Greene County to add traffic signal near Cornerstone

Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 @ 3:11 PM


            Cornerstone of Centerville, the site of what used to be Sugarcreek Twp.’s Dille Farm under contstruction. Nov. 22, 2016. TREMAYNE HOGUE/STAFF
            TREMAYNE HOGUE/STAFF

A new traffic signal will be going up at the intersection of Brown Road and Wilmington Pike near the Cornerstone of Centerville to help aid with the traffic flow created by the retail center.

RELATED: Cornerstone to get residential boost with new apartments

“When they widened Wilmington Pike for Costco, the people that lived in the end of Browns Run and the school buses had trouble getting out onto Wilmington to make a left turn safely,” Greene County engineer Robert Geyer said.

The signal will cost between $150,000 and $200,000 and is expected to be operational before the start of the 2017-2018 school year. The signal will be owned by Centerville, but paid for by the Greene County engineers office.

“We did a traffic study and it determined it warranted a signal. I couldn’t get anybody else to do it. Even though it’s in the city of Centerville, I’m paying for the signal to get it up because it’s protecting the residents of Greene County,” Geyer said.

Long-serving Dayton commissioner dies, was ‘always about people first’

Published: Monday, May 29, 2017 @ 10:20 AM
Updated: Monday, May 29, 2017 @ 11:39 AM


            Dean Lovelace

The Dayton community recalled Dean Lovelace, the city’s longest-serving commissioner who died Sunday, for the impact he made on others’ lives.

Lovelace was being remembered as “one of the region’s most-respected leaders” and “a consummate public servant” who battled social injustice.

“Dean was the original champion for Dayton’s neighborhoods and for those in poverty,” according to a statement from former Dayton mayor and current U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton.

RELATED: Lovelace stepping down from commission post

“Our strong relationship showed the community that race and party should never be a barrier for accomplishing great things together,” according to Turner. “Dayton will miss him greatly.”

Lovelace died Sunday, more than a year after stepping down from a Dayton City Commission seat he assumed in 1994. Lovelace had health issues in recent years, including suffering a stroke in 2008.

His family once lived in the DeSoto Bass housing projects and he long believed that residents can accomplish great things with a little assistance. He was known as a firebrand committed to serving the most needy and vulnerable city residents, friends and peers said.

RELATED: Lovelace announces his final term

“It was always about people first, especially the little people,” said Dayton City Commissioner Jeff Mims Jr., a friend of Lovelace’s for more than 50 years.

Mims said he served with Lovelace in Boy Scouts and in athletics at Jefferson High School, where the latter graduated in 1964.

“Obviously, he was very focused on helping people,” said Mims, who graduated high school a year later. “If there was something that you didn’t understand, he’d be the one to explain it to you.”

RELATED: Commissioner making strides after stroke

Lovelace studied applied and social economics at Wright State University, and business administration at the University of Dayton, where he would later work for 25 years, according to his Facebook page.

Mims and others cited his work against predatory lending “way before it was popular.” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said “his legacy will always be here, not only locally but nationally, his efforts fighting for the economically disadvantaged in our community.”

Lovelace ended his 22-year tenure on the city commission in early 2016, seven years after retiring from UD, where he was director of the Dayton Civic Scholars program.

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He taught a class on community engagement at UD, where one of his students was Matt Joseph, who would later serve on the city commission with him.

“He was someone who was there for the people who thought the world was against them, who thought society was against them, or that the government was against them — or thought they had been dealt a bad hand by life,” he said.

Lovelace was a community activist and organizer. In the 1980s, he ran the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaigns in Dayton.

He was first elected to city commission in November 1993 after two unsuccessful bids. He bested five other candidates to fill the unexpired term of Mark Henry. In the special election, the independent topped Mary Sue Kessler, who was endorsed by the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

MORE: Other stories by Nick Blizzard

Lovelace was a strong advocate for the formation of neighborhood development corporations to work on housing rehabilitation, job training and other projects.

He also served on the board of directors of the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, where he “brought passion, personal integrity, care and kindness to everything he did,” according to a statement from Jim McCarthy, president and chief executive officer of the center.

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Lovelace was one of the region’s most respected leaders who “utilized his intelligence, humility, humor and commitment to get things done,” City Commissioner Joey Williams posted on his Facebook page.

Lovelace’s Facebook page indicates he was from Ford City, Pa., northeast of Pittsburgh, but enjoyed being a Daytonian who “was completely dedicated to improving our city,” Williams noted.

Reaction to Lovelace’s death drew strong interest on social media, with dozens of Facebook comments within hours after his passing became public.

“I would not be where I am today” without his help, wrote Katy Crosby. “When so many told me no, he said yes. He believed in me, mentored and guided me and I am proud to be in a position to implement policies and programs focused on economic justice issues he fought for tirelessly his entire life.

“I will forever be grateful to him,” she added. “It will be my honor and lifelong commitment to continue his work.”

Services are pending and are expected to be handled by the House of Wheat Funeral Home, 2107 N. Gettysburg Ave., Mims said.

South Carolinian wants to grow medical marijuana in Warren County

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 9:41 AM


            A South Carolina man is seeking permission to grow medical marijuana between Lebanon and Mason in Warren County.

A South Carolina man plans to grow medical marijuana in Warren County.

RELATED: Warren County anticipates medical marijuana cultivation action

Anil Bhatara of Anderson, S.C., applied for a zoning permit to grow marijuana for medical use in a 3,500 square foot pole barn at 4258 Cox Smith Road, between Lebanon and Mason in Union Twp.

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Bhatara is not the person identified last week as having inquired about the county permit. Yetter indicated he had received multiple inquiries before Bhatara’s application.

Warren County Zoning Inspector Mike Yetter said the application, submitted Thursday, would be reviewed by county prosecutors.

Yetter briefed the county commissioners last week about inquiries about obtaining a permit from the county for the agricultural use in hopes of being selected by the state as one of 24 locations where medical marijuana cultivation would be permitted.

MORE: Butler County businessman fears legal fight over medical marijuana cultivation plans

In June, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a law legalizing marijuana for use by patients with one of 21 conditions, such as cancer, traumatic brain injury or chronic pain. It also allows medical marijuana edibles, oils, patches and vaporizing, but not smoking or home growing, to supply the patients.

RELATED: Ohio to license medical marijuana growers

The permit would be used to qualify for one of up to 24 medical marijuana cultivator licenses the Ohio Department of Commerce can issue “prior to” Sept. 9, 2018, according to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.

Warren County grandstands demolished after 70 years of use

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 8:21 AM

The grandstands at Warren County Fairgrounds have been reduced to rubble.

On Thursday, contractors were working on piles of building materials left after more than week of demolition work on the facilities used by decades of horse racing fans and county fairgoers.

The building will be replaced by a $3 million event center described by an architect as a “”Swiss Army knife kind of building,” easily modified for activities ranging from annual fair activities to weddings to races on the adjoining track.

RELATED: Event center to replace grandstands at Warren County Fairgrounds

For 70 years, the grandstands and track were used principally for harness racing, except during the weeks it was devoted to the county fair. Beneath the enclosed seats, the late Corwin Nixon, a long-time state representative, maintained an office.

RELATED: Grandstands were centerpiece of Lebanon Raceway

They fell into disrepair after live racing and off-track betting were sold to the operators of the Miami Valley Gaming & Racing, the racino just off Interstate 75, west of Lebanon.

RELATED: Racing moves to racino, although horses still stabled in Lebanon 

The event center is envisioned as the centerpiece of the redeveloped fairgrounds. The county plans to use funds set aside by state law and donated to the county by the racino operators.

RELATED: $12 million set aside for four Ohio cities

The property is owned by the Warren County Board of Commissioners, although Ohio law puts the agricultural society, better known as the fair board, in charge of the facilities.

The fair board and county commissioners reached agreement on the event center, but much of the parking lot next to the new facility is still owned by the Carlos family, with the Nixons the two families that controlled racing seasons before the move.

RELATED: Commissioners want control of private parcel within fairgrounds complex

However, the commissioners continued to discuss how much to spend on the facility.

Commissioner Shannon Jones suggested the Track Kitchen, a restaurant on the fairgrounds, could use some reinvestment.

The architecture firm McGill Smith Punshon has been hired to design the event center.

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Commissioner Tom Grossmann suggested the facility could be enlarged for $300,000 to serve larger and a more diverse array of events.

“Wy wouldn’t we do that?” Grossmann said.

Democrat files to challenge Congressman Mike Turner

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 3:38 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 1:50 PM

Congressman Michael Turner (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

UPDATE: The name of a first possible challenger for U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, in 2018 has surfaced. Democrat Michael J. Milisits of Riverside filed a statement of candidacy  for the 2018 10th Congressional District race.

“I want the average person to have a voice in Washington,” Milisits said.

His filing with the Federal Elections Commission sets up his campaign committee, but Milisits has not started gathering signatures on nominating petitions necessary to get his name on the ballot.

He also has raised no money for the race.

Turner, who has held the seat since 2003, has $302,202 on hand, according to the FEC website.

5/22/17

For the first time in more than a dozen years, the congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, is being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has named 79 seats of more than 130 it plans to focus on in 2018.

Turner was one of 20 new targets the DCCC announced Monday. He is one of only two that voted against the recent Republican legislation to replace Obamacare.

Mark Owens, chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party says the DCCC sees the 10th District as winnable for a Democrat in part because of the district makeup and also because of the current political climate.

RELATED: Look back at Turner’ 2016 race

The district includes all of Montgomery, Greene and part of Fayette County.

Turner’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

“I think it’s because even though it is a gerrymandered district it is less gerrymandered than some others around the country,” Owens said.

Owens said two potential candidates are already interested in challenging Turner in 2018 but he would not name them as he did not have their permission to do so.

RELATED: With protesters outside Republicans at local GOP dinner stress unity

“One is a West Point grad, Afghan/Iraq vet” and the other is a a local businesswoman, Owens said. He said one of the two “has some wealth and is going to put some money into” the race, which Owens expects will require $1 million to $1.5 million to be competitive.

Blaine Kelly, spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, said Turner won by a large margin in the Nov. 2016 over teacher Robert Klepinger, a Democrat, and Huber Heights Mayor Thomas McMasters, an independent.

“The only explanation for the Democrats’ decision to target Congressman Turner, or any Republican seats in Ohio, is that they are gluttons for punishment. Congressman Turner’s constituents gave him a giant stamp of approval last November by reelecting him with sixty-four percent of the vote,” Kelly said. “Democrats can manufacture outrage when Republicans keep campaign promises, but they can’t fake votes.”

Turner’s seat is one of four in Ohio the DCCC believes can be taken from Republican incumbents in 2018. The others are U.S. Reps. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, Bob Gibbs, R-Avon, and Dave Joyce, R-Russell Twp. Nearly all the targeted seats are held by the GOP and the others are open.

RELATED: Groups hold town hall without Rep. Mike Turner

Owens said a Democratic candidate can get logistical and fund-raising support from the DCCC in a targeted race. He thinks the last time Turner’s district was targeted was the year he won it in a 2002 battle against Democrat Rick Carne to replace longtime U.S. Rep. Tony Hall, D-Dayton.

“We’re incredibly excited that our national partners are expanding the map and targeting races like Ohio’s 10th Congressional District,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper.

The DCCC raised more than $9 million in April, beating previous records for the month, according to The Hill. However that’s about $1 million less than what was raised last month by Republicans.