Preschool board plans marketing blitz in March

Published: Friday, February 17, 2017 @ 12:21 PM
Updated: Friday, February 17, 2017 @ 12:18 PM

Dayton’s Preschool Promise effort will provide tuition assistance to families and “quality assistance” to help preschool providers advance in the state’s rating system. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF PHOTO
Dayton’s Preschool Promise effort will provide tuition assistance to families and “quality assistance” to help preschool providers advance in the state’s rating system. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF PHOTO

The local Preschool Promise Board, sprinting toward a fall launch of expanded high-quality preschool in Dayton, will soon begin a large marketing campaign to explain the program to the public.

The big challenge this first year is figuring out how to market a program that’s still in the process of being built, as the deadline for schools and other providers to sign up is still a week away.

“It is a significant lift, and we know it’s critically important,” said Robyn Lightcap, executive director of Learn to Earn Dayton. “We know not all parents understand what preschool options are out there right now. We know there’s a lot of confusion. … and we know we have to build systems to help them.”

RELATED: Thousands of dollars in tuition assistance available to preschool families

The Preschool Promise board approved a large marketing plan this week, including plans to hire a vendor to run a “field campaign” for grassroots outreach in Dayton. Board member and former Dayton mayor Clay Dixon said the marketing approach “is of the utmost importance.”

“That is actually how we’ll go out in the community, shoulder to shoulder, eyeball to eyeball, with the parents to make sure they are aware of the program, aware of what we do to get those kids into one of our quality programs,” Dixon said.

The board’s request for proposals for field campaign vendors is going out this week. Lightcap said the vendor will hire people who know Dayton’s neighborhoods and can build relationships with community partners, all in an effort to connect with the families who would participate in expanded preschool. The income tax increase that Dayton voters approved in November will fund access to high-quality preschool for 4-year-olds in the city.

Lightcap said the key is figuring out who the “key influencers” are in each area, even down to the granular level of which parents moms of young children are listening to.

“It’s not as much knocking on doors (in most cases),” she said. “It’s more about building relationships with the trusted entities in the neighborhood – the churches, the social service agencies, the grocery stores, laundromats, pediatricians.”

RELATED: Preschool board trying to sign up schools, child care centers

Preschool Promise is still signing up schools and other providers this month – both those that are already high-quality, and those willing to work through the state’s quality improvement process. The overall marketing effort will launch in March, including traditional advertising, whether via radio or online, on buses or billboards.

“We need to make sure the community understands the purpose of the program, and make sure that our kiddos in all parts of the city get the quality they deserve,” Preschool Promise board member Jane McGee-Rafal said.

In April, families will be able to sign up their 4-year-old children for the start of the 2017-18 school year next fall, with significant tuition assistance available at approved centers and providers.

Preschool Promise officials said since the expanded program is brand-new, they don’t expect 2017-18 to be a perfect, completed system, with full understanding from parents, and maximum participation from school providers. The income tax increase is estimated to provide $4.3 million per year over eight years, allowing the program to build on itself over time.

The preschool board’s next meeting is March 2, when the group will discuss the budget for the 2017-18 school year.

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Family displaced, home damaged in Miami Twp. fire

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 9:33 AM

Miami Township crews battle a garage fire this morning.

A Miami Twp. family will be displaced after a fire damaged their home on Carnation Road Tuesday morning. 

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Firefighters were dispatched to the home in the 6100 block of Carnation Road around 8:10 a.m. and found a fire in the attached garage. 

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The blaze was contained to the garage, but smoke spread throughout the home, according to investigators. 

Two children and an adult were able to evacuate before firefighters arrived on scene. No injuries were reported but the family will be displaced. 

The cause of the fire has not been determined and is under investigation. 

Wright State’s Raiderthon raises $45K for local hospital

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 9:49 AM

WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY
WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY

Wright State University helped raise more than $45,000 for Dayton Children’s Hospital during its fifth annual Raiderthon dance marathon, school officials announced Tuesday.

The event was held Saturday in the Student Union Apollo Room on campus from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday.

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More than 400 dancers registered for the 2017 edition of the fundraiser and school officials said over the last four years nearly $200,000 has been raised for Dayton Children’s.

WPAFB joins in new partnerships for bat conservation

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 10:12 AM


            An Indiana bat, a species identified by the federal government as endangered, was one of several bats captured during a mist net survey at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in June. Mist nets are lightweight, very difficult for the flying animals to see or detect and are used by biologists and others in bat research. Acoustic surveys for bats, like those currently being conducted on the base, are the follow-on method to determine size and distribution of bat populations. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service courtesy photo/Keith Lott)
An Indiana bat, a species identified by the federal government as endangered, was one of several bats captured during a mist net survey at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in June. Mist nets are lightweight, very difficult for the flying animals to see or detect and are used by biologists and others in bat research. Acoustic surveys for bats, like those currently being conducted on the base, are the follow-on method to determine size and distribution of bat populations. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service courtesy photo/Keith Lott)

Aircraft aren’t the only things flying around Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Endangered Indiana bats patrol the night skies, foraging for insects over the Mad River corridor. This 8,000-acre installation contains about 700 acres of forested areas along streams, with a wide variety of native trees: maple, oak, hickory and others.

The site is prime summer habitat for Indiana bats; managers discovered a maternity colony in 1993 and have been tracking it ever since.

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Female Indiana bats need forest habitat where they form colonies in summer, roosting in older trees under loose bark, giving birth to a single pup, and foraging for insects along stream corridors. That means it’s important for young trees to grow up to replace old trees as they die off. And while that’s a natural process, sometimes non-native, invasive plants take over, and their impact can literally alter the landscape.

Invasive bush honeysuckle, introduced during the late 1800s for landscaping and, ironically, wildlife habitat, has become common throughout Ohio and the eastern United States. Bush honeysuckle is an aggressive invasive plant that leafs out earlier in the spring than native plants and stays green well into the fall after most plants are dormant. Honeysuckle shades out native plants, preventing the growth of young native tree species needed by bats and other forest wildlife.

That’s what managers began to see at Wright-Patterson. Darryn Warner, the base’s natural resources program manager, noticed that native tree saplings in the understory were being out-competed by honeysuckle, and without management, few young trees would replace older trees as they die off. Over time, Indiana bat habitat could become significantly degraded, or lost altogether. He wanted to address the issue quickly, and thought that the Sike’s Act would be the tool to get it done.

The Sike’s Act is a law that requires all military installations to “provide for the conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources.” Under the Sike’s Act, Wright-Patterson and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service became partners, with the Air Force funding service work to control invasive species and jump-start forest regeneration in treated areas.

With staff, equipment and expertise from Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge in Indiana, work began. Crews cut large honeysuckle bushes and treated the area to prevent resprouts on about 115 acres at Wright-Patterson. Native trees like shellbark hickory, favored by roosting bats as maternity colony sites, have been planted. More work is planned over the next five years.

So how is the Indiana bat faring at Wright-Patterson since this work began? With funding from Wright-Patterson, the Service’s Ohio Ecological Services Field Office surveyed the Indiana bat population during the summer of 2017. Using mist nets to capture and release bats, service biologists found a total of 85 individual bats, including five Indiana bats. Adult female Indiana bats were fitted with radio transmitters and tracked to roost trees along the Mad River, on Wright-Patterson property. Biologists observed the trees at dusk, and as many as 17 bats were observed emerging from the trees in one night, confirming that a maternity colony of Indiana bats is still present at Wright-Patterson. This colony has persisted now for at least 24 years at the base, indicating long-term suitable habitat is present.

During the mist net survey several other exciting finds occurred. Biologists were able to confirm the presence of a male northern long-eared bat, a federally listed threatened species, multiple silver-haired bats, and an evening bat. This was the first mist net survey to detect them despite considerable prior effort.

Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats and other cave-hibernating bats nationwide face the daunting threat of white-nose syndrome, a fungus that infects bats during hibernation and has killed millions of bats in the past decade. Ensuring that high-quality summer habitat for maternity colonies is a critical step in helping the bats that do survive white-nose syndrome recover and reproduce during the summer. Wright-Patterson is doing their part to ensure these small pilots have a safe landing spot this summer.

Woman holds decoration drive to help victims of Hurricane Harvey celebrate holidays

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 10:10 AM

File photo
Scott Barbour/Getty Images
File photo(Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

As Texas continues to recover during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many are trying to figure out how they will celebrate the holiday season after they’ve lost everything.

One woman came up with an idea to help bring a little normalcy for hurricane victims during the next few weeks and help brighten up their temporary homes this Christmas, KBMT reported.

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Meredith Love, with some help from Gretchen Scoggins and schools in Hardin County, Texas, organized a free holiday decoration giveaway.

Love and the others collected donations through social media to provide ornaments, trees and garlands to Hurricane Harvey victims this past weekend, KBMT reported.

Love posted on her Facebook page that more than 200 people were able to collect something to make their living arrangements a little more homey this Thanksgiving and Christmas.