Giant Jesus landmark returns to I-75

Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 @ 12:11 PM
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 @ 5:43 PM

Staff Writer Michael D. Pitman contributed to this story.

One of the largest — and most controversial — landmarks along Interstate 75 is back and bigger than ever.

After Solid Rock Church’s “King of Kings” sculpture, commonly referred to as “Touchdown Jesus” was struck by lightning in June 2010, the late Rev. Lawrence Bishop and his wife, Darlene, pledged the statue would rise again.

That prophecy came true under bright blue skies Wednesday

The statue — called “Lux Mundi” which is Latin for “Light of the World” — depicts Jesus with arms wide open, as though preparing to hug someone.

Crews started installing the torso of the statue at 11 a.m. As the final piece of the 52-foot statue was lowered into place, the sounds of honking cars on I-75 could be heard in the distance.

Lawrence Bishop, co-pastor and son of the late minister, called the sculptor “a beacon of hope” for I-75 travelers. He referred to the statue as the “heartbeat of the church.”

Solid Rock Church’s 3,000 members come from “all walks of life,” Bishop said, so it was important for the sculpture to illustrate the openness the church has for all people.

The statue’s sculptor, Tom Tsuchiya, of Cincinnati, said the extended arms represent a “simple message: Let’s all get along.”

The previous statue cost about $250,000 and was funded through a church member’s donation, Bishop said. The church used insurance money from the fire two years ago to purchase the new statue.

“It’s neat to see this day finally come,” said church administrator Ron Carter.

The statue represents “the hope of the world,” Carter said. “Right now, this world needs a positive message.”

Tom Rhoades, of Enon, and Linda Cornell, of Springfield, made the 45-minute trek to Monroe after they heard the statue was going to be erected Wednesday. They’ve driven multiple times up and down I-75 and said they have been anticipating this new statue.

Cornell called the statue “pretty neat” and said it looks more realistic than the previous one. Rhoades said the companies who worked to create the statue — Dayton-based Global Manufacturing Solutions and Englewood-based Display Dynamics — did a “fantastic job.”

To help prevent the same fate as its predecessor, the sculpture contains a lightning rod and is mostly made of a fire-resistant polymer composite.

The statue will be dedicated at 7 p.m. Sept. 30, followed by a church service and fireworks.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman a ‘no’ on Senate health care bill

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 2:18 PM
Updated: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 2:19 PM

FILE - In this Tuesday, June 20, 2017 file photo, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, pauses for a reporter's question as he arrives at a closed-door GOP strategy session on the Republican health care overhaul with Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and others, at the Capitol in Washington. Days after it's release, Portman faces intense pressure back home to oppose the Senate’s GOP health care bill.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Less than an hour after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he would pull the Senate version of a bill to replace the 2010 health care bill known as Obamacare, Sen. Rob Portman announced his opposition to the current draft. 

"I am committed to creating a better health care system that lowers the cost of coverage, provides access to quality care, and protects the most vulnerable in our society," Portman said. "The Senate draft before us includes some promising changes to reduce premiums in the individual insurance market, but I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill, especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic."

He said the Senate draft "falls short and therefore I cannot support it in its current form. 

RELATED: Short on votes, Senate delays vote on health care

"In the days and weeks ahead, I’m committed to continue talking with my colleagues about how we can fix the serious problems in our health care system while protecting Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Portman issued the statement along with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito who also announced her opposition to the draft. They released it even as a bus carrying Republican senators headed to the White House for a meeting on health care with President Donald Trump. 

McConnell, who had planned to hold a vote on the Senate bill this week, announced he was delaying that vote during a GOP caucus lunch of Senate Republicans Tuesday afternoon. Senators including Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine were among a handful of Republican senators who had already balked at the Senate's version of the bill to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act. A Congressional Budget Office report Monday that found some 22 million would lose health-care coverage over the next decade under the Senate bill, though the bill would lower the deficit by $321 billion through 2026.

“This is a very complicated subject,” McConnell said. “I’m still optimistic we’re going to get there.” He said Democrats were “not interested in participating” in negotiations over the bill.

But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said “we’re the first to say the Affordable Care Act needs improvement.” Democrats were not, however, willing to kick millions of people off insurance, he said.

The last-minute decision to pull the bill before an expected Thursday vote mirrors how the House earlier this year had to pull its initial bill repealing Obamacare before later narrowly passing a bill to replace to 2010 health care law in May. 

RELATED: American Medical Association poll: Ohioans don’t want cuts to Medicaid

Portman was among those who had expressed concern about the bill. But Portman did not say he planned to vote against the bill until late Tuesday. He did, however, express concerns that the Senate bill would roll back a Medicaid expansion that allowed Ohio Gov. John Kasich to insure 700,000 more Ohioans. Portman worries such a roll-back would cause the state's drug-addicted population to lose coverage.

Kasich, in D.C. for a board meeting with Siemans, told reporters at the National Press Club that he does not support the Senate bill as written. He said he had urged Portman not to accept “a few billion” to fight the nation’s opioid epidemic in exchange for drastic cuts to Medicaid, saying that the former would be “like spitting in the ocean.”

Kasich said he last spoke to Portman, who may be a key swing vote on the Senate health-care vote that could be taken on as early as this week, few weeks back.

“He knows what my concerns are,” he said, but cautioned “I don’t cast his vote.”

RELATED: Gov. Kasich urges Sen. Portman to fight health care bill

Kasich — who also objected to the House bill that passed in May — said the current bill is “unacceptable” and lacks the resources to cover the mentally ill, addicted and working poor. He supports making mental health and addiction services “essential benefits” that states are required to offer, but is more concerned that the drastic cuts in expenditures will leave people without coverage.

“If they don’t want to improve this bill, I’m not for this bill,” he said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who opposed the bill, applauded the delay, saying it “will gie the people of Ohio more time to see how it impacts their lives.”

Even as the delay occurred, a survey released Tuesday shows that just 14 percent of registered voters in Ohio want Congress to scale back federal dollars for Medicaid.

The survey, sponsored by the American Medical Association and conducted by the Republican polling firm of Public Opinion Strategies, strongly suggests voters in Ohio are sharply opposed to many of the features of the health-care bill on the Senate floor backed to Republican leaders and President Donald Trump.

RELATED: Kasich calls for bipartisan talks on health care in Congress

The poll shows that 47 percent of Ohio voters say federal and state spending for Medicaid should remain the same while 32 percent want to see spending increased. The poll also shows that 59 percent of Ohio voters approve of the Medicaid program in the state as it now exists.

Some Republicans wondered whether McConnell’s decision to delay will ultimately imperil the chances of repealing the 2010 law.

“There is a window to pass this, the window is very narrow and postponing this vote I’m not sure what is achieved or accomplished,” said one Republican, who spoke on the condition that he not be named.

Man who robbed 3 Waffle Houses in 24 hours sentenced to life in prison

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 3:55 PM

A jury convicted Robbin Haynes, 23, of armed robbery, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony for the 2014 crime. (Photo via Cobb County government)

A man convicted of robbing Waffle House restaurants in Cobb and Gwinnett counties will spend the rest of his life in prison.

>> Read more trending news

Cobb County Superior Court Judge C. LaTain Kell handed down the sentence Friday after a jury convicted Robbin Haynes, 23, of armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony for the 2014 crime.

Haynes and another man, Otis Lee Barnes, used a gun and large, orange bolt cutters to rob restaurant workers off Highway 92 near Sandy Plains Road on March 13, 2014. They got away with $400.

That restaurant wasn’t the only one they hit.

Investigators say the pair robbed two other Waffle House restaurants the same way.

>> Related: Waffle House co-founder dies a month after business partner

In a release sent to WSB-TV, Assistant District Attorney Lauryn Perry, who prosecuted the case, said, “Mr. Haynes committed three armed robberies in about 24 hours. The first occurred in Gwinnett County, the second one in Cobb County and the last one in Gwinnett County. He showed a lack of compassion for his victims and a streak of violence that the state believes is reflected in his sentence.”

Haynes was previously convicted in Gwinnett County for the two related armed robberies there and was sentenced to life in prison.

In addition to the life in prison sentence, the Cobb County judge also added a mandatory five years to serve in prison on the firearms charge. Haynes’ sentence will run concurrently with the sentence imposed in Gwinnett.

Barnes, 25, pleaded guilty to charges in both counties. He was sentenced in Cobb County to 20 years, with 10 years to be served in prison.

Joe’s Crab Shack makes some drastic changes ahead of possible sale of company

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 3:53 PM

Walter Bibikow/Getty Images/AWL Images RM

Weeks after Joe’s Crab Shack announced that it was filing for bankruptcy protection ahead of a possible acquisition, Ignite Restaurant Group, the operator of the restaurant chain, is laying off its remaining 87 employees, according to documents released Monday by the Texas Workforce Commission.

>> Read more trending news

“In connection with these proceedings, Ignite has sought court approval of a sale procedure that is expected to result in the sale of substantially all of Ignite’s business assets,” the documents reveal. “This sale procedure will result in the termination of employment of all of Ignite’s employees.”

>>RELATED: The owners of Joe’s Crab Shack just filed for bankruptcy

Ignite announced June 6 that it would reorganize under Chapter 11 in advance of an acquisition by KRG Acquisitions Co., an affiliate of Kelly Cos., a San Diego-based private-equity firm.

‘Little People Big World’s’ Zach Roloff introduces new baby to soccer

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 4:31 PM
Updated: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 4:31 PM

'Little People, Big World’ stars Zach and Tori Roloff took their new baby to his first soccer game. Zach is a big soccer fan and even teaches children the game.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Reality TV stars Zach and Tori Roloff of “Little People, Big World” fame, took their new baby to his first soccer game this week.

>> Read more trending news

The couple documented much of the family outing for fans on Instagram as they took in a Portland Timbers game. Zach has a serious passion for soccer and has been a youth soccer coach for more than 10 years.

Baby Jackson Roloff was pictured in Zach’s arms wearing sound-blocking headphones and looking up at his dad, who was beaming with pride.
“Ah the way Baby J already looks at his daddy. I choose to think this is a smile. Not just gas. #zandtpartyofthree,” Tori wrote.

A post shared by Tori Roloff (@toriroloff) on

>> Related: ‘Little People, Big World’ stars Zach, Tori Roloff reveal new baby a little person

Over the weekend, the new mom soaked up some sun with her baby, but it looked like it lulled Jackson right to sleep.

“I was apparently boring baby J at our pool day today. #zandtpartyofthree,” she captioned the sweet shot.

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