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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)

>> Art at new Dayton library makes international Top 100 list

Ohio State Fair ride accident kills one, injures six

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 7:48 PM

UPDATE @ 8:07 p.m.

One person is dead and six injured after an accident on a ride at the Ohio State Fair  tonight, according to, our media partner in Columbus.

UPDATE @ 8 p.m.

There are at least five injuries reported following the ride accident tonight during the opening day of the Ohio State Fair, the Columbus Dispatch reported.


Numerous emergency responders are on scene at the Ohio State Fair tonight for a report of a serious ride malfunction.

The fair opened today.

A caller to the News Center 7 newsroom said he heard a loud boom from the ride called the “Fire Ball” and that there were multiple injuries. However, his report has not been confirmed.

We are working to learn more information about the incident.

Download our free mobile apps for breaking news and weather

Cities can turn red light cameras back on, court rules; state threatens to fight back

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 9:11 AM
Updated: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 10:19 AM

Whaley reacts to legal victory

The Ohio Supreme Court said in a 5-2 decision issued Wednesday that the 2015 state law that makes it all but impossible for local governments to use traffic cameras is unconstitutional because it conflicts with cities’ home-rule authority.

The decision impacts Ohio’s 8 million licensed drivers, gives cities the green-light to start using traffic cameras again and delivers a win to municipalities that have seen an erosion of home-rule powers in other court decisions. It also is an invitation for lawmakers opposed to traffic cameras to look for other ways to curtail their use.

The city of Dayton filed the legal challenge against the state of Ohio after legislators passed the law that curtails local authority to use traffic enforcement cameras.

Dayton challenged three elements of the law, which took effect in March 2015:

• that a full-time police officer be posted at each camera in operation;

• that cities conduct a three-year traffic study before deploying a camera;

• that speeders be given “leeway” — 6 miles per hour over in a school zone and 10 mph over elsewhere — before issuing tickets.

Related: Return of Dayton’s red light cameras uncertain after Supreme Court arguments

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said residents want traffic cameras in their neighborhoods to make roadways less dangerous for motorists and pedestrians.

“We get asked regularly by neighborhoods to please put cameras in,” Whaley said.

Dayton still has fixed traffic cameras along various roadways and at intersections across the city, but the city no longer has a contract with the company that previously operated the devices.

Dayton officials said they will review the Supreme Court’s decision to decide how to proceed, and plans for traffic cameras are expected to change considerably.

The city wants to establish a thoughtful and effective camera program that improves community safety while not taxing law enforcement’s limited resources, Whaley said.

“We’ll go back and will be very forthright with the community about what we’re going to do, just like we’ve been the entire time,” Whaley said. “I’m very pro camera, but this ruling just came down.”

State may not be done targeting cameras

Even as city officials look at turning the cameras back on, state lawmakers are vowing to look for ways to shut them down again.

State Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, the architect of the law declared unconstitutional, said the ruling only applies to home-rule cities and the law is still in place for Ohio’s 1,300 townships and 88 counties as well as villages. When lawmakers return from summer recess in September, Seitz said they’ll consider requiring photo-enforcement tickets go through municipal courts instead of an administrative process.

The state may withhold local government fund money from cities that receive money from traffic cameras, he said. “Since they’re getting money that way, they obviously don’t need our money. I think those two things would have a very salutary effect in taking the profit out of the policing for profit equation and render the decision today a pyrrhic victory for those folks like Dayton and Toledo that think they are above the law.”

Seitz said an outright ban could be put in place through a constitutional amendment — something he said is not being considered at this time.

Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said “I think the people of Ohio overwhelmingly oppose red light cameras. The Legislature tends to feel the same way.”

Obhof said he has yet to review the ruling in the Dayton case. He noted that he would consider a ban bill if he believes it has a chance of withstanding a constitutional challenge. “It doesn’t do us any good for us to pass another law that we expect to be struck down. So anything that we would do from here out, as when we worked on it the first time, we’ll take our time, try to be thoughtful about it and come up with a result that maybe the courts will agree with, maybe they won’t, but one that we think going in will withstand scrutiny.”

Before the law took effect, Dayton asked the common pleas court to declare elements of the law unconstitutional. The trial court agreed with the city but the Second District Court of Appeals overturned that decision. The city then took it to the supreme court.

The ruling

The Ohio Constitution, adopted in 1912, gives municipalities “home-rule” powers of self-governance as long as local ordinances don’t conflict with the state’s general laws.

Justice Patrick Fischer, writing the majority opinion, said that the law “infringes on the municipality’s’s legislative authority without serving an overriding state interest and is therefore unconstitutional.”

The supreme court ruled that the requirement that an officer be present while cameras are operating contradicts the purpose of deploying cameras to conserve police resources. It also said prescribing a “leeway” improperly dictates to cities how they must enforce speed limits within the city limits and it operates “as a de facto increase in speed limits in the limited areas covered by a traffic camera.”

Justices William O’Neill and Patrick DeWine dissented on the ruling, saying that the law promotes the uniform application of traffic regulations across the state.

In his dissent, DeWine said justices in the majority were over-stepping into legislators’ roles.

New restrictions force an officer to be present if drivers are ticketed for speeding or running red lights

Related: Dayton to reboot its traffic camera program

“But today, the plurality in essence says we know what is in the sate’s interest better than those 132 representatives of the people do. And if we don’t think a law is a good idea, then it must not be a general law, and we can strike it down,” DeWine wrote.

The decision only strikes down the three elements of the law that Dayton challenged. Other provisions remain in effect, including a requirement that camera manufacturers provide maintenance records to local authorities and a prohibition on insurance companies using camera-caught violations to set motorists’ policies and rates.

Dayton began using traffic cameras in 2002, first to enforce red-light traffic violations and later to catch speeders. Accidents decreased where cameras operated. Other cities and villages across the state also used traffic cameras to catch violators.

While Dayton was the lead on the case decided Wednesday, Springfield, Akron, East Cleveland, Toledo and the Ohio Municipal League weighed in with briefs supporting Dayton’s argument. The Municipal League represents 700 cities and villages.

In oral arguments held in January before the high court, Dayton said that the General Assembly specifically wrote the law to block local jurisdictions from using the cameras. Dayton had more than 36 cameras operating when the law took effect.

The state argued that municipalities could still use cameras to issue citations as long as they followed the law and local ordinances didn’t conflict with the state statute. The state said the law provides a statewide framework on the use of traffic cameras.

Meanwhile, Dayton city officials approved a plan to bring back cameras to catch speeding and red light violations. The city plans to use 10 fixed camera systems, six hand-held devices and two portable trailer units. Officers will be present when any of these devices are in operation and documenting traffic violations.

Related: Traffic cameras coming back to Dayton at these locations

RELATED: Middletown, New Miami: High court ruling won’t change stance on cameras



July 14, 2017: Dayton traffic cameras: What’s really going on?

July 12, 2017: Traffic cameras are coming back to Dayton in these locations

April 20, 2017: Dayton plans to bring back traffic cameras

March 5, 2017: Return of traffic cameras uncertain after arguments in case before Supreme Court

Jan. 10, 2017: 5 things to know about Dayton’s traffic camera case

Jan. 3, 2017: Supreme Court announces it will hear Dayton’s red light camera case

May 17, 2016: Dayton wants to restart traffic camera program

Aug. 7, 2015: Court sides with state in Dayton traffic camera case

March 4, 2015: Cities fear rise in traffic accidents as camera use ends

Memphis Belle gets its guns seven decades after WWII

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 12:42 PM

Tail gunner's position restored on historic Memphis Belle

Piece by piece, Air Force restorers are assembling the B-17F Memphis Belle decades since the plane dodged flak and Nazi fighter planes over the skies of Germany and France in World War II.

The bomber got a double-barrelled addition Wednesday when a tail gunner’s turret with two machine guns was bolted back onto the end of the iconic plane in a National Museum of the U.S. Air Force restoration hangar at Wright-Patterson.

RELATED: Memphis Belle to go on display at Air Force museum in 2018

“This is a big milestone,” said aircraft restorer Roger Brigner, 56, of Kettering. ” … All these years seeing it laying around the hangar floor, now it’s all coming together. It’s an awesome sight.”

Based in Bassingbourn air base in England, Memphis Belle was the first Army Air Forces bomber to return to the United States after flying 25 combat missions over the war ravaged skies of Europe. The four-engine plane was memorialized in a nationwide war bonds tour and in two Hollywood films.

Work on the bomber has taken years to get to this stage. The B-17 with the famous mural of the Memphis Belle was trucked in to the museum in pieces in 2005.

“In the beginning, you do have your doubts sometimes (because) this is such a big project,” Brigner said. “And now the pile of parts is getting smaller and the airplane is getting bigger. It’s all coming together.”

RELATED: Memphis Belle gets wings restored

The plane is scheduled to make a public debut in a new exhibit at the museum on May 17, 2018, the 75th anniversary of its final mission that bombed a shipyard in Germany. In March, workers attached the wings with the nose, propellers, rudder, and ailerons, among other parts yet to be installed.

“One of the biggest challenges was the airplane came in pieces so we didn’t know how it would fit together,” Brigner said. “It’s like a puzzle and they haven’t been mated together for who knows how long … so this is a big deal.”

The paint, with the exception of the Memphis Belle nose art, has been scrubbed off, inside and out. When fully restored, it will be painted an olive drab green and gray to look like it did the day it ended combat in 1943, said Jeff Duford, lead curator on the Memphis Belle restoration.

Defensive armament

With two .50-caliber machine guns, nicknamed “Pete” and “Repeat,” the tail turret gunner could fire 1,000 rounds a minute, a key defense against swarming Nazi fighters that tried to avoid the bomber’s tail and strike the front of the plane or attack it in a dive, he said.

On deep strikes into Germany, American fighters guarded the bombers, prepared to tangle with German aircraft.

“Between our escort fighters and the heavy defensive armament on our bombers, we broke the back of the German fighter force,” he said. “When they came up to defend and so many of their pilots were killed either by the defensive armament on our bombers or by escorting fighters, they pretty much wiped the skies of German fighters by D-Day.”

The tail turret was “so deadly” the Germans developed tactics to avoid being in the line of fire, Duford said.

RELATED: Artifact from Memphis Belle back with famous airplane

Staff Sgt. John “JP” Quinlan, 23, of Yonkers, N.Y., was the Memphis Belle tail turret gunner when the crew made history. He died in 2000.

The Army airmen was the only crew member to receive the Purple Heart. He was wounded by anti-aircraft flak on the same combat mission he was credited with shooting down a German fighter plane, Duford said. Quinlan also was credited with one “probable” kill.

From his vantage point, the tail gunner could see sweeping aircraft formations headed to bomb targets.

“He had the heartbreaking view of seeing some of his friends go down,” Duford said. “Seeing the airplanes blow up.”

Damaged planes that lost an engine would often leave the airborne pack, he said.

“When an airplane left a formation it would be pounced upon and taken apart by German fighters,” Duford said. “From where he was sitting, he saw that happen over and over and over again.”

PHOTOS: Restoring the Memphis Belle

Three times, the plane was struck and damaged in combat, once by an enemy fighter, another time by flak, and by errant friendly fire, Duford said.

Quinlan, who carried a horseshoe for luck on every wartime flight, barely avoided death on one flight. The tail gunner had just leaned back in his seat to take a brief rest from firing the guns, Duford said.

“At that moment, a bullet went through a side window where his head had been,” he said. “Had he not been taken that moment to rest, he would have been killed.”

The savage aerial battles cost the lives of 30,000 Army Air Forces crew members who fought against Nazi Germany.

Dayton lake, former amusement park site, to reel people in again

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 7:04 AM

Volunteers have helped clean the banks of the lake near Lakeside Drive and South Gettysburg Avenue in the Pineview neighborhood. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
Volunteers have helped clean the banks of the lake near Lakeside Drive and South Gettysburg Avenue in the Pineview neighborhood. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

A lake on Dayton’s west side that was once home to an amusement park is being cleaned up and may again become a popular place where people go for fun and recreation.

The natural spring lake at the northeast corner of Lakeside Drive and South Gettysburg Avenue has been getting some TLC after years of neglect.

Volunteers, including residents of the nearby Lakeview and Pineview neighborhoods and local unions members, have helped clean the banks and areas around the lake, removing trash, honeysuckle and overgrown brush.

RELATED: 7 amusement parks that fell by the wayside

Vintage photographs of roller coasters, spinning rides and water slides capture Dayton’s love of amusement parks.

But the lake’s restoration is taking an even bigger step forward with plans to build a fishing pier as well as new walking paths, signage and entry points.

Outdoor recreation is a large and important part of Ohio’s economy, and improvements to the lake could help boost interest in investing and redeveloping that section of west Dayton, officials said.

“With the west Dayton framework, we’re trying to figure out ways to have people from the across the community come in and really invest,”said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.  “For years, folks have said I really want to fish in this lake, and there will be kids around and it will be a great asset.”

The area around the lake by Lakeside Drive and South Gettysburg used to be home to Lakeside Amusement Park, which opened in the summer of 1890 and remained in operation until the mid-1960s.

The area around the lake by Lakeside Drive and South Gettysburg used to be home to Lakeside Amusement Park, which opened in the summer of 1890 and remained in operation until the mid-1960s.

RELATED: $1.5M from feds to help DeSoto Bass, west Dayton

The park had roller coasters, a carousel and a ride in which people sat in a boat as it plunged down a chute into the water.

The park was a well-known and popular attraction. The lake was regularly used by paddle-boaters and fishers.

But the lake fell on hard times after the park closed and U.S. 35 was constructed, which passed overhead of the Gettysburg and Lakeside intersection.

Some people still use the lake for fishing, but they have to climb over a guard rail to access the water.

MORE: What it costs to buy 13 of the coolest homes and condos downtown

Lakeside Amusement Park opened at Gettysburg and Lakeview Avenues in Dayton during the summer of 1890. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

The Garden Club of Dayton recently spent time cleaning up the lake, and there has now been three organized clean-ups, with another planned for August.

Volunteers have filled multiple dumpsters with trash, and there’s still more work to do, officials said.

“It’s morphed into a pretty big project that has some legs now,” said Karen DeMasi, director of community development with CityWide, which is assisting with the project. “We want to restore the lake and improve it … to make it look like what it was — which was beautiful.”

Groups that are working to restore the lake include CityWide, the city of Dayton, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and local neighborhood groups.  
One of the main partners is the Ohio AFL-CIO, which is the umbrella organization for unions across the state, representing about 600,000 workers.

MORE: Downtown pavilion gets the green light for construction bids

Supporters and the partner organizations say they want to build a floating fishing pier on the water, as well as new parking, pathways and dedicated entryways.  

Local officials said the project likely will require tens of thousands of dollars of work and materials — possibly more than $100,000 — which under some circumstances might be a daunting financial challenge.  

But the Ohio AFL-CIO hosts an annual benefit dinner, the proceeds of which support conservation projects. This year’s dinner, held in March, will help fund the purchase of the pier.  

Union members also provide labor and materials to transform the lake. The hope is to install the fishing pier this fall, though the project may have several stages.  

“We give back to the communities and neighborhoods we live in and where our members live,” said Jeanette Mauk, field director of the Ohio AFL-CIO, who lives in this area. “All the funds that we raise go directly back into a project that deals with conservation and is something that will be sustainable.”  

Last year, Ohio AFL-CIO, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and various building trade local groups helped rebuild Atrim Park’s pier. The project involved $20,000 in materials as well as 1,000 hours of manpower.

The restoration project is part of efforts to revitalize a variety of neighborhoods in west Dayton.  

The clean-up corresponds with a plan to upgrade the lighting at U.S. 35 overpass at Gettysburg. The new LED lights are partly intended to help showcase the lake. 

Outdoor recreation is big business in the state and supports economic development in local communities, directly contributing to 215,000 Ohio jobs annually and $24.3 billion in consumer spending, according to a report released Wednesday by the Outdoor Industry Association.  

“This will send a positive signal that there’s good things happening in Dayton and investment to be made here,” DeMasi said.