Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What We Learned At This Week's Meeting

Today we heard from Phil Adams of Jungle Jim's which is currently moving into the former Eastgate Bigg's building located in Union Township, Clermont County.

Phil began with an interesting story about how Jungle Jim's was not looking for property in Clermont County. Instead, they were within days of signing a deal for property on Route 42 in Sharonville, OH; but they could not get a permit to sell alcohol. At about the same time, Ken Geist had reached out to them to see if they would consider Union Township, Clermont County. Phil was so frustrated with the Route 42 issues that he actually had thrown away the letter from Ken and later, had to dig it out of the trash.

Some have been asking, “Why is this project is taking so long?” The reason is that they are renovating the entire building as well as putting in their own store. Currently, they have no date set for their grand opening but are planning to do some kind of very special open house. Some of outdoor tenants will open sooner including Colonel De Gourmet Herbs & Spices fromFindley Market and Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt. Phil even told us the Danbarry Theater will be upgrading to a first run operation.

What will it look like inside? Phil did say, “If you have ever shopped at Bigg's, you will not recognize this building”. In fact, Phil shared that a security guard who used to work at Bigg's recently got lost in the current building!

What if you desire to work there? Phil mentioned there will be a job fair coming up and people who wish to become employed with Jungle Jim's should not apply in Fairfield but wait for the job fair.

Jungle Jim's is encouraging other businesses in the area to consider what they will do to prepare for the millions of people they plan to bring to the area. In fact, Jungle Jim's even plans to change how traffic flows into the area from the Eastgate Boulevard side.

This store will prove to change the face of our Eastgate area. We're very glad to have them in our neighborhood.

Next week we will hear from Wendy Lorenz of CityLink.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What We Learned At This Week's Meeting

Today we heard from TimDick of Clermont County Children's Protective Services who spoke on the impact child abuse is having in our community and what the community can do to help. 

Tim has worked in the field of child welfare for 15 years, the last three as deputy director of Clermont County Children's Protective Services (CPS). CPS investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect, provides services to families to help them remain intact or when necessary we ask the court for custody of an abused child and work with the family to safely reunify their children with them. When reunification can not be achieved, we ask the court to permanently terminate parental rights and find adoptive homes for those children.

In the last 2 years, CPS has done 50+ adoptions each year. 330 children are currently in their custody and sadly not many are able to return home. About 20% of the children who return home, come back to CPS. Nearly 20% of the children who come back to CPS come from families addicted to drugs. CPS attempts to place children in foster homes rather than some kind of residential treatment center. Generally, the children who go to treatment centers have some kind of mental health issue.

Because CPS is a government agency and we all are protected by the 4th ammendment (unreasonable search and seizure). CPS is bound to investigate what is “legally” abuse and neglect. They are not permitted to arbitrarily decide what is “good” or “bad” parenting. Families have the right to privacy and to decide how to raise their children. Of the cases presented to CPS, about half of the cases prove to be indicated or substantiated.

Tim share a couple of stories with us...
There was a recent issue involving a care giver who was physically abusive to a child. It made him wonder if anyone was in this care giver's life who could have provided encouragement to prevent child abuse.

Another instance involved a 21 month old child lying in a bathtub full of bleach. They were originally told his mother had gone to cook dinner and left her 5 year old with the 21 month old. What actually happened was that the children had been left home alone while their mother was at another home for quite a long time. The home was a mess and the child had climbed some furniture which was piled up in the bathroom and fell into the tub. The 5 year old ran to tell his mom who did not believe him. So, the 5 year old carried the injured 21 month old to prove he was hurt. Again, Tim asked, who was involved with this family who could have seen there were issues?

How can our community get involved?
You could become a trained CASA volunteer who presents info to the courts.
Every child in the custody of CPS gets a CASA guardian advocate who meets with CPS, the parents and the children. CASA's annual fund raiser is April 27. Their website is www.casaforclermontkids.com

Consider becoming a foster parent or encourage others.
There is no cost and you will be provided with 39 hours of training. There is a small stipend given to ensure you can adequately provide for these children. You even have the ability to choose age, gender, race, etc.

Ever see a child wondering through the neighborhood?
Perhaps you could get to know the child and his or her care giver. Provide support to them.

Invite a CPS representative to speak to a group of your friends.
Contact Tim at dickt@odjfs.state.oh.us or 5137327173

Next week we will be joined by the Clermont County Sheriff Dogs.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What We Learned At This Week's Meeting

Today we heard from Jason Fraley who is the President of Sardinia Concrete.

Sardinia Concrete was founded in 1983 by Jim Sauls Sr. Jason's family became involved in the mid 1990s. They have 5 plant locations and service the entire 275 beltway and focus on the east side.

Concrete has been around since the early Roman times and not much has changed until recent days. Some examples are:
-Insulated Concrete Forms which allows buildings to withstand high winds and other disasters.
-Roller-Compacted Concrete Pavements for highways and streets which are giving real competition to asphalt.
-Pervious Concrete which naturally reduces runoff, cleans storm water, replenishes aquifers, Conserves Water, Protects Streams and is ADA Friendly.
-Concrete can also be offered in just about any color you would desire.

Jason encouraged us to ask questions of contractors and politicians regarding the latest developments in concrete in order to raise awareness.

Next week we will have Tim Dick of Clermont County Children's Protective Services.