2 seriously hurt in first of 2 crashes on U.S. 68

Published: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 @ 4:50 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 @ 11:00 PM

Bill Lackey/Staff
(Bill Lackey/Staff)

UPDATE @ 11 p.m.

One person suffered minor injuries this afternoon in a three-vehicle crash just north of a crash on U.S. 68 that seriously injured a married Urbana couple.

In the first crash, reported at 3:15 p.m., a 2017 gold Ford Escape turned west from south U.S. 68 onto Hickory Grove Road into the path of a northbound black 2000 Mitsubishi sport-utility vehicle. The Mitsubishi struck the right side of the Ford, causing heavy damage to both vehicles, according to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.

The driver of the Escape, 60-year-old Janis M. Vincent, and her husband, 63-year-old James E. Vincent, were taken by CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. Their conditions were not available tonight. The driver of the Mitsubishi, Taylor A. Gorr, 21, of Urbana, was not hurt, deputies said.

The crash remains under investigation.

The second crash was reported around 4:30 p.m. when a gray 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck traveling south on U.S. 68 did not stop for slowed traffic, according to the sheriff’s office.

The pickup’s driver, 30-year-old Dustin W. Meadows of Cable, Ohio, struck a 1996 green Mercury driven by Robert J. Smith, 74, of Urbana. Smith’s pickup then struck a black 2014 Ford pickup driven by William R. David, 50, of Springfield. Smith was taken by Urbana EMS to Urbana Mercy Hospital with minor injuries, deputies said.

Meadows was cited for assured clear distance, the sheriff’s office said.


Two people were seriously injured in a crash on U.S. 68 and Hickory Grove Road in Champaign County.

Two sport-utility vehicles collided near that intersection. The two injured parties were from the same vehicle. No one in the other SUV was injured.

The injured were flown via CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital, according to officials at the scene.

While Champaign County Sheriff’s deputies were working to get traffic moving again, a second crash occurred 
just north of the first crash scene. Three cars were involved and there was one minor injury.

As of 5 p.m. traffic was moving on Hickory Grove Road but not on U.S. 68, which was blocked in both directions. 

Woman’s body recovered from Harrison Twp. house fire

Published: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 7:16 AM
Updated: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 5:00 PM

SCENE: Fatal fire in Harrison Twp.

UPDATE @ 5 p.m.

An early morning house fire claimed a woman’s life at a home in the 3500 block of Ark Avenue in Harrison Twp.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the blaze, and the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office has not released the victim’s identity.

However, neighbors said an elderly woman lives at the brick ranch-style home.

UPDATE @ 10:20 a.m.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of a house fire where one person was found dead this morning in Harrison Twp.

The fire was reported by a witness shortly before 7 a.m.

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When crews arrived, they encountered heavy flames coming from a bedroom in the rear of the brick ranch-style home in the 3500 block of Ark Avenue, according to the fire chief.

Firefighters started dousing the flames and did a search inside the home where they found one person deceased, according to the chief.

It was not immediately known whether the body is that of a male or female, the chief said.

The body was transported to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office where the victim’s identity as well as the cause and manner of death will be determined.

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UPDATE @ 9:45 a.m.

Authorities in Harrison Twp. are investigating after a body was found in a home that caught fire early this morning.

A man who spotted the fire called 9-1-1 at 6:57 a.m.

"I'm here at Maple Leaf and Ark and there's a house on fire," the caller told the dispatcher.

The caller did not know whether anyone was inside.

We’re working to gather more details.

UPDATE @ 7:49 a.m.

The Montgomery County coroner’s office has been requested to the scene of a Harrison Twp. house fire, according to regional dispatchers.

UPDATE @ 7:40 a.m.

Flames are now out at the scene of a house fire in Harrison Twp. and a person is believed to still be inside the home, according to dispatchers. 

Dispatchers said no one was evacuated front the home when fire crews arrived just before 7 a.m. 

Initial reports indicate a large amount of smoke has filled the home in the 3500 block of Ark Avenue. 

A fire investigator is responding to the scene, according to scanner traffic.

We are working to learn the condition of the person previously trapped in the home as well as what caused the fire.


A person is reportedly trapped in a burning home on Ark Avenue in Harrison Twp. 

Fire crews were dispatched to the 3500 block of Ark Avenue around 7 a.m. on a report of a house fire. 

Initial reports indicate a person may be trapped in the house. 

Our newsroom is working to confirm details in this developing story.

West Carrollton buying new sirens to warn of severe weather, disasters

Published: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 6:14 PM
Updated: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 6:14 PM

            West Carrollton buying new sirens to warn of severe weather, disasters
West Carrollton buying new sirens to warn of severe weather, disasters

New outdoor sirens to alert the public during severe weather and disasters will be coming to West Carrollton.

The city will be replacing its siren system, which was purchased in 1982, with the help of a Montgomery County grant funding half of the cost, said West Carrollton Fire Chief Chris Barnett.

“It’s definitely well worth the investment because I don’t think we’re going to get it any cheaper here at this point – especially with all the bad weather we’ve been having lately,” he said.

Five of the sirens installed 35 years ago are still in use as one was destroyed during winds from remnants of Hurricane Ike in 2008, according to Barnett.

“In order to make the outdoor public warning system efficient and effective, a consistent method of operation is paramount,” according to a memo from the fire chief. “The five original sirens are at their life expectancy and are in need of replacement.

“The main objective of the sirens is to alert those individuals who are outdoors, and away from the other established means of notification,” according to Barnett.

West Carrollton City Council approved the measure this month. Mayor Jeff Sanner said the city is getting a bargain in replacing an aging system that “helps the safety of the community.”

Because of technological advances, the city may be able to replace the system with four sirens, records show.

The cost of the sirens is expected to be about $21,000 each, with the county grant funding 50 percent, officials said.

The county is expected to award the contract to Federal Signal later this month, according to records.

Rain doesn’t slow fun for humans, horses on fair’s opening day

Published: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 4:46 PM

Thousands turned out for the opening day of the week-long Butler County Fair.

Rain sprinkled on the opening of the Butler County Fair, but that didn’t stop thousands from coming to the fairgrounds Sunday.

STORY & VIDEO: County fair entertains and brings in money for local economy

The rain soaked the grounds in front of the giant grandstand pushing back the initial rounds of the “World’s Greatest Cowboy/Cowgirl Competition,” one of the newer attractions at this year’s fair.

“We started out really well and we got most people in before the rain started. The barns are full and the crowds are full and the weather broke so it looks like we’re going to have a good day,” said Doug Turner, president of the Butler County Fair Board, Sunday afternoon.

Bob Huff, owner and operator of the fair’s cowboy/cowgirl competition, said early afternoon rain showers delayed the start of the initial rounds of the competition in front of the fairgrounds grandstand but he was optimistic the crowds will come for the final rounds Sunday evening.

Chelsey LaRue, took second place in the horse riding competition at the recent Clinton County Fair and was hoping to grab the top prize Sunday for Butler County.

LaRue described herself as a cowgirl who has “been riding since before I could walk.”

“This event is great and it showcases horses from all different disciplines. They have to do multiple different things that are really hard for the average horse, so it takes a special one to do this,” said LaRue, as she looked over the course that include stairs, a water obstacle, a teeter totter and a pen of live steers the horse and rider have to navigate to separate out a single steer from the herd.

Oxford resident and rider Alli Huff said the event “definitely pushes you and your horse.”

“It’s a lot of different exposures. A lot of this stuff is new to them and they have never seen it before so they depend on you to get them through it safely. It all depends on your trust and your relationship with your horse,” said Huff.

Russ Spreckelmeier, announcer for the event, said fans will see “some great horsemanship and some great horses going through some obstacles you normally wouldn’t see a horse going through.”

The fair runs from Sunday through Saturday evening.

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General admission tickets per day, which include parking, are $8 for adults, children 6-12 accompanied by paying adult are $3. Senior citizens and U.S. military veterans can enter for free on Wednesday July 26.

For times, specific events, evening grandstand shows – separate admission tickets required - and other information go to the Butler County Fair website or call 513-892-1423.

VIDEO: See the horses and riders as they maneuver through obstacle course on fair’s opening day @journal-news.com

Congressmen Jordan, Davidson pushing welfare reform plan

Published: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 2:45 PM
Updated: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 2:45 PM

Freedom Caucus former Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Washington Bureau
Freedom Caucus former Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)(Washington Bureau)

More than 20 years after Bill Clinton, John Kasich and Newt Gingrich reformed “welfare as we know it,” two Ohio lawmakers are vowing to do it again, saying the government must do more to encourage people to work rather than live off of federal largesse.

Reps. Jim Jordan, R–Urbana, and Warren Davidson, R–Troy, want to start by looking at some 92 federal means-tested programs — they include everything from cash aid to food aid to housing — and consolidating them. They say any social worker would be daunted by finding the best out of 92 programs, and many of them are duplicative.

Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, a member of the Freedom Caucus, leaves a meeting with the conservative coalition on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2017, after their trip to the White House. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)(Washington Bureau)

They want to do this through a bipartisan panel comparable to the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission: A bipartisan group would spend a year taking a hard look at all 92 programs, consolidating and eliminating where necessary and Congress would have to vote for those recommendations on and up-or-down basis.

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Davidson said it’s not a matter of reducing benefits. It’s far easier for a social worker trying to help a family in need if he or she is familiar with the programs available, he said. It’s hard to be fluent in 92 different government programs.

But more broadly, Jordan, who, like Davidson is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, would like to beef up work requirements in order to receive federal benefits. While the Clinton-era welfare package created work requirements through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, such requirements weren’t instituted for other means-tested federal programs.

While the 1996 welfare overhaul “did what it was supposed to do, it really applied to one program,” said Davidson. “It didn’t have as broad an effect as it could have.”

The federal government has made it optional for states to impose work requirements on food stamps, but it hasn’t really forced them to, say analysts.

Success stories

Davidson and Jordan argue that the states that did impose work requirements are success stories. In Maine, Gov. Paul LePage in 2014 instituted work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents in order for them to receive food stamps. Three months after he instituted that policy, the number of able-bodied adults without dependents receiving food stamps had plummeted by 80 percent, according to the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“I think at the federal level, we ought to say, ‘these are federal dollars. Do what you want to with your own state, but for the federal dollars, you only get them if you expect able-bodied adults to work,” Davidson said.

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Jordan said the 1996 overhaul worked relatively well until the financial crisis, when then-President Barack Obama lifted some of the work requirements to receive TANF. During the meltdown, Obama allowed states to seek a federal waiver from work participation rules that allowed welfare recipients to also engage in one of 12 work activities, such as job training. In order to receive the waiver, states had to come up with a plan to better promote ways to help people find work.

Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at the moderate Brookings Institution and a former senior advisor to President George H.W. Bush, said Obama may have loosened the work requirements during the Great Recession, but the move was temporary.

“I’m not aware of a permanent change in the law because of the recession,” he said. “I certainly do not think President Obama deliberately undermined the work requirements. If he did, it didn’t work very well because they’re still pretty strong.”

Haskins said the larger problem is that states, over time, have figured out how to meet the work requirements without requiring people to work.

“Work programs are very difficult to run,” he said. “They are administratively complex and states have never been especially good at it…they play all these games and it’s the games that need to stop.”

‘We’re not doing enough of that’

Robert Doar — a former commissioner of social services in New York during part of the welfare implementation who is now with the conservative American Enterprise Institute — said the federal government has not done enough to encourage and promote work in food stamps, public health insurance, housing assistance or Medicaid.

He said the policy of “giving benefits and saying, ‘see you in a year’” “is not really helpful in my opinion.”

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“What a person seeking assistance really wants, really needs is a pathway to a job, and we’re not doing enough of that,” he said. “In the new administration, the focus is more on work and less on just providing assistance. I think that’s good.”

Doar said the 1996 effort worked, with the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps and public health insurance also helping to improve the poor’s standard of living. The poor, he said, “are much better off than they were in 1993 or 1994.”

“That doesn’t mean it solved all the problems or that we don’t have a lot more to do in helping poor Americans, but it certainly did what it set out to do.”

Counter view

Melissa Boteach, vice president of the Poverty to Prosperity program at the left leaning Center for American Progress disputes the notion that the 1995 welfare reform was a success. Twenty years after TANF was created, “it helps very few struggling families with children,” she said.

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, while the program served 4.4 million families in 1996, it served 1.6 million in 2015, even as the number of families with children rose to more than 7.1 million by 2016.

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She said Temporary Assistance to Needy Families also was not effective in responding to the Great Recession. Hardship went up, the unemployed went up, and so did food stamps and other programs for the poor.

TANF, Boteach said, “remained flat” even as unemployment and poverty rose.

She disputes the philosophy that a work requirement will motivate someone to work, saying taking a person’s food away is not going to make them a more productive job applicant.

“Work requirements don’t create jobs,” she said. “Work requirements punish people while they’re looking for jobs.”