What you need to know about Dayton Literary Peace Prize and this year’s prize-winning author

Published: Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

Photo contributed by Dayton Peace Prize Foundation
(Photo contributed by Dayton Peace Prize Foundation)

Colm Tóibín, Irish novelist, journalist and essayist, is the recipient of the 2017 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize committee announced today.

>> Irish novelist wins Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Here is what you need to know about this distinguished author and this distinguished award that has put Dayton on the map as a promoter of peace through the written word.

 Founded in 2006, right here in Dayton, this distinguished award is the only international literary peace prize awarded in all of the United States. 

>> A look back at the winners of 2016 Dayton Literary Peace Prize


The Dayton Literary Peace Prize was inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords signed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The agreement was momentous, as it ended the Bosnian War.

Richard C. Holbrooke was the U.S. Diplomat instrumental in the negotiation. 

>> 3 things to remember about the Dayton Peace Accords

>> PHOTOS: How historic peace was brokered in Dayton 


Each year, the award honors an author’s entire body of work that “uses the power of literature to foster peace, social justice, and global understanding,” according to the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Organization.  

Tóibín’s stories of exile, reconciliation and political strife have done just that. 

(Photo contributed by Dayton Peace Prize Foundation)



"Colm Tóibín's work invites readers to contemplate the deep sadness of exile — from mother or brother, from nation, from oneself — to understand how accidents of geography and family shape identity, and how quirks of circumstance can harden or soften hearts," said Sharon Rab, founder and co-chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. 

Stories like Tóibín’s that contain somber, historical messages tend to be written in non-fiction style. However, Tóibín creates mainly fiction pieces, that are still able to capture the seriousness of accounts through his own interpretations and imagination, according to the award committee.

Born in Ireland in 1955, Colm Tóibín is widely recognized as one of today’s greatest living writers. His experiences as a gay man, an expatriate, and an international journalist have shaped his novels, which often explore themes of exile, homecoming and reconciliation, according to the award committee.

His works include:

“The Story of the Night,” (1996) the story of a gay man coming of age in Argentina during the Falklands War.

The Blackwater Lightship (1999), about three generations of estranged Irish women coming together to care for a son who is dying of AIDS

The Master (2004), which explored the later life of Henry James, including his feelings of guilt and regret over his homosexuality

The Testament of Mary (2012)

Other notable works include the novels Brooklyn (2009), which was adapted into a 2015 film nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and House of Names (2017), which explores how violence begets further acts of violence through a reimagination of the story of Clytemnestra.

Tóibín is also the author of several nonfiction works, including 1987's Bad Blood, which documents Tóibín’s summer-long walk along the violence-plagued border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and the 2002 essay collection Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodovar.


(Photo contributed by Dayton Literary Peace Foundation)

“Our aim is to reach the reader’s imagination, have an effect on the nervous systems of other people … Through fiction, we learn to see others. The page is not a mirror. It is blank when I start to write, but it contains a version of the world when I finish,” said Toibin in a statement upon winning the Holbrooke Prize. 



Tóibín will be officially presented with the award and a monetary prize of $10,000 on Nov. 5 at the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Gala at Dayton’s Schuster Performing Arts Center.

Finalists for the 2017 fiction and non-fiction Dayton Literary Peace Prize will be announced on Sept. 13, 2017.


Past winners of the Holbrooke include: 

  • Studs Terkel (2006) 
  • Elie Wiesel (2007) 
  • Taylor Branch (2008) 
  • Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (2009) 
  • Geraldine Brooks (2010) 
  • Barbara Kingsolver (2011) 
  • Tim O'Brien (2012) 
  • Wendell Berry (2013) 
  • Louise Erdrich (2014) 
  • Gloria Steinem (2015) 
  • Marilynne Robinson (2016)

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‘Unauthorized’ Dayton food pantry ordered to stop operations

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 2:20 PM

With God's Grace food pantry in Dayton ordered to stop operations

The city of Dayton has ordered a nonprofit in east Dayton to stop operating what officials say is an unauthorized food pantry that has been the source of some neighborhood complaints.

With God’s Grace, located at 622 Springfield St., has caused disruption in the neighborhood because long lines of people were forming outside its doors and visitors were parking haphazardly, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

Nicole Adkins stands inside With God’s Grace’s warehouse on Springfield Street in east Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF(Staff Writer)

City staff is working with the nonprofit to go through the process of bringing it into compliance with zoning regulations and have urged the owners to make improvements to provide a place for assembly and prevent lines outside.

MORE: ‘Bad news’ for the city: 7 reactions to Good Samaritan Hospital’s closure

With God’s Grace Executive Director Nicole Adkins said the city’s zoning administrator reviewed her plans last year and gave the OK to operate a limited use food pantry, which has seen longer lines because a devastating fire closed Food for Less, reducing food access in the area.

She said the nonprofit is comprised entirely of volunteers and does not have the money to pay for major changes to the building.

“Nobody gets paid in this organization — it is all volunteer, even myself,” she said. “Doing the upgrades that are needed is not feasible.”

Sky7 Food for Less demolition

RELATED: Demolition of Food for Less store underway following fire

Earlier this month, the city issued a notice to With God’s Grace saying it is violating zoning code because it does not have the required occupancy certificates.

The city’s notice said the nonprofit needs certificates to operate as a warehouse and storage facility and as a food pantry.

City officials say With God’s Grace needs to apply for a change in occupancy and get its plans approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals. Improvements are needed to upgrade the property from a warehouse to a place where people can assemble, officials said.

“Ultimately, we are trying to enhance the safety of the situation and have the property owner in compliance if they choose or desire to run a food pantry along with the warehouse,” said Dickstein.

RELATED: Dayton among the worst cities for food hardship

But Adkins said last summer she shared her organization’s operational plans with Dayton Zoning Administrator Carl Daugherty, who she says gave them his blessing.

In a July e-mail to Adkins, Daugherty said he accepted the principal use of the Springfield Street property as a warehouse or storage facility and a food pantry would be an accessory use, according to the email.

However, Daugherty in the email says that “under no circumstances will persons be lined up outside the building awaiting entry.”

Adkins said at that time they only had a line outside at 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. when they opened.

But, she said, the number of families coming to get food surged to about 600, from 400, after Food for Less closed following a massive fire. Food for Less was located just a couple blocks away on the 3100 block of East Third Street.

Adkins said the pantry on Springfield Street is an accessory use because it is opened just once a week, while her organization operates a mobile food pantry multiple days each week.

Adkins said she believed the property was in compliance with zoning regulations because of what the zoning administrator told her.

Upgrading the warehouse to meet the standards of community centers, which pantries are considered, would be cost prohibitive, Adkins said.


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NEW DETAILS: Rockin’ hootenanny planned for legendary Dayton bar owner 

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 5:05 PM

Michael "Mick" Montgomery at a 2003 Wood Guthrie show at Canal Street Tavern. Montgomery died on Jan. 13, 2018.(Photo courtesy of Jan Underwood)

Sharon Lane was crying and bleeding the first time she met Michael “Mick” Montgomery. 

They were on the playground at Fairport Elementary School and Lane, then 5 years old, had just fallen off the jungle gym and busted up her knee. 

“And then he came over and took my hand and said ‘you need to go see your teacher’,” Lane recalled of the then-third grader. “I just thought he was special. That was a simple gesture. I thought he was a ‘good big boy’.” 

Lane said her regard for Mick deepened after she began managing Canal Street Tavern, the legendary Dayton bar and music venue he opened in late 1981 at 

308 E. First St., in Dayton’s downtown. 

>> RELATED: Mick Montgomery, staple of Dayton music scene, dies 

“If he loved you, he would do anything for you,” she said of Mick. 

Mick died Saturday morning of natural causes at Kettering Medical Center. 

Funeral services for the 71-year-old are set for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at Tobias Funeral Home, 3970 Dayton Xenia Road, Beavercreek. 

Canal Street Tavern-style hootenanny will be held that day starting at 6 p.m. at 

The Brightside Music and Event Venue, 905 E. Third St., Dayton. 

>> RELATED: What you should know about Brightside 

Canal Street shut down after one final show Nov. 30, 2013. 

Canal Public House took over the former Canal Street space when the club closed. That business lost its licence in March 2016. 

Mick Montgomery surrounding by former employees at the closing of Canal Street in 2013.(Photo courtesy of Jan Underwood)

>> RELATED: Downtown Dayton music venue loses liquor license 

5th Street Wine & Deli rebranded itself and opened in the space as Canal Street Arcade and Deli in June 2017. 

Musicians and music fans are invited to attend the free celebration. 

Friends and family members say Mick brought hundreds of national acts to Dayton and provided a showcase for local talent. 

Lane said there were few things Mick loved more than music and that was expressed by the work he did to present in his beloved and intimate listening room. 

The club was simple, she said, noting it had a wooden floors that probably should have been replaced. 

>> MORE: Street named for local music icon to be dedicated

Canal Street’s bathrooms were notorious for being anything but modern.

A sign at Canal Street Tavern taken at the bar's closing party.(Photo courtesy of Jan Underwood)

The crowd wasn’t fancy and neither were the drinks. 

“It was a good drink in a clean glass,” Lane said.  

Those things didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. 

“He always put music first. He put it before making money. He certainty put it before alcohol,” Lane said. “He wanted music to be the focus of that club and it was.” 

Lane, a noted Dayton musician, started hosting Canal Street’s musician’s co-op that first year it was open and was its manager the 10 or so years that followed. 

Before his passing, Mick was set to revive the co-op the first Friday of each month at Hannah’s, 121 N. Ludlow St. in downtown Dayton, starting at 9 p.m. Feb. 2, 2018. 

Lane will now step in for the friend she considered a big brother. 

“Mick has fought a long hard battle being sick,” Lane said. “I said, ‘go on brother, you’ve been a strong man.’” 

WYSO host Tod Weidner, a local musician and former co-op host, said Mick changed his life. 

Wiedner was among the local musicians who shared stories about Canal Street at 

Canal Street Stories: A Celebration and Reunion on Saturday, Jan. 6 at Yellow Cab Tavern. 

Mick, a Yellow Cab fan,  was there for the event and over the moon. 

>> RELATED: Spirit of iconic Dayton club rising from the ashes with these 2 events

“It was really nice that we were able to give him a night,” Weidner said. “ I am glad he got to bask in the adulation.” 

Weidner said he was naive the first time he walked into Canal Street as a 21-year-old contestant in the Dayton Band Playoffs, then an annual battle between local bands. 

Weidner’s band, the Rehab Doll, was creamed 130 to 30 by the far more popular band Walaroo South. 

Tod Weidner, Jamy Holliday, Mick Montgomery and Sharon Lane on stage at Canal Street Stories: A Celebration and Reunion from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday Jan. 6, 2017.(Photo courtesy of Jan Underwood)

Despite the loss, the Ludlow Falls native was hooked on Canal Street. 

“I fell in love with the place immediately. It was a very welcoming room,” he said. “It wasn’t much to look at. It was a weird little room and it was dark, but it had a mojo to it. A room takes on the magic of the people that played there.” 

The club hosted everything from folk, blues and country rock to bluegrass, indie rock and punk. Canal Street also drew well-known acts, such as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Los Lobos, The Del McCoury Band, Leo Kottke and Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. 

Before the band Phish became popular, it played Canal Street to a crowd of just 17 people. 

“The more I traveled playing music, the more I knew I took it (Canal Street) for granted,” Weidner said. 

Mick, Weidner said, was an evangelist of good music and strived to “hip” others to new artists and sounds. 

“I literally owe him everything,” he said. “I was a complete musical tadpole before I played Canal Street.” 

Before Canal Street, Weidner likened his music knowledge to looking through binoculars backwards. 

Afterward he said it was like seeing in cinerama. 

“Any eclectic knowledge I really have about music I have to credit to Mick and Canal Street,” Weidner said. “It was really great exposure to things I would never have seen. It was such a education every time I walked in there.” 

Chris Montgomery, the eldest of Mick’s three children, said he knows it is cliche, but he is blown away by the expression of love for his father. 

Chris said he was about 13 when his dad, at the time an art teacher at West Carrollton High School, bought the spaces that would be Canal Street from the red-haired owner of Evelyn’s Corner Cafe. 

Mick Montgomery and his son Eli outside of Canal Street in 2013.(Photo courtesy of Jan Underwood)

Chris said his father, a guitarist, filled his world with music. 

“He wasn’t a business man,” Chris said. “He was more about the musicians than growing an empire or making a huge amount of money.” 

The Oregon District home Mick rehabed is filled with CDs, albums and cassette tapes. 

“He usually listened to it all,” Chris said. “He would want to tell everybody about it, in his own words, “ ‘turn them on to it’.” 

>> Dayton icon Jerry Gillotti, Gilly’s nightclub owner, dies

Chris, now a deafblind education specialist at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin, Texas, said his dad passed down a love of music. 

“I grew up playing music at Canal Street,” he said. “I can’t imagine a world without music. It is very much a part of my being.” 

Mick was extremely proud of his children and even as he grew ill, took steps to make sure they spent time together, his son said. 

Mick’s daughter, Hannah Montgomery, is studying law in Washington, D.C. His son, Eli Montgomery, lives in Dayton. 

The Dayton native’s list of survivors also include siblings Dennis Montgomery of Minnesota; Kathy Holt of Alaska and Patti Montgomery of Florida. 

“We loved him a lot,” Chris said. “He was not a typical dad, but we wouldn’t have wanted any other dad.” 

Mick left Dayton in 1967, a year after Chris was born. 

Mick Montgomery surrounding by former employees at the closing of Canal Street in 2013.(Photo courtesy of Jan Underwood)

The 21-or-so-year-old ended up on the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets in San Francisco, ground zero of the counterculture. 

Jamy Holliday, a long-time Canal Street manager and member of the seminal Dayton bands Mystery Addicts, Haunting Souls and Luxury Pushers, said Mick’s time in San Francisco and time in the1960s folk scene influenced the listening room he created in Dayton. 

>> RELATED: Mick Montgomery: Never say he was a ‘hippie’ at heart

“He respected musicians,” Holliday said. “He was always very supportive of providing a stage where the accomplished and the not-so accomplished could play the same stage.” 

Mick, Holliday said, was about music being a unifying force. 

Holliday was an eyeliner-wearing 17-year-old with a 14-inch mohawk when he first started working at Canal Street as a doorman for shows ranging from bluegrass to rock. 

Canal Street hosted the Women’s Series in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The yearly series featured lesbian and other feminist performers. 

Holliday said there were few problems because it was about the music. 

“He really did believe that music was an equaling and leveling instrument,” Holliday said of Mick. He sacrificed himself. He ate, slept and breathed Canal Street Tavern.” 

Former Dayton Daily News photographer Jan Underwood took thousands of photos at Canal Street during its more than three decades of operation. 

Mick wanted Canal Street to be a listening room in the purist sense of the term. 

Underwood said that all changed the night in 1984 that Jim “Rev. Cool” Carter, a longtime WYSO DJ, brought the cow punk band Rank and File to Canal Street’s stage. 

“We started handing table and chairs fire brigade style off the dance floor,” she said. 

She said those who frequented Canal Street were a family. 

“I took my son there when he was young because it was a safe place go,” she said. 

“If someone was drinking too much, they were not able to stay and ruin the night for everyone else.” 

Underwood said music was Mick’s life, and he wanted to share that love. 

“I went in there so many times and he’d say you have to check out this act that is coming next week, she said. “You would not be disappointed.”


Mick Montgomery (center) with members of the Davis Rogan Band from New Orleans.(Photo: Jan Underwood)

WATCH: Drone video of new At Home store opening in Beavercreek this month

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 2:03 PM

At Home opening date set in Beavercreek

At Home, a Texas-based home decor chain retailer, is almost ready to open its first Dayton-area store in Beavercreek.

>> RELATED: At Home to open first Dayton area store this month

After a relatively quick remodeling of the former Kmart location on Indian Ripple Road which started in August, the store will be having a soft opening on Wednesday, January 31. 

>> WATCH: Drone video of snowy scenes in Dayton

Early on Thursday, construction site superintendent Justin Vincent was clearing snow from the parking lot of At Home. Vincent paused to inquire about the Sky 7 drone flying over the parking lot, and revealed that full opening of the store will take place on February 1.

KITTY NEWS: Fairborn getting its very own cat cafe 

Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 3:46 PM

Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson recently announced the StreetCats cat cafe. The initiative is design to help address the city's stray and homeless cat issues. Photo: The City of Fairborn.
Photo: The City of Fairborn.
Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson recently announced the StreetCats cat cafe. The initiative is design to help address the city's stray and homeless cat issues. Photo: The City of Fairborn.(Photo: The City of Fairborn.)

Fairborn will soon have something to purrrr about. 

StreetCats, a volunteer-driven organization, is planning to open a “cat cafe” at 14 N. Third St. in downtown Fairborn.

>> RELATED: 22 reasons to visit Fairborn

The cafe/cat resource center is part of a tactical approach  between the city and several agencies to address the community’s stray and homeless cat population.

It will allow people a chance to play with cats, Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson said in the recent Facebook Live  message he delivered while covered in purring cats and kittens. 

>> MORE: Dayton’s first ‘catfe’ opening soon — and here are its first tenants  

“It is not only a fun thing, but also a very important thing we are trying to do,” Anderson said in the video. “Fairborn is getting creative.” 

The cat cafe is set to open in January with the hope to expand to a larger space in the future. 

In addition to cats, there will be art classes, yoga and free WiFi, plus coffee and baked goods. 

Anderson said the cat cafe is a way to address the city’s on-going issues with homeless and stray cats in a humane way. 

The organization will help find new homes for displaced house cats and offer services that will allow cats to be dropped off to be neutered and released, said Anderson, a self-proclaimed “cat person.”

“StreetCats aims to become a lightning rod for change, a clearinghouse for information and a creative place to connect interested community members,” an email to this news organization from Anderson said. 

StreetCats will be housed in city-owned property near that city’s kitchen incubator and a co-working space in the former site of Roush's Restaurant.

The initiative has the support of a number of animal groups, Elisabeth Fitzhugh of Blue’s Mews Siamese Cat Rescues told this news organization. 

“I am actually thrilled by what (Anderson) is doing,” she said.

>> RELATED: This new Fairborn store offers horrifying oddities

>> RELATED: Pepsi moving 150 jobs to Fairborn, closing Dayton, Springfield sites

Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson recently announced the StreetCats cat cafe. The initiative is design to help address the city's stray and homeless cat issues. Photo: The City of Fairborn.(Photo: The City of Fairborn.)