Good Samaritan Hospital: Leaders saddened, concerned by closure

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 12:12 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 5:47 PM

            Shelley Dickstein
Shelley Dickstein

Good Samaritan Hospital looms large over northwest Dayton, and news of its planned closure this year sent shockwaves Wednesday through the community and halls of government.

The city, which only learned hours before Wednesday’s announcement about the hospital’s closure, is concerned about possible disinvestment in the area when it shuts down, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

But Premier Health deserves credit for contracting with a respected planning group to help engage the community and figure out a quality redevelopment plan for the site, Dickstein said.

“This is disappointing and bad news for the city, but we’ve had many times when companies uprooted and left without any conversation or concern about the community they were leaving,” Dickstein said.

RELATED: Premier Health to close Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, issued a statement saying he was “deeply saddened” by the news.

“Like many in the community, I am deeply saddened by this news. I am mindful Premier Health is more than a corporate citizen, but is a community leader. I look forward to working with them on their plans for the future at this site and their other hospital locations.”

‘Everything leaving’ west Dayton

Community activist Amaha Sellassie said this is another major blow to the beleaguered west Dayton community that relies on the hospital.

“I’m like in absolute shock … cause that’s a huge anchor for our community and it literally just seems like the west side is under attack,” he said. “The west side just keeps getting gutted, and I just don’t understand why.”

Good Samaritan is a key partner in the Phoenix Project, which is investing millions of dollars for redevelopment activities in the greater Fairview neighborhood around the hospital. Premier has also been involved in bringing access to fresh food to west Dayton, recently announcing it would donate $400,000 toward a new grocery store in the community.

RELATED: Premier to donate $400K to new west Dayton grocery

“I want to hear Premier’s plan to ensure the essential services that Good Samaritan has been providing to west Dayton is not lost,” Sellassie said.

This was echoed by people using or living near the hospital.

Kilo Simmons of Trotwood was visiting his aunt in the hospital at Good Samaritan when the news came on saying the hospital is closing.

Miami Valley Hospital being only five miles away doesn’t mean much to someone who doesn’t have a car, he said.

“How do they get there if they don’t have transportation?” he said. “Imagine a person walking out here in this cold, right now. Where are they going to get healthcare at?”

“It’s just like the grocery stores. Everything is leaving the west side of Dayton, man. Everything. Hospitals. Schools. Grocery stores. Everything is leaving.”

Eric Lewis rents a home owned by Premier that abuts the hospital. He grew up a few blocks from there.

“I’ve got several friends who have worked there for years,” he said. “It’s sad. It’s like everything is leaving the west side of Dayton.”

Hospital ‘anchored’ investment

As a nonprofit and community leader, Premier should not just sell the Good Samaritan site to any buyer — it should listen to community input and ensure the site is redeveloped in a beneficial way, said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

Good Samaritan was an anchor institution whose presence in that area helped spark private and public investment, including the decision where to place the Dayton Metro Library’s northwest branch, Whaley said.

The city has spent millions of dollars in that area on infrastructure and other improvements to help leverage investment by Good Samaritan, and Premier hopefully will be continue to be partner and won’t walk away from the site, Whaley said.

Hospitals have “cannibalized” themselves by overbuilding in the suburbs, and this loss will be hard on West Dayton, which has endured 40 years of disinvestment, Whaley said.

RELATED: 5 things you need to know about Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton

Montgomery County Commission President Debbie Lieberman likewise said she understands it was not an easy decision for the hospital network and believes Premier will help employees and the community in the transition.

“One of the comments that was made to me was (hospital officials) aren’t going to be like NCR and just walk away,” she said.

The announcement impacts hospital employees, patients and the surrounding community. She said the county will work with Premier to minimize the impact on all three groups.

“The county will assist in making sure health care services remain strong in that area,” she said. “Its’ not like they are packing up and leaving the community, but we are deeply saddened by this. But we will move forward.”

Phoenix Project

Good Samaritan was a lead partner on the Phoenix project, which helped leverage more than $125 million in investments around the hospital since 2004, Dayton officials said.

Good Samaritan’s level of commitment to the project beyond this year is uncertain, Dickstein said, but the city and other partners will engage residents and businesses about potential reuse of the space.

RELATED: Area hospitals ranked among best in Ohio

Good Samaritan has spent more than $60 million on campus improvements and contributed almost $10 million to help fund other neighborhood improvements.

Some funding has paid for acquiring and demolishing blighted structures along the Salem Avenue corridor, which is traveled by about 27,000 motorists each day. The city of Dayton also invested more than $10 million in the Phoenix project.

The city will talk with the community about what types of redevelopment would fit the Good Samaritan property, officials said.

Parallels with NCR, St. Elizabeth

State Rep. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, is a practicing physician and said the former St. Elizabeth hospital site is a sign there is life after death for large medical centers.

“I thoroughly believe that the Good Samaritan site will become a very viable medical community given time and the assistance of Premier Health and others,” he said.

RELATED: Hospital to add ER and 80 jobs

Franciscan Medical Center, originally St. Elizabeth Hospital, was the last major hospital to close in the city in 2000. The property is now home to a variety of medical offices and other health care providers.

Good Samaritan’s closure is a big setback considering there was strong and building momentum in that part of the city, said Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams.

“However, we have a resilient community and if we can survive blows from General Motors and NCR, we can survive this blow as well,” he said.

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Billy Graham’s coffin was built by a convicted killer who found faith in prison

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 11:19 AM

FILE — The Rev. Billy Graham speaks at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Nov. 18, 2004. Graham, a North Carolina farmers son who preached to millions in stadium events he called crusades, becoming a pastor to presidents and the nations best-known Christian evangelist for more than 60 years, died on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, at his home in North Carolina. He was 99. (Monica Almeida/The New York Times)
FILE — The Rev. Billy Graham speaks at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Nov. 18, 2004. Graham, a North Carolina farmers son who preached to millions in stadium events he called crusades, becoming a pastor to presidents and the nations best-known Christian evangelist for more than 60 years, died on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, at his home in North Carolina. He was 99. (Monica Almeida/The New York Times)

Rev. Billy Graham died Wednesday at 99-years-old and despite his fame and profound impact, he may be buried in a simple plywood coffin built by some unexpected craftsmen.

Graham, a famed evangelist who met with at least a dozen presidents and preached to millions of people, is to be buried in a coffin built by prisoners.

Convicted murderer Richard Liggett led a team of prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in building caskets for both Graham and his wife Ruth, the Associated Press reported in 2007. Ruth Graham died in June 2007 at age 87.

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Liggett, who died in March 2007, was serving a life-sentence for murder and said he had found God while in prison. He had built the coffins for fellow prisoners before crafting a set for the Grahams, the AP reports.

The coffins were made of birch plywood and were lined with mattress pads covered by fabric. They were adorned with brass handles and a cross on top and cost $215, according to reports.

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Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, purchased the coffins after seeing them and admiring their simplicity during a visit to the prison, which is located in Angola, Louisiana.

The coffin represents a “beautiful way in death that we would see this marvelous picture of forgiveness” Graham had for people, said Dan DeWitt, director of the Center for Biblical Apologetics and Public Christianity at Cedarville University.

The prisoners are known to have built a coffin for only one other person.

FIRST REPORT: Evangelist Billy Graham dies at 99

Awana Clubs International ministry co-founder Art Rorheim was buried in one earlier this year, said his granddaughter Kim Ahlgrim, director of The Cove at Cedarville University. Rorheim, 99, died in January, according to his obituary.

Ahlgrim called the casket “a beautifacl act of love from these men who had appreciation for him.”

“Our understanding is they’ve only done it twice,” Ahlgrim said. “They built a casket for my grandfather and a casket for Billy Graham (and his wife).”

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Do you want to be a speaker at TEDxDayton?

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Have you ever heard of Ted Talks?

After five successful years of sparking energetic curiosity, inspirational conversations and meaningful connections, TEDxDayton is ramping up for its sixth year with big aspirations.

Organizers of the 6th annual TEDxDayton event have announced that they are now accepting applications from speakers who want to give a TED talk at this year’s event on Oct. 12, 2018, at the Victoria Theatre in Dayton.

>>PHOTOS: TEDxDayton 2017

The theme for this year’s event is “SHIFT.” 

“We chose a theme that reflects a new era for TEDxDayton,” event co-chair John Owen said in a news release. “We’ve had five strong years, and as we go into our next five, we’re looking for creative ways to change and improve the experience for the audience, while paying tribute to the ideas, speakers and spirit of the events we’ve had up till this year.”


Since the very first licensed TED talk in 1984, TED talks have been a platform for short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances that foster learning on a global scale, as well as in local communities.

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(Amelia Robinson)

“This year’s speakers will be helping us build upon five great years of sold-out TEDxDayton days that have seen the event become one of the most talked-about in town,” said event Co-Chair Ron Rollins. “We’re looking for people who know they have an idea worth sharing that will help the audience see and think of the world in a new and different way.”

>>Meet the 2017 TEDxDayton speakers

Cory Owen, who is co-chairing this year’s speaker’s committee along with Brenden Wynn and Chelley Seibert, said the committee is looking for speakers who can teach and inspire — speakers who will leave the audience still talking as they leave the theater.


Potential speakers should complete the speaker application on by March 30. 

The speakers committee will review all applications and invite selected candidates to auditions on May 5, 8 and 10, according to a TEDxDayton press release. 

Participants will be notified within a few weeks of auditions if they have been selected to be a TEDxDayton 2018 speaker.

>>PHOTOS: TEDxDayton 2016

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Deputies: Darke County man arrested in connection to stabbing of Indiana man

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 11:14 AM

Aaron Saunders (Contributed Photo/Darke County Sheriff's Office)
Aaron Saunders (Contributed Photo/Darke County Sheriff's Office)

A 25-year-old Darke County man has been arrested for allegedly stabbing an Indiana man Monday, according to the Darke County Sheriff’s Office. 

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Deputies responded to Wayne HealthCare Monday around 11 p.m. after a stabbing victim arrived at the hospital, deputies said in a media release issued Wednesday. 

The victim, identified as a 25-year-old man from New Castle, Ind., told investigators he was stabbed nearly 11 hours before he went to the hospital at a home in the 9900 block of Detling Road. 

The victim was transported to Miami Valley Hospital and is currently listed in stable condition, deputies said. 

Late Tuesday night, deputies located and arrested Aaron Sanders, 25, of Ansonia on a preliminary charge of felonious assault. Sanders remains booked in the Darke County Jail. 

The case remains under investigation by the Darke County Sheriff’s Office. 

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West Carrollton HS student charged for alleged assault at school, district says

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 7:59 AM

Officials with West Carrollton Schools said they have dealt with a student after video of an assault at the high school showed up on Facebook. Video courtesy of Rachel Tussey's Facebook page.

A West Carrollton High School student is facing assault charges after  the district said the student was allegedly involved in an assault at the school earlier this month that was filmed by someone at the school.

The assault was reported to have happened at the high school on Feb. 5

A parent shared a video with this news organization and on social media reportedly showing an attack in the hallway of the high school on the same day the district confirmed an assault occurred.  The district confirmed the video is part of their investigation.

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“This incident was investigated in accordance with school policies, and appropriate disciplinary actions were taken,” said West Carrollton Superintendent Andrea Townsend.  “Our District takes bullying very seriously, and is constantly teaching and reminding our students to be respectful of others in all their interactions.”

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