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Mason, Ohio One of the Best Cities for Young Families

File this under Tell Me Something I Don’t Know. The City of Mason, Ohio has been ranked one of the top three cities in Ohio for young families. This is yet another of many accolades for the City of Mason. Check out my previous post here about other exciting Mason news.

It’s no surprise to me that Mason continues to receive such praise. My firm has had the pleasure of representing the City of Mason for nearly 40 years. During that time, we have watched it grow from a rural village to the largest city in Warren County. From its top leadership down through every level of the City, its focus is on making the city a better place to live, work, and play. I’m proud to say I get to play a small role in that mission.


The $800K Public Records Verdict That Never Was

A week hardly goes by that I don’t see something in the news about a public records request gone bad. I know, I know. I probably read different news that you. Click here to check out the article I wrote for our firm’s website on a scary public records verdict for a public agency. The appellate court ultimately tossed out the big award, but this is just the kind of case that we should all be trying to avoid.

I Can Hear You Now – A Guide to Denying Cell Tower Applications

Cell tower applications are difficult things to deal with for local governments. Local officials certainly want their constituents to enjoy great phone reception, especially in this time when people don’t leave home without their smartphones. But local officials also want to preserve the aesthetics of their community. Here is a linkĀ  to a great article written by my partner [Brian Fox]( detailing some critical elements to consider when denying an application for a cell phone tower.

No Shave November – Don’t Forget the Message

Well, the time is here. You smooth-faced members of society finally have an excuse to let the five o’clock shadow sprout into the beautiful face-mane that we all know is lurking under the skin. Just be ready. Many year-round bearded folks like to mock those wishing to join our ranks with comments disparaging your foray into the bearded way. Not me. I love this time of year. I say welcome to the club. You’re going to find out that you like it. And if you don’t, that’s okay too. Shave it off later. But while you grow out that beard in November, be sure to let people know what it’s all about.

As we move past October, with all of its pink ribbons, don’t forget abut the courageous battles with breast cancer that have been highlighted. Those are definitely some of the bravest women (and men) that you will ever meet. But November, and its focus on scruffy chins and upper lips, is hoping to bring a much quieter issue to the forefront.

Men’s health issues don’t necessarily get the headlines they deserve. And that’s probably because men don’t like to talk about them. So the focus of this month should be to emphasize and increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments.

If you’re a man and you’re at least 40 years old, go get a physical. Right now. Go make an appointment with your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor, go find one. Stop making excuses, grow up, and go get checked. Early detection is critical with things like prostate cancer, so there really is no excuse not to get checked out. Just do it. And stop shaving while you wait for your appointment.

So when your friends, your boss, or your clients ask about the new facial hair, remember to tell them what it’s really about. After you realize how much you like the new look, feel free to join me spreading the message all the way into Decembeard.

Happy Birthday, Teenager

Today is the thirteenth anniversary of my very first Father’s Day present. On the heels of this recent Father’s Day, I look back at the best gift I have ever gotten. And I smile.

The afternoon of June 16, 2001, was supposed to be ordinary. We were heading out to pick up the last few baby things we needed. We were on top of things. Our first baby wasn’t due for another month, and we were (almost) completely ready for this bundle of joy. WE WERE READY! We were in the parking lot going to buy some infant diapers when Susan realized we had a problem. Her water had broken. This couldn’t be. It was too early. This shouldn’t be happening for four more weeks. But hey. What are you going to do?

I’ll tell you. You call the doctor. You call the doctor so she can tell you, “Honey, it’s too early for your water to break, but come down to the hospital and we’ll check you out anyway.” And then you stay at the hospital so they can tell you, “Well, what do you know? Guess who’s having a baby today.”

What? I didn’t bring the carefully packed bag, because there was no bag – it was too early, remember? No one was here to help. WE WEREN’T READY! Nevertheless, by that Saturday afternoon, we were in a room where Susan would do all the work, and I would stand around not knowing what to say. In fact, not knowing what to say would have been better than what I actually did say.

After hours of painful labor with really no progress, I thought it would break the tension to say something like, “You know, if you just stayed in labor until tomorrow, she will be born on Father’s Day. Wouldn’t that be great?” Apparently, based on the the look on Susan’s face, that would not be great. Apparently it would be just as good if she were born the day before Father’s Day. I guess. But what kind of story would that be? No one sits down to write a blog post to fondly recall how his daughter was born the day before Father’s Day.

And so, as just another example of a long line of accommodations made by my beautiful wife for my benefit, she waited. She suffered through the night. And the morning. And the afternoon. I slept in a chair beside her occasionally stirring for a moment to half-heartedly rub her back only to fall back asleep. I really just meant if we made it till midnight, it would be Father’s Day. Waiting until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday was just overkill. So after demonstrating that she was infinitely tougher than I could ever be, Susan decided to have that baby – to give me my first and best Father’s Day present. June 17, 2001. Four weeks early, but right on time.

Legislative Prayer Upheld

As an attorney that primarily represents local governments, I, along with my clients, have been anxiously awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the use of prayer to open local legislative meetings. Here is a great summary of the decision from Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog.

Five Things Your Boss Wants to Know about Your iPad

Since I really started using my iPad for work, my office has started to look like a NASA control center. I have a laptop with a second monitor set up on a computer desk, and now I have the iPad on a stand with an external keyboard propped up on my main desk. From the door to my office, you can see the laptop and secondary monitor, but you stare at the back of the iPad (and probably drool over the coolness of all of this technology). However, I suppose this setup has raised a few eyebrows and maybe even a few more questions. So here are a few answers.

  1. Does the iPad help your productivity or are you just watching Netflix all day on that thing? Actually, I’m not watching Netflix (at least not right now). If you walked around my desk you would see that I have OmniFocus opened to help me stay on track with my daily task management. We don’t use Macs in the office (and even if we did, I probably wouldn’t be allowed to install OmniFocus on a work machine), so I must rely on the iPad version of OmniFocus to manage my tasks during the day. And that’s just fine with me, because it works great. This includes sending emails to the OmniFocus Mail Drop address provided by OmniGroup so I don’t fall into the habit of making my email inbox my to do list. Emails that can get processed quickly get processed. The rest get forwarded to Mail Drop so they can be addressed at the appropriate time and as part of the appropriate project. So yes, the iPad on my desk does help me be more productive beyond what the computer can do.

  2. Doesn’t your laptop do even more than the iPad? Sort of. But the iPad does things that the computer cannot do (or at least it makes some things easier). My laptop has Outlook installed on it, and that’s where I keep my electronic calendar that my assistant can access. That being said, I hardly ever refer to that calendar when my iPad is in reach. I have come to love Week Cal HD, and it is my calendar of choice. Almost all of my appointments fall into a handful of categories – my four biggest clients, my family, marketing activity, and internal office events. Week Cal HD allows me to set up custom colors associated with key words in event titles. For example, if I type in an event titled “Susan at book club,” Week Cal automatically labels that event orange because it contains the word Susan. Likewise, Client 1 is yellow, Client 2 is blue, Client 3 is green, and Client 4 is olive drab (no offense, Client 4). Each of my kids has a custom color assigned. You get the picture. With a glance at my week, I can tell what clients have meetings, which kids have dentist appointments or basketball practice, and most importantly, when my wife has book club. Maybe you can do that in Outlook, but I never figured it out. Now I don’t have to.

  3. Do clients like it? Yes. And for a lot of different reasons. One local government client I represent has started sending out packets for Council meetings in an electronic format now that most of the Council members have their own iPads. With everyone working from the same platform, material can be optimized for the technology. It saves on paper cost and staff time in assembling hard copy packets. In fact, I’ve written about my experience with this client before. Check out that post if you like. I suppose other clients appreciate that I can send/receive email, schedule appointment, and review full length documents, with redline tracked changes, from just about anywhere, even when I can’t/don’t want to lug around the laptop. (Confession time – since I got the iPad, the laptop has become a static fixture on my computer desk at work.) Just remember, clients may be impressed with the shiny tablet you tote around, but if you don’t provide the top notch service they expect, it won’t matter what you drag around in your new messenger bag.

  4. If I get one, will you show me how to use it? I will, but you probably won’t need me to do that. Like most Apple devices, the iPad is intuitive and pretty easy to figure out. Touch something with your finger. If it worked, good for you. If not, hit the home button and start over. It’s pretty hard to mess up. I’m also happy to share with you the apps that I have found to work for me. But for every one I show you, there are five or ten more that you might like better. That’s the beauty of the App Store. There is no shortage of solutions for all of your problems.

  5. Can I really watch Netflix at the office? You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it (at least not until we get a more reliable wi-fi network in here – you don’t want to use up your monthly data plan.) Kidding. You absolutely cannot watch Netflix at work. Better?