Fentanyl delivered through the mail

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 5:30 PM

Billy Brkschmidt is a recovering addict.

From January through March of this year, 154 people have been killed by Fentanyl in Montgomery County alone. The synthetic opiate claimed 251 lives in Montgomery County in 2016 due to accidental overdoses. As law enforcement struggles to fight the spread of addiction, News Center 7 has uncovered a new method of delivery criminals are using to get the powerful and illicit drug into every community in the Miami Valley: through the mail.

NOW WATCH: How does getting drugs through the mail work?

"Right now, the heroin epidemic: that consumes all of our time," says Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Captain Mike Brem. 

Brem leads the Montgomery County RANGE Task Force, the agency on the front-line of the fight against drugs in the Dayton-area. A News Center 7 crew rode along with RANGE as they served a search warrant at a suspected drug house in Dayton recently. They were looking for Fentanyl. Officers and deputies with the task force moved up to a home on Elsmere Avenue in Dayton with guns drawn and their search warrant in hand. They came out with four suspects in handcuffs and Fentanyl from inside the house. 

Ken Betz of the Montgomery County Coroner's Office talks about the spike in fentanyl deaths.

Mailboxes at vacant home is one of the new ways Fentanyl is getting into our area. 

"If you shut down all the mail service in America for a day, you'd shut down more than half of the drug trafficking in America," said Captain Brem.

Dayton Daily News reporter, Chris Stewart, has been covering the heroin epidemic for three years. 

"They (criminals) can order it right online and have it delivered to a vacant house like these here in this neighborhood," said Stewart. The drug can be shipped through the U.S. Postal Service without any of what's known as "advanced electronic data" -- things like: where the package is coming from, what's inside and who's shipping it. "That makes it easier for them to get Fentanyl through the system and to a house in Dayton," Stewart said.

MORE: Portman to re-introduce bill aimed at U.S. mail shipment of drugs

Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman has introduced new legislation to try and change that. 

"It comes in through the U.S. mail system, unbelievably, so we're trying to push back and make sure the post office requires that some of these evil scientists in China who are making this in a laboratory have to put on the package the information about where it's from, what's in it, where it's going and so on," said Portman. "According to Dayton law enforcement, and the customs and border protection people and the DEA, that will help them to identify those packages and keep some of that poison out of our communities."

Bill Brokschmidt is a recovering addict. He said he's lost count of the times he's overdosed. His drug addiction left him homeless. 

"I was living in my car, I had no gas," Brokschmidt said. "I couldn't drive it to a gas station."

Sober for 14 months, Brokschmidt now works with the Dayton-based group, Families of Addicts. He is helping people with a struggle he knows first-hand. 

Lori Erion runs the organization. 

NOW WATCH: WHIO Reports on drugs through the mail

"We give huge doses of hope," Erion said. "So a lot of hope, a lot of education and we do that by our weekly meetings and people who have been there, done that."

FOA's services are in high demand amid the Heroin and Fentanyl epidemics. 

"If we can save a couple people, I think that's worth the effort on all of our parts," said Brokschmidt.

"You say you can't win the war on drugs -- but we have to keep fighting the battle," Brem said. "That's the most important thing."

FOA and RANGE are just two of the agencies working to try and end this drug's death grip on the Miami Valley.

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.” 
 

Dayton traffic from the WHIO traffic center

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:35 AM
Updated: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 12:54 AM

Staff photo
Staff photo

Traffic issues can be reported by calling our newsroom at 937-259-2237 or tweeting @WHIOTraffic .

Traffic conditions are updated every six minutes on AM 1290 and News 95.7 FM.

Major Highway Incidents

  • No incidents to report.

Surface Street Incidents

  • No incidents to report.

>> RELATED: WHIO App-Winter

>> RELATED: Check for delays or cancellations before heading to the airport

>> RELATED: Track the latest conditions in your neighborhood on our live WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Ongoing Construction & Other Closures 

Live look at highways on our traffic cameras here.

Latest traffic conditions are also available on our traffic map. 

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

  • Keowee Street north of Stanley Avenue, bridge closed until 2019. The official detour is: Keowee Street to Stanley Avenue to I-75 to Wagner Ford Road and back to Dixie. More information is available here.
  • Stewart Street Ramp to US 35 East, RAMP CLOSURE March 28 - Sept 30, 2018. The official detour is: Stewart Street to Edwin C. Moses Boulevard to I-75 north to US 35 west to James H. McGee Blvd. to US 35 east.
  • I-75 north Ramp to US 35 west and east, Lane width restriction until Apr. 1, 2018. One lane will remain open on the ramp with a width of 11 feet.
  • I-70 between Upper Lewisburg Salem Road and Brooksville-Phillipsburg Road, Lane closure Jan. 22 - 29. One lane will remain open in each direction at all times. Shoulder closures Jan. 22 - Sept. 30. Both the inside and outside shoulders of I-70 will be closed during construction. 

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