Here’s what Abuelo’s has to say about the closure of its Beavercreek restaurant

Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 7:15 AM
Updated: Thursday, January 04, 2018 @ 11:42 AM

Abuelo’s Mexican restaurant shuts its doors

The corporate owner of the Dayton area’s only Abuelo’s Mexican restaurant that shut down earlier this week in Beavercreek has released a handful of details about the closing and their future plans -- and there’s little for its customers to cheer about.

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“We don’t currently have plans to open another location in the Dayton area,” Melanie Carroll, marketing director for Abuelo’s corporate parent, Food Concepts International, told this news outlet in response to emailed questions.

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The Abuelo’s has been a Beavercreek dining option since it opened in 2005 at 2420 N. Fairfield Road, just south of the Mall at Fairfield Commons. The store shut down permanently earlier this week, and company officials acknowledged the shutdown on the Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant Facebook page on Tuesday, Jan. 2, in response to a customer’s posted comment.

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“If you have gift cards with outstanding balances, we welcome you to use them in our other Abuelo’s restaurants in Ohio or at any of our locations nationwide,” a sign on the restaurant’s door tells customers. Carroll mentioned the Abuelo’s locations in Mason and Columbus, as well as a restaurant in Crestview Hills in northern Kentucky near Cincinnati. 

>> Max & Erma’s Beavercreek to close; new pub already in works (April 2017)

All employees impacted by the Beavercreek closure were personally notified, and managers were on-site to provide assistance in helping them find other employment opportunities in the community, Carroll said. She thanked the chain’s Dayton-area guests “for their loyal patronage over the years.” 

Abuelo’s opened its restaurant on North Fairfield Road in Beavercreek in 2005. Staff file photo by Jim Witmer(Staff Writer)

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The closing of Abuelo’s represents the second shutdown of a high-profile Mexican-themed restaurant in the North Fairfield Road strip in about 16 months. The Don Pablo’s Tex-Mex restaurant at 2745 Fairfield Commons Blvd. in front of the Fairfield Commons Mall closed its doors for good in September 2016. 

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Increased competition from a surge in restaurant openings in and around the Mall at Fairfield Commons — and perhaps from a similar-concept restaurant Chuy’s, which opened its large new Tex-Mex restaurant near the mall’s entrance in December 2015 — may have played a role in the closure.

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Other high-profile openings in the past year have included Melt Bar & Grilled, FUSIAN, and MacKenzie River Pizza Grill Pub, all at or in front of the Fairfield Commons mall. In addition, Flyboys Deli, which operates a restaurant in Oakwood, is gearing up to open a second location near the mall’s front entrance later this month. 

>> Fusian opens at Mall at Fairfield Commons

>> Fairfield Commons restaurant makes list of ‘fastest growing’

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Power outage ends for most near Miami Valley Hospital, UD student neighborhoods

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 7:17 PM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 7:41 PM

Brown Street loses power

UPDATE @ 7:39 p.m.:  The DP&L online outage map now shows 126 customers without power along Brown Street, near Miami Valley Hospital and the UD student neighborhoods, from Chambers Street to U.S. 35. 

A hospital administrator at MVH said the hospital is operating on generator power. 

Elevators there stopped immediately when the outage struck about 6:45 p.m., she said. Workers and security were able to get everyone off the cars, she said. 

No patients were put in danger because of the outage, she said.

INITIAL REPORT

Hundreds of businesses and residences along Brown Street, near Miami Valley Hospital and the University of Dayton student neighborhoods, are without power. 

According to the Dayton Power & Light online outage map, nearly 1,200 customers are affected. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Guest lists being checked to track drug dealers

Calls began coming into the newsroom just before 7 p.m. 

We’re hearing the outage extends along Brown Street, from Chambers Street west to U.S. 35. 

Jimmy’s Ladder 11, in the 900 block of Brown, and Subway, in the 1100 block, are among the businesses in the dark. 

We have a call into DP&L for details about the possible cause of the outage.

Stay with whio.com for breaking news.

Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose, family says

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 7:15 PM

The Life of Tom Petty

Tom Petty died from an accidental drug overdose after taking a variety of medications, the family for the legendary rock star said Friday. 

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Petty, who suffered emphysema, knee problems and more recently a fractured hip, was prescribed various pain medications including Fentanyl patches, his family said. 

“On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication,” his family wrote on Facebook

The family called Petty’s Oct. 2 death an unfortunate accident. 

“As a family we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives. Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”

DOVER, DE - JUNE 22: Tom Petty performs onstage at the Firefly Music Festival at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway on June 22, 2013 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Firefly Music Festival)(Theo Wargo)

Everything you need to know in the event of a government shutdown

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 6:41 PM

What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

The fight over a border wall, the fate of nearly 800,000 DACA recipients, and the wrangling over the funding of an insurance program for children could force a U.S. government shutdown after midnight on Friday if Congress does not pass legislation that would keep the government up and running.

A government shutdown doesn’t mean the government completely shuts down. Employees and services deemed “essential” would remain in place. Here’s a breakdown.

Will a shutdown delay my tax refund?

Wright Patt: Workers to show up Monday even if shutdown occurs

What happens to veterans?

Will I get my mail?

Could travel plans be impacted?

‘Ramp of Mystery’ in middle of nowhere was drone test site

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 6:58 PM

The
The "Ramp of Mystery." (Photo: Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman)

If you search on Google Maps for “Ramp of Mystery,” a curious Southeast Austin landmark appears. It’s a concrete structure that leads to nowhere, sitting in an overgrown field.

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It’s a steep ramp with too much of an incline to walk up easily. To the side, an aging and precarious set of wooden steps goes up to the top, where the path that led to the ramp leads to nothing -- just a steep dropoff over a short boundary and lots of graffiti all around the structure.

The ramp has been the subject of lots of online speculation, especially since it became the subject of a Reddit thread in late 2016. Was it part of an old military project, this  thing off an office park at 6900 Metropolis Drive? A structure that once connected to a shipping dock? A base for gravel dumping? A piece of a road that once connected to East Ben White Boulevard? What was this thing?

Adam van Alderwerelt, an Austin lighting designer and video engineer, became a bit obsessed with the ramp after volunteering at a nearby building that housed evacuees from Hurricane Harvey.

“Nobody at the shelter even knew what it was,” he said. “I only saw it because it was on Google Maps when I was looking for directions to and from the shelter.”

Van Alderwerelt shot a YouTube video, “What is South Austin’s Ramp of Mystery??” 

“I thought, let’s bring some awareness to this thing,” van Alderwerelt said. “It’s a hidden oddity of Austin.”

The buzz around this curious structure prompted a reader to ask our Austin Answered project: “Please tell us about the Ramp of Mystery in South Austin; Google it!”

We did. But the ramp didn’t divulge its origin so easily. Visits to the Austin History Center to study old aerial photographs of the area proved inconclusive, except to show that it probably didn’t originate before the early 1980s. A wide call on social media for any local insight on the landmark yielded a few leads, but nothing concrete, so to speak. The current owners of the lot, Zydeco Development Corporation, said by phone they didn’t know what the ramp was for or why it was built.

A request to Lockheed Martin, which owned a facility in the area that opened to much fanfare in the 1980s, was unsuccessful. The company checked but was unable to find records related to the ramp or its purpose.

But leave it to a historian to crack the case.

Austin history buff Lanny Ottosen tracked down names on an old document related to the property he found at the Austin History Center. One of those names was Frank Niendorff, who for many years ran Commercial Industrial Properties Co. (also known as NAI Austin).

Niendorff, who spent two years brokering the property deal to bring Lockheed Missiles and Space to Austin (for one year, the identity of the buyer was a secret even to him), remembered the ramp well.

“There’s nothing mysterious about the ramp,” he said this week by phone, “When Lockheed first came here, they were working on developing a government contract for a drone. This was when drones were first imagined. This was a drone that would be launched from a ramp.”

The program, called “Aquila,” involved hydraulic catapults to launch the drone and a net that would catch the unmanned aerial vehicles. The drones would be used to provide laser guidance for weapons systems.

The San Diego Air and Space Museum has archive footage on YouTube of what appears to be such a system.

Despite the work Lockheed did with the drone project on that ramp, Niendorff said, the government bid was unsuccessful.

“They spent millions of dollars trying to get this contract, building prototypes,” he said. “Ultimately, Lockheed ended up building other things at that facility, including concrete bunker bombs.” 

Kenneth Ross, a spokesman for Lockheed, said that as far as the ramp goes, Niendorff appears to have the right information.

“The info you’ve discovered gives us confidence that you have the right story,” Ross wrote in an email.

When informed of the drone-based answer to the question he’d been asking, van Alderwerelt said by phone Friday, “That’s amazing! I never would have thought of that.”