Dr. Mark Krekeler, Associate Professor of Geology & Environmental Earth Science at Miami University Hamilton and his students have done some remarkable research in environmental and industrial minerology, and he owes it all to a pig.
Through his undergraduate and most of his master’s degree, Krekeler had been trained as “a general geologist.”
“I’ve always been an outside person and I’ve always liked rocks,” he said.
But halfway through his master’s degree, a friend received a grant to go on a research trip to Honduras for two months and invited Krekeler to assist. That trip changed his perspective.
“We were mapping a river to find the ground water associated with it, and there was a woman there washing her clothes with a pig right next to her,” he said. “The pig does its business and she doesn’t break stride. At that moment, I thought there’s got to be a better way, so I started looking at minerals as a way to remove pollutants out of the environment.
“The nice thing about minerology is that it’s a lens through which we can view all kinds of things in society as well as science,” he said.
Since then, his career has taken a lot of different tracks. He’s an expert in a specific kind of clay mined in Georgia that is efficient in removing pollutants from water. He’s worked on ways to more efficiently remove gold from ore. And he has done research to get radioactive materials out of the environment.
“It’s all unified by minerology,” he said. “Minerals are a very systematic, ordered entity. If you understand minerals and their properties and explore why their properties vary, you can solve a lot of environmental problems.
“As an environmental and industrial mineralogist, I look at minerals as a resource and a tool to remove pollutants–phosphate, metals and pharmaceuticals–out of the environment.”
While his work has taken him to far-flung places around the United States, he and his students have done important research close to home.
Some of his students have published articles on lead pollution in Hamilton. Their research determined that a lot of lead in the environment has come from road paint.
“In the state of Ohio since 1947 they have used a lead-chromate based paint,” he said. “The basis was that it was insoluble and bright yellow. But they didn’t measure solubility over time.”
The first study was published in 2013, followed by another a year later about the nature and distribution of metal pollution. Currently another paper is in review on the subject.
One of his graduate students was able to trace the lead chromate into the river.
“The way our sewers are designed, it’s basically a direct pour, so to speak,” he said.
“There’s a decent amount of pollution in Hamilton,” he said. “I’ve started comparing our data to other places in the world, and we’re more polluted than 70 percent of other urban settings with respect to metals.”
The problem with metals, he said, is that they don’t go away once introduced into the environment. Even gasoline is eventually broken down by bacteria.
Since coming to Miami in the fall of 2008, Krekeler has had 50 undergraduate students present posters and papers at regional and national scientific conferences.
“I recruit students from my classes, where you can see where their interests lie and what they like to do,” he said. “I give them a small task and see where they go with it. From there, there are different ways of engaging students in research.”
Krekeler said that he tries to create a research environment where experiencing some degree of failure in experiments or analysis is just of a normal part of doing good science and is just a part of the learning process.
“It’s okay to try things out,” he said, “whether or not they come out as you expect.”
He encourages his undergraduate researcher to interact with his graduate students, and he leads a research group that meets weekly to coordinate the activities of his various research projects.
“We talk about being intellectually prepared for the meetings,” he said, “about how you deal with questions and the structure of questions, arguing why their projects are significant and what impacts they’ll have on society, why someone else might be interested.”
He also helps them frame their projects as a tool for going into industry or further research.
As a result, he said about 85 percent of his undergraduate research students continue in geology or science, either getting a job in industry or governmental agencies such as the EPA, or graduate school.
“That is pretty rare if you average things out nationally,” he said. “We’ve been fairly successful in getting our students involved early. That way, they develop their interests early and there’s a feedback loop that encourages them to do more.”
Correspondent Emily Simer Braun chats with Daryl and Roxann Gunnarson of The Father’s House, “a place for families to unite in heart and live in community for the common purpose of loving children through foster care and adoption.”
We are restoring The Hamilton Children’s home [on South D Street] that was in service to the Hamilton community from 1860 – 1980. We are making this historic facility into a Foster Community where 6 foster families will live, taking in 12 – 20 foster children.
Also on the scene: Don Reilly, host of the Life of Reilly segment on the entertainment news magazine “X on TV,” airing 1 a.m. late night Fridays on STAR 64. Reilly is also the foster father of three girls, owner of Elegant Home Exterior and one of the benefactors of The Father’s House.
The Jim Blount History Resources at the Lane Library provides an early history of the building:
Orphanages began opening in the United States in the 1830s, encouraged by increased urbanization and immigration. There were few until the Civil War, a bloodletting which quickly multiplied the number of children without food and shelter.
In Butler County more than 300 men lost their lives in the 1861-1865 conflict. The suffering caused by that war extended to thousands, including orphaned children. It was “the sad condition of many fatherless children” which led to creation of the Butler County Children’s Home, explained Mrs. Thomas (Mary) Moore, a member of its first board of trustees.
In January 1869, several Hamilton women met with a goal of “not only giving the children shelter and food, but training their minds that they may become useful men and women.”
That meeting led to incorporation of the Children’s Home Association of Butler County under the leadership of eight trustees. They were Margaret E. Leiter, Jane C. Skinner, Martha Beckett, Ann M. J. Matthias, Anna A. M. McFarland, Emma Phillips, Catherine Sohn and Margaret Dyer.
In May 1869 a house on North C Street was rented at $25 a month. The eight-room house on the west side of C Street between Park and Wayne avenues was placed under the supervision of Mrs. William Tweedy, the first matron.
Later that month, five fatherless boys became the first residents of the home, which served the youth of the area for more than 115 years.
Charitable contributions and a variety of fund-raising events — including concerts and lawn fetes — sustained the home, which soon was too small to handle the demand for its service.
In 1875, the generosity of two Hamilton industrialists and philanthropists enabled the association to expand operations. Clark Lane and E. J. Dyer, partners in business, offered $10,000 if the women could raise $2,000. (Lane also was responsible for starting the Lane Public Library, which still serves the Hamilton-Fairfield-Oxford area.)
After the successful finance campaign, the group bought the Dyer farm near the top of the South D Street hill. The stone house, built about 1850, became the center of what would be the campus of the Butler County Children’s Home for 110 years. The home moved to its new quarters in September 1875.
By the mid 1880s, the home had a staff of more than 20 adults serving 210 children.
Starting in 1872, the association had received some financial support from the Butler County commissioners. But throughout its history — as facilities were modernized and expanded and as services changed — the home relied heavily on public donations of money and time.
For several years “one of the main sources of revenue,” reported Kathleen Neilan Stuckey in a 1936 Journal-News article, “was the dining hall at the fairgrounds where, during the week of the fair each year for almost 20 years, the ladies took charge and worked successfully at the gigantic task of feeding the hundreds who thronged the hall, sure of excellent fare.
“This project netted usually amounts from $300 to $600 — enough to carry the home through the winter months with the donations that were sure to come in around the holidays,” Mrs. Stuckey noted. Contributions ranged from jelly, eggs and sauerkraut to firewood, second-hand clothing and straw for mattresses.
“These bountiful supplies,” Mrs. Stuckey said, “came from all over the county, wakened to the need of its children by the enterprising ladies who did not fail to solicit cooperation, interest and material aid from auxiliary societies” in the county.
In its final years in the 1970s and 1980s, the home’s mission changed to helping about 50 to 60 abused and neglected children, including some from outside the county. It also acquired houses in other Hamilton neighborhoods.
The name was changed to Miami Valley Children’s Home in 1977. It closed in September 1985.
The City of Hamilton, The Hamilton Mill, and Jeffrey Thurman recently accepted awards for their economic development efforts in Hamilton from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.
The City of Hamilton received the Gold Excellence in Economic Development award from IEDC for the Initiative Update in the General Purpose Print Brochure category for communities with a population between 25,000 to 200,000. The Initiative Update highlights the City’s major projects and provides information on cost and timeline. View the 2015 Initiative Update here.
The City also received two Silver and two Bronze Excellence in Economic Development awards for communities with a population between 25,000 to 200,000. The first Silver award is in the Public-Private Partnership category for the City’s partnership with the Hamilton CORE Fund. The partnership is aimed at revitalizing Hamilton’s urban core. The second Silver award is for Downtown Developers Day in the Special Event category. The event, which occurred in September 2014, brought developers into downtown Hamilton to discuss development opportunities.
The first Bronze award is for the City of Hamilton Data Center Brochure in the Special Purpose Print Brochure category. It is a marketing piece aimed at leveraging the City’s utility resources to attract the data center industry to the community. The second Bronze award is for the Economic Development e-Newsletter in the Newsletter category.
The Hamilton Mill received the Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award for communities with a population between 25,000 to 200,000 for the business incubator’s new website in the Special Purpose Website category. The new website was part of their overall reinvention into Southwestern Ohio’s small business incubator for green, clean, water, digital and advanced manufacturing technologies. View The Hamilton Mill website here.
Jeffrey Thurman, President & CEO of Community First Solutions, received one of the most significant awards that IEDC bestows. Mr. Thurman received the Citizen Leadership Award, which is given to a community or business leader who is not an economic development practitioner, but has played a key leadership role in influencing economic development.
Mr. Thurman has been an active participant in the economic development efforts of Hamilton for the past 36 years. In addition to building one of Hamilton’s largest companies, he founded Leadership Hamilton in 1992 in an effort to sustain the city’s vitality.
The program educates emerging leaders on relevant community issues, expands their networks, and mobilizes leadership. The program has evolved and grown, boasting more than 600 graduates to date, many of whom hold esteemed positions in the community today. Mr. Thurman is also a key participant in city projects such as Hamilton’s Downtown Developer Day and the We Are Hamilton video.
Mr. Thurman chaired the Government Services Building Task Force as the city and county worked together to build a new government services center in the early 2000s. He is also the past chairs of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and Hamilton Rotary Club. He has also served on the boards of Butler County United Way, Great Miami Valley YMCA, Boys & Girls Club of Hamilton, and The Center for Family Solutions. Today he is an active member of the Downtown Improvement District (SID), Board Member & past Chair of Leading Age Ohio Foundation, and Board Member of Ohio State University Core of Knowledge.
Community First Solutions supports a four-county area in Ohio, serving 46,000 individuals annually, and, is the city of Hamilton’s second largest private employer with 700 employees. Under Mr. Thurman’s leadership, Community First Solutions has made $75 million in capital investments within the community. He recently led the effort to relocate the company headquarters to downtown Hamilton. The company just celebrated the ribbon cutting on the $5.88 million rehabilitation of a historic building into the new Community First Solutions Resource Center. This investment is a critical contribution to the revitalization of downtown Hamilton.
The IEDC honors were presented at an awards ceremony on Monday, October 5, during the IEDC Annual Conference which was held in Anchorage, Alaska.
“Hamilton has won multiple awards each of the last three years, which is significant because it validates our economic development strategy. And it is such an honor to have an individual from our community win the Citizen Leadership award. Congratulations to Jeff Thurman,” Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith stated.
Join the Dayton Lane Historic District for the Twelfth Annual Ghost Walk, Saturday, October 17, to explore the area in search of spirits (dead ones, that is).
Here is your chance to feel the presence of those who walked this earth before us, and hear the ghost tales from several of the “live” residents of these homes.
Take a lantern-led evening stroll through one of Hamilton, Ohio’s oldest neighborhoods and discover our ghosts, ghouls and legends.
At the end of this hour-long guided walk, there will be a reception at one of the homes.
Tours leave the Wolf Gazebo in the 900 block of Campbell Avenue. Walk goes on rain or moonshine. Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. We don’t want you to confuse the goose bumps on your arms with being too cold!
Admission: Tickets are available on a first come-first serve basis below via PayPal. Advance tickets are $15.00 if purchased before 5pm on Friday, October 16th. Tickets will also be available the night of the walk for $20.00. Those without advance tickets will be accommodated as space allows. Cash or check (made payable to Dayton Lane Historic Area) only the night of the walk. Please bring your ID if tickets are purchased via PayPal as your name will be on a will-call list.
* A Spiritual Consultant may also be available the night of the Tour to do readings for an extra fee.
With live musical instruments and hands-on learning, children ages 4 to 10 are invited to develop important mind-body skills as they drum, dance and play.
Parents are welcome to attend. Each session includes activities targeting six fundamental areas: Timing, Coordination, Listening, Creativity, Teamwork, and Fun.
As part of the workshop, participants will create a rhythm instrument to take home.
“We will be making shaker eggs, playing musical games and learning a few Spanish vocabulary words,” said instructor Liz Wu.
About Instructor Liz Wu
Liz Wu is a professional musician (CCM graduate), fitness instructor and published children’s book author who has combined her love of music, movement and language into a fun, engaging program designed to maximize learning on many fronts. She spends her days teaching fitness for adults and seniors, her mornings and afternoons teaching music to all ages, and her evenings playing in the band Acarya. If she has a spare hour, you might run into her at a farmer’s market, hiking in the woods, or enjoying the arts!
RITMO DRUM WORKSHOP
Location: Fitton Center for Creative Arts Dance Studio
Meets 10:30 AM-11:30 AM
Level: Ages: 4-10
It was a tough loss for Big Blue, but E.L. Hubbard got some amazing photos.