Cost of ITT Tech implosion surpasses $141 million for taxpayers

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 3:16 PM


            ITT Tech announced in September it would close all of its Ohio locations.

U.S. taxpayers have already shelled out more than $141 million to help students affected by the collapse of ITT Technical Institute and they may be on the hook for hundreds of millions more.

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The United States Department of Education has paid more than $141 million to alleviate debt from students who were affected by the closure of ITT last fall, according to court documents filed last week by the department. Discharges of debt for students who attended the now defunct for-profit college are estimated to eventually cost more than $460 million, according to court documents.

The payments are part of a federal school-closure loan discharge program. The education department claims in court documents that ITT is liable for the cost to discharge loans.

ITT had 130 locations across the country and nine in Ohio including some in Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati. There were about 2,000 students who attended the Ohio locations, state officials have said.

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ITT’s closure followed the shuttering of several other area for profit schools.

After 100 years in Dayton, Miami-Jacobs announced last July it would no longer accept new students at its Dayton, Springboro, Troy and Sharonville campuses. The art Institute of Ohio in Cincinnati and Brown Mackie College in Cincinnati and Findlay also stopped accepting new students.

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Barn engulfed in Madison Twp., Clark County

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 12:04 AM

A barn was engulfed when crews arrived late Friday night in Madison Twp., Clark County.

The fire was reported at a property on the south side of Old Columbus Cincinnati Road.

Additional crews were requested from Cedarville and Jamestown.

There were no reports initially of animals or people harmed, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office dispatch said.

The fire happened as strong storms with lightning and thunder moved through the area, but it’s not clear whether a lightning strike sparked the blaze.

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The day Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder watched the Seattle Kingdome implosion

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 12:01 AM

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder went to the roof of the Newmark Tower at 1415 2nd Avenue to watch the Kingdome implosion at 8:30 a.m. March 26, 2000. (Photo copyright 2017 by Lee LeFever)

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell was remembered Friday in a somber memorial service in Los Angeles. A mixture of celebrities and music elite remembered Cornell’s love for his family, and his musical achievements as one of rock’s leading voices.

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In Seattle, fan Lee LeFever recalled a day when Cornell and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder stood together on a Seattle rooftop as a couple of locals, watching the Kingdome implosion.

It was a Sunday, March 26, 2000. The Kingdome, which was the longtime home of the Seahawks, Mariners, boat shows, rock concerts and the occasional religious gathering, was packed with nearly 6,000 dynamite charges. Thousands crowded together on rooftops and overpasses to get a view of the early-morning implosion.

LeFever had a buddy with a construction job downtown, and he and three friends went there for the rooftop view. There were about 50 people milling around, passing time before the 8:30 a.m. implosion.

Then someone said, “Wait, isn’t that Eddie Vedder over there?”

It was, and he was there with Cornell.

Cornell was one of the first people Vedder met outside his Pearl Jam bandmates after moving here in 1990. For a time, the two were neighbors.

“I had no idea how it would affect my life and my views on music and my views on friendship and what a big impact he would have,” Vedder told a crowd before performing with Cornell in September 2011.

After LeFever's story about the Kingdome implosion day appeared in a Seattle Magazine story by Michael Rietmulder, he was told the two rock stars had the same entertainment lawyer, who had a penthouse in the building, which was the Newmark Tower at 1415 2nd Ave.

LeFever, 43, discovered Pearl Jam and Soundgarden as a college freshman in the fall of 1991. He remembers watching one of the band's videos in which Vedder falls into a crowd during a Moore Theatre concert, and thinking, “Wow, that’s what’s happening in Seattle.”

That was a part of what brought him here in 1998 after graduate school, moving to Capitol Hill from Charleston, South Carolina without a job but in love with the idea of living in the Northwest. He felt at the time there couldn’t be two places further apart in so many ways, “and I loved it,” LeFever said.

On the rooftop, Cornell and Vedder casually mingled, holding coffee mugs.

“They were definitely the only people there that were dressed like rock stars, especially Chris Cornell,” said LeFever, who wore a button-down fleece that morning. “He just had the spiked hair and the tight pants and the sort of look of a rock star. And I think Eddie Vedder at the time and even now has an unmistakable look.

“It was just sort of unbelievable to look up and see these people that you only see in TV and magazines and music videos. But they seemed totally normal and totally at ease.”

LeFever thought about approaching. He hatched a plan: Ask them to take a picture of him with the Space Needle in the background. That would be a pretty simple request, and wouldn’t make it weird.

But “I couldn’t work up the courage to say anything at the time,” he recalled.

And maybe that was best, LeFever said. If the same scene had happened today, 17 years later in the era of smartphones and social media, maybe it would have been a mob scene with everyone wanting selfies. It wouldn’t be the same.

“I’m glad," LeFever said, "that maybe at the time it was a place where they could be safe at home in Seattle among their Seattleites and know that people aren’t going to be too crazy.”

LeFever now writes a blog, Camping on Tuesdays, and co-founded Common Craft, an educational video company, with his wife, Sachi. They live in Seattle with their two dogs, Bosco and Maybe. (Yes, they have a dog named Maybe.)

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report. This story also was updated to correct the Pearl Jam video filmed at the Moore Theatre. 

Middle school teacher resigns amid student sexual battery allegation

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 11:50 AM
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 5:22 PM

A veteran Miamisburg Middle School teacher resigned amid an allegation of sexual battery involving a student, according to the district.

The resignation of the unidentified woman came Wednesday, district Superintendent David Vail said, a day before Miami Twp. police began investigating a sexual offense at school on Miamisburg Springboro Pike, records show.

MORE: Sex charges dismissed against teacher

Vail declined to confirm the name of the teacher, but said she had taught in the district for nine years. The superintendent said he first became aware of the allegations Tuesday morning, just prior to the start of the last day of school for students.

“Once we became aware ... the central office and human resources became involved,” Vail said.

He said “our investigation did not allege any sexual conduct.” But Vail said that the issue involved “some action that warranted further investigation,” and a decision was reached “that it was in her best interest to resign.”

MORE: Centerville teacher resigns amid allegations with student

That occurred Wednesday, the last day for teachers, Vail said.

A sexual battery complaint report filed Thursday, and “we are cooperating fully with authorities,” Vail said.

“Because of the nature of the investigation, there’s a lot I’m not at liberty to discuss at this time,” he said.

This news organization has requested a copy of the former teacher’s personnel file and resignation letter.

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Police on Friday acknowledged the allegations, but declined to comment further. A police record the department released Friday indicates the initial report of the allegations came in about 7:20 a.m. Tuesday.

It lists “sexual offense” as the nature of the call and “sexual battery” as the description of the offense. Additional police reports were requested by this news organization. Authorities declined to release those documents, citing the ongoing investigation.

OVI checkpoints Memorial Day Weekend in Kettering

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 8:05 AM
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 11:40 PM

Sobriety checkpoints are tonight and Saturday night during Memorial Day Weekend in Kettering. The purpose is to deter and to intercept drivers operating a vehicle while intoxicated. TODD JACKSON / STAFF

Police are cracking down on drinking and driving this Memorial Day Weekend.

Kettering police officers on Friday held two OVI checkpoints and will return Saturday night for sobriety checkpoints to deter and intercept those operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

The moving checkpoint is scheduled from 9 to 11 p.m. in the north lanes in front of 3018 Woodman Drive and 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. in the west lanes in front of 2841 E. Dorothy Lane. These locations are where the highest number of OVI crashes happen in the city, police said.

“We’ll be bringing them into the checkpoint and checking for signs of impairment. Anything from slurred speech to the way their eyes are operating,” Kettering police Lt. Lee Sanders said.

Kettering police want drivers to know they’re watching, and will be out in full force this weekend.

“We want to make sure we’re encouraging people not to drink and drive, make sure they make good decisions,” Sanders said.

Woodman Drive had the most OVI crashes in 2016 in the city.

“If you’re feeling the effects of alcohol you’re likely too intoxicated to be driving,” Sanders said.

Memorial Day Weekend is the busiest road travel weekends in the country.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol will nearly double its patrols.

“We want everyone to get from point A to point B safely,” Sgt. Matt Schmenk of the patrol’s Xenia Post said.

Extra patrols, and the patrol’s Click it or Ticket campaign to boost seat belt usage, are part of its effort to prevent deadly crashes.

“That’s the main mission for us,” Schmenk said.

The OVI checkpoints are funded by federal, state and local grants. Police agencies are required by state law to publicize the checkpoints ahead of time.

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