Church leaders: Lean on loved ones in wake of tragedy

Updated: Friday, September 23, 2016 @ 9:41 PM
Published: Sunday, July 22, 2012 @ 8:02 PM
By: Michael Cooper - Staff Writer

Area church leaders on Sunday said the best way to deal with a tragedy like Friday’s shooting at a movie theater in Colorado which claimed the life of Springfield native Matt McQuinn is to spend time with loved ones and remember that God has a plan for our lives.

“There’s no better a reminder than an incident like this that life is short,” said Fellowship Church youth and campus pastor Jeremy Hudson, who developed a friendship with McQuinn while they were both members at Maiden Lane Church of God.

McQuinn, a Vandalia Butler High School graduate, his girlfriend, Sam Yowler, formerly of St. Paris, and her brother, Nick Yowler, also formerly of St. Paris, all attended a midnight screening of the “Dark Knight Rises” on Friday at a suburban Denver cinema in Aurora where a lone gunman entered the theater, threw gas canisters and opened fire on the crowd. He killed 12 people, including McQuinn who spent his last moments shielding his girlfriend from the bullets. There were 58 peole injured in one of the deadliest shootings in United States history.

In a time like this, Hudson said, it’s best to not let things go unsaid or unresolved with family members.

“There’s unsettled business in each one of us where we could stand to pick up the phone or go knock on a door and clear the air,” said Hudson, who had just run into McQuinn at Chipotle in Springfield a few months ago.

Tim Cary, worship pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church, said residents should rely on God in these times of need.

Cary also had a small connection to the shooting. He recently started following Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sportscaster who also went by the name Jessica Redfield, on Twitter and saw her tweet about going to see the midnight showing. The next morning, he was shocked to hear she was one of 12 killed in the shooting along with McQuinn. Ghawi had recently survived shootings at a mall in Toronto last month.

Cary said hearing the news about Ghawi, who he only knew through social media, was an eye-opener.

“It was one of a bunch of tweets (about the movie), probably hundreds,” Cary said. “I remember reading that, and for me personally, you have to stop and realize that life is a vapor. We have plans and ideas and hopes and goals and dreams of what our lives are going to be, and we never really know where our next breath is going to come from.”

Two of McQuinn’s former band mates and friends said he exuded a lighthearted spirit even in the midst of having a bad day. Mark A. Robey, 29, of New Carlisle, and Aaron J. Snow, 29, of Springfield, said they all met at a youth study group at Maiden Lane Church in Springfield where they played together in a worship team band. McQuinn played bass guitar. Robey and Snow played the drums.

“He was always a happy guy,” Robey said. “There wasn’t a time where we got together that he wasn’t laughing. Even on bad days, when he was having a bad day, he would find the joy and laugh and lighten the mood.

“He was always thinking about other people,” Robey said. “He would drop anything he was doing to spend time with his friends.”

Aaron J. Snow, 29, of Springfield, similarly described McQuinn.

“Matt was a goofball,” Snow said. “He always had something funny to say, (he was) a guy to laugh with. One of those people to lighten the mood regardless of the situation.”

The two would spend hours talking and stay up playing video games into the “wee hours of the morning,” Snow said.

“He was a very good guy,” he said. “One of my closest friends. I don’t have very many, and he was definitely one of those.”

“That’s just where our friendship between all three of us got real solid,” Robey said.

Robey and Snow said they weren’t surprised by reports McQuinn used his body to shield Samantha during the tragedy.

“Matt definitely died a hero protecting Sam,” Snow said. “That’s definitely Matt, too. Didn’t surprise me when I heard that. He’ll drop everything if you need (him) to be with you.”

“I think when Matt had his mind set on something, he would do it, and if it involved a friend, or family member or someone he cared about, he would step up to the plate and help out,” Robey said. “I would say he definitely died a hero.”

Hudson said church officials from all walks of faith are ready to help area residents make sense of the tragedy.

“All it takes is the effort to reach out,” Hudson said.

Springfield Girl Scouts give scarves for those in need

Updated: Saturday, December 10, 2016 @ 2:42 PM
By: Michael Tyler - Staff Writer

            Springfield Girl Scouts give scarves for those in need
One of the scarves Springfield Girl Scout Troop #35017 made. Michael Tyler II/Staff

Walking through Springfield’s City Plaza, one will notice unique decorations dawning the light posts and trees. No, the light posts and trees are not collecting items to build a snowman for any upcoming snow, but the local Girl Scouts are giving away scarves to those in need.

“We wanted to create a program that gives back to the community,” said Shannon Meadows, Springfield Troop #35017’s leader. “The goal was for the girls to make the scarves and give them away to someone in need that they have never met.” The scarves are all handmade by girls ranging from ages 5 to 10. In all, 20 scarves were made and wrapped around the light posts and trees.

As the program was geared towards giving for the girls, Meadows took from this project a sign of positivity and hopefulness within the next generation.

“As an adult, it is wonderful to see young people give and set an example for our community,” Meadows said.

The Springfield troop is a member of the Western Ohio Group, which consists of 30 counties in Ohio and Dearborn and Ohio counties in Indiana. The troop was founded 4 years ago and has grown by leaps and bounds. Meadows emphasized that the Girl Scouts, as well as the Boy Scouts are the future of Springfield’s community and that parents should explore enrolling their children in scouting.

High turnover, burnout puts local child welfare systems in crisis

Updated: Saturday, December 10, 2016 @ 11:03 AM
Published: Friday, December 09, 2016 @ 5:19 PM
By: Chris Stewart - Staff Writer

High turnover, burnout puts local child welfare systems in crisis
Montgomery County Children Services caseworker Janine Elders visits a child in custody currently receiving foster care from Patricia Boring. Elders, with Children Services 22 years, now works with foster parents but spent her first years on the job working directly with families in crisis. She said she was able to cope that long by not taking work home with her. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF (Chris Stewart)

Up to a quarter of Ohio’s child welfare caseworkers leave the job each year, a turnover rate that lengthens the time it takes to reunify kids with parents, stretches county budgets and leads to more chaos in the lives of Ohio’s most vulnerable children.

A yet-to-be-published study by the Public Children Services Association of Ohio found that 450 of Ohio’s good-performing, non-retirement age caseworkers — or about 14 percent of all public child welfare caseworkers — left the job between July 1, 2015, and June 30 of this year. Add retirements, promotions and terminations and the number reaches 24 percent.

“We are facing a workforce crisis here in Ohio,” said Angela Sausser, executive director of the association that commissioned the study.

Three reason caseworkers leave include:

  • Stress from high caseloads and working daily with a traumatized population
  • An unpredictable, on-call work schedule
  • Intimidation and verbal or physical assaults by client families

RELATED: Up to a quarter of Ohio’s child welfare caseworkers leave the job each year

Deputies investigate fatal shooting in Jefferson Twp.

Updated: Saturday, December 10, 2016 @ 10:38 AM
Published: Saturday, December 10, 2016 @ 10:38 AM
By: Breaking News Staff

            Deputies investigate fatal shooting in Jefferson Twp.
Dayton Liberty Road and Calumet Lane, Jefferson Twp. Saturday Dec. 10, 2016. (Jordyn Huffman/Staff)

Deputies are investigating after a man was found dead Friday night from apparent gunshot wounds in Jefferson Twp., according to a release from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office.

The victim has been identified as 33-year-old Tony L. Powell, of Dayton, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Officers were sent to the area of Dayton Liberty Road and Calumet Lane just after 11 p.m. on a report of a person down.

According to the release, when deputies arrived they found the victim dead with gunshot wounds.

The homicide is under investigation by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office violent crime detectives.

Anyone with information that may assist deputies in their investigation is encouraged to call the sheriff’s office at 937-225-4357.

Fire marshal requested to scene of German Twp. house fire

Updated: Saturday, December 10, 2016 @ 9:20 AM
Published: Saturday, December 10, 2016 @ 7:20 AM
By: Breaking News Staff

            Fire marshal requested to scene of German Twp. house fire
Fire crews are at the scene of a reportedly fully engulfed house fire in German Twp., according to initial reports. (WHIO/Stock photo)

UPDATE @ 6:26 a.m.

A fire marshal has been requested to the scene of a house fire in German Twp. Saturday morning, according to dispatchers.

Dispatchers said the fire is nearly out and fire crews are working a few remaining hot spots in the structure.

It is unknown how much damage was done to the house, but initial reports indicate the red cross has been requested to the scene.

Dispatchers said a cause for the fire has yet to be determined, however, the homeowners told firefighters at the scene they believe it may have originated from a fireplace.

The number of people in the house at the time of the fire is not confirmed.

Initial reports indicate a man and woman living at the house managed to escape the flames unharmed.

UPDATE @ 4:51 a.m.

Fire crews continue to battle a fully engulfed house fire in German Twp. Saturday morning.

Dispatchers said everyone was safely removed from the home and no injuries have been reported.

While crews continue to put out the fire, dispatchers said fire crews believe the fire originated from a fireplace in the house.

Pike Twp. and German Twp. firefighters remain on the scene, according to dispatchers.


Fire crews are at the scene of a reportedly fully engulfed house fire in German Twp., according to initial reports.

Dispatchers said crews were sent to the fire in the 2800 block of Ash Drive around 3:40 a.m.

Initial reports indicate two people residing in the home are out of burning house.

Flames can be seen coming from all sides of the house and an additional water supply has been requested, according to scanner traffic.

Smoke and flames from the burning home can be seen from Ohio 41, according to initial reports.

We will continue to monitor this developing story.