Miami University alum the writer of ‘Butler’ film

Published: Friday, August 16, 2013 @ 12:57 PM
Updated: Friday, August 16, 2013 @ 1:36 PM


What: Wil Haygood, the journalist and Miami University alumnus whose article inspired the feature film “The Butler”

When: 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18

Where: Harriet Tubman Theater, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 E. Freedom Way, Cincinnati

Cost: Free, with general admission

The movie “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” arrives in theaters this weekend with Ohio roots. The screenplay, about a butler who served under eight presidents, is based on an article that Miami University alumnus Wil Haygood wrote for the Washington Post.

That article sprang from an encounter Haygood had when he was covering the 2008 election for the Post. In North Carolina, he met some women whose fathers had stopped talking to them because they supported Barack Obama. Convinced that Obama would win the election with that kind of support, Haygood set about finding someone who worked in the White House when segregation was still in effect.

“I was looking for a painter, a laundry person, a dishwasher, a butler or maid. The White House doesn’t give out any information about who has worked there through the years,” he said.

Combing through his sources, Haygood found Eugene Allen, a Butler who worked in the White House, starting with President Harry Truman in the 1940s and ending with Ronald Regan in the 1980s.

“He took me down into the basement where he had an archive,” Haygood said of Allen. “It was like being dropped into a room at the Smithsonian. There were all these photographs of him with the presidents he worked for and celebrities who walked through the White House,” including Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson.

“It was like Forrest Gump, but a genuine, real-life character,” Haygood said.

When Haygood’s article appeared on the front page of the Washington Post, “within 24 hours I had phone calls from 15 movie producers in Hollywood and New York,” he said.

The movie was directed by Lee Daniels, an Oscar nominee for the film “Precious,” and stars Forest Whitaker as a fictionalized version of Eugene Allen, called Cecil Gaines in the movie.

“The butler lived and worked at the White House during some of the most tumultuous times in American history. He was there to hear the echoes and the ripples of the murder of Emmett Till, the murder of Medgar Evers, the integration of Ole Miss, the assassination of Dr. (Martin Luther) King, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, man on the moon. He heard the reaction of all those things from the center of power,” Haygood said.

Haygood is very pleased with the film and has adapted his article into a full-length book called “The Butler: A Witness to History.”

“Eugene Allen was a stitch in the American flag. He was a small stitch, but a beautiful stitch. It takes men like him, with his type of genuine commitment, to make the country as great as it is,” Haygood said.

Food relief set for East Dayton families in wake of grocery store fire

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 11:12 AM

            Debris is heaped along East Third Street in Dayton where the Food For Less grocery stood until destroyed in a Nov. 9 fire. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
            Chris Stewart
Debris is heaped along East Third Street in Dayton where the Food For Less grocery stood until destroyed in a Nov. 9 fire. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF(Chris Stewart)

In response to the recent fire that destroyed the Food For Less on East Third Street in Dayton, another grocer is sponsoring five food distributions for families impacted through The Foodbank’s Mobile Food Pantry.

The first distribution will be Tuesday at The FoodBank, followed by four weekly distributions through Dec. 21 at Laborers’ Local 1410.

“Kroger is pleased to help ease the worries of residents who lost their grocery store in a fire last week with a few options to get much needed food and grocery items,” said Tim Brown, Kroger, Cincinnati/Dayton Division president. “The mobile pantry will be a lifeline to residents who depended on their community store.”

MORE: Dayton grocery fire: Neighbors scramble to find food, way to pay bills

Distributions are open to those impacted by the fire. Clients must meet household eligibility requirements and provide a photo ID and proof of residence.

Michelle L. Riley, CEO of The Foodbank, said partners like Kroger and Laborers’ Local 1410 will help ensure East Dayton residents have access to fresh food while they struggle with the loss of the store.

“Dayton is a town full of generous people who care about community,” she said. “Together, we will make life a little easier for our neighbors impacted by this tremendous loss.”

On Nov. 18, Grace Cares, a ministry of Grace Baptist Church in Kettering, in partnership with Kroger, will begin offering free shuttle transportation from the closed Food For Less store to Kroger at 1024 S. Smithville Road. The service will run on Mondays from 4-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 12-3 p.m.

Food distributions for families impacted by Food For Less fire

- Nov. 21

10-11 a.m.

The Foodbank

56 Armor Place, Dayton

Note: This is distribution is only open to 45403 zip code and the surrounding communities

- Nov. 29th; Dec. 4, 12, 21

11 a.m.-noon

Laborers’ Local 1410

2228 E. Third Street, Dayton

Note: These are open to anyone in need of food assistance

Weekend plans? Know how the weather will impact you

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 11:02 AM

Five Day Forecast

A complex storm system will move in to the Dayton area late Friday night, bringing with it a weather mix that will impact most of the Miami Valley this weekend, according to StormCenter 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini.

 >>Get WHIO’s free Weather App: Hour-by-hour forecast anytime, anywhere 

Here are a few things to keep in mind to stay prepared:

  • Heavy rain late Friday night, Saturday afternoon--ponding on the roads and reduced visibility will make driving challenging, and raise your risk of hydroplaning.
  • Winds will be gusting Saturday afternoon and evening. Isolated power outages are possible. Holiday decorations and lawn furniture could be blown around or damaged. 
  • Cold air will move in quickly, a 20-degree drop is expected by Sunday morning. Below freezing temperatures, light snow flurries are possible. Accumulation should not be an issue, but icy spots on roads Sunday morning are possible.

 >>Live Interactive Radar


‘You guys are ruining Christmas,’ man tells police

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 11:06 AM

Steven Elzey
Steven Elzey

A man with a warrant for his arrest  told police “you guys are ruining Christmas” after he was arrested while police investigated a suspicious circumstance involving copper wire at First Street Recycling on East First Street, according to a Dayton police report.

Steven Elzey, 35, was arrested on suspicion of obstructing official business and falsification after he allegedly lied to police about his identity, the report said.

STORM CENTER 7: Live Doppler 7 HD Radar

As officers investigated the suspicious circumstance, they determined Elzey had a warrant out for his arrest.

While he was being transported to jail, Elzey told police, “I should I would have got away.” the report read.

Multiple crashes on I-75 in Miami County causing traffic headaches

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 10:25 AM


State troopers and medics have responded to a crash that left a tractor trailer on its side on northbound Interstate 75 north of Troy Friday morning. 

State troopers and medics responded to the highway, about five miles north of Troy around 10:10 a.m. 

The crash in the northbound lanes of I-75 is located near the County Road 25-A exit between Troy and Piqua.  One lane is currently open, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

A second crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 about two miles north of the northbound crash has traffic down to one lane on that side of the highway, the patrol said.

We have a crew on the scene and we’ll update this page as new details become available.