Oh Oberlin: Jason Williams

Editor’s note: This corrects the inadvertent omission by technical difficulty of two minutes of my interview with Jason.

I’ve known about Jason Williams since before his time on the Oberlin City School board of education. To be transparent about it, my younger child attended one of the early editions of his tech camp, “GET with the PROGRAM.”

People who launch their own businesses fascinated me with their perseverance, and Jason was no exception. Growing up in Lorain, he attended Oberlin College and lived for a time in Japan where he marketed himself as a musician while teaching business English.

We could have used more than an hour, but I figure this way we can pick up on a conversation the next time we bump into each other.

Thanks for listening.

jason williams

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Oh Oberlin: Sam Muro

I knew Sam Muro as a kid growing up in Oberlin as the younger brother of a classmate. Even in small towns, don’t always know everyone well even if you know people.

What I knew is that he was a kid with a lot of energy. What I did not know was his passion for woodworking even as a kid, an interest which has manifested itself in his creation of the Olde Timber Workshop. Sam reclaims old wood and turns it into new creations ranging from boxes to coffee tables.

I helped Sam relocate his shop recently and was interested in the way he described his process, the extent to which he has invested himself in his new business, and the ways in which it ties to Oberlin.

His product is available on Etsy. More information is available at http://www.oldetimberworkshop.com.


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Oh Oberlin: Christian Colbert

Christian Colbert was just the person I was hoping to talk to while kicking off the next round of “Oh, Oberlin.”

Born and raised here, he left, built a career, and then six weeks ago left where that career had taken him in Chicago to return home.

His art is pretty awesome, but so are his words of encouragement to young artists as is the strength of character necessary to work for yourself.

Thanks for listening! Send along your Oberlin interview ideas to petercomings@gmail.com.



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Oh Oberlin: Lester Allen revisited

Revisiting an an episode from a couple years ago, I thought I would prime for this week’s first new interview by republishing a great conversation I had with Lester Allen. Allen, until just a few weeks ago, was my mail carrier. But to the Oberlin community he is much more.




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Oh Oberlin podcast outlet connection

Expect the first new episode some time next week. In the meantime, pardon the construction.


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Time for the next round

Good morning. Follow the link to the more detailed information, but I am actively trying plan my next round of Oberlin interviews. I have initial funding to reactivate my storage plan with WordPress and hope to get new stories up in the next two-three weeks.

Warm regards,


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Blowing off the dust

This is just a test

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Oh Oberlin: Oberlin City Schools Supt. David Hall

Last summer I met Oberlin City Schools Superintendent David Hall as I had just decided to run for city council and he had just been hired into his job. That equals meet and greet time for everyone. I meant to talk with him sooner for the podcast. The occasion of having two levy renewal issues on the March 15 ballot made sense as a point in time to make that happen.

We talked about:

Issue 25
is a 5.05 mill renewal of the property tax levy you passed in 2012. This renewal will provide the District $940,000 per year for the next five years. The returns from this levy will be used for the operating expenses of the District, namely staff, academic programs, athletics, teacher and student supplies, transportation, and the like.

Issue 26
is the renewal of a 2.0 mill permanent improvement levy that you first passed in 1976.  This tax issue would raise $371,064 a year, money that can only be used to pay for building repair and maintenance, equipment replacement and repair, and other non-consumable purchases. Items purchased with this money have a lifetime of five years or more. Some examples we may be expecting in the near future include a roof, boiler, electrical systems, doors, windows, textbooks, sidewalks, parking lots, athletic equipment furniture, buses, band and orchestra equipment, etc.

For more information from the district concerning Issues 25 and 26 on the March ballot, visit Facebook, or oberlinyesyes.com.

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Oh Oberlin: Kelley Singleton

Hi Oberlin-interested people! The first show this year is with OHS Class of ’91 graduate and newly elected City Council member Kelley Singleton. We cover growing up in Oberlin, Kelley’s family immersion in political awareness and the “Oberlin bubble” which, to paraphrase the discussion, maybe means the idea of the community to which people want to return.

We also touch on ’80s pop culture and the way a group of young adults from Oberlin followed each other out to Providence, R.I.

The interview wraps up with a look at Kelley’s take on the coming year in council, including discussion he and other council members would like to have with Oberlin College representatives concerning a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program. Kelley references this December article from the Oberlin Review.

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Oh Oberlin: 2015 Year in Review

Thanks for coming back to check the 2015 year in review. My interview with Meeko Israel provided a great backdrop to piece together the conversations from last year. The fact that it didn’t take much trying to stitch these stories together speaks to Oberlin’s nature I think. If you’d like to listen to any of the particular interviews, you should be able to find the tag on the blog page for this post and trace it back to the original full interview.

No favorites here. I learned a great deal and enjoyed the conversations in the process.

Here’s to 2016.

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