Fear of Hamvention relocation prompts meeting

Published: Friday, October 02, 2015 @ 11:14 PM
Updated: Friday, October 02, 2015 @ 11:34 PM

The continuing fear that Dayton Hamvention could relocate from Hara Arena, the site the “destination for amateur radio” has called home since 1964, has Trotwood and Dayton area officials working to keep the event in the region.

The fear is so real, the Dayton/Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau has been working with city of Dayton staffers on a plan to ensure the world’s largest gathering of amateur radio enthusiasts remains in Montgomery County if relocation is necessary because of the arena’s financial problems.

Bureau President and CEO Jacqueline Powell said this isn’t the first year officials have considered options in case of a relocation.

Hamvention has injected millions of dollars into the local economy every year it has been staged, but the arena’s financial struggles have been such that an Iowa-based consultant recently asked the city of Trotwood to buy the venue.

Trotwood officials rejected that idea. The arena’s owner said the facility is on better financial footing today.

The Hamvention board has no intention of leaving Hara Arena, said Jim Tiderman, general chairman of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, which hosts the event.

This month, Powell said, there is to be a meeting that includes representatives from the city of Dayton, Montgomery County, Dayton Convention Center and the convention and visitors bureau to present options to Hamvention organizers — if they need one.

Options, revealed in documents requested by Cox Media Group Ohio, include possibly staging the exhibits event in the convention center and flea market at Dave Hall Plaza in downtown Dayton, or using University of Dayton parking lots and Montgomery County Fairgrounds for the flea market.

Powell said Hamvention organizers have been presented with alternative site proposals in the past.

“As far as I know right now, their plans are to hold it at Hara,” she said.

Hamvention 2016 is scheduled for May 20 through 22.

U.S. Marshals Service warns of phone scam circulating in Dayton area

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 10:04 AM

Staff Photo
Ty Greenlees/Ty Greenlees

The U.S. Marshals Service is warning the public about a phone scam circulating in the Dayton area this week.

>> Read the latest local stories in the Miami Valley 

Several residents in the Dayton area received calls on June 25 and 26 where a caller told them they had an active, federal arrest warrant or bench warrant and were demanding payment of fines, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Jeremy Rose said in a media release. 

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The calls came from two numbers, 937-552-5095 and 937-551-1395, where the male caller either identified himself as Deputy Marshal Brian Word or Kendall Brown. 

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“The U.S. Marshals Service wants the public to know this is a scam and if you receive any phone calls of this nature you should immediately contact your local authorities or search a telephone directory’s government pages to obtain a legitimate number for the nearest U.S. Marshals Service to verify the call,” Rose said in the release. 

“Additionally, the U.S. Marshals Service is a federal law enforcement agency and does not seek payment of fines or fees via the telephone and will never ask someone to go to a local store to get a prepaid credit card.”

People who are victims of frauds similar to this and others are also urged to contact local law enforcement or the FBI to report the crimes. 

Thunderbird pilot remains hospitalized 4 days after jet crash

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 11:33 AM
Updated: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 8:32 AM

UPDATE @ 2:44 p.m. (June 27):

Hospital officials said Thunderbirds Capt. Erik Gonsalves remains at Miami Valley Hospital Tuesday afternoon.

UPDATE @3:09 a.m. (June 27): 

Thunderbirds Capt. Erik Gonsalves continues to receive treatment at Miami Valley Hospital this morning.

Gonsalves suffered leg injuries when the F-16 jet he was flying in went off a runway on landing and flipped over.

RELATED: Thunderbird pilot remains hospitalized, mishap investigation continues

UPDATE @ 12:43 p.m. (June 26):

The military is investigating the crash involving a Thunderbirds F-16 jet prior to the Vectren Dayton Air Show this past weekend, according to U.S. Air Force officials.

RELATED: Thunderbird jet crashes ahead of Vectren Dayton Air Show

The jet will be housed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base during the investigation, according to officials.

The Thunderbirds are expected to speak with the media to provide an update on their flight team on Thursday in Traverse City, Michigan ahead of their next performance at the National Cherry Festival Saturday, the Air Force said.

Earlier, the Air Force told this news organization the NTSB was investigating the crash, however they’ve since clarified that statement. The NTSB is not involved in the investigation, a spokesperson said.

UPDATE @ 11:22 a.m. (June 26):

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds will resume flying operations today, June 26 after the squadron departs Dayton for its home station at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The team will hold routine practices Tuesday.

"Capt. Gonsalves remains in the hospital and is surrounded by loved ones," said Lt. Col. Jason Heard on Facebook. "I have full faith and confidence in our team to conduct the mission safely, we look forward to returning to flying operations."

UPDATE @ 9:47 a.m. (June 26):

The Thunderbirds will be taking off at 10:30 a.m. and the injured pilot is expected to be staying at the hospital for a couple more days, officials announced this morning.

Thunderbirds Capt. Erik Gonsalves has had two surgeries, but his injuries are less serious than initially thought, according to officials. 

RELATED: Attendance numbers released for 2017 air show

The damaged plane will be staying here locally and once able, it will be transported to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, officials said.

UPDATE @8:30 a.m. (June 26)

Thunderbirds Capt. Erik Gonsalves continues to receive treatment at Miami Valley Hospital.

A condition for Gonsalves was not available.

>> Air Show draws large crowds despite Thunderbirds crash

UPDATE @ 11:15 a.m. (June 25)

Thunderbirds Capt. Erik Gonsalves remains a patient at Miami Valley Hospital after he was extricated from an F-16 that overturned on the runway Friday at the Dayton International Airport.

Gonsalves Tweeted Saturday a picture of himself in the hospital bed stating, “Thanks for all the love and support. I'm doing okay. More to follow, I'm thankful for all our friendships.”

Staff Sgt. Kenneth Cordova was the passenger in the F-16. He was extricated from the aircraft and taken to the hospital where he has since been released.

Friday’s mishap forced the Thunderbirds to cancel their performances at this weekend’s Vectren Dayton Air Show.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jason Heard, Thunderbirds commanding leader, said Friday’s ‘mishap’ is under investigation and what caused it has not been determined.

Heard said upon landing after a “single-ship familiarization flight,” the fighter jet overturned on the runway and sustained damage, temporarily trapping Gonsalves and Cordova in the aircraft.

EARLIER

As the Vectren Dayton Air Show kicks off Saturday some visitors came to the show, unaware of Friday’s Thunderbird crash and cancellation of their performance Saturday.

Michael Werchowski, 44, brought his 11-year-old son, Miles, hoping to see the Thunderbirds, but didn’t know they weren’t performing until he arrived at Dayton International Airport.

>>WATCH LIVE PERFORMANCES FROM SATURDAY’S SHOW

It was the first air show for both.

“We’ve never seen a Blue Angels or Thunderbirds show before, but it is what it is,” Michael Werchowski, who drove in from Powell near Columbus for the show.

Miles didn’t seem fazed.

“I’m just here to see planes,” he said.

A two seat F-16 Thunderbird jet overturned at the airport after landing Friday, trapping the pilot and passenger until they were freed by first responders. 

RELATED: Thunderbird jet crashes ahead of Vectren Dayton Air Show

Both were hospitalized and reported in good condition. One team member has been released. The Thunderbirds have not yet made an announcement on whether they will perform at Sunday’s show.

Charles and Theresa Cooper, both 60, moved to New Lebanon in December after 40 years in California. The two grew up in the Miami Valley.  

“I’ve never been to the air show,” Theresa Cooper said. “I’ve never come. “It’s pretty exciting.”  

The couple were driving near the airport Friday when they spotted emergency vehicles and heard about the Thunderbird jet mishap.  

“So sad,” she said.  

Charles Cooper said he wanted to come to the air show anyway partly because of the region’s heritage as the birthplace of aviation. “Living in California, you don’t realize how much this region has to offer until you come back,” he said.

Gary and Linda Kish drove four hours from St. Clairsville near Wheeling, W.V., with two grandchildren, Jayden, 6, and Weston, 4, but weren’t deterred from coming when they heard the Thunderbirds canceled the Saturday show.

“We were eating ice cream when we heard about it,” Jayden said.

“It’ still a good time,” said Gary Kish, 64. “We’re just glad (the two Thunderbird two members) are OK.”

“What are you going to do?” asked Linda Kish. 

High school referee, ex-con accused of raping juvenile in Troy

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 1:49 PM

A Troy man accused of raping a juvenile is no longer eligible to officiate after the Ohio High School Athletic Association suspended his license after his arrest earlier this month, an OHSAA spokesman said Tuesday. 

Henry Lucas Jr., 52, was arrested June 5 after he turned himself in to Troy police, according to an affidavit filed in Miami County Municipal Court. Lucas is charged with a felony count of rape, and he made an initial appearance in court June 6, where his bond was set at $400,000, according to court records. The victim is known to Lucas. 

OTHER NEWS: U.S. Marshals Service warns of phone scam circulating in Dayton area

Lucas’ license was previously suspended in 2011 after he was convicted on a felony drug charge and sentenced to prison in September 2010, the OHSAA said. 

The OHSAA initially approved Lucas’ officiating license in 2001, and he was listed as having an active license until Aug. 1, 2011, when the athletic association first suspended it, said Ben Ferree, assistant director of officiating and sport management for OHSAA. 

“We do not believe he was officiating after his September 2010 conviction,” Ferree said. 

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On Sept. 2, 2010, Lucas was convicted for using deception to obtain an illegal drug and was sentenced to a year in the London Correctional Institution, according to court records. 

Lucas was released from prison on Aug. 26, 2011, according to a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. 

Ferree said Lucas, who officiated football and basketball, appealed the suspension of his license following his drug conviction. 

According to the OHSAA handbook for officials, an officiating permit will not be issued or reinstated for anyone convicted in regard to any felony offense unless/until such offense has been reversed by proper authority. 

Ferree said, “People with convictions on their record that would be denied per the Handbook can appeal to obtain a license.” 

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Lucas’ permit was reinstated in October 2012 based on an appeal to the OHSAA board of directors, Ferree said. “The board approved his appeal based on multiple letters of recommendation from school personnel and community members in the Dayton area.” 

This news organization inquired about the letters of recommendations OHSAA said they received, however, Ferree said, “I do not have copies in his file.” OHSAA also said they don’t share personnel files of officials. 

“Additionally, everyone in the officiating department from that time has since retired. Since 2012 we have a new Director of Officiating, and all new support staff for that department. We do not know where the letters came from as we have never seen them personally,” Ferree said in an email to reporter Sean Cudahy. 

Lucas waived a preliminary hearing in his felony rape case on June 17, and his case is pending a decision from a Miami County Grand Jury, according to court records. 

The 52-year-old remained in the Miami County Jail Tuesday morning on a $400,000 bond. 

A call to his lawyer seeking comments has not been returned.

Local politicians oppose Senate health care proposal

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 11:27 AM

KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley spoke out on Tuesday about their opposition to the proposed U.S. Senate health care bill, claiming it will have a “damaging impact” on the Miami Valley.

Whaley and Foley, both Democrats, joined Dayton Indivisible for All on Tuesday morning for a press conference, and said the cuts to Medicaid contained in the current version of the proposed health care bill would be “disastrous to local and statewide efforts to fight the opiod epidemic.”

The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 could result in loss of coverage for close to 539,700 Ohioans, including 360,000 Ohio residents currently on Medicaid, Whaley and Foley claimed. The local leaders urged Sen. Rob Portman to vote no on the bill.

» RELATED: Gov. Kasich slams House GOP over health-care bill

“We know that this health care bill raises premiums and health care costs while cutting basic benefits and reducing access to coverage,” said Melissa Rodriguez, a main organizer for DIFA. “We are grateful that our local leaders are voicing their opposition to this bill. Now we need Sen. Portman to join them and vote no when this health care bill comes to a vote.”

In a conference call with reporters last week, Portman, R-Ohio, objected to plans by Senate Republican leaders to gain approval for a health-care bill before the July 4 holidays, saying instead “we need to get it right.”

Portman has backed an overhaul of the 2010 health law known as Obamacare, but said he fears “if we try to squeeze it in a short period of time we won’t get it right and we have to get it right.”

» RELATED: Senate leaders scramble to save health bill amid defections

A Congressional Budget office analysis shows the Senate bill would cut federal deficits by $202 billion more over the coming decade than the version the House approved in May. Senate leaders could use some of those additional savings to attract moderate votes by making Medicaid and other provisions more generous, though conservatives would rather use that money to reduce red ink.

The Senate plan would end the tax penalty that law imposes on people who don’t buy insurance, in effect erasing Obama’s so-called individual mandate, and on larger businesses that don’t offer coverage to workers.

It would let states to ease Obama’s requirements that insurers cover certain specified services like substance abuse treatments, and eliminate $700 billion worth of taxes over a decade, the CBO said, largely on wealthier people and medical companies that Obama’s law used to expand coverage.

» Anthem pulls out of Ohio: What’s really going on?

It would cut Medicaid, which provides health insurance to over 70 million poor and disabled people, by $772 billion through 2026 by capping its overall spending and phasing out Obama’s expansion of the program. Of the 22 million people losing health coverage, 15 million would be Medicaid recipients.

“Right now, we have a huge challenge in front of us,” Whaley said. “We need to call this bill like it is. We’re telling people if you’re sick, suffering and dying, go fend for yourself because we’re eliminating your access to health care — all in the middle of a heroin epidemic, in the middle of this state of emergency. In a time where the morgues are filled … we’re talking about denying people the help they so desperately need.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.