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WMOH Updates Archives for 2020-08

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.

 

 

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