This, that, and a wrap for 2016
By Jim Bucher
Well, for this column it’s time to tie up some loose ends.
First, what’s the old saying? “If I’d known I was going to live this long, would’ve taken better care of myself.” Looking back at my New Year’s resolutions for 2016, I’m zero for five.
Like everyone else, my intentions were good, but, for some reason, the resolutions lasted about as long as the thoughts in my head.
Eliminating pop from my diet, or as our New York-born Publisher Paul Noah would say, soda, I am doing OK, but occasionally fall off the wagon and have a delicious, ice cold, refreshing Coca-Cola.
Next losing weight… OK, next resolution.
Exercise more. Well, I do ride my bike in the summer and I do run, but only to the car when it’s raining.
Go completely meatless. I’ll start as soon as I eat this double bacon cheeseburger from Wendy’s.
So, for 2017 resolutions, more promises made to myself, and hopefully I’ll keep a few, fingers crossed. Now, on to the next “this and that.”
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Island Park Bridge: the almost 100-year-old structure is being replaced with a brand spanking new one.
I talked about the ornate stone-carved artistic figures gracing the 1925 bridge and how it would be a shame not to preserve one, if not all. Some are adorned with sea creatures, waves, and the bow of a wooden ship crowned by wings.
Well, it turns out Clyde Collins reads Dayton City Paper and offers some good—no, great —news. He is with the Dayton Canoe Club, which has been around since 1913 and in proximity to the bridge. They are rescuing one of the cool carvings and moving it to the DCC on Riverside Drive.
Clyde tells me the club and the bridges’ history is intertwined. “The great flood of 1913 wiped out the steel bridge to the park which was the cool aquatic playground citizens used to escape summer heat, exercise, and picnic at,” he says. At the time, it wasn’t economical to rebuild the park or the bridge until after WWI.
“The resilience of the citizens, businesses, and local government gave us the Miami Conservancy and flood control,” he says. “The return of people to the becalmed Miami River is commemorated in the art forms on the 1925 bridge.”
Fundraisers will pay for the move and placement.
“When completed, a magnificent deco statue will grace our shore, easily seen by river travelers, from the new bridge, and from the bike path,” Clyde says. “City history and the resilient spirit of our people will reside at this most appropriate place, the Dayton Canoe Club.”
I’ll have more on this awesome story of preserving our past in future columns.
Finally, I recently lost one of my dear media friends. Former Dayton Daily News columnist Bob Batz passed away at the age of 77 on Dec. 16. Bob mainly wrote about the goings on with radio and TV, but there’s nothing he loved more than telling the little out-of-the-way stories. He’d jump in the car with former Dayton Daily News photographer Bill Reinke and off they’d go.
His stories included the guy who had a hat collection or the mom-and-pop place along National Road, Route 40. They were always fascinating reads along with Bill’s amazing photos. Seems like those stories don’t get told much anymore.
Bob’s true passion was firefighting. He was a longtime volunteer with the Brookville Fire Department, the city he, his wife Sally, and kids called home. He was a wonderful advocate on fire prevention and safety, also acquiring used firefighting equipment for small departments in Appalachia. I remember one time he asked me to do a TV news story on a thermal imaging camera Brookville wanted to add to its firefighting arsenal. After our story aired, an anonymous donor came through and Brookville could purchase an otherwise cost prohibitive piece of state of the art technology to help save lives.
Bob also taught journalism at the University of Dayton. I heard from many of his former students who said Professor Bob was the best. He was a wonderful guy with great jokes who was good to me in my career at Channel 2. Sleep warm, my friend, and yes, you did make a difference.
Well, I’m out of space for this column but I’ll have some news about another story I wrote a few weeks ago on the mysterious murals at Dayton’s Talbott Tower. Look for that one in the New Year. And speaking of, good luck on those resolutions, and by all means, have a happy and safe 2017.
A final cheers for 2016.