Church leaders: Lean on loved ones in wake of tragedy

Published: Sunday, July 22, 2012 @ 8:02 PM
Updated: Sunday, July 22, 2012 @ 8:02 PM

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.

Government shuts down, negotiations expected through weekend

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 3:23 PM
Updated: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 12:11 AM

What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

The federal government shut down Saturday for the first time since 2013 late Friday, with a handful of Republicans and the vast majority of Democrats in the Senate opposing efforts to keep the federal government running for another month.

By a vote of 50-48, Senate Republicans fell far short of the 60 votes needed to end floor debate and clear the way for a vote on a bill approved Thursday by the House which would keep the federal government open until the middle of February.

Hundreds of housands of federal workers faced the possibility of being furloughed during a shutdown.

While most of the functions of the federal government will still operate – the mail will be delivered, Social Security checks will still go out, the military will still function – workers deemed “non-essential” would be asked not to go to work, and would be paid only after the federal government resumed operations.

RELATED: Five things to know if a shutdown happens

RELATED: Dreamers rally in Dayton to support DACA

At issue was what would be the fourth temporary spending bill passed by Congress since the fiscal year began in October.

That bill would also extend the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, for six years. Republicans included the measure as a sweetener aimed at attracting Democratic support.

At first, the plan seemed to work, with Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio indicating he’d likely support the bill. But Brown joined most Senate Democrats Friday in blocking a floor vote.

Brown was influenced in part by the announcement Friday that a handful of Republicans, including Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona did not plan to vote for the bill. They had been working toward a separate measure aimed at extending a program that allows people brought to the United States illegally as children to stay, and called for a short-term bill that would keep the government open through early next week, expressing confidence that they could come up with a long term plan during that time.

Brown jumped, saying he’d support the shorter-term plan.

“We are very close to a bipartisan agreement, and we owe it to the people we work for to keep working and get the job done,” said Brown.

RELATED: 7 things to know about the Children’s Health Insurance Program

RELATED: Trump and Schumer end private talks with no deal in hand

But in agreeing to the shorter-term plan, he became the object of derision from Republicans who hope to unseat him later this year. They said by opting not to support the bill passed by the House, he was effectively voting against the six-year extension of CHIP.

Blaine Kelly of the Ohio Republican Party said Brown’s decision not to vote for the GOP plan “is a flip flop beyond belief, and puts the health insurance of nearly a quarter million Ohio children at risk.”

Jennifer Donohue, communications director for Brown, replied that CHIP would have passed “months ago” if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, “had listened to Senator Brown, but instead they’re holding the program hostage and using Ohio kids as political leverage.”

Last December, Brown voted against a temporary spending bill that kept the government open because it only extended CHIP money for three months instead of five years.

While Republicans blamed Senate Democrats for the shutdown, a Washington Post-ABC News Poll released Friday indicated most Americans blamed the party in power: 48 percent of those polled blamed Republicans while 28 percent blamed Democrats.

Ohio Democrats, meanwhile, pointed out that Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, who is challenging Brown for Senate, voted for the measure that led to the federal government shutdown in 2013.

“If the government shuts down tonight, the blame will lay at the feet of Republicans in control of Washington, like Rep. Jim Renacci, who irresponsibly govern by crisis and play political games,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Jake Strassberger.

Renacci and Senate Republican candidate Mike Gibbons were quick to strike back. James Slepian, a Renacci aide said “after Sherrod Brown vowed to shut down the government, cut off funding to our troops and deny health insurance to 9 million low income children, Senator Brown and his lackeys at the Ohio Democratic Party are terrified by the hell he’ll pay with Ohio voters.”

Gibbons said that “Sherrod Brown and Chuck Schumer are playing politics with people's lives for partisan advantage.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaking on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” seemed puzzled that Democrats were holding up the bill in large part because of the immigration issue, saying “it’s an issue that hasn’t been resolved yet and it will take a little more time.” He backed moving the bill forward.

“This is not a good way to score political points,” Portman said. 

Despite the shutdown, much of the government will remain effectively operational, albeit on a smaller scale, at least in the short term. The mail will still get delivered, the post offices will remain open, the Army, Navy and Air Force operate as usual but active duty members will not be paid until the shutdown ends, and Americans receive their Social Security checks. Medicare and Medicaid continue to function.

The state in 2016 had 77,400 federal employees, of which 5,250 were on active duty with the Air Force. Air Force civilian employment was 13,838, almost all at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton.

During past partial shutdowns, some civilian workers were furloughed, although they were paid when the government re-opened. In the 2013 shutdown, 50 workers at the Defense Supply Center in Whitehall were furloughed.

In part, Democrats have adopted a strategy aimed at their political base which is demanding action on the Dreamers and wants more confrontation with Trump. By doing so, they are emulating the Republican strategy of 2013 in which the GOP closed the government in a futile effort to convince President Barack Obama to scrap his 2010 health law known as Obamacare.

“Smart Republicans have learned how stupid it is politically to shut down the government,” said one longtime Republican lobbyist in Washington. “You don’t win when you shut down the government.

The Republican said the Senate Democrat strategy was complicated when House Republicans overcame their vast differences and passed the temporary spending bill Thursday. Until then, Senate Democrats could justifiably argue that the GOP-controlled House could not keep the government open.

“It would have been one thing if the House failed,” the Republican said. “But once (House Speaker Paul) Ryan did the miraculous and passed a bill with votes from people who hate spending bills of any kind, it totally changed the dynamic.” 
 

Power restored near Miami Valley Hospital, UD student neighborhoods

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 7:17 PM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 8:34 PM

Brown Street loses power

UPDATE @ 8:20 p.m.: DP&L crews are continuing to search for a possible cause of the power outage along Brown Street that affected 1,325 customers in total, spokesman Kevin Hall said. 

The outage hit about 6:50 p.m., he said. Electric service was restored to all affected customers shortly after 8 p.m.

UPDATE @ 7:39 p.m.: 

The DP&L online outage map now shows 126 customers without power along Brown Street, near Miami Valley Hospital and the UD student neighborhoods, from Chambers Street to U.S. 35. 

A hospital administrator at MVH said the hospital is operating on generator power. 

Elevators there stopped immediately when the outage struck about 6:45 p.m., she said. Workers and security were able to get everyone off the cars, she said. 

No patients were put in danger because of the outage, she said.

INITIAL REPORT

Hundreds of businesses and residences along Brown Street, near Miami Valley Hospital and the University of Dayton student neighborhoods, are without power. 

According to the Dayton Power & Light online outage map, nearly 1,200 customers are affected. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Guest lists being checked to track drug dealers

Calls began coming into the newsroom just before 7 p.m. 

We’re hearing the outage extends along Brown Street, from Chambers Street west to U.S. 35. 

Jimmy’s Ladder 11, in the 900 block of Brown, and Subway, in the 1100 block, are among the businesses in the dark. 

We have a call into DP&L for details about the possible cause of the outage.

Stay with whio.com for breaking news.

What happens to veterans if the government shuts down?

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 6:36 PM

Dayton VA Medical Center STAFF FILE PHOTO
Staff Writer
Dayton VA Medical Center STAFF FILE PHOTO(Staff Writer)

Vital services for veterans will not be threatened if the government shuts down this weekend. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities, including the Dayton VA Medical Center, would remain open.

After previous partial shutdowns caused headaches for the VA, the department lobbied Congress to fund the VA on a two-year budget cycle. That exempts the department from the latest funding skirmish in Washington.

About 4 percent of the department’s workforce — nearly 16,000 workers — would be subject to furloughs during a shutdown, with almost half of that total coming from the Veterans Benefits Administration, according to Navy Times

Veterans would still get checks during a shutdown, but some education benefit programs would cease as well as the hearing of case appeals. 

MORE COVERAGE: 

Could your travel plans be impacted by the government shutdown?

Will a government shutdown delay my tax return?

With no deal on shutdown, GOP accuses Sherrod Brown of flip-flop

Will a shutdown happen? Wright-Patterson is in a holding pattern

Temporary funding prevents shutdown but hurts military, officials say

LOCAL IMPACT: Government shutdown threatens 100th birthday party for Springfield veteran

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 4:33 PM

Government shutdown threatens 100th birthday party for Springfield veteran

Kevin Black hadn’t thought about how the possibility of a government shutdown would affect his family.

World War II veteran Thomas Eubanks of Springfield turns 100 on Jan. 23. To celebrate, his grandson, Black, organized a birthday party for him at the Air Force Museum on Saturday.

With the possibility of the government shutting down tonight, the museum may not open, and the outlook of the party is up in the air.

“I don’t like the playing politics on this,” Black said. “They’re just playing games.”

RELATED: With no deal on shutdown, GOP accuses Sherrod Brown of flip-flop

The possible museum closure hadn’t occurred to Black or his family until this news organization contacted him about the party, which he had asked us to cover.

His family wasn’t the only ones uncertain of what will happen next.

Diana Bachert, spokeswoman for the Air Force Museum, said Friday night in a statement there is currently no order for the museum to shut down.

“However, we will follow procedures for an orderly shutdown when and how we are directed to do so,” Bachert said.

If Congress fails to come to an agreement on a continuing resolution (CR), a bill that appropriates money to different federal departments and programs, some federal agencies could come to a standstill.

MORE: What if UD and Wright State played this year in a Gem City Jam?

Black’s plan is for Congressman Warren Davidson to present Eubanks with a certificate, then Black will present his grandfather with letters from President Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich.

But if there is no CR passed, Congress plans to stay in Washington and try to come to an agreement, meaning Davidson may have to miss the party.

Black said his grandfather doesn’t know about the planned celebration at the museum.

“He just thinks that a bunch of the grandkids are taking him to the museum,” Black said.

And he probably will continue to keep plans a secret, in case the museum isn’t open.

“(Eubanks) was sick a couple weeks after Christmas, and we didn’t think he was going to be able to go (to the museum). But he wants to go if they don’t shut down,” Black said.

MORE: What if a government shutdown happened? Five things to know

Eubanks is a widower; his wife Suzanne died in 2000. They were married for 59 years.

In WWII he served as tail gunner in the European theatre, an area of heavy fighting across the continent. He flew 13 combat missions from Knettishall Airfield in England.

“Tail gunner was the worst place to be,” said Black, who is retired from the Air Force.

He worked as a building inspector for Springfield for several years.

He lives in Oakwood Village Retirement Home in Springfield. He has four children, nine grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and four great, great-grandchildren.

“He’s got all his wits about him,” Black said.