Blan man guilty (Nov. 1)
WILMINGTON — A Blanchester man was found guilty Wednesday of felonious assault and having weapons under disability.
Jamie McLaughlin, 31, will be sentenced on Dec. 20 for the two charges related to the May 2 shooting of Mary Neace, his then-girlfriend. Bond was revoked for McLaughlin and he was remanded to the Clinton County Jail to await further court orders.
In June, McLaughlin was indicted by a Clinton County grand jury in relation to three different crimes: the aforementioned shooting; a May 6 incident in which McLaughlin was allegedly brandishing a machete and threatening two people who spent the night at his home; and, the discovery of stolen property on May 7 at McLaughlin’s home while executing a search warrant.
Shooting suspect arrested (Nov. 1)
WILMINGTON — Wilmington police have arrested a suspect in a shooting that occurred just after midnight Tuesday in the 200 block of Hawley Avenue.
Police said the suspect, Leon Turner Curtis, 37, of Doan Street in Wilmington, fled the scene shortly after the incident, but Curtis was “taken into custody this morning [Wednesday] after an anonymous tip led our SWAT team to a Columbus Street residence where he was hiding out,” Police Chief Duane Weyand told the News Journal. “He was taken into custody without incident.”
Officers were dispatched at 12:48 a.m. to a report of a disturbance involving a shooting, and found a victim who was shot twice — once in the leg and once in the abdomen, according to Weyand.
Election: Results mixed (Nov. 7)
East Clinton’s bond issue passed, Great Oaks’ renewal levy was approved, but Clinton-Massie’s earnings tax was defeated in Election Day voting.
East Clinton’s bond issue will fund construction of a new middle school, and upgrade the high school and the elementaries in Sabina and New Vienna.
The Clinton County Department of Job & Family Services will get some much-needed help as voters convincingly passed a levy Tuesday, with unofficial totals of 8,431 for and 6,165 against. The purpose of the 1.1-mill additional Clinton County Children Services levy is to generate funds to protect a greater number of children due to the substance abuse scourge.
The election news on the other side of the county was less favorable for Clinton-Massie schools, as Superintendent Matt Baker said, “It goes without saying that the entire school district is saddened by the results of the vote.”
The children of Clinton-Massie Local Schools are the ones who will continue to lose out on opportunities because the district hasn’t passed an operating levy since 1988, said Baker.
“We will continue to work closely with the Clinton-Massie Board of Education to review the budget and find what cost-cutting measures may be needed as we look into our future,” the superintendent said.
However, he said it’s getting harder and harder to find places they can afford to cut staff and expenses to keep the budget balanced
The Village of Blanchester returned to voters in hopes that a 0.5 percent income tax — a decreased percentage from the last one that failed which was 1 percent — would gain voters’ approval, but it was voted down by a 791-449 vote according to unofficial totals.
If approved, it would have gone into effect Jan. 1, 2019 for five years. The money would have gone to Blanchester’s general fund, to help the police department, and to fund street repairs
In the Clinton County commissioner race to fill the seat of the retiring Pat Haley, Republican Mike McCarty won by a wide margin over Democrat Rhonda Wheasler, 11,285- 3,319.
Ice not so nice (Nov. 16)
Freezing rain that arrived between midnight and 7 a.m. Thursday left a coating of ice that broke off tree limbs and dropped electric lines, which in turn caused power outages affecting, at the peak, 1,200 DP&L customers in Clinton County.
While the wintry precipitation glazed over trees and fences, it thankfully did not appear to stick so much to roadways which would have produced hazardous driving conditions.
Clinton County Engineer Jeffrey Linkous said that on Thursday morning there were about 11 county roads partly closed or closed due to fallen limbs or trees. By about 1:10 p.m. Thursday, there were about five county roads left to open up, and the engineer figured all but one would be cleared within an hour.
There were a lot of limbs and trees that came down from the weight of ice glazed upon them, and even many trees that didn’t break off were hanging lower than normal, he observed.
School gets $100K (Nov. 17)
WILMINGTON — Friday was not just another day for a local school and one of its instructors.
Laurel Oaks Career Campus industrial diesel mechanics teacher Gary Bronson — whose students are building mobility scooters, repairing large boats and jet skis and working on an International ProStar truck — was surprised with the news his school won $100,000 as one of three first-place winners of the 2018 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.
“It’s unbelievable. It will be great to have these funds to do projects,” Bronson said.
One possible project, he said, is to buy a heavy truck and have the students overhaul it and make it a show truck, said Bronson.
Threat all a hoax (Nov. 20)
WILMINGTON — Wilmington police continue to investigate threats made against Wilmington City Schools via a photo shared on social media Sunday — one which they say posed no local threat.
“We are confident that this photo is a hoax, as many school districts across the nation have received the same photo,” Police Chief Duane Weyand told the News Journal Monday afternoon.
Amazon’s effects (Nov. 30)
The coming addition of Amazon as a local employer is expected to cause some existing employers to sweeten their pay and benefits — in fact, it’s already started, said the executive director of Workforce Services Unlimited (WSU).
WSU Executive Director Pamela G. Hively made her comments at a recent meeting of people with ties to workforce development services in Clinton County.
“And especially with the Amazon announcement, we’ve got other employers who are realizing they need to up their wages and their benefit packages to stay competitive in the area. We’re already seeing that,” Hively said Nov. 20, hardly a week after Amazon’s Nov. 12 announcement it will open an air gateway at the Wilmington Air Park where freight will be sorted.
The workforce development officials at the meeting welcomed the prospect of a new employer in town spurring improved wages and benefits for the local workforce in general. For its U.S. employees, Amazon has a minimum hourly pay rate of $15.
City eyes makeover (Dec. 7)
WILMINGTON — The city needs its residents’ help to be part of a revolution that could change Wilmington forever.
Out of 12,000 applications nationwide, Wilmington was recently chosen as one of the top 20 towns, competing to be featured in the Hulu series “Small Business Revolution.” If selected for the 2019 season,
Wilmington will receive a $500,000 makeover award to be distributed among six local small businesses.
On Dec. 11, the Top 10 shows were to be selected — however, Wilmington was not one of them.
Amazon, ATSG ramp up (Dec. 22)
Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (ATSG) announced on Friday agreements to:
• Lease and operate 10 additional Boeing 767s for Amazon.com Services, Inc.
• Extend leases for 20 767 aircraft ATSG currently provides to Amazon
• Extend the operating agreement through which ATSG’s airlines operate those aircraft in the Amazon Air network.