Jokes abound in this laughter-filled 2009 Excursions interview with multi-talented country and jazz musician Dan Hicks.

Hicks has been playing music for over 50 years. Beginning as a drummer as a young child, Hicks joined folk-rock group the Charlatans in 1965. Hicks struck out on his own in the late ‘60s, putting together backing band the Hot Licks for a string of records, including 1973’s classic “Last Train to Hicksville.” The band broke up in the mid-70’s, but has since reformed, releasing several records and touring internationally for the last decade.

This weekend, communities are coming together in Dayton to show there's still some life in economically depressed areas. For the past year, Dayton, Cleveland, Youngstown and Canton have been laboring under the title fastest dying cities in the country. It was last August that Forbes called them as the walking dead.

Foreclosure Scams

Jul 25, 2009

As home foreclosures rise, so do the number of people trying to take advantage of those in a bad situation. More and more, scams are popping up across Ohio. In May, the Attorney General's office launched a crackdown on the shady practices. WYSO's Emily McCord reports on the on-going effort.

The Mortgage Crisis and Appraisers

Jul 24, 2009

When a house is for sale, an evaluation is done to determine its value before a loan is made.  Appraisers are trained to make judgments about the value of properties with "boot-on-the-ground" inspections. In the past, a few appraisers were influenced by over zealous brokers and lenders. Now there are new guidelines in place. But are they protecting the consumer or making money for the lender?

Facing Foreclosure on Grange Hall Road

Jul 23, 2009

For people in the Miami valley who are in trouble with their mortgage payments, a phone call to the lender is often the first step to some sort of a solution.  Many major banks have agreed to work with the Home Affordable Modification Program which was designed to help homeowners stay in their homes. But sometimes when phone calls go unanswered and communication is delayed, foreclosure will proceed.

People facing foreclosure are obviously dealing with a very difficult situation.  Though people are finding assistance through the 211 help line and other services, some people feel they have no choice but to leave their homes and sometimes, their possessions behind - before the foreclosure process is even complete.  What's left is a neighborhood dealing with an empty house and a new set of new problems which affect everyone on the street. WYSO's Jerry Kenney discovered such a neighborhood near his home in Miami Township.  Here's what he found...

Financial Fitness

Jul 21, 2009

Community organizations around the Miami Valley are offering foreclosure counseling and financial literacy classes.  In Clark County, the foreclosure rate continues to rise and experts say it is likely to for the foreseeable future, WYSO's Juliet Fromholt has the story of what one Springfield organization is doing to educate people about their mortgages, their homes and their Financial fitness.

Foreclosures Affect Those Who Can Afford Mortgages

Jul 20, 2009

The Dayton neighborhood in which Harriet Parker and her husband, Oscar, live has neatly trimmed lawns and block after block of ranch style houses. She's raised four children in this well kept home. Now, she watches her young grandchildren there during the week. She's not sure how long she'll be able to continue helping her kids with daycare, especially after she received a letter informing her that she owed nearly $92,000 in a balloon payment to her lender.

Thursday night, Wilmington officially became a "Green Enterprise Zone". It adopted the plan in response to DHL moving its operations and taking more than 9000 jobs elsewhere. That's where Mark Rembert and Taylor Stuckert come in. They're two recent college graduates who put aside their plans for the Peace Corps to help save their hometown by helping Wilmington go green.

Joan Kroc was the widow of the founder of the McDonald's Corporation. When she died, she left money to the Salvation Army to build nearly 30 community centers across the country, including Dayton. More than five years later, though, many of them have yet to be built. This week, the New York Times reported that only four of the Salvation Army community centers are complete. Many others are unfinished or haven't yet started construction, and they're finding it difficult to complete their financing. Joan Kroc left 1.8 billion dollars to the Salvation, But the state of the U.S.