"Trial on its Merits" Examines Judge's Service to Country, Constitution

All rise: The Honorable S. Arthur Spiegel and his book "A Trial on its Merits: The Life of a Federal Judge" bring a reverence to the bench and the author.

Art Spiegel is a honest-to-goodness hero "” to all of us. In publishing, we ache to rein in the hyperbole, so it's a wonderful collision of expression and reality to be able to label Judge Spiegel as such because he is exquisitely honest and full of goodness.

Instead of a position of power and "judgment," he sees his role in service to his country and the Constitution, a duty not unlike his time as a Marine in WWII. What anchors his life and livelihood is that commitment to liberty and justice.

The judge feels the weight of the laws of Jefferson, Washington and Franklin to give every citizen his or her day in court. With a federal caseload stretching back decades, Judge Spiegel is an inspiration and a testament to the governing wisdom and eternal principles of America's founding fathers.

As the judge explains: "There are no lurid passages, romantic interludes, exciting chase scenes, or tender moments, although it does detail a type of passage: the journey of a United States District Judge detailing his first 25 years on the federal bench. Too little is known of the work of the federal trial courts, and too much criticism is leveled at them by a public that fails to realize they serve as the main bulwark safeguarding our constitutional rights."

"” Richard Hunt

Save Cash on School Chinos

The evidence is clear: School uniforms are important for the academic environment. But stocking up on chinos and collared shirts can be expensive.

Still, there are options for the careful shopper "” the best advice is check your school's uniform requirements, shop early and don't go overboard. After all, kids may leap a size during the school year, and shorts and pants can be worn more than once in a week.

Fox's Clothing has stores downtown and in Colerain with a huge inventory of school uniforms for public and private schools. Owner David Fox puts a single outfit at the cost of $20 or less but suggests doing more with less.

"We have parents who want to buy 10 pairs of pants," Fox says. "But we only recommend five to six tops and three to four bottoms to last a school year."

Once Upon a Child employee Jodi Burress recommends that parents check out the store early, because flat-front pants and polos sell quickly. The resale store with several Cincinnati locations carries polo and button-up shirts in popular uniform colors including white, blue and red, along with khaki, blue and black pants.

"My best advice for parents is to check back at the store often because the merchandise changes daily," she says.

The Seven Hills School Resale Shop, a fundraiser for the school on Red Bank Road, offers gently used clothes by brands including Abercrombie, Brooks Brothers and Tommy Hilfiger. Retail and online stores also offer wide selections.

"” Julianna Roche

"Jack of Hearts' Family Team On a Mission

One Green Township family is expressing its gratitude with a royal flush.

Eight-year-old Jack Oliver was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect. At six months old, he underwent a successful open-heart surgery. Since then, the Oliver family has participated in and raised money for the Heart Mini-Marathon, sponsored by the American Heart Association.

In their eighth year as a family team called Jack of Hearts, mother Amy, father Tony, 6-year-old sister Kate and Jack raised $3,700 for the AHA this year, bringing their total to more than $20,000 in nine years.

"It's a lot of fun," Amy says. "It creates awareness that 30 years ago (Jack's disease) was fatal. But contributions (to the AHA) provide advancements. We feel very lucky."

"” Leah Fightmaster

Kids + Competition = Big Business for Warren County

It's a competitive combination: great sports facilities in a family destination.

Nicknamed "Ohio's Largest Playground," Warren County is using it to its advantage and focusing on youth-related sporting events.

Warren County has a mix of affordable hotels, restaurants and shopping, and attractions including King's Island, the Beach Water Park, Great Wolf Lodge and Ozone Zipline Adventures. Within driving distance are Reds games, the Cincinnati Zoo and Newport Aquarium.

"It's the perfect family destination," says Warren County Convention and Visitors Bureau Sports Marketing Director Ben Huffman.

More important, he says, are the sports facilities including the world-class Lindner Family Tennis Center, golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, and a state-of-the-art baseball complex. "Youth-related sporting events bring competitors, spectators and parents to Warren County," Huffman says, "which is the reason we host them."

This August, parents and their kids can take their pick from watching or participating in soccer camps and games, pro beach volleyball matches, and even a road race through King's Island.

"” Julianna Roche