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You won’t believe how this former Dayton drug dealing teen is doing 22 years after NPR interview 

Published: Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 12:25 PM

Dayton Daily News archived photo of Steven Mallory by Ed Roberts/Dayton Daily News
Ed Roberts/Dayton Daily News

The way you your start life isn’t necessarily the way you have to live it. 

That is one conclusion that can be drawn from Steven Mallory’s journey. 

When NPR’s “All Thing Considered” host Robert Siegel interviewed Mallory in 1994 and 1995, Mallory was 22 years old and recovering from a life as a “fast-living teenage drug dealer” in Dayton. 

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Mallory, a trash collector for Montgomery County with three children at the time of his first interviews with Siegel, changed his ways after friend Antoine Gibson died in 1992. He wanted to live a better life. 

As part of a story that aired Wednesday on NPR,  Siegel said that back then, Mallory struck him as a person with imagination who wanted more out of life than it was giving him. 

“Mr. Steven Mallory of Dayton, Ohio, whom I interviewed back in 1994 and 1995. I wondered ever since whether he's OK. Turns out, he's better than OK,” Siegel said. 

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Siegel came to the Dayton area and caught up with Mallory. He still works for Montgomery County, but has moved up in the ranks.

“Over 20 years later, Mallory, 44, now lives in the Northridge Estates subdivision just north of the Dayton city line. Here, there are single homes with garages and neatly mowed lawns. It's the very vision of a middle-class suburb.

He is Dad to three grown children from his days with Groves and one teenage daughter with Tracey, his wife of 18 years. Tracey is an elementary school principal. Their teenage daughter, Zharia, will be making college visits this summer.”

Besides his work as a Montgomery County scale operator, Mallory owns two businesses, a lawn care service and a massage clinic. 

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“Seeing Steven Mallory today as an enterprising middle-class suburbanite reminded me of the capacity for imagination that I had seen in him back in the 1990s. He imagined a life unlike anything he had ever experienced, and he made it happen,” Siegel said. 

Hear the entire story here: 

My night with Bloom Creative Collective at “Never Sent”

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 11:07 AM
Updated: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 11:07 AM

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z.  First, let me ask you one question: Did you sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when you read all the letters just now? Don’t worry, I did too. And not just once, but every time I have proofed this blog. *Insert frustrated eye-roll emoji*

OK back to the point. A B C D E F G… you get the idea. These 26 letters are the building blocks of our language. The DNA, or ultimate code for our communication. With these letters, we shape and create narratives that boggle the human mind, mess with emotions, ensnare your senses, and most importantly transport you to alternate realities. People have made lifetime careers off these 26 letters.

Take for example Kevin Durant. Newly added to the Golden State Warriors in 2016. For a career of putting a ball in a basket, his net worth is up to about $60.6 million and that’s not counting the 10-year endorsement contract with Nike that is worth as much as $300 million. Now let’s compare him to J.K. Rowling, whose estimated net worth from the Harry Potter Franchise is just shy of $1 billion — which is a fraction of the $15 billion brand she created.

The picture I am trying to paint is that words are powerful. We combine and rearrange these 26 little letters to create infinite combinations of words, phrases, and sentences that invoke our greatest emotions. This is exactly what Bloom Creative Collective did with their event Never Sent: an evening of words, art, nostalgia.”

Bloom is a female-based creative collective started by four friends (Briana Anello, Ashley Bethard, Morgan Bush, and Jenna Black). Their goal is to create a safe space for artists to come together, explore their creativity, and embrace the messiness of this process through workshops, experiences and collaborative projects. They believe that being creative is about learning to be vulnerable. Their space is one of support, not competition.

Never Sent is the first event Bloom has put on, with many more to come. Held within the offices of Catapult Creative in downtown Dayton, Never Sent’s ambiance was that of home. From the moment you walked in, you were welcomed with a calming spirit and an energy that couldn’t be explained. Hand-made refreshments coupled with a spread of light hors d’oeuvres cleansed your physical palate as well as prepared your mental palate.

With a backdrop of roses falling into a sea of twinkle lights, Bloom set the stage perfectly for its speakers. The best way I can describe the feeling of the background for the speakers; it was as if a warm blanket was wrapped within a hug to protect each speaker.  Almost like armor or some sort of supportive coat of protection.

The Speakers

Jessica Warner – “My friend Tina once said to me, ‘You were basically a Marxist feminist Tasmanian devil with fashion sense,’ and I can’t think of any better way to describe myself.”

Karen Maner – A native Daytonian, Karen Maner earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Eastern Washington University, where she served as the Assistant Coordinator of the Get Lit literary festival. Since returning to Dayton, she’s dedicated herself to organizations that unite the community through storytelling and the arts, serving as a board member for UpDayton and Friends of the Dayton Metro Library and working as the Communications and Project Manager for Culture Works. Her writing has appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading and Colorado Review and made the Notable Essays list in Best American Essays 2014.

Stephanie Coates – Mom of three little humans. Clumsy tree climber. Traveler. Purveyor of words and baked goods. Love Poets are the worst. I’m alright though.

Ashley Bethard – “A note on my poetic sensibilities: if it’s got rust, dust, or a deep and troubled history, I will fall in love. This explains every good and terrible decision I’ve ever made.”

Natalie Sanders – Actress at Dare to Defy productions, writer, artist.

Bridget Flaherty – Corporate Powerhouse turned Gypsy: In 2016, Bridget walked away from a corporate leadership position, sold her house and everything in it and took to the road. She hiked the Grand Canyon, drove the Pacific Coast Highway, went to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle, jumped off a cliff into Crater Lake in Oregon and witnessed Old Faithful blow in Yellowstone. She now writes and shares stories and leads workshops for both business and personal development.

Much like my cholesterol, this event was filled with emotional highs and lows. With readings about “Conversations I Have With You When I Am High,” extremely descriptive narratives of Jeff Goldblum’s intimacy scenes in the movie “The Fly,” playing truth or dare of the heart, an admission of how one cannot authentically process grief, and a heartfelt poem-letter to one’s daughter. “Never Sent” promised an evening of memories, but delivered a night of emotions from the past.

This event wasn’t out to make money, or gain a foothold in the artistic community. You won’t see the evening news do a five-minute piece on what lives the event saved. Never Sent’s mission was to strengthen those who needed the emotional endurance training that they have been unable to find. To help build upon a foundation, some that were fractured, and to create something so unbelievable, that hearing it only did it fractional justice.

Mission Accomplished.

You can follow Bloom: a creative collective on Facebook and Instagram.

Back to school to-do list: Start thinking about school supplies now

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 1:40 PM

Oh, we know. The start of school is almost two months away. Is it really time to go back-to-school shopping already?

Probably not, but here’s what you can do.

  1. Find the school supply list. Look on your school’s website. Can’t find it there? Ask a fellow parent in your grade or in the grade ahead of your child for the list.
  2. Take a picture of the school supply list and put it on your phone.
  3. If you happen to be in a store during the summer and see a good price on something, you can grab it.

Why do it now?

  • Back-to-school sales are fabulous and amazing, but not always on every product.
  • Tax-free weekend also doesn’t equal good deals on everything. Often, you’re really only saving the tax (0.825 percent) verses another sale that is 10 percent, 20 percent, half off, etc.
  • Once everyone starts looking for the same common school supplies, store shelves get depleted. Let me tell you about the year we couldn’t find graph paper. It wasn’t pretty. I might have sat in the middle of a Walmart at 10 p.m. on a school night and cried, only to realize I was being ridiculous.

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What if I can’t find a list because there is no list because my kid is in high school or middle school?

  • Ask parents (or kids) in the grade ahead of your kid what they needed.
  • Go ahead and stock up on items you know your child might need: composition books, binders, pencils, pens, notebook paper, printer paper, etc.

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What we didn’t do was test how much we would have spent if we went online to a place like Amazon instead of hitting stores. So, we did. We took the same list from last year and found these results:

For the third-grader, we would have spent $110.71 to complete his list on Amazon, compared with $61.15 at Walmart for the same list.

For the eighth-grader, $85.04 on Amazon, compared with $28.20 at H-E-B.

Was it easier to shop online? Well, it wasn’t as hot and there weren’t people in our way, but many of the specific items were hard to find. You had to scroll through a lot and there were way too many options. We also would have had to buy a lot of extra stuff to get the specific things we needed because often things were packaged deal.

Find more back-to-school columns we’re written this summer and look for at least one a week here at Austin360.com/raisingaustin.

12 Instagram accounts that get me excited about Dayton

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

A hobby of mine that helps me relax is taking photos.  Now I am not a master photographer by any means, but I like to think I have a good eye for capturing some beauty.  I do not have a big editing studio, rather I spent a few bucks on a couple photo editing apps on my iPhone.

With that said, I thought it would be fun to make a quick list of 12 accounts, in no particular order, that I enjoy viewing on a daily basis.  These accounts are a mixture of restaurants, people, organizations, music, and all sorts of other things.  So do yourself a favor and give these account a follow when you can.

1) @entropic

 

2) @oldscratchpizza

 

3) @belleofdayton

 

4) @bonnettsbooks

 

5) @girlaboutdayton

 

6) @linkdyt

 

7) @rebelrebeltattoo

 

8) @dayton_architecture

 

9) @nightbeastband

 

10) @_jhock

 

11) @3rdsundaysdayton

 

12) @daytonpedalwagon

Photos show shocked mother after breaking 50-year family history of baby girls

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 9:56 PM

A mother was surprised to learn she delivered a baby boy (not pictured) after a 50-year family history of girls.
Jane Khomi/Getty Images

A Columbus, Georgia, mother’s look of surprise after delivering her second child was caught on camera, and images of her expression are amusing the internet.

Today reported that Dara Crouch, and her husband, Eric, 30, chose to keep the gender of her newborn a secret. Already a mother to 3-year-old daughter Neyland, the labor and delivery nurse didn’t know until April 25 that she broke a 50-year family history of baby girls.

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“I just knew I was having a girl,” Crouch, 29, told Today.com.

As it turns out, Crouch delivered a boy.

Her surprised reaction was caught by her friend and photographer Neely Ker-Fox. The images were posted on Ker-Fox’s Facebook page

“All of our reactions were genuine that she thought it was a girl,”  Ker-Fox told ABC News. “We all saw that very vulnerable moment and we started crying when we heard it was a boy.”

“I look kind of crazy in them, but I think they’re great," Crouch told ABC News. “We have something to look back on; had we not had a photographer in the room, we would've never seen that.”

The boy was a long time coming, according to Crouch, but that wasn’t why she was so surprised.

“The last boy that we know was born on my side of the family is 50 years ago, but quite honestly, it has little to do with the shock in the picture. I really just thought it was a girl, I really did. We already had a girl and I guess I kind of saw us as ‘girl parents.’”

Now 7 weeks old, Liam is “doing great,” Crouch says.

“He loves to eat and watch his big sister play … and he loves to smile at his daddy.”

Ker-Fox told CBS News that of the 100-plus births she’s photographed in six years, this one is extra special.

“Never have I had a mom look directly into my camera,” she said. “It was such an unexpected photo to grab for me. Her face was genuine shock, which melted into pure and instantaneous love for her son.”

Crouch told the