A look back at some top stories


News Journal



Cliff Rosenberger arriving at his Clarksville home, where he is greeted by an FBI agent.

Cliff Rosenberger arriving at his Clarksville home, where he is greeted by an FBI agent.


News Journal file photos

Blanchester baseball and Clinton-Massie softball set their game faces as the teams entered regional tournament action. Pitchers pictured are Blanchester’s Brody Rice and Clinton-Massie’s Taylor Florea.


News Journal file photos

The 2018 class of the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame was inducted at the Expo Center on the Clinton County Fairground. Those inducted were Susan Burnett Holliday, Bruce McKee, Brian Mudd, Jim Rankin and Daniel E. Watson. In the photo are the inductees along with their presenters, from left to right, McKee, Gary Downing, Holliday, Rankin, Dick Miller, Watson and John Watson. Travis Miller was a presenter but not present for the photo.


News Journal file photos

The 20 nominees for the 2018 Wilmington News Journal Clinton County Scholar-Athlete Award. Clinton-Massie’s Anne Thompson and Blanchester’s Brant Bandow were named winners of the award Thursday night at the Expo Center at the Clinton County Fairgrounds.


News Journal file photos

Editor’s Note: This is Part 3 of a 6-part series looking back at snippets from just a few of the top local stories from 2018 as they appeared in the pages of the News Journal.

CMH names new CEO (May 1)

WILMINGTON – Officials at RCCH HealthCare Partners announced Monday that Lance Beus has been named Chief Executive Officer at CMH Regional Health System.

Beus most recently served as CEO of Tennova Regional Hospital Jackson in Jackson, Tennessee.

His first day at the hospital will be June 4.

“We are very pleased to welcome Lance and his wife Ariel to Wilmington and to CMH,” said Greg Nielsen, Division President for RCCH and CMH’s former CEO. “Lance has an outstanding record of leading growing healthcare organizations with great success in key areas like patient safety and the delivery of high quality care.”

Beus has nearly 10 years of both hospital operational and physician practices for national healthcare organizations in Tennessee and Texas. He also served stints as a hospital CEO in international hospitals engaged in long-term management contracts.

Wilkin, McCarty win; CM fails (May 9)

An earnings tax issue for Clinton-Massie Local Schools was turned down Tuesday, with the unofficial vote totals district-wide finishing at 1,329 against and 1,191 for.

On Tuesday night Clinton- Massie Superintendent Matt Baker said, “Obviously we are disheartened by the results this evening, but we will carry on with our goal to help Clinton-Massie realize its full potential. After cutting over $3.1 million since Fiscal Year 2010 we will continue to explore avenues to balance our budget.

“With our goal of being the best district in southwest Ohio, it will take us longer to get there if we are constantly reducing opportunities for students. A wise community member told me you can’t cut your way to prosperity,” continued Baker.

Highland County Commissioner Shane Wilkin emerged victorious Tuesday to earn the Republican nod for 91st District State Representative over Clinton County businesswoman Beth Ellis.

For Clinton County Commissioner, Mike McCarty defeated James Bowling 3,448 to 1,135, or 75 percent to 25 percent. McCarty will face Democrat Rhonda Wheasler in November to replace Pat Haley, who did not run for re-election.

Take your seats, Murphy (May 16)

WILMINGTON — The long-awaited replacing of seats in the 100-year-old Murphy Theatre was underway Tuesday morning with a small army of volunteers dismantling the seats and workers replacing the venue’s rigging, renovating restrooms, and more.

The seating project is made possible by a public-private partnership: Clinton County commissioners approved a $300,000 no-interest loan to the Murphy Theatre not-for-profit organization. To seal the deal, private donors came forward and said they would personally guarantee the promissory note.

The total project is estimated to cost $370,000, with the performing arts community theater contributing $70,000.

City’s issue with Corps (May 17)

WILMINGTON — The city is in a dispute with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that involves hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Wilmington leaders say the city is being unfairly billed by the Corps of Engineers for operation and maintenance costs related to the city’s primary water source — Caesar Creek Lake.

The city also recently received an invoice for a much larger amount than ever before — with no explanation, and with no itemization of these costs.

These costs range from $400 toilet paper holders to bird seed to calendars to painting, as well as to hundreds of thou- sands of dollars toward paying portions of paychecks of state staff and contractors routinely earning $50-100 per hour or more.

On April 26, the City of Wilmington received a water usage bill from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) totaling $57,960 for the city’s First Quarter Principal & Interest payment for June 1 through Aug. 31, 2018.

The quarterly bill is due June 1, and those bills are routinely paid by the city.

However, city leaders’ collective jaw dropped when a second bill came from the ODNR, also with a due date of June 1. That bill totaled $481,569.32.

The city, however, says it’s not the State of Ohio that’s gouging Wilmington; the state is a pass-through for the Army Corps of Engineers, from which the bills originate. The ODNR simply forwards the bill it receives from the Corps on to Wilmington.

Rosenberger raided (May 24)

WILMINGTON — Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted searches in Clinton County Wednesday in relation to former Ohio Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville).

Agents were at both his home on State Route 350 in Clarksville and at a facility on S. Nelson Ave. in Wilmington, where Rosenberger, 37, is believed to have items stored.

Todd Lindgren, Public Information Officer of the Cincinnati Division of the FBI, told the News Journal on the scene at the Nelson Avenue address that, “We’re conducting law enforcement activity” and that agents arrived around 7:30 a.m.

Rosenberger was seen arriving at the residence where the agents were conducting their investigation at around 11 a.m. Wednesday. Another reporter told the News Journal an FBI agent was seen taking a suitcase out of the residence to one of their vehicles.

The FBI has previously declined to confirm or deny that Rosenberger is being investigated. An FBI inquiry would not necessarily result in charges.

Blan shooter indicted (June 22)

WILMINGTON — A Clinton County grand jury has indicted Jamie McLaughlin, 31, with attempted murder in the May 2 shooting of his girlfriend, Mary Neace, 28, at 138 Orchard View Lane in Blanchester, according to Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt.

The indictment handed down against McLaughlin contains 10 counts which span three crimes, Reinbolt said: The shooting and assault on May 2 after which Neace was hospitalized with serious injuries; a May 6 incident where McLaughlin allegedly brandished a machete and threatened two people who had spent the night at his home; and stolen property allegedly recovered during execution of a search warrant at McLaughlin’s home on May 7.

10 years since DHL (June 28)

May 28, 2008 was a day of infamy for Wilmington and for Clinton County — “a grim day for ABX Air, frankly for the Wilmington community, for the county, for the state.”

The words of ABX Air then-President John Graber reflected the reality and the mood of the entire region, knowing that thousands of jobs would be lost and many more families devastated in the wake of DHL’s announcement that day.

But Clinton Countians persevered, and although it took time, the area is once again thriving.

Unemployment is low, and although times were tough for individuals and their families who lost their jobs and benefits, most got back on their feet — many here, some elsewhere, some still in the shipping business, others in new careers.

“An announcement such as DHL made 10 years ago can be devastating to a community. We’ve all seen that happen in other communities around the country whenever a major economic blow strikes,” said Bud Hunt, News Journal Publisher and Group Publisher of AIM Media Midwest.

”That’s not the story of Wilmington and Clinton County, and it’s one we’re proud to tell. To come back 10 years later and be recognized as one of the top 100 micropolitan areas in the country speaks volumes.”

Cliff Rosenberger arriving at his Clarksville home, where he is greeted by an FBI agent.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/12/web1_cliff-arrives-home.jpgCliff Rosenberger arriving at his Clarksville home, where he is greeted by an FBI agent. News Journal file photos

Blanchester baseball and Clinton-Massie softball set their game faces as the teams entered regional tournament action. Pitchers pictured are Blanchester’s Brody Rice and Clinton-Massie’s Taylor Florea.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/12/web1_gamefaces.jpgBlanchester baseball and Clinton-Massie softball set their game faces as the teams entered regional tournament action. Pitchers pictured are Blanchester’s Brody Rice and Clinton-Massie’s Taylor Florea. News Journal file photos

The 2018 class of the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame was inducted at the Expo Center on the Clinton County Fairground. Those inducted were Susan Burnett Holliday, Bruce McKee, Brian Mudd, Jim Rankin and Daniel E. Watson. In the photo are the inductees along with their presenters, from left to right, McKee, Gary Downing, Holliday, Rankin, Dick Miller, Watson and John Watson. Travis Miller was a presenter but not present for the photo.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/12/web1_18_HOFclass2.jpgThe 2018 class of the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame was inducted at the Expo Center on the Clinton County Fairground. Those inducted were Susan Burnett Holliday, Bruce McKee, Brian Mudd, Jim Rankin and Daniel E. Watson. In the photo are the inductees along with their presenters, from left to right, McKee, Gary Downing, Holliday, Rankin, Dick Miller, Watson and John Watson. Travis Miller was a presenter but not present for the photo. News Journal file photos

The 20 nominees for the 2018 Wilmington News Journal Clinton County Scholar-Athlete Award. Clinton-Massie’s Anne Thompson and Blanchester’s Brant Bandow were named winners of the award Thursday night at the Expo Center at the Clinton County Fairgrounds.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/12/web1_18_scholarathletegroup.jpgThe 20 nominees for the 2018 Wilmington News Journal Clinton County Scholar-Athlete Award. Clinton-Massie’s Anne Thompson and Blanchester’s Brant Bandow were named winners of the award Thursday night at the Expo Center at the Clinton County Fairgrounds. News Journal file photos

News Journal