Uber increases fees in Dayton 

Published: Friday, April 14, 2017 @ 11:06 AM

(Photo Illustration by David Ramos/Getty Images)
(Photo Illustration by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Taking an Uber from point A to point B now costs you more in Dayton. 

The popular ridesharing service is alerting customers of a booking fee increase. 

The booking rate increased from $1.85 to $2.20 a few weeks ago. 

>> Here’s what you need to know about Dayton's Uber service

“As a reminder, the booking fee is always included in the fare you see before you request,” reads an Uber message to its users. “Booking fees support rider and driver safety initiatives, as well as other operational costs.”  

This news organization has reached out to Uber seeking additional information. 

Uber Technologies, a vehicle-for-hire company, launched its app service in Dayton on on  August 28, 2014.

Lyft, an Uber competitor, launched on December 1. 

>> Lyft ride-sharing service launching in Dayton

On a national level, Uber has found itself embroiled in controversy in recent months. 

>> Uber sexism under investigation after female engineer’s ‘slightly horrifying’ story

>> Uber used secret program to track Lyft drivers

BREAKING: Appeals court reduces restaurateur Eva Christian’s prison sentence

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 11:47 AM

Eva Christian renews her fight to get prison sentence reduced

The Ohio 2nd District Court of Appeals issued a ruling this morning, Friday Oct. 20, that — if it stands — will reduce the length of imprisoned former Dayton restaurant owner Eva Christian’s sentence.

The ruling will not result in Christian’s immediate release from the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, where she has served more than five years of what was a nine-year prison sentence for insurance fraud-related charges. The case will now return to the trial court judge, Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Barbara P. Gorman, for re-sentencing that is in alignment with the appeals-court judges’ ruling.

>> RELATED: How a local restaurateur fell from grace

That ruling shaves a year off Christian’s maximum sentence. 

Eva Christian at her initial sentencing in 2012, shortly after being convicted of five felony counts following a jury trial. Staff file photo by Jim Witmer(Staff Writer)

If Judge Gorman imposes the maximum eight-year sentence, Christian would still have to serve nearly three more years before release, with a projected release date of May 2020, according to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections records.

The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office has said it will urge federal officials to deport Christian whenever she is released from prison. Christian was born in Croatia and raised in Germany, and has German citizenship.

>> RELATED: 7 things to know about Eva Christian and why she’s in prison

The appeals court judges agreed with Christian’s court-appointed post-conviction attorney, Brock Schoenlein, that Judge Gorman exceeded her authority when she re-imposed a nine-year sentence to Christian after the severity of some of the five felony counts Christian was convicted of was reduced on appeal. Montgomery County prosecutors had argued that the judge was well within her sentencing rights and urged appeals-court judges to keep Christian’s nine-year sentence intact.

Prosecutors have the option of challenging the appeals court ruling to the Ohio Supreme Court. A spokesman for the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said late Friday that prosecutors were reviewing the court of appeals decision and would decide within the next few days whether to challenge it.

Christian owned and operated Cafe Boulevard (later Boulevard Haus) in Dayton’s Oregon District for 15 years. The criminal case involved break-ins and a 2009 fire that Christian reported and which prosecutors said were staged in order to collect insurance money: one break-in at her Washington Twp. home and a reported vandalism and fire at what was then her second restaurant, Cena Brazilian Steakhouse in front of the Dayton Mall in Miami Twp. A jury convicted Christian in 2012 of five counts related to insurance fraud and running a crime ring.

>> RELATED: Restaurant owner renews fight to get prison sentence reduced (February 2017)

In this file photo from 2009, Eva Christian stands in the window of what was then her Oregon District restaurant, Cafe Boulevard. Staff file photo by Jim Witmer(Staff Writer)

The appeal of Christian’s conviction has taken a slow and circuitous path through the courts, bouncing among the Ohio Supreme Court, the 2nd Court of Appeals and Montgomery County Common Pleas court multiple times.

At her re-sentencing hearing in July 2016, Christian told the judge she was sorry for the pain she caused family, friends and the employees of her restaurants, whom she said she also considered family. She said she didn’t realize four years earlier how much impact her actions would have on those close to her.

>> RELATED:Eva Christian wanted to ‘blow up’ Dayton Mall restaurant

“It has consumed me and is haunting me every day,” Christian said. She urged the judge, “Please give me a chance to be a law-abiding citizen.”

Gorman was not persuaded. The judge noted that Christian tearfully pleaded for leniency four years earlier in the very same courtroom — only at that time, she was still firmly denying that she was guilty of any of the charges against her.

“I don’t know if you’ve really made a change, or if you’re a really good actress,” Judge Gorman told Christian.

Owner of Gilly’s willing to sell downtown Dayton club

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 2:26 PM

Some Dayton-area venues for local music.

The owner of an iconic downtown music venue says the future of his business is very uncertain.

Gerald “Jerry” Gillotti, the owner of Gilly’s Jazz at 132 S. Jefferson St., said he has a month-to-month agreement for that property with the city of Dayton.

As much as he would like to continue, Gillotti says he has faced reality. 

“I am 80 years old,” he said. “I don’t have the health or the stamina or the years left or days left.”

Gillotti was robbed and viciously attacked at his club around 4 p.m. on March 16, 2016. He suffered a serious brain injury. 
>> RELATED: Gilly’s Jazz owner injured in robbery

>> RELATED: Can you ID suspect in Gilly’s Jazz attack, robbery 

He says he has not fully recovered and relies on his wife for transportation. 

His brother helps him run Gilly’s. 

Benefit being planned for attacked business owner Jerry Gillotti of Gilly's. (Source: Archive)

Gillotti says he has entertained four recent offers to sell the business, but none of the offers were good. The business is not officially listed for sale, he said. 

The month-to-month agreement with the city also compromises matters, he said. 

Reached via text, Toni Bankston, the city of Dayton’s chief communication officer, said that Gillotti some time ago told city officials about his plans to eventually sell Gilly’s and have the new owner assume his lease. 

>> MORE: This downtown building is being turned into an event, rock venue 

“The city policy would not allow a new owner to simply assume the lease,” she said. “So we agreed to give the current owner a lease that is month-to-month. This would make it easier if and when the property needs to be turned over.”

Gillotti’s last lease with the city ended in May. 

>> RELATED: Where to see live music in Dayton

The business has operated in the space since 1972. It has hosted a list of artists, including Tony BennettB.B. King and John Lee Hooker

“I’ve had every jazz artist in the world,” he said. 

The Dayton Blues Society recently canceled its winter blues showcase at Gilly’s scheduled for Jan. 13. Gillotti said he could not guarantee his business would still be open. 

>> 10 reasons we love the Fifth Street and the Oregon District, and why you should, too

Jerry Gillotti(Staff photo by Darin Pope)

The uncertainty of the month-to-month arrangement has also made it difficult for him to book bands in the future. He would have to front money, assuming the business would still be there. 

“I can’t be tied up with a month-to-month,” he said. 

>> PHOTOS: A look inside of The Steam Plant, Dayton’s newest venue

Because Gilly’s is a “show bar” as opposed to a traditional bar, Gillotti said he often has to pay acts up to 50 percent in advance to perform. 

Despite his current predicament, Gillotti said he can’t complain. 

I’ve had (45) years, and they have been good years,” he said. “I haven’t made a lot of money to be honest with you, but it is a passion to present the music in the right way.”  

>> Levitt pavilion moves toward construction

Gillotti at his club in 1977.(Contributed)

Oh, my gourd! Celebrate all things pumpkin on Monday

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 8:01 AM

What could possibly say “fall” more than pumpkins? On Monday, Oct. 23, head out to the Park at Austin Landing for the first annual Pumpkins in the Park with Kettering Physicians Network event. From 3-7 p.m., you and your family can enjoy a FREE event that will celebrate everything pumpkin.

Internationally prominent carvers will be on hand to create amazing pieces of art from giant, 500-pound pumpkins live, while you watch. There also will be a display of more than 50 individually carved pumpkins, and you and your family can try your own hands at pumpkin art by visiting the carving station. 

If you’re feeling exceptionally crafty, you can sign up for the pumpkin carving class being conducted by master carver Chad Hartson, who recently was a finalist on Holiday Cake Wars as part of Team Winter Wonders. Pumpkins and carving tools will be provided to participants, and the class starts at 5 p.m. Although the class is currently full, you can check the sign-up page here to see if any openings come up.

Additional family fun includes free face painting, glitter tattoos, bounce houses, photo booth and giant games. Kettering Sports Medicine will host a tug-of-war for those who want more active fun, and Kettering Physicians Network will be on-site to provide health information, blood pressure checks, giveaways and more. Other artists will be decorating sidewalks and parking areas with a Chalk Art in the Park display, and Ranger Vic will pop in for a visit with the kids.

Host Austin Landing is giving away 300 pumpkins, on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure you show up early for yours. Bring the whole family out for an evening of fall-themed fun at Austin Landing!

WANT TO GO? 

    WHAT: Pumpkins in the Park with Kettering Physicians Network

    WHEN: Monday, Oct. 23, from 3-7 p.m. (rain date: Wednesday, Oct. 25)

    WHERE: The Park at Austin Landing (10400 Innovation Dr., Miamisburg)

    HOW MUCH: FREE

Cedarville University students use fall break to aide Hurricane Harvey victims

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 3:49 AM

Thirty Cedarville University students are in Houston to provide relief for those devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

Using their fall break to give back, the students are in Houston for one week, in which they left their campus on Oct. 14 and will return on Oct. 21.

RELATED: Month after Harvey, debris piles show recovery takes time

The students have partnered with Northeast Houston Baptist Church at Farrington Mission in repairing damages caused by flooding, as well as strengthening Farrington Mission’s ongoing ministries, which include a large food pantry, clothing closet, men’s basketball ministry and pregnancy resource clinic. 

Texas native and sophomore nursing major, Isabella Bierman, believes the trip is fulfilling in more ways than one.

“This experience connects everything that I hold dear about nursing. Physically helping people in their time of need, when they can’t do it for themselves fully”, said Biermann. 

RELATED: Hurricane Harvey recovery: Cedarville sending 30 students to Houston 

According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Harvey made landfall Aug. 25 and dropped 40 to 61 inches of rain in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana to set all-time U.S. tropical cyclone rain records. There were also 77 confirmed fatalities.

“We want to respond to these situations with the compassion of Christ,” said Brian Nester, Director of Global Outreach at Cedarville. “When Christ saw a need, he sought to meet the need. When people are in dire straits, we need to meet those needs as much as possible.”

RELATED: Dayton Interactive Radar - WHIO Doppler 7

Cedarville established a relief fund to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma when the natural disasters first occurred. The fund also covered the cost for the students to participate in the trip, as well as finance other hurricane relief efforts.

The university strives to continue relief efforts by exploring plans to send two additional teams of students to  Florida and the Dominican Republic in the fall to help people affected by Hurricane Irma.