News Center 7 crew in Texas: Floods frightening, victims so optimistic

Published: Friday, September 01, 2017 @ 4:45 PM

            WHIO-TV’s Gabrielle Enright and Chuck Hamlin covered Ohio Task Force 1 on rescue missions in Texas during Tropical Storm Harvey. GABRIELLE ENRIGHT / STAFF
WHIO-TV’s Gabrielle Enright and Chuck Hamlin covered Ohio Task Force 1 on rescue missions in Texas during Tropical Storm Harvey. GABRIELLE ENRIGHT / STAFF

News Center 7 reporter Gabrielle Enright and photographer Chuck Hamlin witnessed firsthand the worst of Mother Nature and the best of the human spirit as they reported about Hurricane Harvey in Texas the last week.

Enright and Hamilin traveled with Ohio Task Force 1 on previous hurricane deployments — Irene, Gustav, Ike and Matthew — but headed last week to Houston with the Kettering-based rescue team for the biggest storm of their careers.

RELATED: Ohio rescue group evacuates more than 130 from Texas flooding

Here are accounts of their experiences in Houston and Katy, Texas.

Gabrielle Enright

I just couldn’t believe how much water there was. I’d never seen anything like it.

The rain never stopped. Things that looked like they were fine, 10 minutes later they weren’t. Buildings turned into islands.

Ohio Task Force 1 at one point wanted to move us because the water just kept rising. So it was a dangerous situation. It was a very fluid situation. Everything just kept changing. It was interesting and, in some cases, a little frightening.

MORE: How you can help the victims of Hurricane Harvey

I never felt in danger because I was with a highly-skilled, trained team. If you’re going to be stuck at a disaster, they are the best people to be with.

Being able to use Twitter and Facebook really changed how I could tell the story. I was able to give people real-time updates, interact with people, and give them things as they were happening instead of hours later. The technology between then and now – the ability to give them real-time information as it’s happening – is incredible.

What made this hurricane different was the spirit of the people in Texas.

I walked into neighborhoods and I would get out of the news van, and people I didn’t know would come up and hug me and just welcome me into their neighborhood. There was not one negative thing that was said, even from people that had lost their home. They were so optimistic, so friendly. They wanted to help us, and we didn’t need anything. We wanted to help them.

MORE: Dayton grad in Houston: ‘I can’t even begin to describe’ Harvey damage

It was the most incredible example of human spirit that I’ve ever seen.

Chuck Hamlin

Lighting is important, sound’s important, but taking you there almost as if you’re in my shoes is the important thing. If we had water on the lens … it was kind of acceptable because it was everywhere.

We had 72 hours of nonstop rain. That was something that was a constant challenge.

We were putting cell phones in Zip-Lock baggies in order to keep the moisture away from them. If you lose that technology, you’re out there doing nothing.

RELATED: Harvey flooding overtakes Cedarville grad’s Houston-area home

I think the whole thing Gabby and I’ve learned by doing so many of these trips is by trial and error – like we always make sure we have hair dryers with us. It’s basically to keep the equipment in working condition if we get it wet.

Everything is just a logistical nightmare from being able to get fuel, to being able to make sure that the truck has the ability to perform. We are driving through water conditions. We are not doing this by ourselves, we are doing this in a convoy with the task force.

It’s kind of daunting driving through some of these roads in this caravan to get to a location you want to be.

The first day we were there, the rains were coming down so heavily the task force came out and said, ‘Listen, it’s not safe for you to come out with us with your vehicle.’ Gabby and I decided we were going to stay behind and do live broadcasts.

MORE: What happened when Bill’s Donuts asked for hurricane donations? THIS!

The next day they offered, ‘If you want to come out with us you can.’ That’s the day we left our satellite truck back at the base of operations, and we rode with them to Houston. We left about 9:30 that morning and we didn’t know exactly what time we were going to get back.

That particular day we … were gone more than 12 hours. At a certain time, we realized we were going to miss our television deadline. We started shooting more on a cell phone . And we had two stories that Gabby had actually edited in her phone and sent through wifi for the 5, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts because we were actually away from the truck.

As strange as it is, we left Houston and we were in Dallas at a shelter, and two individuals we ran into had out a portable barbecue, on a trailer like you see in Dayton. At first I thought, ‘I can’t believe they are trying to sell barbecue to these poor individuals.’ And then they came over to us to say, ‘Hey can you help get the word out that we have free barbecue?’ It was very touching. It wasn’t the most visual thing, but it was my lasting thought of the generosity of the people.

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Forum: Solutions to Ohio opioid crisis should be ‘self-sustaining, repeatable’

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 7:04 PM

Opioid forum in Wilmington

Dozens of people who are personally impacted by the opioid crisis gathered Sunday in Wilmington to discuss the issue in a unique forum hosted by Your Voice Ohio

The conversation inside the municipal building on North South Street involved medical professionals, first-responders, parents who have lost children to opioid addiction and recovering addicts, among others. 

The next forum in the series is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Layfayette Room, 133 S. Fayette Street South, in Washington Court House. 

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Your Voice Ohio is a collaborative of more than 30 news organizations in the state "trying to figure out how we better represent the people of Ohio and get their issues in front of the public policymakers," said YVO Director and Editor Doug Oplinger

Oplinger said he is impressed with the Wilmington community, where "there's a sense of ownership" among people who want to find a solution to the opioid crisis. 

"We want people first of all to see shared values, shared solutions that they can act on," Oplinger said. "But we also want to help journalists come in contact with their people better and be better representatives of those folks so that there is a bond that develops between journalists and citizens. That they see themselves together as solving problems, as joined in democracy. Sounds a little lofty, but this is what democracy is about." 

Robert Eustace, of Beavercreek, who works for a company near Wilmington, said he's been personally touched by the opioid crisis. A family member suffered from addiction and most recently a 20-year-old neighbor died of drug-related causes. 

He said he's an advocate of "asset based community development," an integrated approach that brings together volunteers, professionals and those who need help. 

"There's something healthy about work," Eustace said. 

"You've got all these buildings that need to be torn down. You've got all these people just sitting around … put them into work programs … This is how we can turn this into not only a thing to help them but it becomes self-funding, it builds the community. Like Joseph said, that which a few meant for evil has turned out for good." 

Creating programs that are self-sustaining is important, but it's also important to design programs that are "repeatable," said Micah Steele, who is on the front lines fighting the opioid epidemic by working to provide housing and programs for at-risk adults at Nest Recovery Homes in Wilmington

"If we can design a program that's repeatable so that maybe someone from another city … we can go here you go. Here's the steps to take. Here's the curriculum. Here's the process. Solve the problem in your community," Steele said. 

Shane Jones, of Wilmington, said he's a recovering alcoholic. He said he attended the forum because he wants to help other people, an act which he sees as pivotal in staying clean and sober. 

Jones said Wilmington has seen better days. 

"There's more homeless people here now than when I was growing up. Everywhere you look there's someone riding a bike with a backpack," Jones said. "Wilmington really needs help." 

Jones said he hopes the people who attended the forum Sunday now have a better understanding of addiction. 

"There's not a relapse left in me," he said. "If people want to get help, they really need to do it before it's too late. The bottom line is if you don't want to get clean and sober, you're not going to do it until you're ready."


Residents weigh-in on opioid crisis: ‘People are in despair and hopeless’

Drug crisis in Ohio: How can communities make a difference?

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Rain returns this week, flooding a concern

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 4:27 AM
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 11:01 AM

Warmer temperatures and more rain is expected this week in the Dayton area.

Clouds will give way to more sunshine this afternoon. It should be a nice looking day with highs in the middle 40s.

  • Rain returns tomorrow
  • More rain mid-week
  • Flooding possible the next few days

TONIGHT: Clouds return this evening and overnight tonight with rain arriving towards daybreak Monday. Temperatures overnight will be steady in the lower 40s.

MONDAY: Rain returns, and it could be heavy at times. While the chance for storms is not all that high, it can’t be ruled out. Highs will be in the lower to middle 60s.

TUESDAY: More dry time is expected, but storms will be possible later in the evening. Highs will be near 70 degrees.

WEDNESDAY: Rain showers are expected with highs near 60 degrees.

THURSDAY: The chance for rain continues mainly south. Highs will be in the middle 40s. 

FRIDAY: The chance for rain returns again Friday. Highs will be in the middle 50s.

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Injury crash reported I-75 northbound in Dayton

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 12:18 PM

Crews have responded to an injury crash on Interstate 75 northbound near West Second Street.

The far left lane was shut down around 11:50 a.m. Sunday.

Traffic has slowed in the remaining lanes.

We are on the scene working to learn more.

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OVI crash overnight knocks over AT&T pole, closes part of road

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 10:10 AM

Wires Down Old Springfield Road

Old Springfield Road at Stillwater River is closed due to an OVI accident overnight. 

>>Eliminations and changes to RTA routes go into effect

The road between State Route 48 and Kley is closed after a vehicle hit an AT&T utility pole Sunday around 2 a.m., according to Butler Township Police.

According to police, AT&T is now at the scene. 

It’s not known if there were any injuries. 

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