Fiona the hippo turns 3 months old

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 1:08 PM

In this April 12 photo provided by the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Fiona a prematurely born hippopotamus, swims in her quarantine enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Cincinnati. (Courtesy Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens via AP)
In this April 12 photo provided by the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Fiona a prematurely born hippopotamus, swims in her quarantine enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Cincinnati. (Courtesy Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens via AP)

Fiona — the world’s favorite prematurely born hippopotamus — turned three months old today.

The early days of cuddling the tiny, fragile hippo are long gone, Jenna Wingate, the Cincinnati Zoo’s Africa Keeper, told our media partner WCPO.

Here are three updates about Fiona that Wingate shared with WCPO:

1. The ‘dung shower’: Apparently, male hippopotamuses mark territory by slinging feces around with their tails in what Wingate called a “dung shower.”

Fiona has taken an interest in the action exhibited by her father, Henry, whom zookeepers have introduced her to, along with mom Bibi.

“Fiona is now getting access to that, and she shows quite an interest in it for whatever reason,” Wingate said.

MORE: Premature hippo a happy hit for zoo after gorilla death

2. One sassy toddler: Fiona eats about two liters of formula five times a day. Zookeepers introduced grain to her diet this weekend and started training her to associate feeding time with a clicker that they can use when she’s 600 pounds and too dangerous to approach.

“She’s very sassy. She’s very feisty. If she doesn’t want to do something, you’re not going to make her,” Wingate said. “We kind of act like she’s a toddler, and if she doesn’t want to come, we’re like, ‘Bye, Fiona!’ We’ll pretend we’re walking away and she’ll be like, ‘Wait, I want to be with you guys!’ and then she’ll come with us. She has her very big, very own personality already.”

3. Too big to snuggle: “There’s a big difference just in her energy and she’s much stronger and healthier now, so there was a lot of worry and she would kind of lie there and wouldn’t do a whole lot,” Wingate said. “She’s too big and a little bit dangerous to actually cuddle and snuggle, but she does like to lie on our feet or use our leg as a pillow now.”

Xenia school board votes to keep Lofton as chief administrator

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 12:20 PM

Xenia Interim Superintendent Gabriel Lofton
Richard Wilson
Xenia Interim Superintendent Gabriel Lofton(Richard Wilson)

The Xenia school board voted Monday night to negotiate a new longer-term agreement with Gabriel Lofton, the district’s interim superintendent.

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Lofton will no longer be referred to as the interim top administrator starting Jan. 1, and the board will be negotiating a new agreement with Lofton to begin next school year, according to the board’s resolution.

Lofton, previously with Cincinnati Public Schools, was hired by the board over the summer to serve as the interim superintendent on a one-year contact at an annual salary of $145,000.

Board President Pam Callahan said the board initially hired Lofton on an interim basis “to make sure he was a good fit for our district.”

“He had a solid entry plan and has been working that plan from day one,” Callahan said. “We are going to embark on a visioning plan which will include a community forum to seek input regarding a possible building project as well as an academic improvement strategy. We felt Dr. Lofton has integrated himself well into the community and we feel his leadership will move our district forward.”

RELATED >>> Xenia schools name new interim superintendent

Lofton said Tuesday that his time in Xenia has been “excellent” so far and the community has much to be proud of, with teachers putting in extra time to work with students, parents who inspire and volunteer and others from the community “who give their time, expertise, and resources in order for us to continue to be successful and exceed expectations.”

“We are focused on providing our students with an excellent education, in a student-centered environment,” Lofton said. “Take pride in knowing, Xenia Community Schools is committed to educating the “whole” child, has a personalized approach for student success, and has high expectations.”

MORE >>> Xenia schools to form task force in wake of 3 levy defeats

Among Lofton’s challenges will be to oversee two aging school buildings — Xenia High School and Warner Middle School — that the state has deemed fit for renovations or replacement. District voters three times rejected a proposed school tax to pay for a new school building that would replace the high school and middle school.

Dayton to open new $6 million Helena Street bridge

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 12:05 PM

The Helena Street bridge over the Great Miami River in Dayton will reopen Friday with a ribbon cutting at 2 p.m., city officials announced.

The ailing bridge was closed in the fall of 2016 for a $6 million rebuild that features wider sidewalks, improved lighting and a new middle turn lane.

RELATED: Dayton replacing Helena Street bridge for $6M

Since 1999, the city of Dayton has invested almost $65 million to replace 11 bridges.

RELATED Dayton bridge project part of investment

With the reopening of the Helena Street bridge, work will begin on replacing the nearby Keowee Street bridge over the Great Miami River. The Keowee Street bridge, which will close Monday, is providing a detour route for the Helena Street bridge through this week.

Dayton bridge projects

Here’s a look at the completed Dayton bridge projects and their cost (in reverse chronological order):

Webster Street Bridge over the Mad River

Opened: November 2, 2017

Cost: $10.1 million

Broadway Street Bridge over Wolf Creek

Opened: September 16, 2013

Cost: $2.4 million

Rosedale Drive Bridge over Wolf Creek

Opened: October 25, 2011

Cost: $1.9 million

Philadelphia Drive Bridge over Wolf Creek

Opened: January 11, 2011

Cost: $3.4 million

Edwin C. Moses Boulevard Bridge over Wolf Creek (aka the Veterans Memorial Bridge)

Opened: May 13, 2010

Cost: $4.3 million

Stewart Street Bridge over the Great Miami River

Opened: November 30, 2009

Cost: $15.4 million

Dayton Expressway Bridge over Keowee Street

Opened: November 3, 2008

Cost: $6.6 million

Paul Lawrence Dunbar Street Bridge over Wolf Creek

Opened: July 29, 2008

Cost: $2.4 million

Washington Street Bridge over the Great Miami River

Opened: December 6, 2007

Cost: $7.6 million

Findlay Street Bridge over the Mad River

Opened: May 5, 2006

Cost: $4.5 million

Beavercreek City Council rejects marijuana moratorium

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 8:38 PM

Beavercreek City Council rejects marijuana moratorium

The Beavercreek City Council on Monday night rejected a moratorium on medical marijuana cultivation and processing, with some council members saying the extension of a moratorium would just be engaging in the proverbial act of kicking the can down the road. 

The mayor wanted council to have a discussion about the possibility of passing another moratorium but had the support of only two members. Members against another moratorium said they feared the possibility of losing future applicants for businesses connected to marijuana for medical use. 

The city’s moratorium expired in July.

RELATED: Ohio announces first medical marijuana growers

There is a public meeting planned for Thursday to allow comment on the future of medical marijuana, an update on where the city stands on the issue and what happens if a facility is built in Beavercreek Twp. 

RELATED: Beavercreek mulls extending medical marijuana moratorium

In November, the Ohio Department of Commerce approved four Dayton-area locations for the cultivation of medical marijuana. The licenses issued for those locations are for Level II cultivator status, which are required to be 3,000 square feet or less. 

The state received 185 applications for 24 licenses. Seven other counties in the metro areas of Cleveland, Akron and Columbus won approval for cultivation sites. 

Ohio's medical marijuana law allows people with as many as 20 qualifying medical conditions to buy and use marijuana if they have a recommendation from their physician. The law allows retail stores to sell marijuana plant material, patches, tinctures and oils. The law also allows cities and townships to restrict or prohibit medical marijuana businesses but not use.

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What’s that noise? F-16s to fly over Dayton region at night this week

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 12:02 PM
Updated: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 12:28 PM


            Ohio Air National Guard F-16s were scheduled to fly night training exercises Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, according to a unit spokesman. Here, a jet prepares for takeoff while on temporary duty at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 2013. CHRIS STEWART/STAFF FILE PHOTO
Ohio Air National Guard F-16s were scheduled to fly night training exercises Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, according to a unit spokesman. Here, a jet prepares for takeoff while on temporary duty at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 2013. CHRIS STEWART/STAFF FILE PHOTO

F-16 fighter jets were set to fly around the Dayton region Wednesday night, an Ohio Air National Guard spokesman says.

The Toledo-based 180th Fighter Wing will be training through 9 p.m. Thursday, according to the unit.

The jets could travel through the region at any time during the night exercises, said Staff Sgt. Shane Hughes, a wing spokesman.

Southern Ohio is home to the Brush Creek/Buckeye Military Operating Area where the pilots occasionally train.

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