Future of 89 homes at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in limbo

Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 @ 12:00 AM

The Air Force has asked dozens of private developers for ideas to either tear down or renovate 89 historic brick homes among the last of government-owned housing in the military branch, officials say.

Air Force officials outlined options at two public forums this week at Fairborn High School on what to do with the homes in the Brick Quarters Historic District for 30 “key and essential” personnel — or senior military and civilian leaders officials say must live on base because of their crucial roles in the event of an emergency.

Project leaders are weighing a dozen alternatives, including keeping government ownership or privatization, demolition, renovation, constructing new homes or a mix of all those options of the Tudor Revival-style brick homes built in the mid-1930s and that are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

As part of the plans, the 19th-century Foulois House, home to a high-ranking general, would be renovated and 10 government-owned homes along Yount Drive built in 1975 would be demolished, plans show.

A major renovation could cost up to $700,000 per home, and less extensive renovation focused on repairs could cost about $150,000, according to Michael D. Ackerman, an Air Force Civil Engineer Center planning expert at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

Tony Sculimbrene, executive director of the National Aviation Heritage Alliance, said in an interview Tuesday the brick homes were significant historically not only because of the age and character of the buildings but should also be preserved because because of the early Air Force leaders who lived there.

“Those buildings play a big role in the story of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and we want to see demolition minimized to the maximum extent possible,” said Sculimbrene, a former Wright-Patterson employee who oversaw maintenance of military housing on the base in the 1980s.

Air Force officers often looked at a living assignment in one of the brick homes as a sign of career success, added Sculimbrene, also a former officer.

“They stand for something and the brick quarters clearly do stand for the gems in military housing for officers,” he said.

Navy Capt. Rees Lee, and his wife, Sally, live in one of the brick homes. The captain who is the commanding officer of the Naval Medical Research Unit-Dayton at Wright-Patterson, said the brick homes are “really historically unique” and “should be preserved.”

He advocated to keep the neighborhood intact beyond the 30 “key and essential” leaders on base “because I think when you bring senior leaders together in one place into a neighborhood that benefits the base in intangible ways when leadership knows each other.”

When an individual or crisis on base happens, “things get done and things get done because you know each other,” the military officer said.

“We love living there,” Sally Lee added. “We love the … historic character of the house, but we really love the neighborhood. We love the fact that it really is a close-knit neighborhood. We get to know our neighbors.”

Warren K. Brown, 73, of Fairborn, who listened to the options at a sparsely attended Monday hearing at the high school, said the high price tag for major renovations was a concern.

Initially, he said he favored the least expensive option to complete minimum repairs needed to meet building code and safety issues. “I would look at the most cost-effective method because it is our money being spent,” he said.

The public may submit written comments through Oct. 9. Comments may be submitted to Wright-Patterson Public Affairs, 5135 Pearson Road, Building 10, Room 235A, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45433 or via email at 88abw.pa@us.af.mil or www.wpafb.af.mil/units/cev.

The Air Force could make a decision late next summer.

220 gallons of gas spill at Shell station in Washington Twp.

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 7:08 PM
Updated: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 7:30 PM

UPDATE @ 7:30 p.m.

Washington Twp. Fire Department hazmat crews are working to clean up a fuel spill tonight after 220 gallons of gasoline spilled at the Shell station, 6001 Far Hills Ave.

The fuel was tracked to a nearby creek, and crews are setting booms to absorb the gasoline.

The entrances to Shell are blocked and the business is temporarily closed.

We’re working to find out what led to the spill and learn more about the fire department’s cleanup efforts.

FIRST REPORT

Hazmat crews are responding to a fuel spill this evening at a Shell station in Washington Twp.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency also was contacted because gas was believed to have gone down storm sewers near the intersection of Far Hills Avenue and Whipp Road.

The incident was reported shortly before 7 p.m. at the station, 6001 Far Hills Ave.

We will update this report as warranted.

HAVE A TIP? Contact the 24-hour line at 937-259-2237 or newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Heavy rains are over, but scattered storms possible tonight

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 4:47 AM
Updated: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 4:45 PM

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Isolated shower/storm overnight possible
  • More showers/storms Sunday night into early Monday
  • More rain and turning cooler to start the workweek

PHOTOS: Heavy rain, flooding in the Miami Valley

RELATED: County-by-County Forecasts 

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect through 8 a.m. Sunday for Randolph County, Indiana.

DETAILED FORECAST

Tonight: Clouds linger. There is the chance for a few showers or storms, but even if these do develop, they're not expected to be widespread, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar said. Temperatures overnight will drop into the lower to middle 60s.

Sunday: Partly cloudy skies are expected with highs in the middle 80s. It will be warm, breezy and muggy. While a stray shower or storm can't be ruled out, most of the day should be dry. The chance for more showers and storms increases into the evening hours and into early Monday.

RELATED: WHIO Interactive Radar

Monday: Showers and storms are expected early, but it should dry out into the afternoon. Highs will be in the middle to upper 60s early in the morning. Most of the day will be in the 50s and lower 60s.

RELATED: Download the WHIO Weather App

Tuesday: Partly sunny skies are on tap with highs in the middle 60s.

Wednesday: Partly cloudy skies are expected with highs in the lower to middle 60s. There is the chance for more showers and storms late Wednesday into Thursday.

Thursday: Showers and storms are expected with highs in the upper 50s.

Download our free mobile apps for breaking news and weather.

No deal to extend Premier, UnitedHealthcare contract

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 10:49 PM

Despite reaching an agreement to extend Medicare Advantage coverage, Premier Health and UnitedHealthcare are not expected to agree by tonight’s midnight deadline on other portions in the negotiations that would have preserves health plans for thousands of residents in the region, Premier officials said.

Dayton-based Premier Health, the largest health system in Southwest Ohio, and UHC, the nation’s largest health insurer, have agreed to extend Medicare Advantage coverage until the end of this year for UHC members who use Premier hospitals and providers.

RELATED: Contract talks threaten 70K UnitedHealthcare members in Dayton area

However, the two sides remain at odds over a key issue with the first deadline for a portion of their contract set to expire at midnight Saturday, potentially displacing tens of thousands of local residents with individual and employer-sponsored health plans.

Unless an agreement is reached, those policy holders would no longer have access to Premier hospitals as part of the insurance company’s network.

Premier physicians would also be considered out-of-network on May 14 for employer-sponsored, individual and Medicaid plan members, according to UHC. And Premier hospitals and physicians would be out-of-network for Medicaid plans starting May 14, if an agreement is not reached.

All toll, about 70,000 residents would be impacted in the local area, according to UHC, which said Premier’s decision not to participate in the insurer’s plan design, which ranks hospitals and providers in tiers based on cost and quality, was the sticking point in the ongoing negotiations.

Premier objects to the “tiering” system because, company officials said, it would intentionally steer patients away from Premier providers.

UnitedHealthcare had already sent letters to patients and providers advising them that a contract might not be reached by the deadline, ending in-network access to Dayton-based Premier’s hospitals for those residents with individual and employer-sponsored health plans.

In a statement, Premier Health said, “We are deeply disappointed that UnitedHealthcare has rejected our proposal to extend our contract until the end of the year. Our offer was put forth in good faith, and an agreement would have provided patients and area employers the opportunity to make choices about where and from whom to access care, during the normal open enrollment period for 2018.”

Clark Co. health officials report 1 suspected Zika virus

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 11:19 AM

A traveler returning home in Clark County has contracted what is believed to be the Zika virus, according to the Clark County Combined Health District.

The individual traveled from a “Zika hot spot” and upon return exhibited a rash and other symptoms consistent with Zika, according to Clark County Health Commissioner Charlie Patterson. 

“It was almost like someone was reading off the poster in the airport for Zika,” he said. 

The patient’s physician contacted the health department, which is running tests to confirm the virus. Results will take up to three weeks.

“We really need to treat this as if it’s positive right now. We can’t wait for results. This is the contagious period,” Patterson said. 

The main concern at this point is making sure a mosquito doesn’t pick up the virus, Patterson said. His office is working with the patient to keep him or her quarantined. Health workers canvassed the neighborhood today to speak to neighbors about keeping down the mosquito population. 

Working with the Ohio Department of Health, Patterson’s office is trapping mosquitoes and may consider spraying if the type of mosquito that carries Zika is found. 

Patterson said this is the first suspected case of Zika in Clark County and the third in Ohio this year. There were 95 last year, he said, 94 of which were contracted overseas and one was transmitted through sexual contact. None were contracted from infected mosquitoes.

Zika virus symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. The virus is typically mild and goes away within a week, according to the health district.