Battle with cancer ends for Fairfield’s brave ‘Superbubz’

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 9:32 AM
Updated: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 3:21 PM

Walter Herbert, a first grade student battling cancer, is getting a special graduation ceremony.

Cancer-stricken youngster Walter Herbert’s life was short, but his legacy isn’t.

The Fairfield Central Elementary student who went by the nickname of “Superbubz” — and for many embodied a superhero’s courage — died earlier this morning at his home.

STORY & VIDEO: Stricken Fairfield boy gets special high school graduation and other honors

The first-grader’s brave struggle and buoyant attitude captured the hearts of the region as he was honored by major area sports stars, police departments and enjoyed a special early graduation from high school courtesy of Fairfield Schools.

“He was a wonderful little boy who touched so many in such a short period of time. His walk on this Earth will never be forgotten,” said Gina Gentry-Fletcher, spokeswoman for the Butler County school system.

Grief counselors will be made available today at Central Elementary, said Gentry-Fletcher.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

In a letter posted on the Fairfield Schools website this morning, Central Elementary Principal Karrie Gallo, who was close to Walter and his family, wrote:

“It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of Walter, aka Superbubz, Herbert, a first grade student at Central Elementary in Mrs. Pam Gemperle’s class. Superbubz bravely fought Stage 4 Neuroblastoma Cancer for 2 years and his journey ended peacefully on October 6th at 2:40 in the morning.”

“For those of you who knew Superbubz, we ask that you remember his happy spirit and celebrate his life. No matter how sick he was, he always maintained a smile that would light up the room. His love for school and his passion for life will never be forgotten,” said Gallo.

Thanks to Gallo and many others, Walter’s last months were filled with thrills that including his own special high school graduation ceremony, meeting and getting a bat during a Cincinnati Reds game from Joey Votto, being showcased and honored by players of the Cincinnati Bengals and many other activities.

Fairfield Schools Superintendent Billy Smith said of the youngster “anyone that had the pleasure of meeting Superbubz will remember his bright smile that could light up any room. He showed the courage of a true superhero as he fought a hard and brave battle against cancer.”

“He was a delightful young man who loved going to school, and Fairfield is a better place because he was, and will always be, a part of us. As we navigate this grieving process, our focus as a district is on providing support and encouragement to the Herbert family, as well as the many friends, and entire Fairfield community who will greatly miss him,” said Smith.

Moraine police shooting: What we know now about deadly encounter

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 11:43 AM
Updated: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 2:20 PM

Morraine Shooting Presser RECAP OF EVENTS

A 23-year-old Dayton man was killed Friday by Moraine police after an early morning standoff that began as officers were investigating a report of a suspicious vehicle on Pinnacle Park Drive.

Police said they shot Jamarco McShann after he pointed a loaded semi-automatic pistol at two officers and failed to heed their warnings. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has taken over the case at the request of the Moraine Police Division.

RELATED: Moraine police shooting: Suspect’s gun was loaded with high-capacity magazine

While the investigation is in its early stages, here’s what we know now:

-The man shot. McShann and some family members have either had criminal records or have been victims of crimes. He had been released from the Lebanon Correctional Institution on Aug. 2, 2016, after serving a three-year sentence stemming from three criminal cases.

RELATED: Moraine police shooting: Who is Jamarco McShann?

McShann’s brother, Jamal McShann, died in a shooting in October 2013 in Dayton. Another brother, Curtis McShann, was sentenced earlier this month to 60 years to life in prison in connection to the Oct. 25, 2016, shooting death of Brandon Lanier, 27, on Riverside Drive in Dayton.

-The officers. The two Moraine officers involved in the shooting were identified as John Howard, a 19-year veteran of the division, and Jerry Knight, who has worked for there for 19 months.

Both road patrol officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is protocol for such incidents. This news organization has requested copies of their personnel files.

RELATED: Moraine police shooting: Dayton man killed had life surrounded by violence

-The investigations. The state BCI will handle the criminal investigation and the city of Moraine will also conduct an internal-affairs investigation. BCI has said it is one of at least 17 officer-involved shootings that have been referred to the agency this year.

BCI officials said the probe will focus on whether there were any criminal violations during the incident. BCI will refer its findings to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. The city’s internal investigation will determine if the officers violated any division policies.

RELATED: Moraine police shooting: 5 questions we’re asking

Moraine cruisers are not equipped with cameras, and officers are not issued body cameras.

-McShann family’s response. McShann’s family said his “killing has presented more questions than answers,” according to a release it sent out. The family contacted the Rev. Jerome McCorry to represent it as a spokesman. McCorry founded of the Adams Project, a male re-entry program in Dayton.

“Unfortunately this nation has demonstrated a practice and pattern of shoot first ask questions later in too many of these cases!” McCorry stated in the release.

John McCain takes apparent jab at Trump during interview about Vietnam War

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 1:21 AM

John McCain Takes Apparent Shot At Trump

Sen. John McCain appeared to take a swipe at President Donald Trump during an interview about the Vietnam War on CSPAN-3 American History TV, criticizing people from “the highest income level” who avoided the military draft by finding a doctor who would say that “they had a bone spur,” CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Trump attended the New York Military Academy as a young man and received five military draft deferments during the Vietnam War, CNN reported. One was a medical deferment after he was diagnosed with bone spurs in his foot. 

It’s the latest war of words between the Arizona Republican and the president. During the early stages of the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump claimed McCain was not a was hero because he was captured during the Vietnam War. Trump never apologized for the remarks, and McCain has since been one of his most vocal Republican critics in Congress, CNN reported.

“One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur,” McCain told C-SPAN3. “That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”

McCain never mentions Trump by name in the interview, but the President's deferment because of a bone spur is widely known and his family was well off at the time.

Trump told The New York Times in 2016 that a doctor "gave me a letter -- a very strong letter -- on the heels."

"Over a period of time, it healed up," he said.

McCain spent five years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, declining to be released despite being the son of an admiral.

Letter dated day before Titanic sank sells for $166,000

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 2:19 PM

The ill-fated White Star liner RMS Titanic, which struck an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic.   (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
Central Press/Getty Images
The ill-fated White Star liner RMS Titanic, which struck an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)(Central Press/Getty Images)

The letter is addressed to “Mother.”

“We had good weather while we were in Loudon (sic). It is quite green and nice in England now. This boat is a giant in size and fitted up like a palacial (sic) hotel.” 

>> Read more trending news

It is one of the last remaining letters to survive the doomed ship Titanic, and it recently sold at auction for a 120,000 pounds ($166,000) -- a record-price for a correspondence from the liner. 

The missive, penned by first-class passenger Alexander Oskar Holverson on the liner’s embossed stationery, is dated April 13, 1912 -- the day before the Titanic sank.

Auctioneers Henry Aldridge & Son predicted the item would go for 60,000 to 80,000 pounds ($79,000 to $106,000), according to CNN. The identity of the buyer wasn't disclosed. Iron keys from the ship also sold for 76,000 pounds ($100,000).

“The prices illustrate the continuing interest in the Titanic and her passengers and crew,” auctioneer Andrew Aldridge told Reuters. “I‘m delighted with the new world record for the Titanic letter. It reflects its status as the most important Titanic letter we have ever auctioned.”

The letter was sold by the Holverson family.

Alexander Oskar Holverson was a salesman who was traveling on the ocean liner’s maiden voyage with his wife, Mary Alice, who survived the sinking. The letter was found on his body a few days after the ship sank April 14, 1912. More than 1,500 people died. 

The letter ends with this line:

“It all goes well we will arrive in New York Wednesday A.M.”

Premier Health asks UnitedHealthcare policy holders to switch plans

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 1:03 PM
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 1:55 PM


Premier Health sent a letter this week to its patients saying “we strongly advise” those with UnitedHealthcare policies to consider switching plans, as both sides remain far from a deal that would let policy holders again get coverage at Premier doctors offices and hospitals.

The contract between UnitedHealthcare and Premier, the region’s largest health system, expired May 13 after negotiations fell apart. The two parties both said they are not close to a deal that would again bring Miami Valley Hospital, Atrium Medical Center and the rest of Premier Health’s affiliates back in network.

The dispute centers around the giant insurer’s plan to rank hospitals and doctors in tiers based on cost and quality, with the goal of incentivizing lower health care costs. Premier opposes the ranking system, which it says is already steering patients away from its hospitals and providers.

RELATED: Dayton Children’s Hospital adding its first inpatient mental health wing

There are 70,000 UnitedHealthcare members who have used Premier facilities or physicians in the last year prior to May’s contract expiration and 200,000 patients with UnitedHealthcare in the Dayton region.

A Premier spokesman said the letter speaks for itself and the health system didn’t have additional comment.

In an Oct. 16 letter signed by Premier CEO Mary Boosalis, she states Premier has contracts with other plans like with Anthe Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medical Mutual, Aetna, Human and Cigna.

“If your employer hasn’t offered another plan option other than UHC, consider asking your human resources department to either switch health plans or to provide a plan option that includes Premier Health as “in-network.”

Some local hospitals that remain in UHC’s network include Dayton Children’s, Grandview, Greene Memorial, Kettering Medical Center, Medical Center at Elizabeth Place, Soin Medical Center, Southview, Springfield Regional, and Sycamore.

RELATED: Columbus firm picked to plan fairgrounds redevelopment

Premier has a large network of primary care doctors under its umbrella, along with Miami Valley Hospital with an additional site at Miami Valley Hospital South, Good Samaritan Hospital, Atrium Medical Center and Upper Valley Medical Center.

Premier said the last offer it put on a table was for no rate increase in 2017, a 3 percent increase in 2018, a 3 percent increase in 2019 and no increase in 2020. UnitedHealthcare’s last offer is a 10 percent rate decrease in 2017, a 5 percent decrease in 2018, and a 5 percent decrease in 2019.

RELATED: Premier Health networking event targets diverse suppliers

UnitedHealthcare has maintained none of Premier’s offers address the high cost of care that gets passed onto its customers. It said it is still open to conversation with Premier.

“Local employers are asking everyone to play a role in helping address the high cost of health care in Dayton, and we want to work with Premier on this goal, but to this point we have been unable to find a resolution that creates sustainable improvements.”

The insurer said it still has a broad network of physicians that its policy holders can see.