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Warren County’s Massie Twp. meeting tonight over fire department future

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 11:43 AM


            The Massie Twp. Board of Trustees has called a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. today to discuss the future of the township fire department.
The Massie Twp. Board of Trustees has called a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. today to discuss the future of the township fire department.

The Massie Twp. Board of Trustees called a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. today to discuss the future of the township fire department.

Fire Chief Scott Hines, the department’s only paid employee, resigned on Jan. 2 after learning he was under scrutiny for purchasing food for firefighters, and part of the department’s entirely volunteer force resigned too.

“They left us with a skeleton crew,” Trustee David Crisenbery said this morning.

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The township, home to about 1,500 residents, is on the south side of Caesar Creek Lake. The department handles emergency calls from the lake.

Since Hines’ resignation, fire and emergency calls are being handled by the remaining department along with mutual aid from fire departments in Wayne Twp., Warren County, and Chester Twp., Clinton County.

The trustees are also weighing creating a joint fire district with Chester Twp. with new levies supporting the operation.

“That is the goal,” Trustee Daryl McKinney said.

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A larger district qualifies for more grants, McKinney said.

The Massie Twp department operates on a $92,000 budget from two levies.

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Crisenbery said the township could seek an additional local levy to fund part-time paid firefighters. Also, Hines’ replacement could be picked, Crisenbery added.

“Anything’s possible tonight,” Crisenbery said. “All options, I feel, should be on the table.”

Hines said he was working with the Village of Harveysburg on creating a fire department, taking over fire and ambulance services within its municipal limits within Massie Twp.

He accused Trustee Mark Dawson of “micromanaging” him for more than two years.

Dawson said Hines was the subject of two internal investigations which provided 11 grounds for his removal.

“It is our responsibility to address the issues,” he said. “I call it doing the job we’re appointed to.”

Hines said he resigned after he was cleared of the grounds noted in the first investigation and the second investigation was completed.

“I just got tired of it,” he said.

The meeting began at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the township fire station, 10 N. Harveysburg Road.

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Montgomery County Recorder Willis Blackshear dies

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 10:43 AM
Updated: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 10:43 AM

Willis Blackshear, Montgomery County recorder since 2006, has died. SUBMITTED
Willis Blackshear, Montgomery County recorder since 2006, has died. SUBMITTED

Willis E. Blackshear, longtime Montgomery County recorder and Montgomery County Democratic Party stalwart, has died, Dayton and county officials confirmed today. He was 57.

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“He was always passionate about public service and really passionate about how people can make a difference in their communities if they got involved in politics,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, who said Blackshear died overnight in hospice care after a long illness.

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Blackshear worked his way up the ranks during 22 years in the county’s treasurer’s office. In 2006 he was appointed county recorder. In 2008, he was elected to his first full term and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016.

Born and raised in Dayton, Blackshear continued to reside in the city with his wife, Regina. He also leaves behind an adult son, Willis Jr.

Blackshear graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and received his BA in political Science from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., according to his county biography.

We will continue to update this story as it develops.

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Miami County could house federal prisoners for first time in years

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 2:32 PM


            Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak. CONTRIBUTED.
Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak. CONTRIBUTED.

TROY – Details are being finalized for the housing of federal prisoners in Miami County for the first time in nearly a decade.

Sheriff Dave Duchak said his staff is working with the federal marshal’s service on a contract under which up to 20 prisoners would be housed in pods at the county Incarceration Facility located between Troy and Piqua.

The proposed agreement would allow for up to 15 males and five females. The county would be paid $59 per day, per prisoner and would be paid to transport the prisoners to and from the facility to federal court in Dayton.

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The Incarceration Facility was built in 1999 with the goal at the time of using one half of its four, 60-person pods to house local prisoners and to rent the other half to help offset facility operating costs.

The county housed prisoners for other counties and the federal marshal’s service before the facility was closed at the end of 2009 because of budget cuts blamed on the recession. The sheriff’s office reopened one of the facility’s pods in 2013, the second in 2014 and a third last year.

Last year, the sheriff’s office again started renting a few beds to the Darke County Sheriff’s Office and Greenville police. More recently, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office has been renting beds. Those agencies are using about 10 beds a day. Last year, the sheriff’s office brought in around $100,000 from bed rentals.

“I don’t have a problem renting out beds as long as it doesn’t hurt our judges’ ability to incarcerate,” Duchak said.

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County Commission President John “Bud” O’Brien said he and fellow commissioners are “certainly in favor of the sheriff renting beds to whoever he can.” The rentals help supplement the cost of operating the facility, he said.

“We haven’t seen the contract yet, but are looking forward to seeing it,” O’Brien said.

Duchak said the arrangement for housing federal prisoners would be like the previous agreement.

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Miami County also has a jail at the county Safety Building in Troy, where up to 48 prisoners can be held. That space is used for primarily for violent offenders, while nonviolent offenders are housed at the Incarceration Facility. The federal prisoners would be nonviolent people facing charges for financial and other crimes, Duchak said.

Before the sheriff’s office could open the fourth, 60-person pod, it would need to hire six additional correction officers. That process would take at least nine months, Duchak said.

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Judge candidate fails to make ballot in Montgomery County and will fight to get in race

Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 5:22 PM
Updated: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 6:06 PM

Judge candidate fails to make ballot in Montgomery County
Judge candidate fails to make ballot in Montgomery County

One candidate for judge won’t make the May 8 primary ballot in Montgomery County after the board of elections on Tuesday certified nominating petitions submitted by candidates.

Democrat Alan D. Gabel of Dayton submitted nominating petitions with the wrong commencement date for the Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge-General Division position he sought, said Steve Harsman, deputy director of the board.

Failing to put the correct date on the petition is considered a “fatal error” because each common pleas judge position has a specific start date and the correct one must be listed on nominating petitions signed by registered voters, Harsman said..

That means there will be no primary race for the remaining Democrat, Montgomery County Juvenile Court Magistrate Gerald Parker of Centerville, who will face Judge Erik R. Blaine, a Republican, in the November 6 General Election.

Gabel said on Friday that he will fight the decision, first by asking the local board to reconsider and then by appealing in court. He said it was clear which judgeship he was running for and that his petitions should have been accepted even though they had the wrong date.

All other candidates were certified except some seeking political party state central committee spots.

County voters will see contested primary races for U.S. Congress and the Ohio House.

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Contested primaries will also occur in the races for Montgomery County Commission, County Clerk of Courts and two other Common Pleas Court races.

Boards of election in Ohio must certify petitions for the May primary election by Feb. 19.

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Springboro to spend $200,000 on land for new park

Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 11:04 AM

5.7 acres on NW corner Crosley Rd, Lytle-Five Points in Clearcreek Twp.

The Springboro City Council authorized the city manager to pay $190,000 for 5.8 acres of residential property on Lytle-Five Points Road and shift $200,000 in city funds to pay for the land.

The votes during Thursday’s council meeting came on two legislative items added to the agenda and approved on first readings.

Supporters say the new park would help serve residents in an area where most of the city’s growth has happened.

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The land is at 525 W. Lytle-Five Points Road, at the southwest corner of Lytle-Five Points and Crosley Road, in Clearcreek Twp.

City Manager Chris Pozzuto said the seller was Gary Gibson. Property tax records indicate the owners, Gibson and his wife, live nearby on Crosley Road.

The land is valued at $76,270 by the Warren County Auditor’s Office. A home on the property has been removed and a sign indicated it was still up for sale on Friday.

During Thursday’s council work session before the formal meeting, Councilwoman Janie Ridd asked what would happen if the Clearcreek Twp. Board of Trustees decided not to collaborate with the city on the park.

“We have a lot of options,” Pozzuto said, including leaving the land as green space or reselling it.

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Previous discussion of the land purchase was in executive session.

On Thursday, the council adjourned into another executive session before returning to approve the purchase during an open meeting.

“While the city has over 400 acres of park land / public open space, most of it lies in the west and southwest parts of the city. There aren’t any public parks in the northeast area of the city, where most of the residential growth has been over the past 10-15 years,” Pozzuto said in a email this morning.

Before the votes, Pozzuto indicated the land could be developed as a park or left as green space.

With Councilman Jim Chmiel absent, the vote on each item was 6-0.

“This will allow the city to develop a park close to many of the newer neighborhoods that have been developed recently. The hope is to create a passive park that would contain open space, picnic shelter(s), playground(s), a small paved walking trail, etc.,” Pozzuto added Friday.

The city’s North Park is 2.4 miles away, across Ohio 741, Main Street in Springboro.

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The property sale price is $190,000, with $10,000 for a title search and other work done in anticipation of the sale, according to Pozzuto.

We were unable to reach Clearcreek Twp. officials about the proposed park.

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