Not unlike many of her characters, Lora Logan, author of “Mystic Desire: A Supernatural Anthology” and “All She Ever Needed,” is attracted to tough, tattooed men, and is lucky enough to be married to one! The mama of three Maltese puppies, she is an animal lover and can be found most days snuggling with them while reading or writing. Her favorite part of writing is the fact that her characters usually steal the show while she follows behind with a pen in her hand, watching them choose their own trajectory. Find Lora at:
#tbt - Former Middletonian/longtime Cincinnati media reporter John Kiesewetter to share "The History of WPFB (1947-2017)" at MidPointe Library
Please share your background -- current city/town of residence, your current occupation, educational/professional info and of course, memories of growing up in Middletown and your relationship with the Middletown Journal.
After graduating from Fenwick High School in 1971, I started my journalism career as a summer intern at the Middletown Journal for four summers. All that experience helped me land a job at the Cincinnati Enquirer immediately upon graduating from Ohio University in June 1975. In my first 10 years at the Enquirer I did a little of everything – news reporter, assistant city editor, regional editor (over our SW Ohio bureaus in Middletown, Hamilton, Lebanon, Batavia and Lawrenceburg, plus the Columbus and Northern Kentucky bureaus) and features editor over the Tempo, Food and Arts & Entertainment sections. In 1985, I asked to become the TV columnist, and covered TV/Radio/Media/Entertainment for 30 years. I traveled twice a year to Los Angeles to preview new shows and visit TV studios, watching tapings of "Friends," "Seinfeld," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "The Tonight Show" and many other shows.
At the end of 2014, I was downsized, and left the paper along with 26 others. Since then I've covered TV/Media/Entertainment for Cincinnati Public Radio's WVXU and wvxu.org.
I still live in Butler County. My wife Sue and I built a home in Fairfield, near Jungle Jim's, in 1986. We have three grown sons. Sue has covered Butler County communities and schools as a freelance reporter for 30+ years.
Speaking of Middletown, on November 11 you'll discuss "The History of WPFB (1947-2017)" from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at MidPointe Library, 125 South Broad Street. What prompted your interest in WPFB's history and your desire to share it?
I was always fascinated by radio and TV growing up in Middletown. I remember listening to baseball games at night from stations in Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis and Atlanta. For the Enquirer, I would write about format and staff changes at WPFB.
When Northern Kentucky University bought WPFB in 2011, I immediately understood the significance. It was the end of an era: No more local newscasts, no more Middies or Falcons football or basketball games, no more Middletown-centric programming. When NKU dismantled and shed the WNKU network, I broke many stories about the demise of the popular indie rock station and the sale of old WPFB-AM and WPFB-FM.
Having researched WPFB, did you discover aspects of its history that you did not know previously and/or found particularly interesting? Please share an interesting fact or two about the station and/or its staff from that 70-year period.
I won't give away my entire speech, but here are a couple of things I didn't know: (1) WPFB was not Middletown's first radio station. (2) I was surprised that so many well-known TV/radio personalities once worked at WPFB, including talk show host Lincoln Ware and two people at WKRC-TV. (Told you I wouldn't give too much away!)
Now about you! On the WVXU/WMUB website, you're described as the "source of information about all things in local media..." for "30-plus years." Please describe "John Kiesewetter : Media Beat" -- its content and format. When is it broadcast?
Basically I'm doing for wvxu.org what I did for the Enquirer. I write and post stories/blogs about local and national media news. I'm the only person in Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky covering the comings & goings at local TV and radio stations. Since June I've broken the story that Rob Braun was quitting Channel 12; that Cammy Dierking will be leaving in December; and that John Popovich is retiring from Channel 9. I did the first interview with new Reds radio announcer Tommy Thrall (last February, before the first spring training game). Often my blog posts are the most popular stories at wvxu.org.
I'm also doing interviews on Cincinnati Public Radio's WVXU-FM (91.7) and the WMUB-FM (88.5) simulcast. We did the first interview with Rob Braun (in October) when he explained why he left WKRC-TV because he didn't fit with the changes made by owner Sinclair Broadcast Group. I participate on interviews during the noon weekday "Cincinnati Edition" call-in show, and do feature interviews on the "Around Cincinnati" arts & entertainment show (7-8 p.m. Sunday). I've talked to TV stars (Rob Lowe, Jason Alexander), authors, historians, filmmakers and musicians.
Above are images of several hosts and guests who appeared on WPFB throughout the years : WPFB DJ Tommy Sutton reading on-air, autographed portrait of entertainer Moon Mullins, WPFB show host Fern Troutvine (photo from June 9, 1959, Middletown Journal), Middletown Police Chief Russ Dwyer at the microphone, headshot of Middletown Middies Football Coach Jack Gordon and “The Ol’ Country Boy,’ Kash Amburgy (with book).
Any scoops you'd like to divulge?
This isn't really isn't a scoop, but it's definitely unique: This weekend (Nov. 8-9), WVXU is taping a one-hour radio show adapted from a 1955 Rod Serling TV play called "O'Toole From Moscow." It's a Cold War comedy in 1955 about confusion between the Russians and the Cincinnati Reds. NBC's "Matinee Theater" broadcast it once – live – on a Monday afternoon! It was not filmed, taped or recorded.
I've known about the show for 30 years, and finally tracked down the script with the help of Serling historians. This summer I rewrote the script, adapting it for radio from TV. This weekend eight CCM students will perform the play under the direction of Professor Richard Hess in a studio at Cincinnati Public Radio. Anne Serling, daughter of Rod Serling, is coming in from upstate New York to be our host and narrator. We'll add music and sound effects, and broadcast it before Opening Day next year. This is a 30-year-old dream come true for me!
If memory is correct, during your long career as a reporter you've interviewed a number of famous people. Just for the fun of it, please recall one or two (or more, if you like) of your interviews.
I've truly been blessed. This kid from Middletown Fenwick spent a day at "ER" with George Clooney, and a day at "Cheers" with Lebanon High alum Woody Harrelson. I went shopping with Red Skelton. I ate dinner (with 100 TV critics) at Bob Hope's house, and he told me about his freezers filled with Montgomery Inn ribs. I spent 1-1/2 days in Pittsburgh with Fred Rogers watching him tape "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." My favorite trips were to the ballpark to spend a game in the Reds radio booth watching Marty & Joe. (I'm now writing a book about Joe Nuxhall.)
Some of my favorite interviews were with big stars before they were world famous: Jennifer Garner, Mark Harmon, Cris Collinsworth, George Clooney, Roseanne, Edie Magnus, Kevin Frazier.
Anything else you would like to add? Please do so!
I'm looking forward to seeing some old friends at MidPointe Library Monday. It's always great fun coming home.
See you at MidPointe Library-Middletown for "The History of WPFB (1947-2017)" on Monday, November 11, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.!
MEET MELINDA AND OTHER LOCAL AUTHORS AT MIDPOINTE LIBRARY'S 3rd ReadLOCAL INDIE AUTHOR FAIR SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16, FROM 10 AM TO NOON AT ITS TRENTON, OHIO, LOCATION : 200 EDGEWOOD DRIVE!
Please give a brief bio including city/town of residence.
I live in West Chester, Ohio, with my husband and our two cats PJ (Pure Joy) and Pumpkin Pi (yes, as in 3.1415). I am a member of the West Chester MidPointe Library Writer’s Group. I have self-published three books of poetry: A Bit of Tickle for the Mind, In the Spirit of Halloween, and Tickling God’s Toes.
It's apparent you really love poetry! Did your fondness for it begin as a child? Did you compose poems as a child or perhaps as a teen? If so, do you remember a few lines (or complete poem) that you could share?
I have always loved poetry. As a child, it was the rhythm and the rhyme that appealed to me, the imagery and the emotion. Now, I also love how it tells a story that the reader’s mind completes, how it connects with each reader differently like a special message written just for that person’s heart, how it can capture a moment or a lifetime in just a few short lines, and how it plays with words and sounds to create emotion. Not every poem will connect with every person, but when it does connect, in whatever way it connects, it’s magical.
I didn’t start writing poetry seriously or regularly until I was 50. I did write a few poems when I was younger--- and I’m sure they are tucked away somewhere in a box waiting patiently for me to discover their magnificence again someday…or not---but for now, my oldest poem at hand is “Angel,” which I wrote when I was 40, as a college assignment. I originally created it as a picture book, which I intend to publish someday. Meanwhile, I included “Angel” in my first book, A Bit of Tickle for the Mind, which I published at age 57. (It’s never too late to follow your dreams.)
I don’t have a poem from my youth to share, but I can share a poem from my third book, “Tickling God’s Toes.” I put this poem on my bookmark, and when people when they tell me they don’t like poetry, I give them a bookmark:
My smile is something I can give
To everyone I see
It doesn’t cost me anything
It’s absolutely free
And when I give my smile away
I find amazingly
Most everyone I give it to
Will give one back to me
They almost always say, “I like that kind of poetry,” and they often purchase my books. There are a lot of wonderful poems out there, but I find that many people have given up on poetry being for them. I love to open that door back up for them. I want them to be able to enjoy poetry and to be able to share it with their children so their children will grow up loving poetry too.
Who are your favorite poets and which of their works do you enjoy?
Some of my old favorites are:
Edgar Allan Poe…there’s something intriguingly twisted about his poetry…The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart.
William Shakespeare…In ninth grade, I memorized every line of Romeo and Juliet.
Ogden Nash…light, humor, and irony. My kind of poetry.
My newer favorites (although some have been around awhile):
Shel Silverstein…I like his quirky take on the everyday world.
Billy Collins…I like to listen to him recite his poetry. There are several YouTube videos available.
Leonard Nimoy…I didn’t know he wrote poetry until a friend gave me a copy of his book. I enjoyed it.
Kristin Helms…Her poetry is light and speaks to my soul. Her first collection, Grace + Oak, is coming out in March.
Songs are really poems set to music. Have you composed any songs?
I have created tunes for several of my poems, and sometimes poems come to me as a song. On my YouTube channel I post my poems and songs (A cappella) as Melinda’s Sweet Poetry. With each one, I learn a little more about the process---of writing and of creating a video. Posting my poetry also helps me conquer some of my fears.
What prompted you to write poetry with Halloween as the theme?
I like the fun side of Halloween---scarecrows, hayrides, trick-or-treating. I wanted to capture some of that fun in my poetry.
I try to be considerate of other people’s feelings and beliefs, and I know that while many people like Halloween, many others do not. For many, it goes against their faith to celebrate Halloween. Out of respect, I didn’t want to put my faith poems in the same book as my Halloween poems. Some of my children’s poetry expresses my Christian faith. Rather than creating a book of children’s poems that had both, I chose to publish the Halloween poems on their own.
You describe "In The Spirit of Halloween..." as a "chapbook of poetry." Please define "chapbook."
A chapbook is a collection of 30 poems or less, each pertaining to a specific theme and starting on a separate page, and written by the same author.
A chapbook can be handmade or printed (like my book). It can be elaborate, with artwork and a decorative cover, it can be the standard printed and bound (like my book), or it can simple, with its pages sewn or stapled together. It can be a one-of-a-kind treasure or a mass-produced pamphlet-style giveaway.
The poems in "In the Spirit of Halloween..." are fun for kids and evoke memories for older readers and adults. Do they reflect your memories of Halloween as a child? What are some of your memories of Halloween?
The first Halloween I remember is when I was 7 or 8 years old. We lived in Middletown at the time. As soon as I got home from school that day, my sister shoved something into my hands and said, “Put this on. It’s Halloween, and mom said I had to make costumes and take you guys trick-or-treating.” I didn’t even know it was trick-or-treat night, but I did as I was told. My sister, who was 10 or 11 at the time, had taken stuff from around the house and quickly turned us into trick-or-treaters. My brother was a hobo. I think she turned me into an old lady, using our mom’s coat and a hat. I don’t remember what she wore, but I’m sure it was something clever.
I remember the spooky feel of a dark, cold, windy night, going door-to-door, getting candy in a pillowcase, the leaves rustling in that scary way they do when you’re on a dark street with shadows lurking around every corner. When we got home, our pillowcases full, we dumped them out onto the floor and marveled at all the candy. (We didn’t get candy often, so Halloween really was a big treat for us. And candy bars really were a lot bigger then than they are now.)
“Monster Under My Bed” was definitely inspired by my childhood. My sister and I shared a bedroom, and one night she said we had to start taking turns turning out the light and that it was my turn. She jumped into her bed, and just as I was ready to hit the switch, she let me know that there was a monster under my bed and I had to get into the bed before the light went out or it would get me. Of course, my bed was on the other side of the room, so there was a real risk of me not making it. That monster never got me, and I never saw him, but I was scared of him nonetheless. I still sleep with my covers pulled up to my chin…just in case.
As you can probably tell, my sister literally and figuratively made Halloween for me when I was a kid.
How do you observe Halloween now?
We keep it simple. We hang our Walmart scarecrows on the porch and put out a couple of small autumn decorations inside the house. A lot of our neighbors put Halloween decorations in their yards, so my husband and I walk or drive around our neighborhood and admire their creativity. Sometimes we seek out a hayride or a haunted house.
On Halloween, I dress up and hand out candy to the kids when they come knocking and tell them how cute their costumes are. Then my husband and I watch Charlie Brown on TV.
This year, I’ll be reading my Halloween poems to students in a Pennsylvania school via live chat. I’m excited about that. It will be a new experience for me and an opportunity to share my poems with kids.
One could detect a poignancy about "Altered -- Lamentations of a Jack-O-Lantern," "The Ghost of a Snowman" and "Monster Sleepover." What prompted you to write them and what did you want your readers to take away from them?
“Altered” is written from the perspective of a jack-o-lantern. Younger children might not understand that poem, but older children might experience some empathy as they read it. They might find it darkly humorous to see from the perspective of a jack-o-lantern. They might get inspired to write a poem that looks like something other than what it is about.
“The Ghost of a Snowman” falls into the category of quirky. Kids like quirky poems and quirky jokes. Instead of using the phrase “lost his head” metaphorically, as would be the norm in poetry, I used it literally. It’s always a bit sad to see the snowmen melt when the sun comes out and the temperature rises, but who knows, maybe on Halloween, the ghost of last winter’s snowman will drop by for a visit…
“Monster Sleepover” isn’t just for Halloween, but I included it because monsters play a part in Halloween and some kids might get scared, seeing scary costumes and being out in the dark. Whether it’s Halloween or not, kids have monsters in common. Monsters keep us up at night. They follow us into adulthood. We have to look those monsters in the face and let them know who’s boss.
“Monster Sleepover” started out as a very spooky poem, not a poem for children. It was more about our fears. My fears. The irrational ones. As I wrote, the poem evolved into a bedtime story and a story of empowerment. At least, that’s how I read it. I hope children will get that out of it too. I want it to help take that fear away. Monsters are bullies. If you understand your bully’s weaknesses, you can take your power back.
The back cover of "In The Spirit Of Halloween" states you "never outgrew" your "love of children's books." What were your favorite children's books as a child and what about them appealed to you? Who were your favorite children's authors? Did any of them influence your writing?
There were always books in our house. Mother Goose nursery rhymes were my introduction to poetry, and like most little girls, I liked books about puppies, kittens, fairies, and princesses. I still do. I have a tendency to fall into the sweet innocence of fairy tales and animals when I write.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore stands out in my memory. The whole idea of catching a glimpse of Santa Claus was magical to me. I have several copies in my collection of Christmas books. Not only did the story captivate me as a child, but I appreciate it as a writer, as well. The verses are well-written. The story is tight. The action and the imagery contained in the words bring it all to life. The poem lends itself easily to being illustrated. I would love to write something that magical, something that can touch so many and can stand the test of time.
Another book that stands out in my memory is Tom Sawyer. I read it when was in middle school and I identified with that book on a soul level. I don’t know why, but it felt like home and love to me. I can’t swim and I’m afraid of water, but I went rafting in the safety of that book. I was with them on that river. When we moved from Kentucky to Ohio, I was 7. The rest of my family dropped their accents off at the bridge, but I kept mine. The characters in the book had a southern accent, like I did. My accent has evolved over the years, but I still have it. Like Mark Twain, I throw a little southern dialect and some of that down home culture into my poetry sometimes.
Please describe your other works: "A Bit of Tickle For the Mind -- Poetry" and "Tickling God's Toes : Poetry." Who is your audience for each one?
Both collections include poetry in a variety of topics, styles, and lengths, and most of the poems are positive and easy to understand on the first read, but neither collection has a theme per se. Some poems are serious; others have humor or irony. Some are realistic; some are fanciful. There isn’t one poem I can give as an example of the whole collection, for either book. Varied. Positive. Pondering. Encouraging. Those are some of the words I would use to describe the poems.
The audience for both A Bit of Tickle for the Mind and Tickling God’s Toes would be around age 9 – adult. Of course, not every poem will appeal to every person; that’s the nature of poetry. The nice thing about a poetry book is you can skip around until you find a poem you like.
The audience for In the Spirit of Halloween would be elementary and middle-grade children.
About the nuts-and-bolts of writing.....
Do you have a writing routine? A special place, time to write? A certain method -- longhand or laptop?
Sometimes I write on my laptop, but I often write in an artist’s sketchpad.
I don’t have a set time to write. When an idea pops into my head, I try to jot it down right away so I won’t forget it. If I can work on the poem then, I will.
Some writers can write on command or they can select a topic and write about it. I don’t write like that. I have to wait for inspiration to come to me. Sometimes I get almost the whole poem, but usually it’s just a thought, a line, or a word. God gives me the seeds to work with. When I try to go it on my own, I get weeds. When I wait for the seeds, I get a garden of fragrant flowers.
You self-published "In The Spirit of Halloween." Did you do the same for your books listed above? In general what does self-publishing entail?
I self-published all three of my books. I used Create Space for my first book. Create Space is now part of Amazon KDP, which is who I used for the other two.
For novels and chapter books, there are templates you can use, which makes setup and consistency easier. Poetry, however, doesn’t follow a set format, so it has presented obstacles for creating a template. You have to do the formatting and layout yourself. Regardless of which company you choose, you should become familiar with the specific book formatting requirements of that company.
I would advise anyone who is interested in self-publishing to also research how to properly format a Word document for the purpose of publishing a book or an e-book before they start writing. There are many pesky habits that can make a mess of your book, for example double-spacing between sentences. That’s a big no-no.
You can create your own cover and purchase an ISBN, if you like. I chose to use the free options offered by the company.
Order a copy of your book before you go live. Your book may look good on the computer, but not in print. You’ll want to fix any problems before customers purchase your book.
Once you go live, it takes a couple of days for your book to show up on Amazon. You can opt for a future date and get pre-orders. I didn’t do that.
KDP is a print on demand publisher. With print on demand, you don’t have to order any books. When a customer orders a book, the customer pays for the book and the book is printed and mailed to the customer. If you choose to purchase copies, you can. Author copies are the same quality as customer copies, but you get them at cost.
Finally, as a published author, what overall advice would you give to prospective writers?
Write. That book isn’t going to write itself.
Start where you are. With practice, your skills will improve.
Study the craft. Know when to follow the rules. Know when to break the rules. Make some rules of your own.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Write without censoring yourself. You don’t have to show your writing to anyone.
You don’t have to be published to be a writer. If you write, you are a writer.
Be brutal with your revisions. Be willing to let go of the phrases you love. Don’t let those jewels ruin your story.
Consider getting an editor. Seriously.
Don’t quit your day job. Most writers DO NOT make a living at writing.
Some writers do make a living at writing. I hope you get to be one of them.
If you’ve already written your book, and you want to publish, what are you waiting for? Here’s your invitation.
If you choose to try the traditional publishing houses, do your research. Find the best fit for your book and follow their submission requirements. And then you wait.
If you’re going to self-publish, you are the publisher…send yourself an acceptance letter and get to publishing!
Calling all young authors in grades 6 through 12! You’re invited to compete in MidPointe Library Trenton’s third annual “Teen Writing Contest” that runs the entire month of November. Students can compose works in any genre based upon this year’s theme -- “Journey.”
The winner will receive a “prize pack” and his/her entry will be published on the MidPointe Library blog “The Pointe.” Submit stories beginning November 1. Deadline is 5 p.m. November 30. Emailed stories must be received by 11:59 p.m. November 30. Send them to email@example.com
The following instructions should be followed carefully when submitting a story:
Entries should include a separate cover page that includes the author’s name, story title, grade in school, phone number and/or e-mail address.
The title SHOULD appear on each page of the story.
The author’s name should NOT appear on any page of the story (in order to ensure anonymity and fairness).
Stories may be submitted beginning November 1 in the following ways:
Deliver a printed copy beginning Friday, November 1, to the Trenton library’s main desk at 200 Edgewood Drive. The deadline to submit printed copies is 5 p.m. Saturday, November 30, 2019. Be sure to include name and contact information.
Submit a story in Word or PDF format via email to:
Emailed stories must be received by 11:59 p.m. Saturday, November 30, 2019.
For more information, contact Tamara Menninger at MidPointe Trenton (513-988-9050) or via the email address listed above.
#tbt - ON THIS DATE IN 1960 -- THE VERY, VERY LATE (OR VERY, VERY EARLY) MIDDLETOWN VISIT BY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JOHN F. KENNEDY
It was an historic event that became a memory passed down through generations of local Democrats.
Fifty-nine years ago today, October 17, 1960, “the [United States] Presidential campaign – the Democratic half of it – was ushered into Middletown at 1:03 a.m... to the loud roar of an enthusiastic crowd of 500 outside the Manchester Hotel...”
Democratic Presidential Candidate John F. Kennedy had arrived during a campaign stop.
“...At 1 a.m. the tension [of the crowd] had grown to a high pitch,” the Journal’s Jim Mills reported in a front-page article. “Two cruisers pulled down the street to block off Verity Parkway. The crowd saw the flashing red lights and broke through police lines toward the front of the hotel. Lights went on in the YMCA across the street as boarders craned their necks for a look....
“This was it. Kennedy’s car, plainly marked with fluttering flags, eased into the crowd and pulled to a stop. Immediately the crowd let loose with a roar and swarmed around the car...” The candidate “slowly moved through the crowd, shaking hands, waving and smiling...”
“...The weary Kennedy finally made it to the [hotel] elevator, where he relaxed against the wall with [Ohio] Gov. Michael DiSalle at his side. He was hurried to his suite” on an upper-level floor.
“Kennedy showed only slight strain of his vigorous campaigning,” Mills wrote. “The real fatigue showed on the corps of newsmen who trooped into the hotel after the crowd dispersed...”
We remember well how events unfolded. Kennedy defeated then-incumbent Vice President, Republican Richard Nixon, to become President of the United States.
A little over three years from the day he stopped by Middletown, Kennedy would be killed in Dallas, Texas -- the victim of an assassin’s bullet.
Nixon would eventually become President and ultimately resign from office amid scandal.
Want to read the entire Middletown Journal article about JFK’s October 17, 1960, visit to Middletown? Choose one or both of the following methods:
On microfilm at MidPointe’s Middletown location, 125 S. Broad Street. Look for the October 17, 1960 edition
Or online via MidPointe’s website: www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Research Databases > Magazines and Newspapers > Newspaper Archive > Middletown Journal October 17 1960
Directly below is an image of the entire front page of the October 17, 1960, Middletown Journal that is referenced above.
Readers are encouraged to click on the mini-photo gallery (directly below this image) to see Middletown Journal articles from November 9, 1960 : “Nation Chooses Kennedy By Hairline Popular Vote Count” and “Mrs. Kennedy Nation’s 3rd Youngest First Lady”
The black-and-white newspaper photo at the top of this blog is from the October 17, 1960, Middletown Journal. The complete front page from that date is also displayed.
The red, white and blue campaign button featuring JFK is from Google Images.
The photo of the massive crowd gathered to hear Presidential Candidate John F. Kennedy in downtown Middletown in October 1960 can be found in the book, “Middletown, Ohio,” part of the “Images of America” series. The book was written by Roger L. Miller and George C. Crout and published in 1998 by Arcadia. It’s available for checkout in the Local History and Genealogy Gallery of MidPointe Library -Middletown, 125 S. Broad Street.
If you’re a history buff, you’ll find an abundance of biographical and historical material on-shelf and online at MidPointe Library. Go to:
www.midpointelibrary.org > Catalog Search and/or: www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary
No library card? No problem! Sign up for your free card at any MidPointe location: Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center) and onboard the “Library On Wheels” bookmobile.
Meet local fiction and non-fiction writers representing numerous genres at MidPointe Library’s 3rd annual “ReadLOCAL Indie Author Fair” Saturday, November 16, at its Trenton, Ohio branch, 200 Edgewood Drive.
This free, popular event for all ages will take place from 10 a.m. to noon in the Library community room.
ReadLOCAL’s the go-to place for:
Readers, who get to know the face, talent and stories behind those inspiring novels, biographies, fun reads, serious works and more they’ve been enjoying, as well as …
Authors, who get to meet current fans, inspire even more and sell their books all in one convenient venue!
ReadLOCAL’S a win-win for everyone!
Mark your calendars for MidPointe Library’s ReadLOCAL!
(Although we won’t see famous mystery writer and super-sleuth Jessica Fletcher at ReadLOCAL, we can at least celebrate the birthday today (October 16) of Angela Lansbury, the renowned actress who brought her to life on the hit TV series, “Murder, She Wrote.” London-native Lansbury turns 94 today! *
*From the “2019 Chase’s Calendar of Events” available for check-out at MidPointe Library.
On today’s ThrowBackThursday column, we remember the mellifluous tones of Middletown’s singing siblings, “The Shepherd Sisters”
“We Grow Talent” — That’s a slogan Southwest Ohio could rightfully adopt thanks to generations of musically-gifted locals who’ve gone on to entertain the world over.
Think McGuire Sisters, Doris Day and former “Miss America” Susan Perkins to name a few.
Rightfully included among Middletown’s music royalty are the singing Shepherd Sisters -- Martha, Judith, Gayle and Mary Lou. The siblings made their mark on the American music scene in the 1950s and ‘60s after growing up in a music-loving household, the children of Mr. and Mrs. S.D. Shepherd of Coles Road.
Endowed with beauty, poise, personality as well as impeccable harmonies, the siblings seemed destined for fame and a place in music history. They accomplished both.
Originally a trio, the Shepherds became a quartet when sister Judith, “who was still in high school,” joined the act.
“First there were two… Then there were three... Now there are four…,” announced a front-page article in the November 24, 1957, Middletown Journal.
“The number of the Shepherd Sisters can’t increase anymore because the youngest one, Judy, has just joined the act,” it reported.
“But there are no limits to the ascent of their reputation and ability in the musical world. It’s star billing now!,” the article continued.
By the time the story was published, the “girls” had already toured Europe, cut a hit record called “Alone,” and appeared on popular TV shows including Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.”
From the beginning, it was obvious there was no stopping the success train once the talented Shepherd sisters stepped onboard.
A chronicle of their musical achievements – in America and abroad – can be found in their collective online autobiography titled “The Shepherd Sisters,” available at:
It documents their long, impressive musical career. The following are just a few of the many highlights :
“Their first big break,” an appearance on ‘Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” popular TV program
Their hit song, “Gone With The Wind”
Performances on the Alan Freed Stage Shows, Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand and Irving Field’s “Biggest Show of Stars Rock ‘N Roll Caravan”
The recording of “Alone,” perhaps their most famous number
Performing with superstars such as Paul Anka, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chubby Checker, Fats Domino, Danny and Juniors and many others.
Entertaining audiences around the world
According to their autobiography, the Shepherds even appeared “on one of the first ‘music videos...Way before MTV there was a unique film jukebox with ‘movies’ and the girls were featured on it.”
Indeed, any attempt to list all the musical accomplishments of the talented Shepherd Sisters would be futile. Might as well try to count grains of sand.
Eventually, Martha retired from the music business, leaving MaryLou, Gayle and Judith to perform. They sang together for the last time in 1976.
As best as could be determined, Martha died in 1992, Judith in 2009 and Gayle in 2018.
May their enchanting music live on.
Vertical photo at right: From the top: Marylou, Gayle, Martha, Judy.
(1)“The Shepherd Sisters -- Martha, Judith, Gayle, MaryLou,” an autobiography from “The Official Site of The Shepherd Sisters” available at : http://www.theshepherdsisters.com/pages01/story.htm
(2)Newspaper Image : ”Shepherd Sisters Get First Break” from the Sunday News Journal, May 16, 1954.
(3)Newspaper Image : “Dissatisfaction Virtue, Shepherd Sisters Feel” by Iona Blevins. From the “Sunday News Journal,” January 29, 1956.
(4)Newspaper Image : “Shepherd Sisters Head For ‘Big Record’” by Irene Barr. From the Middletown Journal, November 24, 1957.
The newspaper articles cited above are available for viewing on microfilm at MidPointe Library-Middletown. They can also be accessed by logging onto:
www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Research Databases > Magazines and Newspapers > Newspaper Archive > Name of newspaper and date
Other images from Google Images.
If you love music, MidPointe Library’s your destination!
Look for a MidPointe near you — Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe and Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center). Or, step aboard our Library On Wheels bookmobile when it visits your neighborhood!
Feel like staying in? Visit MidPointe online! Go to: www.midpointelibrary.org > Catalog Search
www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary (for music, movies and TV shows, books, audiobooks, magazines, our local Digital Archives and numerous Research Databases)
All it takes to check out an on-shelf or digital item is a free MidPointe Library card! Get yours today at any MidPointe location!
#triviatuesday - According to his 2015 biography, R.L. Stine disclosed the title of “the scariest book I ever read.” What was it?
As Halloween approaches, we bid “Happy 76th Birthday" today, October 8, (*) to prolific children’s author, “Goosebumps” series creator, Columbus, Ohio, native and Ohio State University alumnus (**) -- R.L. Stine! To honor the genius of juvenile horror fiction, we ask today’s TuesdayTrivia question, followed by another for extra-credit!
Q : According to his 2015 biography, “It Came From Ohio! My Life As A Writer,” (***) R.L. Stine disclosed the title of “the scariest book I ever read.” What was it?
A : Although he said he doesn’t “scare real easily” … Stine revealed that “the scariest book I ever read was ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ by Ray Bradbury. “That book really gave me goosebumps...”
EXTRA CREDIT QUESTION:
Q: What do Stine’s initials, R. L., stand for?
A: Robert Lawrence. (***)
If you’re an R.L. Stine fan, check out MidPointe Library’s large collection of his works, both on-shelf and online!
Go to: www.midpointelibrary.org > Catalog Search > R.L. Stine
For “e” material, go to: www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary
All you need to check out an on-shelf or electronic item is a free MidPointe Library card! Sign up for yours at any MidPointe location: Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center) and onboard our Library On Wheels, formerly known as the Bookmobile.
(*) “2019 Chase’s Calendar of Events.” Available for checkout at MidPointe Library.
(**) “Who Is R.L. Stine?” by M.D. Payne. Published in 2019 by Penguin Workshop. Available for checkout at MidPointe Library.
(***) “It Came From Ohio! My Life As A Writer” by R.L. Stine as told to Joe Arthur and Susan Lurie. Published in 2015 by Scholastic Press, New York. Available for checkout at MidPointe Library.
To enjoy even more about R.L. Stine, go to his website: http://rlstine.com/about-rl-stine
As Middletonians celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Bull’s Run Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum,” we recall the site’s interesting history as home of “The Fresh Air Camp.”
When it opened in the mid-1920s, the fear of tuberculosis had gripped the nation and the Middletown area.
Parents were advised to remove children from crowded cities where the disease could easily spread. A country-like setting with fresh air, room to exercise and a diet of healthy food would keep the malady at bay, they were told.
Such was the atmosphere that encouraged the creation of Middletown’s Fresh Air Camp, now the site of Bull’s Run Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum.
In his “Middletown Diary” column of June 25, 1924, Middletown Historian George Crout announced that a “new permanent Fresh Air Camp, located one and one-half miles east of Middletown...abutting the golf course, opened today...”
Sponsored by the-then “newly-organized Civic Association” and approved by its Board of Governors on May 19,1924...Camp construction was authorized with an appropriation of $3000,” Crout wrote.
The camp would operate for ten weeks until shortly before Labor Day and would cost about $1800.
Crout reported that Ann C. Munn, camp supervisor, said “the major aim of the camp is to prevent tuberculosis.”
“Although none of the children admitted to the camp have any trace of tuberculosis, they live in an environment which might cause the disease,” Crout quoted Miss Munn as saying. “It is the purpose of the camp to protect children from the disease until they are past 12 years old when they naturally will be better able to combat it.”
At the time he wrote the column Crout observed that “...they are still roughing it out” at the camp. “Water must be hauled from the city, as this utility has not yet been installed out this far. Electric lights have not been connected.”
Nevertheless, he continued, “Ten children were taken to camp this morning by nurses in the Bureau of Public Health, and 22 others will join them before the week is over. Sleeping accommodations limit the camp to 32.”
Assisting Miss Munn was a public school nurse, a recreation director and a “capable kitchen staff,” Crout recalled. “A physician visits the camp daily, while Dr. G.D. Lummis, Director of the Bureau of Public Health, keeps a close watch over the project...”
According to Crout, to “promote the development of strong bodies,” a “well-planned” day at the Fresh Air Camp included:
Waking at 7 a.m.
Having one’s temperature taken
Breakfast at 7:30
Cleaning chores and bed-making
A post-lunch, 2-hour rest period
Supper at 6, followed by recreation
Bedtime at 8:30 “for everyone.”
Having visited the camp, Crout reported he was “amazed at its natural beauty, under tall trees, high on a hill where the fresh air strikes one across the face...”:
“Through the camp wanders Bull’s Run which used to wander at ease through downtown Middletown, but which now ends ignominiously in a sewer.
“But here old Bulls Run is still free, gurgling its merry way down the ravines, watering the rabbits, squirrels and raccoons...”
In 1974, following “a half century of service,” the closing of the Fresh Air Camp was reported in the Middletown Journal:
“For years, the 11-acre camp, a gift to the Civic Association from Armco Steel Corp., provided six weeks of wholesome food, regular habits and plenty of fresh air for these children.
“Today, however, the demand for this type of activity has diminished, [Calvin] Lloyd, [Civic Association President], said.”
“The decision to close the camp, which has been under consideration for the past two years, was made at this time because of a request for retirement by its longtime counselor and director Mrs. Ella Hines, Lloyd said.
“Mrs. Hines has served the camp for 20 years and has been in complete charge for the past six years. A staff of 14 has been employed at the camp each summer including a full-time nurse, four cooks, seven student counselors, a maid and Mrs. Hines.”
Although Middletown’s Fresh Air Camp no longer exists, the land on which it cared for children – now the site of Bull's Run Arboretum -- still nourishes the soul to this day.
Below : Enjoy a video about the Fresh Air Camp made possible by TV Middletown. It appears on Google Images: https://vimeo.com/87104696
“New Fresh Air Camp Opens,” column #152, by George Crout, dated June 25, 1924. It appears in a collection of Mr. Crout’s columns titled “Middletown Diary, Vol. I” which is available for reading in MidPointe Library’s “Ohio Room” of historical collections.
“Fresh Air Camp will be closed by Civic,” from the Middletown Journal, January 30, 1974.
“Billy Big-Heart" comic from the Sunday News Journal, September 20, 1953.
The newspaper items above can be found on microfilm at MidPointe Library-Middletown or online at :
www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Research Databases > Magazines and Newspapers > Newspaper Archive > Middletown Journal (date)
The photo of the Middletown Historical Society’s “On This Land” monument (above), designating the site of the Fresh Air Camp and Bull’s Run Arboretum, is from Google Images.
The two photos of children dining at the Fresh Air Camp and the photo of a camp building with an unidentified woman under its awning can be found in MidPointe Library’s Digital Archives:
www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Digital Archives > Fresh Air Camp
If you’re interested in local history, visit MidPointe Library’s “Ohio Room” full of one-of-a-kind, non-circulating items, and its Local History and Genealogy Gallery just footsteps away! Both are located at its Middletown location, 125 South Broad Street. Then...
CELEBRATE BULL’S RUN’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY AND LEARN ABOUT ITS HISTORY, WHICH INCLUDES THE FRESH AIR CAMP!
IT ALL HAPPENS AT THE BULL’S RUN 2019 ANNUAL MEETING :
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 7-8:30 P.M. AT M.U.M. VERITY LODGE, 4200 N. UNIVERSITY BOULEVARD, MIDDLETOWN.
LEARN ABOUT BULL’S RUN HISTORY FROM ADAM WANTER, MIDPOINTE LIBRARY DIGITAL AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS ARCHIVIST, and
SAM ASHWORTH, MIDDLETOWN HISTORICAL SOCIETY TRUSTEE & PAST DIRECTOR.
THE PROGRAM IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
Enjoy 300-plus total issues of historical “Armco Bulletins” and “Arm-Co-operators” debuting today on MidPointe’s Digital Archives!
One of the most rich and detailed historical collections about Middletown steel producer Armco is now available for viewing online via MidPointe Library’s “Digital Archives.”
“The Armco Publications,” a collection of more than 300 issues of various company publications throughout the decades, debuted on the MidPointe website this morning, announced Adam Wanter, Digital and Special Collections Archivist.
The journals detail “activities at different Armco plants and include general updates and feature articles,” Wanter said.
Their debut coincides with “American Archives Month,” promoted by the National Archives.
MidPointe’s latest collection is a “great historical and genealogical resource for the public,” Wanter said. “At the same time, it’s a fantastic look into Armco and Middletown, and is a demonstration of the Armco Spirit that founder George M. Verity so strongly advocated.”
The entire collection is “full text-searchable" and includes:
154 issues of the “Armco Bulletin” from April 1914 to May 1930. Wanter describes that amount as a “complete run” with each issue including a table of contents.
146 “Arm-Co-Operators" (74 in newspaper format and 72 magazine-style). Included is an incomplete run of issues published from 1929 to 1935, from 1953, 1957 to 1960, and 1961 to 1963. A table of contents is currently being added to each issue, Wanter said.
The very first item in the collection is the “inaugural” “Armco Bulletin,’ Vol.I, No. I,” published in April 1914. The front cover reveals its theme, a can’t-miss statement printed in red letters :
‘Vigilance and Watchfulness Insure Safety.”
Accompanying the statement is a box containing just one word -- “THINK.”
Making the Armco memorabilia accessible to the public was a labor of love of local history. It’s a popular subject among the community.
"Everything we scanned for public viewing came from in-house,” Wanter noted. “The library already had these items in its collection.”
The entire digitization process took about eight months – six months to curate and two months to scan a total of 6,959 pages, Wanter said.
Curation continues, he added. “Tables of contents for the Arm-Co-Operators are still being created and more publications will be added.”
Wanter said the actual items that appear in the Digital Archives “are in storage for preservation purposes.” However, “they can be accessed upon request.”
MidPointe has long distinguished itself as an easily accessible source of local and area history. Its Middletown branch includes the “Ohio History Room” consisting of valuable items that do not circulate and “The Local History and Genealogy Gallery” containing items that can be checked out on a MidPointe library card.
Nestled between the two rooms is a cabinet full of microfilmed copies of Middletown newspapers dating from June 1814 to May 2019, with more on the way. A computer desk for reading microfilm is located nearby.
To access MidPointe’s Digital Archives and the Armco publications, go to: www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Digital Archives > Armco Publications Collection.
To obtain a free MidPointe Library card, contact any MidPointe location : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center) or step aboard our “Library On Wheels” bookmobile.