Larger plans approved for indoor skydiving in Middletown

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 7:00 AM

Middletown-based non-profit Combat Outpost Robinson partnered with Start Skydiving to offer Ohio military veterans free tandem skydives above Middletown Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017.

A proposed wind tunnel at a Middletown business to be used for indoor skydiving has already gone on a growth spurt, even though construction hasn’t yet started.

Start Skydiving received approval this week to increase the height of its proposed vertical wind tunnel another 50 feet, from 130 feet to 180 feet. The approval amended a previous development plan approved last fall.

Once completed, the project will be the tallest indoor vertical wind tunnel in North America, according to John Hart of Start Skydiving.

MORE: Candy shop that sells pickle juice soda opens Middletown location

The project will allow people to have a skydiving experience in a more controlled environment as well as complement the outdoor skydiving business at the airport, he said. 

In addition to the recreational component to be built at the Middletown Regional Airport, Hart said the facility could also be used for aerospace research by businesses and the military.

City economic development officials said the proposed facility would create about 30 jobs. In addition to the research component, the project could be eligible for funding through an new $50 million JobsOhio research and development program.

MORE: Indoor skydiving business plans Liberty Twp. location

The wind tunnel features a single loop design and has a 17-foot diameter and recreates the physics of free-fall by producing a more 20-foot-wide column of air at the top so skydivers can practice for several hours instead of several minutes experienced from a free-fall from a plane. The proposed wind tunnel would have a 90-foot freefall, he said.

“There would be nothing like this in North America,” Hart said.

Hart told the Middletown Planning Commission this week that he is already working to procure military and commercial contracts to use the proposed facility. In addition, he said about $8.5 million in parts to build the wind tunnel are already in crates waiting to be shipped from Dubai to Middletown.

“We can have a $20 million wind tunnel and build it for $10 million,” Hart said. “We could have a groundbreaking in the spring and it could be done in a year.”

He said the planning commission’s approval helps the project get one step closer to completion.

FIRST REPORT: Indoor skydiving coming to Middletown

Hart said he did not foresee any issues with the Federal Aviation Administration about the location of the wind tunnel building and believes it would be approved.

When asked how the recently announced indoor skydiving facility planned for Liberty Twp. would impact the proposed Middletown facility. Hart, who is a shareholder of iFLY, the company developing the Liberty Twp. site, said that there would be no impact because they are operating “a totally different business plan.”

He said the proposed Middletown facility will be for multiple purposes, unlike the Liberty Twp. facility.

“Middletown needs to drive economic development at the airport,” said city planning commission member John Langhorne. “It’s such a great asset. I hope we can jump start that.”

David Cassidy's daughter reveals what she learned from father’s last words

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 11:27 PM

Katie Cassidy  (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Michael Tran/FilmMagic
Katie Cassidy (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)(Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Days after “The Partridge Family’s” David Cassidy passed away from organ failure, his daughter Katie vowed to make the most out of time with her loved ones as she revealed her late father’s last words.

>> Read more trending news

“Words cant express the solace our family’s received from all the love & support during this trying time,” the actress tweeted on Saturday. “My father’s last words were ‘So much wasted time.’ This will be a daily reminder for me to share my gratitude with those I love as to never waste another minute….thank you.”

The 30-year-old actress had a complicated relationship with her father for most of her life, having been raised by her mother and model Sherry Williams and her stepfather Richard Benedon.

“Because I didn’t raise her, I didn’t have to parent her,” David told PEOPLE in 2009. “I’m always here and totally nonjudgmental. To be able to go to someone I’m genetically linked to, tell them anything and know that they’re not going to judge me -- it’s unbelievable.”

“It’s nice when your dad can be your friend,” Katie echoed her father’s words at the time.

However, the pair drifted apart over the years, and were no longer on speaking terms as of February of this year.

“I wasn’t her father. I was her biological father but I didn’t raise her. She has a completely different life,” David explained. “[But] I’m proud of her. She’s very talented. It’s hard for me to even accept how old she is now.”

The star was hospitalized last weekend for liver and kidney failure. Following his tragic death on Tuesday, his family announced that sad news and thanked fans for their support via a touching statement:

“On behalf of the entire Cassidy family, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, our uncle, and our dear brother, David Cassidy. David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years.”

Cassidy is survived by his daughter Katie Cassidy; son Beau Cassidy; brothers Shaun, Patrick and Ryan; stepmother Shirley Jones; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Dayton icon Jerry Gillotti, Gilly’s nightclub owner, dies

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 8:29 AM
Updated: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 2:26 PM

Jerry Gillotti, the iconic co-founder and owner of Gilly?€™s, died on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24. He was 80.

Jerry Gillotti, the iconic co-founder and owner of Gilly’s, died on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 23. He was 80.

A spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said this morning, Nov. 24, that her office had been notified of Mr. Gillotti’s death at a local hospice facility.

Mr. Gillotti had been severely injured in a robbery and beating outside the nightclub at 132 S. Jefferson St. in March 2016. No arrests have been made

>> RELATED: Gilly’s Jazz owner injured in robbery (March 2016)

The club remains open and plans to continue scheduled shows, including those planned for this weekend.  

The Gillotti family said in a statement that Gilly’s will close permanently on Dec. 31. 

Mr. Gillotti’s son, Mike Gillotti, posted about his father’s passing on his Facebook page. 

“We are very sad to announce that my Dad, Jerry Gillotti, passed away yesterday after a long battle with heart and kidney disease. The Gillotti family would like to thank the Dayton Community for your thoughts and prayers as well as 45 years of supporting the best in live music. Thank you for your love and support.”

Jerry Gillotti in front of Gilly’s nightclub. FILE

Jerry Gillotti mentioned the serious brain injury he sustained in that attack as a major contributor to his declining health in an interview with us last month about the future of his beloved music venue. 

>> RELATED: Owner of Gilly’s willing to sell downtown Dayton club

He said he hadn’t fully recovered and was relying on his wife, Winnie Gillotti, for transportation. His brother, Tom, increased his involvement in the business. 

Jerry Gillotti said he wanted to continue operating the club indefinitely, but said he had to face reality. 

 “I am 80 years old,” he told us in the interview. “I don’t have the health or the stamina or the years left or days left.”

>> RELATED: Benefit being planned for attacked business owner Jerry Gillotti of Gilly’s (March 2016)

REMEMBERING GILLOTTI

Many Dayton-area residents reflected upon Jerry Gillotti’s contribution to the community. 

"Jerry and Gilly’s is a Dayton Original and will be greatly missed in the downtown music scene,” Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said. 

Blues and rock musician Doug Hart of the Doug Hart Band said those close to club had known that Gillotti’s health had taken a turn for the worse recently and he was at Hospice. 

“Knowing it’s going to happen doesn’t make it any easier when it does,” Hart said. 

He has played 20 to 25 shows at Gilly’s in the past 10 years. 

Jerry always gave me the freedom to put on a show the way I wanted and promote it the way I wanted,” Hart said. “Jerry is one of the sweetest men I’ve known. I can’t say enough about the wonderful human being he was, but he was not a pushover. He was good at his business, and you knew where you stood.” 

Hart said Jerry Gillioti also had a great sense of humor. 

“He was very perceptive. He wouldn’t say much, but when he did, everyone listened,” the musician recalled. “He would come up with these one liners and everybody laughed.” 

Jerry Gillotti, the owner of Gilly's, has established a "No Smoking" policy at his bar. The establishment is located at the corner of Jefferson Street and Fifth Street in downtown Dayton.(Ron Alvey)

Gilly’s helped put Dayton on the map in the jazz and blues worlds. Hart said he was humbled to play there. 

“It is one of the more legendary clubs I know of in the country ,” he said. “Everybody that I considered my hero I’ve seen play there.”

Before opening Gilly’s, Jerry Gillotti was an inside salesperson for the Farnbacher Toy Company and was Public Relations Director for Cassano Pizza King, where he co-hosted the “Fans in the Stands” radio show with Vic Cassano on WHIO Radio for over seven years. 

He had also been an advertising consultant for the Tatone Auto Group in Fairborn. 

Mr. Gillotti, a 1962 University of Dayton graduate,  bought Wedgewood Inn on Patterson Road in 1969 and featured jazz acts there two years before he and his brother purchased the former site of Green Derby at 801 N. Main St. and transformed it into Gilly’s.

The first show as Gilly’s was Roy Meriwether on July 7, 1972, according to Gary J. Leppla, Gillotti’s attorney and friend.

Reached this morning, Leppla said he had visited Mr. Gillotti in recent weeks at both his hospital and at his hospice bedside, and had a brief conversation with the nightclub owner on Tuesday. 

“He said, ‘You didn’t have to come down here.’ Again, typical Jerry, always supportive of others.”

Jerry Gillotti “was one of a kind, really focused on supporting musicians, treating his customers fairly, and providing a quality level of jazz and blues beyond anything we could ever expect,” Leppla said. “So many musicians owe so much to him.”

>> RELATED: Jerry Gillotti just keeps jazzin’ on (April 2010)

>> RELATED: Gilly’s Jazz shows over the years

In his nomination of Jerry Gillotti to the Dayton Walk of Fame, Leppla said Gillotti became one of the greatest jazz and blues promoters in the United States. After a successful run on North Main Street, Jerry moved Gilly’s to the Dayton Transportation Center. In addition, Jerry hosted a Sunday morning jazz show for several years on WING-AM radio.

Heartfelt tributes to Mr. Gillotti have been posted on Facebook as well. 

IMPACT ON DAYTON MUSIC

His influence was not just local. 

Local musician Hal Melia first met Gillotti 45 years ago

“Everybody around the country knows about Jerry Gillotti and Gilly’s,” Melia said. 

“Dayton’s a place where people make things happen and have to figure out how to do that, and Jerry always did that.”

Performers booked at Gilly’s through the years include a host of local groups and a laundry list of national acts that include Tony Bennett, Diane SchuurBB King, Wynton Marsalis, Art BlakeyDexter GordonBill EvansGeorge Benson,  Herbie Hancock, Count Basie, Bobby Blue Bland and Stevie Ray Vaughn. 

“I put groups in here when I know he wasn’t making a dime on it. And I put groups in here .... that pack the place out for him. He was the same kind of guy no matter what,” Melia said. 

Jerry Gillotti and George Benson(handout)

Floyd Weatherspoon, one of four vocalists in the Dayton based R&B group “Touch,” said the closure of Gilly’s will leave a hole in the city. 

“I think it going to be a big loss in Dayton,” he said. “There are not a lot of places where grown folks can go without worrying about riff riff coming in and causing confusion.” 

Weatherspoon’s band has played a Valentine’s weekend show at Gilly’s for 20 consecutive years.

In recent years, the group added a Sweetest Day show. 

Weatherspoon spent 32 years in the automobile sales business like Mr. Gillotti’s brother Tom.

“Every time I called, he said ‘how’s sales’ then we started talking about sports and then we start talking about booking the club,” Weatherspoon said with a laugh. “He was a good dude to talk to. It’s just really sad that this happened.”

Weatherspoon said Touch has opened for a list of national acts that includes The Temptations and Eddie Money, but always found its way back to Gilly’s.

“We knew it was great place to play, and we always had a sell-out,” he said. “(Gillotti) gave a lot of local groups a place to showcase their talents. If you were good, you’d come back.”

Gillotti told this news organization in October that he was proud to have brought “every jazz artist in the world” to Dayton. 

I’ve had (45) years, and they have been good years,” he said. “I haven’t made a lot of money to be honest with you, but it is a passion to present the music in the right way.”

>> PHOTOS:  Jerry Gillotti, co-founder of Gilly’s Jazz, through the years

Dayton native Tony Houston said Jerry Gillotti and the passion for blues he shared with Dayton greatly influenced him as a musician. 

Houston said he learned from watching and studying under the musicians Gillotti brought to town. In the early days, they were featured for a week at a time and offered classes in their hotel rooms to supplement their income. 

Houston recalled paying George Benson two chickens cooked by his grandmother for a lesson.

He said Mr. Gillotti was generous and offen allowed him to meet musicans backstage. 

“It was a tremendous setting and chance for musicians to learn,” Houston said of Gilly’s. “It a huge loss to the Dayton comunity and music scene.  I hope that something continues to make that happen at Gilly’s.”

Dave Shores, a 22-year sound technician at Gilly’s, said music was Gillotti’s life. 

“It was all about the music,” Shores said. “I watched him take losses on acts to get them in the club.”

Shores said he did repairs at Gilly’s whenever Gillotti asked him.

With a laugh, he recalled Gillotti, after being woken by a nurse, telling him a story from his hospital bed following that March 2016 attack.

“That was Jerry,” Shores said.

He said he once told one of his interns “you haven’t made it in the music business in Dayton” until Jerry Gillotti has chewed you out.

Shores said he later joked with that intern after Jerry did in fact chew him out in a hallway. 

Jerry Gillotti at his club in 1977. CONTRIBUTED(HANDOUT)

While he could be tough and expected the best as a business owner, Gillotti protected his employees and, on the rare occassions there were problems, defended them, Shores said. 

“He had their backs,” Shores said. “ He’d say, ‘you are not going to trick my people that way’.”

HONORS

In addition to his induction in the Dayton Walk of Fame in 2013, Gillotti was recognized by the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music with the prestigious William Lawless Jones Award for his contributions to the region’s jazz culture.

In an article celebrating his 30th anniversary at Gilly’s, Gillotti told the Dayton Daily News his passion for jazz was ignited during his time in the Army while stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. He frequented jazz clubs and heard iconic acts such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and the Modern Jazz Quartet.

He left the service in 1958 with an idea.

“If you presented (jazz) correctly, in a nice atmosphere, you’ve got to be successful; people will come out to see it because it’s just so infectious and it’s such good music,” he told contributing writer Kris Alavattam.

>> 3 heartbreaking losses to Dayton’s music scene

WHIO television contributed to this report.

Troopers: Naked couple crashes car while having sex; baby was in back seat

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 1:25 AM

Washington State Patrol.
David Ryder/Getty Images
Washington State Patrol.(David Ryder/Getty Images)

A naked couple, having sex in their car while their baby was in the back seat, crashed while driving, the Washington State Patrol said.

>> Read more trending news

The man was driving on Highway 7 near La Grande in Pierce County, naked and having sex with a woman who also was naked, when he missed a curve, went off the road and struck a tree, State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova said.

The crash occurred Wednesday at 6 p.m. troopers said.

Witnesses told troopers both the man and woman were naked when they got out of the car, The Everett Herald reported. Troopers said they were also both impaired.

The woman wasn't wearing a seat belt. She was taken to the hospital with several broken bones. The 3-month-old child in the back seat was not injured.

The man was arrested and booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of driving under the influence, vehicular assault and child endangerment, the Herald reported.

Troopers said the man has three prior DUI convictions.

1 stabbed during fight in Dayton, police say

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 11:09 PM

UPDATE @ 11:31 p.m.:

One person was stabbed and the suspected stabber remains on the loose following a fight on Briarwood Avenue Friday night, according to police.

The man who was stabbed was taken to a local hospital, but is expected to be OK, police said.

Officers did take a juvenile into custody on the scene who may have been involved in the incident, police said.

INITIAL REPORT:

Dayton police have responded to a possible stabbing on Briarwood Avenue this evening.

Initial reports indicated that multiple people were fighting and that at least one person was possibly stabbed.

LOCAL NEWS: Police officer shoots suspect while responding to domestic incident

The incident was reported around 11 p.m. in the 400 block of Briarwood.

A caller to our news room said he saw a large response from police.

We’re working to learn more.