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Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 12:00 PM
SPRINGBORO — For anyone who has seen — or more likely, heard — Charles Moore, the boisterous Salvation Army Red Kettle bell ringer outside the Kroger on Ohio 73, this will come as a shock: He once was more Grinch than Santa Claus.
Before Moore moved to Middletown 15 years ago, he lived in Cleveland and was a constant criminal. He labeled himself “a thug” who was attracted to drugs, alcohol and petty theft.
“I ain’t been the best guy my whole life,” the 62-year-old said as he puffed on a Kentucky’s Best cigarette outside Kroger. “It was always, ‘Charles, let’s go break into something. Charles, let’s get drunk. Let’s do this, let’s do that.’ I hung with the worst; never hung with the best.”
He caught his breath from the cold winter air, then added: “I was a follower. Now I’m a leader.”
For five years, Moore has been one of the most successful fundraisers during the local Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign. He works 40 hours a week — five, eight-hour shifts that pay him $8.50 an hour, and Moore earns every penny. In his baritone voice, he greets all Kroger customers with: “Ho. Ho. Ho. Merry Christmas.”
If he sees a distracted customer walking across the parking lot, he encourages them: “Let me see that smile.”
After this scenario was repeated, a young girl, holding her mother’s hand as a car passed, flashed Moore a smile minus her two front teeth.
“I got a smile without asking,” he proclaimed. “I’m a natural.”
Ernie Howard, a retired police officer who worked in Middletown, Monroe and Hamilton, serves as Kettle Coordinator for the Salvation Army, overseeing 14 red kettles in the region. Moore is the ideal bell ringer because he speaks to everyone and makes eye contact, Howard said.
“He has the charisma and personality to bring people in,” said Howard, who said Moore is consistently one the top five fundraisers. “He does a fantastic job.”
As Moore said: “Nobody can outdo me.”
Two years ago, Howard was making his rounds, checking on all the bell ringers. When he pulled into the Kroger lot, there was Moore dancing with a customer. The whole time people were filling the kettle with cash.
“It has been a blessing to watch him in action,” Howard said.
There are your typical Salvation Army bell ringers. Those who just go through the motions. Moore is more of an entertainer. He’s constantly in motion. The only thing louder than his bell, is his booming voice.
“All smiles and no frowns and have a very, very Merry Christmas,” he boasts. “Ho. Ho. Ho.”
A man stops and dumps his extra change in the kettle. Moore and the man, complete strangers, fist bump.
“If I’m not out here telling them to smile or have a Merry Christmas, I’m not doing anything,” Moore said. “That would be a boring job. If I can’t get nobody to smile, you might as well leave me alone. It’s fun to me, but I know people need it.”
On this night, it’s 25 degrees and the wind is whipping through the Kroger parking lot. Moore is wearing a winter coat, hat and gloves and his red Salvation Army vest. Every 90 minutes, he takes a 15-minute break. He slowly removes the kettle, carries it inside and leaves it at customer service.
He then heads back outside and has a cigarette or two while sitting on a wooden picnic table at the far end of the store. He doesn’t seen fazed by the weather.
“When I get home I’ll soak my feet in ice,” he said with a smile. “That will warm them up.”
Then, without warning, the conversation switches back to his Cleveland roots. Moore said he got caught up with the wrong crowd, and he paid the price.
MORE McCRABB: Thief leads Middletown artist to paint animals
“I was tired of Cleveland or Cleveland was tired of me,” he said. “The judge told me he’d lock me up and throw away the key if I got into more trouble. He said, ‘You don’t need to be here. You need to leave.’ And I left.”
He ended up in Middletown and for five years, lived at Hope House, the city’s homeless shelter. He lives in a Middletown home and wants to ring the bell for at least five more years.
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 11:44 PM
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 12:45 AM
NEW CARLISLE — UPDATE @ 12:45 a.m. (Jan. 22)
It is unknown if anyone was inside or suffered injuries at the Miami Valley Feed & Grain establishment when a large grain elevator collapsed Sunday night, according to sheriff’s deputies on scene.
Officials continue to investigate the incident, which caused a loud explosion, startling area residents.
DP&L are on scene to assess the brief power outage that occurred.
We will continue to update this story as additional details become available.
UPDATE @ 12:10 a.m. (Jan. 22)
A large grain elevator collapsed Sunday night at Miami Valley Feed & Grain, 880 W. Jefferson St.
Residents in the area reported hearing a loud explosion, grain as high as 15 feet across a portion of Jefferson Street (Ohio 571) and a brief power outage.
Crews were called late Sunday night to a report of an explosion at a grain bin.
The blast was reported shortly before 11:40 p.m. in the 300 block of Garfield Street.
Power also was reported knocked out in the area.
We are on the way and will update this report.
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 4:29 AM
Updated: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 10:00 PM
— A few passing showers are possible overnight, but more dry time is expected heading toward daybreak, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar said. Temperatures overnight will be somewhat steady in the 40s.
Monday: A dry start is expected before more rain returns in the afternoon and early evening. Some of that rain could be heavy at times. Highs will be in the lower to middle 50s.
Tuesday: Colder air returns with highs in the upper 30s early in the morning. Temperatures are expected to fall throughout the day. There is a chance for snow showers or flurries as well.
Wednesday: Another cool day is expected with partly cloudy skies and highs in the middle to upper 30s.
Thursday: Temperatures top out in the upper 30s under partly sunny skies.
Friday: It will be mild under mostly sunny skies with high temperatures in the upper 40s.
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 5:57 PM
— One way this potential government shutdown would be different than in the past -- there’s never been a federal shutdown during tax filing season. Nor has the government been shut down amid the implementation of a massive tax code overhaul.
The Internal Revenue Service would lose an estimated 56 percent of its workforce to furloughs if the government shuts down, according to the U.S. Treasury. And it would be happening right when the IRS is updating its guidelines and software, while also fielding questions from the public about new tax laws.
Experts told the Washington Post that even a short shutdown will set back implementation on the new tax code.
Tax filing season begins on Jan. 29. The IRS generally issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. With the workforce cut in half, it is likely that a prolonged shutdown could lead to delayed returns and the inability to access IRS assistance phone lines.
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 10:26 AM
— 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.
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.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW