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Vandalia couple inspires 4 Paws to train Alzheimer’s assistance dogs

Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 11:56 AM

Vandalia couple inspire 4 paws

Four Paws for Ability is starting a new program to provide service dogs for families impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.

The new program comes after the Xenia-based nonprofit organization placed Diva, a 4-year-old Papillon, with John and Judy Kucharski, of Vandalia.

“I couldn't do it without (Diva). It takes me away from the situation a little bit,” John Kucharski said of his daily reality providing care for his wife.

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The Kucharskis’ lives changed dramatically in 2002 when Judy started showing signs of dementia. The couple, married for 47 years, has three children. 

John said Judy is “a great mother and great wife,” but her illness has been “devastating.”

Judy and Diva(Contributed)

“It's the toughest thing I’ve ever been through,” he said. “If I didn't love her I wouldn't do this. It's devastating. But when you love someone. It's what you do.”

In addition to providing companionship for John, Diva is a comfort to Judy and encourages her to take daily walks with her husband.

“It helps the caregiver immensely,” John said.

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Karen Shirk, founder and CEO of 4 Paws for Ability, said seeing the difference that the pint-size dog made in the Kucharskis’ lives was an inspiration to create the Alzheimer’s Assistant Dog Program. 

“We actually developed the program because we saw what an amazing difference it made in (John’s) life,” Shirk said. 

The primary mission of 4 Paws for Ability is focused on placing trained service dogs with disabled children, but the organization, located at 253 Dayton Ave., has expanded its services to help veterans and train dogs for specific purposes, such as alerting their owner of a seizure or diabetic emergency before it happens.

Shirk said the new Alzheimer’s assistance program will include dogs trained to locate missing people.

“Once we place a dog that needs to do search and rescue, we'll use a larger breed for that,” she said.

For more information, visit or call (937) 374-0385. 

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Fire reported on Sweet Potato Ridge Road

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 11:24 AM

A fire has been reported this morning on Sweet Potato Ridge Road.

Firefighters responded to the house in the 7700 block around 11:10 a.m.

We’re working to learn more.

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Reports: Shots fired towards Dayton officers, police assistance requested

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 10:42 AM

Incident happened near West Second Street & Bungalow Road

A report of shots fired at officers has prompted a large police response in the area of West Second Street and Bungalow Road in Dayton Monday morning. 

Officers requested assistance near the intersection around 10:45 a.m. after shots were fired in their direction, according to police scanner traffic. 

The suspects have reportedly fled in a vehicle and no injuries have been reported. 

It was not immediately known if the officers returned fire. 

We have a crew on the way and we’ll update this page as new details become available.

Dayton Police issued a signal 99

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Dayton police, fire rescue cat from tree after community members plead for help

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 7:56 PM

Cat is rescued from tree near Hospice of Dayton

- UPDATE, 9:02 p.m.: 

The cat has been rescued, according to a Hospice of Dayton spokesperson.

 Dayton fire and police personnel were able to remove the cat from the tree. The cat was said to be healthy and will be taken a local animal facility that accepts stray cats. 


A cat with apparent injuries up in a tree on Hospice of Dayton grounds tonight has some people in the community concerned.

A cat was stuck in a tree near Hospice of Dayton. PHOTO COURTESY OF BETHANY WALKER

There have been posts on social media, including the WHIO Facebook page, and calls to our newsroom from people who want to get help for the animal.

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We reached out to Hospice of Dayton, and officials there said they are working to resolve the issue.

Earlier, police were called to stop citizens from trying to retrieve the cat.

It’s not clear how long the cat has been in the tree.

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Clayton group recognized for making city parks more inviting

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 12:04 PM

            Clayton’s Parks Advisory Commission members were recognized by the city for their talents and for recent events and work at the parks. CONTRIBUTED
Clayton’s Parks Advisory Commission members were recognized by the city for their talents and for recent events and work at the parks. CONTRIBUTED

Clayton leaders praised the work of the Parks Advisory Board, noting that the group has achieved several of its goals the past few years.

Members of the Parks Advisory Commission first met in 2015 with a mission to make the parks of Clayton more welcoming and bring in more events than it had in past. The advisory group is made up Chairman Earl Harlamert, Co-Vice Chair Traci Barnes, Co-Vice Chair Helen Senu-Oke, Jakie McArdle, Lisa Menker and Robin Spiller.

In the years since, the Parks Advisory Commission has accomplished many projects, city leaders said. They have replaced the signs in and around the parks, improved the landscape with work on trees, sidewalks and flowers, and they have helped provide more community events.

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Many popular events for the city include the Labor Day Fireworks, Breakfast with Santa, picnics with bounce houses for children, food, fun and games.

According to city officials at the last council meeting on Thursday, commission members went above and beyond the call of duty, aspiring to bring better service to the community.

Visit the city’s website for further information on the Parks Advisory Commission or contact the Assistant to the City Manager Lisa Brown at (937) 836-3500, extension 113.

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