Fiona meets her father for the first time

Published: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 @ 6:32 PM

What a poker face! Fiona playing cards will be available for purchase starting June 14 at area Kroger stores. GREG LYNCH/STAFF
Staff Report
What a poker face! Fiona playing cards will be available for purchase starting June 14 at area Kroger stores. GREG LYNCH/STAFF(Staff Report)

The summer months are known for family gatherings, but this one has to be one of the cutest ever.  Fiona and her mother, Bibi, were united with Fiona’s father, Henry, for the first time on Tuesday, July 11. This gave Fiona the chance to bond with her father, as well as give Henry time to become acclimated to fatherhood.  

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Henry quickly learned when he would get too close to Fiona, Bibi quickly intervened.  This interaction was what zoo officials were hoping for.

According to Cincinnati Zoo’s Facebook page, the quick bonding time went off without a hitch. 

There are more interactions planned for the happy family, but the zoo has not released any official times.

Fiona, the first Nile hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical garden in 75 years, was born Jan. 24 and weighed just 29 pounds. The normal birth weight for the species is 55-120 pounds.   

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Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 7:53 AM

Police Investigating Fatal Package Explosions In Austin

Friends and acquaintances of Draylen Mason, the 17-year-old who was killed in one of Monday’s package explosions in Austin, Texas, remembered him as a kind young man and a talented musician.

>> Read more trending news 

Mason’s mother also was injured in the explosion first reported around 6:44 a.m. Monday, authorities said. She remained in the hospital on Tuesday and was in stable condition. Authorities haven’t released her name yet.

Mason’s Facebook page shows that he was a senior at East Austin College Prep and was heavily involved in local music programs such as the Austin Youth Orchestra, where he was the principal double bass player, and the youth music program Austin Soundwaves, where he was also the principal bassist.

“He was a cool guy, and he was just so fun to be around,” said his friend, Kylie Phillips. “He was always busy, because he always had gigs and he was always doing things for the orchestra here in Austin. … I used to sing in a band with him, so it was so devastating when I found out he died.”

Another friend from school, Stephanie Lucio, remembered him as “talented to the max, from dancing to playing so many instruments.”

“As for his mother, I pray for her strength and recovery,” Lucio said. “She raised an outstanding son, friend, student and global citizen.”

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Former Austin Council Member Mike Martinez said he had met Mason and re-posted on Facebook a photo of them together.

“I had the honor to meet Draylen Mason in 2013 after he won the Hispanic Bar essay contest,” Martinez wrote. “His essay was on racial profiling and was so insightful and mature for such a young man. All of these tragedies are so horrible for our community. We must put a stop to this. RIP Draylen.”

Mason had been accepted to the University of Texas Butler School of Music, UT spokesman J.B. Bird said Tuesday.

The dean of the College of Fine Arts, Doug Dempster, offered his condolences, calling Mason a “most remarkable talent” who had the “chops to study music in college.”

“We at the University of Texas were so eager to have him join our music school … He carried himself with a kind of quiet maturity that belied his youth,” Dempster said. “The loss of a child with such conspicuous ambition, talent and determination is the cruelest kind of heartbreak.”

Some of Mason’s teachers grieved for him on social media, describing him as a remarkable student.

Sam Osemene, a U.S. government professor at Austin Community College, said he was intelligent and well-loved by everyone in the classroom.

“He was a very vibrant young man, full of life, always smiling,” Osemene told the American-Statesman on Tuesday. “He had what I call a zeal to succeed.”

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Mason had previously shared a couple videos of classical string performances on his Facebook page, and several photos of him show him playing a double bass or sitting at a piano.

A spokesperson from Soundwaves said Mason had worked with its executive director since he was 11 years old.

Mason had left a five-star review on Austin Soundwaves’ Facebook page: “Austin Soundwaves is a great music programs that’s dedicated to the advancement of kids in East Austin thru the power of music,” he wrote. “They push everyone to strive and to do great things in life.”

The group had been contacted by Mason’s family and asked not to comment further.

Mason had performed with the Austin Youth Orchestra for the last six years, its conductor, William Dicks, said Tuesday.

“He was an outstanding young man that had the talent and artistry to be a first class professional musician,” Dicks said. “It’s senseless.”

The first victim

Mason was the second person killed in the series of package explosions that began earlier this month.

Anthony House, who was killed in the first package bombing on March 2, was father to an 8-year-old girl and a Pflugerville High School and Texas State University graduate. Friends remembered him as quiet, clean-cut and driven.

House ran track and played basketball at Pflugerville High School where he made friendships that lasted throughout his life.

“He wanted to be something different and bigger than what a lot of people thought he was going to do,” said fellow Pflugerville Panther Greg Padgitt, who graduated two years before House. “He was quiet, but jokey with the kids that he let in. He was a great kid.”

After graduating from Texas State University with a degree in business administration, finance and financial management services in 2008, House started a money managing firm, serving as president of House Capital Management LLC. More recently he worked as a senior project manager for Texas Quarries, a Cedar Park-based lime fabricator, and Acme Brick, a Fort Worth-based firm. According to public records, House had recently begun attending Austin Community College.

>> On COMPLETE COVERAGE: Austin’s package explosions

House’s family members declined to speak to the media Tuesday, but Freddie Dixon, House’s stepfather, had previously told the Washington Post that he thinks the bombings were a hate crime.

“Are you trying to say something to prominent African-American families?” Dixon, who is close friends with Mason’s grandfather and is the co-founder of the Austin Area Urban League, told the Post. “It’s not just coincidental.”

State Sen. Kirk Watson, a Democrat from Austin, expressed his condolences for House via Facebook on Tuesday afternoon: “The family of Anthony Stephan House, including his wife and 8-year-old daughter, has endured such a terrible loss through an absolutely inexplicable act of violence. Anthony was laid to rest this past weekend. I’ve known his stepfather, the Rev. Freddie Dixon, for many years and send my deepest condolences to the family.”

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Austin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police say

Published: Monday, March 12, 2018 @ 10:07 PM
Updated: Monday, March 12, 2018 @ 10:07 PM

Police Investigating Fatal Package Explosions In Austin

Three package explosions in Austin in the past two weeks appear similar and related, authorities said Monday, and police are warning residents against taking suspicious packages inside their homes.

>> Read more trending news

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I-75 S reopens south of Austin Landing after injury crash sends one to hospital

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 11:51 PM
Updated: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 12:48 AM

I-75 shut down south of Austin Landing after crash

UPDATE @ 12:42 a.m.:

Interstate 75 south of the Austin Landing exit just before the Springboro Franklin exit is now open after being shut down following a vehicle accident.

The single vehicle crash occurred when a car traveling northbound on I-75 drove into the median then into the southbound lane causing the car to flip at least one time, according to troopers.

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One male, the driver of the car, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, troopers said.

The southbound lanes were shut down for about an hour.

It is not known what caused the accident.

UPDATE @ 11:55 p.m.:

The southbound lanes of Interstate 75 are shut down due to debris in the roadway following a rollover crash involving more than one vehicle, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Lebanon Post.

It is not clear how many people are injured, nor whether any lanes will reopen soon.

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The crash was reported around 11:45 p.m. at the 40 milepost, south of the Austin Landing exit just before the Springboro Franklin exit.


Crews were called tonight to a report of an injury crash on in the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 south of the Austin Landing exit.

The crash was reported around 11:45 p.m.

According to initial reports, at least one vehicle was on its top.

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The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Lebanon Post is investigating.

We have a crew on the way and will update this report.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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Sunshine today, rain and snow later this week

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 12:35 AM

Sunshine returns Sunday in the Dayton area, with the chance for rain and snow returning later in the week.

Mostly sunny skies are expected today, which will be a nice day with highs in the lower 50s, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar said.


  • Sunny and nice today
  • Rain returns Monday evening
  • Chance for snow Monday night/early Tuesday


Tonight: A few more clouds are expected overnight as temperatures drop into the lower 30s.

Monday: Clouds will increase through the day with highs in the lower to middle 50s. The chance for rain returns in the evening, and with temperatures falling past sunset, a few wet flakes may mix in as well.

Tuesday: A few lingering snow showers or a wintry mix will be possible early. Mostly cloudy skies are expected with highs in the lower to middle 40s.

Wednesday: The chance for any snow looks small, but can’t be ruled out. It’ll be a cold day with highs in the upper 30s.

Thursday: Partly sunny skies are expected with highs in the lower 40s.

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