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Fairborn Community Center Breakfast and Tent Sale Fundraiser April 14

In Business, Economy, Education, Health, Jobs, Local News, Religion, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on March 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm

FAIRBORN – The Fairborn Community Center, located at 1076 Kauffman Ave., on the east end of Skyway Plaza, will be holding a fundraising pancake breakfast and Second Chance Boutique tent sale beginning at 9a.m. on Saturday, April 14, 2012. Tickets for breakfast are $ 5 for adults, $3 for children which includes a selection of pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice and breakfast pastries.

The Fairborn Community Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit referral, advocacy, and educational organization that provides vital community resource programs including Summer Lunch, SonSet Café, Son Ministries, The Christmas Project, Tuesdays Together, and Second Chance Boutique. Second Chance Boutique is the community center’s high-end thrift store which offers a wide selection of high-quality items ranging from clothing to furniture and electronics to household goods.

“The goal of the event is to raise awareness and funding for the Community Center and its programs,” says Jen Lyman, Executive Director. “We want to have a breakfast on the second Saturday of each month to help support seasonal programming.” Proceeds from this event will benefit those receiving services.

The programs offered through the organization provide resources for people dealing with issues revolving around hunger, housing, transportation and education. According to Lyman, the Community Center is more than just a stand-alone organization. It has, “Evolved into a supportive network of friends and neighbors working together to improve the wealth of the community by improving the lives of its people.”

The facility also provides a needed meetings space to several outside organizations such as the OSU 4-H program, the Christian Alliance, the Fairborn House of Prayer Team, Family and Children First’s Parenting classes, the Western Ohio Writers Association, Fairborn Girls Softball and three church groups.

Parking at the event is free and plentiful. Breakfast continues until 1 p.m. and the tent sale will end at 4 in the afternoon. For more information, call (937) 878-6061 or visit www.fairborncommunitycenter.org.

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Here On Gilligan’s Island: TV’s Sociological Snapshot

In Entertainment, Opinion, Politics, psychology, Religion, Science, sociology, television, Uncategorized on March 27, 2012 at 9:02 am

Gilligan's Island served as a humorous microcosm of American society.

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

In 1963 television writer, producer Sherwood Schwartz created a short-lived situation comedy that, unbeknownst to audiences, provided a peak through a unique magnifying glass into the human condition. Panned by critics and adored by viewers, Gilligan’s Island became one of the most re-run shows of all time and earned a unique place in the annals of American pop culture.

Between 1964 and 1967, 98 original episodes of the show aired when it was suddenly cancelled before a fourth season could be filmed. Surprisingly, the show ran aground, not because of faltering ratings (it was always in the top 20) but instead because the president of CBS wanted to revive his wife’s favorite program, Gunsmoke, which had already drifted into the sunset.

Often taken too seriously by critics and sometimes misunderstood even by its fans, the premise of Gilligan’s was simple. Seven people set out on a scenic, three-hour cruise around theHawaiian Islands aboard the S.S. Minnow when an unexpected storm tossed their tiny ship and left it wrecked on the shore of an uncharted island.

Marooned more than 300 miles from their original course and left with only a transistor radio, a tool chest, four blankets and the clothes on their backs (which never seemed to wear out) the castaways had little hope of rescue. As if that wasn’t enough, each opportunity for escape from their tropical island nest was agonizingly thwarted – usually thanks to the ineptitude of the boat’s lovable, yet bungling first mate, (Willie) Gilligan.

Regardless of what people thought of the show, however, even today, the durability of Gilligan’s Island still leaves entertainment experts scratching their heads. It’s possible, though, that most people simply missed the point.

Gilligan’s offered us more than just 23 minutes of slapstick escapism. Along with campy, cartoon-like comedy, the program granted viewers a humorous and remarkably detailed glimpse of themselves.

Seven people, each of whom represented different social positions, were required to work together in order to survive in their shared predicament. The Skipper and Gilligan, for example, represented average, working class guys; a small business owner and his employee, if you will.

The Professor was a school teacher; the pragmatic scientist focused on getting everyone safely off the island. He also found ways to help make them all more comfortable while maintaining a discrete distance from the obvious distractions – Mary Ann and Ginger.

Sweet, kind, Mary Ann was a wholesome farm girl fromMiddle America. Television psychologists (yes, there are such people) often refer to her as the ‘linchpin’ of the story. Noticeably absent for a good part of an episode, Mary Ann would walk in at just the right moment bringing with her at least part of the solution to an impending problem, though sometimes inadvertently.

Movie starlet, Ginger, was Mary Ann’s voluptuous, big city opposite. Her Marilyn Monroe-esque sensuality was continually implied but never fully executed. Even though she was a film star, on the island she was relegated to a traditional ‘female’ role of the 1960’s, cooking and doing laundry.

Lastly, the millionaire Thurston Howell III and his socialite wife, aptly named, Lovey are obvious stand-ins for the high-brow elite. Carrying enough cash to support a small nation, the lazy yet likable couple solved problems back home with money – something that has no value on the island. Still, Howell’s business savvy and ruthless determination to return to civilization offers both foil and ally to the others.

And there you have it, seven snapshots of modern society dropped into a difficult situation where they are forced to get along for the common good. Of course a sitcom isn’t real life, but it shows us that we all have the same basic needs no matter where we are in the pecking order of society. In the end, we all require food, clothing, shelter, some level of happiness and a margin of personal satisfaction.

No one ever really finds everything they’re looking for in life, but peel away our political, religious and social trappings and we’re all the same. Just people trying to get along, regardless of whether we live on the streets of anywhere U.S.A., or here on Gilligan’s Island.

Greater Dayton Professionals BNI to Hold Visitors Day April 5

In Business, Economy, Local News, Media, Uncategorized on March 26, 2012 at 11:19 am

Greater Dayton Professionals Chapter of BNI welcomes visitors from the Miami Valley April 5.

BEAVERCREEK – The Greater Dayton Professionals Chapter of Business Network International (BNI) will hold a special Visitor’s Day beginning at 7:30 a.m., Thursday April 5, 2012 at the City Barbeque Restaurant, 2330 N. Fairfield Rd. in Beavercreek. There is no cost or obligation and the event is open to all local business professionals.

Founded in 1985 by professional networking guru Dr. Ivan Misner, BNI now has more than 6,000 chapters worldwide. The goal of organization is to help members network with one-another on a level that is not possible in chamber organizations or service clubs.

In the BNI strategy, each member tries to learn as much as possible about the others to the extent that they can give an informed recommendation to potential clients. Direct, qualified referrals like these generate a greater closed business rate and provide more success for each individual. Over the past 5 years, BNI members around the world have referred more than $11 billion in closed business to other members.

The Greater Dayton Professionals (GDP) Chapter is one of the longest running BNI groups in the Miami Valley area. In 2011, reported $1.3 million in closed business through referral marketing within the group.

Long time GDP chapter member, Gery L. Deer, of GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing, is part of the group’s membership committee. “The BNI process is well defined and we have a great leadership team,” Deer said. “I first started with BNI in 1998, in this same chapter. It’s great to be part of a group of professionals who not only promote but practice a mutually beneficial philosophy.”

The Dayton/Miami Valley Region of BNI (Business Network International) was recently rated #1 in the world according to Traffic Lights Report. According to Jim Weghorst, the Executive Director of BNI’s Dayton/Miami Valley Region, the ranking was achieved four consecutive months; July, August, September and October of 2011 among 440 BNI regions in 48 countries. In addition, the Dayton/Miami Valley Region was recognized for being a top ten region, worldwide, for the entire 2011 fiscal year.

Through the BNI structure, a network of professional connections can grow well beyond the core group and extend the reach of a small business to unrealized potential customers. The organization is intended for entrepreneurs and sales professionals in all types of businesses from plumbers and photographers to landscapers and attorneys.

During the event, Executive Director Jim Weghorst and Assistant Director Sheryl Wagner will provide a presentation introducing visitors to BNI’s word of mouth method of marketing. For more information or to make a reservation for Visitor’s Day, please call chapter president Don Sword at (937) 426-2886. Visitors are encouraged to bring plenty of business cards and be prepared to stay after the meeting for a short follow-up. To learn more about BNI, go online to http://www.bni-ohio.com.

Future of Jamestown Depends on Creativity and Business Savvy

In Business, Economy, Local News, Opinion, Politics, Uncategorized on March 20, 2012 at 9:25 am

Is the sun setting on the historic past of Jamestown, Ohio? (Photo by Gery L. Deer)

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

As the last shovel full of bricks was removed from the site of the old Powers Marine building after its demolition, residents have been staring at yet another vacant lot in the downtown and wondering about Jamestown’s future. Founded on the southeastern edge of Greene Countyin 1816, the tiny village has seen its share of catastrophe.

In the late 1890’s, a devastating tornado leveled the entire town while a century later a fire destroyed most of the southwest side of W. Washington Street. But today, Jamestown may face a greater challenge than natural disasters – short shortsightedness.

What would have happened at the turn of the 20th Century if no one had decided to rebuild after the tornado? Within a few moments, homes and businesses lay in splintered wreckage; a town once poised to compete with Xenia for the county seat lay in ruins. Imagine if it had been left that way. That’s essentially what has been happening in Jamestown for the last couple of decades, with a few exceptions, particularly one structure that was snatched from in front of the bulldozers nearly in the nick of time.

Once again alive with the sounds of ongoing renovation efforts and music and laughter filling its auditorium, in the mid 1990’s the Jamestown Opera House was considered an eyesore and there were those who believed it should be torn down. Fortunately, thanks to the determination of a small number of residents who formed the Jamestown Area Historical Society, the historic theatre is without question a shining gemstone in the village’s tarnished crown.

Then again, if things keep going like they are it might be the only downtown building still standing and occupied ten years from now. How’s that for irony? But it’s not just lost history that is costing Jamestown, but the perception that it’s decaying – rapidly.

An informal survey posted on Facebook revealed some opinions as to why Jamestown has declined. Some people suggested that the village and township officials make it too difficult to establish new business, often rejecting proposals for new business and creating so many roadblocks that there would be no reward for the effort.

One comment said that rents of office and store front space in Jamestown cost between $1,500 and $2,000 per month. If true, one of the problems is obvious. With such outrageous expense just to keep the space, limited street side parking, nothing to draw people to town and an ever expanding sprawl away from the downtown area, there is no practical reason to set up shop there.

Another line of discussion from the survey suggested that Shawnee Hills should be annexed for tax revenue because there are higher property values and income levels than those found in the village proper. The extra money could be used to provide incentives for businesses to settle in town, thus drawing more visitors. Needless to say that drew angry responses from lake dwellers, some of whom commented that they don’t consider themselves as Jamestown residents, but merely living within the same postal district.

Of Course, real estate and financial issues are only part of the problem. People still create the biggest roadblock to regenerating a town’s vitality, regardless of its size. Those who hold the power in small towns still seem to believe that they are all-important.

Good old boy politics thrives and for those who have never been exposed to any other way of doing things, their ability to make forward-thinking decisions may be sharply limited. In addition, pointless and continual bickering between township and village officials over petty control issues only serves to drive the coffin nails deeper.

Trying to return Jamestown to the way it was is hopeless. Those days are gone and though this opinion probably won’t sit well with the powers that be, a new era for Jamestown means more creative thinking, some genuine business savvy and a fresh start. Jamestown may not be able to compete with larger communities, but more open minds must soon prevail or it will just end up a dot on a map and a footnote in the history of Greene County.

Riverside Builder Opens New Contracting Firm

In Business, Economy, Home Improvement, Local News, Media, Senior Lifestyle on March 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Marty Walling, owner and president of Marty Walling Construction, LLC hopes to grow his business while serving his community.

RIVERSIDE, OH – Riverside,Ohio resident Marty Walling started his professional career in 1977 on the factory floor as an apprentice at the Inland Division of General Motors. Multiple layoffs and inconsistent work helped him to decide on a career change into the building trades.

“I had always dabbled in building and construction, so I left GM in 1982 and went to work for a builder in Beavercreek, Ohio who was putting up a 126-unit condo development,” says Walling. During nearly three decades with the same company, Walling held the positions of vice president, treasurer and construction manager.

In October of 2011, highly experienced and well connected, he decided to go into business for himself and established Marty Walling Construction, LLC . The company provides complete residential and commercial remodeling and construction services, from the most basic kitchen and bath upgrade to building new homes.  Working on the client’s behalf, the firm handles everything from permits and adherence to local building regulations to managing any subcontracting work that needs to be done.

Walling also offers expertise in several specialized construction services including certifications in energy efficient, green building technologies and home safety modifications for seniors, also known as “aging in place.”

As a Certified Green Professional, Walling’s firm specializes in Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) construction techniques. An ICF building combines polystyrene foam with reinforced concrete to provide greater energy efficiency (equivalent to R 22.4 insulation), as well as increased fire and storm resistance.

“Our focus is on quality work at a fair price with a focus on building a long-term relationship with our customers,” Walling says. “I’ve got a great team of professionals working with us including framers, roofers, plumbers, electricians and drywall hangers; a cohesive group that works together to prevent problems before they can happen.”

Walling’s work ethic is grounded in a strong belief that giving back to the community and helping those less fortunate is paramount to personal and professional fulfillment. Over the years, he has used his skills as a volunteer with Catch the Building Spirit , a collaborative between Dayton area Catholics and Presbyterians to build housing for low income families through Habitat for Humanity. In 2010, Walling also traveled toHaiti to aid in the relief efforts after the devastating earthquake that struck the country.

Opening a new business amidst a slowly recovering economy offered Walling at once challenge and opportunity and his intention is to focus on the Miami Valley region. “I want to provide a level of service that will allow my clients to experience the ease of building.” For more information about Marty Walling Construction, LLC, call (937) 475-2902 or visit the company’s new website at www.martywallingconstruction.com.

If Illiteracy Is the Disease, Then Literacy Is the Cure

In Economy, Education, Health, Media, Opinion, Politics on March 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Michael Martin and Gery L. Deer give a public reading of their writing during a Western Ohio Writers Association event, promoting literacy through creative prose.

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines 

Most Americans probably take for granted the ability to read and understand the words on this page. As a writer, I depend on the ability of the media-consuming public for my livelihood. But according to the National Adult Literacy Survey more than 42 million of my fellow Americans will never be able to enjoy (or detest) what I write because they can’t read.

Back in college, I took a job with the school newspaper as a staff writer where I learned a great deal about journalism and the power of the written word. One of the best lessons came from our staff advisor who once said, “No matter what your career or life path, your communications skills, reading and writing, will be your most valuable asset.” She couldn’t have been more correct.

I spent several years in the engineering fields for which I earned my degree, but ultimately I found my place as a full-time business writer, editor and columnist. Unfortunately, I found my calling far later in life than I’d have liked to due to an undiagnosed learning disability that seriously impacted my reading speed and comprehension.

Thousands of Ohio school children with learning disorders that affect their reading and writing skills continue to slip through the proverbial cracks every year, for a multitude of reasons I’ll reserve comment on for another time.

Suffice to say, it’s our own fault, and by “our” I mean the taxpaying public that does far more to insist on a fancier football stadium than to demand instructional accountability and better support for these kids.

Yes, there are laws in place and special education professionals to help identify and establish individualized educational plans for them, but, somehow, that never seems enough. Far too many still grow up unable to interpret the instructions on a can of soup.

Growing up, a person with illiteracy will adopt various coping skills needed to get by, but are never able to fully realize their potential. Illiterate adults have more difficulty finding jobs, developing business relationships or even doing household chores like paying bills.

Many politicians believe that illiteracy is one of those liberal issues, best left to bleeding hearts. In fact, such a staggeringly high number of illiterate citizens can be phenomenally detrimental to productive nation with a stable economy.

As the economy crawls to recovery, illiteracy will continue to keep some people on the unemployment lines, thus, adding one more contributing factor to suffocating fiscal growth. Adults struggling with illiteracy earn, on average, less than $250 per week, work less than 20 weeks per year and are at least ten times more likely to live below the poverty line.

How do we solve the problem? That’s a good question, with no easy solution. It often boils down to manpower and, dare I say it, money. If we think of illiteracy as the disease, then, surely, literacy should be the cure. So the best first step is to seek out help. Whether a child or an adult with a reading problem, there is help available, but sometimes you may have to get things started.

If you believe your child is struggling, meet with his or her teacher as soon as you believe there might be a problem. With tighter budgets, class sizes are increasing and sometimes being pro-active is the best way to get individualized help from an overwhelmed, underpaid faculty. You can also find tutors at local colleges and civic centers.

The same goes for adults as well. Community and career centers, local libraries and even senior citizen organizations are now offering adult literacy classes, either free or at a minimal cost.

And schools can help too by reinforcing the importance in the curriculum of the Three R’s –Reading, Writing and Arithmetic – with sharp emphasis on the first R, which will make the other two far easier to learn.

And, while technological education is important, particularly in today’s world, it might be time to cut back on the advanced computing classes and focus more thoroughly on reading skills. After all, knowing how to click a mouse is pointless if you can’t read what’s on the computer screen.

 

Independent columnist Gery L. Deer is the founder and director of the Western Ohio Writers Association. More at http://www.westernohiowriters.org.

Jamestown Variety Show Finishes With Standing Ovation

In Entertainment, Local News on March 11, 2012 at 9:22 pm

The Brothers & Co. Variety Show (l to r) Gery Deer, Jim Karns, Ed Jones and Gary Deer Jr.

JAMESTOWN– The Jamestown Opera House came alive with laughter and standing ovations Saturday evening, March 10th, during The Brothers & Co. Variety Show. The “Boys In Black,” as the group is known to fans, took the stage for a two hour, music and variety performance to help raise money towards the continued renovation of the 123-year-old facility.

After a brief introduction and prayer by historical society representative, and formerJamestownmayor, Mark Ferrell, the western-clad quartet of country crooners opened with “Daddy Sang Bass.” Music continued through the show with covers by Ricky Nelson, John Denver, The Statler Brothers and a special version of George Jones’ hit, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

Acoustic artist Ed Jones received two, house-shaking rounds of applause for his guitar picking talents during the group’s rendition of “Rocky Top,” and singer, drummer Gary Deer Jr., ofJamestown, delivered a stirring version of the country hit, “Jukebox in My Mind.”

Inspiring four-part harmonies were not the only entertainment on the program, however. Singer, bass player Jim Karns, ofFairborn,Ohio, is also the variety troupe’s comic magician. “The Professor,” as he is known in the group, worked his magic on a number of laugh-loaded feats of prestidigitation including a hilarious magical mystery involving a hapless white pigeon, an innocent Coke bottle, and a lot of feathers.

Not to be out done, the band’s pianist and tenor singer, Gery Deer, ofJamestown, made some magic of his own with a Wild West-styled comedy bullwhip routine. From a crisp newspaper cut to supersonic candle snuffing, the crowd was treated to a type of entertainment almost lost on theatrical stages today.

Following their energetic finale performance of “Blue Moon,” they received a standing ovation, cheers and whistles from the entire crowd. Organizers have asked them to return toJamestown’s stage next year. This is was the second performance by The Brothers & Co., sponsored by Culligan of Dayton, The Portrait Gallery inJamestown, Computer Troubleshooters inBeavercreek, 91.3 WYSO Radio, Yellow Springs and the Jamestown Area Historical Society.

The Brothers & Co. Variety Show will be appearing at The Murphy Theatre, Saturday June 16, 2012. Watch their website for schedule details – http://www.thebrothersandcompany.com or look them up on Facebook and YouTube.

 

Iran: Obama’s Potential Holy War

In Economy, National News, Opinion, Politics, Religion on March 6, 2012 at 1:08 am

Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama at The White House.(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

 

How difficult it is to imagine that in the modern world, entire civilizations are still willing to bomb each other out of existence over religious rhetoric and what they believe to be holy territories. Human civilization may simply be doomed to destroy itself once and for all because of ancient tribal god images and a twisted belief in a kind of manifest destiny.

Apparently Man has learned nothing from his past, a millennium of history soaked in the blood of countless millions all in the name of “god.” The Crusades, for example, consisted of seven separate Christian campaigns, lasting from 1095 until 1291 and costing the lives of hundreds of thousands.

Hitler’s mass extermination of Jews, a quintessential catalyst for World War II, was religiously motivated, albeit orchestrated nearly single-handed by a madman. Even the American Revolution had its roots in religious freedoms.

Muslims, Jews, Christians, it doesn’t matter who it is, they are all the same; it’s their God or no ones. If you don’t believe their way, they’ll start a war, take the land and force the survivors to capitulate or be exterminated.

That kind of extremism might seem foreign to Americans, but it has happened in the “land of the free” as well, perpetrated by our own citizens, all in the name of a higher power. If you don’t think so, just mention the idea to the next Native American you meet and see what he or she has to say about the subject. Their people, culture and religions were all but wiped out, mostly by people claiming to be Christians; an ugly black eye on the history ofAmericaand Christianity.

Today, as theUnited Statesstands poised once again in a stand-off with yet another militant nation (Iran) steeped in religious fanaticism, the stakes are higher than ever. President Obama has already toldIsraelthat theU.S.is committed to denyingIrana nuclear weapon, which is like a triple-dog dare to the likes ofIran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad has already said thatIranwould not hesitate to execute a pre-emptive attack against any enemy. A nuclear arsenal would not only give them the power to keep even theU.S.at bay, but neighboring countries would likely surrender just to avoid the possibility of starting a war no one could win.

IfIrandoes have nuclear weapons capability and provides that technology to operatives sympathetic to Al Qaeda, the next terrorist attack onU.S.soil could see casualties in the millions. Of course, these same arguments were made by President George W. Bush to gain support for invadingIraq, which, as it turns out had no weapons of mass destruction.

Iranis different however, in that there is solid evidence of advanced uranium enrichment and testing of missiles to carry the nuclear warheads, in fact the Iranians revel in boasting about what they’ve accomplished.

Some sayIran’s threats are merely saber rattling in an attempt to loosen more than a decade of embargos against the country. That could be, but it could also be a definite threat byIranto the rest of the region, particularlyIsrael, and a warning to theUnited Statesto stay out of their way.

The president is threatening military intervention to protectIsraelas well as other interests in the region. But should he? What has to happen for the president to commit resources and manpower to endingIran’s nuclear development programs?

Unfortunately, just as it was during each of the previous Mid-East conflicts, the situation is just as much about oil as it is religion. We need it, and they have it. Oil rich and power poor,Iranmust sell its oil to have money to at once feed itself and buy more weapons.

One thing is certain, Americans are tired of war. The president and members of congress will most likely need to weigh the politics against the benefits of a military move againstIran, pre-emptive or otherwise. Whatever happens, it is clear that peaceful coexistence is simply not an option when dealing with religious extremism.