman, school isn’t just about the academics. Besides the National Honor Society, Tajana is involved in her school’s Political Roundtable, Mock Trial and is the robotics chairwoman for Mason Association of Computer Machinery. She also was selected to attend Buckeye Girls State this past summer. Outside of school, Tajana has studied the Mandarin language for eight years, participates in Saber Fencing at Salle du Lion gym in Sharonville and is a coach at Mason Heights and Western Row schools. She is president of The Bethany Group, a 200 member, student run organization that volunteers in the Greater Cincinnati Area. After graduation Tajana would like to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology, double majoring in physics and electric engineering. How did you get involved in your academics? My parents have always expected me to do my best. To them, it’s not necessarily important if I get an A or B, as long as they see I put in every ounce of effort. I took those expectations of excellence and molded them into my expectations of myself. I’m the one who pushes myself more than they push me. But I have to thank them for instilling the virtues of hard work and determination. What has been the most exciting moment so far that involves your academics? The most satisfying parts of my academic achievement are the mundane successes - getting a hundred on a difficult test or succeeding at a project considered devilishly tricky. However, the most rewarding moments are when others succeed. I tutor a few people, and seeing them do well is the best reward.

Tajana Schneider Mason High Sc



How have your academics impacted your life? I’m much luckier than many of my classmates when it comes to schoolwork. I get a decent amount of sleep each night and manage to remain highly involved in activities beyond school. I parcel my time neatly - each hour given a specific purpose, no time left wasted. However, this tendency has also compromised my ability to be with my family, read for pleasure, write to my friends in Slovakia, and enjoy the outside.

Louis Kappner Go ahead and refer to Louis Kappner as calculating – he couldn’t be more proud. The Kings High School senior loves mathematics and is the co-captain of the school’s Math Club along with his duties as Spanish Club president. An applicant to the United States Military Academy at West Point, Louis is one of the highest academic performers in his school, no matter how you add it up. He is also considering Purdue University and the University of Cincinnati. “I like challenging myself academically but I like math best by far,” says Louis. How did you get involved in your academics? Academics has always been a part of my life and everyday I have my priorities set out in advance and doing my school work has always been my top priority. What has been the most exciting moment so far in your academic career? Being the top scorer in the American Math Competition. Also in my freshman year a teacher believed in me and that I could take a higher level of math class so I went from honors geometry to pre-calculus – skipping algebra II, which I then learned on my own.


kings High Sch


How has your academics impacted your life? If I didn’t have high grades there would be no way I would be considered by West Point. There are a lot more options because I have better grades.

december october february 2010| november | january | march 2011



Gina Wei As the daughter of Chinese immigrants, Mason High School senior Gina Wei never takes her academic opportunities for granted. It is why she has excelled in school but still gives back to her community by volunteering at the Greater Cincinnati Chinese School. Gina has a wide variety of interests as evidenced by her involvement in the National Honor Society, Writers’ Block magazine, the Speech and Debate and Culinary clubs. Still uncertain about her future, Gina is considering Northwestern University and other schools but is still undecided on a major. How did you get involved in your academics? I’d love to boast about my selfmotivation, but I’d be giving myself entirely too much credit. My parents, as first generation immigrants, didn’t place in the top one percent of their entrance exams and relocate to the opposite side of the globe just to have their children slack off in their privileged lifestyle. There is no way I’m letting their efforts go to waste.

GINA WEI Mason High Sc


What has been the most exciting moment so far that involves your academics? In my freshman creative writing class, I wrote this piece about having a Chinese immigrant mom who speaks embarrassingly poor, broken English – which was highly fictionalized, since I am proud to say that my mother is quite good at English – and my teacher must have been decently impressed with it, because she felt compelled to share my piece with the AP multicultural literature teacher. One of my older brother’s friends then told me that his multicultural literature teacher was talking about my piece, asking if anyone knew who I was. The whole ordeal was a nice ego boost.

How have your academics impacted your life? I’m banking on the overstretched hope that my GPA is going to get me places, so I’ll keep on setting my alarm for 3 AM to finish homework, whatever it takes to keep making good grades – it’s important to me. There are personal sacrifices – staying up late, pushing yourself, focusing on grades instead of being as social.

Jeremy Beard Jeremy Beard prefers clarity and thanks to his acumen at mathematics, his academic career is coming into focus. The Kings High School senior’s favorite subject is math and it reflects his thinking patterns, says Jeremy. “I’ve always thought in numbers. With other academic subjects there is more gray area but not in math. When I’m solving a math problem I like to challenge myself,” said Jeremy, who is applying to Purdue University, Miami University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Vanderbilt University. How did you get involved in your academics? I like to keep a lot of things in my head when I’m working on math or other subjects. I’ve always loved reading too and that has propelled me through school. It’s a good feeling when you get hard problems solved. What has been the most exciting moment so far in your academic career? Winning the Student of the Year in Mathematics for Kings High School. How has your academics impacted your life? I’ve learned how to be successful academically by having the right kind of healthy stress. I don’t worry about things in school to the point of stressing out.


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kings High Sch





Blue Ash Chili 4200 Aero Drive, Mason 513-492-9650 This second branch of the famous chili parlor in (you guessed it) Blue Ash, serves the same

Kaushik Chagarlamudi

signature chili dishes and gargantuan double-

Seventeen-year-old Kaushik Chagarlamudi is proud of his academic record but makes sure he finds time for other interests.

decker sandwiches as its parent store. Unlike

The Mason High School senior plays tennis for his school and is on the speech and debate team. He volunteers at Bethesda North Hospital and works part-time.

natural beverage partner. Choose some of Guy

Kaushik would like to study medicine but hasn’t yet decided on a college. How did you get involved in your academics? Ever since I was young, my parents had always drilled in my head that academic achievement would lead to success. I thought it was the only way to go. I took their advice to heart and have worked hard to be where I am now. It came pretty naturally. What has been the most exciting moment so far that involves your academics? Though it may seem minor, getting an A in Honors English III was by far my greatest academic achievement. I had never considered myself to be a good writer; but after taking the course, I feel much more confident in my writing abilities. It has made me more willing to take risks and think deeply about a subject matter. How have your academics impacted your life? Academics have transformed me into a hard-working person both in and out of school. I make sure that all of my work is truly representative of who I am. And sometimes this does lead to sleepless nights, forcing me to manage my time wisely. I do have a few all nighters now and then. Even though the next day I feel bad, I know it was really worth it.

many chili parlors, they have beer, chili’s Fieri’s favorites from the menu: he featured the Blue Ash location on his Food Network show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” in 2010.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries 9540 S. Mason-Montgomery Road Mason, 513-204-5900 One of the fastest-growing chains in the country, Five Guys is part of a recent “better

KAtrend USHIaround burger” the AR country. They serve K CHAG LAMUDI

burgers, dogs and fresh-cut fries. You can get Mas

on High Scho

ol you the burgers with whatever combination like best from a list of mostly conventional toppings, including grilled mushrooms, jalapeño peppers and barbecue sauce. The

fries come and regular Taylor and Cajun versions. Oh, Lauren Dennison and they have free peanuts. The Dennison twins – Lauren and Taylor – bring with them a double dose of academic success to Kings High School. The two seniors are among the school’s top academic stars and are college bound. They are considering some of the same schools but not purposefully trying to pick the same one. Lauren is considering Penn State University, Ohio State University, University of Georgia and Clemson University while Taylor is looking at Indiana University, Ohio State University, Clemson University and University of Georgia. How did you getRIGHT: involved in your Janie Finkacademics? works with Tim Wright, a third-grader. BELOW: Janevalue Galinofand grader Paige Richards get down Lauren – I learned early the hardthird work. I really started to like business. chemistry because to it is science but it has a math background. For more restaurant reviews or to Taylor – We started early doing well in school because we’re always rate and review where you’ve eaten motivating each other. lately, visit



What has been your most exciting moment so far in your academic career? Lauren – Taking AP calculus but at an advanced level. I earned the school’s top score on the AP tests. Taylor – Winning the chemistry award for Kings High School’s Student of Year in Science. How has your academics impacted your life? Lauren – I’ve learned how to get things done and not procrastinate. I’ve learned how far hard work can go. Taylor – I’ve learned balancing and time management. I play lacrosse and do other extra-curricular activities so that really helps me.

october february | november | march 2011




schoolnotes By sue kiesewetter

New MECC principal a Mason grad

A 1993 Mason High School graduate is leading Mason’s Early Childhood Center. Melissa Bly left Mason Heights, where she was assistant principal, to take over the reins at the 1,800-pupil MECC where she will earn $99,590 annually. This is her first assignment as a principal. “I’ve been a part of Mason City Schools for most of my life,’’ Bly said. “I love this community. I love this district and I’m very grateful to serve in a new way as the MECC principal.” Bly began her career in 1997 when she began teaching third and fourth graders at Western Row. She was promoted to an assistant principal in 2004. Bly replaced Mike Zimmermann who moved to the new position of director of staff and student services as part of the recent reorganization of central offices. Bly holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees degree from Capital University. She is married to Curt Bly, a Mason High School teacher. They have three children, two in the district.

New National Honor Society members elected

Mason High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society has 106 new members this year who will be working on service projects. The members were selected just before classes ended. Criteria included a cumulative grade point average of 3.65 or higher, community service, character and serving in leadership roles at school or in the community. New seniors are: Paige Armentrout, Reeve Bergesen, Richard Bowman, Kelsi Brady, Sarah Clippinger, Morgan Cole, Chad Curtis, Lauren DeLuca, Jennifer Dickhaut, Stacey Hanson, Emma Headley, Stephen Herman, Sheida Ketabchi, Libby Knapke Deepa Kosuru, Joseph La Rue, Daniel Lang, Monica Lynde, Bilal Muhammad, Nikita Nambiar, Deepa Patel, Neha Patel, Jeress Pendleton, Sohini Sameera, Cody Schrand,


our town

Gautham Sivakumar, Faith Stagge, Michael Vu, Annie Wang, and Cyrus Yang. Juniors that were inducted are: Yawar Ali, Benjamin Allen, Rebekah Barnes, Erica Boden, Corey Bootheby, Logan Broekema, Ashley Calvani, Alyssa Carvalho, Daniel Chzanowski John Deaton, Myles DeLuca, Kelsi Doerrer, Kaylea Dykes, Patricia Faas, Anna Fagin, Laura Forero, Molly Frankel, Katherine Garwood, Rachel General, Samual George, Sarah Greensfelder, An Gu Armaan Hasan, Austin Hilbrands, Anay Hindupur, Jeffery Huang, Weizhen Huang, Lauren Huff, Shakib Islam, Ann Jacob, Abigail Johnson, Vidita Kannikeswaran, Neal Kapoor, Pallavi Keole, Bryan King Shannon Kopcha, Aarti Kumar, Bradley Leffler, Tiffany Lim, Katie Lipps, Ryan Lyons, Rhea Malhotra, Michael Marino, Kaitlyn McGowan, Jordan Metzger, Peter Mintz, Sarvesh Nalluri, Rachel Noyes, Lauren Pauley Timothy Peischl, Chandana Ravipati, Aditha Reddy, Keaton Reed, Paige Richie, Nicholas Riedell, Evelyn Rueda, Sina Sabet, Andrea Schlosser, John Schuessler, Rachel Sette, Alexander Severson Naina Singh, Sydney Sloan, Kelly Snider, Griffin Solimini, Abhinav Srinath, Katharine Stumpf, Katie Trinh, Emily Turjanica, Ryan Welage, Kylie Yancey, Amy Yang, William Zhang, Xin Zhang, Ruoting Zhang, and Andrew Zheng.

Golf pros lead high school teams

Have you noticed some new faces on the golf course this fall? Two golf professionals from Four Bridges Country Club are leading Mason High Schools’ boys’ and girls’ teams. Michelle Lipka left the boys’ program after three years to become the second head coach of the girls’ team in the sports 10-year history at Mason. She is replacing Fred Reeder. Replacing Lipka as head of the boys program is Tim Lambert, who had coached the Lakota West girls’ team since 2002, winning Lakota’s first and only girls state championship in 2006. Lipka has been a PGA golf professional for 20 years, working the past six as a staff professional at Four Bridges Country Club. She played three years of Division 1 golf at Florida

International University and competed in two NCAA National Championships. She played on the 1987 Futures Golf Tour and made the cut in all 18 events. She was the Kentucky State High School Individual Champion from Laurel County High School. Lambert played on the varsity golf team all four years of high school: two at Middletown and two at Lebanon. A 1989 Miami University graduate, he holds a degree in landscape architecture and became a pro in 1990. He is the director of instruction at the Four Bridges Golf Academy and was named the PGA Section Instructor of the Year in 2006 and 2009. Lambert was named the Southwest District Coach of the Year in 2006 and the Greater Miami Conference Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2005.

Speech and debate team member advances nationally

This past summer Mason High School had its first speech and debate team member advance to a semifinal round at national competition. Qian Wang placed 14th out of 227 competitors in United States Extemporaneous Speaking at the National Forensic League’s National Tournament in Dallas. He received a trophy and is automatically qualified to participate in the 2012 national tournament that will be held in Indianapolis. Qian is a senior and cop-captain of the speech and debate team.

Winter sports fees due in November

Fees for students who want to participate in winter sporting events at the middle and senior high schools will be coming due in November. High school students will be required to


pay $150 per sport and middle school students will be charged $100 per sport. No athlete can participate if fees aren’t paid. Payment periods are: bowling and wrestling,

Nov. 28 through Dec. 2; girls basketball, Nov. 11-18; boys basketball, swimming, and gymnastics, Nov. 21-30. No student will be denied the opportunity

to participate for financial reasons. Arrangements for aid or payment options will be arranged through the athletic office at either the middle or high school.


October 3 Volleyball Boosters, 6 p.m., Touchdown Club, 7 p.m., high school

20 Middle school conferences, 4-8 p.m.; middle school early release, 1:30 p.m.; middle school football banquet, 5 p.m.

5 Cheer Boosters, 6:15 p.m., Girls Lacrosse Boosters, 7:30 p.m., high school

22 ACT Test, 8 a.m., high school

6 High school conferences, 5-8 p.m.; Cyber Safety parent

24 Fall choral concert, 7 p.m., high school; Touchdown

lecture, 6:30 p.m., high school; Band Boosters, 7:30 p.m., high school

10 Swim Team and Touchdown Club Boosters, 7 p.m., high school

11 Board of education, 7 p.m., high school

Club, 7 p.m., high school

25 Board of education, 7 p.m., high school; fall band concert, 7 p.m., high school

26 College financial aid and scholarship information, 7 p.m., high school

17 Volleyball Boosters, 6 p.m., Touchdown Club, 7 p.m., high

27 Fall orchestra concert, 7 p.m., high school; Mason

school; MABA Boosters, 6:30 p.m., high school 18 Mason Heights Book Fair Family Night, 5-7 p.m.

28 Dracula, 8 p.m., high school

19 Mason Heights Book Fair & PTO Family Night, 5-8:30

31 Touchdown Club, 7 p.m.


Heights pumpkin carving, 7 p.m.

November 2 High school early release, 12:15 p.m.; Cheer Boosters, 6:15 p.m.,

15 Board of education, 7 p.m., high school

and Girls Lacrosse Boosters, 7:30 p.m., high school

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

3 Band Boosters, 7:30 p.m., high school 4 Sixth grade social, 7 p.m., intermediate school 5 High school early release, 1:15 p.m. 7 Swim team parent meeting, 7 p.m., high school; Touchdown

17 No school; middle school fall performance, 7 p.m. 19 High school early release, 1:15 p.m. 21 Marching band banquet, 7:15 p.m., high school; MABA

Club, 7 p.m., high school

Boosters, 6:30 p.m., high school; Touchdown Club, 7 p.m., high school

10 Fall Awards Banquet, 6:30 p.m., high school

22 Middle school early release, 1:30 p.m.

11 Fifth grade social, 7 p.m., intermediate school

23-25 Thanksgiving break

12 Mason Heights carnival, 11 a.m., to 3 p.m.

28 Swim Team Boosters, 7 p.m., high school

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

*Subject to change

october | november 2011




schoolnotes By sue kiesewetter

Kings students to display art

Dozens of Kings junior and senior high school students will have their artwork on display in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s same day surgery area. Artist Elizabeth Robinson is coordinating the project with the theme, Bringing the Outside Inside. Artwork created by school children will be used in murals that depict Water World, Land World and Sky World. Other pieces will be individually framed for display. Last spring, Kings Junior High art teacher Jan Thomann submitted 150 pieces of art for the project and 66 pieces were accepted over the summer. “I was stunned they chose so many of our works. This is a huge honor for them,’’ Thomann said. “Just about the whole thing – two-thirds – will be my students’ work. There were also three parochial schools that submitted work.” The students used black paper, approximately 24 inches by 18 inches for their drawings. Using white chalk, they drew their pictures on the paper and then filled it in with paint, leaving the chalk outlines. Once the renovations are completed at the surgery center in October, the murals – created by taking pieces of the art – and the framed drawings will be hung. Some will be kept in reserve for the next wing of the project. Parts of the following students’ submissions will be incorporated into the murals: Emily Clark, Brittany Almekinder, Wyatt Frazier, Anthony Rice, Lane Phelps, Emily Braverman, Stefan Neal, Carly Sells, Anthony Mussari, Taylor Bates


our town

Savannah Donaldson, Season Wilson, Brittani Berenz, Nathan Gambill, Abbey Clark, Nicholas Roetenberger, Cheyenne Perkins, Flannary Cowan, Abbey Campbell, Leah LaCalameto, and Presley Richardson. The following students’ artwork will be framed in the surgery center: Nikki Knoderer, Devon Jim, Jessie Young, Danielle Stamper, Juliana Rizzo, Alejandra Martinez, Bryson Lonsbury, Dee Dee Schmidt, Jordin Littles, Kelly McHugh, Brandon Woolley Peyton Mills, Madison Stowers, Abbey Ketterer, Lora Ingram, Clay Cooper, Rachel Rizzuto, Dana Saul, Jacob Hounshell, Brenden Ventura, Faith Carnes, Wei Ming Jiang, Jenna Lace, Paige Galberg, Madison Mettey, Brandon Klieber Elizabeth Granat, Alex Egan, Nikki Cantrell, Regan Spicer, Katrina Kessler, Taylor Carmen, Rachel Oldham, Sarah Sexton, Colin Willis, Nathan Gambrill, Miranda Goodwin, Emily McCarthy, Declan Hayden, Kyle Goodpaster Kyle Oakes, Grace Ficke, John Lehman, Ellie Jelinek, Maddie Renie, Sarah Sovinsky, Logan Woody, Liz Lynch, Kylie Clendening, Kali Whitaker, Alex Hamilton, Jacob Henderson, Sara Thomas, Brodie Mounteer Mateo Rodriquez, Veronica Hartley, Brody Flinders, Michael Overberg, Blake Bockrath, Kayleigh Johnson, Cierra Hughes, Cole Boster, Parker Thibodeau, Felix Swart and William Forgham.

New security cameras now in schools

There are 122 new security cameras in the Kings Local Schools. A grant helped pay for the high definition cameras that were installed over the summer at the junior-senior high school complex, sports facilities and bus compound. “This is something we’ve had on our radar, but the cost was very high,” said Lindsay Braud, district spokeswoman. “By working with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, we were able

to get a Secure Our Schools grant through Community Oriented Policing Services.” The district matched the $100,000 COPS grant with $99,250 from the 2007 bond issue that paid for added classrooms at the junior and senior high school buildings. The cameras are in hallways, cafeterias, gymnasiums and parking lots at the junior and senior high schools, along with the stadium and bus garage. Building administrators and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office have 24-hour, sevendays-a-week, access to the cameras. Recordings are kept 14 days. “Adding cameras to the junior-senior high campus is an important step towards increasing the student safety and security at Kings,” Braud said. “If anything were to happen (administrators and sheriff’s deputies) would have eyes in the building on exactly what the situation is and where it (was) located.”

Teachers accept pay freeze Teachers in the Kings Local Schools are doing their part to keep expenses down as part of a cost reduction plan presented earlier this year that saves the district nearly $800,000 a year. It is part of the promise made by the board of education after passage of the 2010 levy to cut $3 million over three years. The four-year teacher’s contract freezes both base pay and step pay increases for one year. Step pay increases are usually awarded as teachers advance in experience and education. Teachers will receive a 1 percent base pay increase for the 2012-13 school year and 1.75 percent in each of the last two years of the contract. The average salary for a teacher in the Kings’ district is $64,734. That compares to $55,600 for Ohio. Additional money was saved when the district joined the Educational Purchasing Council, an insurance consortium. By joining, there will no increase in health care premiums next year instead of the 20 percent anticipated. A projected $5 million cost increase over the next four years is also being avoided through the addition of annual deductibles, increases in out-of-pocket expenses and co-payments. “We made changes in coverage and joined a consortium,” said Treasurer Michael Mowery. “We were able to keep our premiums the same.”


For The Fridge kings SCHOOLS

October 3

Third grade Ohio Achievement reading tests begin


J.F. Burns PTO, 7 p.m.; Columbia parent-teacher conferences, 4-7:30 p.m.; Kings Mills PTO, 12:30 p.m.


Junior high trip to Washington, D.C., leave at 5 a.m.

7 Chicken dinner, 4-7:30 p.m., high school cafeteria and commons; Homecoming game, 7:30 p.m. against Walnut Hills

ring information meeting, 1:45 p.m.

18 Junior high choir concert, 1:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. 20 Elementary school parent teacher conferences, 4-7:30 p.m.; Columbia choral concert, 7 p.m.; high school ring orders 21 First quarter ends; senior breakfast, 8 a.m., cafeteria; Kings Mills Walk-a-Thon, 2 p.m.

8 Homecoming dance, 8 p.m., high school; junior high students return from Washington, D.C.

24 Blood drive, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., junior high; Kings Mills Book Fair opens

11 Columbia PTO, noon

25 Elementary school parent teacher conferences, 4-7:30 p.m.; high school band concert, 6 p.m.

12 Columbia sixth grade trip to Camp Campbell Gard begins

13 J.F. Burns fall pictures; J.F. Burns Market Day pickup, 5 p.m.; Kings Mills third grade music program, 6:45 p.m. 14 Junior high choral concert, 1:45 p.m.; junior high dance, 7 p.m.; South Lebanon PTO, 9 a.m.

17 Seniors meeting on service projects, 8 a.m.; freshman


27 Elementary school parent teacher conferences, 4-7:30 p.m.; Columbia sixth grade group photo, 2:30 p.m.; high school orchestra concert, 7 p.m. 28 J.F. Burns, South Lebanon, Kings Mills, fall parties; report cards go home 31 Ohio Graduation Testing begins


Kings Mills PTO, 6:30 p.m. J.F. Burns PTO, 7 p.m.

14 Columbia band concert, 7 p.m. 14-18 Junior high canned food drive


Columbia parent-teacher conferences, 4-7:30 p.m.

15 J.F. Burns activity and yearbook pictures


J.F. Burns third grade goes to Soils Trailer

17 South Lebanon PTO, 7 p.m.; J.F. Burns picture retakes


Teacher inservice, no school

18 Junior high picture retakes

10 South Lebanon picture retakes; J.F. Burns Market Day pickup, 5 p.m.

11 Picture retakes

23-25 Thanksgiving break, no school 29 J.F. Burns Holiday Workshops begin

october | november 2011



Kevin Bright former superintendent of Mason Schools and 37 year veteran of public educatino looks over part ot the Mason campus.


eparting Mason Schools Superintendent Kevin Bright can be forgiven for getting nostalgic as he gazes around the main campus of one of Ohio’s premier school systems. That can happen when you have been around since 1989 and had a hand in virtually everything you survey.


our town

Bright’s 13 years as superintendent of the Warren County district saw him not only lead it into the modern age but also raise Mason Schools to among the top 10 of Ohio’s 614 public school systems. After 37 years in public education – 22 with Mason Schools starting with his hire as assistant superintendent in 1989 – Bright is

moving on to work for a life-long friend who is superintendent of Lakewood Schools in northern Ohio’s Cuyahoga County. Mason – along with Hamilton County’s Indian Hill and Wyoming school systems – are consistently noted as the top three districts in Southwest Ohio, but Mason’s rise to prominence was fueled since 2000




legacy of

Kevin Bright By Michael D. Clark photos by TONY JONES, LEIGH TAYLOR, Tony tribble

by booming growth in Greater Cincinnati’s northern suburbs. It will be Wyoming’s former superintendent Gail Kist-Kline who replaces Bright on Aug. 1. “When I first came to Mason it was mostly cornfields, golf courses and churches. Today it is totally different,” says the 58-year-old Bright, who in 2003 was chosen as Ohio’s

Superintendent of The Year. What helped transform the school system was unprecedented growth few Greater Cincinnati school districts have ever experienced. And it is the management during that meteoric expansion that brings Bright the most pride now looking back.

“I never would have imagined that when I started and we had 2,500 students that someday we’d be up to 11,000 students and to think that so many people would move here just because of the schools,” he says. “For 12 years we averaged 580 new students per year and in one year we enrolled 708 new students. One year we hired 90 new teachers

october | november 2011


YOURschools out of 3,000 who applied. You look back at that and shake your head and say what a wild ride,” he recalls. Bright also takes pride that all that expansion was handled without the use of portable classrooms, which were widely used at many other growing districts. Mason was also able to develop a rarely employed “bigger is better” infrastructure plan that saw it become the first in the region to partner with a city recreational center when it constructed an attached high school in 2002 and expanded the high school by 49 classrooms in 2009. Moreover, most of Mason’s schools are located on a sweeping, main campus area on Mason-Montgomery Road. Those grounds are shared by the Mason Municipal Building. Nearby Mason Intermediate and Mason Middle School straddle the road and Mason High School is connected to the Mason Recreational Center. Bright also led the region in privatization agreements – primarily with Middletown’s


our town

Atrium Medical Center – that saw the first public school sports stadium paired with an on-site, free-standing medical center. The state-of-the-art complex, which includes privately paid for artificial turf, serves both students and residents and would be the envy of many small colleges. Veteran Mason Board of Education member Marianne Culbertson was a part of the board that hired Bright as superintendent in 1998. She says there is so much more to Bright’s legacy than bricks and mortar. “In those days the board referred to him as ‘Dr. Data’ due to the amount of information and statistics he would present to us on growth potential and student achievement. Under his leadership we utilized information from many different resources to successfully predict the timing of new school buildings so that we built what we needed when we needed it. We never had to resort to housing students in temporary trailers, thus saving the school district taxpayers added financial burden,” explains

Culbertson. “I believe there are three areas that Kevin’s leadership will have a lasting impact on for our district and our community. They are successfully managing and forecasting our growth, outstanding student achievement and staff development,” she says. Mason Mayor Don Prince praised Bright as an “excellent leader” who was “well organized.” Former Mason Vice-Mayor Peter Beck calls Bright a “tremendous asset to the city and the city schools.” “We both grew, but if it wasn’t for his leadership we wouldn’t have grown so successfully,” says Beck. Bright stresses he had plenty of help. “I feel like I was part of something very special here. We built a school district from the ground up,” he says. “It has been a wonderful experience, and I will carry only fond memories of my time here.”


Right: Kevin Bright, left and then Mason city manager Eric Hansen collaborated on a project to build an Atrium Medical Center next to the middle school and have a fitness and wellness center that is attached to the school. Right below: A favorite start to the school year was Bright paying $25 to students to “rent� their artwork for his office. Here he pays kindergartener Michael Gawkins. Below: Bright speaks with students who have volunteered to make school supply packages for less fortunate students in the Mason School district. Left: Constantly involved in initiatives to further learning, here Bright dons the hat of the cat in honor of Dr. Seuss.

october | november 2011




New York-style pizza, Philly favorites make a delicious treat Photo by tony tribble

Westshore Pizza & Cheesesteaks 6176 Tylersville Road Mason, OH 45040 513-754-8200


stepped into Westshore Pizza, noticed that they sold pizza by the slice, and was immediately sold on the place. Lots of pizza places claim they serve New York style pizza, but it’s usually not the pizza I grew up eating on the East Coast. A trademark of the small pizzerias found up and down the eastern seaboard is that you can walk in and order just a slice or two. Three buck pizza slices, combined with the amazing aroma of fresh baked bread, gave a great first impression. The large, open restaurant offers plenty of seating and was


our town

bustling with friendly staff the night we dined there. You have to order your food at the counter and fill your own drinks, but servers bring the meals to your table when they’re ready. Big screen TVs are plentiful and you can order a draft beer. In addition to pizza and calzones, the restaurant, which was founded in 1994 to “bring the taste of Philly” to Florida (and now Ohio), offers other Philly favorites including cheesesteaks, grinders and hoagies. Salads, burgers and pasta dishes round out the extensive menu.

We ordered an 18-inch White Spinach and Ricotta Pizza ($15.99) and two slices of cheese just to try the basic pie. While they were both excellent – especially the crust on the pizzas, which managed to be both crispy and chewy at the same time, the cheese pizza was superior and is what I would order again. Westshore Pizza boasts made-fresh-daily sauce and dough and hand- grated Wisconsin mozzarella – these claims were both apparent in the excellent pizza they are producing. My son ordered the Philly Cheese Deluxe Steak ($7.29) and while it was not an exact replica of the photo on the menu, which showed a sandwich stuffed with an obscene amount of meat, he really enjoyed the meal despite the more modest amount of steak it actually contained. Tender marinated beef was topped with grilled mushrooms, green peppers and onions, covered in mozzarella cheese and tucked into fresh-baked Italian bread. My husband, who has consumed numerous cheesesteak sandwiches in Philadelphia, gave it high marks. My daughter ordered the Chicken Parma W/Spaghetti ($7.49). A

nice portion of chicken, it was lightly battered, perfectly fried and incredibly moist and tender. It was topped with mozzarella and served over a pile of pasta in a fresh-tasting marinara sauce. We all wanted a taste, but she wasn’t sharing. My son’s friend chose the calzone and wavered between ordering the half ($8.49) or the whole ($11.49). She chose the half and was amazed when our server delivered a portion that could have easily fed three people. Once again, the crust was amazing – crispy and absolutely delicious. It was filled with a mixture of ham, mozzarella and ricotta cheese which, unfortunately, was overly salty. We assumed it was the ham and tasted that separately, but it seemed fine, leaving the ricotta cheese as the suspect. The calzone was served with a side of marinara sauce, and despite its salty inside, we finished what she couldn’t, unable to resist its delicious outside. Too full to try dessert, we missed out on the assorted cheesecakes, funnel cake bites and cannoli that they offer. All the more reason to go back. jill solimini

Seconds by polly campbell


Relish Modern Tapas 5947 Deerfield Blvd, Mason


Sichuan Bistro 7888 Mason-Montgomery Road, Mason

513-204-6925 or

513-770-3123 or

By modern tapas, Relish means small plates from around

Considered by many to be the most authentic and best Chinese

the world, not just classic Spanish tapas, though there’s a

restaurant in Greater Cincinnati, Sichuan Bistro serves both

nice selection of those. And, like the Spanish originals, these

the spicy food of the Sichuan region of China, and some of

are served in small portions so you can order a selection

the more familiar Chinese restaurant classics. So you can go

for the table and try as many as you like. They range from

with Egg foo young, Happy Family or Kung Pao scallops, but

soups such as Moroccan lentil or French onion to roasted

if you’re adventurous, beef tendon stew, pork maw with garlic

beet salad, empanadas, paella, Spanish meatballs and fried

sauce, five-flavored beef, lamb casserole and Chongquing Mala

calamari. There are also vegetarian choices. Prices range from

beef are on the menu too.

$7.95- $14.95, and some servings are more entrée-sized. Fancy martinis are another signature of Relish.


PMS 201 CMYK RGB 158.27.50 LAB 35.53.23 HEX #9E1B32

PMS 431 CMYK RGB 95.106.114 LAB 44.-3.-6 HEX #5F6A72

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


Events calendar For even more event listings, visit


Charity Doll Auction and Tea Nov. 5, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Armstrong Chapel United

Methodist Church, 5125 Drake Road, Indian Hill. Display of more than 700 hand-dressed dolls, refreshments and live doll auction. Live Auction begins at 12:30 p.m. Refreshments include homemade cookies, served with tea and coffee in elegant setting. Benefits Salvation Army Toy Shop Auxiliary. Free. 513-762-5600;

Children’s Theater Hansel & Gretel

Nov. 19, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., UC Blue Ash College Muntz Theater, 9555 Plainfield Road, Blue Ash. Frisch Marionette Company. Grimm Brothers’ classic fairy tale with exquisite marionettes, costumes and settings. Family friendly. Presented by ARTrageous Saturdays. $5, subscription and group discounts available. 513-745-5705;

Concerts Red Grammer

Oct. 22, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. UC Blue Ash College Muntz Theater, 9555 Plainfield Road, Blue Ash. One of the premier entertainers of children and families in America, bursting with energy and joy. Family friendly. Presented by ARTrageous Saturdays. $5, subscription


our town

and group discounts available. 513-745-5705; www.rwc.

Cyndi Lauper and Dr. John Oct. 29, 8 p.m., Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown. Grammy Award-winning singers. From Memphis to Mardi Gras Tour. $49.50, $39.50, $27.50; plus fees. 800-745-3000;

Judas Priest Epitaph Farewell World Tour Nov. 8, 7 p.m., U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown. Heavy metal band. With Black Label Society and Thin Lizzy. $49, $39, $29; plus fees. 800745-3000;

Cooking Classes Kathy’s Harvest Brunch

Nov. 2, noon and 6:30 p.m., TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion, 6200 Pfeiffer Road, Montgomery. New seasonal ideas for your next family and friend brunch with Pavilion dietitian Kathy Haugen. Featuring pumpkin and fall recipes. Ages 18 and up. $15. Reservations required. 513-985-6732;

Craft Shows

Arts and Crafts Show Oct. 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Oct. 2, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.,

Lakota West High School, 8940 Union Centre Blvd., West Chester Township. Juried show with over 200 crafters. Benefits Lakota West High programs. $1 for adults. 513-874-5699, ext. 10321.

Art Market at The Square Oct. 8, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., The Square at Union Centre, 9285 Centre Pointe Drive, West Chester Township. Local artists showcase their works in an outdoor setting. Face painting at the Arts Council booth. Includes Farmers Market. 513-777-5900; www.westchesteroh. org.

Loveland High School Arts and Crafts Expo Nov. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Loveland High School, 1 Tiger Trail. More than 200 artists and crafters selling jewelry, baby items, woodcrafts, candles, dips and seasonings, pottery, purses, floral, ceramics, photography and more. Includes raffle. Lunch available. Benefits Loveland Athletic Boosters. $2 adults. 513-476-5187;

Indian Hill Church Art Show Nov. 11, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. and Nov. 12, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Indian Hill Church, 6000 Drake Road, Indian Hill. Featuring regional artists offering work in a broad range of media. Includes silent auction. $5 admission fee. Benefits church’s community outreach programs. 513-561-6805, ext. 302;


our town file photo

Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church hosts a Charity Doll Auction and Tea to benefit the Salvation Army toy Shop Auxiliary.


So You Think You Can Dance Tour Oct. 11, 7 p.m., U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown. Scheduled to appear: Caitlynn, Clarice, Jess Jordan, Marko, Melanie Mitchell, Ricky, Sasha and Tadd. Showcasing this year’s talent. Performing routines in hip-hop, contemporary, ballroom, tango, Broadway, salsa and more. Due to the physical nature of the performances, dancers subject to change. Family friendly. Presented by AEG Live. $228 VIP meet and greet, $152.50 gold package, $58.50, $48.50, $38.50; plus fees. 800-745-3000;

Cultures of Dance Oct. 22: 7-9 p.m., Fairfield Community Arts Center, 411 Wessel Drive. FCAC Theater. Featuring aim: cincinnati arts innovation movement: aim cincinnati. Includes educational component which describes the history of dance and highlights commonality of movement in various dance cultures and the time line from ancient to modern dance styles, as well as an interactive component engaging audience members to get on stage and dance with performers. $5-$7. 513867-5348;

Giselle Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. Springer Auditorium. Cincinnati Ballet honors long history of classical ballet with this important classical tragedy. Choreographed by Devon Carney and Marius Petipa. Music performed by Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. $80, $65, $45, $30. 513-621-2787; Oct. 28, 8 p.m. Oct. 29, 2 and 8 p.m. Oct. 30, 2 p.m.

rides, craft store and concessions. Family friendly. Free admission, various prices for activities. 513-934-2001.

Union Centre Music and Food Festival

Free Community Dinner

The Square at Union Centre, 9285 Centre Pointe Drive, West Chester Township. Expected to host 30-50 food vendors. Music by local bands. Free. 877-825-6402; Oct. 14, 5 p.m.-11 p.m., music by Rumpke Mountain Boys and DV8 8-11 p.m. Oct. 15, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., music by Tropicoso 1:30-4 p.m., Swimsuit Models 4:30-7:30 p.m. and Britbeat, Beatles tribute band, 8-11 p.m.

Oct. 9 and Nov. 13, 6-7:30 p.m., Deerfield United

Fall Harvest Event

Dining Events

Methodist Church, 2757 W. U.S. Route 22 and 3, Deerfield Township. Dinner served in casual atmosphere. All welcome. Family friendly. Free. 513-683-7729.


Keepin It Country Farm Fall Festivals Oct. 1 through Oct. 23, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays-

Sundays, Keepin It Country Farm, 5511 Township Line Road, Waynesville. Pumpkin Patch visits, playground with wood tractors, petting zoo, corn maze, hay maze, mini pony train rides, pony rides, draft horse wagon

Oct. 15, noon-5 p.m., Marvin’s Organic Gardens, 2055 U.S. 42 South, Lebanon. Music, entertainment, crafts, homemade goods/merchandise and other unique services. Educational opportunity for local groups to share their knowledge on a variety of topics from water education and harvesting to demons of cooking and broomstick making. Pumpkin carving, picking, face painting and donkey rides. Free. 513-9848278;

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photo by Leigh Taylor

How do the animals celebrate Halloween? Find out at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s HallZOOween celebration.


Cincinnati Film Festival Oct. 1 and Oct. 2, 11 a.m.-midnight, Cincinnati

Club, 30 Garfield Place, Downtown. Unique selection of independent regional, national and international films that would not typically be shown in the local area cinemas. Post-film Q&As, filmmaker workshops, opening and closing night events, online festival screening room and awards gala. $10$80. 323-761-0075;

Holiday - Halloween HallZOOween

Oct. 23, 9 a.m., Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. Trick or treat around zoo. Themed activities and entertainment. Included with admission: $14, $10 ages 2-12 and ages 62 and up, free under age 2; parking not included. 513-2814700;

Treat Your Teeth Halloween Costume Party Oct. 27, 5:30-8 p.m., West Chester Family Dentistry, 9000 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, West Chester Township. Information on Halloween safety. Tours, child ID by West Chester Police Department, costume contest, DJ, dancing, treats, prizes, photos, scary readings by Book Bums, bounce house, face painting and exotic animals from Aquatic and Exotics. Family friendly. Free. 513-755-2118; www. 42

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Beggars Ball Oct. 29, 8 p.m.-2 a.m., Land of Illusion, 8762 Thomas Road, Middletown. Halloween party with DJs, Freakshow Deluxe sideshow, Zoot Theatre Company, costume contest and more. $34.99. 513423-9960;


Cin City Reptile Show Oct. 2 and Nov. 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Kings Island

Resort and Conference Center, 5691 Kings Island Drive, Mason. Thousands of reptiles, amphibians, inverts, supplies and feeders; at or below wholesale prices. Family friendly. $4, free ages 10 and under. 513-910-0900.

Finery and Fleas Oct. 29, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Sycamore High School, 7400 Cornell Road, Montgomery. Flea market and bake sale. Presented by Montgomery Woman’s Club Inc. Free. 513-852-1901;

Special Events Weekend of Fire

Oct. 1, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Oct 2, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Jungle Jim’s International Market, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield. Oscar Event Center. Taste and purchase hot sauces, barbecue sauces, salsas, marinades, mustards, jerkys, peppers and more from more than 55 vendors. Includes contests, cooking with hot sauce class and “Face on a Label” booth

and BBQ Alley. $7, $5 advance, free ages 5 and under. Ages 15 and under must be accompanied by adult. Tickets available online. 513-674-6000; www.

The Rusty Ball Oct. 22, 8 p.m., Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown. Exhibit Hall A. Hosted by the Rusty Griswolds. Includes four drink tickets and celebrity bartenders. Benefits more than 100 local charities. Ages 21 and up. Tickets required. benefit@;

Disney On Ice: Mickey and Minnie’s Magical Journey U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown. Travel into the magical worlds of Disney’s the Little Mermaid, the Lion King, Peter Pan, and Lilo & Stitch. With favorite characters and music. $12-$56; plus fees. Ages 2 and up must have ticket. 800-745-3000; Oct. 27-28, 7 p.m. Oct. 29, 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Oct. 30, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.


Cincinnati Bengals Football Paul Brown Stadium, 1 Bengals Drive, Downtown. $65-$85. 513-621-8383; Oct. 2, 1 p.m. vs. Buffalo Bills. Oct. 16, 1 p.m. vs. Indianapolis Colts. Nov. 13, 1 p.m. vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. photo provided Nov. 27, 1 p.m. vs. Cleveland Browns.


The ABC’s

of Strength Training for Student Athletes By jeffrey stewart CONTRIBUTOR THE CITY OF MASON


he Friday night lights shine bright as school sports are in full swing for another year. Student athletes are training and preparing their bodies for long seasons and deep playoff runs. Proper strength training, stretching and physical therapy greatly benefit the lifelong health of an athlete. Strength training builds muscles and improves performance for student athletes. They often spend a lot of time in the weight room, lifting weights and building strength. Proper strength

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YOURhealth training is important for more reasons than just athletic gains. Dr. Marc Wahlquist of Group Health Associates in Mason specializes in sports medicine and orthopedic surgery and stresses the importance of strength training and developing a strong core. A strong core, the abdominal muscles and surrounding areas, means that shoulders and knees are strong enough and in the right position to throw and kick properly. Recent studies show that girls are more likely to get ACL injuries than boys, and Dr. Wahlquist says that weak core muscles are part of the reason. Laura Swartzel, group fitness advisor for Mason Community Center, says that strength training has been shown to reduce body fat, increase metabolic rate, decrease blood pressure, increase muscle and connective tissue crosssectional area, improve functional capacity, and relieve low back pain. “As we age, strength training is recommended to prevent injuries,” she adds. A comprehensive exercise program should include strength training, cardiovascular or endurance training, and flexibility training. The important thing is that the program is progressive, sport-specific, individually tailored, and considers all parts of the body, says Greg Lynn, ATC, manager of Sports Medicine for TriHealth. Progressive Approach Lynn recommends following a progressive strength training program. Progressive strength training means starting at a basic level and slowly increasing the difficulty as strength and flexibility increase. An athlete should start with an amount of weight and number of repetitions that are comfortable, then slowly increase the number of repetitions as the body adjusts to the new program. After increasing the number of reps, weight can be adjusted to increase gains. The benefit of a progressive strength program is attainable success. “A good program builds motivation, enjoyment and results,” says Lynn. Starting with too much weight may cause so much pain and soreness that it decreases motivation to continue the program. He recommends starting with achievable weights, setting achievable goals and realizing results that build motivation and enjoyment. Individually-tailored Program A good strength training program must also be individually-tailored; there is no one-size-fits-all strength program. Each person begins a program at a different level and is working towards a different goal. For student athletes, each sport will require strength training exercises that are sport specific. The muscles a pitcher needs to strengthen to increase pitch speed and the muscles a defensive back needs to work on to increase foot speed are very different. The exercises should focus on sport-specific motions to develop targeted muscle groups and also cover the entire body. Injuries often occur when athletes over-train one area of the body and under-train another. Exercise programs should be varied to incorporate all major muscle groups, which helps prevent injury and increase overall performance.


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Common Sports Injuries Strains Strains are stretching or tearing of musculotendinous structure. They occur at the junction where the muscle becomes a tendon. Strains are often caused by a muscle being over-stretched or suddenly contracted. Symptoms include: pain, inflammation, bruising, muscle spasms, loss of strength and limited range of motion. Sprains Sprains occur when a ligament, which attaches bone to bone and provides stability to the joints, is stretched or torn. This is commonly caused when a joint is forced beyond its normal range of motion through turning or rolling of the ankle. Sprains are graded on a scale of one to four, and common symptoms are: pain, inflammation, bruising, joint instability or difficulty moving the joint. Tendonitis Tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon and is due to overuse. Beginning a new activity or exercise can cause a tendon to become irritated or inflamed, or when a tendon does not have a smooth path to glide along. Common examples of tendonitis include tennis elbow, rotator cuff tendonitis or poor posture. Symptoms include increased pain with movement, tenderness, inflammation, loss of strength, and limited range of motion. Tendonitis has an increased risk of re-injury.

Strength Training versus Flexibility Exercises Flexibility prevents injuries and is a necessary part of strength training; building muscle strength requires increasing range of motion in muscles. Lynn advises that exercise programs rotate between strength and flexibility. This ensures that muscle groups are getting a balanced workout. “Athletics is all about agility,” says Dr. Wahlquist, “as you strengthen muscles, you need to stretch them.” The added benefit of incorporating other exercises into your routine is that it allows time for recovery. A comprehensive program will also include cardiovascular exercises. Aerobic exercises, such as jogging or biking, will build endurance and stamina that help build athletic potential and improve your overall health. Finally, it is important to round out exercise programs with exercises that focus on balance and coordination. Stretching Before a game, practice or any type of exercise, proper stretching is imperative for injury prevention and maximum performance. Derek Boeh, physical therapist at Bethesda Physical Therapy in Mason, says “stretching is a form of exercise in which a specific muscle or muscle group is deliberately elongated in order to increase its elasticity.” Incorrect stretching is just as

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TriHealth Sports Medicine & Event Medicine TriHealth Sports Medicine provides comprehensive prevention, recognition, and assessment of athletic injuries, and the complete management and treatment of those injuries. They treat a wide range of patients and athletes of all ages throughout Greater Cincinnati. Their team approach includes physicians, physical therapists and certified athletic trainers at 10 physical therapy locations. TriHealth has a staff of 12 full-time athletic trainers that provide coverage at sporting events all across the greater Cincinnati region, including the Cincinnati Reds, Xavier University athletics and 10 area high schools. TriHealth provides internships for athletic training students from local universities, CPR training and sports safety certification for coaches, and preparticipation physicals for student athletes For more information about TriHealth Sports Medicine, call (513) 985-6749.

dangerous as not stretching, says Boeh. Lynn recommends at least 15 minutes of quality stretching that focuses on all areas of the body – top to bottom. Stretching should be a gradual progression. For example, when stretching hamstrings, proper technique is to place a foot on a stool and slowly lean forward, reaching down until the stretch is felt in the back of the thigh and hold it for 10 to 15 seconds. Switching legs and repeating will ensure a unilateral stretch. The power of the stretch should be increased gradually. Good stretching increases flexibility of muscles, expands range of motion for joints, improves the circulation of blood and oxygen to the muscles, and increases muscle temperature – all of which improve performance. Dr. Wahlquist says, “a few minutes of prevention is worth a week of therapy.” Stretching prevents muscle imbalances, stiffness and cramps, and limits growth-spurt related pain – all of which prevent injuries. Treatment of Injuries Exercise and sports-related injuries are inevitable, and treating them properly is important for your shortterm and long-term health. Injuries are not likely to go away on their own, and ignoring an injury can lead to a chronic problem. If you get injured, Boeh recommends following the PRICE protocol. PRICE stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. • Protection – Protect the injury from further damage. Stop the activity! Playing through an injury will potentially make it worse and create a bigger problem. Use padding, protection or splints to keep the injured area protected. Use crutches to take the weight off a knee or ankle injury. • Rest – Injuries need time to heal. Pain is the body’s way of telling a person to stop using the injured area. • Ice – Apply an ice pack to the injured area for fifteen minutes, two to three times per day. • Compression – Use a pressure bandage or wrap over the ice pack to help reduce swelling. • Elevation – Prop up the injured area to reduce swelling. It is important to keep the area elevated above the level of your heart. Boeh recommends repeating Ice, Compression and Elevation every four to six hours for the first 48 hours after an injury. The goal of PRICE is to decrease pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, swelling and tissue damage. RIGHT: Kelly Hurst is one of the personal trainers with the Mason Community Center.


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LEFT: All athletes can benefit from strength training, one of the most popular sports to use it is football. Here Mason high school senior Daniele Tedoldi trains with weights during practice.

YOURhealth Physical Therapy Assistance If pain from an injury persists past 48 hours, Boeh recommends consulting a doctor or physical therapist. The role of a physical therapist is to work with a patient to understand the injury and how it happened. “Education is a really big part of what we do,” says Boeh. Knee or lower back pain may only be a symptom of a different problem, and physical therapists work with patients to diagnose the real problem. “Once people understand their injury and how it happened, a physical therapist works with the athlete on healing the current injury and preventing further injury,” says Boeh. A

common problem such as foot pronation, also known as collapsing arches, can cause a problem higher up the kinetic chain that may lead to leg, knee, hip and back pain. The physical therapist will educate the patient on the problem and teach stretches and motions that will heal the current problem and prevent further injury. Physical therapists work to get the patient to the point of doing exercises and stretches on their own and then communicate with a personal trainer or athletic trainer to discuss affected sport-specific activities and the pathological background of the athletic injury.

LEARN TO TRAIN THE RIGHT WAY Personal Training: Whether you are looking to recover from a sports injury, train better for your specific sport, or benefit from some personal guidance on exercising, the Mason Community Center’s Personal Trainers can help. Nationally certified personal trainers will assess your current fitness level and coach you through a safe and effective program tailored to your needs. Sign up for a single session to get some tips on refining your current training, or enroll for a series of sessions

for ongoing support and guidance. Clinical Exercise: Patients of TriHealth Sports Medicine, Bethesda Physical Therapy, or another practice who are recovering from an injury can continue to get medically based assistance with their exercise program at Mason Community Center. A Bethesda Physical Therapy athletic trainer will meet with you to discuss your current medical conditions and work with you to develop an effective fitness program or modify your current

fitness routine. Your individual program may include work on the fitness floor, the warm water therapy pool, or both. With a medical referral from your physician, you can purchase a 1-, 4-, or 8-session program to help you return to your pre-injury lifestyle. For information on the Personal Training or Clinical Exercise programs, visit the Mason Community Center at 6050 MasonMontgomery Road, call 513-229-8555, or visit

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Staying Healthy Isn’t Just for Athletes No matter what your age or interest, taking steps to preserve your health is important. Mason Community Center and TriHealth, which includes the Group Health Associates and Bethesda Rehabilitation offices located within Mason Community Center, have committed to helping the community live healthier lives. They present these programs under as part of their “Live Well in Mason” program series.

OCTOBER October 7: Mammogram, Manicure, & Massage Sign up for a free mammogram from Group Health Associates and receive a polish change, compliments of the Paul Mitchell School of Cincinnati, and a chair massage from Nancy Morrison, LMT at Lighthouse Massage. Please register for activity 486113-01 at least a week in advance. October 10: Mammogram & Massage The TriHealth mammogram van will be on-site to provide free mammograms. Receive a free, relaxing chair massage from Nancy Morrison, LMT at Lighthouse Massage, to go along with it. Please register at least a week in advance for activity 486113-02. October 12: Community Wellness Expo Discover new and time-honored ways to get and stay healthy. Demonstrations, presentations, and participation events will be held from 7 to 11 a.m. and again from 5 to 8 p.m. Featured speakers include: • 9 a.m.: Pam Baird – BBA, Tri Health. Flu Shot Facts • 10 a.m.: Dr. Peter Sheng, Medical Director of TriHealth Integrative Health and Medicine. Demystifying Acupuncture • 11 a.m.: Sarah Malloy, Positive Pathways, Children’s Art Therapist. Enhancing Wellness through Art Therapy • 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: Dr. William Buckley, Group Health Associates, Obstetrics/Gynecology. All About the Girls. Dr. Buckley will speak at a free luncheon sponsored by BRAVO! Italian restaurant. Please register by October 5 for activity 486111-01. • 5 p.m.: Greg Franklin, President, Franklin Financial Services. Family Financial Fitness • 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.: Kathy Haugen, RD, LD, and ASPIRE Health Coach. Fun, Nutritious Family Dinners. Watch a cooking demo as

For information or to register for programs with activity numbers, visit if you already have an account, call the Mason Community Center at 513-229-8555, or stop at the Customer Service Center at Mason Community Center, 6050 Mason-Montgomery Road in Mason. 48

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this registered dietitian prepares a nutritious dinner for the family. Individuals may register for $5; families in the same household are $10. Please register for activity 486112 by October 5. • 7 p.m.: Todd Kelly, Summit Financial Group. College Funding This free event is open to all ages. No registration is required. October 24: Beat to Beat: Advances in Arrhythmia Treatment Learn more about atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmia disorders from Bethesda North Hospital Heart & Vascular Center’s Gaurang Gandhi, MD, cardiologist/electrophysiologist, and Loren Hiratzka, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon. From 6:30 to 8 p.m., you’ll learn about curative options and the latest treatments, and hear directly from patients about their treatment and recovery. Please register by October 17 for activity 486300-01. This is a free program for adults.

NOVEMBER November 9: Your Health Matters Series: Diabetes Awareness November is American Diabetes Awareness Month and Dr. Padma Mangu will present a late-morning program to help you become more informed about diabetes. Lunch will be provided by BRAVO! Italian restaurant. Please register for activity 486402-03 by November 2 for this free 2-hour program that begins at 10 a.m. November 9: Know Your Numbers: Cholesterol & Glucose Screenings If you haven’t had screenings in the past year, get a current reading on your cholesterol and glucose levels. You will receive your results the same day and TriHealth specialists will be available to talk with you about your numbers. Please register by November 2 for these free screenings by calling the Mason Community Center Wellness Supervisor at 513.229.8555. Registration is limited to 50 individuals. November 21: Enjoying Healthier Holidays Learn to enjoy the holidays in a healthier way with a food tasting and an array of healthy recipes. A chef from US Foods and a registered dietitian will answer your cooking and nutrition questions. Please register by November 14 for activity 486114. This free event is open to all ages.


The Great Escape By richard stewart

We may say to our children: Here is art, science, philosophy, mathematics, music, psychology, history, religion – and we may open innumerable doors along the corridors of living … – Paul D. Shafer


t appears that every other movie released in the last few years has been based upon a superhero character. For a while, this seemed like an innocent enough sort of escapist diversion – Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Iron Man and the like. More recently, having apparently run out of “A-List” superheroes, movie producers are attempting to steal our money with schlock such as the Green Hornet, the Green Lantern, Captain America and Thor. For all I know these might actually end up being timeless cinematic masterpieces – but I am willing to bet heavily against it. What is the fascination with superpower infested pseudopeople, anyway? I recognize the obvious underlying satisfaction of watching the cardboard stand-in for evil receive a karmically deserved beat down, but, really, what are we intended to take away from this? Why idolize those that leap tall buildings in a single bound instead of the architects and engineers who design tall buildings in the first place? 3-D posters, action figures and overpriced Halloween costumes are created to capitalize on the phenomena of completely unrealistic silver screen saviors, but scant acknowledgement is offered for the extraordinary resilience and devotion of a parent who goes to work every week for thirty-five or forty years to support a family. When (and more importantly, why) did wearing a brightly colored suit and mask become a requirement for admiration? Of equal concern with the rise of superhero super epics is the proliferation of “reality” television programs, which purport to entertain and enlighten by allowing surreptitious monitoring of the melodramatic travails of others. As nearly as I can determine, the purpose of shows like “Jersey Shore” or “The Real Housewives of Fill-In-The-Blank” is to reaffirm for the viewer that no matter the perceived darkness of their current condition or station they have not yet reached rock bottom. There is also an entire slate of programs that are intended to exploit the widely held fantasy that one can cook, dance or sing your way to happiness and worldwide acclaim. It seems curious that the entire genre of “reality” programming is primarily focused on facilitating escape from actual reality. And, in yet another twist of weirdness, there is virtually nothing realistic about the content of reality television. It isn’t really the vapid character of much of the current entertainment that is the underlying basis for my concern;

rather it is that the participants seem to have been elevated by our society to a position of esteem far outstripped by any actual accomplishment. Ask your teenagers if they can identify Kim Kardashian. Ask the same teenagers who developed the theory of relativity, first walked on the moon or currently serves as Vice President of the United States. I can predict with near perfect accuracy which of these four questions will be answered correctly. Of course, it is possible that I am missing the point altogether regarding this shift in our collective focus. Nonetheless, watching any of the nearly weekly awards shows leads me to the inescapable conclusion that it is a far better thing to be honorable than it is to be honored. It is disappointing to recognize the reality that if Martin Luther King were alive today, he would likely be less popular and less well known than Justin Bieber. Our national obsession with diversion and misplaced admiration likewise spills over to the world of professional athletics. The papers, airwaves and internet are replete with reports of abhorrently bad behavior that has had little or no impact on the ability of athletically-gifted criminals to earn extraordinary salaries in exchange for providing us with a little bit of escape – even if that performance requires the use of drugs that turn these modern day role models into human parodies of cartoon superheroes. The tickets to see these performers, whether filmed or live-action, continue to sell. Meanwhile, brilliant scientists, doctors, teachers, and true artists go begging. Perhaps the ongoing strain of a weakened economy and its persistent assault of side effects has caused us to reach increasingly further outward in order to achieve an escape from our reality, but, even so, I suggest that we owe it to ourselves and our children to recalibrate and require something more genuine and more genuinely meaningful. Richard Stewart, while generally of agreeable disposition, can be cantankerous at times. He has accepted the fact that he will likely never be famous or beloved and may just be ranting because he is jealous. You may contact him at

october | november 2011


Mason Our Town Nov 2011  

Mason Our Town magazine for October/November 2011

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