Dayton City Commission director retires, replaced by Whaley aide

Published: Thursday, February 01, 2018 @ 3:41 PM


            Kery Gray, shown here, is retiring and will be replaced by Ariel Walker as director of the Dayton City Commission Office. FILE
Kery Gray, shown here, is retiring and will be replaced by Ariel Walker as director of the Dayton City Commission Office. FILE

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley has announced that Ariel Walker will replace Kery Gray as director of the City Commission Office.

Gray, who is retiring, attended his last commission meeting Wednesday. He has worked for the city for about three decades.

Walker started with the city in 2008 in the Office of Management and Budget and served as the assistant to the city manager. She became Whaley’s senior policy aide in 2014.

“Ariel has been essential to the success of programs like the City of Learners, the passage of Issue 9, and the Investing in Manufacturing Communities federal designation,” said Whaley in a statement.

Gray worked in the management and budget office and purchasing before running the commission office.

Gray was extremely knowledgeable and a valuable resource for city commissioners who was not afraid to speak up when he felt the leadership got something wrong, the commissioners said.

Gray always made himself available to answer questions — at all hours of the day and night — and was a hard worker and important voice in the community, they said.

“I have really appreciated your depth of knowledge of this organization and its history and how that effects how we move forward,” said Dayton Commissioner Chris Shaw.

Gray and his husband, Tim Walsh, were the first gay couple to get married in Dayton after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to legalize same-sex weddings in 2015. Gray and Walsh may have been the first gay couple to legally wed in Ohio.

At Wednesday’s commission meeting, Gray thanked the city commission, past elected leaders and residents for giving him “the most extraordinary opportunities to be of service to my fellow citizens.”

But he also reeled off a list of city employees who are also retiring and said they deserved recognition for their contributions in public service.

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Demand in West Dayton for 1,000 housing units, grocery store

Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 12:16 PM


            DeSoto Bass Courts public housing has about 354 housing units in West Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
DeSoto Bass Courts public housing has about 354 housing units in West Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Greater Dayton Premier Management, the local public housing authority, is working on a plan to improve conditions and the housing stock in a poor part of West Dayton where more than 6,000 residents live.

GDPM is targeting five neighborhoods west of Interstate 75 and south of U.S. 35 that have some rundown and aging public housing facilities and many vacant and abandoned structures.

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There’s demand for up to nearly 1,000 new housing units, including a mix of subsidized, senior, market rate and for-sale units, according to a market study done for the agency.

Residents who live in the area, which is home to the DeSoto Bass Courts and Hilltop Homes, also say they want community gardens, a grocery store, a laundromat and increased police presence and visibility, according to a survey of a public housing residents and some neighbors.

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GPDM’s “transformation plan” will be submitted to the federal government, which in the past has awarded tens of millions of dollars to communities to implement their plans and help pay for new housing, amenities and other investments.

The Trump Administration’s current budget does not have funding for implementation, but even without that money, GDPM hopes to remake this part of Datyon, though likely it would take longer and require some adjustments, agency officials said.

“We have alternate plans for our housing if we are not fortunate enough to receive this Choice Neighborhood funding,” said Jennifer Heapy, CEO of GDPM. “We are still committed to a transformation for that particular part of the city — it’ll just take us longer.”

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Montgomery County joins legal fight against opioid drug companies

Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 3:22 PM

Montgomery County joins legal fight against opioid drug companies

Following in the footsteps of the city of Dayton and the state of Ohio, Montgomery County plans to sue drug companies or others that county officials allege helped cause the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic that has ravaged the Dayton region and communities across the country.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Montgomery County commissioners announced they have approved an agreement with Motley Rice, one of the nation’s largest plaintiffs’ litigation firms, to take legal action against “individuals and entities related to the marketing, prescribing, distribution or sale of opioids.”

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Montgomery County has hired the firm to investigate and then litigate claims related to the marketing and overprescribing of powerful opioid medications, said Mary Montgomery, chief of civil division of the Montomery County prosecutor’s office.

She said the goal is to hold those people and companies responsible for the opioid crisis accountable for it and try to recover the costs to taxpayers. That includes drug treatment programs, medical care, hospitalizations, law enforcement, prosecution and incarceration, Montgomery said.

Other costs include caring for the children whose parents have died of a drug overdose or who have lost custody because of their drug use, she said.

“Any money recovered will be for treatment programs as well as to reimburse the county for all of the expenses just mentioned,” she said.

Montgomery County has been particularly hard-hit by the opiate crisis, county officials said, noting that between 60 to 70 percent of the bodies in the county morgue last summer were overdose victims.

In 2016, prescribers in the county wrote almost 93 opioid prescriptions for every 100 residents, and there were more opioid prescriptions written each year between 2006 and 2015 than there were people living in the county, said Montomery.

“Nationally, the economic toll of the opioid crisis is estimated to have topped $1 trillion from 2001 to 2017,” she said.

Motley Rice, based in Washington, D.C., is lead counsel in lawsuits filed against pharmaceutical companies by the city of Chicago and Santa Clara County. The firm also represents four states, seven counties and a handful of cities and townships in other opioid-related litigation.

Last year, Santa Clara County, home to Silicon Valley in California, reached a $1.6 million settlement with drug maker Teva over “deceptive” marketing of prescription opioid painkillers, according to Motley Rice.

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Closer to home, the city of Dayton last June announced it was suing more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies, distributors and pain specialists who city officials allege misrepresented the dangers of opioid medications and profited from opioid dependency and use.

This is about basic fairness for Montgomery County taxpayers, and the companies that ignited and fed this deadly epidemic should help clean it up, said Commissioner Dan Foley.

“We believe … that the drug companies have a moral obligation to pay our community back,” Foley said.

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1 officer killed, 2 deputies wounded while serving warrant in Georgia

Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 12:36 PM
Updated: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 2:09 PM

WATCH: Officers Shot, Suspect Dead in Georgia

A police officer was fatally wounded and two sheriff’s deputies injured Friday after they were shot while serving a warrant in Locust Grove. Authorities said the suspected shooter was shot and killed by an officer.

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1 dead in shooting at veterans nursing home in Georgia

Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 12:03 PM
Updated: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 1:42 PM

Shooting at Georgia Nursing Home

One person is dead after a shooting Friday at a nursing home for veterans in Georgia. 

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Richmond County sheriff’s deputies were called to the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home around 11:20 a.m. Deputies said that, upon arrival, they found a person dead of a gunshot wound.

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