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WMOH Updates Archives for 2014-06

BOOM! It's History!

(HAMILTON)---The City of Hamilton imploded the 220 foot tall smokestack at the site of the former Champion Paper Mill on North B Street Friday. At exactly 9:00am, the sound of explosives arose from the building and seconds later, the boiler house started tipping over into the smokestack. The 160 year old structure started falling to the left, but then broke in half and crumbled upon itself in just a matter of seconds. Residents reported hearing the blasts as far away as Hamilton High School and Governor's Hill. The smokestack was one of Hamilton's last icons from its industrial age. City leaders had hoped to save the structure but it was too unstable and too costly to fix. The city plans to re-develop the site. A sports complex and baseball stadium have been floated as possible uses. (Photo collage courtesy of Steve Vaughn and Monica Mam)

Torch Run A Big Success

(HAMILTON)---The Butler County leg of the Torch Run for Special Olympics took off from the Government Services Center en route to Middletown this morning. The runners (pictured) then continued north on Route 4 to Springfield, and then on to Ohio Stadium in Columbus for Friday's opening ceremonies of the Ohio Special Olympics. Ohio's Torch Run director, Sgt. Ed Buns with Hamilton Police, says this one of the most successful years so far with over 2,000 law enforcement officers running, raising over $600,000 for Special Olympics.

Sunset For The Smokestack

(Hamilton)---An iconic symbol of Hamilton's industrial past will be taken down on Friday. The city announced that the old Champion Paper Mill smokestack on North B Street will be imploded at 9:00am on Friday morning. The immediate area around the smokestack will be closed to all pedestrian and vehicular traffic. B Street will be closed between Wayne Avenue and the Black Street Bridge. A viewing area will be set up at River's Edge Amphitheatre. Free Parking will be available at the McDulin Garage downtown. Please do not park at the Courtyard by Marriott.

Hamilton High Principal Leaving

(HAMILTON)---Hamilton High will be searching for a new principal soon. Doug Leist has been named the new principal of Kings High School in Warren County. The Kings school board voted unanimously to hire Leist on Tuesday night. Leist replaced Doug Mader, who recently left for a similar position at Sycamore High School. Leist has been principal at Big Blue the past two years. He was previously the principal at Garfield Middle School.

Let The Facelift Begin!!!

(Hamilton)---Construction officially begins Monday on the City of Hamilton's $8.5 million Gateway project on High Street between Martin Luther King Boulevard and Erie Highway. Lane closures begin Wednesday night between 7:30pm-5:00am between Seventh Street and East Avenue for installation of the storm sewer. Traffic will be down to one lane during the nighttime hours, so motorists are being advised to consider Heaton and Dayton Streets and Maple Avenue as alternatives. When completed, there will be new landscaped medians and curb lawns along High Street. Utilities will be moved underground, and there will be new turn lanes from Erie Highway to eastbound and westbound High Street. Crews will also rehab East Avenue and Seventh Street, and will add new commercial access drives along East High Street. The project is expected to be completed by July 2015.  

Police Capture Robbery Suspect/Slipknot Fan

(Hamilton)---A man will appear in Hamilton Municipal Court Monday, charged with a trio of robberies on Friday. 27 year old Matthew Kendrick was arrested on the 400 block of Hampshire Drive hours after police released a series of surveillance photos from the robberies at West Side Pizza, The Arby's on the west side, and the BP at Erie and High. Police say Kendrick claimed to have a gun during the first two robberies, but actually had a gun in his waistband during the BP robbery. Kendrick was wearing a Slipknot shirt in one of the photos.

Truck Fire Shuts Down Route Four

(Hamilton)---A truck fire shut down Route Four near Hanover Street for a couple of hours Friday morning. Sgt. Ed Buns with Hamilton Police tells WMOH.COM the trucker was traveling southbound when he heard a noise and northound drivers stopped and alerted him to flames coming from the bottom of the cab. Firefighters arrived in time to save the trailer of frozen food, but the cab was destroyed. The driver was not injured.

Rahall Out In Fairfield Township

(Fairfield Township)---Fairfield Township Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to accept the resignation of Township Administrator Michael Rahall, effective immediately. The announcement came after a 45 minute executive session at the Township Hall. Rahall did not attend the meeting. "The board wishes to thank Mr. Rahall for his service to the township, and wishes him well in his new endeavors" said Trustee Shannon Hartkemeyer in a prepared statement. The trustees also appointed Ken Geis to serve as interim administrator until a permanent replacement can be found. Geis, who serves as Union Township Administrator in Clermont County, will stay on his current job while working 20 hours a week in Fairfield Township. Rahall's departure was seen as welcome news to supporters of former Fire Chief Dave Downie, who was ousted by Rahall and the former board of trustees back in 2012. Rahall's fate became apparent with the election of Hartkemeyer and Trustee John McGinnis, who had clashed with Rahall over the Downie firing, public records requests, and public input at trustee meetings.

Suspect's Bond: $2,000,000

(Hamilton)---The Lindenwald man charged with the shooting deaths of his daughter and another man Wednesday has been arraigned in Hamilton Municipal Court. 55 year old Alfred Rutherford (pictured) was ordered held under $2 million cash bond in connection with the double homicide at 2710 Hilda Avenue. The victims were identified as 29 year old Lacey Rutherford and 41 year old Steve Watkins of Wilmington. Rutherford was captured several hours after the shooting at Hamilton's Joyce Park. A preliminary hearing in the case has been set for June 26th at 8:00am.

New Miami Man Held On Rape Charges

(New Miami)---A New Miami man is facing a 19 count indictment on child rape charges after an investigation by the Butler County Sheriff's Office. 34 year old Luke Buchanan (pictured) is charged with 5 counts of Rape and 1 count of Attempted Rape, all with victims under the age of 13. Other charges against Buchanan include Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor, Corrupting Another with Drugs, Gross Sexual Imposition, Attempted Gross Sexual Imposition, and Permitting Consumption of Alcohol by an Underaged Person. Detectives with the Sheriff's Office have been investigating the allegations since early June. Deputies executed a search warrant on his home at 141 Riverside Drive, and arrested Buchanan on June 10th. The Sheriff's Office fears more victims may be involved. Anyone with more information on the case is being asked to call Detective Joe Fuller at 785-1300 or 785-1239.

Heavy Storms Leave Behind Outages

(Hamilton)----Heavy thunderstorms rumbled through Butler County on Wednesday, knocking out power to hundreds of customers, and causing some tree damage. A large tree branch fell on some power lines on Cereal Avenue in Hamilton, knocking out power to an area along Eaton Avenue on Hamilton's West Side. In Middletown, a tree fell on an elderly couple's car, causing damage but no injuries. Butler County was under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, but it was lifted after only a couple of hours.

(Photo: Lightning strikes in Hamilton during Wednesday's storm that moved through the area)

Double Homicide Suspect Captured

(Hamilton)---Police have captured a man who allegedly shot his daughter and another man to death early this morning in Lindenwald. 55 year old Alfred Ike Rutherford (pictured, bottom left) was found walking by himself on Joe Nuxhall Way near Joyce Park around 11:00am, and was taken into custody without incident, according to Hamilton Police Chief Scott Scrimizzi. Rutherford allegedly gunned down his 29 year old daughter Lacey Rutherford (pictured, bottom right) and 41 year old Steve Watkins during an altercation at 2710 Hilda Avenue around 2:24am. Scrimizzi says several children who were staying at the house for a sleepover witnessed the shooting, but were not injured.

Double Homicide Suspect Has Violent Past

(Hamilton)---A man arrested for allegedly killing two people in Lindenwald this morning has a long, violent history, according to a check of Hamilton City court records this morning. 55 year old Alfred Ike Rutherford has been arrested on a number of charges since 1989, including Robbery, Kidnapping, Attempted Rape, Felonious Assault, Drug Abuse, Resisting Arrest, and several OVI's. Rutherford was captured hours after he fled this morning's scene in a red 4 door Ford Escort. He was found walking alone on Joe Nuxhall Way near Joyce Park. He was not armed. Police later found the car on Williams Avenue.

Fire Heavily Damages Walden Ponds Home

(Fairfield Township)----Firefighters are investigating the cause of a house fire Monday night in the Walden Ponds area. Crews were sent to the 6300 blk of Sand Hills Court on a report of a lawn mower burning inside the garage. First responders arrived to find heavy smoke and flames shooting out of the garage and the roof, according to Deputy Chief Matt Schumann with the Fairfield Township Fire Department. Schumann says they immediately called for mutual aid from surrounding jurisdictions because of the very warm temperatures in the area. There were no injuries. The Red Cross is assisting the family of five and two dogs who also made it to safety. There is no dollar estimate of damage at this time, and no word on whether the house will be able to be saved.

Hamilton Man Hearts Pool Raft...Naked.

(Hamilton)---A Hamilton man who has made national headlines because of his attraction to inflatable items is back in jail. 35 year old Edwin Charles Tobergta is facing charges of Public Indecency and Contempt of Court after being arrested Wednesday following his latest rendevous. Police say Tobergta was totally nude when he started having simulated sex with a pink life raft/floatie on Route 4 around 8:00am on Wednesday. Police say he was in view of nearby businesses and passing cars. Tobergta was arrested at the intersection of Grand and Schuler, then taken to Hamilton Municipal Court, where he was ordered held under $35,000 bond until his preliminary hearing on June 18th.

Update: Stabbing Death Victim Identified

(Hamilton)---Hamilton Police are investigating an early morning stabbing death at the Princeton Square Apartments on Hampshire Drive. Police were called to 354 Hampshire Apt #5 at 4:14 a.m. on a report of a fight. They arrived on the scene to find 24 year old Antonio Heath of West Chester suffering from several lacerations. The Butler County Coroner's office was later called to the scene.

Police say the incident is being investigated as a possible home invasion/self defense. Neighbors tell WMOH they heard a scream, but didn't look outside to see what was going on until after police arrived. Police have not said if anyone is in custody.

Baker Says District Is "Hamilton Proud"

(Hamilton)---Hamilton School Superintendent Janet Baker is touting accomplishments from this past school year and is looking ahead toward the future. Baker shared her end of the school year report entitled Hamilton Proud during Tuesday night's school board meeting. Among the accomplishments mentioned by Baker was progress on the five year Facilities Maintainence Plan, the hiring of 38 teachers mid-year to work with over 2,000 elementary students, and deploying over 3,000 new devices as part of the district's technology initiative. Baker says the district also made strides in communication with the public and parents, using social media like Twitter and Facebook, as well as the district's web site. Baker says 2014-15 will be just as exciting with new innovations in discipline, and the implementation of changes in state testing, accountability, and the state report card system. Baker also announced a new partnership between the district, the Hamilton Community Foundation, and the YMCA for a pre-school program at the Booker T. Washington Center.

Another Fire In Hamilton

(Hamilton)---Hamilton firefighters are investigating the cause of another structure fire in the city. Flames were reported coming from the vacant house on the 1100 block of Ross Avenue when first responders arrived on the scene. Deputy Fire Chief Kenneth Runyan says no cause has been determined yet, and no dollar estimate has been put on the damage. There were no injuries. A next door neighbor tells WMOH that a window was broken at the house a day prior to the blaze.

I-75 Blocked By Semi Fire

(Liberty Township)---I-75 was at a standstill in both directions Monday after a semi truck crashed into the median and burst into flames. The fire totally consumed the tractor trailer. The crash happened in the northbound lanes just north of OH-129. Thick black smoke could be seen for miles as traffic came to a stop in the area.

Many cars that were stuck on the ramp from 129 to NB I-75 turned around and traveled the wrong way in an effort to get to the southbound ramp. Monroe firefighters were called to assist Liberty Township at the scene. The driver of the truck apparently did not suffer serious injuries. (Photo Courtesy of @Shaunrichter on Twitter)

Fire Hits Hamilton Factory

(Hamilton)---Fire caused the evacuation of a factory in Hamilton's North End this morning. The flames broke out after 10:00am Monday at GRK Manufacturing Company on Dayton Street. No one was injured in the blaze. The sprinkler system kept the flames from spreading before firefighters arrived. Thick black smoke was coming out of the east side of the building when first responders arrived on the scene, according to Assistant Fire Chief Kenneth Runyan. Firefighters encountered a small fire and quicly put the flames out. No dollar estimate on damage, and there's no word when the plant will re-open. 

Update: Police Investigating Shooting

(Hamilton)---Hamilton Police are investigating an early morning shooting in the parking lot of a bar near the downtown area. Police arrived at the J and J Bar at 316 S. 3rd Street to find 28 year old John Andrews shot and stabbed multiple times in the parking lot. Police say the victim was conscious and speaking at the scene, and was taken to West Chester Medical Center by Hamilton life squad. No arrests have been announced yet.

Hamilton Police Search For Missing Teen

(Hamilton)---Police are searching for a teen who was reported missing a week ago. 16 year old Krista Lee Winebrenner (pictured) left home on June 1st, and hasn't been seen or heard from since. She is described as white, 5'4 and 200 lbs. She has black hair and hazel eyes. Anyone with information on Krista's whereabouts should call Hamilton Police at 868-5811 ext. 2002.

House Explosion Injures Two

(Hamilton)---The Ohio Fire Marshal's Office is investigating Friday's explosion and fire that injured two men on Hamilton's West Side. Firefighters, police, and witnesses at the scene tell WMOH Radio that two men were inside rehabbing the house at 830 Ross Avenue when an explosion blew off the roof of the house at 3:34PM. One of the men was able to escape, but the second was still in the upper floor of the house. A man who was driving by rushed inside the burning home and carried the victim out just before the house collapsed. The upstairs victim was taken to Fort Hamilton, then transferred to UC Hospital's burn unit by Care Flight. The man who rescued the victim was taken to Ft. Hamilton to be treated for smoke inhalation. There is no word on what triggered the blast.

(Photo Courtesy of @kyleboreing on Twitter)

Man Charged In Connection With Fatal Crash

(West Chester)---West Chester police have charged a man in connection with a fatal accident last week on OH-747 and Port Union Road. 32 year old Terrence Strader of West Chester (pictured)  is accused of causing the wreck that killed 62 year old Troy Stapleton of Fairfield. Strader turned himself in to face an Aggravated Vehicular Homicide charge, as well as charges of Operation in Willful or Wanton Disregard of the Safety of Persons or Property. Strader is also accused of leaving the scene of a prior accident. He faces a total of 1-5.5 years in prison and fines of over $11,000 if convicted. He is due to appear in court Friday.

Fallen Soldiers To Be Honored

(Columbus)---A bill signed by Governor Kasich Thursday (pictured) will honor local fallen soldiers by naming state highways in their honor. Amended Substitute Senate Bill 245 was jointly sponsored by State Senators Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township) and Bill Seitz (R-Green Township).


-A portion of Fair Avenue in Hamilton will be named the "Sgt. Charles Webb Memorial Highway." Sgt. Webb, 22, died on November 3, 2004 from injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.


-A portion of Tylersville Road in Butler and Warren Counties will be named the "Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr. Memorial Highway." Spc. Cook, 27,  was a Middletown native killed when his unit was attacked in Bagdahd, Iraq on June 6, 2011 during Operation New Dawn.


-State Route 122 in Warren County will be named the "Capt. Bartt D. Owens Memorial Highway." Capt. Owens of Middletown was 31 when he died in the crash of an MH-47E in February of 2002 during Operation Enduring Freedom.


-A portion of I-71 in Hamilton County will be named the "Spc. Donald S. "Scott" Morrison Memorial Highway." Spc. Morrison, of Cincinnati, died when his military vehicle was attacked by an IED in Frontenac, Afghanistan on September 26, 2010 during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Prosecutor: Bedbugs Bedevil Courtroom

(Oxford)---Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser tells WMOH Radio that suspected bedbugs were found on the defense table at Area One Court in Oxford Thursday morning. Gmoser says he instructed his staff to inform the court administrator, then leave because he "didn't want my staff to be subjected to that." Gmoser says part of the docket was moved to Area 2 Court in Hamilton.

Butler County Deputy Remembered

(Hamilton)---Funeral Services were being held Wednesday for Butler County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Ballinger II. The longtime court services guard passed away last weekend after a long battle with cancer. He was 41. Ballinger leaves behind many friends and family, including a wife and three children. Memorial contributions can be made to the Ben C. Ballinger II Memorial Fund at any Fifth Third Bank.

Man Air Cared After Motorcycle Crash

(St. Clair Township)---A male was injured when his motorcycle was hit by a pickup truck in St. Clair Township. Deputies and rescue crews were called to the 500 block of Beissinger Road just to the west of the entrance to the Hamilton Optimist Club. The victim reportedly had a laceration to the shoulder, and his helmet was knocked off by the impact. Air Care took the man to University Hospital. Hamilton life squad assisted with the call.

Propeller Accident Victim Dies

(Middletown)---The woman who was gravely injured when she walked into a moving propeller Sunday has died. 24 year old Sarah Rhoads was an employee of Start Skydiving, which is located at Middletown's Hook Field airport. Rhoads was taken to Miami Valley Hospital by Care Flight after the accident, but she succumbed to her injuries Tuesday.

WMOH To Carry CHCA, Moeller State Baseball Games

(Hamilton)----WMOH Radio will carry the OHSAA Final Four baseball games involving Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
CHCA will play Orrville 4:00PM in the DIV-III semi-final, and Moeller will take on Massillon Jackson in the DIV-I semi Friday at 1:00PM.
Todd Walker and Chris Huesman will bring you the CHCA game, while Paul Keels and Heath Murray will have the call of the Moeller game. The D-III Final is 1PM Saturday and the D-I Final is 4PM Saturday.

Teen Admits Setting Fire

(Hamilton)----A Liberty Township teen will be sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to two counts of Attempted Aggravated Murder and one count of Aggravated Arson. 17 year old Mitchell Simon admitted he locked his parents in their bedroom and set their house on fire last October because he was angry about being grounded from his laptop computer. Simon faces up to 33 years in prison when he stands before Common Pleas Judge Craig Hedric on Wednesday. (Photo: The Simon House after the fire)

Smoke Brings Fire Crews To Kings Island

(Mason)----No serious injuries were reported after a malfunction caused smoke to fill the building that houses the Flight of Fear indoor roller coaster at Kings Island. A city spokeswoman says an engine started spewing smoke, but there was no fire. A couple of people were treated at the scene after breathing the smoke. Firefighters from several area departments lined up outsside the ride as patrons continued to stroll the park. (Pictures courtesy of @CoreyGayheart and @HayleeWalters on Twitter)


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