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Olympic Games Offer Mixed Messages for Kids

In Children and Family, Education, Entertainment, National News, Opinion, Politics, sociology, Sports News, Uncategorized on August 3, 2012 at 8:22 am

I recently read an article composed by a local non-profit about the lessons that could be learned by children from the Summer Olympic Games. The story encouraged parents to watch the events with their kids and discuss the nature of competition, good sportsmanship, hard work, and so on.

As they grow up, we try to teach children the value of good sportsmanship, hosing them down with gooey sentiments like, “It’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game that counts.” But even in that very statement there is hypocrisy and an absence of reality.

Coming in first is, and always will be, the ultimate purpose behind Olympic competition. The quest for the center platform has driven countries and individuals to outrageous behavior. Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed in the leg at the 1994 Winter Olympics, causing her severe injury. Intended to knock Kerrigan out of the contest, the attack was arranged by Jeff  Gillooly, the ex-husband of one of her competitors, Tonya Harding.

In the days of the Cold War, the fierce competition between the United States and the Soviet Union was fueled by precarious diplomatic relations and the massive egos of the world’s two super powers. Winning was not only imperative, it was a matter of life and death for some. However anecdotal, failed Russian athletes were said to have been exiled, tortured and jailed if they were outperformed by Americans.

Sometimes the motivation behind Olympic participation is not a gold medal, but gold itself – in the form of money. Like it or not, the Olympics is a business – for the sponsors and the competing countries.

Every four years, billions of dollars are spent by the nations of the world to send teams of athletes to the summer Olympic Games. Countless corporations spend billions more trying trump the advertising bids of their competition for the honor of being “official” sponsors. Exposure on the world stage can boost a company’s recognition a thousand fold. Recognition translates to sales.

There is money to be made, a lot of money, not to mention the bragging rights for bringing home the most gold. In fact, just to host the Olympic Games, London spent more than $18 million, which has the British Parliament debating even as the event proceeds.

In the end our kids are getting, at best, a mixed message. They see it on television, and in the stands at the local little league game whenever parents get into fist-fights over a bad call. So parents are just as much to blame as the media.

We grow up being told that sportsmanship, honor and diligence is the ultimate goal of athletic competition, but the truth is a bit more obvious and children are smarter than most people give them credit.

Even a kid understands that no one goes to the Olympics hoping for a bronze medal or wishing to be in fifth place. Their eye is on the gold. A gold medal means recognition, money, fifteen minutes of fame, and the cover of Sports Illustrated.

As for, “how you play the game,” well, that’s a distorted idea as well. Olympic athletes are constantly monitored for illegal use of steroids and other enhancement drugs. The threat of cheating looms heavy over the excitement of the arena. Clearly, winning is the most important objective. After all, if winning doesn’t matter, why keep score?



Greene County Safe Communities Promotion Emphasizes Motorcycle Safety

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Local News, Media, National News, Sports News, State News, Uncategorized on May 23, 2012 at 7:45 am

Motorcyclist Fatalities Have Increased After Decline in 2009

XENIA Motorcyclist fatalities increased slightly in 2010 to 4,502, accounting for 14% of total fatalities for the year. This increase in motorcycle fatalities for the year resumes the unfortunate overall increasing trend over the last 13 years, an upward trend that saw only a single one-year decline in 2009, when 4,462 motorcyclists were killed. However, the greatest decrease in the estimated number of injured people is among motorcyclists, with an 8.9% decrease.

In response to this increase, Greene County Safe Communities announced today that it is joining with other federal, state and local highway safety, law enforcement, and motorcycle organizations in proclaiming May as “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.”  During this time – and during the rest of the year – motorists and other road users are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcycles, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe.  Changing the driving habits of motorists and motorcyclists alike will help decrease the numbers of motorcyclist killed and injured in crashes.  Motorcyclists are reminded to make sure that they are visible to motorists, and that they follow the rules of the road.  All road users are reminded to never drive, ride, walk or bicycle while distracted.

“As the weather improves, more and more motorcyclists are hitting the roads,” said Laurie Fox, Safe Communities Coordinator.  “And with that in mind, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers of all vehicles, including SUVs, passenger cars and trucks, need to be extra attentive and make sure they ‘share the road.’  A motorcycle is one of the smallest vehicles on our roads, often hidden in a car or truck’s blind spot.  Every driver needs to aggressively look for them before changing lanes or merging with traffic.”

Motorists and bicyclists should perform visual checks for motorcyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots before they enter or exit a lane of traffic, and at intersections.  Pedestrians should also get into the habit of scanning for motorcyclists who might be hidden by other traffic.

Ms. Fox reminds all road users that, “Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too.  They should obey traffic rules, be alert to other drivers, never ride while impaired or distracted, and always wear a Department of Transportation-compliant helmet and other protective gear.”

Ms. Fox said that a motorcyclist is much more vulnerable than a passenger vehicle occupant in the event of a crash.  She said that research from DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 39 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in traffic crashes.

Ms. Fox offered tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways.

  • ·         Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle.
  • ·         Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width—never try to share a lane.
  • ·         Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
  • ·         Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • ·         Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a mo­torcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
  • ·         Allow more following distance – three or four sec­onds – when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emer­gency.
  • ·         Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
  • ·         Never drive while distracted. 

Ms. Fox also said motorcyclists can increase their safety by:

  • ·         Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions;
  • ·         Wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-compliant helmet;
  • ·         Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it;
  • ·         Combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves;
  • ·         Using reflective tape and stickers to increase conspicuity;
  • ·         Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers; and
  • ·         Never driving while impaired. 

Our message to all drivers and motorcyclists is: Help to share in the responsibility of keeping all road users safe, and do your part by safely “sharing the road.”

For more information on motorcycle safety, please visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.  For information on Greene County Safe Communities, please call 937-374-5669 or email lfox@gcchd.org.

“Pull for the Kids” Truck & Tractor Pull June 23rd

In Children and Family, Education, Entertainment, Local News, Media, Sports News, Uncategorized on May 23, 2012 at 7:34 am

XENIA – The Greene County Combined Health District (GCCHD) is holding its annual “Pull for the Kids” Truck and Tractor Pull on Saturday, June 23rd at the Greene County Fairgrounds.  This event is a fundraiser for the Greene Community Health Foundation.  The philanthropic arm of GCCHD, the Greene Community Health Foundation raises and manages gifts on behalf of the Health District.  The generosity of our donors allows GCCHD to continue the commitment to offer quality healthcare toGreeneCounty residents in need regardless of their ability to pay.

An antique tractor pull will begin at 10 a.m., a kiddie tractor pull at 3 p.m., and the big modified tractors and trucks begin at 5 p.m.  For those interested in entering a truck or tractor, entry fees range from $1 to $20, depending on the entry.  Cash prizes will be awarded for the winners in each division.  General admission is only $5.00 per adult and children ages 10 and younger are free.  Lots of family fun, food and drinks are on tap for all ages.

This event is sponsored in part by the Old Timers Club, Greene County FFA Alumni, Barker’s Towing, Greene County Dailies, Farm Bureau of Greene County, NAPA Auto Parts and Trophy Sports.  For more information, please contact Carol Sue Knox, Development Assistant at 937-374-5658 or by email at cknox@gcchd.org.

Live Bullwhip Show To Open Indy Jones Film at Murphy Theatre

In Entertainment, Local News, Senior Lifestyle, Sports News, Uncategorized on April 28, 2012 at 10:09 am

Raiders of the Lost Ark was the first of 4 Indiana Jones movies. It will play at 7PM on May 12 at The Murphy Theatre in Wilmington, Ohio.

WILMINGTON, OH – Award-winning bullwhip artist and writer, Gery L. Deer of Jamestown, will perform at the Murphy Theatre in Wilmington on Saturday evening, May 12th in conjunction with the showing of the blockbuster film, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Working in the traditional “Indy” costume, Deer will entertain for a short time outside the theater beginning around 6:30 p.m., and then move to the Murphy’s historic stage for full performance before the movie begins at 7 o’clock. Tickets are just $5, sold at the door.

A successful entrepreneur and columnist, Deer, 44, is internationally recognized as an expert whip artist and instructor. He is the founder of the Society of American Whip Artistry and holds multiple titles in whip speed and accuracy. In 2007, he was selected Wild West Performer of the Year by the International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame.

In addition to working on stage from Ohioto Las Vegasover the last two decades, Deer develops custom whip holstering equipment for feature films, including the 2003 movie, The Rundown. He appears regularly on national television programs like NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” and local broadcasts including WRGT-TV’s Fox 45 in the Morning and WDTN-TV/Channel 2’s Living Dayton.

“The Indiana Jones movies gave rise to a worldwide interest in the whip and the momentum has kept up over the years,” said Deer, who is also a professional freelance writer and marketing consultant. “It’s always better with a live audience and I’m looking forward to giving movie goers at the Murphy something they will always remember.”

In early 2010, Deer’s work was featured in a segment of the ThinkTV/CH16 program, Our Ohio, in a feature story about The Whip Artistry Studio, his whip performance and educational facility based inJamestown. The exclusive whip school is the only one of its kind in theUnited States and provides certified, professional instruction in the use of the bullwhip as a sport and performance art.

The Murphy Theatre is located at50 West Main Streetin downtownWilmington,Ohio. For directions or more information go online to http://www.themurphytheatre.org and click on the Events link, or call, toll-free, (877) 274-3848. To learn about The Whip Artistry Studio visit http://www.thewhipstudio.com.

Register Now for “Spring Has Sprung” Healthy Families 5K Run/Walk, March 17th in Xenia

In Health, Local News, Sports News on February 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Registration now open for “Spring Has Sprung” Healthy Families 5K Run/Walk, March 17th in Xenia

XENIA –  The Greene County Healthy Lifestyles Coalition is holding the 3rd annual “Spring Has Sprung” Healthy Families 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, March 17 at the Greene County Combined Health District in Xenia. This event will benefit the Greene County Healthy Lifestyles Coalition, part of the Greene County Combined Health District, whose mission is to provide and promote healthier lifestyle choices inGreeneCounty. This event is designed to encourage healthy lifestyles in Greene County and bring families of all fitness levels together for a fun event, even for those who have never participated in a 5K event before.  And this year, as the race is on St. Patrick’s Day, participants are encouraged to “go green” and celebrate in style from head to toe!

Registration and check-in will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Greene County Combined Health District inXeniawith the pet- and stroller-friendly run/walk beginning at 9:00 a.m. The course features a flat terrain in and around theXeniaarea beginning and ending at GCCHD besideGreeneMemorialHospital. A special race for little ones, ages 5 and younger, will feature a 1 lap race around GCCHD beginning at 8:30 a.m. After the 5K, healthy refreshments will be provided and participants can visit with the various sponsors of the event.

Schools and businesses are encouraged to participate. The school or business with the most race participants will win a plaque. Schools, businesses or individuals registering a team of 10 or more may be eligible to receive a discount on race fees.  Interested groups should call Laurie at 937-374-5669 for more information. Medals will be awarded to the top 3 male/female in each of 12 age categories and a grand prize will be awarded for the top male/female overall.

The cost for the 5K is just $15.00 per person prior to March 9, which includes an event t-shirt.  After March 9, the cost is $20.00 per person. You can register online at http://www.active.com or visit http://www.gcchd.org to print, complete and mail in or drop off your registration with your payment to the Greene County Combined Health District located at360 Wilson Drive in Xenia.

Current confirmed partners for this event include WHIO-TV 7, Greene County Parks & Trails, WSU Mini University, Classic Country Radio WBZI, Farmers Insurance, Trophy Sports, Juice Plus, Cardiologists of Greene County LLC, Old Fort Banking, Lofino’s, KeySports, The Greene County Dailies, and XWARN.

For questions or further information about the 5K, please contact Laurie Fox, Development Coordinator, at 937-374-5669 or by email at lfox@gcchd.org.

Jamestown Whip Artist Appears On “Living Dayton”

In Business, Entertainment, Local News, Senior Lifestyle, Sports News, Uncategorized on February 21, 2012 at 7:00 am

Writer, Entertainer Gery L. Deer with "Living Dayton" co-hosts, Nathalie Basha and Zuri Hall

JAMESTOWN – Writer, entertainer Gery L. Deer of Jamestown appeared Friday on WDTN’s new daytime lifestyle program, Living Dayton to showcase bullwhip classes available at The Whip Artistry Studio. Deer spent a few minutes on the live program talking about the whip with the hosts, Nathalie Basha and Zuri Hall, and gave them the opportunity to try their hand.

“We really just want to let everyone know we are here and we are local,” Deer says. “We have a great offering of whip lessons and performances available to just about any individual or venue. ”

The Whip Artistry Studio opened in 1998 providing the only permanent facility in the U.S. dedicated to the non-combative study of bullwhips and stockwhips for use in sport and performance art. The facility offers individual and group whip lessons for ages 8 and up, as well as providing specialty whip artistry performers for stage, film and television shows, school presentations and educational programs.

For more information go online to http://www.thewhipstudio.com or call (937) 902-4857. All activities are by appointment. The Whip Artistry Studio is an entertainment subsidiary of GLD Enterprises & Productions.

Jamestown Native’s 30 Years In Dodger Blue

In Sports News on March 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Cover of Fred Claire's book, My 30 Years In Dodger Blue

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Fred Claire left Jamestown, Ohio as a young man, but remembers his roots in his memoire.

By Gery L. Deer

LOS ANGELES – If there was ever any doubt as to whether or not small town life can affect a person long after they had grown up and moved away, the inspiring story of one Jamestown native might eliminate it once and for all. Fred Claire is a testament to those values put to trial in the wilderness of big city life as he rose from being a sports writer to an executive for the Los Angeles Dodgers in sunny California.

 A shop keeper’s son starting out at the tail-end of the Great Depression, Fred Claire was born on October 5, 1935 in Jamestown, Ohio. His mother, Mary Frances Harper, was born and raised in Jamestown where her father operated Harper’s Drug Store.

 Ironically, given the town’s modern history, his grandfather’s store was eventually destroyed by fire. Claire’s father, Marston, later opened another drug store on the opposite corner of the village. “My Dad’s drug store was simply known as Claire’s Corner Drug Store,” Claire said.

 As a young boy, he lived in the apartment above the store with his parents, his brother Doug and one sister named Lynn. With his family, Claire enjoyed fishing trips to Canada and nearby Indian Lake and began his business career as a young entrepreneur. “My brother and I trapped muskrats,” Claire recalled. “And I had a newspaper route delivering the Xenia Daily Gazette.” As it turned out, newspapers would be an important part of his life over the years.

 Claire suggested that his passion for sports came from early summer mornings in Jamestown when friends would throw pebbles at his second-floor apartment window. This was, according to Claire, “the indication that it was time to get up, get the baseball equipment and head out to the diamond at Silvercreek School.” He was referring to the historic school at the corner of SR 72 and South Charleston road in Jamestown which currently serves as the Greeneview primary building.

 In 1950 Martson and Mary moved their family to Torrance, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. Claire graduated from Torrance High School, and then went on to attend numerous colleges before obtaining his bachelor’s degree in journalism.

 Throughout the late 1950s and 1960’s, Claire worked for a number of local newspapers in and around the Los Angeles area, mostly as a sports editor. In 1969, he went to work for the Los Angeles Dodgers climbing the ladder from publicity director all the way up to executive vice president and general manager in charge of player personnel.

 Many people growing up in a rural community have hopes and dreams of making it big and leaving small town life behind forever. Claire, however, took his hometown along for the ride, if only in his heart.

 “Even though I left Jamestown at the age of 14, my experiences there have been the foundation of my life,” Claire recalled. “I was blessed to be raised by wonderful parents and to be a part of a strong family. My work ethic, my love of sports and my sense of being a part of a family and a community all were established by my time and experiences in Jamestown.”

 Over the course of his career, Claire got to know some of the greats of baseball. From Tommy Lasorda to Reggie Jackson, he knew some of the best, and worst, in the business. “There is a baseball resting in a place of honor in the office of my Pasadena home,” Claire wrote. “One single baseball representing enough memories to last a lifetime.”

 The baseball was given to Claire by Dodgers player Rick Dempsey moments after the team had clinched the 1988 World Series against the A’s. He was one of three who received the World Series trophy along with Tommy Lasorda and team owner Peter O’Malley and he never forgot what it took to get there. “It was the result of an amazing amount of work by an organization that bounded back after finishing 16 games under .500 in each of the two previous seasons,” Claire noted.

 Fred Claire spent his last twelve years of his career with the Dodgers as the club’s general manager, taking over for Al Campanis in April of 1987. He was fired, as many people are when new management takes over, on June 21, 1998 – the same day that his good friend Campanis passed away. “It was a strange feeling after being a part of the organization for 30 years,” Claire recalled. “But one overshadowed by the passing of a great friend.”

 In March of 2004, Sports Publishing, LLC published (START ITALICS) Fred Claire: My 30 Years in Dodger Blue (END ITALICS) (ISBN 1-58261-732-5), a book about Claire’s long and distinguished career. He co-authored the book with Steve Springer of the Los Angeles Times and discusses his life in the business of baseball beginning with his life as a boy in rural Greene County, Ohio.

 The book has been recognized on the Los Angeles Times’ Bestsellers list. Of course Claire’s work is in no way finished. In addition to writing about his career, he also works to help a new generation achieve their goals in sports and business.

 “I have attempted to use my Jamestown and professional experiences to guide young people who are interested in the business world of sports,” Claire said. “I have taught at the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California, served on the advisory boards of the USC Sports Business Institute, the USC Student Sports Business Association and the Long Beach State Sports Management Advisory program.”

 Fred Claire has three grown children of his own, daughters Jennifer and Kim and son Jeff. Today, he lives in Pasadena, California with his wife Sheryl and keeps tabs on his home town, staying in contact with a few old friends from his boyhood community.

 On a personal note:

In February of 2009, I received an email from Fred Claire. He had found my work online and wrote to connect with a fellow writer from his hometown. After a few correspondences, Mr. Claire sent me a copy of his autobiography. On the inside cover he wrote, “To Gery – Thanks for keeping Jamestown in the news.” My thanks to Mr. Claire and we hope he comes back home for a visit sometime soon.