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Published: Friday, July 20, 2012 @ 10:30 PM
Updated: Saturday, July 21, 2012 @ 6:50 AM
In the chaos of one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history, one local woman’s brother and her boyfriend shielded her. She suffered a bullet wound to the leg, her brother escaped physically unharmed but her boyfriend was killed.
Siblings Samantha and Nick Yowler — both former St. Paris residents — were watching The Dark Knight Rises at a theater in Aurora, Colo., with her boyfriend Matt McQuinn when James Eagen Holmes reportedly kicked in an exit door, released canisters of pepper spray and opened fire.
At least 58 people were injured and 12 were killed, including McQuinn, a Vandalia-Butler graduate whose Springfield family agonized for hours Friday without knowing if he had survived or where he was.
He and Nick Yowler tried to shield Samantha Yowler with their bodies, according to the Yowlers’ grandmother, Elsie Windle of St. Paris. Nick Yowler called his mother, Ann Massie, at 3:30 a.m. to tell his family about the shooting.
“It’s been a difficult morning,” stepfather Scott Massie, the St. Paris fire chief, said Friday morning, his voice shaking before his wife boarded a plane to fly to Colorado.
Scott Massie said he spoke to his stepchildren while they were at the scene.
“Just total chaos,” he said of the reports they gave and what he heard. “Disbelief. Shock.”
Samantha Yowler underwent surgery and was reported in fair condition Friday.
Matt McQuinn’s family tried all Friday to find any information about his condition.
Springfield resident Stacie McQuinn, Matt’s stepmother, said the hospital would not confirm to Samantha Yowler what happened to him because they are not related.
“It’s minute by minute,” said Stacie McQuinn as she waited on a telephone update from his mother, Jerri Jackson, who traveled to Aurora Friday to find out what happened.
By Friday evening, the families retained attorney Rob Scott to speak for them.
“Both the Yowler and McQuinn families thank everyone for their concerns, thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” Scott said. “The families ask for everyone to be patient and respect their wishes during this very difficult time.”
Samantha Yowler is a 2004 graduate of Graham High School, where she was in National Honor Society, earned a KTH Scholarship, was a blood donor and was involved in the high school’s Special Wish program. She attended Ohio State University until 2007.
She met Matt McQuinn, a member of Maiden Lane Church who graduated from Vandalia-Butler High School in 2004, at the Springfield Target store. Target officials declined to comment.
The two transferred to a Target in Denver, Colo., in November last year. Nick Yowler had already lived in Colorado for several years, said his grandmother, Windle.
“Samantha had moved out there last November” after her brother’s divorce, she added.
At Vandalia-Butler, Matt McQuinn was part of the Occupational World Experience program, where students attend classes for a minimum of three periods a day, then work the rest of the day at a job.
“I learned how to hold a job,” he said in his 2004 senior yearbook.
Before she left, Samantha Yowler was well known in the St. Paris neighborhood where she grew up.
“She was just very, very caring. She has a lot of friends,” said Talia Kauffman-Diaz, who grew up with Samantha and lived next door to the family as a child.
Diaz, who lives in St. Paris, was with Samantha Yowler from elementary school through high school graduation in 2004. Diaz said their families were very close, and a group of friends from the neighborhood all spent time together.
“She was there for me when my parents divorced, and I was there for her when she needed me,” said Diaz, who said she didn’t know Matt McQuinn well.
Diaz said there’s nothing organized yet, but she has been trying to get in touch with other childhood friends and with the Yowlers to determine what to do to help.
“It’s just, how shocking it is to come from this small town and have someone so loving and caring have something so tragic happen,” Diaz said.
Samantha Yowler and Matt McQuinn are popular in their new home in Colorado as well. Her Facebook page was full of wall posts wishing the best for the couple from people in Ohio and Colorado.
“They’re really fun people, we always go out together,” said Melissa Downen, a Colorado co-worker and friend to the couple. She said they’ve worked at Target for about six months. Downen added that everyone working there is consumed with worry over the couple.
“Everyone here is really close, and they really integrated well with the Target family,” she said.
People in the village of St. Paris reacted with shock to the news and reached for note cards to offer comfort to the family.
“You don’t feel a connection to this area, and then it really hits you,” Teresa Roberts said while having lunch with husband, Ken, at C.J.’s Pizzeria on Main Street.
“Another maniac out there,” said a customer in the Howard’s IGA in St. Paris, where store manager Mike Townsend said that before learning of the local connection “the one thing was worried was it was a terrorist.”
“This is awful and scary,” said Cheri Howard, who was treating two grandsons to ice cream at Howard’s Dairy Barn. “All these people did was go to a movie. It could have happened in Springfield. It could have happened in Urbana, I suppose. It makes you afraid to let your teenagers go to a movie,” she said.
Springfield, following a presidential proclamation released by the White House from President Barack Obama, will fly flags at half-staff until sunset on Wednesday to honor of the victims of the tragedy.
“It’s a very tragic event that’s taken place in Colorado, and we wanted to show our support as a community,” said Springfield city manager Jim Bodenmiller.
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 3:23 PM
Updated: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 12:11 AM
WASHINGTON — The federal government shut down Saturday for the first time since 2013 late Friday, with a handful of Republicans and the vast majority of Democrats in the Senate opposing efforts to keep the federal government running for another month.
By a vote of 50-48, Senate Republicans fell far short of the 60 votes needed to end floor debate and clear the way for a vote on a bill approved Thursday by the House which would keep the federal government open until the middle of February.
Hundreds of housands of federal workers faced the possibility of being furloughed during a shutdown.
While most of the functions of the federal government will still operate – the mail will be delivered, Social Security checks will still go out, the military will still function – workers deemed “non-essential” would be asked not to go to work, and would be paid only after the federal government resumed operations.
At issue was what would be the fourth temporary spending bill passed by Congress since the fiscal year began in October.
That bill would also extend the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, for six years. Republicans included the measure as a sweetener aimed at attracting Democratic support.
At first, the plan seemed to work, with Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio indicating he’d likely support the bill. But Brown joined most Senate Democrats Friday in blocking a floor vote.
Brown was influenced in part by the announcement Friday that a handful of Republicans, including Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona did not plan to vote for the bill. They had been working toward a separate measure aimed at extending a program that allows people brought to the United States illegally as children to stay, and called for a short-term bill that would keep the government open through early next week, expressing confidence that they could come up with a long term plan during that time.
Brown jumped, saying he’d support the shorter-term plan.
“We are very close to a bipartisan agreement, and we owe it to the people we work for to keep working and get the job done,” said Brown.
But in agreeing to the shorter-term plan, he became the object of derision from Republicans who hope to unseat him later this year. They said by opting not to support the bill passed by the House, he was effectively voting against the six-year extension of CHIP.
Blaine Kelly of the Ohio Republican Party said Brown’s decision not to vote for the GOP plan “is a flip flop beyond belief, and puts the health insurance of nearly a quarter million Ohio children at risk.”
Jennifer Donohue, communications director for Brown, replied that CHIP would have passed “months ago” if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, “had listened to Senator Brown, but instead they’re holding the program hostage and using Ohio kids as political leverage.”
Last December, Brown voted against a temporary spending bill that kept the government open because it only extended CHIP money for three months instead of five years.
While Republicans blamed Senate Democrats for the shutdown, a Washington Post-ABC News Poll released Friday indicated most Americans blamed the party in power: 48 percent of those polled blamed Republicans while 28 percent blamed Democrats.
Ohio Democrats, meanwhile, pointed out that Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, who is challenging Brown for Senate, voted for the measure that led to the federal government shutdown in 2013.
“If the government shuts down tonight, the blame will lay at the feet of Republicans in control of Washington, like Rep. Jim Renacci, who irresponsibly govern by crisis and play political games,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Jake Strassberger.
Renacci and Senate Republican candidate Mike Gibbons were quick to strike back. James Slepian, a Renacci aide said “after Sherrod Brown vowed to shut down the government, cut off funding to our troops and deny health insurance to 9 million low income children, Senator Brown and his lackeys at the Ohio Democratic Party are terrified by the hell he’ll pay with Ohio voters.”
Gibbons said that “Sherrod Brown and Chuck Schumer are playing politics with people's lives for partisan advantage.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaking on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” seemed puzzled that Democrats were holding up the bill in large part because of the immigration issue, saying “it’s an issue that hasn’t been resolved yet and it will take a little more time.” He backed moving the bill forward.
“This is not a good way to score political points,” Portman said.
Despite the shutdown, much of the government will remain effectively operational, albeit on a smaller scale, at least in the short term. The mail will still get delivered, the post offices will remain open, the Army, Navy and Air Force operate as usual but active duty members will not be paid until the shutdown ends, and Americans receive their Social Security checks. Medicare and Medicaid continue to function.
The state in 2016 had 77,400 federal employees, of which 5,250 were on active duty with the Air Force. Air Force civilian employment was 13,838, almost all at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton.
During past partial shutdowns, some civilian workers were furloughed, although they were paid when the government re-opened. In the 2013 shutdown, 50 workers at the Defense Supply Center in Whitehall were furloughed.
In part, Democrats have adopted a strategy aimed at their political base which is demanding action on the Dreamers and wants more confrontation with Trump. By doing so, they are emulating the Republican strategy of 2013 in which the GOP closed the government in a futile effort to convince President Barack Obama to scrap his 2010 health law known as Obamacare.
“Smart Republicans have learned how stupid it is politically to shut down the government,” said one longtime Republican lobbyist in Washington. “You don’t win when you shut down the government.”
The Republican said the Senate Democrat strategy was complicated when House Republicans overcame their vast differences and passed the temporary spending bill Thursday. Until then, Senate Democrats could justifiably argue that the GOP-controlled House could not keep the government open.
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:35 AM
Updated: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 12:54 AM
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Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 7:17 PM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 8:34 PM
DAYTON — UPDATE @ 8:20 p.m.: DP&L crews are continuing to search for a possible cause of the power outage along Brown Street that affected 1,325 customers in total, spokesman Kevin Hall said.
The outage hit about 6:50 p.m., he said. Electric service was restored to all affected customers shortly after 8 p.m.
UPDATE @ 7:39 p.m.:
The DP&L online outage map now shows 126 customers without power along Brown Street, near Miami Valley Hospital and the UD student neighborhoods, from Chambers Street to U.S. 35.
A hospital administrator at MVH said the hospital is operating on generator power.
Elevators there stopped immediately when the outage struck about 6:45 p.m., she said. Workers and security were able to get everyone off the cars, she said.
No patients were put in danger because of the outage, she said.
Hundreds of businesses and residences along Brown Street, near Miami Valley Hospital and the University of Dayton student neighborhoods, are without power.
According to the Dayton Power & Light online outage map, nearly 1,200 customers are affected.
OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Guest lists being checked to track drug dealers
Calls began coming into the newsroom just before 7 p.m.
We’re hearing the outage extends along Brown Street, from Chambers Street west to U.S. 35.
Jimmy’s Ladder 11, in the 900 block of Brown, and Subway, in the 1100 block, are among the businesses in the dark.
We have a call into DP&L for details about the possible cause of the outage.
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 6:36 PM
— Vital services for veterans will not be threatened if the government shuts down this weekend.
The Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities, including the Dayton VA Medical Center, would remain open.
After previous partial shutdowns caused headaches for the VA, the department lobbied Congress to fund the VA on a two-year budget cycle. That exempts the department from the latest funding skirmish in Washington.
About 4 percent of the department’s workforce — nearly 16,000 workers — would be subject to furloughs during a shutdown, with almost half of that total coming from the Veterans Benefits Administration, according to Navy Times.
Veterans would still get checks during a shutdown, but some education benefit programs would cease as well as the hearing of case appeals.