Clark sheriff, employees face state probe

Published: Wednesday, November 07, 2012 @ 5:56 PM
Updated: Thursday, November 08, 2012 @ 9:27 AM

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has been asked to investigate an alleged domestic dispute that included the Clark County sheriff and two of his employees.

Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson contacted the Attorney General’s Office after a situation involving Sheriff Gene Kelly at the Stone Crossing apartment complex on Dwight Road on Monday afternoon. No arrests were made, nor were charges filed. However, the incident did involve county employees during hours of employment, according to the sheriff’s office.

Kelly told the Springfield News-Sun on Wednesday that he asked for an independent review of the incident, which involved the response of several high-ranking deputies.

Because of a potential conflict of interest by the prosecutor’s office, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will handle the matter, said Bill Schenck, senior adviser to the Ohio Attorney General.

According to a Clark County Sheriff’s Office incident report obtained by the News-Sun, Sgt. Michael Young was contacted by Sheriff’s Sgt. Ralph Underwood about what Underwood called “a domestic disturbance” involving Sheriff Kelly, his wife, Michele, and Pam Underwood, the sergeant’s ex-wife as well as a sheriff’s office employee, at Stone Crossing apartment complex at 2880 Dwight Road.

Young, who said he was in the area and concerned about the situation, reportedly responded to the scene while contacting his supervisors via phone.

 

Young found Michele Kelly in a pickup truck along with a 6-year-old boy. After Young called for backup, he reported that Michele Kelly believed Sheriff Kelly and Pam Underwood were inside a nearby apartment. According to the report, Michele Kelly began to walk toward an apartment, where Sheriff Kelly emerged, followed by Pam Underwood.

A verbal commotion ensued between Pam Underwood and Michele Kelly, according to the report. However, neither woman told deputies they felt threatened.

“I had concern for this volatile situation because I observed Sheriff Kelly in uniform and I was aware that he had a firearm, and I could hear Michele yelling at a high pitch at Pam Underwood,” Young stated in his report, who added that Sheriff Kelly unsuccessfully tried to calm his wife.

Sgt. Underwood arrived and began to argue with the sheriff, according to the report. Several supervisors, including Lt. Dustin White and Capt. Jonathan Holmes, were called to assist.

Young stated that Sheriff Kelly asked him if he would submit a report to document the incident. When Young replied that he would, Sheriff Kelly reportedly asked why. Young said it was required in a domestic dispute.

Neither of the Underwoods returned calls or were available for comment Wednesday.

Sheriff Kelly, who ran unopposed and was re-elected Tuesday, told the News-Sun that he contacted the prosecutor’s office to review the incident, which he described as a “sickening event.”

“I have honestly stepped back. Not talking to anybody about it,” he said.

In a submitted statement, Sheriff Kelly wrote, “It is my understanding no crime has even been alleged, yet I have recused myself from this matter and have placed it in the hands of the Clark County prosecutor for review. While I cannot speak further on this matter until Mr. Wilson completes his review, I can say that, unfortunately, my wife and I have had some difficult times recently.”

“Today I am focusing my attention on my family and on continuing to faithfully serve the people of Clark County,” the sheriff’s statement read.

Because the incident involved public officials, Schenck said it warrants investigation to ensure no criminal statutes or departmental policies were violated. That the incident occurred within Springfield city limits but local officers were not contacted, and that protocols requiring deputies to use dispatch to report and respond to incidents were not used both will be part of the investigation, Schenck confirmed.

“(We’ll) interview the parties, see whether or not if there was any violation of the law, what really happened here (and) did it occur on county time,” Schenck said.

Kelly confirmed both Sgts. Underwood and Young were on duty at the time of the incident. However, calls to their supervisor to verify their specific duties at the time of the incident were not returned.

The state is awaiting a formal written request from the prosecutor’s office before opening the investigation, Schenck said.

“The matter sounds like it is just a very sticky, messy sort of personal situation that occurred. Unfortunately, it involved public officials and public employees, and as you know when that happens, whether we like it or not, it demands more scrutiny,” Schenck said.

The sheriff said both Underwoods remain “tenured employees” of his office, and no disciplinary action has been taken.

Husted bucks GOP, is against voter photo ID push

Published: Friday, April 08, 2011 @ 6:11 AM
Updated: Friday, April 08, 2011 @ 6:11 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The official who oversees Ohio's elections says he doesn't agree with a measure proposed by some fellow Republicans to require voters to show photo IDs at the polls.   

Secretary of State John Husted tells The Columbus Dispatch on Thursday that he would not change current policy that allows voters to prove their identities with photo IDs or other documents, such as utility bills or paychecks.   

A bill approved by the Ohio House would require voters to show the photo ID before casting an in-person ballot. It is now being reviewed by the Senate.   

Husted instead proposes changes for voters casting early ballots or provisional ballots. He says those voters should be required to give their full Social Security numbers instead of the currently required last four digits.

New restaurants, retail shops coming to Oxford

Published: Friday, October 28, 2016 @ 2:25 PM
Updated: Saturday, October 29, 2016 @ 4:37 PM

New restaurants and retail shops are coming to a development on the former Walmart site in Oxford.

Bishop Square — a 50,000-square-foot mixed use development at 419 Locust Street that currently includes 272 units of student housing — is adding Marco’s Pizza, Tim Hortons, a Sprint retail store and a bank.

“The final stage is important because we’ll be building the outlots that sit along Locust, which will serve as the front door to the whole project,” said Josh Rothstein, of Blue Ash-based OnSite Retail Group, which is handling marketing and leasing for the project. “The retailers and restaurants are excited to open their locations here because being across from Kroger, TJ Maxx and Dollar Tree provides tremendous exposure, great visibility and easy access to the shoppers already passing through this part of town.

“It’s also easily in walking distance to not only the concentration of Miami’s campus, but also the off-campus housing population,” Rothstein said.

Two other storefronts on the site are being are in the process of being leased, he said.

Existing Bishop Square tenants include Oxford Lane Library, Mercy Health - Orthopaedics and Sports Rehabilitation, Great Clips and Cloud 9 Vapor Lounge. A second-floor above some of those tenants includes office space.

Alan Kyger, Oxford’s economic development director, said the community is excited to see the Bishop Square project moving into its final phases.

“In 2005, when Walmart moved away from this site, the abandoned building that was left behind was a large eyesore for the Tollgate Business District, as well as for the whole community,” Kyger said. “Developer Robert Fiorita is to be commended in providing such a good-looking redevelopment project.

“The addition of these merchants will provide the citizens of Oxford additional shopping options. I expect each of these new businesses to be very successful in this new development.”

Marco’s Pizza has 700 stores in 35 states, doubling in size over the last five years and on track to 1,000 stores by the end of 2017, according to the company. Area locations include Middletown, Monroe, Hamilton and Liberty Twp. in Butler County.

Tim Hortons has more than 4,400 locations in the United States, Canada and the Middle East. Area locations include Monroe, Springboro and Maineville in Warren County.

Crash victim lived to fly, friend says

Published: Saturday, June 09, 2012 @ 8:16 AM
Updated: Saturday, June 09, 2012 @ 8:16 AM

A 73-year-old Bellbook man killed in a plane crash Saturday morning was an experienced pilot who had built four planes like the “experimental aircraft” he flew that day, according to his wife.

Roger Flower died in the 8 a.m. crash, said Sgt. Anthony Pearcy of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“Some witnesses in the area did see the plane flying and the witnesses believe they did see something fall off the plane,” he said.

Flying out of the Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport in Greene County, the plane flown by Flower crashed about 100 yards from a house at 1856 Ohio 380. Debris from the crash spread about 300 feet and the plane had extensive damage.

Flower was a naval aviator for 31 years who still loved to fly in his retirement, said Jan Flower, his wife of 50 years.

“It was his life, ” she said. “He was flying a plane that he had built and flew out of Greene County Airport and was there every day and loved it.”

After retiring from the Navy, he became a certified aviation engineer and began building his own aircraft, his wife said.

“He knew what he was doing about building it and just loved it and wasn’t ready to give up airplanes, so he built them,” she said.

Both natives of Ohio, Roger and Jan Flower have four sons and moved to Bellbrook eight years ago, when they were done traveling with the Navy.

She described her husband as “a leader, totally confident. (He) could tackle anything, could build or fix anything, loved his children and his grandchildren, (and) loved serving in his church.”

The OHSP is investigating the crash with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

The plane was a fixed wing, single engine, experimental/homemade aircraft, according to the patrol.

“According to the family members, it’s been flown before,” said Pearcy.

There was no flight plan filed for the plane and the destination of the flight was unknown, Pearcy said.

“As unfortunate as this incident is, it is fortunate that no other people were involved,” Pearcy said.

Arrest made in slaying of businessman

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 7:44 PM
Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 7:44 PM

Police have arrested a 20-year-old Dayton man in the slaying of a business owner found dead inside a burned out garage last week.

Anthony Lamar Stargell Jr. was arrested Wednesday morning and is in the Montgomery County Jail pending the filing of an unclassified felony murder charge.

Dayton Sgt. Dan Mauch said detectives believe Stargell shot and killed 54-year-old Tommy Nickles before setting a fire inside 838 S. Main St. on April 3.

“The fire did not do the damage that the perpetrator expected,” Mauch said Wednesday afternoon. He said evidence collected inside the business and from Nickles’ stolen work van helped lead detectives to Stargell. The van was recovered by police late April 3 in the 400 block of Leland Avenue.

A search warrant was executed at 2905 Oakridge Drive on Wednesday, where Stargell occasionally stays with family. He was taken into custody at about 11 a.m.

Nickles, of Kettering, died from multiple gunshot wounds and was found in a garage where he ran Quality One Electrical Service. A Golden retriever that had been shot to death also was found in the building, police said.

Nickles' family confirmed last week that he had been living in the building because of a recent divorce. They said they couldn’t fathom why someone would want to kill the father of two. 

“Tom was a good man, he was a good father,” said Gavin Whitt, Nickles’ godson.

Mauch said Stargell and Nickles knew each other. He said police are investigating robbery as a possible motive or that Nickles possibly owed Stargell money.

“It’s still an ongoing investigation,” he said. Police also are trying to locate several individuals who may have stolen property belonging to Nickles.

According to court records, Stargell was convicted of robbery in February 2011 and sentenced to five years’ probation.

His mother, Tonya Bailey, said her son recently got out of prison, but she doesn’t believe that he is responsible for Nickles’ death.

“I don’t think that he did do it, but if he did do it he didn’t do it by himself,” she said.

She said Stargell wasn’t on South Main Street on the night Nickles was killed. “He was here,” she said at her mother’s house on Wednesday.