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Beneath McQuinn’s edginess lived ‘a golden retriever’

Published: Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 3:23 PM
Updated: Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 3:23 PM

            Barbara J. Perenic
(Barbara J. Perenic)

Behind Matt McQuinn’s sunglasses, behind the edgy, pierced look he showed to the world was a man with a mischievous sense of humor and a golden retriever’s warmth, his uncle told a memorial service Saturday morning at Springfield’s Maiden Lane Church of God.

Pastor Herb Shaffer said his 27-year-old nephew called the oversized shades he pushed up on his head his “man tiara,” an anecdote that spoke about the person whose striking eyes and mugging demeanor have been seen on broadcasts and in newspapers since July 20, when McQuinn died saving his girlfriend from a slaughter in an Aurora, Colo., multiplex.

Steps away from her boyfriend’s edgily dressed body, Samantha Yowler, of St. Paris, rested her wounded leg on a chair during the ceremony that gave way to an 80-car procession to Lawrenceville Cemetery, where McQuinn was buried.

The Vandalia Butler High School graduate was killed by three gunshot wounds he suffered as he shielded Yowler during the attack that killed 12 and wounded 52.

“In moments of crisis, the true character of a person comes out,” said Shaffer, a brother of McQuinn’s mother, Jerri Jackson, of Springfield. “You don’t have time to think of what you’re going to do.”

McQuinn’s “immediate response,” said Shaffer, “was to protect the one he loved.”

Shaffer and Maiden Lane Pastor Mark Martin cast McQuinn’s self-sacrifice in context with two Biblical passages, one from Galatians saying the only things of lasting value involve “faith expressing itself in love” and another from the Gospel of John stating that “no greater love has one man than this: that he laid down his life for his friends.”

“We didn’t just see that (from McQuinn) on July 20,” Shaffer said.

With a family photo on a screen, Shaffer pointed out McQuinn as a child comforting his cousin, Amber, who was having a bad day when the families were out on a hike.

“Even at 7 years old, Matt … could pick up on that kind of thing,” Shaffer said.

He added that, as a young man, his nephew sometimes dressed in a way that “made you want to cross to the other side of the street. But then he opened up his mouth, and he couldn’t betray who he was.”

McQuinn teased those he loved mercilessly and “you never knew what he was going to say,” Shaffer said. “He was the only one I’ve ever seen who could speak to my dad the way he did and get away with it.”

The reason, he said, was that there was “never any malice” in McQuinn, only “a contagious enjoyment of life” and “an exuberance … that added value to others’ lives.”

“Underneath there,” said Shaffer, “(was) a golden retriever.”

Telling grieving friends and relatives “there are no easy answers” and that “this is not the time for platitudes,” Shaffer advised that “the only way to the other side of grief is through it.”

“We cannot do it alone,” he added. “So let’s make a commitment to one another to embrace the pain of saying goodbye today, to feel it together, to cry together to laugh together, to be angry together.”

“Our lives will never be the same,” he said. “The words Aurora, Cinema 16 shooting, Batman, will never mean the same again,” he added, and likely will serve as reminders of the hurt.

But with time, he said, “it will be good again” and “the very things that cause us pain now will become brighter and stronger and better for the rest of our lives.”

All who knew McQuinn “live with a commitment to be better because of his sacrifice,” said Shaffer, who urged his audience “to pray for those who are left … pray for the families that are left and … be better people.”

Outside the church, the media kept a respectful distance, and in the balcony of the church a reporter from the Denver Post said the entire Denver community has grieved.

“This has torn us up,” said Ray Rinaldi.

Pastor Martin thanked those who “have given of our time, given of yourselves” in offering comfort to the family and those who contributed to the church’s fund to help in the expenses of McQuinn’s burial.

DP&L: Close to 15K without power in the Dayton region

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 7:54 AM
Updated: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 8:21 AM

Staff illustration
Staff illustration

UPDATE @8:26 a.m. 

Ohio Edison reports 586 Clark County customers are without power.

UPDATE @8:13 a.m. 

  • Montgomery: 10,205
  • Greene: 3,458
  • Darke: 965
  • Miami: 216
  • Preble: 17

UPDATE @8:03 a.m. 

Dayton Power & Light is reporting outages in the following counties: 

  • Montgomery: 9,896
  • Greene: 13
  • Darke: 958
  • Preble: 15
  • Miami: 187


Dayton Power and Light has reported power outages for the following counties: 

  • Darke: 949 
  • Montgomery: 14 
  • Preble: 14 
  • Miami: 3
We are working to bring you more information on this developing story. 

Tree falls on Arcanum home as severe weather moves through

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 7:26 AM

West North Street Arcanum

The Miami Valley is under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 8:15 a.m.

Storm damage has been reported in the area.

>> Heavy rain, gusty winds this morning; humid pattern continues

  • Westbound Kemp at Grange Hall Road in Beavercreek is shut down for a tree across the roadway as of 8:10 a.m.
  • At 10877 North Kessler Road in Piqua, a DP&L pole is reportedly on fire as of 8:06 a.m.
  • On Greenville St. Marys Road and Goubeaux Road in Darke County, trees and wires are down across the roadway as of 8 a.m.
  • On Union Boulevard and Wenger Road in Englewood, trees and poles are reportedly down across the roadway as of 7:55 a.m.
  • On Ohio 320 outside of New Paris in Preble County, the road is being shut down for trees down in the roadway as of 7:55 a.m.
  • On U.S. 127 just north of North Star in Darke County, a tree is reportedly down and is partially blocking the road as of 7:45 a.m.
  • On Rip Rap Road at Taylorsville in Huber Heights, a tree is reportedly down on the road as of 7:41 a.m.
  • In the 300 block of West North Street in Arcanum, emergency crews were dispatched on reports of a tree into a house at 7:15 a.m.  Initial reports indicate five people were in the home at the time and had to leave the home through the back door.

>> WHIO Interactive Radar

Superintendent leaves Dayton aviation park poised to grow

Published: Thursday, July 20, 2017 @ 5:24 PM

Dean Alexander, superintendent at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Aviation Park, is retiring Friday, July 21. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Thomas Gnau/Staff
Dean Alexander, superintendent at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Aviation Park, is retiring Friday, July 21. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Thomas Gnau/Staff)

Dean Alexander, superintendent at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, is retiring today, and he leaves behind a national park poised to get bigger.

Tony Sculimbrene, executive director at the National Aviation Heritage Alliance, the national park’s Dayton-based non-profit partner, said the alliance hopes to gain control of the former Wright Airplane Factory — between U.S. 35 and Third Street near Home Avenue — possibly as soon as the next 30 days.

“We are very much engaged” on raising funds to acquire the former factory, Sculimbrene said Thursday.

The alliance is negotiating with Home Avenue Redevelopment, the private entity that owns the factory buildings and surrounding 54 acres of property.

Alexander said the National Park Service has the authority to acquire the complex.

“The plan is, once that’s secured, the federal government would go in and purchase the historic Wright Brothers buildings,” Alexander said.

As Alexander retires, Sculimbrene said he was a natural fit for the community when he was appointed in 2009.

“I think probably the greatest strength and the greatest contribution that Dean has made to the park has been to share his extensive knowledge of aviation that he had before he even came to this location,” Sculimbrene said.

Park leaders knew that Alexander had strong knowledge of aviation’s early days, and that fact was a “driver” for his selection, Sculimbrene said.

“He knows his history inside and out,” he said.

The Dayton park had 98,533 visitors last year, up from 73,588 the year before. In recent years, the Dayton park has benefited from David McCullough’s 2015 book, The Wright Brothers, Alexander said.

“We got a huge boost from David McCullough’s book,” he said. “That book put a lot more focus on the Wrights in Dayton rather than the events at Kitty Hawk (N.C.). McCullough writes in a more accessible fashion.”

Dayton’s park was established in the 1990s, with barely any property or employees at first. By the late 1990s, park employees were staffing a recreation of the Wright bicycle shop. Alexander is also the superintendent at the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe.

Sculimbrene agreed the long name of the Dayton park is “unwieldy.” And he noted there have been legislative efforts to change the name.

But those efforts haven’t gotten anywhere.

“That’s a difficult task to to do,” Sculimbrene said. “The park is meant to honor not just the Wright Brothers but poet Paul Laurence Dunbar as well.”

Dayton is more than just a famous pair of brothers, he said. Its history includes McCook Field, an early Army Air Corps site, whose centennial will be celebrated this October. A ceremony is planned for Oct. 5.

Alexander said area residents should be proud to have the park, which is anchored on West Third, around Williams Street, but also has visitors centers at Huffman Prairie, Carillon Historical Park, a Paul L. Dunbar memorial and the Hawthorn Hill mansion in Oakwood.

“If they bring their friends and families down, great,” Alexander said Thursday, the day before his retirement from the National Park Service. “The situation in this immediate neighborhood has improved markedly since the park was established.”

Sources: US to ban Americans’ travel to N. Korea

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 7:58 AM

North Korea.
AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images
North Korea.(AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. officials Friday said the Trump administration will ban American citizens from traveling to North Korea.

>> Read more trending news

The Associated Press, citing anonymous sources, said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to implement a “geographical travel restriction” for North Korea, which would make the use of U.S. passports to enter that country illegal. Sources told the AP that the restriction would go into effect 30 days after a notice is published in the Federal Register.

The move comes in the wake of the death of university student Otto Warmbier, who passed away after lapsing into a coma in a North Korean prison.