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Middletown church, Hamilton business team up for 5 families in need

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 4:09 PM

Life got a little easier this week for five Middletown families in need thanks to the efforts of a local church, its team of volunteers, and a Hamilton business.

Berachah Church, as part of its Hands & Feet Ministry, is renovating five homes this weekend and plans to unveil the improvements to the owners at 6 p.m. Sunday.

MORE: Middletown church seeks nominations for home makeover

This is the 10th year the Middletown church has performed home improvement community service, said Clark Helvey, pastor of outreach and missions. The church has renovated 65 Middletown homes and built a handicapped-accessible playground named “Elley’s Hope,” in honor of the daughter of Berachah Pastor Lamar Ferrell and his wife, Maryanne. Elley was born with spina bifida.

Ferrell said while the renovations were being completed, the families — including a retired Middletown police officer, a woman with a disability, a man battling terminal cancer and a person with multiple sclerosis— were sent away until Sunday’s unveiling.

“We’re making some families really happy,” Ferrell said.

RELATED: Elley’s Hope Playground Park ‘a dream come true’

Some of the projects include installing windows, heat and air conditioning, painting and landscaping, and relocating a washer and dryer to make them more accessible. He estimated the value of the labor and materials at $100,000.

One of the renovations is taking place in the 1200 block of Barnitz Street. Volunteers from Berachah demolished the bathroom Thursday, then church volunteers and workers from FinPan Inc., a family owned Hamilton business for the last 40 years, installed a handicapped-accessible shower for the woman.

A large bathtub was removed and a shower, with a 2½-inch step, was installed. Now, the woman will be able to shower with less assistance from her husband, said Renee Robertson, national sales and marketing manager for FinPan. The company has partnered with Berachah before and was eager to help renovate the bathroom, Robertson said.

MORE: Middletown church has big plans for former Verity school

Ferrell said it’s important for members to take their message outside the walls of the church.

“To love is to serve and you can say you love, but we are showing the love of Jesus to those who have needs,” he said.

Berachah stands for “the place of blessing,” Ferrell said.

“Everywhere we go we want to be a blessing,” he said.

He was asked if if would be “easier” for his congregation and church leadership not to volunteer in the community. Why spend a weekend renovating the homes of strangers?

“We would not be fulfilling the commission that Jesus left us,” he answered. “We would be disobedient to our Lord.”

Two men arrested following dispute over car repossession

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 9:24 PM

A dispute between an man attempting to "repo" a vehicle and the vehicle’s owner involved an argument, a threat, and shots fired at a residence in the area of State Route 571 and Rangeline Road in Miami County. 

Detectives later executed a search warrant on the home where the owner, 34-year-old, Matt Naff, was arrested and jailed.

The man involved in the attempted repossession of the vehicle, 54-year-old Eric Brown of West Milton, was arrested and booked into the Miami County Jail in Troy.

Both are charged with one count each of felonious assault, according to a police report.

Deputies recovered two handguns, ammunition and spent bullet casings at the scene, according to the report.

No one was shot during the dispute, according to deputies.

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Cincinnati State to tap beer brewing degree

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 10:01 AM


            John Loftis holds up a glass of Mother Stewart’s beer to the light in their brew house in Springfield. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Cincinnati State will announce the launch of the region’s first degree in brewing science today.

Cincinnati State and leaders of the local craft beer and brewing industry will make the announcement at 10:30 a.m. today about the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Brewing degree.

RELATED: New microbrewery, taproom coming to Butler County

Employers in the fast-growing craft beer industry say the new degree will help close the skill gap and accelerate Cincinnati’s growing reputation as a “bastion of brewing.”

It is the first two-year Brewing Science degree program in Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana and was designed with extensive input brewing industry leaders, university leaders said.

RELATED: New Middletown brewery aims to bridge beer towns of Cincinnati, Dayton

Those expected at the announcement include: Monica Posey, president of Cincinnati State, Chef Alan Neace, Associate Dean of Midwest Culinary Institute, Carla Gesell-Streeter, program chair for Brewing Science program, brewing student Ryan Osner, a veteran and employee at Rhinegeist, area brewing industry leaders, area chambers of commerce and state and local officials.

Blown tire sends truck hauling trailer off I-675 South

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 9:54 AM



Jarod Thrush

No one was seriously injured when a pickup truck hauling a trailer full of lawnmowers crashed on I-675 South this morning.

Southbound traffic was slowed at 8:30 a.m. around the Yankee Street exit as Washington Twp. crews responded to the scene.

Officials tell us the full-size pickup truck blew a tire and the driver lost control, careening off the right side of the highway where the trailer overturned.

Crews cut the top off of the trailer to gain access to the lawnmowing cargo. Firefighters worked to contain the gasoline that was leaking from the equipment.

One person suffered a minor injury and was treated at the scene, according to officials at the scene. 

Local firefighters applaud signing of cancer bill into law

Published: Thursday, January 05, 2017 @ 2:59 PM


            Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 27, now known as the “Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act,” into law Jan. 4. It allows firefighters who have cancer to file claims with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. Pictured are firefighters from various Butler County jurisdictions during a training exercise last spring. STAFF FILE/2016

A bill that would help firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer as a result of their job has been signed into law.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 27, now known as the “Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act,” into law Wednesday. It allows firefighters who have cancer to file claims with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.

More than 30 states already have similar laws.

“An untold amount of time and hard work has gone into making this law a reality,” Tony Harris, president of the Hamilton Local IAFF 20, told the Journal-News. “It is appropriate that Gov. Kasich is giving this law the attention it deserves by signing it surrounded by firefighters that it will help protect.”

Research has shown fire personnel are much more likely than the general population to get some forms of cancer. A recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that about 68 percent of firefighters get cancer, compared to 22 percent of the general public, regardless of race or gender.

In the course of their work, firefighters are exposed to many cancer-causing materials, such as asbestos, according to Doug Stern of the Ohio Professional Fire Fighters.

“…We’re exposed to a toxic soup of chemicals and combustion byproducts linked to cancer,” Stern previously told the Journal-News. “The reality is many of our friends and colleagues are dying with their boots off, and contracting occupationally related cancers far too young of an age with more aggressive types of cancers.”

The law is named after Palumbo, a Cleveland-area fire captain who is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. He was at the bill signing along with his family.

Harris said the law is the “most important piece of legislation to pass through the Statehouse in 30 years for firefighters.”

While some lawmakers expressed concerns about the strain the measure could put on municipalities’ budgets, it gained approval in both the House and Senate.

Stern said the law will only apply to firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer, such as lung, prostate or brain cancers and leukemia.

Firefighters who smoke, are over the age of 75, or who served less than three years would also be exempt from additional benefits under the law, according to Stern.