Soldier from Springboro killed in Africa

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 12:19 PM

Soldier from Springboro killed in Africa

One of three U.S. soldiers killed in the West African nation of Niger on Wednesday was a Warren County native, the Department of Defense said in a release identifying the service members Friday. 

Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, a Springboro native, was killed during a joint operation that was being conducted by U.S. and Nigerien forces. Mali-based militants in Niger's Tillaberi region is responsible for the attacks, the release said.  

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“Unfortunately, we lost another one,” said Springboro Mayor John Agenbroad, whose grandson, Jackson Book of Springboro, shipped off today to Iraq. 

“We’re so stretched out with all the wars,” said Agenbroad, who is also a veteran. “It’s a shame our young men and women have to spend so many deployments in these places. The odds are against them.”

Johnson was a chemical, biological radiological and nuclear soldier who was assigned to the Fort Bragg-based 3rd Special Forces Group. He enlisted in the Army in October 2007.

“Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson was an exceptional Soldier in all regards. We, as a nation, are fortunate to have men like Jeremiah," said Lt. Col. Megan Brogden, commander of Group Support Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group. "He not only represented what we should all aspire to be, but he lived it. His loss is a great blow and he will be missed and mourned by this unit."

 Two other soldiers killed during the attack were identified as Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia. All three were stationed in Fort Bragg. 

Eight Niger soldiers were also killed, Niger's Army chief of staff said in a statement. 

"A joint patrol of the Defense and Security Forces and American partners operating in the border area of Mali fell into an ambush set by terrorist elements aboard a dozen vehicles and about 20 motorcycles," the statement said. The deaths and injuries came "after intense fighting, during which elements of the joint force showed exemplary courage." 

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The statement welcomed "the constant commitment of the American partners in the fight against terrorism."

Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou and the U.S. Ambassador to Niger Eunice S. Reddik met before Issoufou presided over a meeting of the National Security Council made up of senior officers and ministers. 

"Our country is once again the target of a terrorist attack, with a large number of victims," Niger's president said earlier Thursday. 

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack about 200 kilometers (124 miles) north of Niger's capital, Niamey. However, Islamic extremist groups, including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, operate in the region and sporadically launch cross-border raids. Despite the intervention of French troops in 2013 that pushed the extremists from their strongholds in northern Mali, they continue attacks. 

Boko Haram, based south in Nigeria, has also staged several attacks in Niger near its border.

U.S. Africa Command said the U.S. forces are in Niger to provide training and security assistance to the Nigerien Armed Forces in their efforts against violent extremists. 

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The two wounded U.S. service members were evacuated in stable condition to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, U.S. Africa Command said in its statement. 

The commandos, who were Green Berets, were likely attacked by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb militants, said U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the incident publicly. 

The White House said President Donald Trump was notified about the attack Wednesday night as he flew aboard Air Force One from Las Vegas to Washington. 

Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad are putting together a 5,000-strong G5 Sahel force to fight the growing threat from extremists in the vast Sahel region. The first units are expected to deploy in October and all battalions should be on the ground by March 2018. 

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The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution in June welcoming the deployment, but at U.S. insistence it did not include any possibility of U.N. financing for the force. 

The countries have been pressing the international community to help funding and in equipping troops and ensuring their mobility and help with logistics, communications and protection in the field. 

That force will operate in the region along with a 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, which has become the deadliest in the world for U.N. peacekeepers, and France's 5,000-strong Barkhane military operation, its largest overseas mission.

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Huber Heights man accused in federal hate crime case

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:44 PM

Huber Heights man accused in federal hate crime case

A 32-year-old Huber Heights man was arrested Wednesday on a charge accusing him of committing a hate crime when federal authorities said he attacked a man outside a Cincinnati restaurant because the man identified himself as Jewish. 

Izmir Koch -- also under indictment in Montgomery County involving a June 2016 fight on Valley Street in Dayton -- remains in federal custody following his arrest on one count of committing a hate crime under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. 

Koch already has appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. 

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According to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday, Koch was outside a restaurant with others on Feb. 4, 2017, when he allegedly yelled out asking if anyone outside the restaurant was Jewish. 

A victim responded that he was Jewish and it is alleged that Koch then ran to the man and punched him in the head. When the victim fell to the ground, Koch and others continued hitting and kicking him. 

The victim suffered injuries from the attack, including rib contusions and a fracture of his orbital floor - the bottom portion of an eye socket. 

"Physically attacking someone because you think he's Jewish or Christian or Muslim or any other religion is a federal crime," U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman said in the prepared statement. "This office prosecutes hate crimes." 

According to one Cincinnati media report, the victim was not actually Jewish, Glassman said at a news conference. 


A check of Montgomery County online court records shows that Koch was indicted in July 2016 on two counts of felonious assault (deadly weapon and serious harm). The status of the case is labeled "reopened" and a motion in the case was filed Tuesday. 

In that motion filed by the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, Koch and at least five other men accused of assaulting a man in a fight and stabbing June 7, 2016, outside SMS Trucking, 1602 Valley St., are claiming self-defense.

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The fracas involved men of Russian descent, police have said. 

One of the co-defendants claimed to a police detective that they committed the assault because the man "made disparaging comments about their mothers, and their culture does not permit such comments." 

The co-defendant also told the detective they all fought with the man because "they were not scared of him and they needed to handle the situation on their own." 

The prosecutor's office has asked the trial judge to compel the co-defendant to testify as to those statements. 

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Clipper-type system could bring snow to area this weekend

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:08 PM

Another storm system will threaten the Miami Valley with more snow as we head into the first weekend of Spring. It is too early to know the exact impact, or how much snow will fall, but our Storm Center 7 meteorologists say there is a chance for accumulation late Friday night into Saturday.

Those ready for spring weather likely won’t like this forecast.

A clipper-type system looks to spread snow into the region this weekend, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell  said.

The storm system looks to arrive late Friday night or into Saturday morning. The current forecast track would bring snow across much of the Miami Valley during the day Saturday.

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“Snow accumulation, perhaps heavy, would be likely along and north of the Ohio River should the current forecast track hold,” Elwell said, “but a lot can still change.”

If the system adjusts north, then the threat will be for more of a mix or perhaps even more rain than snow, Elwell said.

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However, the system could escape to the south with little to no local effect.

“We’ll know a lot more on the potential threat of this system by late Thursday. Stay tuned!” Elwell said.

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‘This is on my bucket list!’ says top winner of Dayton Dragons National Anthem tryouts

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:32 PM

The singer chosen to lead “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the Dayton Dragons Opening Day game can check one big item off her bucket list.

“I always wanted to sing the national anthem at a sporting event at a big level,” Yolanda Drake of Jefferson Twp. said. “This is on my bucket list!”

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More than 200 people auditioned to perform at one of 70 home games. Drake took the top spot on Opening Day and will sing the national anthem in front of a sell-out crowd April 7 at Fifth Third Field. The Dragons will host the Bowling Green Hot Rods at 7 p.m. as they open their 19th season in Dayton. The Dragons are the Midwest League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.

Drake isn’t new to winning singing contests. She also won the Dayton Soul Singer search and performed in January with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra at the Schuster Performing Arts Center.

On most weekends, Drake performs alongside her husband, Lamar “Marty” Drake in their band LYD, which stands for Live Your Dream. They sing at festivals, top restaurants and private functions across the country, and have opened for musical legends including Chuck Berry, Sister Sledge, Alex Bugnon and a host of others, she said.

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She has experience singing the national anthem. She was often asked to perform before football and basketball games, and even graduation, for Jefferson Township High School, where her three sons graduated.

“Music is a universal language,” Drake said. “I’m going to do it as long as I can do it, as long as I’m able.”

Look for a more in-depth interview with Drake closer to the Dragons Opening Day. 

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Dayton firefighters rescue person trapped in house fire

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 9:50 PM

Person rescued from Dayton house fire

One person rescued after being trapped in a house fire has been taken to Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton District Chief Adam Landis said. 

Investigators are on scene to determine the cause of the fire.

Crews dispatched sometime after 8 p.m. to a 2 1/2-story wood frame home in the 1300 block of Amherst Place found heavy fire on the first and second floors, he said. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: 1 killed in collision involving private ambulance

Firefighters found the victim on the second floor. The condition of that victim is not known, District Chief Landis said. 

He estimated the damage to the structure and contents at $10,000. 

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