Butler GOP recommend West Chester Trustee George Lang for Statehouse

Published: Friday, September 08, 2017 @ 12:00 AM

Ohio Rep. Margy Conditt, R-Liberty Twp., is leaving office Sept. 8. Who will replace her?

West Chester Twp. George Lang is now the presumptive front-runner to succeed Ohio Rep. Margy Conditt, R-Liberty Twp., who resigns Friday.

Lang was the overwhelming recommended choice of the Butler County Republican Party’s Central Committee members that live in the 52nd Ohio House District, receiving 46 of 69 votes cast.

FIRST REPORT: Butler County lawmaker to resign in September

Butler County State Central Committeewoman Ann Becker, of West Chester Twp., received 19 votes, followed by Jeff Kursman, of Liberty Twp. (3), Dr. Anu Mital, of Liberty Twp., (1) and West Chester Twp. Trustee Lee Wong (none).

District residents of the GOP’s Central Committee listened to the five can didates seeking the party’s recommendation. There are seven candidates seeking the seat, but John Haberer and Grace Kendrick, both of West Chester Twp., did not seek the party’s recommendation.

Lang is known for his ability to raise funds and contributions to the county Republican Party, and touted that ability in his speech.

“Two things that your state rep must be very good at: one is getting elected and, two, being able to raise funds,” Lang said.

He said he’s won his four elections “by a landside margin” and touted that he’s “very good at raising money.

“We are the economic epicenter of the Cincinnati-Dayton corridor,” Lang said. “If I’m blessed to get this appointment, I want to make Ohio the most business-friendly state in the nation.”

RELATED: 7 vie for Statehouse seat

He said he intends to take the model he and other trustees have done over the years and apply it at the state level.

“I want to reduce or eliminate the corporate tax on businesses and I want to start eliminate unnecessary regulations on business – the exact same thing we did in West Chester, I want to do for the state,” Lang said.

Conditt announced last month she was stepping down from her Statehouse seat on Sept. 8 to spend more time with her family. She resigns just six months into her third elected term.

Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger spokesman Brad Miller has previously said Conditt’s successor could be sworn in to office “in a fairly quick turnaround.”

All seven candidates will be interviewed Friday and the appointment will be announced sometime between Friday and Sept. 13. No date has been set as to when Rosenberger would make his decision.

RELATED: Butler County Democrats say Lang is ‘unfit to serve’

A screening panel, which will includechairman Rep. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton, and Reps. Sarah LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Twp., and Bob Cupp, R-Lima, will vet the applicants.

Butler County Democratic Party Chairwoman Jocelyn Bucaro has expressed her disappointment in Conditt’s resignation and said it opens the door “to enable Republican Party insiders to anoint yet another successor who answers to party bosses and not the voters they’re supposed to represent.”

She later said Lang was “unfit to serve” in the Statehouse, alleging he “traded access” to local Republicans to aid the defunct Dynus tech company.

Some of Dynus’ executives were tried and found guilty of defrauding the county millions of dollars. Lang, who eventually became a Dynus executive after being a lobbyist for the company, was never indicted for his role in the company and was found not guilty on a perjury charge stemming from his testimony of former Dynus owner Orlando Carter.

Ohio’s first center for drug-addicted babies set to open in Kettering

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 8:33 AM

            Brigid’s Path, the state’s first crisis care nursery for drug-addicted newborns is set to begin treating infants by the end of October. Executive Director Jill Kingston is seen in one of the facility’s 24 private nurseries. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
            Chris Stewart
Brigid’s Path, the state’s first crisis care nursery for drug-addicted newborns is set to begin treating infants by the end of October. Executive Director Jill Kingston is seen in one of the facility’s 24 private nurseries. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF(Chris Stewart)

The state’s first crisis care nursery for drug-addicted newborns is set to open next week in Kettering and begin treating infants and training families by the end of October.

“The need is huge and still growing,” said Jill Kingston, a co-founder and executive director of Brigid’s Path. “We have women calling. They are just ready for this kind of service to be available.”

RELATED: Addicted at birth

An average of six babies a day — or 2,174 total — were admitted to Ohio hospitals in 2015 for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a consequence of an escalating statewide opioid epidemic. In 2006, just slightly more than 300 cases were reported statewide.

The public is invited to Brigid’s Path for a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 25.

The local facility at 3601 South Dixie Drive – four years in the making from inception through community fundraising and construction — features 24 private nurseries built around four common areas.

Lily’s Place in Huntington, W.W. was the first such facility in the U.S. to open and provided a model for Kingston and co-founder Deanna Murphy, who is no longer with the Brigid’s Path.

During 2015, drug-exposed babies born in Ohio were hospitalized on average 14 days costing more than $133 million in Medicaid charges, according to Ohio Department of Health data.

RELATED: More help aimed at helping babies, mothers

Infants in withdrawal require specialized care to overcome a number of symptoms, Kingston said.

“They shake — they have what’s called tremors — and that’s just one of the reactions that they are withdrawing,” Kingston said. “They are vomiting, they have diarrhea. They are hard to console.”

Aside from being physically soothed through therapeutic handling by family members and volunteers, the medical staff will also help newborns through withdrawal using medication assisted treatment, Kingston said.

Kingston said about 90 percent of NAS babies could be cared for at Brigid’s Path after they have stabilized in area hospital neonatal intensive care units, a process typically taking three to five days. The organization hopes to prove that the costs can be brought down while also giving families educational support.

RELATED: Montgomery County OD crisis: ‘We are nowhere near achieving our goal’

The infants will stay at Brigid’s Path two to three weeks as they are weaned from prenatal drug exposure, but the family mentoring components of the program will continue forward for up to a year, Kingston said.

“These babies can be rehabilitated as long as their environment is consistent and safe.”

The nonprofit raised about $2.5 million, putting about $2 million toward transforming a donated building into a medical facility. State funding provided $1 million split over two years for the pilot program.

Kingston said about $2 million more is needed to keep the pilot program running through October 2018.

Brigid’s Path ribbon cutting

11 a.m., Monday, Sept. 25

3601 South Dixie Drive, Kettering

Public welcome

George Lang’s Ohio statehouse appointment: What’s really going on?

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 11:38 AM

            West Chester Twp. Trustee George Lang, pictured talking with Liberty Twp. Trustee Christine Matacic on Sept. 7, was sworn in on Sept. 13 as the 52nd Ohio House District representative. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/FILE
West Chester Twp. Trustee George Lang, pictured talking with Liberty Twp. Trustee Christine Matacic on Sept. 7, was sworn in on Sept. 13 as the 52nd Ohio House District representative. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/FILE

Ohio Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., received unanimous support from the Ohio House members that voted to seat him as the 52nd Ohio House District representative, succeeding former lawmaker Margy Conditt.

Conditt resigned on Sept. 8 in order to spend more time with family. She left just nine months after being elected to a third term in the Ohio House. Lang was one of seven to seek the appointment.

RELATED: George Lang officially sworn in as representative for 52nd District

Here’s what we know now about the appointment:

1. Who didn’t vote?

Not including the Lang, or his predecessor, there were 65 members of the Ohio House eligible to vote to appoint Lang. One was absent, but those remaining were at the Statehouse and some did not cast a vote — including the three lawmakers that represent a portion of Butler County. They include:

  • Ohio Rep. Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville
  • Ohio Rep. Ron Hood, R-Ashville
  • Ohio Rep. Larry Householder, Glenford
  • Ohio Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown
  • Ohio Rep. Al Landis, R-Dover (who was absent on Sept. 13)
  • Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton
  • Ohio Rep. Nino Vitale, R-Urbana
  • Ohio Rep. Paul Zeltwanger, R-Mason

Retherford said he was not on the House floor because he took a last-minute meeting on a piece of legislation he is drafting. He wouldn’t say what the piece of legislation concerned but said when he arrived on the Ohio House floor he missed the vote and would have supported Lang.

“George is a friend of mine and I have known him for a long time,” said Keller, who lost out on the Butler County GOP’s endorsement but beat the endorsed candidate in the 2016 primary.. “I simply feel that the voters of Butler County need to be the ones to choose who they wish to represent them. The will of the people should always come before the will of any political party or party leadership. The voters are the ones to whom we answer. I trust the voters.”

Zeltwanger represents mostly Warren County, but does represent a small portion of Middletown. He, and the others, could not immediately be reached for comment.

RELATED: Some Republicans fuming over perceived sexist question

2. West Chester Twp. trustee race

Because of Lang’s appointment, he had to resign his seat as West Chester Twp. trustee. Since he resigned more than 40 days before the Nov. 7 election, voters will pick who will serve out his final two years on the board of trustees.

Since the full terms for West Chester Twp. trustees Lee Wong and Mark Welch will also be on November’s ballot, the entire board of trustees will be up for election.

Within the first couple hours of Lang’s resignation, two people had pulled petitions. As of Monday, seven have pulled petitions and one had filed. They include:

  • Lynda Caldwell O’Connor
  • Lawrence Richard Brown
  • Randy Dale Simmons
  • David W. Corfman (filed)
  • Larry A. Whited (filed)
  • Christy Ann Miller
  • Jillian Kelley (filed)

The filing deadline for candidates to fill Lang’s unexpired term is at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Butler County Board of Elections will have to operate on a day it would normally be closed.

The filing deadline date was set because Lang resigned on a Wednesday (Sept. 13). If Lang would have resigned after the West Chester Twp. Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12, the filing deadline would have been on Friday, Sept. 22.

3. First legislative actions

As soon as Lang was seated as the 52nd Ohio House member, he cast his first vote. House Bill 133, among other things, exempts those from state and municipal income taxes on income received by an out-of-state disaster business or qualifying out-of-state employee for work repairing public utility or communications infrastructure damaged by a declared disaster.

The bill received unanimous support in the Ohio House and moves on to the Ohio Senate.

This was also the first bill Lang signed on as a co-sponsor.

4. Scientology connection questioned

Before he was sworn into the 52nd Ohio House seat, Lang was asked by his fellow Butler County Republicans if he was a Scientologist.

Lang denied he was a Scientologist.

He was asked the question because he spoke several years ago at the opening of a Church of Scientology center Northern Kentucky.

RELATED: George Lang: I’m not a Scientologist … but what if I was?

5. Committee assignments

As of Monday, Lang has not been assigned to any committees, said Brad Miller, spokesman for Speaker Cliff Rosenberger.

Miller said the speaker was considering a review of the overall committee assignments, which it is “not uncommon for there to be changes made throughout a general assembly.”

Miller said the speaker’s office is checking with Lang on his primary interests, and there’s not a timeline as to when Lang’s committee assignment could be set.

Conditt was assigned as vice chair of the Community and Family Advancement committee and a member of the public utilities and criminal justice committees.

New fire training center fills a longtime need

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 11:52 AM

            The Warren County Career Center Fire Training Center will officially open on Oct. 5. CONTRIBUTED
The Warren County Career Center Fire Training Center will officially open on Oct. 5. CONTRIBUTED

After five years of study and planning and months of construction, the Warren County Career Center Fire Training Center, a countywide Fire/Rescue and Technical Rescue Training Facility and Class A Burn Building, will officially open on Thursday, Oct. 5, with a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m.

The facility is in Lebanon on the WCCC campus.

The community is invited to attend and tour the new facility. This is the first facility of its kind in Warren County. The facility will be used to deliver state-of-the-art Fire and EMS training for the students of the Warren County Career Center as well as firefighters from Warren County and other area fire departments.

We talked to director of facilities Kim Fladung to find out more about the new facility.

Q: Kim, tell us about your involvement in the new Fire Training Center?

A: I began working for the Career Center in December of 2011 as the public safety coordinator for Adult Education. I retired that month after a 32-year career in Fire Service with the Reading Fire Department. As the coordinator, I was responsible for course coordination in all of our fire and emergency medical service classes. The process for the development of the Fire Training Center began shortly after I started with the Career Center, as it was apparent that there was a definite need for a facility on campus in order to enhance and grow our programs.

Q: Can you give us a brief background of how the project came into fruition?

A: Currently, whenever our fire classes need to perform live burn (fire) training, we need to go out of the county to rent other facilities such as at Great Oaks, Butler Tech or Dayton Fire Department. Due to the cost of rentals and the logistics to move our students off site, they were receiving the minimal required live burn training to complete their programs. It was my goal to increase the amount of live burn training for each class and the most cost-effective way for this to happen was to have our own facility. In addition, the Warren County Fire Departments also had to rent facilities and take their departments out of the county when they delivered in-service live burn training. We felt that by having this facility in the county, the area fire departments could provide better training to their members without leaving the county. Once we established the need for the facility, we met with our architects and administrative staff to develop a feasibility study for the construction of the facility. The study was financed through a grant that was received from the State of Ohio Office of Development as well as Career Center monies. Additionally, the study was co-sponsored by all of the Warren County Fire Departments, which have been valuable partners as we moved through the process. Once the feasibility study was completed, the project was supported by our Facilities Committee and it was included in our recent renovation construction.

Q: Can you describe the Fire Training Center: who is it designed for and how will it be used?

A: The Fire Training Center is a multi-use facility. There is a five-story training tower at one end, that will allow our students to train on ladder placement and hose movement through multiple levels. This tower will also be used for rope rescue training from high angles. Attached to the tower is a two-story burn building. This burn area has three burn rooms, which will allow for students and department members to conduct actual live burn training to enhance their fire suppression skills. Additionally, the two-story building has non-burn areas and has features such as movable walls and floor breaches that will allow users to enhance their search and rescue skills. The Career Center provides technical rescue training to the Warren County Technical Rescue Team and this facility will be used to deliver technical rescue training, such as high angle rescue, confined space rescue and structural collapse rescue.,

Q: How is the Chamber and others in the community supporting your efforts? How many fire departments are there in the area that will benefit from the center?

A: The community as a whole has been very supportive of the project. We have several community members representing various walks of life participate on our facility committee, and this project was strongly supported by that committee. Our partnership with the Warren County Fire Departments is very strong and they have been on-board with their support throughout (the process.) We could not have come to the position we are in now with the facility without the backing of the fire chiefs. There are 14 fire departments in Warren County. This facility will also be available to departments from surrounding counties for use.

Q: How will the facility be used to deliver state-of-the-art Fire and EMS training? Who will be able to engage in training? Students, local fire and EMT’s etc?

A: The facility will be used by our secondary and adult education fire students, as well as our secondary law enforcement students. The facility will be open to all surrounding fire departments as well as private industry that could utilize the building for fire brigade and safety training.

Q: Can you tell us about the specifications of the facility?

A: There is a five-story training tower to be used for hose, ladder and rescue work. There is a two-story burn building, that will have two burn rooms on the first floor and one burn room on the second floor. There are also areas for rope rescue and rappelling and well as roof simulators for firefighters to train on open holes in roofs to allow the exhausting to fire and heat from a burning building. The building is located on a 40,000-square foot concrete pad to allow for driver training of (an) emergency apparatus.

Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.

Volunteer Franklin Twp. firefighter suspended amid alleged racist comments

Published: Thursday, September 14, 2017 @ 10:31 PM
Updated: Friday, September 15, 2017 @ 5:15 PM

Franklin Township officials have suspended volunteer fire fighter Tyler Roysdon. He has a disciplinary hearing in two weeks.

A volunteer Franklin Twp. firefighter has been indefinitely suspended pending a disciplinary hearing by the Board of Trustees for conduct unbecoming a township employee after posting a racially charged comment on Facebook.  Tyler Roysdon, 20, was suspended without pay Tuesday by Fire Chief Steve Bishop after Bishop learned about Roysdon’s post.  According to a statement from Township Administrator Traci Stivers, “Fire Chief Steve Bishop immediately contacted the firefighter and directed the comments be removed.”  Stivers said in an email that she did not know how Bishop learned of the online comment on Tuesday or how long the post was online before he was informed of it.

>> WHIO interactive radar

Roysdon indicated in the post that if he had to choose between saving a dog or a black man from a burning building that he would save the dog first because “one dog is more important than a million” and then used a racial slur.  

<<RELATED: Volunteer Franklin Twp. firefighter suspended amid alleged racist comments

Stivers said that Bishop took the most aggressive step he was legally allowed to take as he does not have the authority to terminate employees. She said any terminations require a vote by the trustees.

Volunteer Franklin Twp. firefighter accused of making racist Facebook comments

“This is not acceptable behavior for a township employee,” she said in the statement. “As a rule all employees are given a closed-door disciplinary hearing that gives them a chance to provide witnesses or evidence providing their innocence.”  

On Wednesday, the trustees voted to set the disciplinary hearing for 7 p.m. on Sept. 27 at the Franklin Twp. Administration Building to address the allegation of conduct unbecoming a township employee. Roysdon was informed that the hearing will not be postponed or rescheduled for any reason other than a emergency, which requires an excuse from a doctor, hospital or funeral home.  

He has the right to question any witnesses called on the township’s behalf. However, if he elects to attend the hearing, the Trustees will ask him to respond to the allegations of misconduct. Failure to respond or not respond truthfully may result in further disciplinary action, including possible termination.  

Bishop was on vacation and could not be reached for comment. A message seeking comment was left for Assistant Chief John Daly.  

Trustees President Brian Morris said he was informed of the incident just before Wednesday’s meeting started.  

“He blatantly said on social media that he wouldn’t do that,” Morris said. “Even if you take race out of it, it still would be wrong. I’m disgusted in what he said. There is no reason for him to say that anytime, anywhere … That should never be said.”  

Morris said based on Roysdon’s comments, it’s questionable if Roysdon should be a Franklin Twp. firefighter.  

“I want people to realize this is only one man’s comment,” Morris said. “We have a great group of men (firefighters) and disgusting comments from one individual does not represent the entire fire department.”

>>>Timeline: The wild 24 hours of Franklin’s Robert E. Lee Confederate monument

He noted one selfless firefighter who recently returned from helping with hurricane relief.  

Most of the reaction by some residents to Roysdon’s post was surprise and dismay. Nearly all people who were shown the post said the suspension was warranted but stopped short of termination.  

“I don’t think that’s right,” said Tyler Marinelli of Franklin. “I think honestly that people are more important than pets and it doesn’t matter if they’re black or white.”  

Others said Roysdon’s online post was very disrespectful, heartbreaking, appalling and not representative of Franklin.  

Franklin resident Teresa Lynch said in the Franklin community, “anybody would do anything for anybody.”  

Reporter John Bedell contributed to this report.