Category Archives: ‘Hear About’ with Emily Simer Braun

Audio Podcasts from Contributing Editor Emily Simer Braun

A Light in Lindenwald: A Chat with Debbie Doerflein

People Helping People/Making a Difference


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13340721_1702474433338858_915505936_oHEY!Hamilton! Contributing Editor and Correspondent Emily Simer Braun sits down with Debbie Doerflein, owner and proprietor of Heaven Sent on Pleasant Ave. in Lindenwald to discuss the celebration of the 21st anniversary of the neighborhood anchor business, Heaven Sent, and of her own trials, tribulations, and triumphs through the years.

Heaven Sent is a multi-faceted business with a history and a heart for home.  A cafe, gift shop/bookstore, floral shop, bakery, catering service, banquet hall, and wedding chapel, are occupied in the two buildings on Pleasant Avenue.  Debbie customizes all orders and services to personal needs, requests, and budget.  Her policy is a very personal touch.

Friday Gospel Fest is a new venue, and the bookstore/card and gift shop are brightly revitalized.

Twenty-one years ago, Debbie Doerflein felt called to be “A Light in Lindenwald”. She continues to shed light in the community and has dreams for a Heaven Sent future.

For further information, check, or call (513) 856-7368.


Photos by Grace Sandlin

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Hamilton eagle ‘scouts’ scan the trees for majesty

HEY! Hamilton! Correspondent Emily Simer Braun has been following the trails of the people she calls “Eagle Scouts,” a group of amateur naturalists who have been tracking the comings and goings of the families of bald eagles now living  around the Great Miami River.

chuckThe podcast begins with an interview lifelong Hamilton resident Chuck Wells, who said, “I believe the eagles actually chose this area.”

She also spoke to Marcia Hunker Henderson, Kim Hunker and Lisa Glasgow, a formidable trio of scouts. Both Marcia and Lisa made mention of their Native American heritage and felt more connected in their pursuit of the perfect photo–or just an eagle sighting.


For all of them, the eagle is part of their American cultural heritage, giving their new hobby a patriotic mission as well as a photographic one.

These “scouts” are all members of the Bald Eagles of Hamilton Facebook group.

Photos by Lisa Glasgow, Matt Bryant and Chuck Wells. Feature photo by Chuck Wells.


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A Chat at the Father’s House with the Gunnarsons

HEY! Hamilton! Exclusive

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.”

From their Facebook Page:

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.

Architect’s rendering of the renovated historic home.
A vintage image of the mansion built by Hamilton industrialist E.G. Dyer.

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.


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Audio Podcast and Slide Show with Joy Nix of Row Hamilton

Row America Hamilton, our local rowing team, will host a “learn to row” day this weekend, but HEY! Hamilton! correspondents Emily Simer Braun and Grace Sandlin got a jump on things and recently spent a day rolling on the river with Joy Nix and her rowers.

Here’s a slideshow of some of the photos Grace took that day:

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And here's Emily's photo of Grace at sunrise.
And here’s Emily’s photo of Grace at sunrise.






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Video Podcast: Michael Shawn McCabe featured in ‘X on TV’

HEY! Hamilton! Exclusive

HEY! Hamilton! Correspondent Emily Simer Braun interviews Hamilton’s Michael Shawn McCabe, the Food Adventurer for the new show “X On TV,” airing late nights Fridays on STAR64.

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Click on the image to see past episodes of “X On TV” on the show’s YouTube channel.


Steve Schmitt: His band is Balderdash; beating cancer is not

HEY! Hamilton! Exclusive!

A long-time fixture on the local and regional music scene, Steve Schmitt sits down to talk with HEY! Hamilton! correspondent Emily Simer Braun on the patio at El Mariachi.

HEY! Hamilton! Podcast Page

Schmitt currently performs in two bands led by Jose “Joe” Madrigal: the blues and classic rock band Balderdash and the Santana tribute Madrigal. Balderdash first formed back in the late 1960s and were popular in the local arena for several years before dissipating. In 2009, the group got back together and now perform regularly at Mustang Sally’s and other area venues. Madrigal (the band) is set to soon go on a national tour.

Steve also talks about his recent bout with cancer and how he feels that his struggle has charged his creative juices and given him a new outlook on life.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Here is Balderdash performing recently at WNKU studios. Schmitt’s song “Getting Old is Killing Me,” which he wrote while undergoing medical treatment, begins at around 12:40.

And here’s a little slide show of the bands in action:

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Keep abreast of Balderdash gigs on the band’s Facebook page…

Featured photos by Donna J. Burns

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Butterfly Run Benefits Children’s Cancer

HEY! Hamilton! correspondent Emily Simer Braun dropped in on the Butterfly 5K at Cottel Park in Mason, a benefit for children’s cancer held annually since 2007. In this podcast, Emily speaks to Lisa Kroeger, grandmother of “Pow” Ryley From, five-year-old cancer survivor who finished the Inspirational One-Mile Walk, winning a medal (see gallery). She also hears from 700WLW morning deejay Scott  Sloan, who talks about his personal reasons for participating in this event.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Here’s more about the May 23 benefit for Ryley:

In mid-January, five year old Ryley From was sent to Children’s hospital to have what they thought were further testing due to Ryley having blood in his urine. It was then he was diagnosed with a Wilm’s tumor.

.facebook_1431102755740Ryley had to undergo immediate surgery to remove his right kidney, the tumor, and surrounding lymph nodes. They staged Ryley at stage III because the cancer has spread into his lymph nodes. Ryley will go through intense chemo & radiation treatments. Ryley was otherwise a healthy 5 year old little boy.

Ryley has been a brave little boy facing an unexpected diagnosis and the intense treatment that lies ahead. Ryley’s partner in this fight has been his loving mother Melissa.

Melissa is a single mother and cares for Ryley 100% on her income. Melissa has chosen to take a leave of absence from work to be there to support Ryley during this difficult time.

Melissa is a US Army veteran and previously was the vice president of the NKU veterans organization. Melissa has given back to the Vets & organized several events in the past. Both Ryley and Melissa have a long road a head of him. With your contribution we can help Ryley and Melissa fight this battle.

Please come out and show your support.

$25.00 a person which includes:
– Dinner (2 entrees, 2 sides, salad & rolls)
– unlimited draft beer & wine
– unlimited soda beverages
– one raffle ticket

Dinner will be served promptly at 7:30pm

If you are interested in donating towards this event please email:

For more information, visit the Facebook page “Rally For Ryley”.

There are several ways to donate:
– basket donations
– gifts/ items for raffles
– table sponsors

Table Sponsors
-If a company or family would like to sponsor a table please email for more info

All sponsors will be recognized at the event

Lets help Ryley & Melissa show cancer whose boss!!!


Family Band Celebrates 85 Years, Four Generations

The Klaberheads–also known as The Franz Klaber Orchestra–will celebrate its 85th anniversary this month and is throwing a big party to celebrate.

20150413_205245In an exclusive podcast, HEY! Hamilton! correspondent Emily Simer Braun sat down with third-generation bandleader Erika Klaber and her father Franz Klaber, who led the band before her and inherited it from his father, at the Courtyard By Mariott to talk about the history of the group and its evolution from a local Oktoberfest band to national entertainers.

CLICK HERE to hear this episode (or right click and save)

CLICK HERE to enjoy a slide show of photos from the Franz Klaber Orchestra archives while you listen …


CLICK HERE to find out more about the 85th Anniversary Celebration at the Courtyard By Mariott…

CLICK HERE to visit the HEY! Hamilton! podcast page…