Lebanon step closer to getting casino/racetrack

Published: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 11:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 4:01 PM

A planned racino in Warren County cleared a major regulatory hurdle Tuesday, gaining key approval from a state commission that was holding up the project.

The Ohio State Racing Commission unanimously approved racino operator Miami Valley Racing’s plans for seating at the new Lebanon Raceway near Interstate 75.

Miami Valley Gaming officials said the plan, which added 200 enclosed grandstand seats compared to a previous version the commission rejected last month, will keep the project on track for a February 2014 opening.

The racing commission also voted to move the project to the Ohio Lottery Commission, which needs to sign off on the racino’s site plan and provide final approval for the company to operate Video Lottery Terminals (electronic slot machines) at the site.

The additional grandstands bring the racino’s total number of enclosed seats with a view of the racetrack to 1,048. That’s still about 230 less than the commission had demanded last month, but commissioners said they were willing to compromise.

“I think Miami Valley certainly has shown good faith and I think they’ve gone halfway, so I think we can go halfway,” said commissioner Mark Munroe.

Warren County Commissioners Pat South and Tom Ariss exclaimed “that’s great news” when informed of the racing commission’s decision.

“We’re glad Miami Valley Gaming and the racing commission have agreed and are moving forward,” South said. “I’m sure that Miami Valley Gaming wants to get on with building and the racing commission, whether intentionally or inadvertently, stalled that.”

Officials with Penn National, the company behind a racino planned for Dayton’s north side, also appeared before the racing commission Tuesday, although no significant action was taken.

Penn National’s plans to build racinos in Dayton and the Youngstown area were were suspended last month after the racing commission voted to require the company to add 650 additional enclosed seats with a view of the racetrack to each site.

Penn National Vice President of Corporate Development Steven Snyder on Tuesday asked the racing commission to consider helping develop criteria that would trigger expansion of the racinos’ seating capacity at some point down the road.

Snyder restated that adding 650 extra seats would undermine the company’s business plan and set the project back for six months.

Snyder said building that many seats would be like “building a church for Easter Sunday” that would result in grandstands that are largely empty for most of the year.

Commission Chairman Robert Schmitz said the commission will meet again soon — possibly within the next 10 days — to consider Penn National’s request.

Staff Writer Denise Callahan contributed to this report

In rural Ohio, rivals take ‘a knee for the right reasons,’ coach says

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 12:26 PM

The St. Marys Memorial Roughriders invited the Celina Bulldogs to take a knee for an after-game prayer last Friday. For more than a year, the Roughriders have invited every opponent to join them after the game in prayer. CONTRIBUTED
The St. Marys Memorial Roughriders invited the Celina Bulldogs to take a knee for an after-game prayer last Friday. For more than a year, the Roughriders have invited every opponent to join them after the game in prayer. CONTRIBUTED

Before the Friday night lights dimmed last week on the latest installation of their fabled football rivalry, the St. Marys Memorial Roughriders invited the Celina Bulldogs to take a knee — for an after-game prayer.

For more than a year, the Roughriders have invited every opponent to join them after the game in prayer. Each team, including the Trotwood-Madison Rams, who beat St. Marys in the Division III regional championship last year, has accepted the invitation.

MORE: Trump again blasts NFL players kneeling over anthem

Though sports teams have long engaged in prayer at all levels of competition, photos of the public school rivals huddled together in after-game prayer quickly gained attention this week on social media amid the ongoing feud between NFL players and President Donald Trump.

“At the time you didn’t think much of it,” said Celina Bulldogs varsity coach Brennen Bader. “But looking back, with our society today … it just shows that high school kids can be the example.”

The St. Marys Roughrider tradition dates to Week 2 of last season, when St. Marys beat the Van Wert Cougars in an away game.

Voters guide: Your best local resource for Election 2017

Find information on races and candidates you care about, by using your location or browsing information on dozens of races and hundreds of candidates.

A day before, then-49ers player Colin Kaepernick and fellow San Francisco player Eric Reid first took a knee during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Already, Kaepernick had sat during the national anthems of several NFL preaseason games in a refusal to “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

“To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” Kaepernick said. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

The ‘Battle of Grand Lake’

An hour-plus drive north of Dayton, St. Marys and Celina straddle respective, opposite ends of Grand Lake in Auglaize and Mercer counties.

The football rivalry — the “Battle of Grand Lake” — is fierce.

LOCAL: Squirt gun game drenches Ohio town — but not on school grounds

On paper, the two communities are similar. Both counties are more than 97 percent white, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, and the counties overwhelmingly voted for President Donald Trump, who is actively engaged in a head-to-head over anthem-kneeling with the NFL, its players and owners.

Both counties are also home to residents who practice organized religion with a frequency above Ohio’s average.

Out of Ohio’s 88 counties, Mercer County has the highest percentage of people who regularly attend religious services, according to 2010 data from the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. Of the county’s 40,800 residents who regularly attend church, nearly 60 percent of those church-goers are Catholic.

One county over, Auglaize ranks seventh of 88 counties ranked by church attendance, the data show.

SCORES: High School Sports

Roughriders assistant varsity football coach Michael Reams said in reality, fewer than half of his players attend church on Sunday. But plenty attend his Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings in the auditorium on Friday.

For Reams, his players kneeling in prayer is a highlight of every Friday night.

“It was — it is, especially in small, Midwest Ohio — us raising our young men to be quality young men,” Reams said. “I can’t tell you how many times we hear compliments about our young men. Now, granted, we have some men who still need refining, but they say it’s their favorite part of the night.”

Last week’s game — Celina’s homecoming — was a punishing loss for the Bulldogs against their top rival. But there was no debate about joining the victors midfield.

“I just told our guys, ‘let’s go over there and do it,’” said Celina’s Coach Bader. “We ended up losing the game, a tough loss. We have a great group of kids. They were willing and they understand the bigger picture, that we’re all on the same team.”

Roughrider players have started seeking out competing players who’ve been particularly worthy opponents.

“A lot of times, when you have an opponent, they’re your enemy,” Reams said. “We don’t just go out there to have fun, we go out there to win. Between the whistles, we want to be as tough as they’ve ever seen.”

But after the game, at the center of the field, the reconciliation begins.

“There’s always a pulse of faith in every team, whether they acknowledge it or not,” Reams said. “They go find that guy, take a knee and grab a hand.”

‘A knee for the right reasons’

Kaepernick, now a free agent, last year expressed a belief his actions could “unify this country.”

“If we have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people,” Kaepernick said, “If we have these conversations, there’s a better understanding of where both sides are coming from.”

“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country,” he said. “I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody.”

Neither the St. Marys Roughriders nor the Celina Bulldogs have had organized team conversations about Kaepernick or anthem-kneeling, though the topic is occasionally broached.

“It’s about taking a knee for the right reasons,” said Reams. “This country has seen all kinds of strife and tension.”

MORE: NFL commissioner says players will not be forced to stand for anthem

“Whether it’s with the players as players, or in my classroom, we always try to talk about certain topics,” Reams, an industrial tech instructor, told the Dayton Daily News by phone Wednesday after afternoon lunchroom duty. “It’s probably been brought up once or twice.”

“I hope these gentlemen in the NFL are doing it because they feel strong about what they’re doing,” he said. “I think everybody, if they feel strongly about it, they need to stand up for what they believe in.”

Later on Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell announced the league would not require players to stand for the national anthem. He said the league is “not afraid of tough conversations.”

“I would tell you this,” Goodell said, “it’s unprecedented conversations and dialogue going on between our players and our owners, between our club officials and between our league, and that is a really positive change for us.”

Property owner arrest prompts FBI search warrant in Greene County

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 12:16 PM

Police have the 2300 block of Schelly Road closed.

UPDATE @ 1:06 p.m.:

The man listed as the property owner for the residence at the center of an FBI raid today has been arrested on two federal charges, including illegal activity involving weapons and receiving stolen property, according to court and property records.

Joel Montgomery, 48, was arrested Wednesday night and is booked into the Montgomery County Jail on the federal charges, according to court records.

JOEL MONTGOMERY

INITIAL REPORT:

The FBI, ATF and other law enforcement agencies are conducting a court-issued federal search warrant at a home in the 2300 block of Schnebly Road today.

FBI spokesman Todd Lindgren said authorities began searching the residence sometime between 9 and 10 a.m.

The same address was the center of another raid in June 2015, when deputies confiscated an estimated 170 firearms from the residence.

RELATED: Dozens of firearms seized in Greene County

Lindgren said he could not confirm or deny whether today’s search warrant is in connection to the 2015 case, citing that all court documents connected to today’s incident were under seal in federal court.

Schnebly Road is currently closed in the area of the raid.

The FBI has said they do not have any information at this time to whether any arrests have been made as a result of today’s developments.

Voters guide: Your best local resource for Election 2017

Find information on races and candidates you care about, by using your location or browsing information on dozens of races and hundreds of candidates.

Sex offense reportedly involves child under the age of 5

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 1:53 PM

Dayton police were called to Dayton Children’s Hospital on a report of a possible sex offense involving a child under the age of five, according to records.

Officers responded to the hospital around 1:30 p.m. Thursday and the alleged offense is said to have happened in the 700 block of Huffman Avenue, records indicated.

Initial reports do not indicate any arrests have been made at this time.

We’re working to learn more about this developing story.

Plenty of sunshine as warming trend continues into weekend

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 3:33 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 1:32 PM

RELATED: Dayton Interactive Radar - WHIO Doppler 7 

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Lots of sunshine this week
  • Temperatures climb into the weekend
  • Wet and cooler early next week

RELATED: 5-Day Forecast 

DETAILED FORECAST

TODAY: Lots of sunshine through the afternoon and gradually getting warmer with highs around 70 today. Clear, quiet and cool overnight with lows around 50 degrees.

Kirstie Zontini

RELATED: County-by-County Weather 

FRIDAY: Warmer with sunny skies to finish the workweek. Highs in the low 70s, which is about about 10 degrees above normal. Falling through the 60s for football games.

SATURDAY: Nice and quiet to start the weekend. A little breezy, but sunny and warm. Highs in the mid 70s.

Kirstie Zontini

SUNDAY: Clouds increase quickly. Breezy and mild in the mid 70s with a slight chance for a shower or two overnight. 

RELATED: Skywitness 7

MONDAY: Sun and clouds. Highs in the upper 60s. A few showers possible during the day. Gusty winds at times, while turning cooler into the night.