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Family Fun Day and Touch-a-Truck expanded

In Charities, Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Health, Local News, Uncategorized on June 5, 2017 at 8:52 am

Annual Family Fitness Challenge changes to “Family Fun Day & Touch-a-Truck” Greene County Public Health Partners with Michael’s House to Expand Event

XENIA, OH – This year, Greene County Public Health is proud to partner with Michael’s House in Fairborn to host Family Fun Day & Touch-a-Truck on Saturday, June 17th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Michael’s House located at 1016 Rainbow Ct. in Fairborn. The event is FREE and open to the public. Click to download the flier.

For thirteen years, the event planned by Greene County Public Health was called the Family Fitness Challenge and it introduced children and their families to proper nutrition and the importance of physical activity. By partnering with Michael’s House, it opens the door for additional activities for families, including a Touch-a-Truck event. Michael’s House is Greene County’s advocacy center for child victims of abuse and neglect. Its mission is to provide a multidisciplinary team response to child abuse to protect and support children and their non-offending family members, hold offenders accountable, and educate the community.

Greene County Public Health’s mission is to prevent disease, protect our environment, and promote healthy communities and wellness in Greene County. Injury prevention and the overall wellbeing, as well as the mental and physical health of our youngest residents in Greene County, is a huge part of that mission, which makes this partnership even sweeter.

The team of professionals at Michael’s House work together to ensure children are kept from further harm, provide an immediate comprehensive response to child abuse victims, and educate the community to better recognize, respond to, and prevent child abuse. Necessary medical, emotional, legal, investigative, and victim advocacy services exist in one child-friendly location, ensuring that children are not further victimized by the systems intended to protect them. This reimagined event is designed to motivate and challenge youth and families to engage in healthy lifestyles both physically and mentally.

Participants can visit fitness stations (including a fun bounce house) and interactive health information booths, fill up their “passport”, and receive a free prize (while supplies last). Child fingerprinting and ID services, healthy snacks, fun games, and prizes will round out the day. For more information, call contact jdrew@gcph.info or wilest@childrensdayton.org. The event is also on Facebook, just search for Family Fun Day & Touch a Truck 2017.

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Hogan’s hero: author celebrates life of slain actor

In Books, Charities, Education, Entertainment, Local News, National News, Opinion, television, Uncategorized on June 13, 2016 at 8:20 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOIn 1978 “Hogan’s Heroes” star, Bob Crane, was murdered in his Arizona hotel room. The scandalous details of his death have been the subject of speculation and salacious headlines ever since. Crane’s murder was never solved.

I won’t give more press time to the dark circumstances surrounding this man’s death, except to say that Americans can’t seem to ever get enough of sensationalism when it comes to celebrity. Over the years a great deal of negative material has been written about the actor’s life, troubled marriage, divorce and personal addictions, and that was all anyone ever seemed to say about him.

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Gery L. Deer, with author Carl M. Ford at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Always left out of those stories were the facts about Crane’s long career in entertainment and the character he couldn’t leave behind. Barely spoken of were his level of commitment to his colleagues, to his children and to the armed forces to whom he felt a deep responsibility and connection through his “Hogan’s” character and his older brother, Al, who was severely injured while serving in World War II.

Enter author Carol M. Ford, who has written a new biography about Bob Crane in a dedicated effort to celebrate the life and career of this beloved actor. Her care and commitment to restoring this man’s honor and humanity is nothing less than incredible.

I had the good fortune, recently, to meet Ms. Ford and talk with her about her experience in writing this book. She was holding a signing at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie. Next to her table was a display featuring a very important artifact – Col. Hogan’s leather flight jacket from the “Hogan’s Heroes” series.

“We all have those parts of our lives that we’re not proud of,” she told me. “Divorce, family strain, addictions, whatever it is, everyone has something. The sad part about Bob’s death is less about how he died but that how he lived had always been so completely overlooked. This is a celebration of his life.”

Ford’s new book, “Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography,” is a fitting tribute to a man whose life is, to most fans, a blur between fact and fiction, where the focus has been for more nearly 40 years on his death. This book chronicles, in great detail, Crane’s life as told by family, friends, colleagues and fans who had the good fortune to share a moment with him.

Ford’s research is impressive, having collected interviews from nearly 200 people who actually knew Crane. Going as far back as elementary school, the interviews, photos and stories provide us with a real picture of the man we loved as Colonel Hogan but who was obviously so much more.

Bob Crane's costume jacket from Hogan's Heroes is on display at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Bob Crane’s costume jacket from Hogan’s Heroes is on display at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Crane’s character of Hogan was a hero to me, and to countless others of my generation. But, like so many celebrities, most of us never knew who he was outside of Stalag 13 or away from the microphone.

As a fan, I am grateful to Ford and her colleagues for writing this book to focus on the life of a man I had admired since childhood. Much of my stage persona comes from watching him – and Colonel Hogan. I’m glad I get to understand the man over the mystery.

This wasn’t intended to sound like a book review, but I have a great respect for the effort, time and commitment that went into this book. As a fellow writer, I can’t imagine the work, personal expense and thoughtful insight that went into the attempt to capture the life of someone whose life was so full and still resonates today with all those who knew him.

You can find the book Barnes & Noble, on Amazon and at the website for the official campaign to have Bob Crane entered into the National Radio Hall of Fame www.vote4bobcrane.org. I highly recommend the hardback version, filled with historical documents, more than 200 pictures and more. So, all my thanks to Bob for his talent, and to Carol Ford for hers.

*******

Author’s Note: I strongly related to the idea of writing the positive of a celebrity’s life after they’d died in scandalous circumstances. A colleague and friend of mine, well known in the media, passed away suddenly after a long struggle with addiction and depression. The only things the media would write about seemed to be the negatives in her life and the circumstances surrounding her tragic death. I couldn’t let that stand. I wrote a piece, from her own word as she had told me, of the good in her life, the promise and the hope. It is my hope that her legacy carries more of that than of her ending, as I hope with Carol’s book and Bob Crane’s story. 

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at deerinheadlines.com.

McAfee scholarship award recipients announced

In Business, Charities, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, Education, Local News, Media, Uncategorized on May 11, 2016 at 11:20 am

Dayton, OH – Greg McAfee, owner of McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning, has announced the winners of the inaugural “You Can Count On Me” scholarship program for the 2016 school year. Focusing on more than just academic performance, McAfee, along with other area sponsors, funded the scholarship to also reward students for their overall contributions and commitment to family and community.

The “You Can Count On Me” scholarship program awarded $2,500 to ten high-school seniors set to graduate in the 2016 academic year. Funds can be used for any accredited post-secondary course of study including: two or four-year colleges, trade or technical schools, or programs resulting in the award of a professional licensure issued by the state.

According to McAfee, the program is designed to support students who have demonstrated a “can do” attitude through a combination of school-related activities, work experiences, and community involvement. Each applicant’s personal narrative weighed heavily in the selection process, as did recommendations from teachers, employers, clergy, and other community leaders influential in the student’s life.

Qualified students were residents of Montgomery, Warren or Greene counties in Ohio, or attend Miami Valley Career Technology Center or the Greene County Career Center. Applicants also submitted three letters of recommendation and attained a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or greater, both at the time of application and upon graduation.

According to McAfee, the program is designed to support students who have demonstrated a “can do” attitude through a combination of school-related activities, work experiences, and community involvement. Therefore, each applicant’s personal narrative weighs heavily in the selection process, as will recommendations from teachers, employers, clergy, and other community leaders.

“Some students may not necessarily have the grades to qualify for many of the scholarships out there today,” McAfee says. “But, in my opinion, hard work, dependability, and commitment to family and community is equally important, if not more so.” Additional consideration will be given to applicants with a significant financial need that would otherwise limit post-secondary opportunities. McAfee noted that he was not part of the judging committee.

The 2016 recipients of the “You Can Count On Me” scholarships, and their respective schools, are as follows: Jayden Lee, Carlisle High School; Hanna Midtlien, Bellbrook High School; Kaitlin Dunn, Fairborn City Schools; Karina Brady, Dayton Christian High School; Adam Gallatin, Oakwood High School; Brian Petachi, Wayne High School; Timothy (Devon) Cook, Brookville Local Schools; and from Beavercreek High School, Andrew Rice, Madison Fecher and Kayleigh Brown.

Influential teachers are also being honored. “We realize that there are people within our lives who are instrumental in helping us to achieve our true potential,” McAfee says. “We asked students to identify a teacher at their school they would like to recognize as being a positive role model and contributor to their scholastic and extracurricular achievement.”

In recognition, a $250 donation will be made in honor of each of the following teachers to their respective schools: Sam Lee, Carlisle High School; Paulette Hensley, Bellbrook High School; Mrs. Halloway, Fairborn High School; Mr. Gail Gnagey, Dayton Christian High School; Kim Hobby, Oakwood City Schools; Mrs. Knepp, Huber Heights High School; Ann Stammen, Brookville High School; and Jami Russ, Kevin Tritschler, and Mrs. Mindy Burcham, all from Beavercreek High School.

According to McAfee, “This being the first year of the program, we are very pleased with the results. Our partners, sponsors and educators did a tremendous job getting the word out…we had over 450 applications submitted, and look forward to many more next school year,” says McAfee. “The character and passion demonstrated by these students not only is refreshing, but also solidified the decision to offer the program and should provide us all with the sense that our future is in good hands.”

Sponsors of this year’s scholarship include McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning, Omnispear, Soin Medical Center, Media Explosion, Guardian Financial, Net-X Computers, and Cedarville University. An official awards banquet will be held at Cedarville University at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17th. More information on the scholarship is available on the official website, YouCanCountOnMe.org.

Gallery of recipients …

Prevent Blindness luncheon honors 2016 People of Vision Recipient

In Charities, Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Health, Local News, Uncategorized on January 12, 2016 at 5:45 pm

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 4.44.49 PMDayton, OH – The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness, the Levin Foundation and Shrimpf Eye Center at Grandview Medical Center are pleased to announce that Fifth Third Bank and Doug Compton, Dayton City Executive and Commercial Banking Team Lead, will be honored at the Annual People of Vision Award Event for their outstanding visionary leadership and philanthropic work in the community.

The award will be presented by the Levin Foundation and Karen Levin, Executive Director and Shrimpf Eye Center at Grandview Medical Center and Russ Wetherell, Senior VP, Administrator at the luncheon ceremony on February 9, 2016 at noon at the Racquet Club. The Master of Ceremonies for year’s luncheon will be The Jamestown Comet.com editor and entrepreneur, Gery L. Deer.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 4.43.40 PMFounded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness is Ohio’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to prevent blindness and preserve sight. We serve all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight.

Nearly 200 people attend the People of Vision Award Luncheon each year and the event raises over $50,000 to support the sight saving programs of Prevent Blindness including vision screening training, advocacy to widen access to vision care and vision research support.

“Fifth Third Bank and Doug Compton possess an exemplary commitment to serving our community and providing resources to people in need living in Montgomery County,” said Michael Martens, Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate Dayton Area Leadership Committee Chair. “Their support of the community provides a strong foundation for families to build upon and Prevent Blindness is proud to honor them with this award,” he added.

The People of Vision Award was established in 1985 by the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness to honor and recognize visionary organizations and their top leadership for the outstanding work they have undertaken to enhance the quality of life within their communities. The premise of the People of Vision Award is that our community is enriched by such leadership which reflects a “vision of community” to be celebrated and emulated. It’s been recognized as one of Montgomery County premier charitable events

For more information or to make a contribution, call 800-301-2020. Or, visit us on the web at www.pbohio.org or on Facebook and Twitter.

PREVENT BLINDNESS DECLARES NOVEMBER DIABETIC EYE DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH

In Charities, Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Education, Health, Local News, National News, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on November 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Dayton, OH – In an ongoing effort to help educate the public on diabetes risk factors and prevention strategies, Prevent Blindness has declared November as “Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month.”

Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults. The National Eye Institute reports that diabetics are 25 times more likely to become blind than people without the disease. But when detected early, the blinding effects of diabetes can be lessened.

According to a recent study from Prevent Blindness, more than 8 million Americans have diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease. By 2032, that number is projected to increase by 35 percent.

This is something like the world might appear to someone with diabetic retinopathy.

This is something like the world might appear to someone with diabetic retinopathy.

Those suffering from the disease may not experience any symptoms at first. However, as the disease progresses, patience experience a variety of symptoms including spots in the field of vision, varying blurred vision, and complete vision loss.

“With diabetes reaching epidemic levels across the US, Prevent Blindness urges everyone to get a dilated eye exam annually or as often as your eye health care professional recommends,” says Katie Neubert, the Dayton Area Manager of Prevent Blindness. “Eye care professionals can detect diabetes in its early stages, sometimes even before the patient has any idea.”

Diabetics are at risk of developing diabetic eye disease that can permanently damage their vision and even lead to blindness. Some factors can put some at higher risk for vision loss, include, age, ethnicity, duration of the disease, blood sugar control, hypertension, kidney disease and pregnancy.

“For those already diagnosed with diabetes, a doctor can help monitor vision and advise you of the necessary steps to take today to help lessen the impact that the disease may have on your sight,” Neubert says.

Prevent Blindness offers a variety of free resources dedicated to the education of diabetic eye disease including its dedicated website, preventblindness.org/diabetes. For more information contact Dayton Area Prevent Blindness by calling (937) 223-8766.

Think Pink Motorcycle Poker Run to sponsor cancer survivor in Susan G. Komen walk

In Business, Charities, Local News, Sports News, Travel, Uncategorized on September 22, 2014 at 4:43 pm

IMG_0476DAYTON, OH – In 2010, Dayton area resident Karen Clary became one of America’s 2.9 million breast cancer survivors. This year, she hopes to be one of the thousands across the country to participate in the 2014 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walk. To support her participation, the Miami Valley Victory Riders motorcycle club and Motor Sports of Dayton are sponsoring the 2nd Annual “Think Pink” Poker Run, Saturday, September 27. The event will help raise awareness and generate the $2,300 Clary needs to attend the 3-day, 60 mile the race.

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure series of 5K runs and fitness walks attracts people of all ages and fitness levels, from walkers to elite runners. Celebrating breast cancer survivors and honoring those who have lost their battle with the disease, the series began in 1983 with a single race with 800 participants in Dallas. Today, it has grown into a global series of more than 140 Races with 1.5 million runners.

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists working to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure® and the Komen 3-Day, the organization has invested more than $2.2 billion, making it the largest worldwide source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer.

Seventy-five percent of the net proceeds raised by the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® help support Komen’s global research program, the largest nonprofit source of breast cancer research funding outside of the U.S. government. Money raised also supports large public health programs that address critical issues in breast cancer treatment and care. The remaining 25 percent stays in the local community, funding financial, social and medical needs.

Two years ago, Clary and her daughter, Jen, attended the San Francisco 3-day race together. “My daughter asked me to do the 3-day walk with her in 2012,” Clary says. “At first I thought she was crazy; 60 miles in three days? I eventually decided to go because it looked like so much fun and because of how much this means to others who shared my experience, and their families.”

Beginning at 10AM from Motor Sports of Dayton, 2135 Dayton-Lakeview Rd., in New Carlisle (45344), riders will collect a card from each stop, trying for the highest hand at the end of the ride. From Motor Sports of Dayton, riders will make stops at Moose Lodge in Beavercreek, Buckminn’s D&D Harley Davidson in Xenia, Little River Café in Oregonia, Whiskey Barrell in Oregonia, and finally end up at Jack Ass Flats in Huber Heights. The rider with the highest poker hand at the end of the run will win the grand prize. Single riders can participate for $15, doubles for $20, or buy an extra hand at $5 each. Other activities during the event include a 50/50 drawing, raffle prizes, silent auction, door prizes and entertainment.

“My first walk was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and also the most awesome,” Clary says. “Jen wanted to do the walk for me and, because I have given her a greater chance of getting cancer, I wanted to do it for her. Hopefully we can all help to wipe it out.” For more information, call Karen Clary at (937) 620-8597 or email her at teampol@aol.com.

 

Local festivals must evolve to continue.

In Charities, Economy, Entertainment, Holiday, Local News, Media, Opinion on September 22, 2014 at 12:05 pm

DIH LOGOVirtually every community festival I’ve been involved with around Ohio this season has reported steadily decreasing attendance. Some of them have run for more than a half-century, others only a few years, but regardless of their endurance, the people just aren’t coming like they used to. Could it be time to mothball the town festival and pool resources into larger, joint events like county fairs?

Over the course of the last couple of decades I have participated annually in more than a dozen different festivals and similar community events. Since 2002, I’ve produced the Western Arts Showcase performances at the Annie Oakley Festival in Greenville, Ohio, an event that’s been running for more than 50 years. Sadly, I’ve watched the attendance at these events dwindle year after year to the point where even the vendors aren’t coming.

I hate the idea of our local festivals shutting down, but it’s not possible to perpetuate an event on good intentions. It must evolve with the times. With that in mind, and for those interested in trying to breathe new life into a long-running festival, here are a few ideas to consider.

First, whether you want to think of it this way or not, a town festival is like any other product you’re trying to sell to the public, from toothpaste to breakfast cereal. Consumers have options and getting them to choose your event over another takes effort and money.

Poor marketing on the part of festival organizers is common and usually the result of inadequate funding. It’s simply not enough to pin up cookie-cutter fliers that look the same year after year. Like any business venture, it takes real advertising and legwork to get the word out.

Could deteriorating attendance kill local festivals?

Could deteriorating attendance kill local festivals?

Community organizers should consider another question too, “What is the purpose of the festival?” If the reason is just to have one, then maybe that’s part of the problem. Every event should have an end goal, whether it’s charitable fundraising or increased awareness of what the community has to offer.

Successful events tend to seek out corporate sponsorships; not from local merchants but larger resources. For example, instead of going to the local Pepsi retailer, contact Pepsi’s corporate office and ask to speak to regional marketing reps or district managers. Tell them what you need and they can often direct you to the right department.

Those advanced funds should go toward better marketing and, most importantly, high-end feature entertainment, the real draw to any community event. Organizers should strongly resist the trend toward using the local bluegrass garage band.  Grants are also a potential funding option, but carry oversight burdens and restrictions on festival content.

Financially, local residents don’t provide enough of a revenue base to sustain an event year after year. To keep people coming in, you have to reach outside the area to draw attendees to your event with something to set it apart from all of the others – feature entertainment, unique exhibits, something. Let’s face the facts, there’s no difference between the funnel cakes at your event and those at any other.

Finally, one organizer I spoke to recently suggested that the major roadblock to growing his local festival was the old guard’s resistance to fresh ideas, complicated by an unbreakable, well-established good old boy system – a common problem in small communities. Organization committees are generally manned by those who show up or others who need to feel powerful. If that’s the case, and the argument given against change is often something like, “We’ve done it this way for 20 years and …” and nothing has improved! It’s probably time for new blood.

If no one is willing to change, it may be hard to maintain an event and people will just stop coming. If you belong to an organization that’s trying to decide whether to keep an event running, and few are open to change, ask this simple question. After the bills are paid this year, is there enough money left over from the event to cover start up costs on next year’s festival? If the answer is no, it may be time to hang it up. Remember, nostalgia won’t pay the bills.
The Jamestown Comet.com Editor / Publisher Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at gerydeer.com

Border crisis will become a local issue

In Charities, Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Local News, National News, Opinion, sociology, Uncategorized on July 28, 2014 at 11:33 am

DIH LOGOUnless someone is a true bigot, it’s hard to imagine why people don’t want to help the immigrant Mexican children being sent across the border without family, without supervision. But wanting to help is not the same thing as having the resources and infrastructure to do so properly, in a way that meets the ultimate goal which should be to see that the children have better life in America than they had in Mexico.

Unfortunately, people are so focused on the problem of the immigration process, they forget about what will happen once the kids get into the United States. Without a plan, infrastructure, money and personnel, it’s unlikely that these children will be living in anything less than squalor once they arrive and are processed.

Our government should do everything they can to help these kids, even if that means the best thing to do is to send them back home. Why? Because there are some vital questions still as yet unanswered. For example: Where will they live? Who will pay to feed and clothe them? Who will pay to educate them?

Each night in the United States, an estimated 611,000 people are sleeping homeless and nearly 50 million go hungry, according to the charity groups National Alliance to End Homelessness, and Feeding America. As unbelievable as it may seem in the most powerful country in the world, organizations such as these struggle each year to find the millions of dollars needed to provide food and shelter for people already living here, a great many of which are children.

(Photo NY TIMES)

(Photo NY TIMES)

When hundreds of immigrant children become thousands, they become refugees, not immigrants and caring for the kids will eventually land squarely on the shoulders of local government. The White House and congress might clear the way for an easier method of entry or grant them all amnesty once here, but then it’s the problem of Main Street U.S.A. to care for them.

Sure, there will be federal money – probably from new taxes that will overburden a still recovering Middle America – but it will be pennies per child, per day, leaving the remainder to be covered at the local and state levels. The current welfare system cannot handle such a fast influx of need, especially while still recovering from the stress of the recession.

Some local leaders, however, are welcoming the immigrants with open arms. Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley recently stated that she would welcome the immigrant children to the area. It’s clear that Mayor Whaley, who previously served on the Dayton city commission, does not realize that what happens in Dayton affects the outlying communities of the Miami Valley region, both socially and economically. None of these suburban areas have the kinds of resources necessary to handle such a massive issue.

As expected, the democratic mayor’s comments drew a firm response from area republicans, led by Congressman Mike Turner. Turner sent a letter to President Obama signed by him and six local area leaders which states, “We are writing to express that our community does not support Mayor Whaley’s proposal and to further express that our community does not have the available resources to support such a proposal.” It goes on to point out that, while they are sympathetic to the issues related to the border crisis, the community is simply not in a position to offer assistance.

There is speculation that Whaley’s comments were little more than a publicity stunt, aimed at getting a sound bite on national news, which she accomplished without question. Others believe her intention was to gain more favor with Dayton’s large and ever-expanding Hispanic population. Only the mayor knows why she really made such a sweeping statement without discussing the concept with other local leaders.

These sentiments are playing out across the country in a constant battle. While there is an overwhelming feeling of obligation by most to help children and families fleeing poverty and abuse, there must first be resources in place to properly handle the situation without making it worse.

 

Jamestown Comet Editor Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. More at gerydeer.com.

 

Fire House Poker Run to benefit child victims of domestic violence

In Charities, Children and Family, Entertainment, Local News, State News, Uncategorized on July 15, 2014 at 7:23 pm

IMG_7297On Saturday, July 19, motorcyclists will have the opportunity to participate in the first annual Fire House Poker Run to benefit the “Shoe Barn Project,” a fundraising effort to provide new shoes for children who come through the Greene County Children Services or The Family Violence Prevention Center. Registration begins at 10:30 AM for $15 per bike at Buckminn’s D and D Harley Davidson at 1213 Cincinnati Avenue in Xenia.

With kickstands up at noon from Buckminn’s, participants will ride from one fire house to the next, enjoying the unique look and atmosphere of each and actually driving through several of them as if they were covered bridges.  After a long, scenic tour along the Greene County countryside, including Cedarville, New Jasper, Silvercreek, Jefferson, Xenia and Spring Valley Township fire departments, the ride will conclude at Willie’s Bar in the Xenia Towne Square with an after party featuring gift raffles and entertainment by the Just-N-Time band. Willie’s will be donating 10 percent of sales to the fundraiser.

The first annual Fire House Poker Run is an event organized by First Responders And Bikers Advocating Against Abuse (FRABAAA). According the FRABAAA’s mission statement, the group is, “committed to empowering, educating, advocating, as well as facilitating victims of abuse and violence to become survivor, one HERO at a time.”

IMG_7293Shella Baker is the organizer of FRABAAA. “After helping kids and families who lived in The Family Violence Prevention Center of Greene County (FVPC) what we noticed each year was that, even above toys, children were asking for shoes,” she says. “This really struck me as such a basic need; it was surprising that a lot of children would even think about asking for shoes at Christmas.”

“This past April, during child abuse awareness month, we had a shoe drive with local hospitals and fire departments as well as Samaritan Crisis center and Xenia Walmart,” she says. “We collected shoes to start what has become known as the Shoe Barn Project to benefit the kids housed at the center.”

Supporting the FVPC is a personal mission for Baker, a nurse and paramedic who sees, first hand, the devastating toll domestic violence can take on a family. But Baker’s actions are driven from a much more personal experience – as a survivor of domestic violence. Twenty-five years ago, she and her son took refuge at the FVPC to escape an abuser and now she wants to give back. Today, she has joined with fellow first responders to advocate for victims and promote awareness and prevention, the poker run will help support that cause.

The FVPC began in 1979 as a project of the Greene County Welfare Department known as the Greene County Domestic Violence Project. It started out as a simple, two-bedroom apartment in Yellow Springs but the agency has evolved to provide support and education through services such as a 24-hour crisis hotline and safe housing as well as prevention and outreach programs.

Today the agency is located at 380 Bellbrook Avenue in Xenia and is certified by the Council on Accreditation. It was also recently renamed, The Kathryn K. Hagler Family Violence Prevention Center, to honor the late Greene County leader’s service in advocacy of families and children.

“When FRABAAA started the Shoe Barn Project we wanted to reach out even further to help all kids in the system that have been victims of abuse,” Baker notes. “We hope to one day have a huge operation to help not only Greene County but counties across the state and Country. To make that happen, we need to get more communities on board.”

FIRE_HOUSE_POKER_RUN_1Riders in the poker run will get to actually drive through the fire stations at Cedarville, Xenia and Spring Valley, with a snack stop at the Jefferson Township station in Bowersville. Awards will be given for first, second and third place hands and a Fire House award for the worst hand. For more information about the poker run, visit the group website at http://www.frabaaa.com or call Shella Baker at (937) 789-7262. If you are in immediate need of help in a domestic violence situation, call the center’s crisis line at 937-372-4552 or 937-426-2334.

“When FRABAAA started the Shoe Barn Project we wanted out  reach out even further to help all kids in the system that have been victims of abuse,” Baker notes. “We hope to one day have a huge operation to help not only Greene County but counties across the state and Country. To make that happen, we need to get more communities on board.”

Riders in the poker run will get to actually drive through the fire stations at Cedarville, Xenia and Spring Valley, with a snack stop at the Jefferson Township station in Bowersville. Awards will be given for first, second and third place hands and a Fire House award for the worst hand. For more information about the poker run, visit the group website at www.frabaaa.com or call Shella Baker at (937) 789-7262. If you are in immediate need of help in a domestic violence situation, call the center’s crisis line at 937-372-4552 or 937-426-2334.

Watch the full video interview on WDTN-TV2’s Living Dayton.

IMG_7290

 

Hobby Lobby ruling sets religious freedom in business

In Business, Charities, history, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, Religion, sociology, Uncategorized on June 30, 2014 at 11:59 am

DIH LOGOOn June 30th, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby’s suit to be exempted from the ObamaCare mandate forcing companies to provide contraceptive coverage to employees, including the controversial Plan B, or “morning after,” drugs. Many conservative business owners equate these drugs to abortion since they’re designed to terminate a pregnancy within hours of conception.

The primary argument to the court is whether the owners or management of a corporation has the same rights to freedom of religion as an individual. The Obama administration has already set exceptions for various religious non-profit organizations, which, other than their non-profit status, are structured similarly to their for-profit counterparts.

In March of this year, according to TheHill.com, the U.S. House of Representatives, “Approved the Equitable Access to Care and Health (EACH) Act, H.R. 1814. The bill allowed people avoid buying health insurance under ObamaCare if they could cite a religious reason. People seeking an exemption would have to include sworn statements in their tax returns explaining their objection to health insurance.” In effect, all they needed to get out of paying the federal healthcare mandate (tax) was a note from home.

A further question is whether there is a fundamental business difference between a non-profit corporation and a for-profit corporation? The practical answer is, no. Charity or not, a corporation is created to protect the individual operators from legal responsibility with regard to the business. Most non-profit filings are for tax and donation purposes, a process that seems outdated and inefficient with the advent of mega churches and multi-billion-dollar evangelical organizations.

uscourtIn America, there are countless religiously-focused, non-profit corporations worth millions more than some of the largest for-profit businesses. The Christian television network, Daystar, for example has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a “church,” according to NPR.com news. Celebrity, sometimes politician evangelist Pat Robertson and the late Billy Graham registered with the IRS as “religious organizations,” making them exempt from most taxes. All they had to do was file disclosure papers.

According to available records, NPR.com reports that the top three evangelical television broadcasters – Christian Broadcast Network, Trinity Broadcasting Network and Daystar Television — have a combined net worth of more than a quarter of a billion dollars. It is unknown whether the corporations that operate these broadcasters have filed for religious exemption under the healthcare reform laws.

The question persists, however, that if the only difference between a for-profit corporation and these mega non-profits is an earnings disclosure, why have the distinction at all? Certainly there are for-profit companies that give away millions of dollars in charitable funds each year but still have to comply with the law in every respect. Why then are religious non-profit organizations exempt from anything, much less a controversial healthcare mandate that has American small business struggling to comply or face bankrupting penalties?

The court’s latest decision with regard to religious exemption could have long-reaching implications, and not just in the healthcare arena. Giving a for-profit entity the same constitutional protections provided to non-profit religious groups could cause a flood of lawsuits ranging from tax law to equal employment regulations. Once again, major non-profits have million-dollar earners at the top, private jets, limousines and pretty much every other extravagance thought only to exist in for-profit American business.

If a church – any church – can make a case for religious freedom from legal mandates, why can’t a business owner cite his or her – or their – own religious beliefs for the same purposes? Is the constitution not written for everyone or does it exist specifically to meet the needs of religious groups so they can avoid taxes and dodge the law at their convenience?

This argument poses a great many questions and there will likely be countless more as ObamaCare reaches further corners of commerce. But, if that’s not enough to chew on, here’s another one. What happens if a Muslim, Jewish or non-Christian group requests exemption as well? Will the Christian right fight against their having the same protections?

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer and contributor for WDTN-TV2’s LIVING DAYTON program. More at www.gerydeer.com.