Backers want Ohio Aviation Hall of Fame at future monument site

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 7:00 AM

The Dayton Air Fair, started in the mid 70s, provided thrills for aircraft enthusiasts.

Ohio may be the birthplace of aviation, but it doesn’t have what California, Kansas, North Carolina and New Jersey all have: a state-oriented aviation hall of fame.

A number of aviation enthusiasts in the area want to change that, but money remains a big hurdle.

Backers envision an Ohio Aviation Hall of Fame as part of a proposed $21 million Triumph of Flight monument on eight acres at the southwest corner of Interstate 75 and I-70.

State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, has introduced a bill establishing a nine-member board to oversee the Hall of Fame and a 2022 deadline for construction. 

It’s about “tagging our state as one of if not the number one state in aerospace in the country,” said Perales, an Air Force veteran.

RELATED: Apollo 13 mission director, three others to enter National Aviation Hall of Fame

In all, 34 states have their own state-specific aviation halls of fame honoring natives who have made significant contributions to the field, a University of Dayton volunteer student-led study found. Ohio is not one of them.

The National Aviation Hall of Fame, which is tucked inside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, honors legendary Ohio aviation and space pioneers, such as Dayton airplane inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright, and astronauts John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. But backers say there are plenty of noteworthy contributors who otherwise wouldn’t get their due without a state hall.

“There are a lot of people here in Ohio, a lot of Ohioans, who deserve recognition for their accomplishments who will just never rise to the level of the National Aviation Hall of Fame but are still worthy of some recognition,” said Timothy Gaffney, a local author who wrote the book, “The Dayton Flight Factory: The Wright Brothers & the Birth of Aviation.”

An artist rendering of the proposed Triumph of Flight monument that the Wright Image Group would like to building at the southwest quadrant of interstates 70 and 75 in Butler Township. Project organizers would like to build an Ohio Aviation Hall of Fame at the base of the monument. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY WRIGHT IMAGE GROUP(Staff Writer)

Paying for the monument

Backers have attempted to raise money for more than a decade for the Triumph of Flight. They envision a 270-foot monument with a massive stainless steel replica of the 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world’s first practical airplane, at the top of the arching tower.

The Hall of Fame would be inside a $2.6 million, 10,000-square-foot learning center at the base of the monument, said Curt Nelson, executive director of the Wright Image Group campaign and a retired Air Force pilot.

So far, the group has gathered about $2.1 million or 10 percent of the goal. Nelson said the group hopes to land a major donor in the months ahead, someone who would give half the money in return for having their name as part of the monument’s identity. The site itself would be a combination of donated and purchased land, he said.

“We’d like to be in a position later this summer with a significant amount of construction pledges in hand,” he said. “We’re active on that front. We’re talking to lots of folks. We’re very actively looking for that donor and maybe it happens this summer.”

RELATED: Group seeks to build Wright Flyer monument

Public money unlikely

Finding funding for the Triumph of Flight concept is the biggest challenge of the project, said National Aviation Heritage Alliance Executive Director Tony Sculimbrene.

He researched the history of two world-renowned places — the St. Louis Arch in Missouri and the Sydney Opera House in Australia — and discovered both relied on “substantial” government support to get off the ground, he said.

“I think the Triumph of Flight will require significant government support and that’s tough to do in today’s environment,” Sculimbrene said.

With state lawmakers working to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget in an effort to eliminate a projected shortfall, Perales does not anticipate having state money available.

Likewise, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, who once spoke on the House floor to support the monument, indicated that federal funding would not be available.

“Funding for projects like the Triumph of Flight monument would be considered an earmark, which are currently prohibited under House rules,” the congressman said in an emailed statement Friday.

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‘Inherently difficult’

Raising money for the Triumph of Flight monument has evolved into a years-long quest.

“Fundraising is difficult inherently and fundraising for things like monuments is a factor of 10 more difficult,” Nelson said.

The project received a $250,000 earmark in last year’s state capital budget, he said.

Gaffney acknowledged the fundraising challenge, but said, “I definitely think it would be a good thing for the Dayton region and the state of Ohio and why not have something on the scale of the St. Louis Arch and the Statue of Liberty because this is the birthplace of aviation?

“The St. Louis Arch marks the gateway to the west, but the Triumph of Flight marks the gateway to the universe.”

The monument would attract more tourists to the National Aviation Heritage Area and give boost to local tourism, organizers say.

TourismOhio Director Mary Cusick said she had not heard of the hall of fame proposal but noted the popularity of similar tourist sites in Ohio.

“I can tell you the National Football Hall of Fame (in Canton) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in Cleveland), those seem to get a lot of traction and they’re good for tourism in Ohio,” she said.

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This newspaper is dedicated to bringing you the latest news on aviation and tourism in the Miami Valley, an important part of the region’s history and identity.

It’s hay fever season in Southwest Ohio: 5 things you need to know

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 9:14 AM

FILE
FILE

The end of spring doesn’t mean your allergy struggles are over. Southwest Ohio is gearing up for another season of high pollen.

Ragweed allergen levels will be high, starting this week and could continue to be a problem for allergy sufferers until mid-October, according to local allergy experts. Pollen counts in the Miami Valley will be higher this week, and top allergens include ragweed, grasses and dock, according to pollen.com.

Here’s what to know about the high pollen counts:

1. HOW LONG DOES THE SEASON LAST? Dr. Arturo Bonnin of the Allergy and Asthma Centre of Dayton said ragweed season started this week and will continue through October. If the temperature stays warmer throughout the fall, the pollen season will last even longer. People who are allergic to ragweed or suffer from asthma should avoid outdoor activities and should keep their windows closed in their homes and their cars.

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2. WHAT IS RAGWEED?

There are 17 species of ragweed in the U.S., and the weeds grow in most regions — producing a fine-power pollen when they bloom from August through as late as November, according to the ACAAI. There are more than 67 million Americans suffering from different allergies every day.

3. HOW MANY PEOPLE SUFFER FROM HAY FEVER?

Ragweed reaches peak levels in mid-September, and this type of pollen can cause seasonal allergic rhinitis — otherwise known as hay fever. Hay fever impacts up to 23 million Americans each year, and symptoms include sneezing, runny nose and itchy throat or eyes, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

» RELATED: Spring allergy season hits hard, early

4. WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE DO IF THEIR CHILDREN ARE SUFFERING FROM ALLERGIES?

The fall allergy season starts as students head back to school for the year. ACAAI officials advise that parents make sure their children have their allergies and asthma under control before sending them off to school, which includes securing medicine, inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors for their classrooms.

5. WHAT SHOULD SCHOOLS DO? 

“Keeping allergies and asthma under control during the school year is a huge challenge,” said allergist Stephen Tilles, president of the ACAAI. “If you plan in advance, and understand the school’s procedures that are in place to keep your child healthy, you’re ahead of the game. Remember to keep communication with the school open, and work with your child to know their triggers. If you do, you’ll be off to a great start to the school year.”

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Ansonia restaurant could give away $300K Thursday

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 9:24 AM

Businessman Holding Money Bag
Stephen H. Sheffield/Getty Images
Businessman Holding Money Bag(Stephen H. Sheffield/Getty Images)

The jackpot for the Queen of Hearts game at The Whistle Stop restaurant in Ansonia is estimated to be around $300,000 when the business draws tonight’s winning ticket for a chance at the pot, according to the business.

The drawing has grown so large that the business has been working with local law enforcement agencies to keep employees, customers and residents safe during the event.

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Queen of Hearts is a legalized game of chance, where the person holding the winning ticket pulled during a raffle has a one in 54 chance to locate the Queen of Hearts from a deck of 54 cards placed face down, according to Daryl Riffle, father of the owner of the Whistle Stop, 200 South Main Street.

The business has been selling tickets for the current game for 31 weeks without a winner selecting the Queen of Hearts, Riffle said.

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Tickets for the game are $1 each and sales are cut off at 8:45 p.m. Thursday with the winning ticket being selected at 9 p.m., Riffle said.

Ansonia police and the Darke County Sheriff’s Office will be supplying extra patrols for tonight’s event.

The Whistle Stop started the Queen of Hearts game at the business last year and are currently on the third game since they began, Riffle said.

Recovering addict collecting toys for children whose parents died of overdoses

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 9:16 AM

A Fairborn man who is a recovering heroin addict has started a toy collection for children of parents who died from drug overdoses.

STAY CONNECTED: Greene County News on Facebook

Richard Matteoli was in the news last month when he publicly thanked Fairborn emergency personnel for saving his life on multiple occasions when he overdosed on heroin.

 

Richard Matteoli holds up photos of himself before he finally went into recovery for heroin addiction. Matteoli thanked Fairborn first responders on Wednesday for helping him survive his addiction.(Max Filby/ STAFF/Max Filby/ STAFF)

RELATED >>> Man thanks Fairborn first-responders for reviving him 6 times in overdoses

The 40-year-old father has started Recovery Toy Drive, an effort to make the holidays a little better for children whose parents have died from drug overdoses. 

Matteoli said through his connections in the addiction-recovery community, he already has a list of 22 children who will benefit from his efforts.

“I hope the Recovery Toy Drive will bring some awareness to the most innocent victims in the heroin epidemic," he said.

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Recovery Toy Drive has gotten donations from the Dayton Dragons and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

 

If you want to help, call Richard Matteoli at (937) 927-1788 or send an email to RecoveryToyDrive2017@gmail.com. You can visit his Facebook page for updates on the campaign.

Many schools view eclipse as learning opportunity

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 8:28 PM

Many school districts across the region are planning to turn Monday’s Great American Eclipse into a great learning opportunity.

Beavercreek City Schools is among about 20 districts to return to class today.

“Kids are excited, the staff is excited,” Superintendent Paul Otten said.

In addition to regular planning for the upcoming academic year, the district had to consider the Great American Eclipse. The district bought eclipse glasses earlier this summer.

“Every student and staff member in the district will be getting solar glasses,” which Otten said will be handed out Monday to the district’s staff and more than 7,800 students.

Teachers are enthusiastic about an interactive science lesson, the superintendent said.

“They saw it immediately as a learning experience for our kids, and instead of just trying to talk about it in the classroom, we wanted to give them an opportunity to get out and experience it firsthand,” Otten said.

Lena Ellis’ daughter started kindergarten today. “She’s so ready,” said Ellis, who admitted she is as well. “Mommy gets her break.”

She applauds the district for making sure science lessons on the eclipse will be safe.

“I think it’s wonderful they’ll keep their eyes protected,” Ellis said.

However, students must have parental permission to participate in outdoor eclipse activities. Letters will be sent home by the end of the week.

More eclipse-related news is on the News Center 7 website’s #SkyWitness7 page.

News Center 7 will livestream special eclipse coverage Monday on Facebook and www.whio.com. A special broadcast also will be on AM 1290 and 95.7 WHIO.