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From Dayton to Dublin: Local teen dancing in world championship

Published: Friday, March 10, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

This Dayton teen is headed to Ireland to compete for a world championship in Irish dance.

From a distance, Chance Brough appears to be a normal teenager, and for the most part he is. 

What happens to make the Stivers School for the Arts senior a little different from most his age is he just happens to be a world-class competitor in Irish dance. But his friends and fellow students are certainly aware, sometimes asking the 17-year-old to show off some of his moves at school.

“I demonstrate to them occasionally,” Brough said. “It’s funny. People find out that I’m a dancer, and in the middle of the lunch room (they’ll say) ‘You should do some dancing right now so I can get some video!’”

>> MORE: Get a jump on your St. Patrick’s Day fun this weekend with 3 events

If Brough is ever fazed by the attention, he doesn’t show it. After all, he’s been training at the Celtic Academy of Irish Dance in Riverside and performing in front of thousands yearly since he was a small child. 

All that sweat and toil paid off last fall when Brough, while at the Mid-American Regional Championships in Chicago, qualified to compete in his age group in the world championships held by the Irish Dancing Commission in Dublin, Ireland next month. 

>> MORE: Your guide to Dayton St. Patrick’s Day events in 2017

Chance Brough, a senior at Stivers School for the Arts, will compete in the world championships of Irish dance in Dublin, Ireland in April.(Jim Ingram)

“I had to work long and hard to get up into the preliminary championships. It’s a tough level to get up to, especially for me when I started off,” he said.

>> MORE: 4 ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with FOOD in Dayton

Since the word has spread, Brough, who is also a gifted violinist and will continue his music education at Wright State University next fall, has been bolstered by both his teachers and peers.
“They’ve all been really supportive. I’m really happy that I have everyone (at the Celtic Academy),” Brough said. “It’s like a big family.” 

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In the meantime, between his schoolwork and performances, Brough is using whatever free time he has to rehearse his solo performance and hone his technique -- all while trying to handle the enthusiasm for what lies ahead.

“I’m excited because it’s a fun chance to go dance my heart out somewhere new and meet some new people. It’ll be interesting to go to Ireland,” he said. “I’m psyched for that.”

 

6 reasons we love all the construction in downtown Dayton 

Published: Tuesday, July 04, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Downtown Dayton: New and upcoming projects

Surely you’ve noticed all the banging and beeping in and around downtown Dayton. 

It is the sound of construction, which is music to our ears.

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There are large development projects like CareSource’s new office tower and housing developments like Delco Lofts, but much of that banging and beeping relates to restaurants and attractions.

>> 3 brand spanking new places to live in downtown Dayton

>> CareSource to buy office tower

Here’s a rundown of some recent projects  and those we are most looking forward to.

🏗️ MUDLICK TAP HOUSE

Where: 135 E. Second St. (the former Club Aquarius space)

When will it open: Soon (TBA)

🏗️ CANAL STREET ARCADE AND DELI 

Where: 308 E. First St. (the former home of the much-beloved music venue Canal Street Tavern)

 When will it open: The restaurant, bar and game room opened Wednesday, June 28.

Canal Street Arcade and Deli held a preview party on Tuesday, June 28. The restaurant an bar are located in downtown Dayton near Fifth Third Field.(Photo by Amelia Robinson)

🏗️ THE FUNK MUSIC HALL OF FAME AND EXHIBITION CENTER 

Where: 113 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton’s Fire Block District

When will it open: Construction in progress. The nonprofit seeks donations of display cases and other materials.

>> Funk Music Hall of Fame opening in downtown Dayton after long battle

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Dayton artist Delora Buford-Buchanan put clothes on the funk. Video by Amelia Robinson

🏗️ LOCK 27 BREWING 

Where: 329 E. First St. in the Delco Building near Fifth Third Field

When will it open:  Soon; the brewery is hiring employees now 

>> Dayton’s newest brewery now hiring, gearing up to open

Sneak peek inside Lock 27 Brewing in downtown Dayton

>> PHOTOS:  A look inside of downtown Dayton’s newest brewery

🏗️ 416 DINER 

Where: 416 E. Fifth St. in Dayton’s Oregon District 

When will it open: Friday, July 7; there will be a 9 a.m. ribbon cutting

>> 7 things you should know about the new diner opening in the Oregon District

>> New Oregon District restaurant ready to open 

🏗️ KETTE’S KANDIES SPIRITED TREATS

Where: 10 S. Jefferson St. behind Century Bar in the Fire Blocks District

When will it be open: Late fall

Joseph Head of the Century Bar in downtown Dayton. File photo by Jim Witmer(Staff Writer)

🏗️DAYTON METRO LIBRARY’S NEW MAIN BRANCH 

Where:  215 E. Third St. 

When will it open: Aug. 5 

Two hundred people — elected officials, levy supporters and children from the The Dayton Metro Library Summer Challenge reading program — will hold the ribbon during a ceremony at noon on Aug. 5. That date is when the new library will be open to the public.

There will be a community festival outside of the library featuring local entertainers from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

>> Street festival, massive block-long ribbon cutting part of Dayton Metro Library opening

The dos and don’ts of brunch

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Make the most of your brunch with these helpful dos and don'ts from Tess Vella-Collette. PHOTO / Tess Vella-Collette
Make the most of your brunch with these helpful dos and don'ts from Tess Vella-Collette. PHOTO / Tess Vella-Collette

There a few activities that are at the top of my life list: I like getting pedicures, I like shoe shopping, and I like to brunch. (Should my hobbies be more interesting? Ahhh, well.)

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Brunching is one of the things I look forward to the most during the weekends. It’s the perfect opportunity to slow down for a moment, gab with friends, and enjoy some major grub. Breakfast food is my absolute favorite, and we all know by now that I like to drink, so any occasion to enjoy eggs and wine in the morning is okay by me.

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Just like any sophisticated endeavor, there are certain rules that come with brunching. These aren’t hard and fast rules, but as a person who has enjoyed and also worked many a brunch, I’d like to believe I have a bit of insight. Here is the Ciao Vella list of brunching do’s and don’ts.

Don’t: Get Swindled by Your Mimosa

A mimosa seems like a brunch staple, and it is -- but in my opinion, a mimosa is a total rip off. To me, a good mimosa consists of 80% champagne and 20% fruit juice, but at most places you go for brunch, those ratios are flipped. You wouldn’t normally spend $8 on a glass of OJ, right? My suggestion: order a glass (or bottle, because let’s be serious) of your favorite sparkling, and ask for a glass of OJ or grapefruit on the side. In the end, you may pay a little bit more, but at least you get the drink you want, and not the drink you think you want.

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Make the most of your brunch with these helpful dos and don'ts from Tess Vella-Collette. PHOTO / Tess Vella-Collette

Do: Order All the Drinks

This “do” is two-fold. Yes, take this opportunity to get a little loose, overindulge, have more than a few drinks. But what I really mean by this is: have as many drink options as you’d like. When I brunch, I order a glass of champs, a side of OJ, a coffee, and a club soda with lime. There is never any shortage of beverage options on my table because brunch is about decadence and indulgence, but also, each drink serves its purpose: coffee because it’s technically still breakfast time, champagne, because brunch; OJ because see above, and finally club soda, because if you’re drinking, you have to stay hydrated. (Look mom, I’m responsible once in a while!)

>> 9 MORE great brunch spots in Dayton

Make the most of your brunch with these helpful dos and don'ts from Tess Vella-Collette. PHOTO / Tess Vella-Collette

Don’t: Settle for Just One Plate

This past summer my husband Tim and I took a weekend trip to Nashville to celebrate our wedding anniversary. One of my (what I would like to think this is) cute travel quirks is that I research restaurants ahead of time and almost always pick out exactly what I’m going to eat. As Tim says, “you’re always planning your next meal.”  

We made reservations at this gorgeous restaurant called Le Sel for brunch, but there were so many good menu options that I just couldn’t choose. When we sat down at the table, Tim agreed to order a little bit of everything, and it was amazing. We had a crepe, a peach salad, mussels and fries, crab cakes, and eggs benedict...yep, all the food. This is a food philosophy I encourage for all brunches. Want a salad? Get it. Eggs? Do it, girl. Sausage on the side. Yes! And you want a pancake? Get one for the table. Split a plate with a friend, take some of it home, I don’t care what you do -- but just get it all. 

>> 7 places to get a healthy brunch

Make the most of your brunch with these helpful dos and don'ts from Tess Vella-Collette. PHOTO / Tess Vella-Collette

Do: Treat the Staff Well

This should go without saying -- your wait staff and the kind people preparing your food work incredibly hard for sometimes thankless pay and long, grueling hours. I hope you always tip well, but do so especially at brunch. First of all, serving brunch sucks. The lovely people serving your eggs probably worked late the night before, then had to roll out of bed with sore backs and feet to bust their ass way too early in the morning for your enjoyment. Brunch is also a stressful shift for many of your restaurant biz friends, with long ticket times, snotty customers, and temperamental ingredients. An extra two or three bucks towards a tip isn’t going to make that much of a difference in your life, but it will make one stressful shift all the better for the folks serving you. Also, you might be qualified for sainthood if you buy a round for the kitchen staff -- they need love too.

>> Are the French REALLY snobs when it comes to food and culture?

Don’t: Feel obligated to shower beforehand

It’s the weekend, okay? Spray some dry shampoo, drag a comb through that mop, and throw on a hat if you have to. It just feels so unnecessary to primp pre-brunch, and while I am typically a proponent of the primp, brunch is supposed to be a relaxed vibe. One of the highlights of my Sundays is rolling out of bed and breaking bread with my buddies. You have to put on office-appropriate clothes every other day, so let brunch be your opportunity to keep it casual. Plus, sneakers, leggings and last night’s mascara can still look tres chic!

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Do: Clear Your Schedule

The plan is to have no plan. You’ve got lots of chatting to do with your friends, lots of drinks to consume, lots of plates to clear -- so make sure your schedule is also clear. Having to run off to a family function post-brunch can be a total buzz kill. Brunch is a little glamorous, a little bouji, and you should leave stuffed. One of the best parts about brunch is the epic food coma you slip into when you finally get home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tess is a restaurant professional, home-baker and downtown Dayton dweller. When she's not mixing drinks for restaurant patrons, she's drinking champagne, buying shoes, or writing her blog, Ciao Vella. You can read about her home recipes, party planning tips, and more at www.CiaoVellaBlog.com.

This article was originally published on Ciao Vella, Tess Vella-Collette’s food and lifestyle blog. 

This local woman launched a sex podcast, and it’s taking off

Published: Thursday, July 20, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Randi Levinson of Yellow Springs recently launched the  Sex + Love podcast.
Photo: Amelia Robinson
Randi Levinson of Yellow Springs recently launched the Sex + Love podcast.(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

Randi Levinson has made the bumping, grinding and other sexy time things that may or may not be going on in your bedrooms her business.

The Yellow Springs-based sex coach recently turned her love of sex talk and helping others get it on into the “sex + love podcast,” which is available for download and subscription on iTunes.

The fact is, helping people stoke the flames on their own or with others is her passion.

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“I love when people tell me about what is going on in their sex lives,” the mother of two said. “It is so intimate. It is so vulnerable. I think when people do it, they start to lighten up their shame and sort of see the magic that kind of comes out of talking about these things that are supposed to be so secretive.”

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A marriage and family therapist by training, Levinson has been a sexologist for two years, holding office hours in Yellow Springs, Columbus and via Skype with clients around the nation. 

Right now, the sex + love  podcast focuses on conversation about sex with people from varied backgrounds.

Don’t think Dr. Ruth Westheimer, exactly. 

As revolutionary as Dr. Ruth was at the time, Levinson said, Dr. Ruth is very puritanical and heterocentric by today’s standards.

Levinson, who was recently featured by Real Simple magazine, has an approach that is far less judgmental and more open. 

Randi Levinson of Yellow Springs recently launched the Sex + Love podcast.(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

“(It is) sort of normalizing everything so when listeners are listening they can sort of relate or have their minds opened or hear something new and be curious,” she told us.

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So far, podcast subjects have included a conversation with a woman with chronic vaginal pain interested in kink and Tantra, a divorced woman finding her sexual awakening following a sexless marriage, a man trying to deal with a failing marriage and a long-distance relationship with a woman with who has multiple partners, a woman who struggled to keep intimacy in her marriage during the dry spell of pregnancy and postpartum, and how a Portland, Ore. sex worker navigated her relationship

She is always looking for guests with good stories. 

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“I want to talk to everybody, even people who have no sex life,” said Levinson, who holds a master of arts in counseling psychology from John F. Kennedy University. “Everyone has their story.” 

Hundreds have already subscribed to the podcast, which can be heard on iTunes and most major services. 

Levinson said elements of her sex coaching methods may be incorporated into future love + sex episodes. 

Sex coaching is not about to picking up a set of pom poms and meeting couples in the bedroom, Levinson said. 

Randi Levinson of Yellow Springs recently launched the Sex + Love podcast.(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

Instead, she said her approach is goal-based. Many are 12 sessions with a “check up” when needed.   

“I want you to reach your goal and be gone,” she said. 

Her clients range from those in their 20s to those in their 60.

Issues range from erectile disfunction to sexless marriages to loss of passion in long-term relationships to the inability to achieve orgasms.

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“People think that sex and being sexually connected to others should come naturally and be organic,” she said. “It it sort of the glue that keeps you together; otherwise, you are companions and roommates.” 

Levinson and her husband, Dayton native and filmmaker Joel Moss Levinson, moved their family to Yellow Springs from Los Angeles in 2011. 

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Raised in Chicago, Randi Levinson said she loves the village, which is known to have a quirky nature, artistic edge and free spirits. 

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Levinson said it doesn’t faze her when people look at her sideways when they learn she is one of the few sex coaches working in these parts. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in the box. I think I’ve always lived outside the box and thought outside the box so it doesn’t matter as much what people think of me,” she said. “I feel like I am fulfilling my purpose and I think I am doing what is right.”

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Levinson said wants to release the shame people have about sex and help them find solutions. Sex and passion are important parts of intimate relationships, she said. 

“It is this constant fire that you need to feed, or the fire goes out,” she said. 

Randi Levinson of Yellow Springs recently launched the Sex + Love podcast.(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

You won’t believe the awesome backyard castle this Beavercreek dad built for his kids

Published: Thursday, July 20, 2017 @ 10:29 AM

A Beavercreek dad and his pals made the ultimate cardboard castle. Video courtesy of Fred Marion edited by Amelia Robinson.

An engineer, 40 kids (one screaming about a bazooka), 205 cardboard boxes and 30 rolls of Duck Tape: how could could it not be a good time? 

A Beavercreek dad of two (with a third one on the way) assembled friends to build the ultimate backyard cardboard box castle last weekend.

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“We have a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. If there's a large box in the house, they want to climb inside it,” Fred Marion, a writer, explained. “We like to get out the box cutters and make them little doors and windows. They spend hours inside them. I started wondering how they'd react if we built them something truly enormous.”

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Beavercreek dad Fred Marion and his friends made the ultimate backyard cardboard castle for their kids.(Photo: Paul Thomas)

>> Check out the video to see the kids playing in the awesome creation. 

Marion’s friend Paul Thomas put his engineering skills to good use on the castle, using 2x4 pieces of wood Marion had in his barn. 

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“The next time I looked at the castle, there was a cardboard staircase leading up to a huge platform. The kids spent most of their time up there. They loved it,” Marion said. “Kids live in a world made for big people. They need a footstool to sit on the toilet. A castle's a chance for them to make their own little world. I also think there's something primal about forts. Kids are still in touch with that. They love tunnels and nooks and crannies. They did things with the cardboard I wouldn't have thought of. They made swords, helmets, a drawbridge. Then, they knocked it all down. They had as much fun doing the demolition work as they did the construction.”

The Guinness record for the “largest cardboard sculpture” -- which was 33.2 feet wide by 33.255 feet tall -- was set in Hong Kong on April 4, 2016.

 

Beavercreek dad Fred Marion and his friends made the ultimate backyard cardboard castle for their kids.(Photo: Paul Thomas)

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Marion said he thought about taking it on during his kids’ party, but then he stepped back.

“Maybe we'll do that when the kids are older. At this age, I realized they don't care about records,” he said. “They just like building, playing and having fun.”

Kettering resident Alf Butler helped build the castle. 

“I was totally impressed it had multiple tiers. I was expecting walls, but (it) ended up having more than one level, even,” he said.  “Awesome stuff.”

WHAT WENT INTO THE CASTLE?

- 205 cardboard boxes
- 30 rolls of Duck Tape
- 10 box cutters
- 100 feet of pennants

TIPS FROM FRED ON HOW TO DO IT YOURSELF

— Ask guests to bring boxes. The bigger, the better.
— If you have a friend in engineering, make sure you invite them.
— Let the kids tear the castle down. They'll have as much fun doing that as they do building it.
—When you're done, have everyone help you toss the boxes in a trailer or the back of a truck. Then, you can take them to your area recycling center.