This is Part 4 of a six-part series looking back at just a few of the key stories in the pages of the News Journal throughout 2022.
Search for new port authority director
WILMINGTON (July 1) — A thorough yet time-aware search was authorized Thursday for the next Port Authority executive director, an action necessitated by the unexpected death three weeks ago of Dan Evers.
The volunteer Board of Directors voted in favor of contracting with a search firm in the coming weeks to aid in the recruitment and selection of an executive director.
CM grad Chayse Wolf off to Brazil
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Clinton-Massie graduate Chayse Wolf has been named to the 2022 T5oyota Team USA
Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team for the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) Americas Cup.
This selection was made at the conclusion of the 2022 Toyota Team USA Men’s Selection Camp hosted earlier this month at the United States Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
A former standout football player at CMHS, Wolf was involved in an all-terrain vehicle crash in July 2015 in West Virginia. Wolf underwent two surgeries to repair his vertebrae and realign his spinal column with metal rods.
WCA growing and expanding
WILMINGTON (July 6) — Due to current space constraints, the Wilmington Christian Academy (WCA) has begun adding a 12,600-square-foot modular complex that will connect to the existing building on Davids Drive.
“We don’t have any space left. We’re bulging at the seams,” said WCA Administrator Greg Oliver. The added facility will hold eight large classrooms, Oliver said, as well as two offices, a set of restrooms, stu-dent lockers, and storage space.
The modular building or complex will consist of 13 linked sections upon an expansive concrete pad that is 60 yards long and 25 yards wide, Oliver said.
Fithen named new WPD chief
WILMINGTON (July 7) — Mayor John Stanforth appointed Sergeant Ronald Fithen to become Wilmington’s new chief of police, the city announced Wednesday.
“Sergeant Fithen’s promotion to chief reflects his years of dedication to the city and its citizens and the support and guidance he has given to his fellow police officers,” stated Stanforth in a news release.
Fithen has served the Wilmington Police Department for over 30 years, including the last 22 years as a sergeant.
Blan tax referendum gets signers
BLANCHESTER (July 13) — Local residents have achieved the required signatures to have a referendum placed on the November ballot regarding the earnings tax recently passed by Blanchester council.
Betsy Wellman, organizer of the referendum, told the News Journal she filed it with Blanchester fiscal officer Tammy May on Monday. According to Wellman, they filed 358 signatures, surpassing the 260 needed.
New chairs of local GOP, Dem parties
(July 13, 14) Terry Habermehl is the new chairman of the Clinton County Republican Party.
Habermehl is the Clinton County auditor, which is a countywide elected position. As the new county GOP chair- man, he succeeds Tim Inwood who announced in December 2021 he planned to step down from the post this year
Michael Allbright is the new chair of the Clinton County Democratic Party.
A member of Wilmington City Council who is employed at Wilmington College as assistant vice president for student affairs, Allbright succeeds Ann Reno. Reno served as the county Democrats’ executive committee chair for nearly 30 years before she decided not to run again for chair.
Fair hosts ‘A Day in the Ring’
WILMINGTON (July 16) —At the first annual Clinton County Junior Fair’s “A Day in the Ring” event, eight special needs individuals were paired with 4-H mentors to show goats in the Hog Barn show ring. The 4-H teen leaders had received training, have experience showing livestock, and have a willingness to share their love of 4-H livestock projects, stated the Clinton County Board of Developmental Disabilities in a social media post. The participants all received blue ribbons in the event which was not held as a competition.
The event was enjoyed by an appreciative audience and the participants.
Open enrollment issues at CM Schools
ADAMS TWP. (July 20) — With the fate of open enrollment at Clinton-Massie an unknown at present, the board of education president said he hopes that worried parents of current open-enrolled students will have a clearer idea later this calendar year of what things would look like in the 2023-24 school year if open enrollment were to end.
New applications for open enrollment were paused in late May because under Ohio’s new school funding formula, the district will not get reimbursed as it has previously.
But 242 CM students who already were part of the open-enrollment system at Clinton-Massie in 2021-22 were invited back for the school year that starts next month.
A new state biennial budget will be drawn up the first half of next year, presumably in the second quarter 2023, so there could be a change that affects the open-enrollment financial picture for schools like Massie.
Blan to again seek earnings tax
BLANCHESTER (July 21) — Blanchester Local Schools will again appeal to voters to pass an earned income tax on the November 8 ballot.
At Thursday’s school board meeting, members approved the 1.25% tax for the ballot in an effort to help raise much-needed funds.
Superintendent Randy Dunlap told the News Journal he hopes the public understands that the schools are in need of the money.
“We cut 14 positions, and that’s hard,” said Dunlap. “We’re getting to a point where cuts are going to adversely affect the education. Unfortunately, we have to stay solvent.”
He advised a financial audit was conducted by the State of Ohio due to the school district being in a “fiscal emergency.” He said the state’s recommendation was to make “some cuts and changes.”
Employee dies in air park accident
WILMINGTON (Aug. 9) — One person died in the incident Sunday at the Wilmington Air Park in which an automatic fire suppression system deployed a huge mass of foam just before 2 p.m.
Tim Law, 55, an employee of Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services (AMES) where he was a production supervisor in the Heavy Maintenance Department, died in the incident.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office began investigating the incident Sunday afternoon. Clinton County Public Information Officer Pam Bauer said at a Monday morning news conference at the air park that investigators did not know what triggered the release of the foam.
“We do know it was not a fire, but we do not know what triggered that release,” said Bauer.
Eight first responders were transported to Clinton Memorial Hospital for medical care due to eye injury, electrocution and other physical injuries, with three transferred to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.
All eight were released, with follow-up appointments scheduled. The firefighters transported for medical treatment are from the following departments or districts: four with Wilmington Fire & EMS, two with SRWW (Sabina), one with Clinton Highland Joint Fire District (New Vienna), and one with the Clinton-Warren Joint Fire District (Clarksville).
Man dead after standoff with officers
CHESTER TWP. (Aug. 12) — A man is dead after he attempted to breach an FBI field office then led a pursuit up I-71 that included shooting at a state trooper, followed soon by an exchange of gunfire, and a nearly seven-hour standoff.
Ricky Walter Shiffer, 42, of Columbus was shot dead after the long standoff, the Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Nathan Dennis announced just after 6 p.m. Thursday at a press conference.
The OSHP stated that officers made attempts to negotiate with the suspect and to use less lethal tactics, but those were unsuccessful. As he raised a firearm and pointed it at officers, he was shot dead at around 3:42 p.m.
The FBI reported Thursday morning that “an armed subject attempted to breach the Visitor Screening Facility” at the FBI building in the Kenwood area of Cincinnati. He reportedly fired off a nail gun at personnel, and then brandished an assault-type weapon before fleeing.
After an alarm and a response by FBI special agents, the subject fled north onto Interstate 71.
After the suspect fled the FBI office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol was notified.
The confrontation at the FBI’s Cincinnati field office comes as officials warn of an increase in threats against federal agents in the days following a search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, the Associated Press reported.
End of an era at Bill Marine Ford
WILMINGTON (Aug. 13) — Busam Automotive announced that the company had purchased Bill Marine Ford, which Marine had owned since starting the business in 1960.
Food blogger wins big nationally
BLANCHESTER (Aug. 19) — A local food blogger and cook took home some Food Network glory.
Heather Johnson of Blanchester was the winner of Wednesday’s episode of the Guy Fieri show “Guy’s Grocery Games” (“Triple G”). Johnson was one of four Fieri superfans chosen to compete on the episode.
“It was amazing. I can finally talk about it,” said Johnson, whose voice was affected by the lively watch party. “It was so fun to hear people’s reactions … and to see them explode in response to the ending.”
For A Song And A Story ends
WILMINGTON — A staple of the city’s music scene will play its final note on Labor Day.
For A Song and A Story will be closing its doors on Labor Day after 20 years of providing lessons, instruments, and books for Clinton Countians.
The music shop got its start in 2002 at Shoppes at the Old Mill (now known as Sugartree Mill Co.) after Cindy and Paul Shivers left their respective jobs.
“I have no idea how we did it for 20 years, but we did,” said Cindy Shivers.