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Judge: Embattled Carlisle crematorium may have solid defamation claims

Published: Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 11:06 AM

Company losses license

A Montgomery County judge has ruled Premium Mortuary Services may have a basis for defamation claims against the lawyer who sued them and allegedly made a “bodies decomposing with flies and maggots” statement to the media.

Last summer the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors temporarily revoked the crematory’s license after a board inspector found:

  • “a slight odor of decomposition” around an exterior garage door that was slightly open;
  • three deceased human bodies in alternate cardboard containers — one on a cot, and the other two each on separate eight-foot tables, located outside of two coolers. These three bodies had been embalmed;
  • a three-person cooler not functioning properly with a temperature of about 68 degrees, according to the temperature gauge;
  • a walk-in cooler not functioning properly with a temperature of about 62 degrees;
  • an odor of decomposition inside the facility;
  • dead flies on the floor and live ones flying around the facility; and
  • a temperature of 95 degrees in the cremation retort area and 93 degrees on the garage door, according to documents.

RELATED: Carlisle crematory’s license revoked

Richard Schulte, an attorney with Wright Schulte, sued the crematory on behalf of his client Sharon Hart of Trotwood, whose son was at the facility.

Premium counter-sued claiming Schulte defamed them. Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Richard Skelton ruled recently the crematory may have a point and refused to dismiss the claims as Schulte asked.

“The following statement appears to express verifiable facts: ‘They left bodies decomposing, with flies and maggots.’ The second statement: ‘Bodies of people that were cremated were mixed up, left on the floor…’ appears factual to this Court,” Skelton wrote.

“There are some statements that may be considered ‘opinion’ but, as indicated, this Court looked at whether the specific language would cause the reasonable listener to perceive the statement(s) as fact or opinion. This Court, looking at the statements in the broader context, finds that a reasonable listener would perceive the statements as noted hereinabove do not come close to being an opinion in any context.”

MORE: Family files civil lawsuit against Carlisle crematory

The crematory’s license was temporarily reinstated in August.

Area law enforcement using hotel guest lists to track drug dealers 

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 5:57 PM

Area law enforcement using hotel guest lists to track drug dealers

In an effort to combat drugs coming into the area, local law enforcement agencies have started asking hotels to hand over guest lists so they can conduct background searches.
Although the move raises privacy concerns, law enforcement officials said it’s necessary, given the area’s drug epidemic, said Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Brem, commander of the Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force.

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His unit looks to stop the flow of drugs into the area and the flow of money out of the area. They check bus hubs, package delivery services, highways, and yes, hotels. 

In 2017 Montgomery County had 500 drug deaths and 3,000 overdoses, and Brem said his unit’s determined reverse that trend while respecting people’s rights and privacy. 

“We have someone bringing enough drugs to kill a lot of people, we have to make sure that stops,” he said. “We talk to the clerk, we followed this guy here, so we talk to that clerk, that manager of the hotel.”

Deputies don’t review and do background searches on entire guest lists when they get them, Brem said. They already know who they are looking for, so they run only those names. 

Miller lane in the Butler Twp. area and Dayton Mall in Miami Twp. are two areas with high concentrations of temporary residents who investigators check.

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Some hotel staffers this news organization contacted for comments declined to speak on the record. But one said federal law enforcement agencies, including Homeland Security, also ask for guest lists. 

Jeffery Wallace, a New York resident who was a guest in an area hotel Friday, said he has no issues with hotels giving law enforcement his name.

“That’s their job, they’re supposed to, if I was an officer, I’d do it,” he said. 

Will a government shutdown delay my tax refund?

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 5:57 PM

One way this potential government shutdown would be different than in the past -- there’s never been a federal shutdown during tax filing season.  Nor has the government been shut down amid the implementation of a massive tax code overhaul.

The Internal Revenue Service would lose an estimated 56 percent of its workforce to furloughs if the government shuts down, according to the U.S. Treasury. And it would be happening right when the IRS is updating its guidelines and software, while also fielding questions from the public about new tax laws. 

Experts told the Washington Post that even a short shutdown will set back implementation on the new tax code.

Tax filing season begins on Jan. 29. The IRS generally issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. With the workforce cut in half, it is likely that a prolonged shutdown could lead to delayed returns and the inability to access IRS assistance phone lines. 


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No serious injuries among children in Butler County school bus-truck collision

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 4:35 PM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 4:43 PM

School bus rear ended by truck in Trenton

UPDATE @ 4:40 p.m.: At least a couple of students are receiving medical attention in the pickup truck-school bus collision on Wayne Madison Road, but there are no serious injuries, Edgewood Schools Spokeswoman Pam Pratt said. 

The children are from Edgewood Elementary, she said, and they are in grades 2 through 5. 

District officials are telephoning parents and guardians to arrange rides home, Pratt said.

A pickup truck rear ended an Edgewood school bus Friday, Jan. 19 on Wayne Madison Road in Trenton. Several students were transported to the hospital with minor injuries and the driver of the pickup was transported to the hospital. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF


Police and medic crews are at a collision in the 3200 block of Wayne Madison Road involving a school bus and a pickup truck. 

Several of the children on the bus have complained of neck and back pain. Medical personnel are evaluating the children and are taking some to a hospital. 

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Crews were dispatched just after 4 p.m. on the report of a vehicle accident that been described as a pickup truck that rear-ended a school bus. 

The accident occurred near Noah's Ark Child Development Center, 3259 Wayne Madison Road. 

Edgewood Schools Superintendent Russ Fussnecker and other district officials are on the way to the scene.

We have a crew on the way to check out the accident. We will update this developing report.

Logan Cole recounts the day he was shot at West Liberty-Salem High School

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 4:54 PM

Logan Cole who was shot at West Liberty Salem High School in January 2017 talked to NewsCenter 7 for the first time, detailing what exactly happened that morning.

Saturday will mark one year since dozens of first responders and police rushed to West Liberty-Salem High School for a report of student who opened fire inside the school. Logan Cole sat down with News Center 7’s John Bedell to share what he recalls from that unforgettable day. 

"I remember walking into the bathroom and there Ely was with the gun. Then after getting shot I talked to him some and I pretty much told him you pretty much don't have to do this anymore you don't have to kill anybody," Cole stated.

West Liberty-Salem shooting victim Logan Cole donates $22K in thanks for support

After talking with Cole, gunman Ely Serna sprayed four more blasts from his shotgun into the school hallway. Thankfully no one was hit by the additional blasts and immediately after firing into the hallway Serna returned to the bathroom and dropped the gun.

Logan Cole talks about shooting 1 year later

Teachers then restrained Serna inside the bathroom until deputies arrived and were able to arrest him. Cole was then taken out on a stretcher and Cole’s father said his son’s attitude towards Serna really impacted him. 

"I remember Logan telling me he loved me and I told him I loved him. Then when I asked him who did it, he said it didn't matter, dad. That really struck me." stated Logan Cole’s father Ryan. 

Logan Cole still showed this attitude of grace when we talked to him a year later. "I go back and get angry about it again and I have to forgive him again. And it's kind of a process, “ says Logan.

Logan’s father credits their family’s christian faith for helping Logan find the strength to forgive. 

Even after all of his suffering Logan still says he is thankful that no one else was hurt and believes the events of that day happened for a reason. 

West Liberty still healing 1 year after school shooting

"If somebody hadn't walked into that bathroom at that moment I think that more people would have died. I'm not thankful that the situation happened but I'm thankful that I went in there at the same time for the outcome that there was, “ Cole remarks. 

Serna has been charged with multiple felonies including two counts of attempted murder. He pleaded not guilty due to reason of insanity, but the court has ruled him competent to stand trial.  Serna is due in court again in February. 

NewsCenter 7’s John Bedell will have more coverage of the one year anniversary and Logan Cole’s full interview  beginning at 5 p.m. on WHIO channel 7.