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Gold Star families break ground for own memorial

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 10:56 AM

            Medal of Honor recipient Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams provides remarks as the featured speaker during the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Gold Star Family Memorial at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Sept. 28. The crowd also heard remarks from Gold Star parents Jim and Leslie Groves in addition to others during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)
Medal of Honor recipient Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams provides remarks as the featured speaker during the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Gold Star Family Memorial at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Sept. 28. The crowd also heard remarks from Gold Star parents Jim and Leslie Groves in addition to others during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

For their sacrifice and what they’ve endured in the loss of their loved one, Gold Star families deserve a monument in every state, says the last surviving Marine who was awarded a Medal of Honor during World War II.

Hershel “Woody” Williams, Gold Star families and others gathered the afternoon of Sept. 28 for a symbolic groundbreaking for a Gold Star Family Memorial Monument in the Memorial Garden at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation is sponsoring the installation with the support of other organizations like the Marine Corps League, Young Marines, Navy League and Gold Star families.

“We stand here as a result of and in recognition of the sacrifices of our fellow Americans – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard who gave their very life in defense of our nation,” said Naval LTJG Matthew Previtts, the event’s narrator. “Today, we pledge their gift to us and the price paid by their families will be forever remembered.”

He defined a Gold Star family member as any father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter or relative who has lost a loved one in service to the nation.

“That is what will be constructed here, a monument memorial to their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their loved one,” Previtts said.

Gold Star father Jim Groves thanked Williams and his foundation for his vision in creating the monument.

“As Gold Star parents, we know all too well that this country was founded one folded flag at a time,” he said. “It is a national debt that can never be repaid.”

The monument will be one of two dozen across the United States, and 51 other monuments under way in 37 states. Honoring Gold Star families is very personal to Williams.

Before joining the Marine Corps, he delivered death notices to families during WWII. In the Battle of Iwo Jima, Williams was said to have displayed “valiant devotion to duty” and service above self as he “enabled his company to reach its objective.” His actions, commitment to his fellow service members and heroism were recognized on Oct. 5, 1945, when he received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman.

After his 20 years of service in the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserves, he worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 33 years.

“It is you that we honor,” Williams remarked to the Gold Star families present. “Your presence speaks louder than any words. It says that you are an American in the very truest sense. Your presence says to those who lost a loved one serving America that they are the true heroes of our country, and the monument will say, ‘They will not be forgotten.’”

He also said he hoped today’s youth will visit the monument and perhaps, for the first time, gain some realization of “the sacrifices that are necessary to keep us a free people” and the gift that is freedom.

“As time goes by, untold young and old will look upon this memorial and in some sense, be aware that it took sacrifices of those who were loved to keep us a free people and in many communities, give all they had so we could be blessed,” Williams said. “We will not forget. We never will.”

He was joined by the Gold Star family members to symbolically break ground, including Lucy and David Luff of Hamilton, whose son, U.S. Army Sgt. David Luff, died in Tikrit, Iraq, in 2010. Sgt.

“I don’t want anybody to forget it,” Lucy Luff said.

Rita Kreitzer, Army survivor outreach services support coordinator, said, “I think (the memorial) is priceless for our Gold Star families. … The families who are dealing with sacrifice and dealing with their grief, things like this will absolutely help them heal. Although that healing never completes, this certainly helps.”

Memorial monument information is available online at and on YouTube at

Omarosa Manigault Newman, a CSU graduate, leaving White House

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 10:03 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 11:10 AM

Who is Omarosa Manigault Newman

Omarosa Manigault Newman - whose resignation the White House announced Wednesday and who will leave the White House Jan. 20 – was one of the celebrities of the Trump White House, known often just by her first name. She was also one of the administration's most prominent Ohioans.

Until her departure - according to some reports she was fired, and April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks reported she was escorted off campus late Tuesday - Central State University graduate served as director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison. That office is charged with garnering support for Trump’s agenda as well as organizing events within the White House.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Manigault Newman resigned “to pursue other opportunities.”

“We wish her the best in future endeavors and are grateful for her service,” she said.

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At the White House, Manigault Newman was tasked with outreach to veterans’ groups, women’s issues, African-American engagement, business and faith-based community outreach. In an interview, she estimated that she reviews between 15 and 20 presidential communications a day. She works with White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, Huckabee Sanders and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway.

In an interview last week, she said she also viewed herself as a resource for President Donald Trump.

“I have known the president for almost 15 years, he knows me, he trusts me, and he knows what I bring to the table,” she said, citing her experience in business, media entertainment, academia and in the Clinton White House.

Her year in the White House was not without the drama that has been a constant thread of her time in public life.

RELATED: Omarosa says Trump is keeping list of enemies

In August, she sparred with the moderator of a panel discussion at the conference of the National Association of Black Journalists in New Orleans and was heckled by audience members for supporting Trump. She irritated some members of the Congressional Black Caucus in June when she sent a letter to members signed “The Honorable Omarosa Manigault.” And she got in an argument with Ryan, a former friend, during her first few weeks on the job.

But in her Dec. 5 interview, Manigault Newman said her focus was on her work.

“You can’t take things personally,” she said. “I don’t now and I never did on the show. I’ve never done it in my professional life.”

“In this role you have to understand the intricacies of the political process, of the contributions to the process. We do this for the good of the country,” she said. “I don’t internalize what I do here. I just put my head down and do the work.”

Manigault Newman became famous for being a villain during the first season of “The Apprentice,” but, talking to C-SPAN in March, she made it clear that that was part of her plan. She was entering a field driven by ratings, she said, “and you know what drives ratings? Conflict.”

“I understood what drove that business, and what drives that business was ratings,” she said. “No one wants to tune into a boring television show.”

Some of the turmoil was sprung upon her. When she was seven, her father was shot in Youngstown, an experience, she told C-SPAN, that “shattered” the family.

Manigault Newman, 43, grew up in Westlake Terrace, one of the first housing projects to be built in the country. “Everyone in my family was either in the military or worked in the steel mills or worked in the factories,” she said. “Some worked in the car plant. Everyone in my family worked hard. Hard work is a central part of who we are as a family.”

Her childhood also gave her one of her fist lessons in politics. Her church was involved in politics, and she still remembers handing out leaflets when she was seven or eight. Her family was also in unions; that, too, shaped her political upbringing – one that was initially Democratic.

“Politics is truly part of the fabric of who I am,” she said. “I understood the role that Ohio played in national politics very early.”

Archived video: Omarosa Manigault explains why she loves her alma mater Central State. She was in town May 8, 2015 to get the baccalaureate address for her cousin Shatasia Walker 's graduation from the university. Video by Amelia Robinson and Andrew Smith.

In high school, she became a volleyball player and – after her school librarian gave her a pamphlet – a beauty pageant contestant. Even then, she was competitive: When another contestant won the Miss Buckeye Elks contest, Manigault-Newman resolved that she’d go back and win it. She did, the very next year, later becoming the first African-American woman to become Miss Youngstown and representing Youngstown in the Miss Ohio pageant.

Her drive sent her to Central State University on a full volleyball scholarship. She graduated in 1996 with a degree in broadcast journalism. On the volleyball team, she was the setter. “The setter really sets the tone and the pace of the game and the strategy for how to win,” she said on C-SPAN. “and that’s why I love that position.”

From there she went to Howard University and from there, her first stint at the White House. That experience, she told C-SPAN, prepared her for her current role. “It helped me to understand that no one thing is greater than the incredible agenda we have and stay focused on that,” she said.

Things sped up in 2003, when she took a train from Washington, D.C. to New York City to audition for a new reality TV show featuring Donald Trump. She was eliminated in the ninth episode, but not before becoming a lightning rod. To watch those episodes now is to see a woman who had a knack for outraging her fellow contestants but remaining, for the most part, calm. By the time she was eliminated, she was famous. Later, she came back for the spin-off Celebrity Apprentice, where she got into a long-running feud with Piers Morgan that culminated in her pouring wine on his head.

Through it all, her friendship with Trump continued. When he decided to run for president, she campaigned for him and later took a job in his White House.

In an interview just a week before her resignation, Manigault-Newman said her focus is on the job.

“I’m very honored to be in this role,” she said. “I really, really do believe in the vision the president has for the country, but more important, he’s my friend. Watching him go through these things and being able to be a part of that has been one of the great accomplishments of my life.”

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill Al Franken's Senate seat

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 3:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 11:17 AM

WATCH: Senator Al Franken Resigns from Senate

Updated 11:07 a.m. ET Dec. 13: Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton announced Wednesday that the state’s lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, will fill the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Al Franken.

Franken announced his intent to resign earlier this month after multiple women came forward to accuse the Democrat of sexual misconduct.

In a statement, officials said Smith will serve a one-year term in the Senate before Minnesotans go to the polls to chose Franken’s replacement.

Original story: Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will be appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat of fellow Democrat Al Franken, the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio are reporting.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Al Franken will resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct

Gov. Mark Dayton will announce Smith's appointment at a news conference Wednesday morning, the outlets reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the decision.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Al Franken: What happens to his Senate seat if he resigns?

Both outlets reported that Smith, 59, also will vie for the seat in the November 2018 special election.

The news comes less than one week after Franken announced he'd be resigning amid sexual misconduct allegations.

>> Read more trending news 

From 2003-2006, Smith, a New Mexico native who has lived in Minnesota since 1984, was vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. She also was chief of staff for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Dayton before becoming lieutenant governor in 2015.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

What You Need To Know About Al Franken

Lebanon church fire believed to be caused by electrical issue

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 3:56 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 5:20 AM

SKY7: Aerial footage of Lebanon church fire

UPDATE @ 10:18 a.m.:

Fire officials believe the fire at Bethel AME Church was caused by an electrical issue and not in the kitchen as initially thought.

“The investigation is on-going, but it is believed to be electrical in nature likely originating on the second floor sanctuary area, not in the kitchen area as first believed,” the city said in a prepared statement. “Extensive damage was sustained to the interior and contents of the church.”

RELATED: Xenia Twp. fire crews battle residential fire in Greene County

No injuries were reported and the building has been turned back over to church officials this morning.

UPDATE @ 7:10 a.m: Bethel AME Church was planning to have a holiday Christmas program before a fire heavily damaged the church early Wednesday morning.

Crews were dispatched to the 100 block of N. Cherry Street around 3:30 a.m. after a Lebanon police officer noticed the church’s second floor had visible flames and smoke.

Officials believe the fire started the night before on the first floor of the church in the kitchen and burned to the second floor where the sanctuary is located.

The church typically hosts free meals on Tuesday that they serve to those in the community, according to one member.

Even under the circumstances of the fire, Renee Forrester, a member of the church, says the congregation of about 25 members will overcome it.

“We’ll come back from it. We have a strong congregation. We’re small, but we do a lot.”, said Forrester.

Mutual aide from the likes of Hamilton Twp. South Lebanon Fire, Clearcreek Twp., and Turtlecreek Twp. were used to put the fire out.

Crews continue to investigate the incident.

UPDATE @5:20 a.m.

Crews continue to fight a blaze at the Bethel AME Church in Lebanon.

A member of the church said the fire started in the kitchen. She said the church hosted a free meal to the community Tuesday night.

We are working to gather additional details.


Units are responding to a fully involved structure fire at Bethel AME Church in Lebanon.

The incident occurred early Wednesday morning in the 100 block of N. Cherry Street around 3:45 a.m, per initial reports. 

Flames and smoke are reportedly showing.

We have a crew on the way to the scene and will update this story with additional details. 

Substitute teacher accused of sex with 2 students seeks insanity plea

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 10:24 AM

Madeline Marx plans to submit motions seeking competency and a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Marx, a former substitute teacher, is accused of having sexual contact with two Kettering Fairmont High School students.

The Kettering Fairmont High School substitute teacher accused of having sexual contact with two students plans to submit motions to determine her competency and fitness to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

RELATED: Substitute teacher indicted on student sex charges enters plea

Madeline Marx, 23, appeared Wednesday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. Pending the motions being filed and a doctor conducting the exam, Marx’s scheduling conference was continued until Jan. 31.

Attorney Keith Fricker told Judge Steven Dankof he was going to file the competency and NGRI motions in the next couple days.

RELATED: What we’ve learned about Madeline Marx

Fricker told Dankof he had arranged for a doctor to do the exam and if prosecutors object, he would work with them to find a replacement.

Before the hearing, Marx was dabbing her eyes and was comforted by a woman who came with her to the hearing. During it, she had tissues with her while at the podium.

RELATED: Sex with student cases swamp area schools

“Ms. Marx, hang in there, OK, you’ll get through this,” Dankof said. “You’ll be all right.”

Marx is charged with two counts of sexual battery. Both counts are third-degree felonies and punishable by sentences of up to 9 to 36 months in prison.

RELATED: Middle school teacher Jessica Langford accused of having sex with 14-year-old student

A 17-year-old student told police he was given oral sex by a teacher July 19 in the parking lot of Big Lots on Wilmington Pike, according to a complaint, affidavit and statement of facts filed in court.

A 16-year-old boy told police he had intercourse with a substitute teacher Sept. 21 in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Smithville Road, according to court documents.

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Marx was removed from Fairmont’s building Nov. 8 by police. Marx admitted to having sexual relationships with multiple students, according to court documents.

Marx also was a substitute teacher for Oakwood schools, but officials there say there hasn’t been any complaints about her.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi