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Books and Co. hosts live reading by local authors of WOWA, June 19

In Books, Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Education, Entertainment, history, Local News, psychology, Technology on June 15, 2015 at 5:38 pm

IMG_0030Beavercreek, OH – Beginning at 7pm on Friday, June 19, author members of the Western Ohio Writers Association (WOWA) will take the microphone at Books & Co. to present their popular, “Beatnik Café” event. Writers from all genres will regale visitors with original works of poetry and prose to the theme, “Leave No Trace.” The event is free and open to the public.

The live reading pays homage to the hole-in-the-wall poetry clubs of the 1960’s, but with a more modern style. Reading aloud from original work, each writer will take the stage for 10 to 12 minutes, dazzling audiences with short stories, poetry or who knows what.

Barbara Deer is the co-founder of the organization. “WOWA was intended to provide a regular resource for peer critique, educational programs and networking opportunities to local writers of all genres, both amateur and professional,” she says. (Click to watch the television interview about last summer’s Beatnik from WDTN-TV2, Living Dayton 6-12-2014)

Barbara Deer, WOWA co-founder.

Barbara Deer, WOWA co-founder.

“Annual workshops are held all around the country, with two of the most well-known right here in the Miami Valley. But for most writers to thrive that type of support needs to come on a more regular basis,” Deer says. “Our group consists of professional writers and editors, college professors and everyone is ready and willing to offer help, a fresh eye and, sometimes more importantly, an honest opinion about the quality of the work – good or bad.”

wowa-beatnik

Writers come from all around the region – southwest central Ohio, eastern Indiana and northern Kentucky – to attend monthly critique sessions, educational lectures and write-in events. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at the Event Connections, 4140 Linden Ave. in Dayton, near the intersection of US 35 and Woodman Drive.

WOWA Logo 2Now in its seventh year, this talented group of scribes definitely have plenty to celebrate. In addition to the many individual members who have been published on their own, in May of this year eleven of them were featured in an anthology titled, “Flights of Fiction,” produced by GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing and published by Handcar Press (ISBN: 978-0-9885289-4-9). The book features stories set in and around the southwest Ohio region and is available in print and electronic formats from the WOWA website as well as Amazon and BN.com.

The Beatnik Café is a family-friendly, free, public presentation of WOWA and GLD Enterprises Communications. Books & Co. is located at 4453 Walnut St. at The Greene in Beavercreek. For more information, go online to www.westernohiowriters.org or call (937) 902-4857.

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Western Ohio Writers present live Halloween reading at Books & Co., Oct 26.

In Books, Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Education, Entertainment, Literature, Local News, Media, sociology, Uncategorized on October 16, 2013 at 10:11 pm
WOWA editorial committee member Bill Bicknell reads from his work at Books & Co. during last year’s “Beatnik Café” event.   Photo by Debra Bays, GLD Enterprises

WOWA editorial committee member Bill Bicknell reads from his work at Books & Co. during last year’s “Beatnik Café” event. Photo by Debra Bays, GLD Enterprises

Beavercreek, OH – Beginning at 7 pm on Saturday, October 26, author members of the Western Ohio Writers Association (WOWA) will take the microphone at Books & Co. to present their popular, “Beatnik Café” event. Writers from all genres will regale visitors with tales of Halloween through short works of fiction and poetry. The event is free and open to the public.

The live reading pays homage to the hole-in-the-wall poetry clubs of the 1960’s, but with a more modern style. Reading aloud from original work, each writer will take the stage for 10 to 12 minutes, dazzling audiences with short stories, poetry or who knows what.

Greene County native, Gery L. Deer is the co-founder and executive director of the organization. A professional freelance journalist, editorial columnist and commercial writer, he started WOWA in October of 2008. “WOWA was intended to provide a regular resource for peer critique, educational programs and networking opportunities to local writers of all genres, both amateur and professional,” he says.

“Annual workshops are held all around the country, with two of the most well-known right here in the Miami Valley. But for most writers to thrive that type of support needs to come on a more regular basis,” Deer says. “Our group consists of professional writers and editors, college professors and everyone is ready and willing to offer help, a fresh eye and, sometimes more importantly, an honest opinion about the quality of the work – good or bad.”

Writers come from all around the region – southwest central Ohio, eastern Indiana and northern Kentucky – to attend monthly critique sessions, educational lectures and write-in events. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at the Event Connections, 4140 Linden Ave. in Dayton, near the intersection of US 35 and Woodman Drive.

Flights of Fiction. Cover art by Michael Martin

Flights of Fiction. Cover art by Michael Martin

October 2013 marks the organization’s fifth anniversary and these talented scribes definitely have plenty to celebrate. In addition to the many individual members who have been published on their own, in May of this year eleven of them were featured in an anthology titled, “Flights of Fiction,” produced by GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing and published by Handcar Press (ISBN: 978-0-9885289-4-9). The book features stories set in and around the southwest Ohio region and is available in print and electronic formats from the WOWA website as well as Amazon and BN.com.

The Beatnik Café is a family-friendly, free, public presentation of WOWA and GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing. Books & Co. is located at 4453 Walnut St. at The Greene in Beavercreek. For more information, go online to www.westernohiowriters.org or call (937) 902-4857.

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Saving our downtowns, one megamall at a time

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, history, Jobs, Local News, Opinion, Politics, Uncategorized on September 25, 2013 at 9:37 am

DIH LOGOLast week I covered a story for the local newspaper about a business that has been in downtown Xenia, Ohio for more than 70 years. To celebrate, the chamber of commerce held a ribbon cutting attended by the usual fare of friends, associates and dignitaries, all wanting either to sincerely congratulate the proprietors or mug their way into the photo op. Whatever their reasons for attending, it was refreshing to see people taking an interest in a small town’s revitalization.

Every day local governments offer tax breaks and other perks designed to attract new businesses to settle in their region, the obvious benefits to which are jobs and tax revenue. A good idea, of course, but while they’re building new strip malls on one end of town, the downtown sits empty and abandoned leaving the same government officials to puzzle over what to do with empty, decaying buildings.

So why not provide more incentive for businesses to locate in existing downtown areas before adding more sprawl? For those already there, encourage them to stay rather than making it easier for them to move into the latest strip mall.

Some communities sprang up from joined housing developments but for those like Xenia, Bellbrook, Jamestown and Fairborn, there is history, culture and charm still to be reclaimed. It’s truly puzzling why there is not more incentive to do what Xenia’s business owners are doing very well – revitalize and rejuvenate the downtown.

mall interiorMost confusing of all is the approval by local governments of sprawling mega-malls like The Greene, in Kettering, or is it Beavercreek? I’m not sure even they know where they are located. The brick walkways and old-fashioned street lights illuminating an array of sidewalk cafes and specialty shops were designed to look just like old downtown shopping squares that have long since been abandoned.

While they might add something to the local job market, these monster malls with their fake skylines, congested parking lots and Segway-riding rent-a-cops, do little to enhance the community. The sad thing is, eventually, the buildings go out of style and repulse new customers after a dozen years or so.

When Beavercreek’s Mall at Fairfield Commons first opened, it was all the rage; no more driving all the way out to Centerville or northwest Dayton to shop at an indoor mall. Today, there are huge unoccupied spaces in all of the indoor retail behemoths as businesses either shut down or move into newly-designed malls.

Believe it or not, “If you build it, they will come,” applies far more to retail sales than it ever did to a cornfield baseball diamond, so build it downtown. No matter where you put the temples of American gluttony and materialism people will find them and go to worship the almighty Abercrombie.

City governments should do more to help property owners attract major tenants to the old downtown areas, particularly big mall-style anchor stores. It would only take a couple of them to generate more interest from others and grow revenue for the property owners and the municipality.

Over the next month or so, small town politicians will be scrambling to win over your vote. Ask them the same questions posed here. If we really want to save our downtown areas, we have to start at the government level.

Instead of spending time and money worrying about ridiculous issues like whether a store’s sign is wood or plastic, how about making it easier and more attractive for businesses to locate in the downtown areas? It really is that easy.

A civic ambassador with a high-level business background in national retail sales could help to develop a plan of action and take it to companies like Macy’s and Abercrombie. Show them that it’s possible to create the genuine version of the fake atmosphere so popular at the outdoor malls. If it’s done properly, it would bring people downtown again to shop, eat and socialize.

Small business cannot support such efforts without a few major players in the ballgame. If there are to be more 70-year old businesses downtown, there needs to be a downtown for them to be in.