Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center plans massive expansion

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 5:17 PM

            A preliminary rendering shows how Children’s Hospital Medical Center wants to expand its Avondale campus.

An expansion estimated to cost between $550 million and $650 million will add hundreds of new jobs at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

The massive 625,000 square-foot expansion of its main campus in Avondale will create as many as 600 new jobs, our media partner WCPO reported.

“We need more space to care for the most critically-ill babies, kids and teens who come to us for care from down the street, across the country and around the world,” the hospital said in a prepared statement. “(Between) 2009 and 2016, the average number of patients spending the night at our main campus hospital grew more than 26 percent.”

MORE: Cincinnati Children’s Liberty Campus finds success in suburbs

The project would require the rezoning of more than six acres of land and the re-routing of Erkenbrecher Avenue, according to WCPO. The hospital hopes to add up to 150 new beds with the expansion, in addition to the 460 beds already located in two buildings adjacent to the planned new tower.

An expanded parking garage and new emergency department are also planned, along with new loading docks, pharmacy, kitchen space and respite space for both staff and families.

The project is still subject to revision and regulatory approval by the city of Cincinnati.

Pentagon: Kettering soldier may have been killed by friendly fire

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 9:33 PM

UPDATE @ 1:40 p.m. 

The father of a Kettering soldier killed in Afghanistan said his son knew the risks of war but was driven to become an Army Ranger.


“We had talks about the possibility of losing his life and he always said that he’d rather die defending his country and defending his family then dying in a car accident or cancer,” said Andre L. Thomas, 58, Rixeyville, Va.


The Pentagon has raised the possibility Army Ranger Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas and another soldier died in a friendly fire incident during the raid. Andre Thomas, an Air Force veteran once stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, said he bore no animosity however his son died in combat in a raid against ISIS.


“He knew what he was facing and there was confusion,” he said. “This happens. As far as us, we have no animosity or anything against anyone. If it happened, it happened and war is awful. I hate it and I wish we didn’t have it.”

UPDATE @ 12:45 p.m. (April 28)

According to the Pentagon, the two Army Rangers killed in Afghanistan, one of which was a Kettering graduate, may have died as a result of friendly fire.

An investigation is currently underway to to determine if they were killed by Afghan commandos or other American forces.  

»RELATED: Friendly fire may have killed 2 Army Rangers in Afghanistan

UPDATE @ 12:15 p.m. (April 28)

The Army Special Forces released additional information regarding Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas of Kettering, who was killed this week in Afghanistan. 

Thomas was an Anti-Armor Specialist assigned to Company D, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga. He was on his third deployment to Afghanistan. 

Thomas was born in Colorado but his hometown was Kettering, Ohio where he enlisted in the army in February 2012. 

His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, the Expert Infantryman’s Badge and the Parachutist Badge. 

Thomas has also been awarded the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, and the NATO Medal. 

UPDATE @ 11:04 a.m. (April 28)

The Department of Defense confirms the death of Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23, of Kettering, in Afghanistan this week.

Also killed was Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, of Bloomington, Illinois. 

The Dept. of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. They died April 27 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of small arms fire while engaged in dismounted operations, according to a release.

Both soldiers were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga. The incident is under investigation. 


One of two soldiers killed in Afghanistan this week is believed to be a 2012 Kettering Fairmont High School graduate.

Several social media posts expressed condolences and sadness about the death of Cameron Thomas, a U.S. Army Ranger. 

A Facebook message read: “Rest in Peace Cameron Thomas. You are a hero and will truly be missed.” 

A tweet read: “RIP Cameron Thomas an Army Ranger from Kettering that was KIA in Afghanistan last night. Thank you for everything you have done for us.”

»RELATED: 2 U.S. troops killed, 1 injured in Afghanistan

Kettering City Schools spokeswoman Kari Basson confirmed Thomas was a Fairmont grad and said tonight that district administrators were just finding out about his death.

Department of Defense officials indicated they will release the names and hometowns of the soldiers sometime Friday.

Fairmont Principal Tyler Alexander said he has not received official notification, but students have been talking about Thomas and staff have asked him about the alum.

“I have had nothing official come to me from the family,” Alexander said. “I would offer my condolences to the family.”

While in high school, Thomas was an athlete, notably a swimmer.

“It’s sad,” the principal said. “But we respect what he chose to do to fight for our country, to provide us with an opportunity to have what we have.”

The Military Times is reporting that according to U.S. military officials, the soldiers were killed and a third was wounded while battling Islamic State loyalists in eastern Afghanistan. 

This brings to three the number of Americans killed in action in Afghanistan this year, according to the Military Times.

The soldiers were taking part in a lengthy raid supported by airstrikes from U.S. warplanes and targeting the Islamic State group in Nangarhar province, Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Associated Press.

A number of Islamic State fighters have been engaging in a long-running battle with Afghanistan security forces in the Achin district.

(Dayton Daily News reporters Lynn Hulsey and Barrie Barber and News Center 7 reporter Kate Bartley contributed to this report written by Breaking News Staff Writer Jen Balduf)

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Huber Heights voters to consider changes to charter

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

            Huber Heights voters will consider charter amendments Tuesday, May 2, in the primary election. WILL GARBE / STAFF

Huber Heights residents will face eight charter amendment issues on Tuesday’s primary election ballot.

The changes are proposed, officials said, to increase overall efficiency in the city government. They’re also intended to bring the city’s governing document up-to-date with current practices. None of the proposed changes increase taxes or fees to the city, officials said.

MORE: 3 seek to be next Huber Heights mayor

The changes are due to the charter review commission, which began its work last April and dissolved in December. The first round of changes were put before voters in November.

A majority yes votes passes an issue.

Issues 4 and 10

Issues 4 and 10 are separate issues dealing with removal of city officials, specifically volunteer board and commission members and elected officials. The current charter makes removing volunteer board and commission members as difficult as removing city council members.

“It’s a pretty high bar for removal,” said City Council Clerk Tony Rodgers while introducing the changes. “The thought was with council appointing the boards and commissions, there should be a more streamlined process.”

MORE: Huber Heights candidates speak out on social media fights

Issue 4 would strike board and commission members from the current removal procedures, while Issue 10 establishes a new charter section addressing removal of those volunteer members.

Issue 10 would give city council ability to remove board and commission members for a lack of qualifications, incompetency, misconduct or neglect of duty. It would also provide those board members with written notification of the removal and an opportunity to be heard at a regular council meeting.

Issue 4 would additionally state council members could be removed for “violation of any expressed provision of the charter.” The language is recommended by the city attorney following a lawsuit blocking the city of Riverside’s council from removing one of its own council members.

MORE: Huber council candidates share vision for city

While the city attorney recommends adoption, Mayor Tom McMasters disagrees with the changes in Issues 4 and 10.

“That’s kind of an open way to phrase things,” he said during deliberation among council. “If there is a specific section that needs to be called out, it should be” in the section detailing prohibited actions.

Other issues

Issue 5 would remove the option of city council publishing adopted ordinances and resolution in newspapers and five public places, and instead add the requirement the information be posted on the city website and three public places.

Issue 6 would require the mayor to provide written objections with a veto. The language would change the requirement for the mayor to return a veto in 10 days to the next regular meeting of council. The language allows council to reconsider the legislation no later than the next scheduled meeting. Council could later re-introduce similar legislation.

MORE: Dayton Daily News voter guide

Issue 7 strikes the residency requirement for the city manager. The Ohio Supreme Court in 2009 upheld a state law barring cities from enforcing residency rules for city employees.

Issue 8 removes language designating the city’s director of public safety as the enforcer of weights and measurements laws. The county auditor is tasked with enforcement of weights and measurements.

Issue 9 amends the charter section on schools. The section currently states the city does not have jurisdiction over the Huber Heights City Schools; the amendment would add Bethel School District to the charter.

MORE: Election Day delays Huber Heights meeting

Issue 11 deals with citizen referendums. Currently, a referendum petition filed with the clerk of council on a specific resolution or ordinance would suspend the legislation from taking effect. Voters changed the charter in November 2016 to make resolutions effective immediately after passage. Issue 11, if passed, would reflect the 2016 change by removing resolutions from the referendum process. Ordinances could still be halted by citizen referendum.

Crews clear scene after chlorine leak at old Piqua water plant

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 5:14 PM
Updated: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 6:00 PM

UPDATE @ 6 p.m.

A minor chlorine leak at the old water plant this afternoon in Piqua prompted a large fire and hazmat response as a precaution, officials said.

By 6 p.m. crews were no longer on scene after they had been at the facility for several hours.


Members of Miami County Hazmat are about to enter the old water plant on state Route 66 in Piqua because of a what officials are describing as a small chlorine leak.

There has been no evacuation, officials tell WHIO-TV.

The situation is about three hours old and officials also tell us they have the leak under control.

Court upholds conviction of man caught with 7 pounds of meth in Miami Twp.

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 5:40 PM

Rene Nevarez-Reyes

An appeals court upheld the conviction of an Illinois man caught in Miami Twp. with about seven pounds of crystal methamphetamine hidden in a secret compartment inside his gas tank.

Rene Nevarez-Reyes of Palatine, Illinois, pleaded guilty March 10, 2016, to aggravated possession of drugs with major drug offender specifications. He was immediately sentenced to a mandatory 11 years in prison and is an inmate at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction’s Nobel Correctional Institution in Road Caldwell, Ohio.

RELATED: Illinois man caught with $250K in meth gets 11 years

Nevarez-Reyes was stopped Oct. 26, 2014, by a Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy on southbound Interstate 75 at Ohio 725 for fictitious plates in Miami Twp. His arrest followed a tip to law enforcement that a large amount of meth was on its way to the Dayton area from Chicago, officials said.

The drugs were hidden in a compartment constructed in the gas tank of his 1999 red Ford Ranger pickup truck. They had a street value of about $250,000, prosecutors said.

He appealed his conviction because it was later determined the reason for the traffic stop was in error because the license plates were not expired or fictitious. The Second District Court of Appeals upheld the conviction: “the traffic stop on defendant’s vehicle for false/expired tags while in factual error, was valid.” The ruling also stated “that the law enforcement officers were acting in good faith under a mistake of fact.”

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