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.

Video showing high school cheerleaders yelling racial slur prompts investigation

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 3:53 AM

Cheerleaders (stock photo).
Jupiterimages/Getty Images
Cheerleaders (stock photo).(Jupiterimages/Getty Images)

Administrators in a Utah school district are investigating a disturbing video that appears to show a group of cheerleaders shouting a racial slurKSTU reports. The 10-second recording, which was posted to Instagram, features a group of teenage girls who individually and as a group repeatedly yell a profane phrase with the N-word while laughing.

>> Watch the news report here

“We are shocked by the conduct of these students and the contents of the video,” read a statement from the Weber School District. “School officials have started an investigation and the matter is being taken very seriously. We are trying to determine when the video was made, where it was filmed, why the students would engage in such conduct, and how the clip ended up on social media.”

School officials first became aware of the footage on Monday after it began making rounds on social media. While they confirmed three of the girls in the video are cheerleaders, there is no indication the footage was filmed during extra-curricular activities. The IT department has been instructed to look into whether the clip was created with a video-editing app capable of generating the offensive phrase.

>> Read more trending news 

“The video was then possibly uploaded into an app that plays it backwards, producing an entirely different-sounding phrase. In this case, a very derogatory, offensive racial slur,” the district explained, adding that the girls may have actually been saying the phrase “surgeon cuff” and playing it backwards.

Other students were quick to point out that, forwards or backwards, the intent was the same.

Weber School District spokesman Lane Findlay told the Desert News that the students could be expelled or kicked off the cheerleading squad, saying, “All of those things would be on the table. Obviously, they knew what they were doing. It’s just completely inappropriate.”

Related

Major Wright Patt gateway to close for weeks starting today

Published: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 @ 9:43 AM

Major Wright Patt gateway to close for weeks

For the second time in less than three years, a major Wright-Patterson gateway used daily by thousands of commuters will close for three weeks, according to base officials.

Gate 12A, near the Air Force Materiel Command headquarters and off Ohio 444 in Fairborn, is scheduled to close today through Nov. 10.

Crews will repave the road into the gate entrance and exit, shutting traffic in both directions. The gateway was last closed in 2015 for a $920,000 security upgrade.

Motorists should expect delays, a project official said. Fourteen thousand commuters — counting those both in and out — travel the gateway each day, Wright-Patterson figures show.

During the work, two traffic lanes will be kept open to both the Hope Hotel and Convention Center and Ogden Avenue, which leads to a base pass and ID office, said Ronald E. Lee, 88th Civil Engineer Group chief project manager.

RELATED: Major Wright-Patterson gate to close for three weeks

The closure this time will mean Gate 15A, near Ohio 844, will be open 24 hours temporarily. An influx of traffic during the closure is expected at Gates 1A, off Springer Road, and Gate 26A, off Ohio 235 near Ohio 4.

Drainage problems caused potholes and eroded the roadway in front of the gate, where the $125,000 reconstruction project will install a new catch basin, drainage piping and mill out old pavement and repave the roadway, Lee said.

“We’re actually going to make pavement repairs outside the gate,” he said. “The gate itself is not going to be touched.”

RELATED: McCook Field had large influence on U.S. aviation history

Along with potentially causing heavier traffic for commuters to get on and off the base, a downtown Fairborn restaurant manager expected a sharp downturn in lunch patrons in the midst of the work.

“We’d see a big impact in a negative way,” said Kadir Kurt, manager of the Fairborn Family Diner and Restaurant on North Broad. He estimated 60 to 75 percent of lunch patrons drive from Wright-Patterson. “Our lunch business would go down a lot,” he said.

Matthew P. Owen, executive director of the Fairborn Area Chamber of Commerce, said some businesses might temporarily experience a minor downturn, but Fairborn businesses closer to gates staying open could see an influx of customers, such as those exiting from Gate 26A onto Ohio 235, which leads into downtown.

“It’s three weeks, and I think people who are loyal to a restaurant or a certain business are going to find a way to get there,” he said. “We hope that’s the case.

“I would think that if I want to get somewhere and I want to patronize a business, you can get there,” he added. “You may take a little bit longer to get out, but you can get there.”

Wright-Patterson is the largest single site employer in Ohio with more than 27,000 employees and has a more than $4 billion estimated regional economic impact.

Chilly morning; dry stretch continues

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 3:32 AM

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Chilly morning
  • Sunny skies this week
  • Staying dry for several days

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

DETAILED FORECAST

Today: After a chilly morning in the low 40s, highs will climb back to the upper 60s, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. Clear skies will allow for a lot of sunshine this afternoon.

Graphic by Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini

Thursday: A beautiful afternoon is expected with highs around 70, which is normal than normal. There will be lots of sunshine during the day and a few clouds at night. It will stay dry.

>> County-by-County forecast

Friday: It won’t be as cool in the morning with temperatures around 50. Highs will reach the low 70s and there will be sunny skies.

>> Dayton traffic from the WHIO traffic center

Saturday: A beautiful start to the weekend with highs in the low to mid-70s with sunshine.

Graphic by Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini

>> Warming trend continues; lower temps arrive next week

Sunday: The day will start quiet. Highs will reach the mid-70s and it will become breezy with clouds increasing. A few showers late at night are possible.

Embracing bodies found in national park believed to be missing hikers

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 3:09 AM

This combo made from undated photos provided by the National Park Service show Rachel Nguyen, left, and Joseph Orbeso, as they seek the public's help in locating them. The father of Orbeso, a missing California man, says he believes the bodies of his son and his son's girlfriend, Nguyen, have been found in Joshua Tree National Park, Calif., near the area where the couple vanished while hiking nearly three months ago. Officials have not yet confirmed the identities of the bodies discovered Sunday in the desert park. (National Park Service via AP)
AP
This combo made from undated photos provided by the National Park Service show Rachel Nguyen, left, and Joseph Orbeso, as they seek the public's help in locating them. The father of Orbeso, a missing California man, says he believes the bodies of his son and his son's girlfriend, Nguyen, have been found in Joshua Tree National Park, Calif., near the area where the couple vanished while hiking nearly three months ago. Officials have not yet confirmed the identities of the bodies discovered Sunday in the desert park. (National Park Service via AP)(AP)

Search and rescue efforts in California's Joshua Tree National Park led to the discovery of two bodies embracing one another. They are believed to be Joseph Orbeso, 21, and Rachel Nguyen, 20.

>> Watch the news report here

According to KESQ and KABC, the couple was last heard from in late July, and search teams later located their car near the beginning of one of the park’s trails. Their last known contact was a cellphone ping in the area, and their belongings were found still inside the Airbnb they were renting, as they never checked out.

>> On Rare.us: Watch the amazing moment hikers lost in the wilderness are found by a drone hovering high above the trees

Orbeso’s father, Gilbert, and a group of search and rescue workers launched a months-long search for the hikers, making a huge breakthrough on Sunday as they scaled 30-foot cliffs and covered new ground. Clothing, food wrappers and water bottles led them to the bodies, which were picked up by a helicopter and sent to a coroner’s office to confirm the identities. Orbeso’s father, however, is certain that the remains belong to his son and his son’s girlfriend.

>> Read more trending news

“A sense of relief that we have found them after going a long time on these hikes. I feel like we have closure. We know we found them. That was our main goal, to find them. And I’m glad we did that,” he said, according to KESQ.

"Hope they can rest in peace now," he added, KABC reported.

Official identification of the remains is pending and will follow completed autopsies.

Related