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New publishing company opens in Oxford

Published: Saturday, November 18, 2017 @ 6:00 PM


            Tad Liechty is pictured with copies of her books produced by Berg Kaufman Publishing. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN
Tad Liechty is pictured with copies of her books produced by Berg Kaufman Publishing. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN

Story ideas collected in folders but never written and a manuscript written decades ago and nearly forgotten in a drawer turned into the first books produced by a new publishing company established here.

Berg Kaufman Publishing was a natural progression for Cecilia Berg and Don Kaufman, both retired from Miami University.

The two have collaborated for 30 years in a venture, Two Herons Consulting, serving non-profit organizations, community groups and businesses with planning, using their joint concerns for conservation, and they co-authored “The Biosphere: Protecting Our Global Environment” an award-winning environmental textbook for college students.

He retired after more than 50 years in education, 43 at Miami, in a variety of roles finishing as director of the Hefner Museum of natural History.

Berg retired last year after 30 years at Miami, the last 16 at the Hefner Museum where she wrote successful grant proposals totaling in excess of $4 million to support teacher workshops and updates. She spearheaded efforts to bring The Big Read to Oxford in 2009 using a grant from the national Endowment for the Humanities.

They see their new venture as an extension of both their educational experiences and their interest in the environment.

“Knowing I wanted to do something after Miami University, I did not want to just sit around. I think it worked out pretty well over the years as a teacher,” he said, adding he had accumulated files of notes on possible books he hoped one day to write. “Over the years as a teacher, I worked on 35 ideas in my head, then I had an epiphany. I can’t live long enough to write all 35 books.”

His second epiphany was he could find someone else to write them and then publish them himself.

That led to the idea of forming Berg Kaufman Publishing with Berg and then contacting another retired teacher, Tad Liechty, about turning his file folders of ideas into stories.

Liechty was a willing partner in the endeavor.

“I had 30 years in education, also. After a year laying on the couch reading stacks of books, I wanted to volunteer. I met Cecilia at the Hefner Museum,” she said and then met with Kaufman. “Don said, ‘I’ve got something for you,’ and handed me six file folders full of file cards with notes. They were ideas for books he had on his mind. I picked four.”

She had known him from classes she had taken previously and seized on the idea of writing, despite no formal training in writing.

“I taught first grade so I had experience in teaching children to write,” she said.

Her first book was “Just Say So: A Book About Idioms,” a story about Jules who is determined to go through a day doing—literally—everything he is told and has a series of adventures and misadventures as a result finding what people say is not always what they mean.

Liechty’s second book was “The King’s Cookies” and the third “Martha and the Mutt.”

That latter effort tells of 12-year-old Martha who is moved from her familiar rural surroundings with her family to a more urban setting and finds confidence and maturity through relationships with an elderly neighbor and a lost dog. The dog’s owner turns up and Martha must face giving up the dog.

Liechty is already planning a sequel to “Martha and the Mutt.”

The author said she incorporated many memories of her own childhood into the book so that her sister is taking a long time to read the book.

“My sister said it brought back so many memories, she reads and then puts it down to recall (events from the past),” Liechty said, adding while writing it, she sent drafts of the book to Kaufman, who saw new life put into his original ideas. “He’d say, ‘I didn’t think that would happen.’ ”

She gave a lot of credit for the final results to Berg, who serves as the editor for the works being published. Berg, for her part, enjoys her role because she takes pride in turning out carefully constructed work as well as the control they have over that final product.

“I wrote a textbook with Don and we had so little control over the content, it was frustrating. We want authors to have input,” Berg said, adding that includes not only the words but also the cover design and illustrations and even the colors used. “I enjoy the process as much as the final product.”

Kaufman referred to her as their “editor extraordinaire.”

The fourth person in the new publishing firm is Carolyn Farmer who designs the books and their on-line counterparts. Kaufman explained they have produced four books but it is really eight because all are also available as e-books, with all sales of each going through Amazon.

Farmer spent a lot of time learning how to do the coding for on-line sales because the coding varies by the devices being used.

While Liechty wrote three of the four books already produced by Berg Kaufman Publishing, the fourth came from an unexpected source. When she heard about the publishing venture, Kaufman’s sister, Joanne McDonough, sent him a yellowed manuscript she wrote in the mid-1980s and then placed in a drawer where it remained for 30 years.

The book, “Dominic’s Ducks,” came from her original manuscript and is a true story of events which happened to her, although her name is changed in the story. McDonough even drew the illustrations for the book.

She held a book signing in her home town of Pittsburgh and sold out the books in a three-hour session with many old friends showing up to buy one and have it autographed.

She is also now working on a second book and Liechty is looking forward to visiting McDonough soon to meet her.

Liechty is planning a book signing of her own Dec. 2 as part of the Oxford Holiday Festival at the Oxford Community Arts Center.

Crews battle fire in Dayton home; 1 injury reported

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 9:06 AM

Firefighters were dispatched to the first block of South Westview Avenue around 8:50 a.m. on reports of house fire.

At least one person has been injured after a fire broke out in a Dayton home Saturday morning. 

TRENDING: 18-year-old killed in overnight shooting; SWAT surrounds suspect’s home

Firefighters were dispatched to the first block of South Westview Avenue around 8:50 a.m. on reports of house fire. 

RELATED: Roof collapses after fire breaks out in Dayton house

First units on scene said one person inside the home was injured and requested to a medic to the scene. The condition of the victim was not immediately known.

Firefighters also reported smoke showing from the structure when they arrived, according to initial reports. 

We’re monitoring this developing story and we’ll update this page as we learn more. 

Dayton SWAT activity connected to overnight shooting

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 7:47 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 8:30 AM

UPDATE @ 8:30 a.m. 

Police confirm SWAT activity in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue is connected to an overnight shooting on Caliph Court where an 18-year-old was shot and killed. 

RELATED: Teen shot, killed in overnight shooting; SWAT surrounds suspect’s house

The story in the link above will be updated with the latest details on the shooting and SWAT activity. 

FIRST REPORT

We’re working to learn more about police activity reported at a home on Tampa Avenue in Dayton Saturday morning. 

TRENDING: Teen shot, killed overnight inside Dayton apartment

Multiple Dayton police officers currently have the house in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue surrounded and are demanding the occupants to exit, according to initial reports. 

Scanner traffic indicates SWAT has been requested to the scene, but dispatchers were not able to confirm those reports. 

Our crew is on the way and we’ll update this page when we learn more. 

Teen killed in overnight shooting identified; SWAT currently surrounds suspect’s home

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 1:40 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 8:45 AM

Dayton police and SWAT have surrounded a home in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue where investigators said a suspect from an overnight shooting is believed to be barricaded inside.

UPDATE @ 8:45 a.m. 

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office has identified the woman killed in an overnight shooting on Caliph Court as Dontiaunna Brown, 18, of Dayton. 

Brown’s cause of death has not been officially ruled and an autopsy is scheduled for later today. 

Dayton police and SWAT continue to surround a home in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue where investigators said a suspect is believed to be barricaded inside. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

UPDATE @ 8:20 a.m. 

Police and SWAT have surrounded a home in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue in Dayton where an overnight shooting suspect is believed to be barricaded inside, according to Dayton police. 

Officers have blocked off the area and are demanding the occupants to exit the house, according to our crew on the scene. 

Police confirmed to our crew the subject of the SWAT callout is connected to the overnight shooting on Caliph Court where an 18-year-old woman was killed. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

UPDATE @ 3:05 a.m. 

An 18-year-old woman was shot and killed inside an apartment on Caliph Court early Saturday morning, according to Dayton police. 

TRENDING: Passenger takes off in car, crashes as driver takes sobriety tests

The woman was found suffering from a gunshot wound to her neck around 1:25 a.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Dayton police Sgt. Theodore Trupp. 

CRIME: The Christmas Killings: Dayton’s worst crime spree

Trupp said it was too early in their investigation to determine what led to the shooting and police do not have any suspects.

>>Latest Local News

Additional details about the investigation were not available. 

The identity of the woman has not been released, pending notification of family. 

FIRST REPORT

Police and medics have responded to a report of a person shot on Caliph Court in Dayton early Saturday morning.

Emergency crews responded to the 5000 block of Caliph Court around 1:25 a.m. after the incident was reported. 

Officers are reportedly looking in the area for at least one suspect and have requested a K9 officer to the scene, according to initial reports. 

The condition of the victim was not immediately known. 

We have a crew on the way and we’ll update this page as we learn more. 

Georgia student discovers birth brother attended same college, had same major

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 8:35 AM

DNA helped a Georgia college student connect with his sibling and birth parents.
Getty Images
DNA helped a Georgia college student connect with his sibling and birth parents.(Getty Images)

The slogan for purchasing a DNA test kit on the genealogy website Ancestry.com is "Open a world of possibilities."

>> Read more trending news
For a Georgia college junior, a DNA test earlier this week opened up his family history and helped him connect to a long-lost sibling and his birth parents.
Kieron Christian Graham, 20, is majoring in political science at Kennesaw State University, which is located northwest of Atlanta. He was adopted in 1997 when he was 3 months old. Growing up, he knew the first names of his birth mother and father and that his birth mother had another child named "Vincent," who was nine years older, BuzzFeed reported.

"I periodically would look for them and check on Facebook, but I never knew their last name so it was always hard," Graham said.

His adoptive parents gave him an AncestryDNA test kit as an early Christmas present. On Tuesday he received the results in an email, BuzzFeed reported. Out of the 100 loose matches was a strong match to a 29-year-old man named Vincent Ghant, who also had taken a DNA test.

When Graham checked on Facebook, he found a Vincent Grant whose birthday matched the documents his adoptive parents had. He sent Ghant a friend request, and as they chatted on Tuesday, Graham mentioned the name of his birth mother, Shawn.

“My heart stopped,” Ghant told BuzzFeed. “I asked my mother about him throughout my life, but the pain was so heavy on her that it was hard for her to drum up the words to explain it to me. ... So it just got to the point where I was, like, I'll just wait for her when she's ready.”

The two men learned they were not only brothers, but they also were attending the same college, were both majoring in political science and lived only 15 minutes apart, BuzzFeed reported. Oddly enough, they also attended a class together.

The brothers finally met at a local bar this week, BuzzFeed reported. Graham recalled Ghant telling him, "I've been thinking about you for 20 years."

Ghant said the meeting was “very emotional.”

“I was excited but a little bit scared if he had any resentment towards my family,” Ghant said.

Graham had no hard feelings, understanding that his birth mother was a single parent and chose adoption to give him a better life.

"When I realized he didn't [have resentment] and that he had a great life, I was amazed," Ghant said.

Graham has since contacted his birth mother and plans to meet with her this weekend. He said he also plans to meet with his birth father, BuzzFeed reported.

"My birth father broke down in tears," he said.

Graham also met Ghant’s 17-year-old brother, Christian,

Graham told BuzzFeed that his adoptive parents have been wholly supportive of his journey of discovery. They also plan to meet Graham's birth mother and that entire side of the family, he said.