Former Blue Jacket theater set for demolition in Greene County

Published: Thursday, September 21, 2017 @ 11:15 AM

Greene County Parks & Trails looking to make Caesar's Ford Park more accessible

It’s been 10 years since the Blue Jacket theater group performed at Caesar’s Ford Park, and now the dilapidated buildings are slated to be torn down.

A padlock on the front gates keeps the public out of the park at 520 S. Stringtown Road. The structures, which were built in the 1970s, have not been maintained and now pose safety hazards, Greene County officials said.

STAY CONNECTED: Greene County News on Facebook

“It’s a sad end of an era, but the future is bright,” said Brandon Huddleson, Greene County administrator.

Rezod LLC has been awarded the $308,851 contract to demolish the buildings and clear the way for reopening the 65-acre park and exploring new recreational options for residents.

To pay for the three-month project, county commissioners approved spending $208,000 out of the general and capital funds, and the park district is providing $100,000. County officials have not said when the demolition work will begin.

MORE: Grants available for business expansion, investment in Greene County

Memories of the Blue Jacket theater

Many people, like Kevin Carsey of Beavercreek, earned lifelong memories working at the amphitheater and seeing the life of Blue Jacket, a famous American Indian who lived in the Greene County region, portrayed in the open air.

“It is a sacred land,” said the 39-year-old father of two. Carsey got chills as he recalled walking the trail toward the back of the property and being near the area that was dubbed “the medicine wheel.”

“At the end of the show, the actors would say ‘look around you at the forest and listen to the streams nearby’ … The spiritual piece of that is just huge for those of us who worked at the theater,” he said.

MORE: Runway extension could bring more corporate jets to Greene County

Carsey and others want an opportunity to visit the park and the buildings before they are torn down. Carsey said there was always a ceremony at the beginning of the shows to show respect for the Americans Indians who once lived in the region. He hopes the county allows a similar ceremony before the demolition work begins.

Elizabeth Gutierrez Burke, 33, of Riverside, started acting in the shows when she was 12. When she wasn’t acting, she would work as an usher, and her siblings also participated in the shows.

“We weren’t just a cast, we were a family that transcended seasons,” Burke said. “That show will always be a part of every cast and crew member to grace that stage.”

‘A beautiful piece of property’

The strong sentimental ties the community has to the park are not lost on Greene County Parks and Trails Director Chrisbell Bednar.

See who’s in jail: Greene County inmates

“A lot of people grew up out there,” Bednar said. “They had their summer job out there. A lot of people have great, fond memories of being part of the show or seeing the show.”

Bednar said the seats that make up the amphitheater will be disassembled and removed before demolition in an effort to preserve them for future use. She said measures will be in place to try to avoid damaging the concrete that forms the seating area, but the iconic light tower, which shined down onto the large outdoor stage, will have to come down.

“It’s a beautiful piece of property,” Bednar said. “We want to make it a multi-use facility for various programs throughout the year. Cycling and equestrian groups have made inquiries, and they need a big facility, but right now we can’t open it to the general public.”

The Xenia-Jamestown Connector Bike Trail passes through a portion of the park, and building new trails to connect to it is part of the ongoing conversation about what to do after the demolition work is over.

Family, friends celebrate Kirk Douglas’s 101st year

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 5:13 PM

Actor Kirk Douglas, pictured in 2011, celebrated his 101st birthday with family and friends in Los Angeles over the weekend.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Actor Kirk Douglas, pictured in 2011, celebrated his 101st birthday with family and friends in Los Angeles over the weekend.(Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Kirk Douglas had a lot of help to blow out his many birthday candles over the weekend.

Deadline Hollywood reported that the Hollywood legend rang in 101 years on Saturday at his Beverly Hills home and was showered with tributes from his famous family. 

>> Read more trending news

The senior Douglas’ 17-year-old grandson, Dylan Douglas, posted a photo on an Instagram of himself planting a peck on his grandfather’s face.

“Happy birthday 101 years and still sexy love you with all my heart Pappy,” Dylan captioned the photo.

Happy birthday 101 years and still sexy love you with all my heart Pappy

A post shared by Dylan Douglas (@dy1and) on

Dylan’s mother, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, offered her own well wishes for her father-in-law. She shared a photo on Instagram of Douglas and herself with the caption, “101 today!!!! My darling Pappy on my knee. Happy Birthday to my wonderful, inspirational and loving father in law, Kirk. Love you with all my heart.”

Zeta-Jones’ posts came in lieu of her presence at Douglas’s lunchtime birthday bash, but she definitely didn’t miss out on singing her father-in-law a personalized rendition of “Happy Birthday” through FaceTime, according to The Daily Mail

In addition to his 73-year-old son, Michael Douglas, — who flew in and out of the celebration to rejoin his son Cameron at the birth of his granddaughter — Kirk was joined in celebration by his wife of 63 years, Anne, 98, nieces and nephews and Hollywood bigwigs. 

Douglas’ family presented him with a bright, sunflower-patterned cake with his age written in frosting, and his cardiologist allowed the “Spartacus” star to enjoy his yearly, physician-permitted shot of vodka, according to Deadline

Born on Dec. 9, 1916, Kirk Douglas has enjoyed a storied career spanning several decades. The veteran was known for playing the title character from “Ulysses” (1954), starring in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954) and his famed role as “Spartacus” (1960). 

Considering the 101-year-old actor was up and dancing just last year, he’s still got plenty of youth left inside.

Former Kettering principal named Mason superintendent

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 1:08 PM
Updated: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 5:05 PM

Jonathan Cooper, a former elementary teacher in Centerville City Schools and principal in Kettering City Schools, was named next year’s superintendent of the Mason City Schools in Warren County.
Jonathan Cooper, a former elementary teacher in Centerville City Schools and principal in Kettering City Schools, was named next year’s superintendent of the Mason City Schools in Warren County.

A former Kettering and Centerville educator is to be the next superintendent of the Mason City Schools.

This morning, Jonathan Cooper was named next year’s superintendent of the Mason district, the largest in Warren County.

According to a press release issued by the Mason school district, Cooper was an award-winning elementary teacher in Centerville City Schools and a successful school principal in Kettering City Schools.

MORE: Kettering News

A Martha Holden Jennings Scholar and former Ohio Teacher of the Year nominee, Cooper was able to successfully merge two diverse elementary school staffs and communities into a strong, thriving and unified Southdale Elementary in Kettering in 2010.

MORE: Centerville and Washington Twp. News

In Mason, Cooper will replace Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline, who is retiring at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

“To keep us moving forward, we want a values-driven leader who will support our world-class teachers and staff while continuing to cultivate innovation and guide us through a constantly evolving financial and regulatory landscape,” said Matt Steele, president of the Mason school board said in the press release. “The great news for our students, staff and community is that we already have a visionary, humble, community-oriented leader who has built deep relationships with district partners and business leaders and helped make Mason a leader in innovation and professional development - our current Chief Innovation Officer, Jonathan Cooper - who we are thrilled to appoint as Dr. Kist-Kline’s successor.”

MORE: Springboro superintendent leaving for Mason

The Mason City Schools Board of Education is to appoint Cooper as superintendent, effective July 1, 2018, at its regular meeting on Tuesday.

“I am honored that the School Board has entrusted me with this great responsibility. It is such a joy to be able to serve Mason’s students, staff, families and community in an even deeper way. I have been fortunate to work closely with Dr. Kist-Kline and learn from her courageous leadership, and I’m excited to build on the foundation that she and our school board and dedicated staff have firmly established,” said Cooper in the release. “As a second generation educator, learning is my family’s passion, and it is our mission as a family to serve our community’s schools.”

Cooper was named deputy superintendent beginning Jan. 1. In that expanded role, he will oversee key personnel and master facilities plan decisions, in addition to his current duties.

RELATED: Watch the announcement

He joined the district in 2014 as chief innovation officer. He led the development of the Mason Experiential Learning Program.

Also this fall, Cooper was awarded the 2017 Excellence in Education Award and the 2017 Rising Star Award from the Mason Deerfield Chamber of Commerce.

Cooper earned his bachelor’s of education with a concentration in science from Ball State University, his master’s of science in educational leadership from the University of Dayton.

Follow Lawrence Budd on Twitter

Jonathan and his wife, Michelle, are parents of Henry, age 12, Wyatt, age 9, Myles, age 7, and Tessa, age 5.

“This is a big move for our family because one of our core family values is living an integrated life where we are able to live out our mission by serving our local community and authentically connecting with our neighbors. We look forward to moving to Mason and already have stock in a lot of Mason green,” Cooper said.

Safe ride service operator accused of sexually assaulting Miami U students

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 4:53 PM
Updated: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 5:03 PM

Sherman Jackson II (Courtesy/Butler County Jail)
Sherman Jackson II (Courtesy/Butler County Jail)

The owner/operator of “Sherman’s Safe Ride,” a taxi service that caters to Miami University students, has been jailed on charges accusing him of sexually assaulting students. 

According to Oxford police, two females filed separate reports with police accusing 38-year-old Sherman Jackson II of sexually assaulting them in his vehicle. According to the complaints, the incidents occurred Dec. 8 and 9. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Witnesses recall saving child in fatal crash

Both women are 21 and MU students. 

Jackson was arrested and is being detained in the Butler County Jail on two counts of rape, two couns of kidnapping. Police said the investigation of both cases is continuing. 

The Oxford Police department asks anyone who has additional information about the incidents to call the police tip line, 513-524-5268 or CrimeStoppers, 513-352-3040.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Woman who posed as boy to date Springboro girl in 2010 wanted again

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 4:49 PM


            Patricia Dye was Butler County’s second-most wanted sex offender in 2012. She posed as teenage boy to have sex with girls in Warren County, prosecutors said. Dye was released from prison in 2010 and moved to Middletown, but then went west without registering her address. Butler County Sheriff’s deputies retrieved her after the federal authorities located her in Orick, California. She is wanted again for failing to report a change of address. FILE
Patricia Dye was Butler County’s second-most wanted sex offender in 2012. She posed as teenage boy to have sex with girls in Warren County, prosecutors said. Dye was released from prison in 2010 and moved to Middletown, but then went west without registering her address. Butler County Sheriff’s deputies retrieved her after the federal authorities located her in Orick, California. She is wanted again for failing to report a change of address. FILE

Area authorities are looking for Patricia J. Dye again.

Dye, 38, is accused of failing since June 21 to record a change of address as required because she is a registered sex offender.

Dye was Butler County’s second-most wanted sex offender in 2012 until sheriff’s deputies brought her back from Orick, California.

RELATED: Woman accused of dressing as boy to have sex with Springboro teen arrested

Dye went there when she was released from the Warren County Jail in 2010 after serving six months for contributing to the delinquency of a child, sexual imposition and attempted sexual imposition.

RELATED: No plea bargain for woman who pretended to be boy

She was arrested after posing as teenage boy named Matt Abrams to build a sexual relationship with a Springboro girl, investigators said. After her release she moved to Middletown, but then moved west without registering her address.

She was “at large” on Monday, according to Warren County authorities, charged with failing to provide notice of a change of address, a fourth-degree felony.