Ohiolina Music Festival, Mount Vernon, Sept. 29-30

Celebrating its fifth year in 2017, the Ohiolina Music Festival celebrates music and culture from the Appalachian region stretching from Ohio to North Carolina. Listen to exceptional folk, rock, Americana and bluegrass as musicians fill the natural amphitheater with gorgeous sound.

Taste local and regionally-inspired menus and sip drinks from some of Ohio and North Carolina’s best breweries and wineries. Enjoy a family-friendly atmosphere with activities for all ages. Relax in a peaceful hideaway—a little bit remote, a little bit historic, it’s a quick weekend escape with lush landscapes and beautiful views. It’s quiet up there—except when the music is playing.

The venue is beautiful open-air pavilion that provides complete shelter from sun and rain. The park has trails, lakes, a climbable smokestack, and many other spaces to explore – we recommend taking full advantage of all the offerings!

The festival encourages people to bring their own instruments and jam. While there are not formally designated locations for an impromptu session, we encourage you to bring your instrument, find a spot in the park and get inspired.

Cincinnati Museum Center Presents: “Vikings: Beyond the Legend” Exhibition

Vikings have long been a part of pop culture in our country and are often depicted as brutish and violent – and while this imagery certainly has a basis in reality it is not the whole truth about Viking culture.

For those who are fascinated by these famous sailors and warriors, you may be interested in the Cincinnati Museum Center’s exhibition, “Vikings: Beyond the Legend.”

Experience a myth-busting exhibition that has captivated millions of people around the world, as the largest collection of Viking artifacts to visit North America comes to Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Museum Center invites patrons to explore the rich, often-misunderstood Viking culture through a rare collection of artifacts and fresh insights revealed through new archaeological discoveries that gives you a real look into the lives of Vikings and shows why they continue to capture our imagination.

“Vikings: Beyond the Legend” is a joint venture between and produced by The Swedish History Museum in Sweden and Museums Partner in Austria. The Roskilde 6 display is a joint venture between and produced by The National Museum of Denmark and Museums Partner

The exhibition will be on display through April, 2017.

Birds in Ohio

Considering our bitter winters, many Ohioans might be surprised to learn that winter time is actually prime birdwatching season for many beautiful species.

Many visitors come from Canada during winter when food up north is in shortage. These visitors can include grosbeaks, pine siskins, red and white-winged crossbills and common redpolls. All these feathered friends will make appearances at your average home birdfeeder.

In Ohio’s wide open spaces, where grasslands meet woodlands, snowbirds such as eagles, hawks and owls swoop in from as far away as the Artic tundra to captivate our winter-weary eyes. Although not common, more and more golden eagles are finding their way to Ohio skies in winter, drawn to the large tracts of reclaimed mine-land found throughout much of eastern and southeastern Ohio. As North America’s largest predatory bird, it averages 30 inches in length, features a 6.5-foot wingspan and weighs in at a whopping 10 pounds. Its dark brown plumage and intense dark eyes are offset by a black bill and claws, giving it a fierce appearance. Golden brown feathers on the head and nape of the neck give this awesome bird of prey its signature name.

A more familiar winter visitor to Ohio is the northern harrier. When in search of a meal, this hawk – with its 42-inch wingspan – puts on quite a show gliding slowly over open fields. Using a series of heavy wing beats, the northern harrier can hover just a few feet above its prey, providing birders excellent opportunities for observation. A well-known resident of the West, the northern harrier favors marsh, field and prairie habitats, Keep your eyes peeled as well for red-tailed hawks, one of Ohio’s most common raptors.

Owls are another perennial favorite among avian enthusiasts. And every winter, Ohio’s owl population temporarily expands from four species to seven as short-eared, long-eared and northern saw-whet owls join their saucer-eyed Buckeye brethren for the winter. The short-eared owl is the easiest to catch sight of because it is both diurnal and nocturnal, active from late afternoon through the morning hours. These owls roost almost exclusively on the ground in overgrown fields and along hedge rows, though it’s not unusual to see them perched on roadside fence posts.

Winter is visiting Ohio and so are the raptors! So put on your boots and hat, grab your binoculars and go looking for the big birds that don’t let a little winter weather keep them down.

North Kingsville Sand Barrens

Another one for the outdoor adventurists! Nestled away in Ashtabula County is a very interesting nature preserve with a fancy sounding name—the North Kingsville Sand Barrens. The 174-acre property not only supports three endangered plants, several rare invertebrates and a large population of native lupine, it is the only high-quality fossil dune ridge that has been preserved in northeastern Ohio. As if that weren’t enough it is one of only three sites in Ohio that homes the state-endangered bead lily, the only site in Ohio home to the endangered moss bug-on-a-stick and the only know site in Ohio where white-throated sparrows nest. If none of that gets your inner nature-nerd going, its darn beautiful.

In 1986 the Museum of Botany Department of Ashtabula County did a routine inventory of the sand barrens which revealed several rare plants on private property. Further trips revealed that this land was the most significantly populated sand barrens in northeastern Ohio. The land was donated to the museum in 1990. Further donors have included William C. McCoy, museum trustee, who gave 50 acres west of the original tract as well as an eight acre donation from Mr. Ron Kister in 1998.

The Sand Barrens are a well-know bird watching spot. In the spring one can find Field Sparrows, American Woodcocks and Orchard Orioles. During summer Song Sparrows, Scarlet Tanagers and Black-and-White Warblers make their home in the barrens. In autumn you can spy Blackpoll Warbler, Philadelphia Vireo and Sharp-Shinned Hawk. If you can brave the cold winter might reveal the Northern Cardinal, White-Throated Sparrow and Great Horned Owl.

Local Teen to Run Charity Marathon Despite His Cancer

Here is a story of an in inspiring young man from Ohio – Kent, Ohio resident Ben O’Daniel despite his leukemia and and aggressive chemotherapy treatments. Even more amazingly, last year O’Daniel needed to leg braces to walk. Aggressive chemotherapy left him with weakened muscles and loss of strength, flexibility and balance.

Now he is training, between cancer treatments, to run with athletes from all over the country in part of an ultra-marathon.

16 year old Ben is joining Akron native and endurance athlete Larry DeWitt this weekend to run the last mile of the Burning River 100. This 100 mile trail race begins Saturday morning in Willoughby and ends the next day in Cuyahoga Falls.

O’Daniel and DeWitt are looking to raise at least ten-thousand dollars through the even to benefit the Akron Children’s Hospital’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders—this is where O’Daniel has been receiving his treatments and other care since being diagnosed with leukemia in 2012.

While O’Daniel hopes to inspire other people who are going through his situation and raise money for a positive cause he has ended up inspiring everyone who hears his story.

Jody Victor