Archive for the 'south park' Category


Way To Go Chris!!!!

Group aids search efforts to bring closure for families

South Park-based nonprofit organization VIASAR analyzes aerial photographs to help recover bodies.

Staff Writer

Sunday, April 20, 2008

When a fisherman off the coast of Maine went overboard last fall and his empty boat was discovered later in a cove, search-and-rescue teams exhausted their efforts trying to find the man’s body.

That’s when volunteers pitched in, including a team of imagery analysts and engineers from the Dayton area, to renew the search with aerial photographs. The high-resolution photos were sent to Chris Rowley, Kevin Culli and John DeWeese, all Dayton area defense contractors, who then put to civilian use their many years of experience analyzing military surveillance images.

Rowley, 41, was inspired to organize VIASAR — Volunteer Imagery Analysts for Search and Rescue — a year ago after he assisted in the search for the body of his cousin’s 17-year-old son, who had fallen from a bridge into Maine’s Penobscot Bay.

Giving closure to grieving families is the organization’s goal.

With recent advances in computer imaging and high-resolution photography, Rowley says it’s time to bring search-and-rescue operations into the digital age.

“Very few are using aircraft, and even fewer aerial photographs,” he said.

While observers in planes can often miss details, digital photographs can be taken from planes over wide areas, then sent to computers anywhere in the world, where analysts can magnify, enhance and inspect the images with trained eyes.

For now, VIASAR is based in the attic office of Rowley’s South Park home, where he uses his dual-screen computer to coordinate the work of 15 image analysts here, across the country and in Germany. But he has high hopes of growing the nonprofit organization into an international network of hundreds of volunteer analysts using the latest imaging and analysis equipment.

Rowley says his group would like to gain access to fiber optic lines that would speed their work, allowing them to distribute photos for analysis in minutes rather than hours. Down the road, they also might be able to operate Unmanned Airborne Vehicles for taking their own photos. Currently, they must rely on volunteer photographers including those at the Down East Medical Institute in Maine.

Rowley, who has dedicated VIASAR to the memory of his cousin’s son, is upbeat about its future. “These things will come, as long as we are vigilant.”



If you want to know more, or donate to help VIASAR grow, visit:

Living in Dayton

we were transferred here; my husband had been working in Dayton for over two years, and I had the kids in Oklahoma, and it wasn’t working.  after “The Big Guy” made enough noises about quitting, the company ponied up the money to make his position permanent, and move us all to Ohio.

we are a military family, so picking up and moving to a place you had never heard of was nothing new.  we had spent a year living in South Korea, breathing contaminated air, and drinking contaminated water, (uh, they don’t have an EPA), so Ohio was a piece of cake as far as I was concerned.  What was important was that our family was back together again.

TBG (the big guy) was staying in corporate housing in Centerville, and the kids and I moved in.  The search for living quarters (I can’t call it a “home”) was on.  That’s how our first address was “Huberville”, who’s claim to fame is the largest, single, brick home community.  The little piece of info that they leave out, is that the brick homes are crappy, and way over priced.  Huber isn’t a “town” in the real sense of the word.  Its where people sleep, but leave to go to work, find entertainment, and do just about everything else.  It is truly a “commuter” community.  Everybody “commutes” from Huber to their real lives.

Well we stuck it out for four years. The kids had settled in to school. OMC (oldest male child) once in high school finally found it interesting, SBD (social butterfly daughter) was happy anywhere, as long as she could play sports (oh, and flirt with boys). YMC (youngest male child) was just starting school, so it was all a new experience with him.

Well then the hammer dropped.  Huberville couldn’t pass its school levy (go figure, the last one paid for salary increases for administrators), and cuts were going to have to be made.  I am not talking about cutting the extra activity bus, or ordering fewer chem lab materials, but laying off teachers, cancelling classes, and reducing curriculum so far as to only teach the OGT (Ohio Graduation Test). OMC came home, and told me “they are doing away with everything that I care about”.  He found out that his architecture teacher was being laid off, and the whole “technology department” was being eliminated.  I knew then we had to do something, or this kid was going to bail on the whole school thing altogether. So we started looking for what was to become our first “real” home.

I have always had a thing for old houses.  I get it from my mom.  Where we lived (Idaho), if it was 75 years old, it was considered old.  My home town wasn’t established until 1910, and Dayton (1796) had been around a very long time, before little old Deary was even thought about.  The Pacific Northwest is just a “baby” portion of the country, compared to Ohio.

I started spending my freetime just driving. I kind of knew where the older neighborhoods were, and just sort of pointed the car.  I got lost a lot, but after a couple of weeks, I had pretty much figured it out.  I drove into a section known as “Grafton”.  There was a huge house, on a corner lot, with a “for sale” sign.  It looked perfect from the outside, so I called the realtor and set up an appointment.  The following Saturday, kids and all, we trooped into the Grafton house.

It was gorgeous.  The house had been owned by an interior designer, that had worked for one of the prestigious department stores in downtown Dayton, called “Rike’s”.  Rike’s was from the era when sales clerks waited on you, and the lunch counter was the place to be and be seen.  So the Grafton house was definitely “all that”.  Everything matched. The carpet’s and the hand-sewn draperies, the wall paper and paint.  Several walls were papered in “grass” wall paper.  It should have been featured in “Architectural Digest”, and my husband hated every inch of it.  It was way too formal for our lifestyle, and TBG could never imagine himself feeling comfortable there.  So the search continued, and that’s how we made our way to South Park.

There was an Eastlake Victorian (term I learned later) that had recently gone on the market.  It had four bedrooms (with our three, that was a must) and it had a garage for all of TBG’s stuff.  TBG and I went alone the first time.  The owner’s were home with their three little ones.  We had barely made it far enough in to close the door, when their youngest (a toddler named Robert), toddled up to TBG in his footy pajamas, and raised his arms to be picked up.  TBG grinned from one side to the other, and picked up Robert, and looked at me, and said “this is it”.  Well, I kind of wanted to look a little further than the foyer, and I subtly reminded him that “the baby does not come with the house”.  All he could say was “this is it”.

We have been here for three years now, and TBG was right, “this is it”.  I call it my “farmhouse in the City”, and it has been a perfect home for us.  The house is 115 years old, and was built by a near-do well lawyer, who fortunately built the house when he had money. There is a private high school that OMC, SBD attended, and YMC is attending a private elementary school and doing well.  (Ohio has school voucher programs that have helped with the tuition).  I firmly believe that this house picked us, we didn’t pick it.  I think that’s how it works with all of the houses in South Park.  The houses pick their owners.  Fortunately, this house chose us.


Jake and Jackson

my boys

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live in Dayton, Ohio, in an historic neighborhood called South Park. have some of the wackiest friends and neighbors that I wouldn't change for the world

old rants/opinions/pontifications