Ohio polls seeing light turnout

Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2012 @ 2:27 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 06, 2012 @ 2:27 PM

State elections officials had no reports of any early problems on Super Tuesday as Ohio polls opened, some to light voter turnout, in a state where the outcome in the Republican presidential race was being closely watched.

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum devoted most of their campaigning to Ohio in the last days before the 10-state primary voting. Romney was looking for a decisive victory, while Santorum hoped to regain momentum. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also was hoping to pick up some delegates while banking his comeback hopes on winning Georgia.

In the Columbus suburb of Westerville, Romney got a vote from textbook editor Heather Froelich, a registered Republican who said she likes Romney's business background and believes he has the best chance to beat President Barack Obama in November.

"I know that he understands the economy," said Froelich, 40. "He has the right experience and values."

Republican Josh Brooks of Columbus said he had considered voting for Romney but Gingrich won him over with his energy plan for lowering gas prices.

"He's tough and he's got big ideas," the 32-year-old engineer said.

Besides presidential contenders, voters have plenty of choices to make. Those include an unusual match of two Democratic U.S. House members pushed together under congressional redistricting and a contested primary for the Republican nominee to oppose Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown. There also are two judges competing on the Democratic side to challenge an Ohio Supreme Court justice and numerous candidates seeking legislative seats.

Matt Howells, 52, a contractor and Santorum supporter, voted at Albion Middle School in Strongsville, southwest of Cleveland. He wants a GOP nominee who understands how to get the economy moving at a faster pace and believes political gridlock in Washington means a change is needed.

Howells said he was frustrated with the GOP field, with Romney spending heavily, Santorum outspent and Gingrich "a has-been" with intellectual firepower.

"They really have an uphill battle," he said. "I really don't see a Republican winning the White House. I see it going down as Obama again."

Others voters weren't impressed with their options or how the Republican candidates had attacked one another.

"It's going to make me vote Democratic," said Chuck Horning, a 47-year-old accountant and one of the earliest voters at a polling site in the Cincinnati suburb of Anderson Township, a heavily Republican area.

He said he was so disappointed that he voted only on local issues, not in the presidential primary.

"I don't like the way the Republicans have gone after each other, and the Democrats aren't any better."

At the same site, self-described independent George Knoske, 48, said he has voted for Republicans in the past but backed Obama, a Democrat, on Tuesday. Knoske, who works in computer technology, said the 2012 GOP candidates "are not enough toward the middle for me."

Republican Nancy Beck Doak, a 52-year-old aquatics instructor voting in suburban Cincinnati, said she voted on a school issue but ignored the presidential race on the ballot.

"I don't care for any of them, Republicans or Democrats," she said.

The Ohio Secretary of State's office didn't forecast a turnout, but some polling sites had few people show up in the first hours of voting, though things appeared to pick up later in the morning.

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has a well-funded effort to take Brown's seat back for Republicans after the Democrat's 2006 victory. But Mandel first has to overcome five other Republicans.

And northern Ohio Democrats must choose between veteran incumbents Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich, while four Democrats are vying for a new district that includes most of Columbus. The state's congressional map was redrawn because Ohio loses two House seats because of population changes reflected in the 2010 census.

Meanwhile, a Toledo-area plumber thrust into national politics during the 2008 presidential campaign is running for the Republican nomination for the northern Ohio 9th House seat. Samuel Wurzelbacher became known as "Joe the Plumber" for expressing working-man concern about taxes to then-candidate Obama.

There are 14 Democratic and 18 Republican primaries for House seats, and three Republican primaries for state Senate seats. Two experienced judges were in the Democratic primary to challenge incumbent Justice Robert Cupp this fall, and some 100 local school issues are on ballots across the state as districts grapple with funding issues.

Ohio voters are used to election attention in a big swing state that tests candidates with its geographic and economic diversity.

No Republican nominee has reached the White House without carrying Ohio. Obama carried the state in 2008, after it delivered George W. Bush's clinching re-election votes in 2004.

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Associated Press writers Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati, Ann Sanner in Westerville, Kantele Franko in Columbus and Thomas J. Sheeran in Strongsville and North Royalton contributed to this report.

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Contact Sewell at

Husted bucks GOP, is against voter photo ID push

Published: Friday, April 08, 2011 @ 6:11 AM
Updated: Friday, April 08, 2011 @ 6:11 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The official who oversees Ohio's elections says he doesn't agree with a measure proposed by some fellow Republicans to require voters to show photo IDs at the polls.   

Secretary of State John Husted tells The Columbus Dispatch on Thursday that he would not change current policy that allows voters to prove their identities with photo IDs or other documents, such as utility bills or paychecks.   

A bill approved by the Ohio House would require voters to show the photo ID before casting an in-person ballot. It is now being reviewed by the Senate.   

Husted instead proposes changes for voters casting early ballots or provisional ballots. He says those voters should be required to give their full Social Security numbers instead of the currently required last four digits.

New restaurants, retail shops coming to Oxford

Published: Friday, October 28, 2016 @ 2:25 PM
Updated: Saturday, October 29, 2016 @ 4:37 PM

New restaurants and retail shops are coming to a development on the former Walmart site in Oxford.

Bishop Square — a 50,000-square-foot mixed use development at 419 Locust Street that currently includes 272 units of student housing — is adding Marco’s Pizza, Tim Hortons, a Sprint retail store and a bank.

“The final stage is important because we’ll be building the outlots that sit along Locust, which will serve as the front door to the whole project,” said Josh Rothstein, of Blue Ash-based OnSite Retail Group, which is handling marketing and leasing for the project. “The retailers and restaurants are excited to open their locations here because being across from Kroger, TJ Maxx and Dollar Tree provides tremendous exposure, great visibility and easy access to the shoppers already passing through this part of town.

“It’s also easily in walking distance to not only the concentration of Miami’s campus, but also the off-campus housing population,” Rothstein said.

Two other storefronts on the site are being are in the process of being leased, he said.

Existing Bishop Square tenants include Oxford Lane Library, Mercy Health - Orthopaedics and Sports Rehabilitation, Great Clips and Cloud 9 Vapor Lounge. A second-floor above some of those tenants includes office space.

Alan Kyger, Oxford’s economic development director, said the community is excited to see the Bishop Square project moving into its final phases.

“In 2005, when Walmart moved away from this site, the abandoned building that was left behind was a large eyesore for the Tollgate Business District, as well as for the whole community,” Kyger said. “Developer Robert Fiorita is to be commended in providing such a good-looking redevelopment project.

“The addition of these merchants will provide the citizens of Oxford additional shopping options. I expect each of these new businesses to be very successful in this new development.”

Marco’s Pizza has 700 stores in 35 states, doubling in size over the last five years and on track to 1,000 stores by the end of 2017, according to the company. Area locations include Middletown, Monroe, Hamilton and Liberty Twp. in Butler County.

Tim Hortons has more than 4,400 locations in the United States, Canada and the Middle East. Area locations include Monroe, Springboro and Maineville in Warren County.

Crash victim lived to fly, friend says

Published: Saturday, June 09, 2012 @ 8:16 AM
Updated: Saturday, June 09, 2012 @ 8:16 AM

A 73-year-old Bellbook man killed in a plane crash Saturday morning was an experienced pilot who had built four planes like the “experimental aircraft” he flew that day, according to his wife.

Roger Flower died in the 8 a.m. crash, said Sgt. Anthony Pearcy of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“Some witnesses in the area did see the plane flying and the witnesses believe they did see something fall off the plane,” he said.

Flying out of the Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport in Greene County, the plane flown by Flower crashed about 100 yards from a house at 1856 Ohio 380. Debris from the crash spread about 300 feet and the plane had extensive damage.

Flower was a naval aviator for 31 years who still loved to fly in his retirement, said Jan Flower, his wife of 50 years.

“It was his life, ” she said. “He was flying a plane that he had built and flew out of Greene County Airport and was there every day and loved it.”

After retiring from the Navy, he became a certified aviation engineer and began building his own aircraft, his wife said.

“He knew what he was doing about building it and just loved it and wasn’t ready to give up airplanes, so he built them,” she said.

Both natives of Ohio, Roger and Jan Flower have four sons and moved to Bellbrook eight years ago, when they were done traveling with the Navy.

She described her husband as “a leader, totally confident. (He) could tackle anything, could build or fix anything, loved his children and his grandchildren, (and) loved serving in his church.”

The OHSP is investigating the crash with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

The plane was a fixed wing, single engine, experimental/homemade aircraft, according to the patrol.

“According to the family members, it’s been flown before,” said Pearcy.

There was no flight plan filed for the plane and the destination of the flight was unknown, Pearcy said.

“As unfortunate as this incident is, it is fortunate that no other people were involved,” Pearcy said.

Arrest made in slaying of businessman

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 7:44 PM
Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 7:44 PM

Police have arrested a 20-year-old Dayton man in the slaying of a business owner found dead inside a burned out garage last week.

Anthony Lamar Stargell Jr. was arrested Wednesday morning and is in the Montgomery County Jail pending the filing of an unclassified felony murder charge.

Dayton Sgt. Dan Mauch said detectives believe Stargell shot and killed 54-year-old Tommy Nickles before setting a fire inside 838 S. Main St. on April 3.

“The fire did not do the damage that the perpetrator expected,” Mauch said Wednesday afternoon. He said evidence collected inside the business and from Nickles’ stolen work van helped lead detectives to Stargell. The van was recovered by police late April 3 in the 400 block of Leland Avenue.

A search warrant was executed at 2905 Oakridge Drive on Wednesday, where Stargell occasionally stays with family. He was taken into custody at about 11 a.m.

Nickles, of Kettering, died from multiple gunshot wounds and was found in a garage where he ran Quality One Electrical Service. A Golden retriever that had been shot to death also was found in the building, police said.

Nickles' family confirmed last week that he had been living in the building because of a recent divorce. They said they couldn’t fathom why someone would want to kill the father of two. 

“Tom was a good man, he was a good father,” said Gavin Whitt, Nickles’ godson.

Mauch said Stargell and Nickles knew each other. He said police are investigating robbery as a possible motive or that Nickles possibly owed Stargell money.

“It’s still an ongoing investigation,” he said. Police also are trying to locate several individuals who may have stolen property belonging to Nickles.

According to court records, Stargell was convicted of robbery in February 2011 and sentenced to five years’ probation.

His mother, Tonya Bailey, said her son recently got out of prison, but she doesn’t believe that he is responsible for Nickles’ death.

“I don’t think that he did do it, but if he did do it he didn’t do it by himself,” she said.

She said Stargell wasn’t on South Main Street on the night Nickles was killed. “He was here,” she said at her mother’s house on Wednesday.