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Groundhog Day started with hedgehogs

Published: Thursday, February 02, 2017 @ 12:20 PM

Quilliam the hedgehog is new to the Boonshoft, and shared his winter prediction on Thursday

Germans started the tradition of using an animal to predict weather, according to history.com. The idea was rooted in the Christian Candlemas Day tradition.


Germans initially used a hedgehog to predict how long winter would last. They continued to use the hedgehog until some of them immigrated to Pennsylvania where they switched to using groundhogs which were prevalent in the state. 

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Man on railroad tracks struck, killed by CSX train in Hamilton

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 9:55 PM

FROM SCENE: Man on railroad tracks struck, killed in Hamilton

A man was struck and killed tonight by a CSX train on railroad tracks that cross Hanover Street in Hamilton.

REGIONAL NEWS: Ohio State Fair ride accident: 1 dead, 7 hurt; fair open Thursday, rides to remain shut down

The incident was reported around 6:40 p.m., according to the Butler County Sheriff's Office, which dispatches for the Hamilton Police Department.

LOCAL NEWS: Suspect in 2009 Kettering rape, kidnapping case behind bars

Hanover Street was shut down for several blocks, from the sheriff's office at 705 Hanover St. to Walnut Street. 

The Butler County Coroner's Office was called to the scene, the sheriff's office said. 

Hamilton and CSX police responded to the incident, which remains under investigation.

Homicide detectives on scene of dead body in Dayton

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 5:33 AM

Stock photo
Stock photo

Homicide units are on the scene of a dead body report in Dayton.

The female victim was discovered with head trauma in an alley behind the 300 block of Superior Avenue.

>> MIAMI VALLEY CRIME

The Montgomery County Coroner was also requested to the scene.

>> Miami Valley’s most wanted

Memphis Belle gets its guns seven decades after WWII

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 12:42 PM

Tail gunner's position restored on historic Memphis Belle

Piece by piece, Air Force restorers are assembling the B-17F Memphis Belle decades since the plane dodged flak and Nazi fighter planes over the skies of Germany and France in World War II.

The bomber got a double-barrelled addition Wednesday when a tail gunner’s turret with two machine guns was bolted back onto the end of the iconic plane in a National Museum of the U.S. Air Force restoration hangar at Wright-Patterson.

RELATED: Memphis Belle to go on display at Air Force museum in 2018

“This is a big milestone,” said aircraft restorer Roger Brigner, 56, of Kettering. ” … All these years seeing it laying around the hangar floor, now it’s all coming together. It’s an awesome sight.”

Based in Bassingbourn air base in England, Memphis Belle was the first Army Air Forces bomber to return to the United States after flying 25 combat missions over the war ravaged skies of Europe. The four-engine plane was memorialized in a nationwide war bonds tour and in two Hollywood films.

Work on the bomber has taken years to get to this stage. The B-17 with the famous mural of the Memphis Belle was trucked in to the museum in pieces in 2005.

“In the beginning, you do have your doubts sometimes (because) this is such a big project,” Brigner said. “And now the pile of parts is getting smaller and the airplane is getting bigger. It’s all coming together.”

RELATED: Memphis Belle gets wings restored

The plane is scheduled to make a public debut in a new exhibit at the museum on May 17, 2018, the 75th anniversary of its final mission that bombed a shipyard in Germany. In March, workers attached the wings with the nose, propellers, rudder, and ailerons, among other parts yet to be installed.

“One of the biggest challenges was the airplane came in pieces so we didn’t know how it would fit together,” Brigner said. “It’s like a puzzle and they haven’t been mated together for who knows how long … so this is a big deal.”

The paint, with the exception of the Memphis Belle nose art, has been scrubbed off, inside and out. When fully restored, it will be painted an olive drab green and gray to look like it did the day it ended combat in 1943, said Jeff Duford, lead curator on the Memphis Belle restoration.

Defensive armament

With two .50-caliber machine guns, nicknamed “Pete” and “Repeat,” the tail turret gunner could fire 1,000 rounds a minute, a key defense against swarming Nazi fighters that tried to avoid the bomber’s tail and strike the front of the plane or attack it in a dive, he said.

On deep strikes into Germany, American fighters guarded the bombers, prepared to tangle with German aircraft.

“Between our escort fighters and the heavy defensive armament on our bombers, we broke the back of the German fighter force,” he said. “When they came up to defend and so many of their pilots were killed either by the defensive armament on our bombers or by escorting fighters, they pretty much wiped the skies of German fighters by D-Day.”

The tail turret was “so deadly” the Germans developed tactics to avoid being in the line of fire, Duford said.

RELATED: Artifact from Memphis Belle back with famous airplane

Staff Sgt. John “JP” Quinlan, 23, of Yonkers, N.Y., was the Memphis Belle tail turret gunner when the crew made history. He died in 2000.

The Army airmen was the only crew member to receive the Purple Heart. He was wounded by anti-aircraft flak on the same combat mission he was credited with shooting down a German fighter plane, Duford said. Quinlan also was credited with one “probable” kill.

From his vantage point, the tail gunner could see sweeping aircraft formations headed to bomb targets.

“He had the heartbreaking view of seeing some of his friends go down,” Duford said. “Seeing the airplanes blow up.”

Damaged planes that lost an engine would often leave the airborne pack, he said.

“When an airplane left a formation it would be pounced upon and taken apart by German fighters,” Duford said. “From where he was sitting, he saw that happen over and over and over again.”

PHOTOS: Restoring the Memphis Belle

Three times, the plane was struck and damaged in combat, once by an enemy fighter, another time by flak, and by errant friendly fire, Duford said.

Quinlan, who carried a horseshoe for luck on every wartime flight, barely avoided death on one flight. The tail gunner had just leaned back in his seat to take a brief rest from firing the guns, Duford said.

“At that moment, a bullet went through a side window where his head had been,” he said. “Had he not been taken that moment to rest, he would have been killed.”

The savage aerial battles cost the lives of 30,000 Army Air Forces crew members who fought against Nazi Germany.

Ohio State Fair ride accident: How common are festival ride accidents?

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 2:40 AM

Aerial scenes above accident at Ohio State Fair

After one person was killed and seven others were injured when a ride malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair Wednesday night, many are asking if festival and amusement park rides are safe.

>> RELATED: Ohio State Fair ride accident: 1 dead, 7 hurt, Fair open Thursday, rides to remain shut down

Amusement park and festival ride accidents in Ohio are uncommon, according to a Dayton Daily News investigation conducted last year.

>> RELATED: Regulators, reports say rides safe, but accidents happen

The only ride-related death in Ohio over the last three years happened in 2015 when a 45-year-old man was struck by a roller coaster at Cedar Point in Sandusky. Police said the man had finished riding the Raptor roller coaster and jumped a fence to retrieve a cell phone when he was hit by the ride.

>> RELATED: No major problems with roller coaster that fatally struck man

Last year, the state’s chief ride inspector said most accidents are not caused by ride operators, but from people with pre-existing conditions who ignore warnings or putting kids on a ride who aren’t ready.

>> RELATED: Ohio State Fair accident: Other serious events at fairs or on rides in Ohio

BY THE NUMBERS

Ohio ride safety inspection program

Number of accidents

2014 - 12

2015 - 5

2016 - 3

Number of deaths

2014 - 0

2015 - 1

2016 - 0