Renee Wilde | WOSU Radio

Renee Wilde

Community Voices Producer, WYSO

American soil.

Those are two words that are commonly used to stir up patriotic feelings. They are also words that can't be taken for granted, because today nearly 30 million acres of U.S. farmland are held by foreign investors. That number has doubled in the past two decades, which is raising alarm bells in farming communities.

This year, Clark County celebrates its bicentennial. But some of the county’s farms are even older than that. In fact, Clark County is home to seven farms that are more than 200 years old.

In this story, we visit one these original homesteads: The Wallace Family Farm in Medway, where Wallace descendants have saved generations of personal family records. And today the meticulous archives offer a unique window into Clark County and American history.

On a farm in Greene County’s agricultural countryside, the shared vision of a pair of retired school teachers is changing back the landscape, by creating a welcome habitat for both agriculture and nature.

Today on County Lines, Producer Renee Wilde takes a horse drawn wagon ride through a Jamestown farm, that lifetime resident Eugene Kavanagh and his wife Dorothy bought for their local community.

During the early 1800s, wheat production made Ohio one of the leading grain-growing states in the U.S. As prairie land was settled and major wheat growing moved westward, the grain became less important to the state’s agricultural economy. Corn and soybeans became the staple of farming, and now wheat fields are few and far between in the Ohio countryside.

When Europeans came to Ohio, one of the first crops they cultivated was hops; A small green flower that’s a main ingredients for brewing beer, which was a staple of their diet.

The Ohio Valley provided the perfect soil for the fast growing plant. But, in the early 21st century came Prohibition, plus plant diseases and harmful insects.  So Ohio farmers eventually quit growing hops. 

The term Liar’s Club dates back to the late 1800’s. It describes small groups of friends, usually men, who get together at local pubs, coffee shops, and restaurants to hang out and gossip about the local community, and discuss world events.

Producer Renee Wilde met with a group of retired farmers at their local liars table at Beans-n-Cream in Cedarville, Ohio.

The sign above the table says, Hunters, fishermen and other liars frequent this table. Sit down and stay awhile, you might learn something.

For many of us, the holiday season is a time for sharing stories and traditions. In keeping with the holiday spirit, Community Voices Producer Renee Wilde traces the roots of her own holiday tradition, celebrating the Christmas legend that on Christmas Eve animals can suddenly talk.

Curious how widely known this talking-animals holiday legend is, Wilde heads to Clark County. 

Renee writes:

This fall, people from all over the Dayton region came together to for the second annual Longest Table event. Organized by UpDayton, the Third Street Bridge downtown is blocked off to traffic and turned into a community dinner party open to the public, and Community Voices reporter Renee Wilde went to break bread with fellow Daytonians.

In Springfield, most calls to the city’s 911 emergency switchboard are related to an opioid overdose.

Some overdose victims will die. Many others will be saved with the fast-acting overdose reversal drug Narcan.

But, for some surviving overdose victims, that’s not the end of the story. An overdose can leave behind lasting mental and physical scars, advocates say.

The​ ​drug​ ​Narcan​ ​can​ ​seem​ ​like​​ ​magic​.​ ​Just​ ​one shot​ ​of​ ​the​ ​powerful​ medicine ​can​ ​literally​ ​bring​ ​an overdose victim ​back​ ​from​ ​the​ ​dead.​

Greenmont Village might be tucked away between Woodman and Patterson, on the border of Kettering and Dayton -- but the neighborhood stands out, because unlike the rest of the area, most of these houses have flat roofs. Some people  joke that they look like sugar cubes or shoe boxes, but in the 1940s when they were built, they were essential housing for Dayton’s defense workers and their families. 

Today on WYSO Curious we answer a question from listener Eileen Ribbler of Kettering about a statute of a little boy and dog at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton. Eileen wanted to know what the story was behind the marker, one of the most iconic monuments in the Cemetery, which commemorates five year old Johnny Morehouse. Community Voices producer Renee Wilde went to this famous Dayton landmark to dig up the answer.

The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, nestled in a beautiful stretch of public parks that mark the confluence of the Stillwater and Great Miami Rivers, is a popular destination for families to learn about science and the natural world. But many Miami Valley residents are unaware that behind the scenes, the museum has an extensive collection of artifacts from around the world. Community Voices producer Renee Wilde takes us there.

Dayton has an eclectic population of independent fashion designers and craftspeople. Today on Culture Couch, Renee Wilde introduces two local, independent business owners who are carving out a niche for themselves, with the support of each other, and their local community.

It’s the start of the work week, and at local designer and indie business owner Tracy McElfresh’s house in Kettering that means one thing: Crafty Monday. 

Lana Williams reflects on a typical day in prison, and how she’s getting through a life sentence without parole.

Highlights from the audio:

“You know, some days I can go through the day like a breeze. Almost like I’m at home. Literally free at home. Without a care in the world. But then there are other times when I feel really exactly what this place is sought out to make you feel like. And that is closed in, away from everyone and everybody.”

Diana Linz has always had a connection with dogs, and being in the dog program at the prison has helped her  cope with being locked up.

Highlights from the audio:

“When I grew up, I was very lonely. I only had a dog and a couple of cats. And when I left home, somehow I felt like I had to take in every animal that I saw...I kinda got wrapped up in selling marijuana in order to support my dog habit. My dog rescue habit.”