2022 In Review | Top Stories
- Published: January 2, 2023
Oberer PUD voted down, Chappelle buys land
On Monday, Feb. 7, Village Council members voted down a request from Oberer Land developers to rezone nearly 53 acres of land to a Planned Unit Development on the south end of the Village.
After months of deliberation, including hours of testimony about the pros and cons of a large-scale development, Council members’ votes were tied 2–2, meaning the motion to approve the PUD failed. In subsequent months, Oberer, who owned the land, deliberated over moving forward with a Residential-A development, but the land was purchased in June by Dave Chappelle’s Iron Table Holdings, LLC.
Chappelle has property neighboring the proposed development site and voiced his opposition to the PUD at several Village Council meetings.
Gronbeck arrested, medical license revoked
On Thursday, Jan. 20, offices of former doctor Donald Gronbeck were searched by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations; at the same time, the Ohio Medical Board suspended Gronbeck’s license for inappropriate sexual contact and sexual relationships with patients.
Following the suspension, Gronbeck surrendered his medical license on Feb. 16. On the basis of that surrender, the Ohio Medical Board permanently revoked his license. On Oct. 22, Gronbeck was arrested and charged with over 50 counts of sex crimes; Gronbeck pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment on Oct. 27, but was held in the Greene County Jail until his bond hearing on Nov. 17. At that hearing, Gronbeck’s bond was set for $1 million, with $100,000 required for release.
Gronbeck was released on Nov. 18 after his attorney, Jon Paul Rion, posted bail. Gronbeck was required to surrender his passport and will remain on house arrest until his trial, which is set for Sept. 11, 2023.
Julia Reichert’s legacy
Villagers and documentary fans worldwide expressed their condolences and shared memories of Julia Reichert, villager and award-winning documentarian who died on Thursday, Dec. 7, after living with cancer.
Reichert’s works span decades and focus on the lives of working class people, especially women. Reichert was best known for such films as “Growing Up Female,” “Union Maids” and “American Factory,” with the latter winning an Academy Award in 2019.
In addition to her filmmaking, Reichert taught film at Wright State University, encouraging her students to see their work as a reflection of humanity. Her life will be celebrated in an outdoor event to be scheduled in the spring of 2023.
In-person meetings, events
2022 saw many Yellow Springs gatherings and traditions return to in-person.
Village Council reconvened to in-person meetings, allowing citizens to participate remotely during selective public comment sections, and Yellow Springs Schools decided to make masking optional for staff and students.
The Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce hosted the fall Street Fair after nearly two years, and the Winter Solstice Poetry reading, hosted by the Tecumseh Land Trust and Glen Helen, held its first live performance since before the pandemic. Seeing the flexibility of hosting hybrid events, the Yellow Springs Senior Center and several village churches continue to offer online access to events and church services.
Students walk out
On May 16, students from McKinney Middle School and Yellow Springs High School walked out in protest after a teacher at the high school was overheard using a racial slur. The students marched to Gaunt Park, where many students of color and students from marginalized groups shared experiences of feeling “othered” during their time at Yellow Springs Schools.
Speaking to a crowd of parents, school administrators and community members, the students demanded action to back up the statement that Yellow Springs is an inclusive, antiracist community. Since then, the schools have hired Maya Luney-Ballew as a student advocate and members of the district staff have taken part in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, or DEI, training.