BRADFORD — Congratulations to our 44 graduates of 2016! Two hundred thousand dollars in scholarships was awarded to Bradford seniors. How awesome is that?
Speaking of graduates, this was my 25th year reunion. My, oh, my, time flies. It was nice to see old classmates and to hear how life has been treating them. Facebook sure has made the world a smaller place. When I first signed up for Facebook, I thought I was too old for it. According to my kids, only old people use it now. Regardless, I love it. It brings family, friends and community closer. It’s a different world now thats for sure. Technology makes things so easy and quick. I hope it doesn’t bite us in the butt some day. But then again, it probably already has. After any old tale now, one of the first questions from my daughter Alani is, “But did you have wifi?”
Did you know behind that green door in the business district on Miami Avenue is a beautiful, awe-inpiring art gallery by the man upstairs? The man upstairs is Bradford’s very own Scott Keller. Now you might have known Keller is a gunsmith but that isn’t his only passion. He also has a passion and an amazing eye for beauty in nature. When I asked him how he got started, he shared this:
“As a small child I spent a lot of time walking through woods with my mother and great-grandmother. By age 5, I had my own collection of woodland plants to show for my exploits. My great-grandmother, believing she was of Indian descent,(results of recent DNA testing prove incorrect) taught me the names and uses of the many plants I had acquired. This early upbringing shaped my view of nature and wildlife.
“In my teen and young adult life, I became a self-taught naturalist and outdoor person.
“In the mid-80’s, I became interested in video production and began a production company, which in time, produced some wildlife documentaries. Some of which are used today by special interest groups and state agencies. Time spent behind the video camera, taught me to compose scenes quickly, but also made me well aware of the limitations of video. My first contact with digital photography came when a news photographer took a series of shots using a new CMOS camera, for a story on my work with bluebirds.
“A few years later, the founder of Intel patented a new type of image sensor to be used in a digital camera. The way the new sensor worked made more sense to me than others at that time. When a company started producing a DSLR with the new imager, I started comparing the pictures it produced to images from other cameras and had to have one. I began carrying it with me as I monitored my bluebird trail at Stillwater Prairie Reserve, taking lots of pictures of things most people just walked by. In time, I had a large folio of pictures in a binder.
One day, an old friend who was a manufacturer’s rep stopped by; he told me his wife was in the car. He explained he was taking her on the road with him because she was losing her sight due to diabetes. I told him to bring her in and I sat her down and handed her the folio to look at while we conducted business. She got really excited when she saw the bluebird pictures because her parents in Wyoming were very involved in saving them when she was young. A few days later, she called and wanted to purchase certain pictures to send to her family for Christmas. That encouraged me to print more pictures. Then I discovered they looked better matted and framed. The only problem was digital prints usually require different size mat cuts than film and at that time vanilla mats were the most widely available. This led to buying lots of mat board of different colors and a mat cutter, then buying and making frames and that evolved into the gallery.
“My work has been used in museums, county parks, web sites, magazine covers, and in magazine and paper articles.
“Because of time constraints, there are no regular hours for the gallery. I open it up on special occasions when I think there will be enough people in downtown Bradford to make it worthwhile. The gallery has over 125 matted, framed prints on the walls for sale or just to look at if you want for free.”
I was excited for my tour around his gallery. The pictures are so clear, so detailed and simply beautiful! I can see why his work has been widely used. If you love nature, you must make it a point to visit his gallery. His portraits are perfect images of this beauty that surrounds us. We would never have the chance to view such fine details with our naked eye. For one, time is too fleeting. Keller’s patience is truly amazing.
Elementary students of the month were Emmalee Fisher and Claire Miller.
High School students of the month are Kelly More, co-valedictorian with a 4.04 GPA. Kelly has played basketball, softball, track and field, cheer leading, National Honor Society, yearbook. She will attend The Ohio State University as a biology major.
Drew Patty, co-valedictorian with a 4.04 GPA. Drew has played football, basketball, National Honor Society and class Treasurer. Drew will attend Miami University’s Farmer School of Business and major in business management or marketing.
Mackenzie Weldy, salutatorian with a 3.98 GPA. She has played volleyball, basketball, track and field, National Honor Society, four-year class officer and member of the Impact Youth Group. She plans to go to Thailand this summer for a veterinary service course/mission trip and major in animal sciences at the University of Findlay, hoping to become a large/exotic animal vet.
May Spotlight of the Month was John McGiffin, athletic director/transportation director for his dedication and kind heart.
Congratulations to Prom Queen Mackenzie Weldy and King Bailey Powell.
Thirty-seven students in grades 6-12 received a 4.0 GPA and perfect attendance for the year.
Bradford Methodist Church will have a Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and green beans meal on June 12 after church. Tickets will be presale. Luncheon is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $7. Funds will be used toward the church exterior brick repair.
The Ultimate Cloth is back at Bradford UMC and will be available for purchase during the luncheon.
Bradford Church of the Brethren is collecting scrap for the teen trip to Blue Ridge, Ga. They will have a Vacation Bible School in the park during June.
Manna Ministry is in need of meal delivery drivers and other volunteers. Contact Athena at (937) 621-4995 if you are willing to donate an hour or two of your time in the mornings.
The next meeting for the association of churches will be at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at the Bradford United Methodist Church.
Friends of the Library is announcing a beard-growing contest in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Bradford.
Bradford Library Summer Reading Club “Get Ready, Get Set … Read” — Age groups will be preschool through first grade, grades 2-5, grades 6-12, and adults to promote leisure reading during the summer. Signups will take place through June 30. Many activities have been planned for the summer reading program. Contact the library for details, (937) 448-2612.
Heather Canan is a freelance writer who lives in Bradford with her husband and twin daughters.