Daytonian of the Week: Speakeasy Yoga owner Tori Reynolds

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Tori Reynolds, owner of Speakeasy Yoga, is our Oct. 18 Daytonian of the Week. PHOTO / Carly Short Photography
Tori Reynolds, owner of Speakeasy Yoga, is our Oct. 18 Daytonian of the Week. PHOTO / Carly Short Photography

If there is one person bringing Dayton some major zen, it’s Tori Reynolds.

Tori is a yoga instructor and owner of Speakeasy Yoga, a studio on the ground floor of Cannery Lofts. Tori got involved in yoga on a whim, taking a summer class at Wright State University.

“I did not think yoga was for me,” she said.

But one good teacher and the right environment was all it took for Tori to fall in love with the practice of yoga. 

>> See previous Daytonians of the Week here

“I love being dedicated to a practice that brings balance, calm, and better mental clarity to my life,” she aid. “It keeps me grounded in pretty much everything I do.”

Tori Reynolds, owner of Speakeasy Yoga, is our Oct. 18 Daytonian of the Week. PHOTO / Carly Short Photography

And balance is something Tori needs as she juggles teaching classes, running her business and unveiling her next big project, Speakeasy Wayne, a new yoga studio opening up at the Wheelhouse in the Oregon District. Speakeasy Wayne is a smaller extension studio that will offer similar classes to those at the Cannery studio, but in an unheated studio. 

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Tori is looking forward to settling into her second Speakeasy location, because for much of her yoga teaching career, “settled” wasn’t something she felt very often. Her first business enterprise “Go With The Flow” was a travelling yoga series created with her partner Ben Rivet using his looping station, guitar and some beatboxing and vocals to create a track to which she would teach a flow.

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Tori and Ben traveled all around the country, teaching at festivals, conferences and close to 300 studios over the course of 3 years. Now -- instead of making apperances at studios near and far -- Tori has established her Speakeasy locations, and she enjoys living and working in a community where she feels invested.

We caught up with this Daytonian of the Week to find out more about her.

Tori Reynolds, owner of Speakeasy Yoga, is our Oct. 18 Daytonian of the Week. PHOTO / Carly Short Photography

Q: What’s one word you think people would use to describe you?

Aware. I don’t keep up as much with the world news or politics as I could, but I don’t feel like I miss much in my immediate surroundings and with personal interactions. I like to be aware of what’s going on with the people I come into contact with, as well as awareness of myself, how I’m doing, and how I’m impacting those people and the world around me. 

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Q: What’s your favorite spot in Dayton? 

The lobby at Speakeasy. Words can’t express how much the studio means to me, and I never dreamed I would be able to build something in a space as beautiful as it is. So sitting there on the most amazing antique, crushed velvet green couch (with fringe!) staring out the floor to ceiling windows at the city I love, I am reminded how immensely grateful I am for the opportunity to do what I am doing.

Q: What superpower would you love to have?

X-Ray vision would be super cool! (And not the kind where you see people naked.) Bone structure impacts a lot of alignment in yoga and that can make it really hard to teach people since you can’t see it that easy. Although telepathy would be cool, too, and maybe throw in a little flying? I’m pretty indecisive. 

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Tori Reynolds, owner of Speakeasy Yoga, is our Oct. 18 Daytonian of the Week. PHOTO / Carly Short Photography

Q: What inspires you about Dayton?

The people! Dayton is totally making a comeback, and all because of them. Everyone is positive and pulling for Dayton to thrive, so being a part of the business community at this point in time is a very cool experience that I will always think of fondly.

Q: If you could change or bring one thing to Dayton, would it be?

More bike lanes! Ben and I just spent some time in Copenhagen and the set up for bikers was beyond impressive. I felt so comfortable pretending to be a local riding my borrowed cruiser for those 4 days. 

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Q: What do you think Dayton will look like in 10-15 years?

More people, expanded neighborhoods, continued building revitalization… I think we’re on the right track already. Seeing how much it’s changed in just the past four years since we moved to South Park and got really dug in, I have extremely high hopes for what can happen in another 10-15!  

Know someone who would make a great Daytonian of the Week? Send a note to, telling us who and why. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tess is a restaurant professional, home-baker and downtown Dayton dweller. When she's not mixing drinks for restaurant patrons, she's drinking champagne, buying shoes, or writing her blog, Ciao Vella. You can read about her home recipes, party planning tips, and more at

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This former NFL player is tackling Dayton community problems head-on

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

Former professional football player LaVar Glover has found success off the field. Video by Amelia Robinson

While most of his peers were pondering parties and first jobs, then University of Cincinnati student LaVar Glover had his eyes set on an NFL career and registering his 15-year-old brother in high school. 

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Glover, a Jefferson High School graduate raised partly in Residence Park, said it was helping his younger brother James Phillips get back on track that helped gear him towards a life of service when his 10-year career in professional football ended. 

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“I felt all those young guys were like my younger brother,” Glover, who operated The Glover Youth Program from 2009 to 2013, said. “If I can motivate him (my brother), I can motivate others.” 

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Archived 2010 photo: LaVar Glover founded Glover Youth Program, Inc. - a residential facility that catered to mentoring males between the ages of 12-17.(Kelli Wynn/Jim Witmer)

Through the nonprofit, Glover provided boys in foster care and/or a juvenile courts system with residential placement, mentoring, life skills development and therapeutic treatment services. 

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“I felt like I had always been a humble kid, that come from humble beginnings. Growing up with lack of resources and growing up poor makes you appreciate what you've got,” Glover said. “I was always comfortable in my own skin because I didn’t have much.” 

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LaVar Glover (right) is picured here in this 2002 photo with his brother James Phillips (left). At the time this photo was taken, Glover had just signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The two are standing at the Steelers office in Pittsburgh, PA. Photo submitted by LaVar Glover.(Kelli Wynn/Contributed photo)

During his career in football, Glover, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers before being signed by the Cincinnati Bengals and the Detroit Lions. 

Following a three-year stint in the NFL, he played seven years in the Arena and Canadian Football Leagues. 

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Dayton called him home when his football days were done. 

“I wanted to be around my family,” he said. 

He said he was nurtured in the community he grew up in, recalling Little League and going to the Wesley Community Center.

“I was familiar with the community. I had a community network,” he said. “Dayton was good to me.” 

We caught up with LaVar Glover, this week’s Daytonian of the Week. 

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LaVar Glover during his time with the Cincinnati Bengals

What do you do, and how did you get involved in Community Action Partnership? 

I am the Director of Self-Sufficiency and I facilitate and coordinate “Getting Ahead In a Just-Gettin’-By World” workshops in Montgomery, Greene, Preble and Darke counties. 

[The workshop] is about building resources for a better life for those living in poverty or unstable situations. In Getting Ahead, we study poverty and near poverty through the lens of economic class to better understand how our society and the economy work. In groups of 12-14 people, we investigate the impact that poverty and low wages have on our community and what it takes to move from a just getting-by world. The idea of “Getting Ahead” means action and movement- getting ahead of where we are now, toward a brighter future. 

 I first learned of CAP through my wife (Ivy), who previously worked for CAP in the Marketing Department. 

 Becoming the Director of Self-Sufficiency was a great fit for me. I genuinely care about helping others, I am a coach at heart, and I grew up in poverty. 

Daytonian of the Week LaVar Glover with his children, Matthew and Imani. (Submitted)

What superpower would you love to have? 

I would love to be able to fly like Superman. 

What do you love about life in Dayton? 

Dayton is small but impactful. 

What do you wish people knew about CAP? 

Daytonian of the Week LaVar Glover.(Submitted)

I wish people knew all of our services and the many counties we serve. CAP is an organization that helps people become more stable with a variety of programs. Our newest programs are the Legal Clinic, Transportation Services, and Getting Ahead. We also have free Tax Services and Computer Classes, to name a few. 

What is the most important thing you learned from your NFL career? 

Make every day count. 

What advice do you give to student athletes hoping to make sports a career? 

Be humble. Be coach-able and work beyond your limits in the classroom and on the field. Prepare for adversity and fall in love with the process of being the best person you can be. 

Daytonian of the Week LaVar Glover.(Submitted)

What is the last book you read? 

“The Magic of Thinking Big” by David J. Schwartz. 

Where do you go for a great time? 

Great times for me are spent with my family at our golf courses and bowling alleys. 

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What would you change about Dayton? 

I would like to rehab all of the abandoned buildings (downtown) and homes throughout the community. Also, I would like to change the negative stigma Dayton sometimes carry throughout the community. I’m ready for Dayton Public Schools to be recognized as a great school district again. 

What should people know about Dayton? 

Dayton is on the move with re-developing the downtown areas. Dayton has beautiful real estate and is prime for business opportunities. Dayton has many resources for people in need. 

LaVar Glover (back) with his family (left to right)Matthew, Imani, Ivy, and Lil Reggie(Submitted by LaVar Glover)

LaVar Glover (center in uniform) is pictured in this 2001 photo with University of Cincinnati Football Coach (left) Rick Minter, his brother James Phillips and his mother (right). Photo submitted by LaVar Glover.(Kelli Wynn/Contributed photo)

Derrick Shepard, William Waters, LaVar Glover, Avery Cunningham, Reggie Powers, JC Baker, Derrick Adams and Joy Baker (front)(Submitted by LaVar Glover)

Daytonian of the Week LaVar Glover.(Submitted)

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Daytonian of the Week: Nelson Hulce, sensai master and good neighbor

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 @ 6:34 AM

Tai Chi Chuan at Yellow Cab Tavern

Often times, the people who make the backbone of a community strong go without the recognition they deserve. Nelson Hulce has been strengthening the core of Dayton, both figuratively and literally, for most of his life. 

Born at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton in 1951, Hulce came of age during times of civil unrest and local tensions while in high school. In his own words, Dayton has remained his home ever since because he had a heart for seeing the city heal and grow. 

(Shelly/ Nelson Hulce)

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Hulce worked as a Respiratory Therapist in Dayton for 40 years. Perhaps what he is most known for, however, is his contribution to the Dayton martial arts community. Because of his passion and dedication to the art, as well as his personality that exudes acceptance, Hulce has introduced countless people to the healing benefits of practicing the various styles— especially those who might’ve otherwise been too intimidated to know where to begin.

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A student of the martial arts since 1966, Hulce specialized in the art of Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art, for 34 years. He then founded and was sensei of the Dayton Aikido Club from 1989-1998. Although in recent years, his focus has been on the practice of Tai Chi — often referred to as “moving meditation.” 

Today, Hulce is retired and living in Belmont with his wife, Shelly. Every Thursday at Yellow Cab Tavern, Hulce leads a one-hour practice of Tai Chi for anyone wanting to learn. He is also our Daytonian of the Week

 >> Meet Shelly Hulce, supporter of Dayton arts and music

(Shelly/ Nelson Hulce)

What got you started with martial arts and why were you drawn to the practice so much? 

“As a teen in the ‘60s and ‘70s, martial arts was showing up a lot in movies like Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, TV shows like “Kung Fu,” books and magazines. With the large interest developing in the Western world, a lot of local groups and dojos were opening, making study more accessible. There were also a wide variety of the arts to choose from. I was drawn to martial arts because of the discipline and efficient movements. As a male teen with a lot of energy and problems at home, it gave me a positive outlet and a much needed sense of security. Discovering Eastern philosophies through martial arts also put me on a peaceful, spiritual path that were helpful.”

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What does it mean to be a Sensei and what was the best part about being the Sensai of the Dayton Aikido Club? 

“Sensei means "teacher." In the context of martial arts, including that of Aikido, a point is reached in training when it is necessary to teach in order to advance your understanding of your art. Being a sensei furthers this process. To teach is to give and to see from the point of view of the student so that you can better explain the art. The sensei and the teacher help move one another forward.” 

How can practicing any form of martial arts improve your life?

“There are many health benefits to be found in any art that moves the body and the mind. Like performing music or dancing with another person, the benefits include harmony, growth in character, communication, trust and bonding. In my years of studying and teaching, I have worked with a very diverse population from police officers to professional dancers and office workers, to recovering addicts to people with physical disabilities. I have seen many people over the years learn patience, improve their mobility and balance, gain discipline, control anger and find a peaceful, spirit filled path. Like with any art, you get back what you put in to it.”

In your opinion, what makes Dayton different from other cities? 

“Any time I travel, I am always happy to be back home in Dayton. Seeing other places makes me appreciate the unique and wonderful things we have to offer; great arts programs, fantastic local music, a rich history, beautiful destination places in town and closeby, seasons that are celebrated outdoors in our beautiful parks, streams, rivers and reserves. And Dayton is home to the most kind and generous people in the world.”

 Why are you proud to be a Daytonian?

“I believe people look at Daytonians not only as inventors and innovators but also a very resilient and talented culture. Every hit we have taken in our history, from the flood on up to the loss of our major manufacturers, we survive and thrive. That takes a strong, intelligent and committed community. I am also proud to be a Daytonion as we have played a large part in the history of world peace.”

(Nelson/ Shelly Hulce)

What is the martial arts community like in Dayton? Is it close knit? Are there lots of ways to get involved?

“There are a lot of great martial arts groups and schools in Dayton; something for everyone. My path has been with the art of Aikido. I prefer cooperative learning rather than sports oriented arts.” 

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When you're not practicing, what do you enjoy doing in your free time in Dayton? 

My free time is spent gardening and enjoying local parks, fins and reserves, watching local bands perform, going to local arts establishments and productions, playing music with friends — violin, guitar, harmonica —and volunteering as a reader for the blind at the Radio Reading Service through Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley. My favorite places to go are the downtown library, Christopher’s Restaurant, Yellow Cab Tavern, Victoria and Schuster performing arts centers, Dayton Art Institute and The Neon!

Of all the arts you've practiced, what is your favorite and why? 

“My life has been mostly devoted to the art of Aikido. The founder, Morihei Ueshiba, built the art on respect for all, even an attacker. His philosophy lead him to change "lethal" Aikijujutsu techniques to "control" situations with movements, based on redirecting energy and the art of evasion.”

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Meet Yolanda Drake — singer, community leader and Daytonian of the Week

Published: Wednesday, April 04, 2018 @ 6:00 AM


Yolanda Drake, who recently won the opportunity to sing the national anthem at Dayton Dragons Opening Day, radiates joy and passion for what she does. The Middletown native uplifts her community with both her work and her voice. 

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Drake’s daytime job is an FSS Coordinator at Greater Dayton Premier Management in the Family Self-Sufficiency Department. She helps Dayton residents by connecting them to the local services to improve their education, find employment to put them on the path to financial stability and help first time homeowners.  

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Drake is also a graduate of The Neighborhood Leadership Institute (NLI). The NLI is an annual 14-week program that educates and trains Dayton residents for current or future leadership opportunities in the city and community by expanding their knowledge of Dayton, city government and community. 

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Lamar and Yolanda Drake.(Contributed)

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But that’s not all Drake has to offer her community. Drake and her husband of nearly 26 years Lamar (Marty) have a band, Live Your Dream. They’ve opened for national acts and performed at pre-games all over the nation.

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Drake shared with me a story that she says defines, “Why I sing!”

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“We (LYD) were performing at an event here in Dayton for an organization. After our performance, a lady came up to me and said ‘I just want you to know I wasn’t coming to this event tonight, but I’m glad I did.’ She commenced to tell me she had recently lost her husband, and hadn’t been out since. But something made her come anyway — and even after she got there she was going to leave after the program. Well, we started to perform and she was already out in the hallway ready to go, but she heard me start to sing and she turned back. The song I was singing was her and her husband’s song. She came back in and had tears in her eyes, but it was good tears and she ended up staying the whole night and had a great time!” Drake said. 

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Lamar and Yolanda Drake(Contributed)

I spoke with Drake about her life, inspiration and memories of performing. Get to know our Daytonian of the Week:

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Tell us about your life growing up in the Dayton area.

I was born and raised right down the road in Middletown, Ohio. I’m a graduate of Middletown High School (The Mighty Middies!). Through my middle school years, I was a cheerleader for basketball and football. In high school, I was on the drill team and in the marching band. I lived in a neighborhood they called Cloverdale — my street was a very nice street with good neighbors and lots of kids to play with. 

Tell us a little about your band and entertainment business LYD.

My husband and I have a band called LYD-Live Your Dream. We have been performing together for around 28 years. In those years, we have traveled to different cities and states to perform like: Atlanta, Virginia, Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Lima, Middletown and of course Dayton. My husband is the backbone of the band. He started the band and handles all the bookings and the business. 

If you could change/improve one thing about Dayton, what would that be?

Well, there is something that I would like to see happen. I would like to see music come back and be a part of the school curriculum. Like music class, where you can learn how to play the flute. When I was in school, it was a class everyone had to take. In high schools they had a marching band. A lot of the inner city schools don’t have this anymore. I feel this is needed because the children need to use their creative energy. I feel with music back in the schools, grades would be better, and kids would be more attentive. If they find something they love like playing the piano, they would focus on that and it would keep them busy.   

What do you find most inspiring about Dayton?

The entertainment that has come out of Dayton. I’m in entertainment and I looked at who and what bands even professional ball players that came out of Dayton. It was quite a few and that was inspiring to me as a singer. 

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What’s your favorite thing to do in Dayton? Favorite place to eat? Favorite shop?

I love going to Riverscape to the summer series concerts they have. Which I have performed at quite a few of them. I remember performing when they first started having performances at Riverscape before they had the big Pavilion. We (LYD) will be performing there this summer on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. I love all the festivals they have here in Dayton. One of my favorite places to eat is Thai 9. I love the Thai 9 rice — so good! 

How are you preparing for your performance of the National Anthem at the Dayton Dragon’s Opening Day?

I’m sooooo excited to be singing for the Dayton Dragons Opening Day. Another thing I’ve always wanted to do (Sing the National Anthem at a big sporting event). When I auditioned I didn’t know that over 200 people were auditioning. So, needless to say when I got the call that I had overall, I was through the roof! The past few weeks have been a whirlwind with articles and interviews and TV appearances and I’m loving it!!!! I just want to do my best for the Dragons Opening Day. To do that, I’m trying to stay healthy. The weather now gets my sinuses going, so I have to make sure I’m in good voice. Before I sing, if I’m alone or with my band, I always say a prayer asking that we all be on one accord, have a great show, anoint my voice and if there is anyone out there that I can help with a song even if it’s one person — then my job is done. 

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“Music is a universal language; it’s therapeutic and music is much needed in our lives,” said Drake. 

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Yolanda Drake will sing the national anthem in front of a sell-out crowd April 7th at Fifth Third Field. 

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Daytonian of the Week: Michael Roediger, Dayton Art Institute

Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 @ 10:08 AM

Daytonian of the Week Michael Roediger at Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest.
Daytonian of the Week Michael Roediger at Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest.

Michael Roediger has spent the last six years at the helm of one of the largest arts and cultural organizations in the Miami Valley — the Dayton Art Institute. 

We caught up with the museum’s director and CEO to talk about the museum, the Dayton arts community and what he loves most about life in Dayton.

Meet our Daytonian of the Week.

What do you do? 

I am the Director and CEO of The Dayton Art Institute; Father to an incredible young man Richard A. Roediger and a four-legged kid Rosie the Boston Terrier; and a champion of Dayton and the arts.

Daytonian of the Week Micheal Michael Roediger with Dayton philanthropist Zoe Dell Nutter.(

How did you get involved with The Dayton Art Institute? 

I first got involved with the DAI when I was a child. My parents would drop me off at Saturday School for art classes. Some classes were for both parents and children and my Dad would attend with me. Those are some of my favorite memories with my Dad growing up. Professionally, I came to the DAI nearly seven years ago when I was tapped by Linda Lombard and Rob Connelly to come and lead the museum. 

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What superpower would you love to have? 

The power to share empathy. We need empathy more than ever and seem to be lacking it more than ever before. 

Michael Roediger, director and CEO of the Dayton Art Institute, makes 450 penguins follow his movements. The "Penguins Mirror" by artist Daniel Rozin was part of the exhibit "The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water". LISA POWELL / STAFF

What are your hopes for the arts in Dayton? 

That they continue to grow, flourish and become more inclusive so that everyone in our community feels welcome to enjoy our rich arts scene. 

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What do you love about leading the Art Institute?  

The people I get to work with and the people that support the museum. Also, getting to work in such an iconic building filled with treasured objects is a gift. 


What are the biggest challenges and joys of leading such an important institution? 

The biggest challenge seems to always come down to funds. We are in a much better place than we were six years ago, but we still need to grow our endowment so that we can support the facility, the collection, and take care of our staff. I encourage everyone in the community to become a DAI member. Membership supports our mission of enriching the community with meaningful experiences with art and is a great value with its many benefits. The biggest joys are when we open a new exhibition or create a new experience in the collection galleries. It is always rewarding to witness children come in to the museum for the first time and see them have a sense of awe for the building and art. 

Richard and Michael Roediger. Michael Roediger is Daytonian of the Week.


Where do you go for a great time? 

I am a big fan of “dating your city.” Dayton has so much to offer. I find as I get older, that going to dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants and seeing a movie at the Neon is a great night on the town. A great time can also be about anything with my teenage son Richard who has a better social life than I do.  

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What would you change about Dayton? 

 I think we have improved the great divide of the river, but we have a long way to go. I want to see Dayton become more inclusive of all people no matter their race, religion, culture, age, gender, or orientation. I would like Dayton to be the model for other cities.  

Area arts organizations, including the Dayton Art Institute, could potentially receive millions of dollars from the 2015-2016 state capital budget if recommendations from the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Quality of Life” committee are followed. DAI director and CEO Michael Roediger (pictured) would like to expand and improve art storage space, ensure the museum is fully accessible and upgrade heating and air conditioning if they are funded. LISA POWELL / STAFF(Lisa Powell)


What should people know about Dayton? 

That we represent the best in Midwest values. Daytonians take great pride in our history and are poised to make even more history. Bring your business or family to our community and we will welcome you with open arms. 


What is your favorite hidden gem in Dayton?  

Maybe not a hidden gem to everyone, but I think Dayton Visual Arts Center (DVAC) is a real gem that I wish more people would support. I am often confused when I go to local homes, businesses or offices and see commercial art. DVAC represents so many amazing working artists making it possible for everyone to have original art created right here in Dayton.  

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Michael Roediger

What’s one word you think people would use to describe you? 

I hope people would say I am passionate about Dayton and our arts community. 


Why did you decide to settle in Dayton?  

I am homegrown and was born in raised in Trotwood. I went to the East Coast for about seven years. I missed my family and our community. I wanted my son to grow up around family and to be raised in the Midwest. Dayton is home.  

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What do you think Dayton will look like in 10-15 years? 

I think our downtown and surrounding areas will continue to grow and see more people choosing to have a live and work life in downtown, which will create more opportunity for restaurants, retail and services for residents. I also think that with more people returning to the amenities of the city that we have more people wanting to have arts experiences within walking distance of their homes. I am amazed by the progress we have made in the last decade.

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