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Aviation History Begins In Greene County

In Economy, Local News, Senior Lifestyle, State News, Uncategorized on April 29, 2011 at 2:58 pm

By Gery L. Deer

(FAIRBORN) – For those looking to save money on vacation this season, consider staying closer to home. Day and weekend trips to local attractions can save hundreds and provide a fun, educational experience for the whole family. The Dayton area offers many such locations and many are free to visit.

One particular jewel in the Gem city’s historic crown is the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. Comprised of multiple attractions, the park system includes homes and workshops of the Wright Brothers as well as related figures including poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar.

Most of the sites are located in or near Dayton proper, but, apart from the work done at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, most of the actual flying and development actually took place in Greene County.

Perched atop a hill at the corner of SR 444 and Kauffman Avenue in Fairborn is the Wright Memorial. The hill overlooks Huffman Prairie, where the two aviators developed many of the innovations of powered flight following their success at Kitty Hawk in 1903.

At the Huffman Flying Field Interpretive Center at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, visitors can see exhibits and films about the importance of the area to modern aviation.

Upon completing their experiments in North Carolina, Wilbur and Orville returned to Dayton to find a suitable location to perfect their new aircraft. A Dayton area banker named Torrence Huffman owned a field situated about eight miles northeast of the city where he kept horses and cattle.

Huffman offered the field to the aviators on the sole condition that they keep the gates closed so that his livestock would remain in the pasture. Huffman Prairie, as it later became known, was flat, open and bordered along the north by the Urbana Electric Railway system.

The trolley depot at Simms Station, near the prairie, allowed for easy transport of tools and equipment. The Wrights had no way of knowing that less than a decade later, this would become location of the world’s first airport and aviation school.

From 1904 until 1905, the Wright Brothers had developed a flying machine capable of controlled, sustainable flight, but the task had not been without its problems. The tree line surrounding the field often created unpredictable wind drafts, thus making take off and landing problematic for the fledgling airplanes. At the end of 1905, the men moved from the site and did not return until 1910 when they built a permanent hangar and aviation school after obtaining a patent for their new invention.

Today the field is part of the national park in their honor and now situated at the end of one of the busiest military runways in the world at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Flying over Huffman Prairie, the birthplace of modern aeronautics, are some of the largest and most complex flying machines ever devised by mankind.

As a tribute to the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers, the Wright Memorial was erected in the middle of a 27-acre parcel of land in 1940. Originally planned for construction in 1913, the project was put on hold because of the great flood of that year.

In 1938, a revised plan was undertaken on land owned by the newly-formed Miami Conservancy District. Overlooking the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, the memorial was dedicated on August 19, 1940, Orville Wright’s 69th birthday.

Though Wilbur had passed on, his brother and several of their flying students were on hand for the ceremony. The site today includes the monument and plaza, a scenic overlook, a series of Native American burial mounds and an interpretive center.

The monument is a 17-foot obelisk made of pink, North Carolina granite. The material was taken from the same quarry as that used in the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk.

A bronze plaque on the face of the monument notes the accomplishments and dedication of the monument, while four smaller ones adorn columns at the entrances to the plaza area. Each plaque commemorates an historic attribute of the site including its prehistoric significance. Surrounding the monument is a circular plaza.

The site was also important to the Native Americans known as the Adena, who lived in the region between B.C. 500 and 200 A.D. Several burial mounds of various sizes are easily spotted by even the most amateur archeologist. In 1974, The Wright Brothers Hill Mound Group was placed on the National Register of Historic Places for its archeological significance.

The Wright Memorial and Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center is located at 2380 Memorial Road, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Visitation hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Hours are extended to 6 p.m. daily from Memorial to Labor Day and the facility is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

In addition to the Wright Memorial, there are several other Wright-related sites in the Dayton area including the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, The Wright Brothers Aviation Center, the Wright Cycle Company, and the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center.

The sites are easy to find and most are free to visit, including the Wright Memorial, or require a minimal donation. For more information visit the U.S. National Parks Service website http://www.nps.gov/daav or call the Huffman Prairie Interpretive Center at (937) 937-425-0008.

Area Writers From All Genres Meet In Fairborn May 4th

In Business, Local News, Media, Senior Lifestyle on April 27, 2011 at 6:07 pm

FAIRBORN – Writers from around the southwest Ohio region are invited to attend the next meeting of the Western Ohio Writers Association scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4th in the Green Room of the Fairborn Community Center, 1078 Kauffman Avenue. All genre authors, professional or hobbyist, are welcome to attend. A $2 per person donation is requested at the door and participants who would like to have their work critiqued must bring 10 copies of no more than 3 pages, double spaced.

Founded in 2008, the WOWA was established to provide area writers with critique support, educational opportunities, networking and professional resources. Independent columnist and business writer Gery L. Deer is the founder and co-director of the non-profit organization.

“There has long been a need for support and education for writers in our area, beyond writing conferences which, even locally, can cost hundreds of dollars to attend,” Deer says. “We have nearly 100 participants within the group including poets, playwrights, novelists and freelance journalists, all of whom enjoy exchanging ideas and helping each other succeed in writing.”

From housewives to college professors and everything in between, the WOWA participants exhibit a diverse talent base. For some, the meetings are the only chance they have to work with other writers, face-to-face. Deer stresses that the WOWA is not an online forum, but a flesh-and-blood organization in which participants are dependent on personal contact to be successful.

In addition to monthly meetings, the WOWA also has other kinds of literary events. Three times a year, for example, the group holds a public reading at Books & Co. in Kettering. Known as the “Beatnik Café,” writers take to the stage reading work aloud in a 1960’s style café format. Each event has drawn participants from farther away.

“We have people who come from as far north as Columbus and south as Mason,” Deer says. “So we do our best to make the time worthwhile, spending nearly three hours per meeting doing group critiques or having professionals speak about anything from writing to forensic research.”

Deer adds that he is always on the lookout for guest speakers in the area. “We can’t pay them, we just don’t have that kind of budget, but we can give them access to a brilliant network of gifted writers.”

Individual donations are accepted at each event to help cover some costs, but the majority of WOWA activities are made possible by the support of local sponsors including the Fairborn Community Center and Deer Computer Consulting. Sponsors provide anything from meeting facilities to promotional assistance. Local businesses are welcome to apply to sponsor the WOWA for $100 per year, which includes a banner advertisement on the group’s website.

The group organizes monthly events through the Meetup.com website. Participants are encouraged to bring paper and pen, at least 10 copies of their work for critique, and their own refreshments. For more information or to RSVP for the May 4th meeting, go online to http://www.gerydeer.com and click on the WOWA logo in the upper right.

Greene County Combined Health District Celebrates Women’s Health Week with Workshop

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm

(XENIA, OH) The Greene County Combined Health District (GCCHD) is celebrating Women’s Health Week, May 8 – 14, 2011, with a self-defense workshop. The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, May 10th from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will be held at the Greene County Media Room, 541 Ledbetter Road in Xenia. The title of the workshop is Empower U: A Women’s Self-Defense Workshop and it will be offered free of charge to women and young girls in the Greene County area.

This workshop will empower women and young girls, ages 13 and older, in the art of personal protection as well as educate them about violence prevention. The workshop is designed to help women enhance their skills, confidence and situational awareness regarding personal safety. Perfect for mothers and daughters to attend together, this workshop will include a Xenia Police Officer to provide tips and techniques on staying safe and professional Martial Arts instructors to provide some hands-on experience.

There is no cost to attend the workshop, however, registration is required and space is limited. For questions or to register, please call 937-374-5669 or email lfox. This workshop is made possible by a grant from the Ohio Department of Health, Office of Healthy Ohio, Bureau of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction, Violence and Injury Prevention Program, and Wright State University Center for Healthy Communities AHEC Region 5.

A Royal Pain For British Taxpayers

In Uncategorized on April 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

As Prince William prepares to take Kate Middleton as his first wife (insert sarcasm here), the English people, as well as their cousins across the pond, are going gaga over the impending nuptials. American news outlets are flooded with stories about the marriage, covering everything from bachelor party rumors to details about Kate’s secret wedding gown.

Choking on the torrential barrage of media coverage surrounding these spoiled rich kids I struggle to understand how the people of Great Britain could go along with paying for this nonsense. In a country as engulfed by recession as America has been over the last few years, the English citizens should be enraged that their tax money is going to pay for such a lavish waste, particularly at a time when unemployment in that nation hovers just below an all-time high.

At the end of March 2011, the jobless rate in the United Kingdom stood at 7.9-percent, up only a small margin from record numbers recorded last September. Though there is a tight lid on exactly how much the royal wedding will cost the taxpayers, latest estimates put the figure at 50 million pounds, or around 81 million dollars. Other estimates report the cost to be much higher, closer to 100 million pounds.

Americans are frequently infuriated by congressional overspending, or the expenses of the White House for state dinners and the like. Imagine, however, if each of us were required to help pay for Sasha Obama’s prom dress or Malia’s Ivy League education? I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d make sure they heard about it at the voting booth – to say nothing about this column.

Money is hard to come by these days both here and abroad, a problem to which the royal family is oblivious. How could they possibly understand the plight of what they call commoners? They have never had to work or earn a penny of what they get.

Each member of this over-privileged family is given an extravagant lifestyle on the backs of their subjects, for no other reason than that they were born into it. Even sending the young princes off to military service is little more than a pointless publicity stunt to quell the naysayers.

Monarchies had their day once but it’s time they were left in storybooks. My ancestors here in the Colonies took great losses to kick them out of this country some two and a half centuries ago. No longer can the world’s citizens afford to hold on high some useless individual who has the nerve to think that half-millennia of inbreeding makes them better than those over whom they rule.

The very idea of royalty is utter nonsense in the first place. Royal families came to power by war, murder and force. Their pure, blue blood is tainted with death and pain. And, while the centuries have left the British monarchy pretty much impotent, one of their few remaining powers is the ability to hoard and squander the money of the people.

Strip away their excessive and ornate exteriors and they are just ordinary human beings, frail and useless if dropped into the daily lives of the working person. Skilled at nothing but the etiquette of shameless artificial humility and inflated pomp and circumstance, the royal family should be required to live by a more modest standard. The same could be said of the self-appointed elite of this country as well.

As was apparent with Princess Diana through her tireless charitable efforts, much good can be done from such a seat of influence and power. We can only hope that her offspring will have as good a heart and as perceptive an understanding of the struggles of those who looked up to her.

If the monarchy’s staggering fiscal waste is not scaled back over the years, the citizens will be the ones who will have to take action. Change starts with just a few, determined citizens. Perhaps it is time for Robin Hood to make an appearance once more – in both nations. Something has to be done for the British people, as here in America, because in this day and age, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting left behind.

Columnist Gery L. Deer is a freelance business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at http://www.gerydeer.com

Tips From A Pro On Hiring A Handyman

In Business, Economy, Home Improvement, Local News on April 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

By Gery L. Deer

Photo By Martine Doucet

Spring is finally settling over the Miami Valley region and many property owners are preparing to dive into that long list of home improvement and repair projects. Occasionally, some tasks may be beyond require more expertise, yet be smaller than what might require a large-scale contractor. For these jobs, many people seek out the services of an independent building repair specialist, also known as a “handyman.”

A handyman can do many different kinds of jobs but is often incorrectly labeled as a jack-of-all-trades, with most people assuming there is no expertise or specialized skills needed for the job. Renovation and repair specialist Rob Breckler disagrees. A native of Kettering, Breckler is an independent home improvement and remodeling contractor and owner of Quality Handyman Services, LLC, based in Miamisburg.

“I think the term handyman is perceived as a person who just fixes all of the small items that a larger contractor does not want to do,” says Breckler, who graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in finance from Brescia University in Owensboro, Kentucky. “While that may be true in some ways, it is certainly not all a handyman does. Anyone who describes themselves as a handyman should also be able to take on more involved projects as well, like a bathroom or kitchen remodel and minor plumbing and electrical work.”

According to Breckler, it’s not enough to just have a tool box and the ability to use the equipment inside. A professional handyman and home improvement specialist needs to have knowledge in many different areas of home repair.

Sometimes a job is more than it appears on the surface and an experienced professional will know what to do in those situations. “Most people let things go a lot longer than they should before doing repairs so until you start tearing into a project you can’t see the extent of the problem,” Breckler says.

“Part of the job is troubleshooting and determining what the right course of action will be based on the customer’s budget and other considerations.” He notes that while there are plenty of good people working independently in the remodeling trades, consumers need to be cautious.

Before hiring someone to take care of that spring honey-do list, Breckler has some suggestions. “References are the most important marketing tools of any remodeling professional,” he says. “Get the names and phone numbers of previous customers and call around to see what kind of work was done and get their take on how it went.”

Punctuality and professionalism are also important traits of a good handyman service. “I am frequently told that one thing my customers like is that I show up when I say I’m going to,” says Breckler, who adds that people should be wary about someone going door to door offering to do odd repair jobs.

“We all know times are hard right now, but if someone just comes knocking at your door, out of the blue, offering to fix a broken porch light or other problem visible from the road, it’s probably best to say no thank you,” Breckler adds. “Since a lot of people are without work right now, many people that have some knowledge about remodeling are trying to be a handyman and working for little money just to get by.”

“I’ve heard certain contractors referred to as ‘band-aid’ repairmen because all they do is cover the problem rather than fix it permanently,” Breckler continued. “Then, after taking your money, some just disappear and they are rarely insured nor are they part of any organization like the BBB to hold them accountable for their work.”

Finally, Breckler recommends that people get quotes or other critical project information in writing. “If someone is unwilling to put it in writing, you probably shouldn’t work with them,” he says. “A reputable company will always give you a written estimate on work and most will guarantee pricing, work time and other points of the job.”

Consumers have many choices in the area of home improvement and, with money being so tight, they should be cautious and take the steps necessary to prevent problems with disreputable service providers. To learn more about hiring an independent home improvement specialist, contact Rob Breckler at Quality Handyman Services, LLC, by calling (937) 620-8212.

Greene County Safe Communities Coalition hosts AARP Driver Safety Course

In Local News, Senior Lifestyle on April 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm

XENIA — Cars have changed. So have the traffic rules, driving conditions, and the roads you travel every day. Some drivers age 50-plus have never looked back since they got their first driver’s license, but even the most experienced drivers can benefit from brushing up on their driving skills.

The Greene County Safe Communities Coalition has partnered with the Greene County Council on Aging to host an AARP Driver Safety Course on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 from Noon – 4:00 p.m. in the Media Room located at 541 Ledbetter Road in Xenia.

What Will You Learn by Taking the Course?

You can expect to learn current rules of the road, defensive driving techniques, and how to operate your vehicle more safely in today’s increasingly challenging driving environment. You’ll learn adjustments to accommodate common age-related changes in vision, hearing, and reaction time. You will learn the following:

  • How to minimize the effects of dangerous blind spots
  • How to maintain the proper following distance behind another car
  • The safest ways to change lanes and make turns at busy intersections
  • Proper use of safety belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes, and new technologies used in cars
  • Ways to monitor your own and others’ driving skills and capabilities
  • The effects of medications on driving
  • The importance of eliminating distractions, such as eating, smoking, and cell-phone use

After completing the course, you will have a greater appreciation of driving challenges and of how you can avoid potential collisions and injuries to yourself and others.

What Else Do You Need to Know?

  • You may be eligible to receive an insurance discount upon completing the course, so consult your agent for details.
  • You may be eligible to receive a discount on roadside assistance plans.
  • The AARP Driver Safety Program has helped millions of drivers stay safe on the roads since its inception in 1979.
  • Although it is geared to drivers age 50 and older, the course is open to all licensed drivers.
  • AARP membership is not required to take the course.
  • There is no test to pass.

The course costs only $12.00 for AARP members and $14.00 for non-members.

How Can I Sign Up or Learn More Information?

Call Laurie Fox, Greene County Safe Communities Coordinator, at 937-374-5669 or email lfox.

Muddy Victories For Dayton Rugby Men And Women

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2011 at 10:06 am

DAYTON – The Dayton Area Rugby Club (DARC) men’s team, the Flying Pigs, took home a 30 to 5 victory in Saturday’s Midwest Rugby Football Union quarterfinal playoff game. Plowing through a steady rain on a mud-soaked field, the guys took out Iowa’s Bremmer County Bucks.

Setting the stage for the day were the DARC women who took their game into the second half before it was called on account of lightning. Nevertheless, they managed a significant lead over Bowling Green State University, 42 to 0, to take home the win.

After a soaking victory over Iowa, the Flying Pigs head to Madison, Wisconsin on April 30th to take on the Chicago Blaze in the next round of playoffs. There is more great rugby action at Eastwood Park again next week, however, as the DARC hosts a tournament of local colleges. The 2011 President’s Cup begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday April 16th. The University of Dayton women’s team kicks off the day against the ladies of Miami University, followed by the DARC Women head-to-head with Ohio Northern University.

The Women’s Championship game starts at 11 a.m., with the Women’s Consolation game finishing up the women’s lineup at noon. Then the Flying Pigs hit the field at 1 p.m. to face the Cleveland Rovers.

The DARC is a not-for-profit organization founded in the 1980’s and dedicated to promoting the sport of rugby. Local rugby matches are free to spectators everyone involved is interested in talking to people who want to learn more about the game. Learn more about rugby online at http://www.daytonrugby.com or call the Dayton Area Rugby Club at (937) 640-3023.

Sunday Fire In Jamestown

In Local News on April 11, 2011 at 9:28 am

Photographers Pam Suske and Shawn Keller submitted these photos of a Sunday afternoon fire in Jamestown. At around 7:45 p.m., Silvercreek, New Jasper and Jefferson Township fired departments were on the scene of a house fire just across from the Marathon gas station on W. Washington Street on the west end of town. No word yet on the cause or injuries.

High-Tech Xenia House Open For Spring Parade of Homes

In Business, Economy, Jobs, Local News on April 11, 2011 at 9:15 am

The Completed ICF Home by Beaver-Vu Construction

XENIA – A new energy-efficient home in the Wright Cycle Estates of Xenia will be a featured stop on the 2011 Spring Parade of Homes Tour, Sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Dayton. Built using Insulated Concrete Forms technology, the home will be open for tours from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 9-10 and 16-17.

Located at 2230 Schwinn Ave., just south of downtown Xenia off of State Route 42, the home was built by Beaver-Vu Construction of Beavercreek. A combination of interlocking polystyrene foam blocks and reinforced concrete form the foundation and walls of the ICF house, resulting in greater energy efficiency (equivalent to R 22 insulation), as well as increased fire and storm resistance.

Insulated Concrete Forms can be used in slab foundations, crawl spaces, basements, and the living area. Utilizing the ICF technology helps to create a healthier living environment by reducing excess noise and eliminating moisture problems common to traditional construction techniques.

Marty Walling, vice president of Beaver-Vu Construction, chose Xenia for the ICF home site partly because of its resistance to high wind. “Among the many benefits of ICF construction, is its inherent ability to resist winds up to 250 miles per hour,” Walling says. He also notes that the ever-shifting weather of the Miami Valley is perfect for demonstrating the home’s energy efficiency.

Furnishings and staging for the ICF model home are being provided by Jo Beth Bryant of Total Transformations Home Staging. For more information about the ICF home tour, or to schedule a private showing, contact Marty Walling at Beaver-Vu Construction by calling (937) 426-4455. Complete details about the 2011 Spring Parade of Homes is available online at http://www.hbadayton.com.