His organization affects ‘almost every family in Hamilton.’ Now he’s retiring after 40 years there.

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 2:08 PM

            Community First Solutions Chief Executive Officer Jeff Thurman will be retiring this fall after 40 years with the organization.
Community First Solutions Chief Executive Officer Jeff Thurman will be retiring this fall after 40 years with the organization.(Contributed)

Community First Solutions Chief Executive Officer Jeff Thurman will be retiring in September after 40 years with the organization. His leadership has helped the organization grow into one of the stalwart nonprofits that provides an array of services to help those in need in the area, officials said.

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The agency offers a breadth of community-based services including mental health, alcohol and drug addiction, child and adolescent and employment services to clients in Butler and Warren counties.

Its Meals on Wheels program provided nearly 149,000 meals to more than 800 Butler County seniors and other home-bound people in 2016. Volunteers drove nearly 2,000 miles each delivering the food.

MORE: Community First brings drug, alcohol counseling to West Chester

When Thurman became part of the organization in 1978, he was the administrator for the Westover Retirement Community, which at the time had just 59 employees caring for 72 residents.

He was named President and CEO of the Fort Hamilton Healthcare Corporation in 2006, which evolved to Community First Solutions, an organization that today employs nearly 700 staff serving more than 20,000 clients.

MORE: Meals on Wheels in Butler County more than just food

Community First’s Behavioral Health Services recently opened a free and flexible family support group called SAFE in Hamilton and Middletown. The group is dedicated to providing information, resources and help for individuals with loved ones suffering from drug addiction.

The non-profit also just opened a West Chester Twp. office to offer treatment for adults struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.

Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith said that Thurman has been able to achieve a wealth of accomplishments while at Community First and has been a valuable asset to the city.

“Jeff has been a tremendous leader in Hamilton for many years,” Smith said. “His ability to get great results will be difficult to replace. On a personal level, I will continue to lean on him in retirement for his business advice and friendship.”

Mayor Pat Moeller noted that Thurman’s leadership helped make Community First one of the biggest employers in the county.

“Jeff Thurman built up Community First Solutions to its current status as one of the largest employers in Butler County,” Moeller said. “Almost every family in Hamilton has been positively touched by Community First Solutions. That is a testament to Jeff Thurman’s leadership, vision, and desire to deliver high quality health care in our region.”

MORE: This Hamilton non-profit is celebrating 100 years in the tastiest way

Board Chairman Neil Cohen has announced the appointment of a board search committee to select Thurman’s replacement.

“I want to thank the board members who volunteered to be part of the search committee dedicated to identifying the best person to lead the organization into its next century,” Cohen said. “I am confident that the search committee will find a leader with his passion for serving others and commitment to developing services in response to community need.”

He was also saluted Thurman.

“I would also like to thank Jeff for his many years of leadership and commitment to the community,” Cohen said. “His visionary drive has led the organization through tremendous growth, and his impact has been felt throughout many organizations that he has volunteered with throughout his career.”

MORE: Hamilton preschoolers give Meals on Wheels recipients holiday gifts

The committee has retained Deffet Group, Inc., an executive search firm with a long history of serving not-for-profit health and human services providers across the country, to assist in finding Thurman’s replacement.

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Teacher finds meowing cat in student’s backpack

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 12:58 PM

Meowing Cat Found in Student’s Backpack

One fourth grade student’s backpack was quite literally the cat’s meow.

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Fourth grade teacher Carey Geipel started looking around her classroom after she heard meowing during a planning period March 16 only to discover a student brought a cat to school hidden in a backpack, according to a Facebook post

“We listen to a purse, lunchbox... it must be a cell phone ringing,” she wrote. “Nope. It’s coming from the backpacks. I lift a jacket and a backpack MOVES. I unzip the backpack and a cat’s head POPS out!”

Geipel made a phone call home to the student’s mother, who came and picked up the cat.

“Hello, Student is safe but we have kind of a weird situation,” Geipel wrote, recounting the conversation. “Your student brought a cat to school, on the bus, in her backpack.”

It turns out it is not even their cat, it belongs to their neighbor.

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Prosecutor: Mason dad abused ‘fussy’ infant

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:49 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 3:32 PM

Mason dad facing child endangering charges

A Mason father is facing felony charges after allegedly causing his baby girl serious physical harm.

Jason Bittner, 33, was indicted Monday by a Warren County grand jury for felonious assault and child endangering.

Bittner’s wife took their 3-month-old daughter to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center last month with traumatic brain injuries and 29 rib fractures in various stages of healing, according to Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.

MORE: Butler County toddler allegedly assaulted by her babysitter has died

Doctors were told the injuries were the result of an accident, but that story is not consistent with the infant’s injuries, Fornshell said.

“The defendant knew the child had been injured on Feb. 26, but sought no medical treatment despite knowing about the head injury,” Fornshell said.

Bittner was resentful the infant, his second child, was a girl and not a boy, according to the prosecutor. But he also was intolerant of a fussy infant, Fornshell told this news outlet.

“There was underlying resentment over (the sex of the child), but his temper over the fussing may have had more to do with it,” Fornshell said.

Bittner told Mason police detectives the infant fell off a couch while in a “baby bouncer type seat” without a harness, according to a search warrant to seize Bittner’s cellphone. The incident occurred while he was alone in the house with his children after his wife went to work.

“Jason Bittner left the infant on the couch unattended with a 2-year-old sibling and went to the lower level basement of the house,” police said Bittner told them. He was away from the children for 20 to 30 minutes before returning upstairs.

“Jason Bittner advised that when he arrived upstairs he observed his infant daughter face down on the wood laminate floor with the baby bouncer seat resting over her back. Jason Bittner describes his daughter as having convulsions while lying on the floor,” detectives stated in the court documents.

Bittner said he observed a dark spot under the child’s eyes when he picked her up, but did not seek medical treatment, according to the court documents.

“Jason Bittner sent a text message to his wife that the infant had scratched herself with her fingernails causing the bruising to the eye and did not tell his wife of the infant’s fall,” according to court documents.

It was not until 48 hours later after the child was running a fever that the mother took the baby to the hospital.

“The infant’s mother had no knowledge of the fall and had suggested the baby be taken to the doctor, but was convinced by Jason Bittner that the symptoms were from cold of flu and to try treatments at home,” according to court documents.

Bittner’s attorney said there are two sides to every story and his client is presumed innocent.

“The facts will come out in court at the appropriate time,” defense attorney Steven Adams said after Bittner’s arraignment Wednesday in court, where he entered not guilty pleas to all three charges. “I just ask everyone to pray for this family. It is a very stressful ordeal, but keep an open mind because medical professionals, they can get it wrong sometimes.”

MORE: Prosecutor seeks murder charge against Butler County babysitter

Bittner, a chiropractor, was arrested Friday at his office in West Chester Twp., according to Warren County Jail booking records.

He spent the weekend in the county jail. During his arraignment Wednesday, Warren County Common Pleas Judge Timothy Tepe set bond at $25,000 with a 10 percent rule.

Adams told this news outlet after the arraignment that the baby is recovering well.

“I have seen pictures of her. She is doing quite well. She is smiling,” Adams said. “The community is behind Jason and his family and the child and the whole family. They are praying for this child and the whole family.”

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12-year-old boy missing after getting on wrong school bus

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 5:58 PM

A 12-year-old boy has been missing for two days after getting on the wrong school bus at a metro Atlanta middle school.
A 12-year-old boy has been missing for two days after getting on the wrong school bus at a metro Atlanta middle school.(Pixabay)

A 12-year-old boy disappeared after getting on the wrong school bus on his way home from middle school in metro Atlanta.   

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Anthony Randolph III disappeared Wednesday after boarding the wrong bus at Redan Middle School in DeKlab County, police said.

Investigators said the boy got off the bus two miles away from his home.

He wasn’t supposed to be on that bus and school officials said they are working to figure out why the bus driver didn’t take him back to school.

“We need you home Anthony, fast, please,” the child’s father, Anthony Randolph Jr., said.

Randolph wiped away tears as he begged anyone with information on the disappearance of his son to come forward.

>> Related: Girl shot in Maryland school shooting taken off life support, dies

A search is underway as police continue investigating the boy’s disappearance.

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West Carrollton cruiser struck during traffic stop, driver arrested

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 3:24 AM
Updated: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 9:40 AM

CRUISER CAM: West Carrollton cruiser struck by vehicle during traffic stop, driver arrested

A woman accused of hitting a West Carrollton police cruiser, while the officer was on a separate traffic stop, was arrested on suspicion of OVI after her vehicle was stopped on Interstate 75 Friday morning, according to jail records and police.

Stephanie Dye, 47, was booked into the Montgomery County Jail following the incident on the highway around 2:45 a.m. in the area of Interstate 75 and Interstate 675.

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Officials investigate after person is shot in the mouth in Trotwood

Police said they had pulled over a vehicle for a speed violation and as the officer was handling that traffic stop, Dye allegedly struck the stopped West Carrollton cruiser. 

The officer left the original traffic stop and was able to stop Dye’s vehicle a short time later without incident, investigators said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol was called to assist with the crash investigation involving the cruiser.

No injuries were reported.

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