Update


It’s about to be a lot easier to have fun on the Great Miami River in Middletown, and here’s how

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 11:03 AM

MetroParks of Butler County

Ground has been broken on the River Center facility along the Great Miami River Recreation Trail in downtown Middletown.

Turnbull Walhert Construction broke ground on the $1.4 million project on Jan. 9, according to Kelly Barkley, spokesperson for MetroParks of Butler County.

The project, located at 120 Carmody Blvd., was originally slated to begin in 2015 but was delayed due in part to several issues with land titles along the river. She said a grand opening for the River Center is being planned for later this summer.

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Barkley said the River Center has been designed to attract new users to the Great Miami River Trail and enhance the experience of those individuals who currently use the trail for recreational purposes. She said the structure will serve trail users by providing 41 parking spaces for more convenient biking and walking access to the trail itself.

The facility will also include public restrooms and drinking fountains for the convenience of those who use the trail. The City of Middletown and the Miami Conservancy District are partnering with MetroParks on this project.

In addition, Barkley said the facility will also include a meeting space that can be reserved and accommodate up to 50 people, a catering kitchen, outdoor terrace area with picnic tables, and a programming office and ranger office to support regular programming of the River Center, the AK Pavilion, and the Bicentennial Commons, which are also managed by MetroParks.

MORE: Riverfront development has been challenging for Middletown

Barkley said funding for the project was made possible through a $1 million State Capital Improvement Grant that was awarded in 2014 by the Ohio General Assembly based on the project’s merit to make a positive impact on the regional economy by attracting out of county visitors who would use the trail and spend outside dollars in Butler County.

Barkley said the project will also contribute to the revitalization efforts underway in downtown Middletown adjacent to the River Center project. She said the balance of the project’s funding will be supported by MetroParks Levy dollars.

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WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:43 AM
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:43 AM

WATCH: Florida High School Shooting Survivor Talks About NRA

A survivor of Wednesday's deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, slammed President Donald Trump, lawmakers and the National Rifle Association in a scathing speech Saturday at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale.

>> Click here to watch

>> PHOTOS: Remembering Parkland Florida school shooting victims

"Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving," said Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "But instead, we are up here standing together because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see. Since the time of the founding fathers and since they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, our guns have developed at a rate that leaves me dizzy. The guns have changed, but our laws have not."

>> Florida school shooting heroes: 3 coaches, teachers gave lives for students

Gonzalez called out one of Trump's tweets following the shooting that left 17 people dead.

>> See the tweet here

"So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!" Trump wrote Thursday morning.

>> Florida school shooting: How difficult is it to purchase a gun in Florida?

Gonzalez said Saturday: "We did, time and time again. Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him, you didn't know this kid, OK? We did. We know that they are claiming mental health issues, and I am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this was not just a mental health issue. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife."

>> Who is Nikolas Cruz, accused gunman in Florida high school attack?

She added: "If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I'm going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association."

>> Florida high school shooting suspect flagged as threat before tragedy

She went on to criticize him and other lawmakers.

"To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!" she said, prompting the crowd to chant, "Shame on you" in response.

>> Read more trending news 

"Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS,” Gonzalez said. “They say tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don't know what we're talking about, that we're too young to understand how the government works. We call BS."

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2 jailed after 2 Harrison Twp. deputies struck in traffic stop

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 6:38 PM
Updated: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 12:07 PM

Harrison Twp. deputy struck during traffic stop outside SVG Motors

UPDATE @ 11:56 a.m. (Feb. 19)

Two people are in jail in this incident that injured a Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy. 

India M. Fambro, 31, is in Montgomery County Jail for assault and obstructing official business. 

Javas D. McNair, 39, is in jail for a warrant of nonsupport of dependents. 

A sheriff’s report reveals that the driver, Fambro, reportedly ran over a deputy’s foot with her SUV as well as struck a second deputy with the vehicle’s mirror.

India M. Fambro, Montgomery County Jail

The deputy that had his foot ran over was standing on the passenger side of the vehicle, trying to talk with the male passenger who had warrants. His condition is not known.

The deputy on the driver’s side had his hand hit by the mirror as the vehicle fled, according to the report. 

The duo was detained after a short chase, but only after deputies broke the window open because the driver would not open the door.

More charges are pending as there were two children in the car at the time.

Javas McNair, Montgomery County Jail

FIRST REPORT (Feb. 18)

Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy was struck by a car fleeing a traffic stop, confirms emergency dispatchers. 

The deputy’s right foot was run over in the 400 block of Shoup Mill Road, during a traffic stop at SVG Motors.

Man killed in Middletown bar incident

The vehicle is reportedly a white GMC Yukon that fled the scene in the area of Foxton Court and Needmore Road, according to emergency dispatchers.

This happened around 6:20 p.m. Sunday. 

We have a reporter on the way to the scene and will update this report.

In an unrelated incident, a Centerville police cruiser was struck around 6:15 p.m. Sunday while assisting Sugarcreek Twp. police on a call on Interstate 675. No one was injured in that incident,but police are looking for a red Pontiac.

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Sheriff: I’ll offer conceal-and-carry class to local teachers

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:39 PM

Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones talks about school safety and threats to schools and what they are doing to address the problem.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones today said he will take steps to bolster local school safety by training those who work there.

Jones posted to social media that his office will offer free conceal-and-carry class to a limited number of teachers in Butler County. He also said training regarding on how to react during school shootings would be provided.


Posted by Butler County Sheriff's Office on Sunday, February 18, 2018

He said the details would be coming soon online and suggested that people could visit the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page for more information for CCW for teachers.

MORE: Here’s what area schools have done to boost security measures

Jones on Saturday said he has “been saying this for years” as he tweeted a Fox News story that Polk County, Fla. Sheriff Grady Judd said it would be a “game changer” to allow some hand-picked teachers to carry firearms in the classroom.


Jones, in a video posted Thursday, urged local schools to act now to improve school security in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school on Wednesday.

He said local schools should stop doing fire drills and allow armed former police and military veterans into buildings to help protect students.

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A program with a twist on bike sharing is coming to Butler County

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 12:00 PM


            Bright orange Spin bikes are expected to soon be seen on local streets for a pilot project. Three Miami seniors have worked to bring the bike sharing program here for use by both Miami students and local residents. The firm needs a Memorandum of Understanding from the city and Council is now looking at that document with an eye toward possible action on a resolution at Tuesday s meeting. CONTRIBUTED/SPIN
Bright orange Spin bikes are expected to soon be seen on local streets for a pilot project. Three Miami seniors have worked to bring the bike sharing program here for use by both Miami students and local residents. The firm needs a Memorandum of Understanding from the city and Council is now looking at that document with an eye toward possible action on a resolution at Tuesday s meeting. CONTRIBUTED/SPIN

If you do not own a bike and sometimes think you might want to take one for a spin, your chance could come this spring as orange Spin bikes are introduced to the Miami campus and local community.

It’s the culmination of a four-year process for three college seniors graduating this May with a dream to introduce bike sharing. Unlike some bikeshare programs which require users to go to a station to secure the ride and return it there, Spin is a stationless program using GPS and a phone app to locate the nearest available bike, which can then be left wherever it is no longer needed.

Maggie Callaghan, Miami’s student body president this year, said a bikeshare program was something she and two others wanted to see on the campus when they came here as freshmen.

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“When we came here freshman year, it was something to work on. This year, everything fell into place,” Callaghan said. “Most bike sharing (businesses) have stations. Spin is stationless. I think students will like it. It’s easy, even for the not-so-tech-savvy.”

Callaghan said her role has been behind-the-scenes this academic year because of her post as student body president. She credits Alex Wortman, the secretary for infrastructure and sustainability for Associated Student Government, and Sean Perme, ASG secretary for off-campus affairs, with bringing a bike sharing pilot program to Oxford.

All three appeared before Oxford City Council Feb. 6 to talk about the Spin program and explain the pilot program planned for later this semester.

The bikeshare program will be open to community residents as well as students, they explained, and the firm will bring an estimated 15 to 20 jobs to the area. They asked council to consider signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Spin, permitting them to operate here, but Wortman explained there is no liability for the city. It is not a contract, he said, merely an authorization to proceed and a way to make the city aware of the program operating here.

Mayor Kate Rousmaniere, a bicyclist herself, said they would have the memorandum reviewed by the city’s law director and consider having a resolution to approve it on this Tuesday’s meeting agenda.

The city’s Student Community Relations Commission had a prior presentation from Spin about their program.

“It’s nothing but a good thing,” said Council member Glenn Ellerbe, who serves on the SCRC. “I hope by the (next) February meeting we can have a resolution for the manager to sign the Memorandum of Understanding.”

Wortman told Council it would be approximately four weeks after signing the MOU before the pilot bikes could be in use here, which would make it shortly after Miami’s Spring Break. He said approximately 50 bikes would be brought here for the pilot program with an estimated 150 when the program goes full in August.

Later, he spoke about the process of getting a bike sharing program here after it seemed the university was close to starting one two years ago.

“I always liked bike sharing. My sophomore year, I was elected to student government and the university seemed close to signing with the station model. I went abroad my junior year and when I came back, I expected bikes,” Wortman said. “The university did not do it. Sean and I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ ”

Perme is a co-leader of SCRC and they hosted Chris King, campus partnerships manager for Spin, in December. King brought along one of the bikes, which helped convinced those involved the company was the right choice for Miami and Oxford.

The bikes are specially made for Spin with GPS for tracking their locations and a locking function the user can access with a phone app. Wortman explained the bikes have a mechanism behind the seat which locks the rear wheel of the bike.

The app will allow a user to learn the location of the nearest Spin bike and reserve it so only that person can unlock it, but that must be done within 10 minutes. Once unlocked, the customer can ride it for transportation or recreational use and just leave it for the next person who needs it, using the app to lock it again and end that rider’s time of use.

Users can ride the bikes for 50-cents for each 30 minutes or buy an annual pass at $100 for community residents for unlimited use for a calendar year or $50 for Miami students or those with Miami e-mail accounts.

“The bikes are specially made and branded bright orange,” Wortman said. “We asked about red for Miami but they are orange. It’s their branding and business model.”

It will be possible to ride the bikes out of Oxford, but they must be left within the city limits for their “geo fence” to lock the bike and end the user’s time with it.

The jobs to be created will involve a Resource Team of licensed bike technicians to set up and repair bikes and people to keep track of the where the bikes are left—possibly moving them to more convenient locations—as well as responding to complaints about they are left. Such comments can be made to them on-line.

Wortman was asked at the Council meeting if they had spoken to Bikewise owner Doug Hamilton and he said he was not sure if any substantive discussion had happened but Spin is aware of the local business as a possible repair and upkeep resource.

Spin was founded in San Francisco in 2016, as a start-up using help from other businesses such as Y Combinator, Uber, Lyft and other technology companies.

Callaghan credited Wortman and Perme with the work of contacting bikeshare companies and talking about the process. She said as Student Body President her role was more behind-the-scenes. She said the firm’s liability insurance coverage is the best they investigated.

“It’s not something I campaigned on. I have been working on other projects with the city, like getting a movie theater back here. My work has been getting Miami on board and connecting people. Facilitating,” Callaghan said. “There will be problems. We will work through them. This is a very bike-friendly community. It is the quintessential place for a program like this. It has worked in bigger cities, like San Diego. If it worked there, it will certainly work here.”

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