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WMOH Updates

Man Arrested After Alleged Theater Threats


WMOH News has learned that a Middletown man, 21 year old Justin Pickron, has been arrested on a charge of Making Terroristic Threats. He allegedly talked to a co-worker at Cobb Theater in Liberty Center about bringing a gun to work and shooting people in the theater last Thursday. Pickron was arrested at his apartment on the 6300 block of Mount Vernon Street in Middletown around 12:30 this morning. He is being held without bond until his initial appearance in Area Two Court.

Saluting Our Butler County Heroes: P.O. 1st Class Puma Franklin


By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Erica Gardner, Navy Office of Community Outreach 

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson G. Brown 

 

 

NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN – Petty Officer 1st Class Puma Franklin, a Hamilton, Ohio, native, wanted to join the Navy to challenge herself.
Now, eight years later and half a world away at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Franklin serves at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) / U.S. 5th fleet. 

“Every day there's something different, and I love that challenge,” said Franklin. “I love that variety, because it keeps me on my toes and I don't become complacent.” 

Franklin, a 2008 graduate of Hamilton High School, is a yeoman at U.S. 5th Fleet, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain. 

“I process administrative work for all aspects of U.S. 5th fleet, and I process travel for sailors' families,” said Franklin. “Without yeomans like me, nothing would get done in the Navy. We're there to take care of sailors' issues, and people depend on us when they're unsure of procedures.” 
Franklin credits success at U.S. 5th Fleet, and in the Navy, to many of the lessons learned in Hamilton.“The community I came from really prepared me mentally for the Navy,” said Franklin. “I really learned how to work and interact with all kinds of people, and that’s been big for me in the Navy.” 

U.S. 5th Fleet directs naval operations to ensure maritime security and stability in the Central Region, which connects the Mediterranean Sea and Pacific Ocean through the western Indian Ocean. They work with partner nations to ensure freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in international waterways. 

The Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of ocean, and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 20 countries, includes three critical choke points; the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen. 

“The culture and the people here are like nothing I've ever been around before,” said Franklin. “The people are very welcoming of us and I really enjoy being stationed here.” 

Serving in the Navy means Franklin is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy. 

A key element of the Navy is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea. 

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.” 

Though there are many ways for Sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Franklin is most proud of becoming a sexual assault prevention advocate. 

“To be able to make an impact on people's lives in the Navy has been incredibly rewarding,” said Franklin. 

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Franklin and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs. 

“I'm just here to do my part for people back home, and around the world, and the Navy gives me different opportunities to grow,” said Franklin. 

 

Four Found Murdered In West Chester


West Chester police continue to investigate the murders of four family members at an apartment complex on Wyndtree Drive late Sunday night. Police Chief Joel Herzog says officers were called to 4562 Wyndtree Drive, Apartment 154, on a report of four people down and bleeding. When officers arrived, they found three females and one male dead of gunshot wounds. The victims were discovered by a fifth family member who lived in the apartment, according to a frantic 911 call released by police. Herzog says they have not come up with a suspect in the case. The victims have not yet been identified, although they worshiped at a nearby Sikh temple.

Emaciated Dog Passes Away


A Reily Township man will appear in court later this week to face animal cruelty charges. 36 year old David Neanover allegedly let his 2 year old doberman pinscher "Lou" starve at his home on the 6500 block of Main Street. Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones says the dog was severely emaciated after being left without food or water. The dog was also covered in open sores all over his body, and he had an ulcer on his tounge which made it tough for him to eat. Lou was also so hungry, he resorted to eating rocks. The Animal Friends Humane Society valiantly tried to save the dog, but he passed away over the weekend. Animal rights activists plan to protest before Neanover's appearance in Area One Court in Oxford on Thursday at 10:00am.

Severe Storms Cause Damage, Knock Out Power


Power is being restored to parts of Butler County after a severe thunderstorm moved through the area this morning. More than 1,400 Duke Energy customers were knocked off line when winds estimated at 60 mph snapped trees and power lines. Hamilton city leaders said nearly the entire west side was without power due to damage to transmission lines, but power was quickly restored by city crews. An injury crash involving a Hamilton school bus this morning was apparently storm related, because the traffic light was out at Eaton and Rhea Avenues. District spokesperson Joni Copas says 13 Wilson Middle School students were checked out by paramedics at the scene, and again by school nurses after they arrived at the Wilson. Both drivers were taken to Fort Hamilton Hospital.

 


Justice For Trooper


(Hamilton)--The Butler County Dog Warden has charged a 17 year old boy who admitted to abandoning two 3 month old puppies in a Lindenwald park on March 13th. A short time later, one of the dogs was hit by a train. The puppy survived the incident, but lost two back legs and a left eye. The puppy, which has been named Trooper, continues to undergo rehab, and is expected to be adopted soon. The boy is facing juvenile charges of animal cruelty and abandonment. Trooper's sibling has been located in Fairfield.
 

Man Seriously Injured In Overnight Shooting


(Hamilton)--Hamilton police continue to investigate a shooting that occurred just before midnight Friday. 51 year old Anthony Carter was found in the parking lot of an apartment building at 511 South Front Street. He was lying down by the passenger door of a running SUV with a gunshot wound to the pelvic area.  Carter was taken to the Butler County Regional Airport where he was placed on Air Care and flown to University Hospital for treatment. No arrests have been announced yet.

Crash Kills Trenton Restaurant Owner


The Trenton community is mourning the death of a well known restaurant owner. 39 year old Fai "Peter" Ni was killed when his SUV accidentally hit the rear end of a semi parked on the exit ramp to the Northbound Rest Area on I-75 Wednesday morning. Ni was pronounced dead at the scene. He owned the Dragon China restaurant on East State Streein Trenton. The driver of the semi involved, 36 year old Michael Vosburg of Lawrence, Michigan, was sleeping in the cab at the time of the crash. Vosburg was cited for parking in a no-parking zone.
 

Miami Fires Hockey Coach Blasi


Miami University Athletic Director Dave Sayler has announced that Hockey Coach Enrico Blasi has been fired after 20 seasons guiding the hockey program. "This is a difficult day for Miami Athletics and our hockey program," said Sayler. "The hockey program has had strong historical success under the guidance and leadership of Rico. In addition, Rico is an exceptional person of character and devotion. In recent years, Miami hockey has fallen short of expectations, both within our conference and nationally. The NCHC is the strongest conference in hockey and it's imperative that we become more competitive for conference championships and NCAA appearances. I want to thank Rico and his family for their service and commitment to Miami University and the broader Oxford community."
Blasi guided the RedHawks to a 398-311-76 record over 20 seasons, including the 2009 NCAA National Championship game, which the RedHawks lost in heart-wrenching fashion, and a Final Four appearance in 2010. A nationwide search for a new coach begins immediately.

Firefighter's Union Disagrees With Wolterman Report


The union representing the Hamilton Fire Department's rank and file members, IAFF Local 20, has issued a statement citing what they say are inaccuracies and issues with the internal report on the December 2015 death of Firefighter Patrick Wolterman during an arson fire on Pater Avenue. The union claims the report omits several factors, including cuts imposed on the department in 2013. 

Miami Women's Basketball Makes WNIT


The Miami University women's basketball team has been selected to play in the WNIT post season tournament, hosting a first round home game at Millett Hall. The RedHawks will play Western Kentucky University at 7:00pm Thursday. The winner of the first round game will play the winner of the Morehead State/Ohio State game being played Wednesday in Columbus. WMOH broadcast Time with Tim Bray will begin at 6:40pm Thursday.
Photo Courtesy: Miami University Athletics

Internal Report Released On Wolterman Death


The Hamilton Fire Department has released an internal report into the December 2015 death of Firefighter Patrick Wolterman. The report looks at several factors that played a role in Wolterman falling into the basement of the Pater Avenue home while battling the arson fire. Several changes have already been made in officer development and training, live drills, as well as fire ground communications.

Hamilton Superintendent Retiring Early


The Hamilton City School District will be under new leadership soon. Superintendent Larry Knapp announced that he is stepping down on April 8th. Knapp took over after the controversial departure of Tony Orr last year, and agreed to stay on through the end of this school year, but Knapp says the district has already achieved the goals he outlined when he was promoted. Mike Holbrook will take over as superintendent when Knapp retires.
Knapp's tenure hasn't been without controversy. Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones has criticized the district for deciding not to arm teachers and staff members. The sheriff opposed a joint school safety levy in Hamilton and four other districts. The measure failed by a wide margin.

Link: Larry Knapp's letter to district employees

 


Couch Indicted In Alleged Assault On Wife


A West Chester businessman has been indicted by a Butler County grand jury. 51 year old Jeffery Couch is facing 2 counts of felonious assault, one count of attempted felonious assault, and a misdemeanor domestic violence charge for allegedly attacking his wife March 1st at the couple's home, causing serious injuries that resulted in a hospitalization. Couch is the owner of Couch's RV Nation in Trenton.
 

Strouse Pleads Guilty


A Liberty Township man has admitted to murdering a West Chester woman he had been stalking last year. 29 year old Michael Strouse pleaded guilty to charges of murder, menacing by stalking, and gross abuse of a corpse. Strouse admitted to killing 23 year old Ellie Weik by suffocating her with a plastic bag, then dumping her nude body in a field near his house. He will receive anywhere from 17 and a half years to life in prison when he's sentenced on April 17th by Common Pleas Judge Gregory Howard.
 

Couple Arraigned in Weekend Standoff


(Hamilton)--A Hamilton couple appeared in Municipal Court Monday to face a laundry list of charges following a weekend standoff. 29 year old Patrick Finnigan and 34 year old Kelly Kamphaus were arrested after the incident at 1311 Park Avenue. They are charged with Felonious Assault, Inducing Panic, and Resisting Arrest. Both have been ordered held under $75,000 bond until their preliminary hearing, which was set for 8:00am Friday. 
 

Gun Found At Wilson Middle School


(Hamilton)--Hamilton police have arrested a Wilson Middle School student after a gun was found during a search this morning. A student notified a staff member that another student may have brought a gun to the Eaton Avenue campus. A search turned up the gun inside a locker. The school district says no individual was in danger, and the student was taken into custody by the Hamilton Police Department.
 

Council Takes First Step In Sale/Lease of City Building


(Hamilton)--Hamilton City Council is expected to have a final vote on their plan to sell and lease back the Municipal Building on February 27th. Council faced a lot of questions from the public during their meeting Wednesday night. The first reading of the ordinance was held Wednesday. The plan would raise $26.7 million to help fund road projects near the Spooky Nook Sports Center.
 

UPDATE: Arrangements Announced for Coach Reed


Funeral arrangements have been announced for local coaching legend Timothy Reed. The Talawanda High School baseball coach died of a massive heart attack yesterday. Visitation will be held at Garfield Middle School from 
5-8 pm Thursday. Funeral Services will be held Friday 2:30pm at the Laurel Avenue Church of Christ. He leaves behind a wife, three kids, and a granddaughter. Reed was 57. 
 

Longtime Coaching Legend Passes


The local athletic community is remembering Hamilton coaching legend Tim Reed. The Talawanda High School baseball coach and longtime Hamilton assistant died after suffering a heart attack at the UDF at Main & Brookwood Monday. He was 57. Reed was inducted into the Hamilton High Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.
Funeral arrangements are pending. Reed also served as Talawanda's head basketball coach last season. Reed taught 30 years in the Hamilton City School District, coaching soccer for three years, football for 13 seasons, baseball for 26 years and basketball for 29 years.

 


Kroger Plans Innovative Fulfillment Center in Monroe


(Monroe)--Big economic news for Butler County. Kroger has chosen Monroe as the location for a new $55 million warehouse and fulfillment center which will be known as the Kroger Shed. Kroger is teaming up with online grocer Ocado to create the first fully automated warehouse in the country. More than 400 jobs will be creatred. The company is waiting on state and local tax breaks before work begins on the 335,000 square foot project

Former Jailer Arrested


(Hamilton)--A former Butler County corrections officer has been charged with bribery. 34 year old Brandon Moore is accused of smuggling contraband like cellphones, protein powder, and tools to inmates in exchange for money. The investigation was launched when a mobile phone was found during a routine cell inspection. Moore is now on the other side of the jail bars at his former workplace. 

Sobriety Checkpoint Wednesday


(Fairfield)--The Butler County OVI Task Force will hold a Thanksgiving Eve checkpoint Wednesday night. The operation will be held on the 4400 block of Dixie Highway (Route 4) northbound, just north of Symmes Road, between the hours of 11:00pm and 3:00am.The task force says the  checkpoints, along with saturation patrols, are part of a continuing effort to reduce the number of OVI related accidents and deaths.

Talawanda Board Nixes Mascot


(Oxford)--The Talawanda School Board has voted to get rid of their Native American mascot. It was a 3-2 vote with board members Mike Crowder, Chris Otto, and Pat Meade voting to change the nickname from the Braves to the Brave...with no s. The ruling also does away with Native American imagery used in district logos. The vote came after a long and emotionally charged meeting Monday night.

Cross Display Damaged


(Oxford)--For the second year in a row, a pro-life display has been vandalized at Miami University, this time on the Oxford Campus. The white crosses and signs have been damaged at least three times since the group Miami University Students for Life America put the display up on Monday. No arrests have been made yet by campus police. On Wednesday, a counter display mocking the pro-life message was placed nearby. (Photo from Miami University Students for Life America)


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