breaking news

Local camp actually lets kids fly planes -- seriously

Published: Friday, April 14, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Students design F-14 models at Air Camp.
Students design F-14 models at Air Camp.(Contributed)

There are a multitude of summer camps to which you can send your kids this year where they could learn plenty. But there’s only one in the Dayton area that will let them actually fly a real plane.

Launched in 2010, the Dayton-based Air Camp offers seventh through ninth grade students a comprehensive STEM education using aviation and aerospace as the medium. The program also focuses on the values of scholarship, leadership and citizenship. The program draws students from all over the country every year.

>> Two B-1 bombers will fly over Dayton April 18

“(The founders) wanted to create an opportunity for students across the country to engage actively in STEM activities that are primarily connected to aviation and aeronautics,” said Director of Operations Shannon Coblentz. “They noticed from their line of work that there started to be a shortage in those areas. They believed that it was not necessarily a lack of interest or capability, but lack of knowledge that these opportunities exist.”

Air Camp will feature a day camp program for the first time.(Contributed)

The week-long camp hopes to catch middle school-aged students at a time period where studies show they tend to steer away from STEM-related subjects. Coblentz, a former principal, says confusion is often behind those decisions.

>> Wright-Patt loses out on a request for millions in state dollars

“It’s usually based on misinformation about what’s required in the STEM fields, as well as sometimes having a lack of understanding of what an actual STEM profession is. We can help them to gain confidence to serve in the STEM fields and that can pique their interest in those fields.”

Air Camp Director of Operations Shannon Coblentz says the camp's goal is to give students more confidence in STEM fields.(Contributed)

Air Camp, made up entirely of teachers with STEM backgrounds, provides students with 15 hours of team-oriented educational activities daily, while taking them to various locations around the Dayton area. Throughout the week, the students are taught STEM concepts, and then tasked with using critical thinking skills they’ve obtained to solve problems or achieve goals. Team challenges include a simulated plane crash where campers are taught survival skills as well as using items commonly found on a plane to recover a black box from under water. 

“What they do is go through the actual rescue module to help save passengers if they ever ended up in the water. They are trained to save themselves first and the other passengers second,” Coblentz said.

And, yes, after taking flight ground school and charting their course, the campers will get the opportunity to fly as student pilots.

>> 20 free and fun things to do with the kids this summer

However, Air Camp is now also offering a less-intensive program for younger students for the very first time. The day camp, designed for fourth through sixth grades, focuses partly on aviation, but also covers engineering, rocketry, botany, robotics, art and more. Like its counterpart, the day camp will take the students to various sites around the Miami Valley. 

The program is designed to take the intimidation out of learning about the STEM field. 

“We will help them to understand that a butterfly in particular has to overcome the same forces to fly that an airplane does. We know that will help them feel more comfortable about the physics of flight,” Coblentz explained.

Though the day camp students won’t get to fly an actual airplane, they will learn to code and fly their own unmanned aerial vehicle. 

The application process for middle school students includes an essay of 300 words or less and a teacher’s letter of recommendation. Day camp students are admitted on a first-come-first-served basis.

Coblentz believes both camps are vital to how students approach STEM subjects and in showing them the long-term possibilities therein.

“We want to make sure they know that whatever they’re passionate about at this age, they can find a way to make a living at that as an adult,” she said.  

“Most importantly, we’ll teach them how to use data, and emphasize for both camps that the wrong answer is not a problem. Knowing what to do with the wrong answer is the critical skill.” 

Learn more about Air Camp at Air Camp is accepting applications through April 30. Basic requirements for application, including the application portal itself, can be found here


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One of our writers prepares to step into the ring tonight

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 9:13 AM

Preparing for Dayton Fight Night

Editor’s note: The writer of this article, Richard Wilson, is a staff writer who covers Greene County news. He will be boxing on Saturday at Dayton History Fight Night.

You cannot prepare enough for a fight, especially when you spend 40 hours a week sitting in an office writing stories.

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Fight Night 2017

For myself and 19 others who will be stepping into the ring this Saturday at Dayton Fight Night, we’ve had about three months to learn to box and elevate our cardio fitness.

Three months may be enough time to learn whether your stock portfolio is performing well or to make sure your life insurance premiums are paid up, but it’s not nearly enough time to learn the subtleties of the pull counter, or even how to keep breathing when someone is trying to punch your lights out.

>> Local fighters will put their dukes up at Dayton History Fight Night

“It’s so different than just picking up and running,” said Toya Webb, one of the fighters who is self-employed.

Consider legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach’s comments when Conor McGregor was gunning for Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“I’d have to train him for at least three years to get him ready for Mayweather,” Roach said of McGregor, a champion in two UFC weight divisions.

There’s plenty to learn about boxing, but when your full-time job doesn’t involve hurting people, one of the toughest obstacles to overcome in preparing for a fight is simply hitting someone and getting hit back.

There seems to be a moral revulsion built into the psyche to the act of punching someone in the face. Perhaps it’s a survival mechanism in the human brain — for when you hit someone, the odds of you getting hit back rises faster than Mike Tyson disposed of heavyweights in the early 1990s.

In preparing for her bout, research consultant Kristin Delgado said being OK with hitting another person has been a challenge. 

>> 3 unforgettable moments in Dayton boxing history

“It’s kind of weird when you’ve never done it. You’re like, ‘Oh I’m sorry the first time,” Delgado said. “Nobody really wants to hurt anyone else, but when you get bopped upside the head a few times, you get over that.”

With her face flush from a sparring session at the Brown Institute of Martial Arts in Centerville, nuclear medicine technician Rachael Spitsnaugle said getting in the ring is an “intense” experience.

“I think the hardest, hardest thing was when people started punching me in the face. That was a little intense,” Spitsnaugle said. “But getting over that, being nervous and worked up because that’s coming at you, that’s probably been the hardest, but (also) definitely the biggest gains.”

My opponent, Chris Walker of LexisNexis, shared some of his thoughts on the matter. Walker said he’s “a complete beginner,” with no previous experience in any combative arts.

I’m not sure his stinging right cross got that memo.

“It is a definite experience,” he said. “I mean you come in, you’re doing training and you’re feeling good, you’re feeling confident, and then all your plans kind of go out the window that first time you’re in a ring and someone’s actually trying to hit you back.”

>> Dayton Fight Night: A Night I’ll Never Forget

Beginner or not, I’m not looking forward to avoiding Walker’s right cross and left hook. And while I’m excited to be participating in the charity event and supporting the Dayton History non-profit organization, I’m looking forward to returning to my desk with my teeth and moral aptitude intact.

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Top 10 things to do this week

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 12:00 AM

Vocalist Kathryn Rose will join the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Jeans N Classics rock ensemble for Tribute to the Brill Building Songwriters at the Schuster Center in Dayton on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. CONTRIBUTED
Vocalist Kathryn Rose will join the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Jeans N Classics rock ensemble for Tribute to the Brill Building Songwriters at the Schuster Center in Dayton on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. CONTRIBUTED

Looking for something to do this weekend? Look no further ...

>> Fish fry events this weekend in Dayton

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>> Jungle Jim’s Whiskey Night is back


This year marks 50 years since the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company formed. Given that milestone, it’s no surprise the acclaimed arts group is taking the opportunity to look back at five decades of movement and magic with a number of events in 2018.

First on the agenda is “The Gathering: A DCDC Family Reunion” at the DCDC Studios, 840 Germantown St., Dayton, at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23. This program, which was originally booked at the Dayton Woman’s Club, features current dancers and former company members, choreographers, board members and administration. Cost: $25.

The celebration continues on Saturday, Feb. 24, when DCDC presents the winter concert “Reunited” at Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton, at 7:30 p.m. Current and past members of the company will perform. Cost: $24.50-$47. Call 937-228-3630 or visit

>> DCDC celebrates 50 years with one-night special celebration

On the brink of its 50th anniversary season, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is producing a one night only celebration of former dancers and current artists in its winter concert fittingly titled Reunited, which is slated Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Victoria Theatre. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)


Hits from the 1960s and 1970s composed by Neil Sedaka, Carole King, Burt Bacharach and other celebrated songwriters are the focus of the next installment of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s SuperPops Series. The Jeans ’N Classics rock ensemble will once again join the DPO for Tribute to the Brill Building Songwriters at the Schuster Center, Second and Main streets, Dayton, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. Cost: $13-$79. Call 937-228-3630 or visit


Each year, Dayton History gives interested area professionals a chance to step into the ring and display their skills during an amateur boxing exhibition. The annual Fight Night fundraiser with a 1920s flair is presented at Memorial Hall, 125 E. First St., Dayton, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. Doors open at 7 p.m. Cost: $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Proceeds benefit Dayton History’s education programming and conservation efforts at Carillon Historical Park and other Dayton History sites. Call 937-293-2841 or visit

>> Local fighters will put their dukes up at Dayton History Fight Night

Dayton History Fight Night returns to historic Memorial Hall on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. CONTRIBUTED(Dayton History)


John Witherspoon’s main gig is stand-up comedian, but the veteran performer is responsible for some iconic characters on the big and small screens. He starred in sitcoms such as “The First Family” and “The Wayans Bros.” and has done voice work on animated hits like “Black Jesus” and “The Boondocks.” Witherspoon, who is probably best known as Mr. Jones in the popular “Fridays” film franchise, will reprise the role in the upcoming fourth and final film, “Last Friday.” The actor-comedian returns to town for performances at the Funny Bone Comedy Club, The Greene, 88 Plum St., Beavercreek, on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. Show times are 7:30 and 10 p.m. Cost: $25-$57.80. Call 937-429-LAFF (5233) or visit

Actor-comedian John Witherspoon, whose diverse credits include The First Family, The Boondocks and the Fridays film franchise, returns to the Funny Bone Comedy Club at The Greene in Beavercreek on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)


Rebecca Luker made her Broadway debut in 1988 as Christine in “Phantom of the Opera.” The Alabama native and three-time Tony Award-nominee has also appeared in plays such as “The Secret Garden,” “Mary Poppins” and “The Music Man.” She also appeared on television programs such as “Boardwalk Empire,” “Law & Order-SVU” and “Matlock.” Luker, who recently appeared on an episode of “NCIS: New Orleans” on CBS, performs at the Loft Theatre, 126 N. Main St., Dayton, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. Cost: $65, which includes a post-show reception. The VIP ticket is $140 and includes admission to a 6:30 p.m. reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer. Call 937-228-3630 or visit

Three-time Tony Award nominee Rebecca Luker will sing the Golden Age of Broadway and more Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Loft Theatre. She will also participate in a master class and interview Friday, Feb. 23 in the Festival Playhouse of the Creative Arts Center at Wright State University. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY LAURA MARIE DUNCAN(Contributing Writer)

>> Why this Broadway star is coming to town and how you can see her


Whether you’re hoping to boost your curb appeal or update your interior living space, there will be plenty of experts to provide guidance during the Miami County Home & Garden Show at Hobart Arena, 255 Adams St., Troy, Friday through Sunday, Feb. 23 through 25. The event, presented by the Western Ohio Home Builders Association, features plumbers, landscape architects, interior decorators, general contractors and other specialists to help you reinvent your living space. Show hours are 2 to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Cost: $5 adults in advance, $6 at the door, free for children 12 and younger. Call 937-339-2911 or visit

>> What’s brand new at Cincinnati Home and Garden show?


The members of Lynyrd Skynyrd may have recently announced the band was embarking on its farewell tour in May but that doesn’t mean southern rock is dead. A new generation of acts like Blackberry Smoke and Whiskey Myers is keeping the genre alive. Whiskey Myers — performing with Muscadine Bloodline at Oddbody’s Music Room, 5418 Burkhardt Road, Dayton, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 — has been trafficking in its own Texas-bred blend of southern rock since 2007. The band’s latest album, “Mud,” was released in September 2016. Cost: $20-$25. Call 937-813-4272 or visit

New day southern rockers Whiskey Myers performs with Muscadine Bloodline at Oddbody s Music Room in Dayton on Friday, Feb. 23. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)


“The Color Purple: The Musical” is the powerfully engaging stage play based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The original production received 11 2006 Tony Award nominations. The book also spawned the Oscar-nominated film adaptation by Steven Spielberg. A new production of the show opened at La Comedia Dinner Theatre, 765 W. Central Ave., Springboro, on Thursday, Feb. 22. Show times are 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Cost: $61-$75 adults, $30 children 11 and younger. “The Color Purple” is presented through April 15. Call 937-746-4554 or visit


David Deitrick, who has been musical director for The Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra since October 2014, has programmed a set of Broadway favorites for An Evening of Rodgers & Hammerstein Classics. The concert, at Dayton Masonic Center, 525 W. Riverview Ave., Dayton, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 24 and 25, features selections from “The Sound of Music,” “Carousel,” “Oklahoma” and other shows. The repertoire includes popular songs such as “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and “I Whistle a Happy Tune.” Show times are 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Cost: $20 adults, $18 students and seniors. Call 937-530-0515 or visit


Although he spent time living and performing in New York, Mark Chalifoux never lost the laidback Midwestern demeanor he developed growing in the suburbs of Cincinnati. The comic, who recently moved back to Ohio, performs at Wiley’s Comedy Joint, 101 Pine St., Dayton, on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. Chalifoux is currently developing material for his debut comedy album, which he’ll record later this year for Audible. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday, and 7:15 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Cost: $10. Call 937-224-5653 or visit

Comic Mark Chalifoux, who is currently developing material for his debut comedy album for Audible, performs at Wiley s Comedy Joint in Dayton on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

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Dayton Music Insider: Shake off the Winter Blues!

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 8:11 AM

We were graced with the first breaths of spring this week, and it’s got me and lots of other music fans ready to bust out of the winter doldrums and have some fun!

This weekend’s live music scene is vibrant with music for all genres, from Celtic, country, singer/songwriter, Americana, alternative and punk. Seriously, something for everyone!

Keep reading to find out all the details!

Friday February 23rd

For those of you who are pining for the   Dayton Celtic Festival,  which doesn’t happen until July, you can get some amazing Celtic music in this weekend. Festival favorites Scythian return are back in town both Friday and Saturday nights to kick off the St. Patrick’s Day season. These two all-ages shows will be held at the Greek Orthodox Hall (500 Belmonte Park North). Tickets are available at or at the door. Doors 7pm. Show 8pm.

The Music of Carole King and Friends  is celebrated this weekend with The  Dayton Philharmonic  as part of their SuperPops Series. The DPO will perform your favorite songs from Carole King, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Laura Nyro, Paul Anka, Dionne Warwick, Neil Sedaka, Marvin Hamlisch, and Barry Mann. Tickets start at $29 and up. More info: Box Office (888) 228-3630. Performances are at 8pm at Schuster Center both Friday and Saturday nights.

Speaking of moving singer / songwriters, head over to the  Yellow Cab Tavern  for a beautiful and moving evening of music from  Adam Torres  (Austin, TX). He is touring nationally with  Wild Pink  (Brooklyn, NY), who are reminiscent of early Death Cab for Cutie or American Analog Set. Local band  Speaking Suns  kicks off this “don’t miss” evening of live music. Doors at 8pm. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Country / folk fans have a couple great shows downtown to check out! At  Hannah’s  on Ludlow, for an evening of  music from Dayton’s own  Scott Lee,  one of the “last of the true blue folk singers.” He’s got a fantastic voice, and spirit!  Sassy Molasses and Chad Cremeans get things started off, so make sure you get there early to catch their sets too! 9pm. No cover.

At Blind Bob’s you can catch Alex Culbreth, a high energy alternative country up and comer from Fredricksburg, VA. If you’re into country, definitely check out his tunes via the hyperlink and get on out and see him live! $5 cover. 9pm 21+

Local hard rock band Stella’s Demise is back at  Oregon Express  with special guests  The Typical Johnsons  and   Thank the Maker.  If you’re looking to rock out in the Oregon District, here’s your spot! Music at 10pm, $5 at the door, 21+

If Blues is more your thing, stop by the Trolley Stop for the  Doug Hart Band’s  performance.  Doug’s band incorporates free form, yet controlled versions of many blues standards along with the blending of Doug’s blues and rock influences to form creative original compositions. 9:30pm $5 at the door. 21+

Alternative rock fans, head over to   Jimmie’s Ladder 11  to check out Chicago’s   Third Twin Sister,  supported by local acts   Whiskey For Kids  and   Paige Beller.  If you’re looking for new music, this is a great show to check out!

North of town, at Oscar’s Bar in Vandalia, there’s a great night of funk and punk in store! Enjoy sets from Krunk Town Boogie,  with Yardboss kicking off the night! Fun times all around – don’t miss it! $5 at the door. 21+ 9pm.

Head to Miamisburg if you’re in a jazz state of mind. There are 2 acts performing both Friday and Saturday nights, at 6pm and 9pm at Blue Note Bistro . Or try out  Watermark  restaurant where  Kevin Dumont and   Jeon McConnell  offer sultry jams for your listening pleasure. Both spots sound like fantastic date night options!

Lastly, there is a Hip Hop Farewell Show  planned at One Eyed Jack’swhich is closing soon. This special show features  Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox,   Cozmikspirit, DJ Sparechange, Josh Thrasher, DJ Ike B, Villange Fam, Johnny Wiids, Planet Boom Bap (Indiana), Vice Verses and more! Doors 9pm. 18+ w ID. Free show! VIP tickets are $15.

Saturday February 24th

Another great night of music is in store at Yellow Cab Tavern with David Payne, Seth Gilliam and the Fake News , The Typical Johnsons , and Neo American Pioneers.  It’s a stellar line-up of Americana style local bands that you will not want to miss! Music starts at 8PM. $7 cover. 21+.

Celebrate a special birthday with super sweet punk bands, including   The Give Ups, Legbone, Oh Condor, Viceroy Kings at Blind Bob’s on Saturday night . It’s gonna be a rager! 9:30pm. $5 cover. 21+

It’s a punk rock kind of night in the Oregon District. Down the street, you can see the female fronted group Secret Circle Society,  along with  The Ram Ones  (Ramones Tribute) at Oregon Express. 9:30pm. $5 cover. 21+

Fresh off of a successful Mardi Gras gig, the John Lardinois NOLA band (aka  Lardinola Band ) is congregating once more to bring you an evening of acoustic renditions of some classic tunes. Check out this talented crew at  Trolley Stop on Saturday night. $5 cover. 9:30pm. 21+

Grateful Dead fans will be headed to Hannah’s on Ludlow for the fantastic tribute band  Arrows of Neon.  Two sets of jammin’ tunes starts at 10pm. Free show!

Super stoked for for Saturday night’s show at Peach’s Grill in Yellow Springs, featuring  Nasty Bingo and Cherry Lee & The Hot Rod Hounds.  What a fun crew all around! They will have you dancing all night long! 10pm. 21+

Hard rock fans will be loving the line-up once again at  Oscar’s Bar in Vandalia, with  Founding Fathers,   Tooth Lures a Fang  (Cincinnati),  Death By Fetish,  and  Novagold.  Rock on! 8pm. 21+

As  always, thank you for supporting live music!

Your Dayton Music Insider,

Libby Ballengee

Note to Readers: The information above is for February 2018. This is a listing of interesting shows in the Miami Valley region, but is by no means definitive. There are always lots of shows happening! Click hyperlinks to find out more about the bands, venues, and events, including start times, directions, and ticket information. If I don’t list a price, it wasn’t listed. Typically cover charges for local shows are $5.  You can keep up with my live music adventures on  Facebook,  Instagram, or  Twitter

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More than 30 pancake breakfasts taking over Dayton this weekend for a good cause

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 12:45 PM

Polk Grove United Church of Christ Facebook
(Polk Grove United Church of Christ Facebook)

If you pay close attention Sunday morning, you might notice the air is a little sweeter — perhaps even a little fluffy. More than 30 pancake breakfasts are happening in the Dayton area that day. 

>> 9 of the best places for brunch in Dayton

The annual Day of Caring Pancake Breakfast is a part of the grassroots organization established in 1991, “made up of volunteers committed to increasing personal awareness and involvement toward confronting the ever-increasing national plight of hunger and homelessness,” according to the organization’s website.

>> Top Dayton-area galas and charity events to put on your calendar in 2018

Headquartered in Beavercreek, 12 sites in the Dayton area served brunch at the very first Day of Caring and raised $8,000 for the Montgomery County Hunger and Housing Coalitions. Fast forward to 2012: over 1,000 volunteers dedicated their time to raise over $44,000. 

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Volunteers from Ohio Casualty Group pose at Fairfield Middle School during United Way’s 2007 Fall Day of Caring kickoff Pancake Breakfast; left to right: Cathy Armbruster, Lezley Crawford, Debbi Crawford, Judy Bailey, Nate Schmitt, Wade Chapman.(Submitted)

>> This insane ‘meatball pizza bowl’ is on the menu at Olive Garden

Today, Day of Caring takes places at over 40 locations in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas, and continues its mission of supporting local humanitarian organizations.

>> Local comic shop just expanded to take over 3 storefronts

“Equally important is our commitment to the increase in the number of free brunches served to local needy people,” according to DOC’s website. In addition to each site location providing a limited number of free brunches, one site in Cincinnati, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, is being dedicated entirely to serving FREE Pancake Brunches to those in need.

>>McDonald’s admits it screwed up & vows to ‘make amends’ this time

For a complete list of the 2018 Pancake Brunch Sites in the Dayton and Cincinnati-areas, visit

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