4 cycling events in Dayton that you don’t want to miss

Published: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 12:00 AM

Become part of the strong cycling community that has developed here in Dayton by attending these four events coming up in May 2017. (Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission)
Become part of the strong cycling community that has developed here in Dayton by attending these four events coming up in May 2017. (Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission)
The annual Bike-to-Work Day breakfast will be held on Friday, May 19, from 7-9 a.m. at Riverscape MetroPark. (MVRPC)

The Miami Valley is home to the nation’s largest paved trail network. Over 340 miles of multi-use trails, connecting schools, parks, and attractions, provide residents the opportunity to explore our region. You can become part of the strong cycling community that has developed here in Dayton by attending these four events coming up in May…

  1. Miami Valley Cycling Summit | Friday, May 5: Held at the Wright State University Student Union (3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy.) on Friday, May 5, from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., the Miami Valley Cycling Summit is free and open to the public. Registration is required at cyclingsummit.com. By bringing together local advocates, elected officials, community staff, and national speakers, the Miami Valley Cycling Summit creates an open discussion to shape the future. National experts will detail how cycling can benefit numerous aspects of our community, region and nation. The event is hosted by Bike Miami Valley, with the help of a local coordinating committee, and is supported by a variety of park districts, city, county, and regional governments, and visitors bureaus. Immediately following the summit, a “grassroots social” will be held at The Wandering Griffin, 3725 Presidential Dr., Beavercreek, on Friday, May 5, at 5 p.m. 
  2. Miami Valley Cycling Summit Century Ride | Saturday, May 6: A fundraiser for Bike Miami Valley, the Century Ride will be held on Saturday, May 6. Starting at the Fairgrounds Recreation Center (120 Fairground Road, Xenia) at 6 a.m., the ride is along the Little Miami Scenic Trail. Bike either 62 or 100 miles, with awards to those who complete the ride. Early registration is $25, and onsite registration is $35. Click here to learn more and to register
  3. American Trails 2017 International Trails Symposium | Sunday, May 7: A free public event associated with the American Trails International Trails Symposium will be held at the Dayton Convention Center (22 E. Fifth Street) from 12-5 p.m. on Sunday, May 7. The Dayton area is widely recognized as the Outdoor Capital of the Midwest, which is why the city was selected as host for this year’s symposium. The public is encouraged to attend this free event to discover, learn and celebrate trails. Click here for more information about the free public day event. 
  4. Five Rivers MetroParks Bike-to-Work Day | Friday, May 19: Come to Riverscape MetroPark (237 E. Monument Ave.) from 7-9 a.m. on Friday, May 19, for a free pancake breakfast in celebration of Bike-to-Work Day. Whether you’re a seasoned cycling commuter or a first-time bike rider, gather to share the culture and the fun of biking to work. Groups of riders from the same business or university may want to participate in the Team Challenge. There will be live music, exhibitor booths, tours of the bike hub, and a photo booth. The first 500 riders to register and check in onsite will receive a prize, courtesy of Five Rivers MetroParks and presenting partner MVRPC. More details are available at MetroParks.org.
To plan your own trip on the regional bikeway, check out the newly updated www.MiamiValleyTrails.org. There, you can access a visitor guide, as well as a trail map that shows where to park, trail access points, and restroom locations along the way. If you’d like a paper map of the regional bikeway, please contact the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission at (937) 223-6323.

Woman’s body recovered from Harrison Twp. house fire

Published: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 7:16 AM
Updated: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 5:00 PM

SCENE: Fatal fire in Harrison Twp.

UPDATE @ 5 p.m.

An early morning house fire claimed a woman’s life at a home in the 3500 block of Ark Avenue in Harrison Twp.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the blaze, and the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office has not released the victim’s identity.

However, neighbors said an elderly woman lives at the brick ranch-style home.

UPDATE @ 10:20 a.m.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of a house fire where one person was found dead this morning in Harrison Twp.

The fire was reported by a witness shortly before 7 a.m.

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When crews arrived, they encountered heavy flames coming from a bedroom in the rear of the brick ranch-style home in the 3500 block of Ark Avenue, according to the fire chief.

Firefighters started dousing the flames and did a search inside the home where they found one person deceased, according to the chief.

It was not immediately known whether the body is that of a male or female, the chief said.

The body was transported to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office where the victim’s identity as well as the cause and manner of death will be determined.

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UPDATE @ 9:45 a.m.

Authorities in Harrison Twp. are investigating after a body was found in a home that caught fire early this morning.

A man who spotted the fire called 9-1-1 at 6:57 a.m.

"I'm here at Maple Leaf and Ark and there's a house on fire," the caller told the dispatcher.

The caller did not know whether anyone was inside.

We’re working to gather more details.

UPDATE @ 7:49 a.m.

The Montgomery County coroner’s office has been requested to the scene of a Harrison Twp. house fire, according to regional dispatchers.

UPDATE @ 7:40 a.m.

Flames are now out at the scene of a house fire in Harrison Twp. and a person is believed to still be inside the home, according to dispatchers. 

Dispatchers said no one was evacuated front the home when fire crews arrived just before 7 a.m. 

Initial reports indicate a large amount of smoke has filled the home in the 3500 block of Ark Avenue. 

A fire investigator is responding to the scene, according to scanner traffic.

We are working to learn the condition of the person previously trapped in the home as well as what caused the fire.


A person is reportedly trapped in a burning home on Ark Avenue in Harrison Twp. 

Fire crews were dispatched to the 3500 block of Ark Avenue around 7 a.m. on a report of a house fire. 

Initial reports indicate a person may be trapped in the house. 

Our newsroom is working to confirm details in this developing story.

West Carrollton buying new sirens to warn of severe weather, disasters

Published: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 6:14 PM
Updated: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 6:14 PM

            West Carrollton buying new sirens to warn of severe weather, disasters
West Carrollton buying new sirens to warn of severe weather, disasters

New outdoor sirens to alert the public during severe weather and disasters will be coming to West Carrollton.

The city will be replacing its siren system, which was purchased in 1982, with the help of a Montgomery County grant funding half of the cost, said West Carrollton Fire Chief Chris Barnett.

“It’s definitely well worth the investment because I don’t think we’re going to get it any cheaper here at this point – especially with all the bad weather we’ve been having lately,” he said.

Five of the sirens installed 35 years ago are still in use as one was destroyed during winds from remnants of Hurricane Ike in 2008, according to Barnett.

“In order to make the outdoor public warning system efficient and effective, a consistent method of operation is paramount,” according to a memo from the fire chief. “The five original sirens are at their life expectancy and are in need of replacement.

“The main objective of the sirens is to alert those individuals who are outdoors, and away from the other established means of notification,” according to Barnett.

West Carrollton City Council approved the measure this month. Mayor Jeff Sanner said the city is getting a bargain in replacing an aging system that “helps the safety of the community.”

Because of technological advances, the city may be able to replace the system with four sirens, records show.

The cost of the sirens is expected to be about $21,000 each, with the county grant funding 50 percent, officials said.

The county is expected to award the contract to Federal Signal later this month, according to records.

Rain doesn’t slow fun for humans, horses on fair’s opening day

Published: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 4:46 PM

Thousands turned out for the opening day of the week-long Butler County Fair.

Rain sprinkled on the opening of the Butler County Fair, but that didn’t stop thousands from coming to the fairgrounds Sunday.

STORY & VIDEO: County fair entertains and brings in money for local economy

The rain soaked the grounds in front of the giant grandstand pushing back the initial rounds of the “World’s Greatest Cowboy/Cowgirl Competition,” one of the newer attractions at this year’s fair.

“We started out really well and we got most people in before the rain started. The barns are full and the crowds are full and the weather broke so it looks like we’re going to have a good day,” said Doug Turner, president of the Butler County Fair Board, Sunday afternoon.

Bob Huff, owner and operator of the fair’s cowboy/cowgirl competition, said early afternoon rain showers delayed the start of the initial rounds of the competition in front of the fairgrounds grandstand but he was optimistic the crowds will come for the final rounds Sunday evening.

Chelsey LaRue, took second place in the horse riding competition at the recent Clinton County Fair and was hoping to grab the top prize Sunday for Butler County.

LaRue described herself as a cowgirl who has “been riding since before I could walk.”

“This event is great and it showcases horses from all different disciplines. They have to do multiple different things that are really hard for the average horse, so it takes a special one to do this,” said LaRue, as she looked over the course that include stairs, a water obstacle, a teeter totter and a pen of live steers the horse and rider have to navigate to separate out a single steer from the herd.

Oxford resident and rider Alli Huff said the event “definitely pushes you and your horse.”

“It’s a lot of different exposures. A lot of this stuff is new to them and they have never seen it before so they depend on you to get them through it safely. It all depends on your trust and your relationship with your horse,” said Huff.

Russ Spreckelmeier, announcer for the event, said fans will see “some great horsemanship and some great horses going through some obstacles you normally wouldn’t see a horse going through.”

The fair runs from Sunday through Saturday evening.

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General admission tickets per day, which include parking, are $8 for adults, children 6-12 accompanied by paying adult are $3. Senior citizens and U.S. military veterans can enter for free on Wednesday July 26.

For times, specific events, evening grandstand shows – separate admission tickets required - and other information go to the Butler County Fair website or call 513-892-1423.

VIDEO: See the horses and riders as they maneuver through obstacle course on fair’s opening day @journal-news.com

Congressmen Jordan, Davidson pushing welfare reform plan

Published: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 2:45 PM
Updated: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 2:45 PM

Freedom Caucus former Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Washington Bureau
Freedom Caucus former Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)(Washington Bureau)

More than 20 years after Bill Clinton, John Kasich and Newt Gingrich reformed “welfare as we know it,” two Ohio lawmakers are vowing to do it again, saying the government must do more to encourage people to work rather than live off of federal largesse.

Reps. Jim Jordan, R–Urbana, and Warren Davidson, R–Troy, want to start by looking at some 92 federal means-tested programs — they include everything from cash aid to food aid to housing — and consolidating them. They say any social worker would be daunted by finding the best out of 92 programs, and many of them are duplicative.

Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, a member of the Freedom Caucus, leaves a meeting with the conservative coalition on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2017, after their trip to the White House. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)(Washington Bureau)

They want to do this through a bipartisan panel comparable to the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission: A bipartisan group would spend a year taking a hard look at all 92 programs, consolidating and eliminating where necessary and Congress would have to vote for those recommendations on and up-or-down basis.

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Davidson said it’s not a matter of reducing benefits. It’s far easier for a social worker trying to help a family in need if he or she is familiar with the programs available, he said. It’s hard to be fluent in 92 different government programs.

But more broadly, Jordan, who, like Davidson is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, would like to beef up work requirements in order to receive federal benefits. While the Clinton-era welfare package created work requirements through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, such requirements weren’t instituted for other means-tested federal programs.

While the 1996 welfare overhaul “did what it was supposed to do, it really applied to one program,” said Davidson. “It didn’t have as broad an effect as it could have.”

The federal government has made it optional for states to impose work requirements on food stamps, but it hasn’t really forced them to, say analysts.

Success stories

Davidson and Jordan argue that the states that did impose work requirements are success stories. In Maine, Gov. Paul LePage in 2014 instituted work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents in order for them to receive food stamps. Three months after he instituted that policy, the number of able-bodied adults without dependents receiving food stamps had plummeted by 80 percent, according to the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“I think at the federal level, we ought to say, ‘these are federal dollars. Do what you want to with your own state, but for the federal dollars, you only get them if you expect able-bodied adults to work,” Davidson said.

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Jordan said the 1996 overhaul worked relatively well until the financial crisis, when then-President Barack Obama lifted some of the work requirements to receive TANF. During the meltdown, Obama allowed states to seek a federal waiver from work participation rules that allowed welfare recipients to also engage in one of 12 work activities, such as job training. In order to receive the waiver, states had to come up with a plan to better promote ways to help people find work.

Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at the moderate Brookings Institution and a former senior advisor to President George H.W. Bush, said Obama may have loosened the work requirements during the Great Recession, but the move was temporary.

“I’m not aware of a permanent change in the law because of the recession,” he said. “I certainly do not think President Obama deliberately undermined the work requirements. If he did, it didn’t work very well because they’re still pretty strong.”

Haskins said the larger problem is that states, over time, have figured out how to meet the work requirements without requiring people to work.

“Work programs are very difficult to run,” he said. “They are administratively complex and states have never been especially good at it…they play all these games and it’s the games that need to stop.”

‘We’re not doing enough of that’

Robert Doar — a former commissioner of social services in New York during part of the welfare implementation who is now with the conservative American Enterprise Institute — said the federal government has not done enough to encourage and promote work in food stamps, public health insurance, housing assistance or Medicaid.

He said the policy of “giving benefits and saying, ‘see you in a year’” “is not really helpful in my opinion.”

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“What a person seeking assistance really wants, really needs is a pathway to a job, and we’re not doing enough of that,” he said. “In the new administration, the focus is more on work and less on just providing assistance. I think that’s good.”

Doar said the 1996 effort worked, with the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps and public health insurance also helping to improve the poor’s standard of living. The poor, he said, “are much better off than they were in 1993 or 1994.”

“That doesn’t mean it solved all the problems or that we don’t have a lot more to do in helping poor Americans, but it certainly did what it set out to do.”

Counter view

Melissa Boteach, vice president of the Poverty to Prosperity program at the left leaning Center for American Progress disputes the notion that the 1995 welfare reform was a success. Twenty years after TANF was created, “it helps very few struggling families with children,” she said.

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, while the program served 4.4 million families in 1996, it served 1.6 million in 2015, even as the number of families with children rose to more than 7.1 million by 2016.

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She said Temporary Assistance to Needy Families also was not effective in responding to the Great Recession. Hardship went up, the unemployed went up, and so did food stamps and other programs for the poor.

TANF, Boteach said, “remained flat” even as unemployment and poverty rose.

She disputes the philosophy that a work requirement will motivate someone to work, saying taking a person’s food away is not going to make them a more productive job applicant.

“Work requirements don’t create jobs,” she said. “Work requirements punish people while they’re looking for jobs.”