Researchers around the world heading to Dayton for AFRL program

Published: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 11:04 AM
Updated: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

            The side of the new Air Force Research Lab small business hub facing East Second St. downtown. The address already has something of a storied history, having served as home to some of the University of Dayton’s sensors research. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
            Thomas Gnau/Staff
The side of the new Air Force Research Lab small business hub facing East Second St. downtown. The address already has something of a storied history, having served as home to some of the University of Dayton’s sensors research. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Thomas Gnau/Staff)

Dozens of researchers around the world will work with Air Force Research Laboratory engineers next month in downtown Dayton on solving targeted issues with autonomous systems, an agency leader says.

Thirty-nine academic and industry researchers will join 10 AFRL scientists to work on the problem for about three months, said AFRL executive director C. Douglas Ebersole.

“It’s going to support the advancement of autonomous systems,” said Ebersole, who declined to elaborate.

The effort marks the first big project the agency has teamed with scientists and engineers at the downtown office at 444 E. Second St. The Wright Brothers Institute and AFRL partnered to run the office on a two-year lease.

RELATED: AFRL partnership finds downtown home

“It’s kind of an experiment,” Ebersole said Thursday. “…We knew that in some of these emerging areas of autonomy, data analytics, mission learning, a lot of thought leadership is outside the fence of government labs.”

The 8,000-square foot facility was the former home of the University of Dayton Research Institute’s sensor lab and will anchor a newly dubbed downtown “Innovation District.”

“That’s one thing we’re going to use it as a place to host focus teams trying to work on hard problems,” Ebersole said.

RELATED: Air Force makes push to up spending on small businesses

With a more than $4 billion budget, AFRL has more than 6,000 scientists and engineers at its Wright-Patterson headquarters. The base is home to AFRL’s Aerospace Systems, Materials and Manufacturing, and Sensors directorates, and the 711th Human Performance Wing that includes the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine.

Xenia medical pot ban won’t block Central State lab, city says

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 12:45 PM

            Marijuana plant
Marijuana plant

Xenia officials say they don’t believe that city’s ban on medical marijuana businesses conflicts with Central State University’s hopes to both annex into the city and become a state-licensed cannabis testing lab.

“While the current city of Xenia code cites a prohibition of cultivating, processing and dispensing of marijuana, it appears to be silent and not specific on the testing of medical marijuana,” said city spokesman Lee Ward Thursday.

MAP: Where medical marijuana could be grown in Ohio

“We see no conflict at this time,” he said, though they will review the laws and make sure there are no problems in the event Central State is actually awarded a license to host the state’s first test facility for medical marijuana.

Central State and Hocking College, in Athens County, both applied to get the first license to test medical marijuana for quality. State law says the first license must go to a public institution. After a year, private labs can be licensed.

RELATED: Central State University wants marijuana lab license

Meanwhile, Xenia city officials voted last month to begin the process to annex into the city of Xenia.

RELATED: Xenia Council votes 5-1 in favor of CSU pre-annexation deal

Central State officials have not responded to emailed questions about how much a cannabis testing lab would cost or how it would be paid for. This story will be updated once that information is provided.

Hocking College officials have estimated their lab could cost $5 million. They are setting up an endowment for private investors to pay for it.

RELATED: Ohio college confident feds won’t block pot testing lab

The company Hocking College is partnering with to run its lab has estimated that by 2020 Ohio’s lab testing industry could be worth half a billion dollars.


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Longtime county court clerk Greg Brush to retire

Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 @ 4:31 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 12, 2017 @ 3:54 PM

Greg Brush, Montgomery County Clerk of Courts
Greg Brush, Montgomery County Clerk of Courts

Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Greg Brush will retire Oct. 31 to take a new job, he announced in an exclusive interview.

“I’ve greatly enjoyed my time at the clerk’s office. I value that citizens put me back here three times,” said Brush, 54. “It’s been a great experience. It’s a great staff. It’s a great community to work in.”

He said he cannot reveal his new job until he starts it on Nov. 1. He said he had not intended to leave the clerk’s job but “my opportunities in front of me are too good to pass up.”

RELATED: Brush re-elected to four-year term

Brush, was re-elected in 2016 and his term runs through 2020. A Democrat, he has been the court clerk since January 2008, when he was appointed to replace Dan Foley after Foley was elected Montgomery County commissioner.

Also Tuesday, Foley announced that he will not run for re-election in 2018.

Brush, who is paid $111,000 annually, won election in November 2008, 2012 and 2016.

County commissioners will begin work to select an interim clerk, Commissioner Debbie Lieberman said. That person will serve until the Montgomery County Democratic Party central committee chooses someone fill the job through 2018.

The party will move quickly to fill the seat, said Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Owens, who said Brush’s decision to leave caught him by surprise.

“He’s done a really good job,” Owens said, adding that he expects to have strong potential candidates to replace Brush.

An election would be held in November 2018 to fill the final two years of Brush’s term.

He is retiring after 34 years of public service, which includes seven years as Butler Twp. fiscal officer and 20 years as a Vandalia police officer. He also taught at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center.

During his time in office Brush made technological improvements to the clerk of courts online public records website, instituted e-filing of court documents, added an RSS feature allowing people to electronically follow cases and revamped the clerk website.

RELATED: Brush shocked by theft investigation

“I’m very proud we are known around the state not only for technology, but customer service,” Brush said. 

Commissioner Judy Dodge said of Brush, “Early on, he recognized the critical need for new and more efficient ways to use technology for the benefit of our citizens and courts.”

He oversees a budget of about $7 million and a staff of 92 employees. He said the office had 126 when he took over, but technological improvements allowed him to cut staff.

“As long as we keep this team intact, we will continue to do cutting edge great things here at the clerk’s office,” Brush said.

Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Phil Plummer could not be reached for comment.


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Election 2017: 3 Vandalia Council members face challenger

Published: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 @ 12:14 PM
Updated: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 @ 12:06 PM

Voting stickers are seen at the Ohio Union during the U.S. presidential election at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan
Associated Press
Voting stickers are seen at the Ohio Union during the U.S. presidential election at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan(Associated Press)

Three Vandalia City Council members are facing a challenger for three seats in this November’s election.

Council members Mike Blakesly, Dave Lewis and Candice Farst are running for re-election. Challenger Amber Aivalotis-Weaver is hoping to win one of those seats.

We asked all four of the candidates what they thought the biggest challenges facing the city are.

WHAT’S ON YOUR BALLOT?: Interactive voters guide

From job creation to fighting the opioid epidemic, here’s a look at what they had to say:

Q: What are the biggest problems facing the community? What do you propose doing to tackle these challenges?

Amber Aivalotis-Weaver: The heroin epidemic, cost and crime have the potential to so do much damage. Appropriate economic developments, getting residents input on all developments & becoming more transparent. Another issue is the loss of state funding for basic services, it is time Ohio invests Vandalia residents’ tax dollars back in Vandalia. Since beginning this campaign, a major problem discussed as I meet with neighbors is the lack of information shared with residents. Residents need to be aware of the threats Vandalia faces, so they have the opportunity to work with the Council to share ideas for a solution. Council members are elected to approve solutions; but, Council members cannot overlook getting input from Vandalia residents. Our Police & Fire Depts. have worked hard during this heroin/opioid epidemic. Reaching out to residents to notify them about developments sought & I’ll work with residents & our Miami Valley State Representatives/Senators to proactively advocate for additional municipal funds

Mike Blakesly: The biggest problem facing the community is proper land development and management through strengthened Zoning Code and Comprehensive Development Plan. It is imperative development is done in a responsible way to control future exposure to the ever increasing vehicular traffic in and through our community as a result of the many large distribution centers in the surrounding areas of Vandalia. This is why I am currently on the committee to re-write Vandalia’s Zoning Code. I feel the current code is outdated and obsolete in many sections. My experience and background in Code Enforcement allows me to understand and help improve the Zoning Code to better match the City of Vandalia’s current trends in development while maintaining its character. This makes for a safer community and enhances the look of the city, which equates to a better quality of life for all Vandalia citizens.

Candice Farst: Our region is in the midst of a very difficult health crisis with the opioid epidemic. Every area city and township is sharing in this struggle. Our city devotes many hours of police and fire to persons experiencing the consequences of overdoses. I will initiate discussions among city council during the budget process about options to reduce the influx of drugs into our area. Another challenge facing Vandalia is truck traffic through our downtown corridor from the new distribution terminals outside the City of Vandalia to the west. This traffic causes safety issues and will cause excessive road foundation deterioration. Excessive truck traffic also affects quality of life for our citizens driving and walking in our town. We have begun a multi-phase approach to reduce the thru traffic. Since we cannot force this issue, we will continue to take steps to “encourage” thru trucks to take the 70/75 route which is the ideal solution to the problem.

Dave Lewis: The biggest issues generally surround development in and around the community and its current and future effect on the quality of residential life. Continued evaluation of planning and zoning of our community and programing to allow for a structured redevelopment of our retail areas is the best way to approach these challenges.

Q: What can you do if elected to help grow the local economy and add jobs? What ideas do you have for attracting new jobs and investment?

Amber Aivalotis-Weaver: Vandalia’s economic development plan/investment portfolio should mirror what Vandalia’s residents want. What types of developments/investments would be supported by our community? That is what I’d ask residents if elected. Vandalia needs to seek more input from residents to determine what developments/investments residents would support. No one-size fits all economic development/investment approach works for municipalities. I’ll work tirelessly to seek input from residents about developments/investments and I’ll work to make sure community supported developments/investments happen

Mike Blakesly: I am constantly encouraging city staff to seek new economic growth but not at the expense of losing the sprit and identity of the city. I am proud to say that I have helped to oversee the City of Vandalia actively seek new development in a responsible way. I have made sure that it has been done with foresight and proper planning according to our comprehensive plan. I presently help promote the retention of our current businesses which I believe is just as important as economic growth.

Candice Farst: Vandalia City Council decided recently to pass on further businesses in our city which will add significantly to the truck traffic dilemma. We made a conscientious objective to wait for businesses that will be beneficial to our community along with adding desired tax payroll. City Council has recently agreed to add “community development” to the job description of our Economic Development Director. This means that we will be working to make Vandalia an inviting place that businesses will want to locate and those employees will want to live.

Dave Lewis: The direction of economic development should concentrate not on development for development sake but that which is compatible with existing businesses and does not distract from the quality of residential living. The population of Vandalia has been and is projected to be fairly static thus we need only to concentrate on those opportunities that are the best fit for the community.


Learn more about these candidates and hundreds of others running for office around the region in our interactive online voters guide at

Springboro to review latest Easton Farm plan, two new projects

Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 @ 10:44 AM

            Springboro planners to consider the latest plan for development of the Easton Farm.
Springboro planners to consider the latest plan for development of the Easton Farm.

The Springboro Planning Commission is scheduled to review three development plans on Wednesday, including a fourth work session on a mix of retail and residential construction proposed on 86 acres of the historic Easton Farm.

RELATED: Planners, developer to meet on Easton farm development plan

The commission is also expected to get a first look at plans by Beehive Homes for a 24-unit, 15,685-square foot assisted living facility 600 feet southeast of the corner of Lytle-Five Points Road and North Main Street.

A plan for three 24-unit buildings at the site was withdrawn in September.

MORE: Same developer managing two big Springboro projects

The other new project involves plans by the Daniels Family Trust for eight homes on 2.5 acres at 1360 S. Main St.

The applicant is seeking both approvals to allow for the development of the property as an 8-lot, single-family residential subdivision.

RELATED: Springboro planners unready to approve Easton Farm development

Once again, HP Acquisitions is to present plans for most of the 101-acre farm at 605 N. Main St. The Blue Ash-based developer proposes a mix of commercial, single-family and multi-family residential development.

Ted and Becky Hall would continue to live on 16.1 acres on the west side of the property.

The developer was sent back to the drawing board on Jan. 11, March 8 and May 10 by the commission.

MORE: Springboro central intersection reconstruction begins

The new plan reduces the number of residences from 467 to 463, the number that would be for multiple families from 360 to 356.

More open space is set aside and drug stores with drive-thrus and drug stores without drive-thrus were added and vehicle wash establishments, garden centers and outdoor retail sales were removed from the list of proposed commercial uses.

The commercial development would be built on 17.2-acres along North Main, Ohio 741.

The meeting is to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Springboro City Hall, 320 W. Central Ave.