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Nightmares, stoplights, campaigns, loss

Years of digesting old horror films, coupled with poor late-night dietary habits, leave me susceptible to nightmares.Over the years I’ve regularly been chased by werewolves, plagued by vampires, lost in the deep, dark woods, haunted by ghosts, or experienced that old standby, endless falling. Probably once or twice a month Lora finds herself shaking me awake from my latest terrifying adventure in slumber.A few nights ago, I had a new nightmare. I dreamt that I was ...

23 hours ago | | | Email

Lost luggage and sneaky snakes

I’m taking some vacation time next week with no plans to go anywhere, except to pick a son who’s flying in from Rhode Island up at the airport.Exactly what else I’ll get into remains to be scene, but you can bet that I’ll spend at least a little time doing nothing. That’s what I call a real vacation.A few months ago my wife and I discussed an extended weekend fall trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn. We’ve been to Gatlinburg lots of times, and we...

3 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

Common thread weaves through crime

Two armed men in uniform and a guy wearing an orange jumpsuit greeted me in my office my first day on the job.A couple years out of college, I had just been hired to oversee the pre-employment psychological testing contract my new employer had with the West Virginia Division of Corrections.Coordinating the appointments with potential new hires for the DOC with our psychologists, making sure the testing was administered and the reports sent to the appropriate personnel we...

4 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

More fun than a barrel of Tribbles

For the Allen family, there is one day each year that we anticipate with the same excitement as Christmas – the Cincinnati Comic Expo.This past Saturday marked the third time we’ve attended the event. It’s something that for lack of a better term could be described as “nerdvana.” If something is sci-fi, fantasy, or superhero, there’s a good chance it’s not only at the expo, but it’s well represented by merchandise, celebrities, and fa...

5 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

You just never know

I had another column lined up and was putting the finishing touches on it when my content manager came into the newsroom and delivered the shocking news that a coworker had passed away.I dropped my revised, nearly-done column and stared at my computer screen.What else can you do but grab for breath, grab for understanding when you’ve been delivered a blow?I still don’t know what to do, except write.I’ve always found that navigating...

6 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

The past, the future, and Paint Creek

Soon, Paint Creek will complete its first year of providing fire and EMS coverage to the city of Hillsboro.The city’s safety and service director told city council earlier this month that he is in the midst of negotiating a new contract with Paint Creek for continued coverage for multiple years. Essentially, the contract will be an extension of the current one-year deal.The current contract has the city paying the fire district $554,544, coming from existing city i...

7 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

What’d you say, honey?

Not so long ago I wrote a column about how my parents, during my formative years, often said I was hard-headed. They, of course, were talking about my mental state of mind. But it very well could have applied to the physical version, too.In this day and age where it seems like we hear about concussions and the problems they cause almost daily, I sometimes wonder how I made it this far without suffering one.Call it blind luck, a thick skull, or what have you, but in a tim...

10 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

Who knew rudeness could stop a plane?

Not long ago, I read an Associated Press article with the headline, “It’s no longer safe to recline your airplane seat.”Now, flying and I have a sort of love/hate relationship. I love the view from miles above the earth, and I love how 16-hour long trips are reduced, almost magically, to a mere two or three hours.However, I hate the idea of something going wrong. I have always been afraid of flying, and, even though I’ve done it several times, it ...

12 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

It’s another reason to say thank you

I love Netflix. Now let me tell you why.It’s not so much about watching movies, but more because there is seemingly unending documentaries to choose from.The last couple weekends I have gone on a bit of a binge on particular documentaries, specifically all of the National Geographic ones I could find involving underwater explorer Bob Ballard and his expeditions to view the final resting places of wartime ships.Each of the documentaries provided their fai...

13 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

Stirring things up is a crowded business

For me, there are two major changes that have occurred since I began in this business.First, I got older, and hopefully wiser. I still come across columns I wrote in the 1980s or early ‘90s, and while some of them are okay, too many of them remind me of how reckless and irresponsible I could be 20 or 30 years ago, how black and white I was so sure everything was, and how quick I could be to slight anyone who disagreed with me.Even now, people will sometimes say to ...

15 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

Lost children become SOPC’s gift

The interview with Dorothy Julliard about her 21 years working at the Southern Ohio Pregnancy Center was done. It had gone well – two hours passed in what seemed like a few minutes – but I still felt like I had missed something.As I stood to leave the Julliard’s Pricetown home I looked at some Facebook posts Dorothy’s husband, Terry, had handed me while I was there. I had not read them yet, and I asked if he’d mind if I kept them.He said I c...

17 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

Refusing to turn out the lights

This past weekend, I was honored to have been a bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding.She and I met in college and were roommates from our sophomore year until we graduated. We started in a cramped dorm we called “the closet,” and by the time we were seniors, we shared a two-story apartment with another friend (who was also a bridesmaid last weekend).And this past Saturday, my friend married her college boyfriend. Seeing those two start their lives together ...

19 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

Shepherds, snags and smiles

My head filled with a mingled mash of opposing emotions, I watched the fading sherbet colors of sunset on our last night in South Dakota. I was sad we were leaving, but I was also feeling the excitement of going home.A scant few hours later as my family drifted back to sleep, cockeyed and comfy in the car, we stole away in the early-morning hours. And while sleep still pulled at my brain, I thought about the coexistence of those aforementioned feelings.As my headlights p...

20 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

The Snider case, the mayor & the chief

The Hillsboro Police Department last Tuesday filed charges of fifth-degree felony theft against former Hillsboro firefighter David Snider Jr., and the social media hills were alive with the sounds of conspiracy.The charges against David were payback from the mayor and the safety and service director, according to the most popular plot. David was the local union president when the city contracted with the Paint Creek fire department and disbanded the Hillsboro department, so Drew Ha...

22 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

Now you know who to call

Question: How many of you fathers out there really wanted to be in the delivery room when your wife, or the mother of your children, was giving birth to your babies?Yes, I know that was not an option for many of you. And I know there are others who absolutely love the whole process, taking photos and videos and what not.Not me. Heck, even those Lamaze classes kind of freaked me out. But my wife wanted me to be there, so I obliged.My thinking was, and still is,...

24 days 23 hours ago | | | Email

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