breaking news

breaking news

Longtime dance studio owner who established Butler Kickline dies

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 7:00 AM

            Horst Bischoff and Gloria Esposito Bischoff in a 2007 photo. FILE
Horst Bischoff and Gloria Esposito Bischoff in a 2007 photo. FILE

A Vandalia native whose love of dance led her to establish the Butler Kickline and join the Ringling Bros. Circus before running her own dance studio for more than 40 years will be buried Friday.

Gloria J. Bischoff, who formerly owned the Gloria Esposito School of Dance, died Sunday at 80. Her husband, Horst Bischoff, died in October, according to the Dayton Daily News obituaries.

OBITUARIES: Read Dayton Daily News obituaries

Bischoff, most recently of Huber Heights, was born in Dayton and attended Butler High School, where she started the still-continuing Butler Kickline.

She moved to New York after high school and joined the New York Ballet but was recruited by the Ringling Bros. Circus, where she was an aerial ballet dancer. She met her husband there and returned to the area.

A gathering of family and friends will be held Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Blessing-Zerkle Funeral Home in Tipp City. A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m., according to her obituary.

Below, republished in full, is a 2002 Dayton Daily News article originally published to mark the 50th anniversary of the Butler Kickline.


By Debra Gaskill for the Dayton Daily News

Published Sept. 26, 2002

VANDALIA — If you’ve ever been a high-stepper in the Butler Kickline, you might want to dig out those dancing shoes.

The Butler Kickline turns 50 years old this year and there’s a movement afoot (pardon the pun) to put together an alumni performance.

Founded in 1952, the original kickline consisted of 16 girls who wore white blouses, socks and tennis shoes and purple toreador pants made by their mothers, according to founding member Gloria Esposito.

The idea for the kickline originated in the high school’s annual minstrel shows, which always ended with a dance line by the upperclass men.

“Fairmont had a dance team and Fairview had the Scotchettes that performed at football games,” Esposito said. “We wanted something like that, too.”

Esposito met with the Butler principal and the district superintendent to get permission to form the group, but there was no financial support from the school, nor was there any adult supervision.

“We kind of stayed after school to practice, and just kind of made up a dance,” Esposito said, and then finally asked if the group could perform at halftime at a football game.

That first performance was to the St. Louis Blues March, Esposito said. A second performance was held during an away game against Oakwood.

“Then, the next week, the band director came to us and asked us if we wanted to perform again.”

And the rest is high-kicking history.

In the 1950s, there weren’t many extra-curricular options for girls.

“You had the football team and the basketball team and there were cheerleaders, but that was about it,” community development coordinator Margo Steinbaugh said.

“What Gloria really did was provide something for girls to do. It was fun to do, it was a group they could belong to and something they could pursue together.”

After graduation, the kickline had enough members to keep going. Esposito, who studied dance throughout her childhood and teen-age years, would go on to New York, where she took a job as an aerial ballet dancer with the Ringling Bros. Circus.

She returned to Vandalia with her husband and started the Gloria Esposito Dance Studio, which she ran for 40 years before family health concerns resulted in her retirement.

The kickline has grown to the point where it now is considered an auxiliary to the marching band, according to director Pam Drewry, and receives funding for uniforms and equipment from the boosters.

It’s also become a nearly yearlong commitment.

“We start in July with the Air Show parade and then a week later, start at band,” Drewry said. “We serve as a color guard during marching band season. It’s a huge commitment - we have only the month of June off.

“It’s something the girls just have to love and be very dedicated to do it.”

Lori Downey serves as the kickline coach/choreographer, a position she’s held for three years.

“She took it to a different level of competition in the winter,” Drewry said.

“She brought discipline and rules, a demerit system and started teaching them some dance technique. Now many of the color guard units are not just flags and rifle and sabers any more, they’re incorporating more dance. We feel we’re a step ahead as a result.”

The kickline won the National Pom Championship four years in a row; last year they came in second.

The unit performs at football games and a few basketball games, in addition to competitions. They’ve also performed at University of Dayton basketball games, at the Dayton Veteran’s Hospital and at area nursing homes.

“It’s a little bit of community service for the girls,” Drewry said. “The community has been so supportive of us and we’re extremely grateful for their support.”

The effect of the Butler Kickline was impressed on Gloria Esposito when she met a young woman who had performed with the group while in high school.

“She told me that kickline made school so much more fun,” Esposito said.

“You can’t take that away from someone.”

Crews battle fire in Dayton home; 1 injury reported

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 9:06 AM

Firefighters were dispatched to the first block of South Westview Avenue around 8:50 a.m. on reports of house fire.

At least one person has been injured after a fire broke out in a Dayton home Saturday morning. 

TRENDING: 18-year-old killed in overnight shooting; SWAT surrounds suspect’s home

Firefighters were dispatched to the first block of South Westview Avenue around 8:50 a.m. on reports of house fire. 

RELATED: Roof collapses after fire breaks out in Dayton house

First units on scene said one person inside the home was injured and requested to a medic to the scene. The condition of the victim was not immediately known.

Firefighters also reported smoke showing from the structure when they arrived, according to initial reports. 

We’re monitoring this developing story and we’ll update this page as we learn more. 

Dayton SWAT activity connected to overnight shooting

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 7:47 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 8:30 AM

UPDATE @ 8:30 a.m. 

Police confirm SWAT activity in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue is connected to an overnight shooting on Caliph Court where an 18-year-old was shot and killed. 

RELATED: Teen shot, killed in overnight shooting; SWAT surrounds suspect’s house

The story in the link above will be updated with the latest details on the shooting and SWAT activity. 


We’re working to learn more about police activity reported at a home on Tampa Avenue in Dayton Saturday morning. 

TRENDING: Teen shot, killed overnight inside Dayton apartment

Multiple Dayton police officers currently have the house in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue surrounded and are demanding the occupants to exit, according to initial reports. 

Scanner traffic indicates SWAT has been requested to the scene, but dispatchers were not able to confirm those reports. 

Our crew is on the way and we’ll update this page when we learn more. 

Teen killed in overnight shooting identified; SWAT currently surrounds suspect’s home

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 1:40 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 8:45 AM

Dayton police and SWAT have surrounded a home in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue where investigators said a suspect from an overnight shooting is believed to be barricaded inside.

UPDATE @ 8:45 a.m. 

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office has identified the woman killed in an overnight shooting on Caliph Court as Dontiaunna Brown, 18, of Dayton. 

Brown’s cause of death has not been officially ruled and an autopsy is scheduled for later today. 

Dayton police and SWAT continue to surround a home in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue where investigators said a suspect is believed to be barricaded inside. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

UPDATE @ 8:20 a.m. 

Police and SWAT have surrounded a home in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue in Dayton where an overnight shooting suspect is believed to be barricaded inside, according to Dayton police. 

Officers have blocked off the area and are demanding the occupants to exit the house, according to our crew on the scene. 

Police confirmed to our crew the subject of the SWAT callout is connected to the overnight shooting on Caliph Court where an 18-year-old woman was killed. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

UPDATE @ 3:05 a.m. 

An 18-year-old woman was shot and killed inside an apartment on Caliph Court early Saturday morning, according to Dayton police. 

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The woman was found suffering from a gunshot wound to her neck around 1:25 a.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Dayton police Sgt. Theodore Trupp. 

CRIME: The Christmas Killings: Dayton’s worst crime spree

Trupp said it was too early in their investigation to determine what led to the shooting and police do not have any suspects.

>>Latest Local News

Additional details about the investigation were not available. 

The identity of the woman has not been released, pending notification of family. 


Police and medics have responded to a report of a person shot on Caliph Court in Dayton early Saturday morning.

Emergency crews responded to the 5000 block of Caliph Court around 1:25 a.m. after the incident was reported. 

Officers are reportedly looking in the area for at least one suspect and have requested a K9 officer to the scene, according to initial reports. 

The condition of the victim was not immediately known. 

We have a crew on the way and we’ll update this page as we learn more. 

Christmas spirit alive in Xenia: Officer helps family targeted by thief

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 6:21 PM

Kate Bartley
(Kate Bartley)

A thief took some clothes and towels from an unattended dryer inside a laundromat, threatening to ruin Christmas for one family. But Xenia Patrol Officer Rob Swihart made sure that wasn’t the end of the story.

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On Saturday Gena Storer left towels, washcloths, her baby girl’s clothes and other items in one of the three dryers at the Xenia Laundromat on Charles Street, she said.  

Storer said she planned to return later that day to retrieve the items after they had dried.

“We went to get our clothes and everything was stolen,” she said. “We were completely devastated.”

The thief took new pajamas, pants and other items that she had recently bought for her toddler-aged daughter, Storer said.

Xenia officer Rob Swihart and family

“It was stuff that we had just gotten her for Christmas that we went ahead and gave to her because she had outgrown all of her pajamas so fast,” she said.

Storer said they planned to return Christmas gifts that were already wrapped and under the Christmas tree to help pay for replacing the items.

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Xenia Patrol Officer Rob Swihart responded to Storer’s home to take the theft report.

Storer said Swihart took her daughter’s clothing sizes and other specifics of what was taken and left, promising to check with local charities to see if there might be help available. 

"He came back within less than two hours with Walmart bags of stuff that he had gone out and got with his own money and a $50 gift card on top of that,” Storer said. 

Swihart said it was a busy night, but he told his shift commander what happened and asked for permission to go to Walmart to help the family out.

Swihart, who is a new father of a 4-month-old, said he couldn’t bear the thought of the family going without during the holidays.

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“This isn't something that just goes on during the holidays,” he said. “I know that if I would have contacted any of the six other officers that were working with me that night and said, 'hey I need money for this,' they all would have ponied up money for it." 

Swihart added that it’s important for people to realize that "we're people too." 

"If we have the ability to help somebody out then that's what we want to do," he said. "In our line of work there's a lot of negativity. For us to be able to influence something in a positive manner that's important to us as individuals and us as a department.” 

Storer said she’s excited about Christmas this year. She can’t wait to see her daughter open the present that has Tickle me Elmo inside.  

“I'm still in shock,” she said. “It's like all the Christmas movies that you watch only it happened in real life for us."