Part 1 of a 3-part News Journal series.
As 2017 comes to a close, the News Journal takes a look back at some of the top stories gleaned from Page 1.
Here are a few of those stories that took place between January and April:
Tough year for Q
Green Bay Packers’ second-year cornerback and Wilmington High School grad Quinten Rollins was taken off the field on a stretcher during a Sunday night game in Detroit against the Lions after he struck his head on the field after defending a pass.
Rollins was down on the sideline for several minutes. He was immobilized on a backboard by medical staff as a precaution, then immediately transported to a local hospital.
Rollins spent the night at a Detroit hospital where he underwent tests. Early Monday morning — at 12:18 a.m. ET — the Packers tweeted, “CB Quinten Rollins is conscious with movement & is being further evaluated at a local hospital.”
He was able to return to Green Bay that day.
(Rollins began the 2017-18 season healthy, but his season ended after he suffered an injury during an October game against the Minnesota Vikings.)
Debut of WEQ arena
While it actually opened in late 2016, the Sanctuary Arena at the World Equestrian Center near Wilmington qualified as a new facility for our area as we entered the new year.
There is more development planned for the World Equestrian Center as a major indoor and outdoor equestrian sports venue. The venue is located on the same State Route 730 site as Roberts Arena.
Fluoride an issue
WILMINGTON — “Let’s make this a good year,” City Council President Randy Riley stated at the beginning of the first Wilmington City Council meeting of 2017.
Fluoridation of the city’s water and recycling were among topics of discussion.
The fluoridation ordinance would mandate fluoridation of the public water supplies. In the November 2016 election, voters approved by 56.7 percent to 43.3 percent a non-binding resolution which would allow the city to fluoridate but not require it.
However, some local residents again voiced concerns about fluoride to council.
Happy birth day
Baby Madison Kairi entered the world at 1:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2017 — the first baby born at Clinton Memorial Hospital in the New Year. She is the daughter of proud parents Jennifer and Phillip.
Jarron Cumberland, a 2016 Wilmington High School graduate, was inducted into the WHS Wall of Fame prior to a varsity boys basketball game with Washington Senior High School at Fred Summers Court.
Cumberland, then a freshman member of the University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team, is Wilmington and Clinton County’s all-time career and single season leader in points scored. He is among the all-time leading scorers in Ohio schoolboy basketball history.
Winds reached up to 50 mph in Clinton County on a spring-like Tuesday evening. There were several reports of trees down in parts of the county.
Fire displaces 8
A fire decimated a home and left a family of eight with no home and few possessions.
The Wilmington Fire Department was called to a fire on a late Tuesday morning on SR 350 West that Lt. Brant Schmitt said may have started in the kitchen. With assistance from the Clarksville Fire Department, they extinguished the fire, but the house was decimated.
While no one was home, and the family dog was rescued, the family of eight that rented the property was left displaced.
Fluoride on hold
The long-debated fluoride ordinance was tabled until a full engineering report is finished.
During the Water Committee report at Thursday night’s City Council meeting, council member and committee chair Kelsey Swindler informed those in attendance that engineers from Strand Associates were on site for the fluoridation survey at the water treatment plant on Jan. 13. Swindler said she along with Safety-Service Director Brian Shidaker and others at the water department went along as the engineers examined and explored the plant.
“The way they approach this is that they’ll put together three total proposals of various types,” said Swindler. “They were kind of picking our brains as to what council priorities are, and I conveyed that council priority is effectiveness and specifically cost-effectiveness…”
Super Sexton steps down
Superintendent of Wilmington City Schools Ron Sexton announced he would retire during the summer and would help with the statewide search for his successor.
Sexton had been with the school district for 37 years — as a teacher, coach, high school principal and the superintendent. “I’ve been so lucky. Thirty-seven years in a district is a long time,” Sexton said after a board of education meeting. He said he achieved “all the goals that I wanted for my career” and, furthermore, attained them at one district.
50 years in radio
To Lee Hendee, there are only three reasons why someone gives you a special award. “You’re either incredibly old, have done something special, or you’re being pardoned by the governor.”
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger honored Hendee for his 50 years of service to the community.
“It was exciting,” said Hendee. “I’ve never gotten any kind of recognition like that before. I appreciate Cliff bringing that down.”
Hendee’s passion for radio got its start back in 1967 when he did reports for East Clinton High School.
(Lee Hendee, the owner and founder of WALH in Wilmington, died on May 19, 2017. He had also worked at Buckley Bros. in Wilmington for more than 30 years and owned Ultimate Impact Wrestling in Wilmington from 2004-2011. He was a member of the Wilmington Church of Christ, and a longtime boys baseball and girls softball coach in Wilmington.)
At least nine drug overdose-related incidents took place within the past week according to Clinton County law enforcement — including two fatalities in one day.
One incident involved a 43-year-old man from Sabina on Jan. 21. According to the Wilmington police report, authorities arrived at the 400 block of Clinton Street in Wilmington. According to Wilmington Police Chief Detective Joshua Riley, the victim went into his bedroom and when a family found him he was lying on the bed with the syringe in his hand and the bag next to him. Police believe the bag contained methamphetamine.
Earlier the same day, Wilmington police were called to the 300 block of Grant Street in Wilmington on the report of a deceased 36-year-old Wilmington woman.
Amazon bugs out
Amazon will invest more than $1.4 billion in a new air cargo hub for its Prime Air service at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), officials announced on a Tuesday afternoon.
The fleet of 40 leased cargo jets currently based in Wilmington was expected to be on the move to the new hub beginning in April, according to reports. The new CVG hub is expected to mean 2,700 jobs.
Clinton County Business and Economic Development Director Bret Dixon said he learned the news earlier in the day on a conference call. The sorting facility Amazon is planning to establish will be at CVG, Dixon summarized. He said Amazon officials indicated they were looking for an option that would get them to their goal fast. They used the expression “plug and play,” Dixon said. It has always been Amazon’s desire to run its own sorting facility, added Dixon.
Dixon said he was disappointed by the choice of CVG, but he and other local officials will continue to work with Amazon. Though CVG is in Kentucky, Dixon said the State of Ohio “was fully engaged” on the possibility of the hub being located here.
“We did everything we could proactively,” Dixon added. He said the State of Ohio appears to have been “blindsided” by the announcement Tuesday.
“To say I am disappointed by today’s news from Amazon is an understatement,” Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) said in a statement. “I have always been confident that the state of Ohio and the people of Clinton County have done everything in their power to make Wilmington an attractive and hospitable place for not only Amazon, but other companies as well.”
Everyone on the treatment team as well as the judge had agreed Jason “Jake” Greene was on the right track. Greene was promoted to the next phase of the You-Turn Recovery Docket (drug court) program on Friday, Jan. 20.
But on the next day, police say Greene, 43, was found in his bedroom dead along with a syringe.
At the next You-Turn session Feb. 3, Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck spoke about Greene and the frustrations of trying to figure out how to most effectively deal with a deadly drug scourge. To make sure Greene doesn’t end up only a number on a chart somewhere, there will be a black sash bearing his nickname “Jake” placed upon the jury box chair where he often sat for You-Turn.
Some short-term traffic headaches would result in long-term benefits for downtown Wilmington as the long-awaited major renovation on the Murphy Theatre’s facade got underway.
Work crews would pull off terra cotta that’s splitting and cracking from age, said Project Administrator Jeff Johnson. The ornamental building material would be replaced with reinforced fiberglass that has a texture and coloring that matches the terra cotta.
The project, which required one lane of Main Street to be closed, would be finished by summer.
Longtime local newsman at the Wilmington News Journal Bob McNemar turned 100, and he was honored at an open house at Ohio Living Cape May, Wilmington.
A longtime newspaper writer, photographer and editor, he was editor of the Wilmington News-Journal from 1953 until 1957.
(Bob McNemar died on March 2, 2017 at Ohio Living Cape May. He was preceded in death by his wife, Kathryn Hunt McNemar, in 2000. They were married in 1941.)
Local pilot dies
A Wilmington man died when his experimental plane crashed in a field in Clark County east of Springfield on a Sunday afternoon. Jordan A. Spier, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene — originally from Fulton, New York — was a maintenance planner at Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services (AMES) in Wilmington.
Clinton County was deluged with heavy rain and storms early on a Wednesday until mid-morning, dropping exactly 3.5 inches of rain at the Wilmington Air Park according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington — and possibly more in the Sabina area. Although storms including hail and lightning hit Clinton County overnight, Highland County had a report of a tornado around 2:30 a.m. near Leesburg that crossed into the Greenfield area.
The CEO of BrightFarms officially announced the company would invest $10 million in building a greenhouse farm in Wilmington. The huge hydroponics greenhouse and the 25-plus employees will provide annually about 1 million pounds of salad greens, herbs and tomatoes for Greater Cincinnati.
(As of late December 2017, construction of the facility was taking place.)
The honorees were selected for this year’s class of the Outstanding Women of Clinton County, recognizing women who have enriched the lives of, and had a lasting impact on, their fellow Clinton County residents. The Class of 2017 is:
• Minnie Farren
• Janet Gick
• Jennifer Hollon
• Ethel Medley
• Sandra Mongold
• Cheryl Roberts
• Beverly Sanders
• Christine Snyder
Melinda “Mindy” McCarty-Stewart would be the next superintendent of Wilmington City Schools, Board President Steve Murphy announced. McCarty-Stewart would take over for retiring Superintendent Ron Sexton in July.
“I’m very honored to have been selected, and I look forward to a bright future,” McCarty-Stewart told the News Journal. With 22 years of experience in public education, nine of those with Wilmington City Schools, “Mrs. McCarty-Stewart has proven her dedication to public education,” Murphy said.
Her early years as a special education teacher at Upper Arlington Middle School and at Wilmington Middle School were followed by 17 years in administration. Currently the principal at Wilmington High School, prior to her return to Wilmington she spent 11 years in administration at Mason High School.
A nationwide warrant has been issued for a man police say stole more than $15,000 from the Blanchester Eagles. On Dec. 26, 2016, the Blanchester Eagles club reported the theft of more than $15,000 in Ohio Lottery tickets from the establishment they operate at 113 S. Wright St., according to Police Chief Scott Reinbolt.
Ptl. Ian Courtney viewed surveillance video from inside the Eagles Club, and was able to determine that an employee, Mackenzie “Mac” Murdoch, 26, allegedly printed hundreds of Ohio Lottery tickets from the lottery machine inside.
(Murdoch was later nabbed in Florida.)
Fluoride passes 4-3
The highly debated fluoridation ordinance passed at a Thursday night city council meeting. It was approved after a 4-3 vote with council members Bill Liermann, Joe Spicer and Lonnie Stuckert voting against it.
Cheer thief guilty
A jury found a local woman guilty of grand theft for embezzling money from the former Clinton-Massie Pee Wee Cheer organization. Nicole L. Allgeyer, 39, of Wilmington, was to be sentenced on the fourth-degree felony conviction on May 22 at the Clinton County Common Pleas Courtroom.
Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck encouraged parties to calculate restitution prior to the sentencing hearing, and directed prosecutors to file a memo on the amount of restitution sought and to whom the reimbursements should be paid.
The original indictment alleged Allgeyer stole $14,164 from the organization.
$50K for Blan
An anonymous Blanchester resident made a $50,000 donation to the police department. At the donor’s request, the funds were placed into the Citizens for Adequate Policing Trust Fund, established last year after a similar donation was received.
The trust fund is managed by the Clinton County Foundation. The Trust Fund’s purpose is to assure adequate policing in Blanchester in light of repeated budget cuts imposed on the police department over the past four years.
No rush to brush
The city won’t be rushing into the fluoridating of its water supply. “I want everybody to be on the same page,” Safety/Service Director Brian Shidaker said during a council meeting. I want council, the citizens, and the administration to know the timeline on this. Fluoride is not going to be introduced overnight. This is going to take some time.”
Shidaker said the city has the preliminary designs and estimate, now they’re into the design stage with engineers. He said they’ve already appropriated money into the engineer’s budget.
“I don’t like coming to council and just giving a ballpark figure. I know we have the $315,000. Once the final designs are completed, then I will be requesting additional funding to implement the program based on a real number, not just an estimate …”
Clinton Memorial Hospital completed a million-dollar upgrade to its linear accelerator and radiation therapy suite at Foster J. Boyd, MD Regional Cancer Center. They would celebrate the grand reopening of the radiation therapy suite with a community open house Tuesday, April 11.
Greg Nielsen, CEO of CMH, highlighted the investment and its impact on patient care. “We’re committed to bringing world-class cancer care to this region,” he said.
CMH also announced it would be launching an interventional cardiology program, a first for the health system and the region.
Blan man charged
A man was arrested and charged with kidnapping on a Wednesday morning several hours after police say his victim was heard crying from a pit dug in a shed at 113 Central Ave. at about 4 a.m.
Dennis Dunn, 45, of the residence, was later arrested at gunpoint. Police said a neighboring resident, Jennifer Elliott, 30, was reported missing at about 1:30 a.m. by her mother, Gayle Rowe of 107 Central Ave., where Elliott resides.
Rowe told police she had arrived home at around midnight and checked in on her daughter and grandson; her grandson was in bed asleep, but Elliott was inexplicably absent, according to Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt. Reinbolt said a police supervisor responded to the scene and two officers checked the neighborhood for Elliott, to no avail.
“At around 4 a.m. police received a phone call from Rowe stating that she heard crying from a shed at the back of the neighbor’s property at 113 Central Ave.,” Reinbolt stated in a press release. “A police officer responded and found Elliott in the shed. She was in a pit dug into the earthen floor of the shed. The pit was approximately 3 ½ feet deep and 2 feet in diameter. The pit was covered with wood and had heavy objects on top to hold the wood in place.”
Elliott appeared to be suffering a seizure. An ambulance responded and transported her to Clinton Memorial Hospital, where she was admitted. The officer observed no obvious signs of physical trauma to Elliott. She was soon released.
(Dunn remains jailed in Clinton County.)
People of all ages from all over the county came to Wilmington late on a Friday afternoon to honor the veterans who were part of the second Clinton County Honor Flight and to give them a rousing send-off as they departed for Dayton.
The veterans would fly to Washington, D.C. early Saturday morning for a whirlwind sightseeing tour of the monuments and more. At the ceremony, Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) was the keynote speaker. He was joined in the ceremony by other elected officials, the event’s sponsors, American Legion Posts 49 and 179, VFW Post 6710, the Wilmington Rotary Clubs and many more.