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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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Dry time to start the week

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 4:52 AM
Updated: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

Dry conditions are expected in the Dayton area to start the week.

Flood advisory until 3:15 p.m. for the following counties:

Clinton, Champaign, Clark, Greene, Montgomery and Warren

Mostly cloudy skies becoming partly cloudy are expected this afternoon. It will be a dry day with highs in the upper 40s. Some spots may get into the lower 50s. It will also be breezy with winds gusting over 25 miles per hour at times.

Quick-Look Forecast:

  • Streams, creeks and rivers may still rise through Sunday.
  • More sunshine to start the week.
  • Rain returns Wednesday and Thursday.

>>WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

TONIGHT: A dry and cool night is expected. Temperatures will drop into the middle 30s.

MONDAY: Mostly sunny skies are expected with highs in the lower to middle 50s.

TUESDAY: We get back into the upper 50s with mostly sunny skies.

WEDNESDAY: The chance for rain returns in the afternoon and evening. Highs will be in the upper 50s.

THURSDAY: Rain showers are expected with highs in the middle 50s.

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Area rivers in flood stage due to recent rain

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:27 AM
Updated: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 12:40 PM

Many rivers in the Dayton area are in flood stages due to all the rain that we've gotten over the last few weeks.

Many rivers are in flood stages due to the recent rains, which included a record-breaking day for Dayton, which saw 1.84 inches of rain Saturday to surpass the old daily rainfall record of 1.63 inches set in 2016.

With all the rain, the Great Miami River in Dayton is expected to crest around 7 p.m. today at 32.2 feet, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar said.

>> High water blocks some roads; troopers urge driver safety

Other rivers are considered in minor flood stage, such as the Mad River near Springfield, the Little Miami River near Spring Valley in Greene County and the Great Miami River near Middletown in Butler County. These rivers are expected to recede heading into Monday.

>> Kasich declares emergency over Ohio flooding

The Great Miami River near Sidney is expected to crest in minor flood stage early Monday, then recede, Collar said.

There are flood alerts over the next couple days.

By Riverscape and whitewater chute
  • Flood Warning through 3:01 p.m. along the Mad River in Springfield
  • Flood Advisory until 3:15 p.m. for Champaign and Clark counties
  • Flood Warning through 6 p.m. Monday along the Little Miami River in parts of Greene and Warren counties
  • Along the Great Miami River, a Flood Warning lasts through 7:32 p.m. Monday in Shelby County; and to 8:30 p.m. Monday in Butler County near Middletown

There’s a lag between the heavy rain and water levels rising, which is why creeks, streams and rivers won’t recede until the start to the new week, Zontini said.

>> Flooding: Know your risks

The Great Miami River is expected to crest, or hit its highest levels, this weekend. 

In Troy, the Great Miami River is expected to crest at 13.6 feet Sunday, and in Dayton, the river is expected to crest, also Sunday, at 32.2 feet. And in Middletown, the Great Miami River is expected to crest at 12.4 feet Sunday.

The Stillwater River in Englewood is expected to crest Monday at 33.6 feet.

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

When the river does crest, here are the areas that will see flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

ENGLEWOOD (Stillwater River)

  • 23 feet: Martindale Road, Old Springfield Road and the road to the MetroPark are all closed
  • 25 feet: Martindale Road, old Springfield Road and the road to the MetroPark are covered by 2 to 3 feet of water

DAYTON (Great Miami River)

  • 27.5 feetBike trail will be flooded
  • 30 feet: Flooding occurs near Rip Rap Road between Bridgewater and Little York roads near Huber Heights

SIDNEY (Great Miami River)

  • 10 feet: The river approaches the bank on the west side of Custenborder Field. At stages above 10 feet, city officials begin flood operations.
  • 11 feet: Custenborder Field has some flooding of perimeter areas, along with flooding occurring in low spots on Miami River Road
  • 12 feet: The river reaches the bank on Riverside Drive, with flooding of Custenborder Field at the east river intake. Homes and properties will experience flooding along the river on Riverside Drive from the BK Root Beer stand to the city limits
MIDDLETOWN (Great Miami River)
  • 11 feetSome flooding occurs on private property areas along either side of Ohio 73 from the east side of the river approaching Excello. Middletown is protected by levees and floodgates to 24 feet.

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$10K reward offered for information in case of missing CDC employee

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 12:56 PM

Timothy Jerrell Cunningham
Timothy Jerrell Cunningham

The family of a missing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worker has partnered with Crime Stoppers to offer a reward for information in the case.

>> Watch the news report here

Timothy Cunningham, 35, was reported missing Feb. 16 after he called in sick to work Feb. 12 and has not been seen or heard from since, according to Atlanta police.

>> Father of CDC employee missing 10 days says disappearance 'not normal'

Police said Cunningham's parents went to his home and found his wallet along with several other belongings.

Police said Saturday that they have not been able to locate Cunningham, and they are asking for the public's help.

"This is an appeal to the public. Anyone who has seen Tim, or may know anything about his whereabouts, we're seeking your help in bringing Tim back safe to us," Cunningham's father, Terrel Cunningham, said.

>> Read more trending news 

Cunningham's family and Crime Stoppers are offering a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and indictment in the case. Police said that at this time they do not have any evidence of foul play, but it is their practice to explore any and every possibility in a case such as this one.

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12 charged in high school basketball brawl

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 12:51 PM

A brawl at a high school game in Pennsylvania occurred on Feb. 6.
Jason O'Brien/Getty Images
A brawl at a high school game in Pennsylvania occurred on Feb. 6.(Jason O'Brien/Getty Images)

Twelve people, including students and adults, will be charged in connection with a fight at a Pennsylvania high school basketball game earlier this month, police said.

>> Read more trending news

They face disorderly conduct charges.

Clairton police released details about the Feb. 6 brawl at Clairton High School between Clairton and Monessen.

Police said it began as a fight between two players and escalated from there.

Eight teenagers and four adults are charged. All are from Clairton and Monessen, police said.

In a news release, officers said they offered victims a chance to come forward to sort out who was involved in the fight, but no one did, so they used surveillance video to figure out who to charge.

The charges come after WPIAL officials decided to suspend players who left the benches for one game and put both schools on unprecedented five-year probations.

Monessen is appealing that decision.

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