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Leader glad to hear residents support Brent Spence tolls

Published: Saturday, July 15, 2017 @ 2:00 PM


            Motorists cross over the Brent Spence Bridge from Ohio in Kentucky. STAFF FILE
Motorists cross over the Brent Spence Bridge from Ohio in Kentucky. STAFF FILE

Development and transportation officials well north of the Ohio River were glad to see a strong majority of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky residents favored $1 tolls to build a sister span to alleviate traffic on the Brent Spence Bridge.

That bridge is vital for Dayton-area manufacturers, as well as those of other cities in Ohio and the upper Midwest, said Phil Parker, president and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We, Cincinnati, Toledo and Detroit, will be the first to tell you that we are still manufacturing towns,” Parker said. “We are still a manufacturing sector in western Ohio, and manufacturing means you need to bring in raw materials, and you need to ship out hopefully something that’s reasonably manufactured and complete.”

MORE: Lanes of Brent Spence Bridge closed this summer

Years ago, Dayton’s chamber teamed its counterparts along the interstate to resolve three significant I-75 choke points: Toledo’s Maumee River Bridge; the so-called former “malfunction junction” in downtown Dayton; and Brent Spence Bridge.

“I think that’s common sense,” Jim Blount, Butler County historian and volunteer chairman of the Butler County Transportation Improvement District, said about tolls. “It’s the only way I see that it could be done.”

The aging span conveys Interstates 71 and 75 across the river between Cincinnati and Covington, Ky. Latest estimate of the climbing cost: $2.6 billion. The issue of tolls has been particularly controversial in Northern Kentucky, and Kentucky owns the bridge. Tolls are seen as a way to finance private investment in the project.

MORE: Cincinnati home to 3 of country’s top traffic ‘bottlenecks’

“The federal government’s not going to give that much money,” Blount said. “They’ll come in for their share, but that’s usually been about 10 percent of a project, and even that’s hard to get.”

“I’m of the opinion that the Brent Spence Bridge is part of Butler County’s transportation system,” Blount added.

SURVEY: Majority of voters OK with $1 toll to fix Brent Spence Bridge

The survey, conducted in late May, was of people who voted in the November 2016 election. It included residents as far north as Butler and Warren counties, and as far south as Kenton, Campbell and Boone counties in Kentucky, as well as Indiana’s Dearborn County.

Parker said Dayton’s chamber supports the tolls with conditions:

  • There should be EZ passes that Ohio and Kentucky residents, plus possibly high-volume users, can use to drive down their toll costs so they aren’t “gouged” by tolls. Why multiple users? “You’ve got auto (manufacturer) folks in Detroit that are using it to go to Kentucky, and vice versa, and all parts south and north, so you’ve got to be reasonable if you want commerce to continue,” Parker said.
  • Tolls should not be higher than $1, and technology should be used to its maximum to keep traffic flowing as efficiently as possible through the bridge area.

Pope Francis jokes with cloistered nuns in Peru

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 3:06 PM

Pope Francis recites the Angelus prayer Sunday in the  Plaza de Armas of Lima, Peru.
Divisione Produzione Fotografica/AP
Pope Francis recites the Angelus prayer Sunday in the Plaza de Armas of Lima, Peru.(Divisione Produzione Fotografica/AP)

Pope Francis drew appreciative laughter Sunday when he addressed cloistered nuns in a Peruvian church, Reuters reported. The nuns were given special permission to leave their convents to see the pontiff speak in Lima.

>> Read more trending news

Francis spoke to the 500 nuns, known as “contemplatives” because they rarely venture away from their convents, on his final day in Peru.

“Seeing you all here an unkind thought comes to my mind, that you took advantage (of me) to get out of the convent a bit to take a stroll,” he said at the Cathedral San Juan Apostol y Evangelista in Lima, drawing roars of laughter from the nuns, Reuters reported.

Francis also urged the nuns to avoid gossiping in their convents, likening it to “terrorism.”

“You know what a gossiping nun is?” he asked. “A terrorist.”

The nuns laughed again, Reuters reported.

“Because gossip is like a bomb. One throws it, it causes destruction and you walk away tranquilly.” Francis said. “No terrorist nuns! No gossip, and know that the best remedy against gossip is to bite your tongue.”

Damages still being assessed at AK Steel fire in Middletown

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 2:59 PM


            More than 60 firefighters from four communities put out a blaze Saturday, Jan. 20, 2017, at the Basic Oxygen Furnace at AK Steel’s Middletown Works. STAFF
            Mark Bealer/Middletown Journal
More than 60 firefighters from four communities put out a blaze Saturday, Jan. 20, 2017, at the Basic Oxygen Furnace at AK Steel’s Middletown Works. STAFF(Mark Bealer/Middletown Journal)

It will take fire officials several weeks to determine the cause and cost of a fire at AK Steel’s Middletown Works on Saturday morning that took 60 firefighters from four fire departments a few hours to put out.

Company and fire officials said a cracked vessel holding molten steel ignited the large fire. According to Middletown Fire Chief Paul Lolli, the molten steel ignited other equipment and the building when it poured out at the Basic Oxygen Furnace which is located in the 3400 block of Lefferson Road at the sprawling complex.

The incident was initially reported as heavy smoke coming from the structure about 8:30 a.m. During the fire, there were some reports that included molten metal reportedly flowing through the building and the second floor concrete collapsing at one point, causing crews to be removed from the first floor.

Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Spaulding said the ladle holding the molten steel apparently was released before being poured into molds.

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“There have been no employees injured — all employees have been accounted for, and cleanup efforts are underway,” a company statement said. “We are looking into the cause of the situation and have no further information at this time.”

When contacted Sunday, Lisa Jester, AK Steel’s corporate communication manager, had no additional comment beyond Saturday’s statement.

Spaulding said one firefighter/paramedic was taken to Atrium Medical Center for minor injuries and was treated and released.

Lolli said it will take several weeks to determine what exactly happened and damage estimates at this early stage are impossible to predict.

Fire departments from Middletown, Franklin, Monroe and Liberty Twp. responded to the scene.

Two coal train cars carrying 200,000 pounds of raw steel derails in Clark County

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 2:23 PM

Derailed train cars Video

Upper Valley Pike outside of Tremont City Road is blocked after two coal train cars carrying 200,000 pounds of raw steel derailed and landed on their side.

>>Is the Dayton Arcade project at risk under new tax plan?

The incident occurred before 2 p.m. Sunday at the 5100 block of Upper Valley Pike at the cross of Tremont City Road and St. Paris, according to German Twp. dispatch.

German Twp. police are on the scene working to open the road, according to dispatch reports.

(German Township Police Department)

According to German Twp. Police Chief Michael Stitzel, the thawing with the warmer temperatures caused the tracks to shift. The last two cars on the train then tipped when they shifted on the tracks. 

The railroad company doesn’t know when the mess will be cleaned up. 

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: What we know about Wright Patt

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 10:26 AM

Local businesses feeling pressure from government shutdown

U.S. lawmakers are in session today but no deal is in sight to prevent an extended government shutdown.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force closed Saturday and other local governmental institutions, including Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, will be closed Monday as Republicans and Democrats have failed to reach a deal to fund governmental operations.

Both sides are dug in at the moment, with Republicans pushing for a larger defense budget and the Democrats wanting more non-defense spending as well as an agreement on the immigration bill — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Cox Media Group D.C. Correspondent Jamie Dupree reports.

Students at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine practice hazardous materials scenarios in the apprentice program. In this Dayton Daily News file photo, Airman 1st Class Jane Vierzen wore full hazmat suits with a respirator to complete her site reconnaissance health risk assessment training. TY GREENLEES/STAFF(Staff Writer)

RELATED >>> Wright-Patt: Workers to show up Monday even if shutdown still in place

U.S. Senate members return at 1 p.m. today and the U.S. House of Representatives meet at 2 p.m. but no action is expected this afternoon. The U.S. Senate has a procedural vote set for early Monday morning on the GOP’s plan to fund the government through Feb. 8.

People who work at Wright-Patterson are being asked to report to work on Monday, but it's unclear how many may be sent home. 

WPAFB Public Affairs Director Marie Vanover said base officials won't know until Monday the extent the shutdown will have on base employees and services. 

"We will undergo an orderly shutdown. Those who are not exempt from the furlough will be sent home," Vanover said. 

Vanover said Sunday the base had not yet been advised of "the parameters" that will determine who stays and who goes home. 

When the last shutdown struck in 2013, both furloughed workers and those who stayed on the job were reimbursed. 

The Child Development Center was scheduled to be open Monday, spokeswoman Marie Vanover said Saturday. 

Col. Alden Hilton, commander of the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine which marked its 100th anniversary Friday, said essential classes to train aeromedical flight personnel would continue without interruption. 

Hundreds of Air Force reservists scheduled for a monthly drill weekend Jan. 20-21 with the 445th Airlift Wing were expected to proceed because it was previously funded, said Lt. Col. Cynthia Harris, a unit spokeswoman. 

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the largest single-site employer in Ohio with an estimated 27,000 military and civilian personnel. 

Wright-Patterson officials will report updates on the plan on its website wpafb.af.mil. The public may also get information by calling Wright-Patterson's public affairs line, (937) 522-3252.

5 WAYS SHUTDOWN IS AFFECTING GOVERNMENT

1.  U.S. troops will continue to report for duty and U.S. Mail will be delivered, but around one million civilian federal workers will not be at work if the shutdown extends into Monday, according to the Associated Press.

2. Nearly 45,500 IRS employees will be furloughed, which could delay the implementation of lower income tax withholdings set to go into effect nationwide next month, according to the AP.

3. Medicare and Medicaid will continue to operate, the former continuing to provide insurance coverage for nearly 59 million seniors and disabled citizens and the ladder continuing to provide coverage for low-income and disabled people, according to the AP.

4. Most of the federal employees under the U.S. Department of Justice will continue working during the shutdown, including members of the national security division, the FBI, DEA, ATF and the U.S. Marshals Service, according to the AP.

5. Some U.S. Lawmakers have announced they will donate their pay during the shutdown. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced Saturday he will donate to an Ohio diaper bank that supports struggling families and Sen. Todd Young (R-IND) announced he will donate his pay to charity.

The Statue of Liberty is pictured from Liberty State Park on January 21, 2018 in Jersey City, New Jersey. The iconic landmark was closed yesterday as part of the US government shutdown now entering its second full day after coming into effect at midnight on Friday after senators failed to pass a new federal spending bill. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

RELATED: Air Force Museum closes; Wright-Patt workers face furlough

RELATED: Wright Patt: Workers to show up Monday even if shutdown still in place

RELATED: Government shutdown now official; Political parties blame each other

RELATED: Government shutdown: How will you be impacted

RELATED: How it affects key government offices

 

 

In other words, nothing has changed – for weeks.