Shutdown: Air Force museum closes: Wright-Patt workers face furlough

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 11:32 AM
Updated: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 3:12 PM

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force closed Saturday after initially opening in the morning in the midst of a federal government shutdown.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force closed Saturday after initially opening in the morning in the midst of a federal government shutdown.

Hundreds of people had trekked inside the world’s largest military aviation museum Saturday morning before the closure at 1 p.m.

The fallout was the latest from the federal closure expected to affect thousands of workers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the largest single-site employer in Ohio with an estimated 27,000 military and civilian personnel.

RELATED: Wright Patt: Workers to show up Monday even if shutdown still in place

Wright-Patt employees were told to report to work Monday for further instructions on “shutdown activities,” but it was not yet known how many would be furloughed if the partial federal closure continued into the work week.

National Park Service interpretive centers near Huffman Prairie where the Wright brothers perfected the airplane, and the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center in Dayton, were among NPS sites closed Saturday in the region because of the shutdown, although the two properties were open to traffic.

What’s next for the base?

More fallout was expected Monday if the shutdown persists into the work week.

As of Friday, base officials did not have an estimate of how many Wright-Patterson civil service workers might be furloughed. All military personnel, and some civilian employees deemed in “essential” jobs, would be exempt from being sent home temporarily, but would not be paid until Congress passes an appropriations bill, according to the Pentagon.

When the last shutdown struck in 2013, both furloughed workers and those who stayed on the job were reimbursed.

Base authorities have not released further details of the full scope of what might be impacted at Wright-Patterson.

The Child Development Center was scheduled to be open Monday, spokeswoman Marie Vanover said Saturday.

Col. Alden Hilton, commander of the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine which marked its 100th anniversary Friday, said essential classes to train aeromedical flight personnel would continue without interruption.

Hundreds of Air Force reservists scheduled for a monthly drill weekend Jan. 20-21 with the 445th Airlift Wing were expected to proceed because it was previously funded, said Lt. Col. Cynthia Harris, a unit spokeswoman.

Museum to remain closed

Matthew and Leigh Boyce, a married couple, traveled from St. Louis to the Air Force museum hoping it was open despite a partial federal government shutdown that struck midnight Saturday when Congress failed to pass a short-term stopgap funding measure.

RELATED: Government shutdown now official; Political parties blame each other

“We came into town to see our daughter and this was obviously one of the things we wanted to go to, but we were worried after we heard the news that we weren’t going to be able to get in,” Boyce, 46, said as he and his wife, Leigh, stood in the newest gallery housing iconic presidential planes and one-of-a-kind experimental jets.

“We checked the website that said it might be a possibility that it would not be open because of the shutdown, and we called this morning and they said they didn’t know whether they were even going to be open, but they suggested we come and see,” he added.

A museum spokeswoman said in an email late Friday the museum planned to stay open this weekend until it received a federal order to shut down. On Saturday, the museum indicated it would remain closed until the shutdown has ended.

Steven Wright said he was part of a group with a Cub Scout pack that drove four-and-a-half hours Saturday from Pittsburgh, Pa., only to discover the museum closed.

“It would have been nice to have known, but we didn’t even think to check on that,” he said.

The political drama over the failure of Congress and the White House to prevent a shutdown because of a lapse in a temporary funding frustrated Boyce.

RELATED: Government shutdown: How will you be impacted

“Our entire government causes me frustration,” he said. “It’s a little ridiculous that things like this get used as pawns in political games.”

WHIO-TV’s Malik Perkins contributed to this story.

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Funk legend and member of Ohio Players dies

Published: Thursday, February 16, 2017 @ 4:00 PM

Dayton is considered the Land of Funk. Here is why. Video by Amelia Robinson

A legendary member of the Ohio Players has died, according to news reports and a post on his official Facebook page from his daughter.

Walter “Junie” Morrison, a noted producer, keyboardist and singer, is credited with writing The Ohio Players major hits “Pain,” “Pleasure”, “Ecstasy” and “Funky Worm.”

Morrison, a Dayton native, was 62. 

Photos of Walter "Junie" Morrison from the Dayton Daily News archive at Wright State University.

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“Dear friends and colleagues, we lost another great one. I’m sure you can agree that Junie will be greatly missed. I wasn’t around my father much, but somehow I am like him in so many ways. In that regard, thank you for your support and respect of our privacy during this time,” Akasha Morrison wrote.

Morrison was a 1997 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and was also co-creator, writer and producer of “One Nation (Under A Groove)” and “(Not Just) Knee Deep” by Parliament Funkadelic, according to juniemorrison.com.

In the 1970s and 1980s, southwestern Ohio — particularly Dayton’s west side — was known for its stable of funk bands whose influence can be heard in hip-hop, house and other musical forms popular today.

Morrison inspired singer Solange’s recent song “Junie” on her 2016 “A Seat at the Table” album.

Gregory Webster, the original leader of the Ohio Players, said Morrison, who was hired into The Ohio Players shortly after he graduated from Roosevelt High School.

“He was really friendly,” Webster said of Morrison. “He was young, but we got him together.”  

Longtime WDAO radio show host John “Turk” Logan said “Pain” — a song Morrison wrote, produced and played most of the instruments on — was the first “funky” song from a Dayton group that he played.

Logan managed Morrison for a short time after he left the Ohio Players.

Photos of Walter "Junie" Morrison from the Dayton Daily News archive at Wright State University.

“Junie was an extraordinary talent. The guy had a sixth sense about the music business,” said Logan, a 1968 Roosevelt graduate. “Junie was a handful because he was a genius.”

>> MORE: Ohio Players frontman Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner dies

>> MORE: Ohio Players' bassist Marshall "Rock" Jones dies

Dayton musician Ronald Frost of the band The Deele said Morrison was a critical member of The Ohio Players.

“When Junie came, that’s when they became extra funky,” Frost said. 

Frost’s father Ronald “Nooky” Nooks played with The Ohio Players sometimes after Morrison left the band in 1974 for a solo career.

He released three solo albums on Westbound Records.

Frost was a big fan of Morrison’s work. 

“Junie was just a different kind of musician. He was totally incredible,” Frost said. 

Morrison was induced into the Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center based in downtown Dayton last year. 

Hall of Fame president David Webb said Morrison was a great musician who supported preserving funk’s heritage. 

“We are praying for his family,” Webb said.

Response on Facebook to word of the funk legend’s passing was swift. 

“Junie Morrison WAS funk to me and many others,” one comment read.

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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.

RELATED: $1.5M from feds targets changes for DeSoto Bass, West Dayton

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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