The Pointe

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#TriviaTuesday - Can you “imagine” who is being honored with a commemorative Forever stamp on his birthday today?

John Lennon!

Imagine …

John Lennon never could have imagined that one day his image would appear on a postage stamp in the country that became his final home.

Not even if he tried.

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But today, on what would have been his 78th birthday, fans around the country are buying multiple copies of the US postage stamp adorned with Lennon’s iconic image.

It’s a small but unique way to savor the man, his music, and the memories he’s left behind.

We locals got our first, live taste of Beatlemania at a never-to-be-forgotten concert at Cincinnati Gardens on August  27, 1964. You may have been one of the lucky ones to attend.

Sensing its historical significance, the local press covered the event as if it was a visit by a world dignitary. Only world dignitaries usually don’t attract hordes of screaming teenage girls.

The Friday, August 28, 1964, Middletown Journal was no exception. It carried an Associated Press article describing the reaction to Lennon and his Beatle bandmates : Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

“A crowd estimated at around 14,000 -- and not all of them teenagers -- crowded into the Cincinnati Gardens Thursday night to see and hear the mop-topped British quartet, but few if any of them got to hear ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’...The moment the Beatles stepped on the raised stage at the sports arena, the 14,000 leaped to their feet and started to jump up and down -- and scream. (1)

“More than 100 persons fainted during the performance and a few were treated for cuts and bruises they suffered when they fell, but on the whole the crowd was orderly. (1)

“Weary policeman said the noise was something else again. They’d never heard anything quite like it…” (1)

If you’ve ever followed the Beatles you know well the iconic looks and sounds, the personalities, and the controversies that surrounded the group.

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Lennon was no stranger to the latter. His 1966 comment about the Beatles being “more popular than Jesus now” (2) and his romance with artist Yoko Ono while still married to wife, Cynthia, with whom he had a son, made headlines around the world. He eventually married Ono and settled with her and their son in the famous Dakota building across from Central Park in New York City.

The headlines screamed again on December 8, 1980, when Lennon suffered a horrific death in front of that home, shot by Mark David Chapman (3), whose name still lives in infamy among Lennon admirers around the world.

They just couldn’t have imagined life without Lennon.

Not even if they tried.

  1. https://access.newspaperarchive.com/us/ohio/middletown/middletown-journal/1964/08-28/page-3/beatles-in-cincinnati-august-28-1964?pci=7&psi=73

  2. Wikipedia. “More Popular Than Jesus”

  3. Wikipedia. “John Lennon”

MidPointe Library offers books, music, DVDs and more about and by John Lennon and the Beatles, as well as a massive selection of downloadable music and more via Hoopla, available at: https://www.midpointelibrary.org/page/music




#tbt Local History Blog - Four-Legged Hero was always Ready for the Call to Duty

This month MidPointe Library salutes the “Hometown Heroes” who have made our local communities even better places in which to live, work and play. Today’s first segment demonstrates that not all heroes are of the two-legged variety.

Not all “hometown heroes” have two legs.

In fact, some of those who are most deserving of the title have four.

Such was the case with the late Middletown, Ohio, canine police officer, Gunner the German Shepherd, whose memory is still cherished by the Middletown Police Department and the community he protected.

In February 2015 Gunner died in a barn fire in Madison Township on property belonging to his handler, Officer Dennis Jordan. Authorities said they believed the source of the fire was a heater used to keep the dog warm. He was 7-and-a-half years old. (1)

Gunner was memorialized in a service at Middletown’s canine training facility attended by over 20 police canine officers from surrounding cities and counties. (1)

The community had lost a hero. But memories of his remarkable tenure would remain.

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Gunner’s public service began when he was purchased for the Middletown police department in 2009. The cost was $6,500, money that would be well spent. (1)

After 12 weeks of training Gunner was ready for duty. He was credited for “making several felony arrests throughout his six-year career, including tracking down two armed suspects who carjacked a vehicle in Montgomery County, then fled into Middletown. Gunner uncovered narcotics in the stolen car, then tracked down a second suspect…” (1)

The department’s canine supervisor praised Gunner’s effort as “outstanding police work.” (1)

Gunner’s prowess grew. In the summer before his death, he “was named the top detector in the narcotics division at the U.S. Police Canine Association Regional competition in Kentucky...He was set to compete in the nationals” the year he died. (1)

When he wasn’t fighting crime, Gunner no doubt became the most popular guy in the room when making his rounds or during community visits with his human partner.

Rest in peace, Officer Gunner.

You were, and always will be, a hometown hero.

Source:

(1)“Memorial held for ‘one of a kind’ police dog” by Rick McCrabb, Dayton Daily News, February 4, 2015.

Photo from “Middletown K9 : A life well lived” by Jill Drury, “2 News wdtn.com”




#tbt Local History Blog - Todd Bell, Middletown's Two-Time All-American

It was a tribute you don’t see very often in a high school yearbook -- a personal salute to a fellow student by the yearbook’s sports staff.

But this was the 1977 Middletown, Ohio, High School “Optimist” yearbook. And the recipient was senior Todd Bell.

In time the sporting world would come to know the outstanding student-athlete who was the recipient of the yearbook staff’s praise :

“The OPTIMIST sports staff and the entire body of Middletown High School pay tribute to Todd Bell for the excitement and recognition that he has brought to MHS and wish him ‘Good Luck!” (1)

Todd bell optimist.jpg

Todd Bell really didn’t need the luck. He already possessed the talent and the drive to become a “two-time All-American...the first student in MHS history to be named a high school All-American in two sports, track and football…” (1)

“His long jump of 25’5” in 1976 not only set a new state record but also was the longest jump of the year by a high school student,” the yearbook continued. “Todd won the state title for the second straight year in the long jump and is expected to repeat as champion again in 1977.” (1)

“In football Todd was named by PARADE magazine as the top high school player in the country at his position,” the yearbook entry recounted. “The subject of intense recruiting by the major colleges, Todd will attend Ohio State University, where he hopes to play football, run track, and prepare for the 1980 Olympics…” (1)

The Optimist article also recognized Bell for his many non-athletic achievements such as his participation in Student Council. He is “respected by his teachers and peers,” the yearbook staff wrote. (1)

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As the years passed Todd Bell lived up to his reputation as an exceptional student, athlete and humanitarian. Today residents of Bell’s hometown, Middletown, Ohio, remember the many highlights from his illustrious biography:

*His becoming a “a three-time state champion in the long jump, breaking the records set by Jesse Owens.” (2)

*His “game-winning touchdown” in the intense Ohio State Buckeyes-University of Michigan Wolverines rivalry football game in November 1979. After a blocked punt Bell  grabbed the ball and ran 18 yards for a final score of 18-15. The run sent the Buckeyes to the 1980 Rose Bowl game. Unfortunately for the Bucks, the University of Southern California Trojans emerged as Rose Bowl victors, 17-16. (3)

*His playing on the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles football teams. (3)

*His earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State during football off-season in 1989. (2)

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*His return to Ohio State as an alumnus, serving as Coordinator of Community Relations in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (formerly the Office of Minority Affairs). Bell was an “ambassador for the university and a mentor to many African-American male undergraduates.” He also “gave initial leadership” to the development of the Black Male Initiative and was part of the team that developed the African American Male Resource Center, now known as the Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male. (2)

*His work with youth and his church. (2)

Todd Bell was the son of Elder Archellus Bell and Mrs. Monaray Bell of Middletown. (4) He died at the age of 46 on March 16, 2005, after suffering a fatal heart attack while driving in Reynoldsburg, Ohio (3).

On November 28, 2018 (3), he would have been 60 years old.



Sources:



(1)1977 Middletown High School “Optimist” (yearbook) available for viewing in MidPointe Library-Middletown’s Ohio Room or online at http://www.midpointedigitalarchives.org/digital/collection/Midpoint01

(2)“Todd Anthony Bell,” from the Bell National Resource Center on the African American male (named after Todd Bell) at Ohio State University.

https://odi.osu.edu/bell-national-resource-center/about.html

(3) Wikipedia -- “Todd Bell,” “The 1980 Rose Bowl.

(4) Legacy.com

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/hamilton/obituary.aspx?n=todd-bell&pid=3311393






Local Author's Message: "There is Always Hope"

Asked to describe her works of fiction, Dayton, Ohio, author Michelle Bolanger recalls a phrase she’d heard before.

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“Someone coined the term ‘modern day parables’ for the kind of fiction I write,” she says. “I include themes that connect with our culture. It’s my way of trying to let the world know that there is always hope.”

A full-time administrative assistant who’s been thinking up stories “since I was old enough to do so,” Bolanger is the author of two stand-alone works she calls the “The Challenged Faith Novels” and three novels in her Cotiere Chronicles series.

“Saving Detroit” and “Safe Cages” comprise the “Challenged Faith Novels.” Each presents “real-life issues that Christians and non-Christians struggle with,” Bolanger explains.

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In “Saving Detroit” a young man named Luke is kidnapped and sold into human trafficking. “It is a story of his return to faith in the God he believed abandoned him,” Bolanger explains. “I call this one my ‘crusade book.’ I wrote it in response to the statistic that nearly 50 percent of human trafficking victims worldwide are male. A portion of the proceeds from my book sales go to an organization that operates a home for boys who are trafficking survivors here in the U.S. It is one of only two such homes in the world.” ***

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“‘Safe Cages’ is the story of two men desperately in love with each other who come face to face with God’s love and acceptance,” Bolanger says. “It is meant to be a bridge between the church and the LGBTQ community, or to at least help foster the kind of conversation that stresses love and acceptance rather than hatred and judgment -- from either side.”

Bolanger’s Cotiere Chronicles series, comprised of The Kiss, The Touch and The Light, is categorized as “Urban Fantasy Romance,” she says. “While it is based on Christian principles, there are no overtly religious themes in the books.”



The Cotiere Chronicles follow “an ancient race of people who have lived among ordinary humans for centuries,” she says. “They have been scattered and divided by an old rivalry that has left them on the brink of extinction. As a race, they are very loosely based on vampire folklore, but the only blood they drink is from their one true match, or their intended...

“The series follows the journey of four couples as they navigate their unique relationships as well as how each of them contributes to the re-unification of their people.”

How does this published author motivate herself to  begin the act of writing?

“It depends,” she replies. “There are times when I have to exercise discipline and simply remind myself that the only way to complete the story is to put words on a page, even if they are ‘bad.’ When I find myself stuck, I usually look for images or photographs of people or places that inspire a scene or a bit of dialogue that gets me unstuck.”

Bolanger says she writes “best in the afternoon...I don’t have a set pattern, but I do know I can’t write in a public place such as a coffeehouse or a restaurant, or when there is any kind of activity going on around me. I am too easily distracted.”

“The most challenging part” of the writing process, she adds, is “staying focused on one project at a time! I tend to have two or three stories in progress at any given time. I’m learning to ignore the shiny new ideas that demand my attention by jotting them down with a line or two, then going back to the project I’ve decided to finish first.”

“Deadlines are evil,” Bolanger says with a chuckle. “Not really, but I don’t do well with them, at least not when I am trying to get the first draft done. Once the story is complete, I set deadlines by scheduling edits and then a publish date.”

Once she’s completed her first draft, the author relies on “a team of what I call ‘alpha’ readers who read over most of the story and give their input for changes or sections that need work. Then it goes to my content -- or developmental -- editor, who zeroes in on the parts of the story that need to be re-written, removed or corrected,” she says.

On Publishing...

After writing and editing, Bolanger readies her materials for publishing. She uploads a book’s cover art to various sales platforms. After proofreading she formats files for e-books and paperbacks

“While all this is being done, I am also creating and publishing teasers and contacting bloggers and promotional companies who will promote and advertise the book,” she says. “Once all the files are ready, they are uploaded and verified before I set the release date.”

But the work doesn’t stop there. “After the book is released I usually focus completely on marketing and promoting the book for the month following -- before I start into writing my next book.”

What’s next?

Today the author is working on a “contemporary romance between a young orphaned and widowed woman and a gorgeous wealthy bachelor who owns and operates a private search and rescue company. The story is based on the Book of Ruth from the Bible so it will be inspirational fiction,” she says. “I anticipate publishing it next year.”

“I also have a short novella set in the same world as the Cotiere Chronicles but without the fantasy elements,” she adds. “The main character, Zane, was such an interesting personality I had to explore a bit of his history, and it turned into a fun little short story.”

What’s Bolanger’s advice for aspiring writers?

“Enjoy the process,” she states. “Learn all you can. Ask questions, and listen to the answers. Never stop reading, and if you write, no matter what genre or style, don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t a writer…

“There is a difference between those who call themselves writers and those who actually write,” she continues. “Inspiration isn’t automatic, and sometimes it shows up only when you exercise discipline in front of a blank document and type one word after another.”

*** www.restoreonelife.org

For more on Michelle Bolanger visit www.michellebolanger.com

Michelle Bolanger is one of over 25 local independently published authors who are expected to attend the ReadLOCAL Indie Author Fair this Saturday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to noon at MidPointe Library 9363 Centre Pointe Drive, West Chester, Ohio.  ReadLOCAL gives readers a chance to meet authors from the immediate area, buy books and have them signed by the authors. There is no admission fee.

All ages are welcome!

#TriviaTuesday - What Fresh-Faced Middie Grew Up to be a Real Creep?

Don’t let his innocent looks fool you.

dr creep 2.jpg

The 1959 Middletown High School grad named Barry Hobart appears to be a nice guy in his senior photo.

But as the years passed he turned into a real creep.

And the world loved him for it.

To many Baby Boomers and others Barry Hobart was and forever will be the quirky, campy, late-night host of local horror show TV, “Dr. Creep.”

Indeed, Saturdays in the 1970s and early 1980s weren’t complete without a dose of Creep on “Shock Theater,” produced by Dayton TV station WKEF. His ghostly white face, crumpled top hat, blood-red lips above a full beard -- not to mention the corny ad-libs -- were the pièce de ré·sis·tance of the entire weekend.

But when the doctor felt like getting out in the sunshine he could often be found at a local charity event, raising money for a worthy cause, particularly those benefiting children.

dr Creep.jpg

His alter-ego, Barry Hobart, a Middletown native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1963 with a degree in broadcasting always went along for the ride.

Like Dr. Creep, Hobart enjoyed performing before an audience. His Middie classmates may remember him in the school’s production of “Annie Get Your Gun,” “I Remember Mama,” and his participation in the Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, the National Forensic League and National Thespians. Hobart was also in the Science Club.

A career in television seemed to be his -- their -- destiny.

When both men died in 2011 in their late 60s Middletown and the entire Dayton area mourned.

They had lost a good man and a comical Creep, both with the same big heart.

Sources :

1959 Middletown High School yearbook, The Optimist, available for reading in the MidPointe Library Middletown Ohio Room or online at www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Digital Archives > The Optimist Middletown City School District High School Yearbooks.

Wikipedia : “Dr. Creep”

Photo of Dr. Creep from : “Shock Theatre” http://www.mediaprof.org/shock/