Survey supports ag bioscience school for Springfield

Published: Monday, September 24, 2012 @ 6:45 AM
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 @ 6:45 AM

The Global Impact STEM Academy by the numbers

70,000 square feet of space needed for the STEM school

1 in 7 Ohio jobs in the agriculture field

2013-14 school year goal for opening the Global Impact STEM Academy

200 students wanted for the first year

$9 million in renovations at South High location

$4.5 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission for renovations

$4.5 million from fundraising for renovations

A majority of parents and students surveyed said they would consider a science, technology, engineering and math-focused high school if available in the Clark County area.

The survey, part of market research funded by the Springfield City School District for $14,500, tested the marketability of an agricultural STEM school called the Global Impact STEM Academy, proposed by Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield.

Nearly 85 percent of the more than 500 Clark County parents surveyed — a sample size larger than many political surveys — said they thought the STEM school was a good idea. Seventy-three percent said they would allow a child who wanted to attend the school to enroll.

“We think we have a pretty favorable, pretty marketable idea, things that parents like,” said Widener.

In a similar survey of students, 63 percent responded that they thought the plan for the school was a good idea. About 28 percent said they would attend the school and 50 percent said they might attend.

Students and parents in the survey responded affirmatively to other parts of the plan as well, including the school’s partnership with the Ohio State University.

Widener hopes the Global Impact STEM Academy, which would focus on agricultural biosciences, would be the first of a network of similar schools around the state.

During a community meeting last week hosted by the city schools, several residents and community leaders spoke in support of the school, especially a plan to re-use South High School, which closed as a school in 2008, as the school’s location. The STEM school would occupy about 70,000 square feet in South High and renovate the space using about $4.5 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission and $4.5 million in fundraising.

Officials hope to open the school in the fall of 2013 with an inaugural group of about 200 students in 9th and 11th grades.

“This school’s going to grab a bunch of those kids that can’t do things in a regular classroom, but they get over there and they can really bloom. We’ve spent so long trying to teach everybody the same way … I really believe that this is another piece of that puzzle that will make things work for kids,” said Basil Fett, a retired Huber Heights teacher who lives in Springfield.

Jordan Copeland, who coaches middle school basketball for the city schools, said he had seen several companies mentioned by Widener as potential industry employers, at a recent job fair.

“Those companies were there recruiting engineers, chemical engineers, bioscience engineers,” he said. “If they’re coming out of Springfield, I just think that’d be awesome.”

Copeland said he liked that the school would include project-based learning.

“I think actually seeing those things, getting hands-on, getting experience is something that a lot of kids in our community don’t necessarily get the opportunities to do,” he said. “A school like this just would provide some of these kids a chance no one else in the state’s getting.”

A retired agriculture teacher from New Carlisle, Paul Snyder stressed the importance of internships and experience if the school were to be located in the city.

“If you’re gonna have it here.. because it’s in the inner city and unrelated to rural areas I think you want to really emphasize and have the internships,” he said.

If the plan comes to fruition, the Global Impact STEM Academy would be the first regional STEM school in the state to tie itself to an industry. Approximately one in seven Ohio jobs are in the agricultural field, according to Widener.

15 people trapped, rescued from high water at Sebald Park in Butler Co.

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 11:30 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 3:20 AM

UPDATE @ 3:21 a.m. 05/25/17

Those trapped in the park included a pregnant woman and people with medical issues, according to Madison Twp. Fire Department Chief Kent Hall.

“Flood waters had went over the bridge area,” Hall said. “Had several family members, small kids (and) adults that were still in the park area. The issue here is we really couldn’t leave them in the park.”

The only way out of the park was through a large wooded area that connected to the golf course, Hall said. 

Firefighters located family and the kids that were trapped, and escorted them through the wooded area back through Weatherwax Golf Course, Hall said.

“They had to make their way up the hill, down the hill then through the woods,” he said. “You had to know this area well to be able to accomplish this very dark very thick wooded area. So you definitely had to have somebody who knew where they were going.”

A couple of minor injuries reported, according to Hall.  

“It all ended well,” he said. “We were able to get them out due to the experience of the firefighters with the department.”


Firefighters rescued 15 people, eight adults and seven children, after high water trapped them at Sebald Park in Madison Twp., Butler County Wednesday. 


Crews said high water cut off access to a bridge in the park, trapping multiple people in the high water. 

RELATED: Man in vehicle, trapped in high water, is rescued in Preble County

Madison Twp. firefighters said in a Facebook post the group went to the park earlier in the day for a birthday party. 

There were no reports of injuries. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

For updates and more news click here to download our free apps.

WATCH: Season finale of ‘Survivor’

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 9:09 AM

If you missed Wednesday’s ‘Survivor’ finale due to WHIO-TV’s tornado warning coverage you can watch it right now:

>>>WATCH: Survivor Season Finale

A few isolated storms by afternoon

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 3:49 AM

Some sunshine sneaking through the broken clouds. Highs around 70 then falling into the low 60s for the evening, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini.

Isolated downpours are still out there for lunch and there will be an increase in them from about 3 to 7 p.m. We can't rule out an isolated storm. Tonight clouds decrease and we drop into the middle 50s.

RELATED: Download the WHIO Weather App here


  • Isolated downpours or thunderstorms into the evening commute
  • Dry Friday during the day
  • More strong storms possible Saturday

RELATED: County-by-County Forecasts 


RELATED: Heavy damage from Wednesday’s storms in Park Layne

Friday: Quiet and dry for the start of the day. Some sunshine for the afternoon with highs in the middle to upper 70s. Some passing showers or storms overnight.

RELATED: WHIO Interactive Radar

Saturday: Some dry time in the morning then after lunch scattered storms will develop. These have the potential to become severe from the afternoon into early evening. It will be hot and humid with a high of 80 and dew points in the 60s.

RELATED: Sky Witness 7 

Sunday: Scattered showers and storms move through the first half of the day as a front moves through. Eastern parts of the Miami Valley might still have a few storms around late in the afternoon. Everyone will start to dry out by the evening. It will be muggy once again with highs near 80 degrees again. 

Memorial Day: Sunshine and scattered clouds with highs reaching the middle 70s. Another quick-moving front will approach the area that could trigger a few showers or storms towards the evening. 

Download our free mobile apps for breaking news and weather.  

Officials discuss Bethel Twp. tornado damage

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 9:55 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 12:33 PM

UPDATE 12:33 p.m.

Park Layne resident Sherlene Oliver was attending church with her husband in Greene County when the tornadoes struck Wednesday evening, she said. 

“Some of us went in the basement,” she said. “Some of us went home."
When the tornado cleared the area, they went home, she said. 

RELATED: Red Cross closing Clark shelter for apartment residents

“We had to come down Osborne Road,” Oliver said. “Trees everywhere.” 

Oliver was grateful no one was hurt.

“Thank God for that … We were very blessed not to have no one killed,” she said. Oliver has been living in Park Layne since 1974 when her parents moved to the area from Kentucky. 

“This is home to me,” Oliver said.

UPDATE @ 10 a.m. 

The Miami County Sheriff’s Office was out in the area till 1:30 a.m. assessing the damaging, according to sheriff’s office officials at the news conference. Deputies were looking for people that may have been homeless. They transported people that may have lost their homes. 

Someone was trapped inside Family Dollar bathroom and had to be rescued. 

There were two tornadoes that struck the area. The township is waiting on confirmation from the National Weather Service.  

RELATED: National Weather Service confirms EF-1 tornado in Park Layne

A major hazard that resulted from the tornadoes was a leak from a primary line, according to Jacob King, the Bethel Fire Twp. fire chief.

Other damages included trees through houses, roofs that were torn off houses. 

Buildings behind the Sunoco gas station had to be evacuated, King said. 

RELATED: Beloved restaurant forced to close after storm damage

The tornadoes on Wednesday mark the second and third in the township within the last few weeks, according to King. 

No injuries were reported. 

VIDEO: Funnel cloud over Fairborn  | Clark. co. sheriff gives update on damage

RELATED: Xenia graduation disrupted by severe weather 

“That’s very unique for us,” King said. “It’s a miracle in my book.”

The damage assessment is still ongoing, according to officials.

UPDATE @ 8:07 a.m.

Clark County authorities have announced a 10 a.m. press conference to provide an update on tornado damage in Park Layne.

We will bring that information to you live as it is released.

UPDATE @ 6:43 a.m. 

Peggy Aten, a Park Layne resident and a Community Markets employee, said she had not been inside the store yet, but the roof was laying in the parking lot.

On Wednesday night, she was on her porch when she saw a big flash of light. 

“I just watched that whole big black cloud roll,” she said. “It was unreal.” 

Aten said was surprised no one was hurt. 

“It’s been a long time since we had a storm like that,” she said.

UPDATE @ 5:35 a.m. 

Deputies in Clark County said the sheriff’s department is expected to hold a press conference Thursday to update damage reports throughout the county. 

A time and location were not immediately available. 


There is heavy damage from Wednesday night’s tornadoes and severe weather in several locations in Miami, Greene and Clark counties.

The National Weather Service is working to confirm the number, strength and exact locations of tornado touchdowns in the Miami Valley Wednesday evening.

>>PHOTOS: Storm damageStorms clouds roll in

A Sunoco gas station on state Route 235, in the 2100 block of South Dayton-Lakeview Road in Park Layne, has been destroyed and other businesses in that area have been damaged.

RELATED: National Weather Service spotters looking to confirm tornadoes in 3 counties

The Churchill Manor apartment complex, located behind the Sunoco station, has been partially evacuated due to storm damage. Firefighters said occupants of two of the three buildings in the complex will be displaced. One building is missing its roof, while the second roof was leaking.

Victory Motors has been damaged. The side of the store has been blown off. A Family Dollar store and a McDonald’s have been damaged as well.

RELATED: Widespread substantial flooding reported in Butler County

RELATED: Roundup of flood watches, advisories in effect overnight

We will update this report as warranted.