Power restoration could take days after storm

Published: Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 2:40 AM
Updated: Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 2:40 AM

The sudden, violent summer storms that hit Friday forced the cancellation of two major regional events, caused several injuries, knocked down trees and pulled down power lines to leave thousands without power.

But with conditions Saturday epected to be similar to Friday, an excessive heat warning has been issued for Montgomery County from noon to 8 p.m. and a heat advisory elsewhere during the same time period.

"We’ll have to watch for the potential of another line of storms afternoon into evening that could produce more damaging winds, but indications are now that it may slide by to our north," Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Jamie Simpson said.

Friday's highly anticipated Freedom’s Call Military Tattoo — expected to draw more than 80,000 to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — was canceled for the first time because of a storm that also canceled or delayed as many as 10 flights at Dayton International Airport.

As well, Dayton’s 2012 Cityfolk Festival was canceled before it started. 

“The plan is to open up at 1 p.m.” Saturday, Five Rivers Metro Parks  Lt. Mark Arendt said. “They had a number of the tents damaged, and a number of vendors lost equipment and materials. This has probably been the worst (storm to ever impact Cityfolk),” he said.

At Tattoo, six people who suffered minor injuries were taken to hospitals and 10 more who also suffered minor injuries were treated at the scene.

Tattoo, an annual summer festival, has attracted tens of thousands of people to see music performances, aircraft flyovers and displays and ceremonies honoring veterans.

A crane was brought in to stabilize the Tattoo stage and to assess when and how to take it apart safely, event spokeswoman Michelle Martz said.  The high winds caused a performance stage’s columns to tilt.

Authorities did not have an exact number of attendees when the storm struck, but few people were present because of the time of the day, they said. Those who were there were ordered to seek shelter or boarded public transit buses to leave, officials said.

“As we’ve said all along, our contingency plans are solid,” said Wright-Patterson Fire Chief Jacob King.

Base spokesman Daryl Mayer reported downed tree limbs, but no serious damage at the base.

Air Force Senior Master Sgt.  Jeff Sandru and Airman 1st Class William Mealer, both Band of Flight technicians, were in the middle of shutting down power for the Tattoo stage when the storm struck. Air Force security personnel had cleared out a set-up crew preparing for a performance with rocker Eddie Money minutes before.

Mealer, 25, saw the winds tilt the metal columns holding the stage. “I was eight feet off the edge of the platform and a giant wind almost knocked us over,” he said. “As soon as I looked up and saw that I just hopped the fence and ran.”

Sandru, 44, said the call to evacuate the stage 10 minutes earlier had averted danger in that spot. “Had we not been (evacuated), it would have been a lot worse,” he said.

After the cancellation, pyrotechnicians launched the festival’s fireworks because the material couldn’t safely be put back into containers.

The storm quickly dropped scorching temperatures, which were well into the high 90s, within minutes.

“That first burst of wind hit and it felt like we were driving into a freezer,” said Air Force Materiel Command spokesman Ron Fry, who was on the festival grounds. “I got a mouthful of dirt.”

Across a runway at the Air Force museum, 600 to 700 tourists were evacuated into an auditorium and a basement for about 20 minutes.

“We got to see a part of the museum we haven’t seen in 18 years of coming here,” said Katie Distelhorst, 33, of Marysville, who went into the basement and stood against a wall with dozens of others, including eight children she escorted to the museum. “It’s kind of scary, kind of (an) exciting new adventure.”

In Clark County, a 61-year-old man suffered extensive and critical head injuries during the storms when he was forced to ditch his motorcycle and ended up underneath an SUV in Moorefield Twp., the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

Approximately 165,000 Dayton Power & Light customers were without power across their service area, which covers about 6,000 square miles. The largest concentration of outages was in Montgomery County at more than 62,000. The second-largest concentration was in Greene County with more than 30,000.

“This is an extremely severe storm that came through our entire service area,” said spokesman Tom Tatham. “We expect this will take multiple days.”

Ohio Edison reported more than 24,360 outages in Clark, Champaign and Greene counties. Duke Energy reported more than 156,152 outages including in Butler, Hamilton and Warren counties.

You can check the latest outages for Dayton Power and Light service areas by clicking here.

If you are an Ohio Edison customer, click here.

Customers in the Dayton Mall were forced to evacuate after an temporary interior wall to a former DSW Shoe Warehouse fell outward into the mall. No one was injured. The mall is expected to be open today.

City of Dayton residents who have debris from the storm can drop it off at the Wagner Ford landfill, at 2670 Wagner Ford Road, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. today.

Several people in the area reported funnel clouds and swirls resembling a possible tornado. However, the National Weather Service radar operator at no time saw any rotation in the storms, according to Storm Center 7's Simpson.

“For that reason, they say everything was straight-line wind damage,” he said.

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.

Unpaid tickets from red light cameras total in the millions

Published: Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 9:45 AM
Updated: Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 9:45 AM

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

DAYTON, Ohio -- Authorities in the southwest Ohio city of Dayton are ready to crack down on drivers who don't pay red-light camera tickets.

City officials say more than 46,000 tickets worth $3.89 million are unpaid. That's nearly half of all such tickets issued in the last eight years.

The Dayton Daily News says city commissioners could vote next week on an ordinance allowing the city to tow cars that have two or more unpaid tickets. Drivers would have to pay the fines to get their cars back.

Hundreds of U.S. cities now use the cameras, which take pictures of vehicles going through intersections with red lights. Drivers are mailed a citation. In Dayton, the fine is $85, but no points are assessed against the driver's license.

Report outlines problems with red-light, speed cameras

Published: Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 3:56 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 3:56 PM

A new research report released today outlines problems with the growing trend among cities to outsource traffic enforcement to red-light and speed camera vendors. “Too many cities wrongly sign away power to ensure the safety of citizens on the roads when they privatize traffic law enforcement. Automated traffic ticketing tends to be governed by contracts that focus more on profits than safety.” said Jacqueline Thomas of Ohio PIRG, the Ohio Public Interest Research Group. “That shouldn’t happen,” Thomas added.

The report, titled Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead; The Risks of Privatizing Traffic Law Enforcement and How to Protect the Public finds that approximately half of states have enabled the use of automated traffic law enforcement. Municipalities in these states contract with private companies to provide cameras and issue citations to traffic violators.

Citizens have often objected to privatized forms of traffic enforcement and many municipalities have found themselves in legal trouble when they attempt to change or update these contracts. Traffic engineering alternatives, such as lengthening yellow lights, are often the best way to reduce injuries from red-light running.

However, those solutions too often get ignored because contractors and sometimes municipalities are more focused on increasing revenue from tickets. “Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead raises critical warnings about revenue priorities overtaking safety concerns. This report is a must-read for city administrators in municipalities considering the addition of red light cameras, for authorities in communities that already have ticket cameras, and for motorists who are subjected to the privatized, for-profit automated traffic enforcement scheme known as red light cameras,” said Gary Biller, Executive Director of the National Motorists Association.

In Ohio, red-light cameras have been a contentious topic, with voters banning traffic cameras in Heath, Chillicothe and Cincinnati, paving the way for other communities to try to organize their own ballot initiatives. Columbus City Council has approved more red light cameras to be installed throughout the city, with the latest camera set to “go live” at 12:01 am October 27th, 2011, issuing citations to motorists caught running the red light at Olentangy River Road at Henderson Road.

State Representative Courtney Combs, R- Hamilton, introduced legislation in 2009 that would prohibit the use of red light cameras by Ohio State Highway Patrol, counties and townships. According to Representative Combs, “red light cameras are a money machine for political subdivisions to penalize their own citizens.” The report recommends stronger guidelines to ensure that automated traffic enforcement programs must focus on improving road safety, rather than ticket revenue.

Deals between local governments and traffic camera vendors should:

* Put public safety first in decisions regarding enforcement of traffic laws – this includes evaluating privatized law enforcement camera systems against alternative options without regard to potential revenues. * Ensure that contract language is free from potential conflicts of interest.

* Avoid direct or indirect incentives for vendors that are based on the volume of tickets or fines.

* Retain public control over traffic policy and engineering decisions, including cancelling contracts if the public is dissatisfied.

* Ensure that the process of contracting with vendors is completely open, with ample opportunity for public participation and each ticket listing where to find online data about automated ticketing for each intersection.

“We are lucky that Ohio hasn’t yet seen the controversy and lawsuits over red-light cameras found in states like California, Florida, Missouri, Texas, and Washington. Looking at the growth of this industry around the country and all across our state, we want to learn from problems elsewhere to prevent them in Ohio,” said Thomas.

For more information, read report here.

Four local teens qualify for Olympic trials

Published: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 @ 3:12 AM
Updated: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 @ 3:12 AM

InfoSource--Dayton Daily News

Patrick Mulcare (Springboro) and Cliff Goertemiller (Oakwood) set Ohio records and joined Dayton Raiders teammates Brett Mackenzie (Tipp City) and Colin Kanzari (Beavercreek) in qualifying for next year’s U.S. Olympic Trials during last week’s Junior National Championships at Stanford University.

Mulcare and Goertemiller both set their records in the 15-16 boys division. Mulcare was timed in 4 minutes, 26.30 seconds for the 400 intermediate medley. He placed eighth.  Goertemiller was timed in 15:44.69 to reset the state mark in the 1,500 free. He placed sixth.

Their efforts count as state records because they are registered as Ohio swimmers.

Also qualifying for the Trials at Omaha, Neb., were Mackenzie (4:30.24 in the 400 IM, 19th) and Kanzari (2:20.68 in the 200 breaststroke, 16th).

Other Raiders to participate in the National Championships were Jack Pohlmann (Beavercreek), Josh Quallen (Wilmington), Brock Turner (Oakwood), Alex Osterhage (Centerville) and Henrick Pohlmann (Beavercreek).