Author: SEO

Don’s Prawns and More brings seafood to locavore scene

Don’s Prawns and More brings seafood to locavore scene

Don Maloney isn’t a typical corn-and-cabbage farmer; rather he’s testing Fairfield County waters with some fishy aquaculture. By Alex Warner “If you like shrimp, then you’ll love prawns,” is a phrase Don Maloney is accustomed to saying now. On this fall day, stationed at Maloney’s prawn sorting table is 8-year-old Zoe […]

Southeast Ohio’s barbecue game packs a punch

Southeast Ohio’s barbecue game packs a punch

An inside look at four restaurants that showcase the region’s tastiest barbecue to pig out on By Alicia MacDonald When it comes to barbecue that makes your mouth water, it’s likely Southeast Ohio isn’t the first place that comes to mind. But hidden along the rolling hills […]

New challenges for public school funding

New challenges for public school funding

student-desk.svg.medLocal Coalitions Grapple with New Challenges 20 Years after Landmark Case 
By Megan Fair
20 years have passed since the first lawsuits were launched in Ohio to achieve equity in state-funded education. Administrator Cindy Hartman and lawyer Bill Phillis spent time in the thick of it, watching the state grapple with reinventing the funding model. Now charter schools pose a threat to already disenfranchised schools
A Coalition for Change
Natural light from a tall corner window bathes Cindy Hartman’s office. Piles of papers and
folders dot her desk, and a colorful map of Ohio hangs on the wall.
Hartman spent 36 years educating and holding administrative roles in rural and Appalachian schools in Southeastern Ohio. For someone who retired in 2008 from her position as superintendent of Southern Local Schools in Perry County, Hartman’s surroundings communicate business.
Hartman now works as associate director of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools(CORAS), an organization composed of superintendents from 32 counties who gather once a month to tackle the problems facing their school districts.“Many of these families [in these districts] don’t have very much, so kids come to school not ready to learn,” Hartman says. “It’s the school’s work to catch them up, and then to support the things they just don’t have access to at home.” 
Such is the challenge for what the state legislators refer to as “low resource” schools,
characterized by traits such as their low economic base or minimal access to cultural experiences like plays or concerts.
The Rumblings of a Revolution
When CORAS was established in 1988 its goal was advocating for and supporting the continuing improvement of public school education. The members of CORAS collaborated with educators statewide to form another team for student advocacy, the Ohio Coalition for Equity &Adequacy of School Funding (OCEASF), with a specific vision in mind.
The OCEASF planned to sue the state for its property tax based school funding model, as it greatly disadvantaged already underprivileged students.
In 1991, the coalition filed a lawsuit against the state of Ohio in the name of Perry County resident and then 15-year-old student Nathan DeRolph and argued the funding model for public education was unconstitutional. In 1997, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in its favor, writing
“…property taxes can no longer be the primary means of providing the finances for a thoroughand efficient system of schools.” The battle continued in appeals until 2003, when the courtruled that it was the legislature’s job to fix the funding model.
Changes and Challenges
Bill Phillis has been the executive director of the OCEASF since 1992 when the DeRolph case
was first taking shape. He’s paid close attention to the attempts made to rectify the state’s
educational funding model since the initial DeRolph decision.
“To the state’s credit, in 1997 [after the conclusion of the DeRolph case] they put together aschool facilities committee,” Phillis says. That group used a tobacco tax windfall to invest in
constructing new school buildings.
“Thanks to DeRolph, there are over 1000 new school buildings,” Phillis says. “This was an
important moment, because a congressional study at the time showed Ohio had the worst public school buildings in the nation.” 
Although many public school facilities have improved, the existing funding model for academic expenses remains problematic. It is not entirely dependent on property taxes and property values, but those elements are still factored into funding decisions.
Further complicating funding models is the advent of charter schools paired with the push for standardized testing, which Phillis cites as a perfect storm of inconvenience for students and teachers.
Phillis and Hartman both cite charter schools, as charter schools pull funding away from public education. This disproportionately affects schools who already can’t afford to lose the money.
“Some of these schools can’t afford a guidance counselor or social worker. There’s a growing drug problem in these counties, and some schools don’t have the resources to help students grapple with what they’re seeing at home,” Hartman says.Beyond the StruggleBut while the funding model may be broken, the fight for equity in education exists largely outside the classroom walls.
“Despite the challenges these districts face, when you observe a classroom and see the teachers interacting with their students, magic is happening,” Hartman says with a hopeful
smile.
No doubt it is such images that keep individuals like Hartman and Phillis motivated 25 years and counting.
Sudzy’s Pin-Up Palace

Sudzy’s Pin-Up Palace

As you walk through the doors of Sudzy’s Pin-Up Palace, a red and white polka dot dress beckons for your attention. But before you can even touch its fabric, racks featuring dresses of seemingly every color interrupt your gaze. This cacophony of color, pattern and […]

Take our Morgan’s Raid driving tour

Take our Morgan’s Raid driving tour

by Sarah Weingarten Southern Ohio is the only region in the state to host a Civil War battle. In July 1863,General John Hunt Morgan and his Confederate army raided southern Ohio. And today you can drive along the path that the Confederate army took to […]

Dorsell Bibbee:  Coolville’s grounded gentleman

Dorsell Bibbee: Coolville’s grounded gentleman

Dorsell Bibbee helped dig his first grave as a teenager, and 60 years later, he’s still diggin’.
By Christopher Miller
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Ordinarily, retirement is spent resting and relaxing, not regularly shoveling dirt many times your own weight. Suffice to assume, Dorsell Bibbee, an 82-year-old Tuppers Plains resident is extraordinary. Bibbee works as a gravedigger for White-Schwarzel Funeral Home in Coolville inAthens County, a job Bibbee has held for over 60 years. Here’s a look into the life of TupperPlains’ denizen gravedigger.
Tuppers Sweet Tuppers
“I was born [in 1934] down the road here in Tuppers Plains on Success Road. In 1971, me, Momand Dad moved out the other way between Tuppers Plains and Darwin at Alfred and 71st Street.After my parents died, I had a trailer at another fella’s place, then I stayed at a friend’s great aunt’s til I come out here in May. I’ve stayed around Tuppers Plains my whole life.”
A hand in the land
“In the 1950s and 60s we had an 83-acre farm with a half dozen cows for selling milk. My dad and I farmed some, and I’d help with hay. When people needed help digging a water line or electric line, I’d do that too.”
Spare time 
“I like to go listen to live music and go to the [County] Fair. I used to play the guitar, until I lost it when our trailer burnt down. But I never got into them ballgames or nothing.”
Super (and natural) forces
“Sometimes it’d be really windy and a tent would blow over and certain graves would be tougher than others but nothing scary [ever happened], even though I used to dig at night with a lantern when we were running behind.”
Workplace Hazards
“People don’t know it can be dangerous. One time, the young boy operating the tractor swung the bucket around, hit my arm and I fell into the hole. Had I hit the hard vault, it could have been much worse. Like anything else, you really have to be careful.”
Why he still digs his work
“One reason is you are not in the same place every day. You get to work at other places, not like working in the same store every day. And, you get to meet lots of different people, families, and people from the different vault companies.”
Civil War Reenactors bring life (and gun powder) to Ohio history

Civil War Reenactors bring life (and gun powder) to Ohio history

Reenactors travel hours to re-live bits of the past. By Emily Bohatch Samuel Walgren quietly holds his breath as the P. A. Denny glides through the steady waters of the Ohio River, closer and closer to what, for some, could mean the end.Inch by inch, the atmosphere […]

Bicentennial birthday stories from the family farm

Bicentennial birthday stories from the family farm

Detwiler, Morgan Raid, and Sater Farms turn 100 and 200 years old this year. Traveling to a farm may not seem the most novel experience, for a lifelong resident of Southeast Ohio where agriculture is part of the regional tapestry. Even the most jaded Ohio local has […]

The Mine Tavern’s tenacity

The Mine Tavern’s tenacity

The Mine Tavern perseveres through adversity and remains the longest operating bar in Ohio
By Marisa Salopek
Ohio’s longest operating bar rebuilds and continues operation through changes in regional economy, national policies and even the tragic death of an owner.  Open since 1842, The Mine Tavern welds a rich history, witnessing coal mining to the prohibition era and its now diverse crowd in the present day.
“The only history that we understand that has been passed down from elders that have come in is it started as a dining hall for the hotel,” says The Mine Tavern co-manager Joseph Koker.
The Mine Tavern has been passed down through seven different families since its inception. Koker and co-manager Andrea Conner took the helm in 2016 after the 2015 shooting death of previous owner, Tim Koker, Joseph’s brother and Conner’s ex-husband.Since acquiring the bar, they have not changed much as they like to keep the design the same. Koker says previous customers come in and admire the same unique ceiling design they sat under years ago.
The ceiling at The Mine Tavern in Nelsonville on November 18th, 2016
The ceiling at The Mine Tavern in Nelsonville on November 18th, 2016
“It’s been the same forever,” Conner says. “We’re finding out that it is actually very important because for people that’s part of the draw for why they come in, kind of to see the décor.”
But what both Koker and Conner say has been the most compelling aspect to the business is the bright personalities of the owners throughout the years. Koker says after the loss of his brother, fully reopening and getting the tavern back under their feet was difficult, and they restarted by only being open one day a month.
“Tim had such a large personality,” Koker says. “His personality actually was much
larger than the business. Most of the owners in the past and the owners that I remember, all of their personalities were larger than the business so that’s hard to overcome.”
Bartender Ryan Wolfe talks to patrons at The Mine Tavern in Nelsonville on November 18th, 2016
Bartender Ryan Wolfe talks to patrons at The Mine Tavern in Nelsonville on November 18th, 2016
Both Koker and Conner find many guests come in nostalgic, having visited 30 years ago when they were in college, happy to see the bar has not changed. Koker says that with their promotion and use of social media, they’ve been able to cater to a younger crowd for the first time. The tavern hosts a wide variety of guests on any given day from college-aged students, to locals and blue-collar workers.
“It’s nice that we can have locals, plus you can have an executive in here at the same time all eating lunch or drinking a beer and hanging out that it works,” Conner says.Considering the economic turmoil in Southeast Ohio, The Mine Tavern emphasizes the importance of serving and offering a menu at affordable prices.
“It is important because we want all classes to be able to come in and eat and drink and
we try to keep prices pretty low, or at least comparable with other places in town,” Conner says.
The Mine Tavern is located at 14 Public Square in Nelsonville. The operating hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. If you’re looking for a juicy burger, a cold beer or just some good company, The Mine Tavern remains open and ready.
Lancaster’s Two Broke Artists Art Studio offers a mass of class

Lancaster’s Two Broke Artists Art Studio offers a mass of class

Local art teacher teaches thousands in Downtown Lancaster to excel and relish in creating their own masterpiece canvases. By Mackenzie Tucky  “In the art world there’s always something changing, there’s always something cool and new,” says owner of Two Broke Artists Art Studio Bobbi Roberts McKinnon. From a young […]