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On Friday, May 19, New Orleans-based jazz emsemble Soul Rebels led a second line commemorative parade throughout Yellow Springs in honor of the late Marco Comegys. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)

2023 In Review | Village Life

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Annual celebrations

• On New Year’s Eve, the annual downtown ball drop was revived after a two-year hiatus. A large crowd gathered in downtown Yellow Springs to ring in 2023.

• In January, the theme of the 2023 MLK Day celebration was “The Fierce Urgency of Now.” Keynote speaker and historian John E. Fleming, Ph.D., gave a presentation on “How African American Music Was and Is at the Forefront of American Social Justice.” Villagers Elaine and Keith Kresge were presented with the annual Peacemaker Award for their community service to the village.

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• Around 100 villagers and visitors gathered at the John Bryan Community Center to celebrate Earth Day on Sunday, April 23. The event featured a variety of environmentally focused booths and activities, as well a milkweed raffle.

• In celebration of National Senior Health and Fitness Day, the YS Senior Center held its annual flash mob dance in May on Short Street.

A crowd of over 200 marchers young and old took to the streets of the village once again on Monday, Jan. 16, to commemorate the actions and celebrate the ideals of the slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
New this year were periodic stops along the route, during which several marchers addressed the crowd on issues of intolerance, justice and redress. Above: Marchers filed into the Bryan Center parking lot on their way to the gymnasium to partake in the first in-person program in three years. (Photo by Matt Minde)

• Juneteenth celebrations were kicked off this year with a gathering outside YS High School and a walk that proceeded through the village past several sites of significance in the Black history of Yellow Springs. The walk concluded on the grounds of Mills Lawn with music, food and fellowship.

• The village celebrated Pride in June with a day-long schedule of events, including the annual parade and musical performances throughout the day.

Attendees of the 2023 Yellow Springs Pride Festival, on Saturday, June 24, were clad in every color of the rainbow. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)


• Perry League coaches Rob and Margi Gay and Yunus Brevik successfully shepherded the village’s youngest athletes through another season of T-ball this summer, faithfully writing their accounts of young joy at Gaunt Park for the News every week. In their weekly Perry League write-up, they also honored Becky Reed, a longtime dedicated T-ball volunteer.

• The second annual Wheeling Gaunt Day, honoring the famed local philanthropist, was celebrated in October at the statue of Gaunt located in Hilda M. Rahn Park. The celebration was inaugurated in 2022 on the first anniversary of the statue’s creation and installation.

In the kitchen at the Beloved Community Project meal on Saturday, Oct. 21, from left, were: Thaddene Triplett, Amanda Banaszak, Tony Novello and Kate Hamilton Carrigan. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)

• After being halted for a few years due to the pandemic, the beloved annual Yellow Springs Community Thanksgiving Dinner returned to First Presbyterian Church this year. The event featured turkeys, traditional sides and vegan and vegetarian dishes, and about 175 community members attended.

• The annual tree-lighting was held downtown in early December, complete with a visit from Santa Claus, hot chocolate and holiday serenades from the World House Choir and YS schools choirs.


• In May, Ben Guenther took over as station manager at Yellow Springs Community Access Channel 5, succeeding Lacey Fox. Though Channel 5’s full programming lineup had previously only been accessible to those who were Spectrum cable customers, in September, Guenther instituted a change that made the lineup more accessible. Now, anyone with an internet connection can stream Channel 5 online at

• In June, a baseball diamond at Gaunt Park was dedicated as the Jackie and Yvonne Davenport Memorial Baseball Field. The field was named in honor of the Davenport sisters — Jackie, who died in March 2023 and Yvonne, who died in February 2021 — who were integral in creating a space for women in Yellow Springs’ recreational baseball league.

A group of family members, softball league players and friends gathered on Tuesday, June 20, for a ceremony to dedicate one of the Gaunt Park baseball diamonds to the late Jackie and Yvonne Davenport, longtime villagers who were fierce advocates for league sports in the village. from left, front: Barb Cousins, Pam Conine, Scott Osterholm, Moriah Johnston, Milo Strolger and Robin Hull. back: April Wolford, Alma Brown, Joretta Johnston, Patricia Stroder, Jackie Strolger, Shakar Strolger and Miles Strolger. (Photo by Jessica Thomas)

• In September, local residents Beth Rubin and Catherine Roma were inducted into the Greene County Women’s Hall of Fame. Rubin was honored for her long career in social services in the county, and Roma for her years of work with the World House Choir.

• Beginning in January 2024, Yellow Springs will be the first community in the U.S. to test an up-and-coming philanthropic program in which donors share their wealth with beneficiaries in the form of investment savings accounts. The nonprofit startup Gifted Savings, the YS Community Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income Research, or CGIR, launched the program’s two-phase, three-year research study in the village in December. The goal of the study is to determine how donated assets held in a savings account will affect those who partake in the study.

Environmental efforts

• In April — Earth Month — 108 properties throughout the village were noted for having been certified with the National Wildlife Federation, or NWF, as official native wildlife habitats. The properties met the NWF’s criteria of providing local fauna with sources of food, water and shelter, while abiding by stringent sustainable practices.

In addition to being a certified Community Wildlife Habitat — a designation Yellow Springs received in 2020 — the village now hosts over 100 individual certified native habitats on both public and private properties. Along with members of several local groups, villagers Catherine Zimmerman and Bethany Gray have led the campaign to link ecologically minded gardeners and property owners to the National Wildlife Federation. Here, the pair stands next to the village’s habitat sign in Bill Duncan Park. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)


• As the weather grew colder and Yellow Springs prepared for winter, villagers and Thistle Creek neighbors Pat Brown and Philip Bottelier unveiled a small prairie plant nursery that will raise native plants in their neighborhood. The duo aims to distribute the plants to local residents and donate some to help populate the prairie at Glass Farm.

• In November, a small team of local residents and members of the Village Environmental Commission installed a 4,500-square-foot prairie in Ellis Park. The purpose of the prairie is to provide a natural buffer from the adjacent farm fields and prevent runoff from leaching into the pond.

From afar

• During Memorial Day week, the staff of the Yellow Springs News got the chance to visit with and learn from two journalists and publishers of newspapers in South Africa. Andile Nomabhunga, of Matatiele, in the Eastern Cape Province, and Dunisani Ntsanwisi, of Giyani, in Limpopo Province, spent the week working with the News as part of a three-week fact-finding project investigating ways to boost the sustainability of South Africa’s community media.

Andile Nomabhunga, left, and Dunisani Ntsanwisi, journalists visiting the News from South Africa, met Mayor Pam Conine after watching her and dozens of other villagers perform in the Senior Center’s flash mob on Wednesday, May 31. The South African journalists spent a week working alongside the staff of the Yellow Springs News. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)


• Air quality in the Ohio Valley was negatively affected in June as smoke from widespread Canadian wildfires drifted into the U.S. A thin veil of haze was visible for days at a time in Yellow Springs and much of the surrounding region at both the beginning and end of the month.

For a good cause

• Following a Feb. 3 derailment of a freight train that was carrying hazardous materials, and a resulting chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio, village resident Jenny Johnson established a fundraiser to help relocate a family who lived a quarter mile away from the wreckage.

• On Fridays throughout the summer, members of Pleasant Grove Missionary Church gathered on the porch of YS Community Library and offered free lunch to kids up to age 18.

Villagers Holly Underwood, left, and Nancy Mellon teamed up to envision and organize a Parkinson’s Puzzle Hunt, a challenge involving word games and brain teasers set in downtown Yellow Springs. The event is on Saturday, June 17, and is a fundraiser for Parkinson Supper and Wellness, a nonprofit. (Photo by Megan Bachman)

• In June, local residents Nancy Mellon and Holly Underwood organized and orchestrated the inaugural Parkinson’s Puzzle Hunt, a fundraiser that benefited Parkinson Support and Wellness, a Southwest Ohio nonprofit that empowers those with Parkinson’s Disease.

• In partnership with Greene County Public Health, or GCPH, Yellow Springs Pharmacy began offering free doses of naloxone in September. The FDA-approved medication — also known by its brand name, Narcan — blocks the effects of opioids and can be used to temporarily reverse an opioid-related overdose.

• After being put on pause at the start of the pandemic, the local Beloved Community Project resumed its monthly free community meals at First Presbyterian Church in October.

• In October and November, local resident David Williamson — a world-renowned magician and sleight-of-hand artist — held pop-up magic shows in venues around town as a benefit for The Riding Centre.

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