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Mason entrepreneur to turn old church into music venue

Published: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 10:50 AM
Updated: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 11:27 AM

            A Mason entrepreneur is planning to convert the former St. Mary Catholic Church into a music and spirituality center. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
A Mason entrepreneur is planning to convert the former St. Mary Catholic Church into a music and spirituality center. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

A Mason entrepreneur has purchased a recently decommissioned Roman Catholic Church and is planning to renovate it as a music center.

Ramesh Malhotra is converting the former St. Mary Church into a music venue.

“It will be called The Harmony Center,” Malhotra said.

“The theme of the spiritual songs and music performed should bring peace and tranquility,” he said. “Not rowdy rock and roll music.”

Malhotra envisions The Harmony Center as a place where musicians can play and perform as well as rent out the facility for performances and offer a space where people can talk about or reflect on different faiths.

Malhotra, who owns several businesses and properties in Warren County, said he was originally interested in buying the entire church campus and converting it into a conference center and music venue.

But the Warren County Educational Service Center purchased the church campus in January to create a special education school.

MORE: Former Warren County church to become special education school

However, the education agency was not planning on keeping the former church worship space. So Malhotra purchased that building for $140,000 from the WCESC.

Malhotra said he expects to invest $80,000 to $90,000 into the facility, which he hopes to open in July.

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Vintage, repurposed trends make way to local pop-up events

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 7:02 AM

            Owner Marcie Brow, left, and Business Partner/Creative Director Ashley Smith outside their business-on-the-go RV for Monarch Markets. The business also has a brick-and-mortar building in downtown Springboro.
Owner Marcie Brow, left, and Business Partner/Creative Director Ashley Smith outside their business-on-the-go RV for Monarch Markets. The business also has a brick-and-mortar building in downtown Springboro.

The immensely popular Fixer Upper show hosted by Chip and Joanna Gaines has inspired a vintage, industrial, handmade and repurposed decorating trend.

Owner Marcie Brow of Springboro picked up on this phenomenon and has begun Monarch Market & The Rusted Marquee. The business, located in downtown Springboro, is a division of Another Adventure LLC. She organizes pop-up sales at various locales. The first one was held at the Dayton Mall this past February 17-18.

“The Dayton Mall (location) was a success! We had happy shoppers,” said business partner/creative director Ashley Smith, also of Springboro. “Our goal is to bring together the best… local small business owners to showcase their boutiques and businesses.”

» RELATED: Toys ‘R’ Us to close all U.S. locations

The Spring Migration “Sip, Shop & Stroll” at the Warren County Fairgrounds this weekend will include live music by American Idol finalist Alexis Gomez. There will also be food trucks, and a beer/wine tasting by Hanover Winery.

More than 100 vendors will offer curated items like vintage/antique pieces, boutique fashion/accessories, repurposed/handcrafted, up-cycled and gourmet goods for sale. The first fifty shoppers to arrive on Friday and Saturday will receive a free ‘swag’ bag. Early arrivers will also get pre-sale perks like boutique gifts and coupons.

“Many items are handmade, one-of-a-kind, or even repurposed. These vendors put a lot of time and effort into their products, and the prices often reflect this,” said Smith.

» TRENDING BUSINESS NEWS: Macy’s rolling out new mobile checkout at most store locations

Brow’s entrepreneurship began in 2013 when she opened a small furniture and decor consignment boutique in Texas. Smith owned a children’s consignment shop in Arkansas.

“During my time as a shop owner, I participated in several local shopping markets and home shows where I sold my painted furniture, boutique items and vintage finds of my own,” said Brow. “Though these events were successful, they were nothing like the vision I have for Monarch Market.”

Brow indicated that her best friend Smith has an excellent eye for style, so Brow brought her on board as a creative director. As a military wife she moved often, so when they got orders to move to Ohio, she brainstormed the concept of a business that could move with her.

The concept works well, because many businesses are willing to showcase their goods, and Brow can run her events without any overhead. Future Monarch Market Affairs are scheduled for May 11 in Washington, May 18 at Tipton County Fairgrounds in Indiana, and October 13 in Elkhart, Indiana.

“Showcasing local businesses is a passion of ours; we both come from owning small boutiques in other states,” said Brow. “We know that local business if the heart of a community. We love that Monarch Market can give so many small businesses a chance to touch so many people in one weekend.”

How to Go:

What: Monarch Market

Sip, Shop, Stroll &

Royal Preview Party

Where: Warren County Fairgrounds

665 N. Broadway, Lebanon

When: Preview 5 to 9 p.m. Fri., Mar. 23

Mkt. Day 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat., Mar. 24

Cost: $8 advance, $10 at door Friday

$5/all day Saturday

Free for 12 and under

More Info: 937-660-0072 or


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West Dayton pastors urge boycott of Good Sam forums

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 5:37 PM

            Rev. Rockney Carter, of Zion Baptist Church, speaks at the podium with a group of West Dayton pastors urging a boycott of two forums about the future redevelopment of the Good Samaritan Hospital site. KAITLIN SCHROEDER/STAFF
Rev. Rockney Carter, of Zion Baptist Church, speaks at the podium with a group of West Dayton pastors urging a boycott of two forums about the future redevelopment of the Good Samaritan Hospital site. KAITLIN SCHROEDER/STAFF

A group of West Dayton pastors urged residents not to attend forums Thursday about the closing of Good Samaritan Hospital, saying there’s not been indication that their feedback will be meaningfully considered.

The Rev. Rockney Carter, speaking Wednesday from Zion Baptist Church in Dayton, said it’s deceptive that Premier Health leaders have said they had to shut down Good Samaritan when at the same time the health system is investing in a suburban expansion.

“I think what they’ll continue to do tomorrow (Thursday) is continue to misrepresent the facts, continue to distort to our community and continue to mislead our people,” Carter said.

RELATED: Five Rivers Health Center on Good Sam campus says it’s here to stay

Dayton-based Premier, which operates four local hospitals, announced in January that it would close down Good Samaritan sometime this year and offer jobs at other locations to the 1,600 main campus employees.

The hospital will be razed into a shovel-ready site and Premier is holding two forums about the future of the site Thursday.

Premier said in a statement that it has had multiple meetings with community leaders to get input and the input from the forums today will be carefully considered. The health system stated it will continue to work with the city and CityWide Development to invest in the neighborhoods.

“Together the partners (Premier Health, City of Dayton, CityWide) have invested nearly $25 million, leveraged $45 million in additional private investment, and plan to continue to invest in these neighborhoods,” the Premier stated.

RELATED: Empty beds, high costs led to Good Sam closing

Carter said the group of pastors are not against having a discussion with Premier and have had conversations, like a public forum held in February, but the economic reasons Premier gave at those meetings were not convincing.

“We don’t believe it’s economic and or financial because at the same time they are closing operations here on the west side of Dayton — a predominately African American section of our community — they are building up medical services that are similar on other sides of town,” Carter said.

RELATED: ‘Bad news’ for the city: 7 reactions to Good Samaritan Hospital’s closure

The decision to close one of the last anchor institutions on the city’s west side has prompted shock and outrage from residents and city leaders. The push back has included criticism that the closing will disproportionately affect black residents’ access to jobs and health services, who already have higher unemployment rates and worse average health outcomes on key measures like infant mortality.

The health network leadership have said the high number of empty beds and the high cost of keeping up an inefficient and out-of-date facility were factors that played a role in the decision to close the hospital, which is in an area with a declining population that’s been shifting to the suburbs. Premier also has cited that patients and employees from the neighborhoods around Good Samaritan area are already coming to Miami Valley Hospital, which is less than six miles away in Dayton

Good Samaritan forums

• 1 p.m. March 22 at Fairview United Methodist Church.

• 6 p.m. March 22 at Fairview Pre-K-6th School.

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Dayton-area home sales heat up in February

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:27 PM


The housing market in the Dayton area continued to improve in February, with increases in the median sale price and number of homes sold.

The median price for last month was up over 2 percent year-over-year to $129,900, and the sales volume climbed 11 percent since last year to $135.7 million, according to data from the Dayton Area Board of Realtors, which represents Montgomery, Greene, Warren, Darke, and Preble counties.

RELATED: Dayton area homes sales strong once again

The number of existing homes that sold was also up 3 percent compared to February 2017, with 882 sales reported on the multiple listing service.

U.S. home sales also improved in February.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales rose 3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million. The median home sales price was $241,700 in February, a 5.9 percent increase over the past year.

But a shortage of properties for sale is creating a challenge for would-be homebuyers. As sales listings have steadily declined, prices have been climbing at the same time as a stronger job market has elevated demand — and, also, competition — for purchasing homes. Higher mortgage rates this year might also cause even fewer people to list their homes for sale, which would make the current supply squeeze worse.

RELATED: Realtors: Home sales end a strong year on a strong note

In the Dayton area, February’s average sales price totaled $153,923, up 8 percent since the same time last year.

Year-to-date sales the January-February the median price increased 6 percent to $126,450, and the cumulative sales volume was up by 7.7 percent to $259.3 million.

As demand for homes grew, supply in the Dayton tightened. The number of listings submitted in the month of February decreased over 2 percent to 1,448 entries. For the January-February period, 2,705 listings were entered, down nearly 5 percent from last year’s 2,839 listings.

While the overall home market continues to heat up, there are also disparities.

MORE: Tale of two Daytons; Home values surge in areas, slip in others

The Dayton Daily News previously reported the Dayton area is one of 61 metros in the U.S. where minorities are denied mortgage loans at higher rates than their white counterparts — a modern-day system of redlining that keeps minority neighborhoods from recovery.

In 2016, black applicants in the Dayton metro area were 2.1 times as likely to be denied a conventional home mortgage as white applicants, even when controlling for applicants’ income, loan amount and neighborhood, according to data analysis by Reveal, the online platform of The Center for Investigative Reporting.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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State OKs Vectren takeover of Wright-Patt natural gas pipelines

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 1:28 PM

            Wright Patterson Air Force Base gate STAFF PHOTO
            Barrie Barber
Wright Patterson Air Force Base gate STAFF PHOTO(Barrie Barber)

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has given the go-ahead to Vectren Energy Delivery for a $13.7 million, 50-year deal to take over natural gas delivery at Wright-Patterson from the Air Force.

The contract is the latest Wright-Patterson move to privatize utilities at the sprawling base that spans more than 8,000 acres.

The ownership transition of the natural gas infrastructure will take nine months, according to base spokesman Daryl Mayer. The utility will assess the condition of the infrastructure during the transition, said company spokeswoman Natalie Hedde. Vectren was one of two bidders.

RELATED: Wright-Patt privatizing water service in $490M, 50-year deal

Indianapolis-based Vectren provides energy delivery to about a million customers in southwest Ohio and two-thirds of Indiana, including one other federal installation, the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Crane Division.

In recent months, Wright-Patterson reached a $490 million, 50-year contract with New Jersey-based American Water Operations and Maintenance, Inc., to privatize water services.

RELATED: DP&L lands $27.8 million Wright-Patt power deal

Several years ago, Dayton Power & Light Co. entered into a 50-year deal to take over electrical infrastructure at the base. The utility provides electricity under a separate contract. Constellation Energy provides natural gas, according to Mayer.

RELATED: Wright-Patt looks to privatize utilities

The Air Force has pursued privatization of utilities to relieve installation commanders of “constantly increasing maintenance activities” on aging utility systems, Mayer said in an email.

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