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.

RELATED: Air Force Museum sees boost in attendance since new hangar opened

‘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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Moraine police shooting vigil: Jamarco McShann’s death ‘senseless’

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 7:45 PM
Updated: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 9:10 PM

Vigil for Jamarco McShann ends with balloon release

Community members and family gathered tonight for a candlelight vigil to remember a man shot and killed Friday in a Moraine police shooting.

Local activist, the Rev. Jerome McCorry, spoke at the vigil and said he represents the family of 23-year-old Jamarco McShann.

RELATED: Moraine police shooting: Who is Jamarco McShann?

“This was senseless,” he told the crowd in the Pinnacle Park lot that marked the spot where McShann was shot and killed.

Moraine police said he pointed a gun at them, which family members dispute.

Jamarco McShann

A large photo of McShann was held up at the vigil, which ended with a balloon release and a vow from organizers to seek justice.

“It’s about a bunch of scared cops who use the excuse ‘I feared for my life,’ ” McCorry said. “In the name of Jamarco a federal lawsuit will be filed.”

Pumpkin glow highlight of ‘Saturday Nightmare’ in Germantown

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 9:49 PM

There were 1,000 Jack-o-Lanters Saturday night, Oct, 21, 2017, for Germantown's Saturday Nightmare event.
DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF
There were 1,000 Jack-o-Lanters Saturday night, Oct, 21, 2017, for Germantown's Saturday Nightmare event.(DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF)

There were 1,000 carved pumpkins alight during the “Saturday Nightmare” in historic downtown Germantown.

The second annual event began at 3 p.m. with activities for all ages, including a car show featuring 300 to 400 hot rods, carnival rides, games for children, Halloween costume contest, beauty pageant, food, beer truck and live entertainment.

“It’s nice for us to be able to give back to our community we love,” event co-organizer Dave Eshbaugh said.

There were 1,000 Jack-o-Lanters Saturday night, Oct, 21, 2017, for Germantown's Saturday Nightmare event.(DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF)

The highlight of the “Saturday Nightmare” is the pumpkin glow, which this year featured 1,000 jack-o’-lanterns.

The festivities mark the final of four Saturday Night Out events, held the third Saturday of the month in June, July, August and October. Local businesses, sponsors and the city helps make the events a success, Eshbaugh said.

The summer events draw 2,500 each. But in October, the crowd is easily 5,000, he said, after one car show organizer came up with a Halloween theme.

“It became our flagship event,” he said. “It’s phenomenal for our community.”

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Germantown Fire Chief Dan Alldred said he opens the firehouse to the community and serves popcorn. It’s also an opportunity to interact with kids and teach fire safety.

“We think it’s great to have an event like this,” he said.

Homeless pets find families at SICSA’s free adoption event

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 8:26 PM

VIDEO: Dog is adopted during SICSA event

Free adoptions on Saturday helped give homeless pets find a furr-ever home.

The SICSA Pet Adoption Center in Kettering partnered with Wagner Subaru for the “Wagner Subaru Loves Pets” free adoption event.

(DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF)

Wagner Subaru and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sponsored adoption fees of all animals.

The Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals is the area’s first no-kill shelter that has served companion animals for more than 40 years.

(DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF)

More than 1,500 dogs and cats were adopted through SICSA in 2016, in addition to 3,400 low-cost spay and neuter surgeries, the agency reported.

The adoption center is open seven days a week at 2600 Wilmington Pike in Kettering

WB U.S. 35 reopens following crash; CareFlight call canceled

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 12:19 PM
Updated: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 1:04 PM

UPDATE @ 12:52 p.m.

Westbound U.S. 35 has reopened following a crash involving a car and semi, according to dispatchers. 

Dispatchers said a call to CareFlight was canceled and the severity of the victim's injuries remain unknown.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

INITIAL REPORT

U.S. 35 westbound near Jamestown is closed following a reported crash involving a semi Saturday afternoon. 

Crews were dispatched to the intersection of U.S. 35 and Old U.S. 35 in Greene County just after noon. 

Initial reports indicate a person is injured after a crash involving a car and semi. 

CareFlight has been requested to the scene. 

We will continue to follow this developing story.

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