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WMOH Updates

Drop Box Wait Causes Traffic Nightmare

Voters are beginning to drop off their absentee ballots at the only drop box in Butler County--in front of the Board of Elections on Princeton Road--and it's causing traffic problems. Hamilton Councilwoman Susan Vaughn says a major traffic flow change has been made, effective last Wednesday afternoon. Northbound Hampshire Drive will be closed between Princeton Road and the Butler Regional Highway during early voting hours at the Board of Elections campus on Princeton Road. That means in order to get to the Board of Elections, you have to take By-Pass 4 to Princeton Road. Traffic was backing up on both directions of the Butler Regional Highway at Hampshire until the changes were made. 

 

Here are the hours for early voting, and the closure
of Northbound Hampshire Drive:

October 19 – October 25
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on each weekday (Monday through Friday)
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 24
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 25

October 26 – November 1
8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on each weekday (Monday through Friday)
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 31 (Saturday before Election Day)
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 1 (Sunday before Election Day)

Week of Election Day: November 2 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, November 2 (Monday before Election Day)

Detour:

Eastbound SR 129: Take Exit 18 onto Bypass 4. Turn left on Bypass 4. Turn left on Princeton Rd. The Board of Elections is located at the end of Princeton Rd.

Westbound SR 129: Take Exit 18 onto Bypass 4, Turn right on Bypass 4. Turn left on Princeton Rd. The Board of Elections is located at the end of Princeton Rd. Exiting: When leaving the Board of Elections southbound Hampshire is open to SR 129.

 

City Battles Lindenwald Odor

The City of Hamilton is working to eliminate a foul odor that's been roiling the neighborhood between the 600 and 800 blocks of Corwin Avenue in Lindenwald. City Manager Joshua Smith says they met with neighbors last week to update them on the situation. Among the solutions being tried is A Manhole Odor Eliminator
(better known as a MOE) which is being installed in eight manholes.They're also using biological tablets, placing monitors in manholes to check the levels of Hydrogen Sulfide, and testing the wastewater coming from businesses at Hamilton Enterprise Park.


(Image Courtesy: TV Hamilton)

Ground Broken On Saica Plant

Hamilton City Leaders and officials with Saica Group held groundbreaking ceremonies at the site of the company's new facility at 2995 McBride Court in Hamilton Enterprise Park. The company is planning a 350,000 square foot facility where corrugated paper products will be made, marking a return of the paper industry to Hamilton. The $72 million facility is the first North American plant for the Spanish based company. Saica plans to employ 64 workers in Hamilton, including 27 skilled operators, 15 manufacturing, engineering, and supply chain professionals, 13 sales staff, and 9 office and management jobs. State and local tax credits helped secure the facility, which is expected to be completed by March of 2022.

(Image Courtesy: TV Hamilton)

Elections Trio Tests COVID-19 Positive

The Butler County Board of Elections says early voters have not been exposed to three workers who have tested positive for COVID-19. All staff members who came into contact with the trio have been notified. The area where the workers were located has been cleaned, according to guidelines from the Butler County Board of Health. The Board says they continue to require masks for all workers and have gloves and disinfectant materials available at the early voting site.

Two Hurt In Motorcycle Crash

Two people have been hospitalized after a motorcycle crash in Reily Township. The wreck was reported around 11:08am Tuesday on the 5700 block of Dunwoody Road near Gardner Road. The operator of the motorcycle was Air Cared to Univerwsity Hospital with a head injury, and a female passenger was taken to Fort Hamilton Hospital with a leg injury.

 

Remembering Joe Morgan

Cincinnati Reds fans are remembering Big Red Machine member Joe Morgan, who passed away Sunday at the age of 77. The second baseman was traded to the Reds in a 7 player deal that sent Lee May to the Houston Astros in 1971. Joe went on to win two World Series with the Reds in 1975 and 1976. He was also the National League Most Valuable Player both seasons. After his retirement, Morgan started a career in broadcasting, calling TV games for the Reds. Morgan eventually landed on ESPN, where he spent two decades calling Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts with Jon Miller. Morgan served as a consultant to the Reds, and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990. Morgan owned a Honda dealership in Monroe, which opened in 2011.

Middletown Shooting Victim Identified

Middletown police are investigating a deadly shooting early Sunday morning. Police were called to the 513 Lounge around 12:49am, and found a male victim with a gunshot wound to his chest, hip, and leg behind 601 N. Verity Blvd. The victim was pronounced dead shortly after medics arrived on the scene. The Butler County Coroner's Office has identified the victim as 36 year old Brandon Frank Nathaniel Moneyham, Sr. Moneyham's death has been ruled a homicide.  Police say anyone with information on the shooting should call (513) 425-7733.

Hamilton Pain Doctor Sentenced

The former owner of a Hamilton pain clinic was sentenced to spend a decade in prison for illegally prescribing opioids and committing health care fraud. 55 year old Nilesh Jobalia of Cincinnati ran the Cincinnati Centers for Pain Relief office in Hamilton from March of 2013 through December of 2017. He pleaded guilty to charges that he wrote perscriptions for fentanyl, oxycodone, methadone, morphine, and other medicines, sometimes without a doctors visit. Jobalia helped patients file over two million dollars in false claims with the Bureau of Worker's Compensation. He also recieved over $100,000 for participating in phony speaking engagements about a fentanyl spray. Jobalia was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison, and ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution to Medicaid, Medicare, and the Bureau of Worker's Comp.

Local Schools Get Million Mask Windfall

Representatives from government agencies in nine counties gathered at the Butler County Fairgrounds Tuesday morning, where Ohio Emergency Management Agency officials and the Department of Homeland Security helped distribute more than one million N-95 and cloth masks to be used at Southwest Ohio school districts. The Butler County Educational Services Center facilitated the distribution.

 

Smith: Next Decade To Bring Neighborhood Focus

HAMILTON-Despite a year of economic struggles due to Coronavirus, Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith was upbeat during his recent State of The City Address.
Smith pointed to the $145 million Spooky Nook mixed development under construction at the former Champion Paper site, 80 Acres Farm's new 70,000 square foot facility at Hamilton Enterprise Park, and the upcoming groundbreaking of Saica Group's first North American corrugated paper plant as a reason for optimism. Smith pointed out that the city jumped in to help local restaurants and small business impacted by Coronavirus, and nearly all of them have been able to survive. Smith has been with the city for a decade, and he says the next ten years will be spent on improving the city's 17 neighborhoods, including beautification and blight removal.

 

(Photo Courtesy: TV Hamilton)

Little Miami Superintendent Doubles Down

The superintendent of the Little Miami school district says he and the school board stand behind their decision to punish two Little Miami High School football players who carried thin blue line and thin red line flags through the entrance tunnel in honor of police and firefighters on the 19th anniversary of 9/11.  In a video released Thursday, a visibly angry Greg Power says the district has received hateful and threatening messages as a result of publicity from the event. The district eventually lifted the player's suspension from athletics, but maintains they were right to punish the boys because of their "insubordination."
Brady Williams and Jarad Bently say they only wanted to pay tribute to first responders on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Power is demanding an end to the threats and hateful messages being sent to the district.

Miami University: 800+ COVID-19 Cases

Miami University and the Butler County General Health District are asking students to avoid travel and large gatherings during the Labor Day weekend. The latest dashboard report shows more than 800 cases of COVID-19 have been reported on the Oxford campus over the last couple of weeks. The outbreak started when several athletes attended an off-campus party. Miami will make a decision by Wednesday on whether students should return to classes or continue with distance learning.

Talawanda Orders Furloughs, Staff Reductions

The Talawanda School Board has voted to furlough 40 classified staff and 38 non-union workers in a bid to cut a large COVID-19 related budget deficit. Superintendent Dr. Ed Theroux told the board the district is $5 million in the hole after losses in tax income and state funding. The furloughs will affect workers covered by the Talawanda Classified Staff Association, which is the barganing unit for secretaries, custodial, maintainence, food service workers, and educational assistants. Theroux says the furloughs will last up to 84 days. The Reduction In Force will affect staff not covered by the union, including part timers. The board voted 4-1 to approve the furloughs, with Rebecca Howard voting no, and 3-2 to approve the RIF, with Howard being joined by Chris Otto in the no column. The cuts will take effect Monday.

Oxford Bans Large Gatherings As Students Settle In

Oxford City Council passed an emergency ordinance Tuesday night, banning gatherings of more than ten people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Council members want to cut down on large student hosted parties which could lead to the spread of Coronavirus. The ordinance closely mirrors orders issued by Governor DeWine, limiting gatherings to 10 or under, with exceptions made for religious observances and First Amendment protected activity. Police Chief John Jones has told council he has doubts the ordinance would be enforceable. The first violation would cost the host $500, and the second violation would be a $1,000 fine. The city would also alert Miami University of any violations, and students could be subject to administrative and academic sanctions. The school year is already underway at Miami, with students taking online classes to begin the semester. 

Middletown Approves COPS Grant

Middletown City Council has voted unanimously to accept a $250,000 federal COPS grant which will allow the city to hire two new police officers. The grant will pay 75% of the officer's salary and benefits for three years, and they will be used for community oriented policing. Council delayed a final decision for two weeks when a couple of council members questioned whether the grant came with strings attached. After studying the proposal for a couple of weeks, council members Monica Nenni and Joe Mulligan say they were satisfied with the terms, and voted in the affirmative.

Guilty Plea In Hamilton Shooting Death

A young man from Hamilton has pleaded guilty to a murder charge. 18 year old Michael Smith admitted to the June 2019 shooting death of 19 year old Shon Walker on the 400 block of East Avenue. Smith was 17 at the time of the shooting, but the case was bound over to adult court. Judge Greg Stephens set a sentencing date of September 4th at 9am. Smith faces 16 years to life in prison. 

 

Appeals Court Upholds Home Invasion Case

The 12th District Appeals Court has upheld the conviction of a Cleveland man in the robbery and kidnapping of a Fairfield Township man last year. 38 year old Arthur Morris is serving a 30-35 year sentence for last September's burglary on the 5900 block of Beaty Lane. Morris allegedly beat the homeowner several times with a blunt object, and tied the victim up in the garage.  He was leaving the scene when he was captured by police.
Morris pleaded guilty in exchange for some charges being dropped.

 

Officials Celebrate I-75 Interchange Completion

West Chester Township Trustees were joined by Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens Tuesday to mark the completion of the Diverging Diamond Interchange project at I-75 and Union Centre Boulevard. The DDI concept basically flips the traditional directions of traffic on the overpass. Wilkens says safety will increase and wait times will decrease at the interchange, where 50,000 cars drive through daily. There is still landscaping to complete over the coming weeks, but it won't effect motorists. The price tag for the project was nearly $20 million, paid for by Tax Increment Financing.

Beckett Ridge Roundabout Project Finished

The Butler County Engineer's Office only roundabout project of 2020 has been completed after 11 weeks of work. The roundabout on LeSourdsville-West Chester Road and Beckett Ridge Boulevard opened to traffic on Wednesday. The project cost nearly $1.4 million, paid for by federal funds and the Butler County Engineer's Office.

Drowning Victim Identified

The Butler County Coroner's Office has identified the man who drowned while swimming in the Great Miami River in Middletown Tuesday night. The body of 27 year old Antoine Dean Fritznel of Middletown was pulled out of the water hours after he went under the water and never came back up. He was recovered by the Butler County Sheriff's Emergency Response Services Team around 9:26pm, near the 3800 block of North Verity Parkway.
The Coroner's Office has ruled the death an accidential drowning.

(Photo Courtesy Of: Butler County Sheriff's Office)

Students Begin Return To Classroom

The new school year is officially underway in Butler County, with the first students returning to the classroom at Butler Tech's campuses earlier this week. Superintendent Jon Graft says the semester started with a hybrid staggered schedule, with half the students taking in-person classes on Monday/Wednesday and the other half on Tuesday/Thursday. Students will learn online on the days they are not in the building. Fridays are a personalized/teacher directed Fifth Day Experience. Lakota, Middletown, and Madison return Monday August 17th, with Middletown opting to begin the school year online.

 

 

WMOH To Simulcast 4th of July Fireworks in Hamilton

(Hamilton)--The 4th of July fireworks display will take place again in Hamilton this year. Those who gather to watch the show, which is being shot from Pyramid Hill, can tune to WMOH 1450am "The Ticket" for a simulcast of patriotic music timed to the display. The show begins promptly at 10:00pm on Saturday, July 4th.

Spooky Nook Construction On Schedule, Says Founder

(Hamilton)--The Founder of the Spooky Nook Champion Mill project says construction is on schedule for a December 2021 opening. Sam Beiler, who owns a similar indoor sports facility in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, says the $144 million, 1.3 million square foot complex will be the largest sports venue of its type in North America. It will also feature the region's 2nd largest convention center and a hotel. The property used to be the site of the Champion Paper Mill for over a century. State historical tax credits and other financing is helping the city re-purpose the sprawling site.

 

(Bill Douglas Photo: Sam Beiler speaks during a media day at the Spooky Nook construction site on Wednesday, June 17, 2020)

River Advisory Issued

(Hamilton)--The Butler County General Health District has issued a Water Advisory for the Great Miami River south of Oxford State Road in Lemon Township. Officials say there was a release of under-treated sewage from the Middletown Wastewater Treatment Plant. People are being advised not to swim or fish in the river until further notice. The sewage could result in parasites, viruses, and bacteria, including E-Coli.

Hamilton Church Holds Peaceful Protest

A peaceful protest/march over the death of George Floyd brought hundreds to downtown Hamilton Sunday. Pastor Patrick Davis with the Fringe Church and Coffee House on High Street says "Our African American brothers and sisters deserve a better world, and we refuse to step over their bodies and turn a deaf ear to their cries on the way to church." The march started at the church and ended at the Butler County Courthouse. Davis says several faith leaders and clergy members "stood on the stage and declared a time of public repentance and apology on behalf of the American church for her silence and apathy." Hamilton police provided traffic assistance to the marchers.

(Photo Courtesy: Fringe Church Facebook Page)

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