VIDEO: Xenia cop joins schoolyard basketball game

Published: Sunday, April 16, 2017 @ 3:45 PM

Officer Ellyn Board of the Xenia PD joined a game of basketball with several youths at Cox Elementary School. Credit: Damyan Steelman

Damyan Steelman said when he and others saw a Xenia police officer pull up while they were playing basketball at Cox Elementary School on Saturday, they thought, “we did something wrong.”

The youths walked over to Ellyn Board’s cruiser and asked what the problem was. She told them nothing and smiled.

Then to their surprise, she agreed to join them on the court.

Steelman said he wanted to get the video out there to show people that “not all cops are bad.”

Ellyn Board is a 19-year veteran at the Xenia Police Department and works as a day-side patrol officer, Xenia Sgt. Gary Johnson confirmed.

Johnson’s tagline on email messages seems to sum it up nicely. It reads, “Life is not about how much you accomplish. It's about how many people you help along the way.”

Dayton’s top boss: Here’s why we spend millions on downtown projects

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 8:26 AM

Dayton’s new “downtown living room,” the Levitt Pavilion music venue site, is planned for a green space named after a former city mayor.

The city of Dayton’s top executive spent part of this week’s commission meeting defending the city’s spending on downtown redevelopment, evidently in an effort to quash criticism about the city’s financial priorities.

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein gave a presentation intended to highlight the economic importance of downtown to the entire city and how the city invests a small fraction of its budget into downtown projects.

“There’s a lot of conversation about the city of Dayton putting too much money into downtown,” she said. “Let me be very clear that about 1 cent out of every dollar — or less than 1 percent of our annual general fund — is strategically invested in downtown economic development efforts.”

Some citizen activists have said the city is neglecting many of its neighborhoods by overly focusing on building up the center part of the city.

RELATED: Clean up deteriorating neighborhoods, residents tell Dayton officials

Downtown’s vitality and redevelopment is crucial to the entire city, because it generates more than half of the income taxes the city collects, which is about $70 million annually, Dickstein said.

Dickstein said that 75 cents of every dollar of income tax collected from downtown workers and businesses goes toward support services in Dayton’s neighborhoods.

City Manager Shelley Dickstein at Wednesday’s work session. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF(Staff Writer)

“Without the income tax earned from downtown jobs, $53 million annually in services to Dayton neighborhoods would be lost,” she said.

In the last six years, the money the city has spent downtown — about 1 percent of its annual general fund budget, which this year was $164 million — has leveraged $152 million in private investment, Dickstein said.

The greater downtown has about 51,000 employees and 20,000 residents, which increase the appeal and value of other neighborhoods, she said.

RELATED: 4 big questions facing downtown Dayton projects

Downtown has 1,400 housing units and 600 more in the pipeline, and the hot demand for housing is fueling consumer activities and growing jobs and wealth that support the city’s tax base, Dickstein said.

Downtown has 60 restaurants and 30 night clubs that make it the social epicenter of the region, which also drives new investments and activities, she said.

Each resident in Dayton “should be cheering for the investment” and for downtown to be as strong as possible because it drives investment into the neighborhoods, she said.

MORE: Million-dollar club: The most valuable homes in Montgomery County

Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams said the city often has to leverage its dollars where the developers want to go, and they want to invest downtown.

“While we’ve tried to push them to other certain parts of the city, a lot of developers want to come downtown,” he said. “But we are starting to see more go into other parts of the city, which is a very positive development.”

Third organization joins charities leaving Mar-a-Lago

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 9:04 PM
Updated: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 8:34 PM

5 Things to Know About Mar-a-Lago

Three major philanthropic organizations said Thursday they are pulling their events from President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, with one already in discussions to move its 2018 fundraiser to another A-list oceanfront setting.

>> Read more trending news 

Thursday afternoon, the Cleveland Clinic and American Cancer Society announced they were leaving the president’s Palm Beach estate.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Latest news, photos, videos on President Donald Trump

Late Thursday, the American Friends of Magen David Adom, an organization supporting Israel disaster relief programs, told The Palm Beach Post it is canceling a planned fund-raising gala at Mar-a-Lago, set for Sunday, Feb. 25.

“After considerable deliberation, AFMDA — an apolitical and humanitarian aid organization — will not hold its 2018 Palm Beach Celebration of Life Gala at Mar-a-Lago,” the brief statement said. Magen David Adom is Israel’s ambulance, blood services and disaster-relief organization.

Last season’s gala, held Feb. 26, featured more than 600 attendees who paid $650 per ticket.

Also Thursday, a prominent business leader in Palm Beach urged other charitable organizations sticking with Mar-a-Lago to reconsider their commitment to the president’s club. Laurel Baker, executive director of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, told those groups and their deep-pocket donors to “have a conscience” and seek another venue for their events.

The decisions by the American Cancer Society, Cleveland Clinic and the AFMDA were three of the latest examples of pushback to Trump in the days since the president’s off-the-cuff, combative and controversial news conference on Tuesday at Trump Tower, where he renewed his statements that “both sides” were at fault in the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, sparked by marches by neo-Nazis and white supremacists last weekend.

“Our values and commitment to diversity are critical as we work to address the impact of cancer in every community,” the American Cancer Society said in announcing it would move two 2018 events, a dinner for sponsors and its 60th anniversary gala, from the president’s Palm Beach estate. “It has become increasingly clear that the challenge to those values is outweighing other business considerations.”

That announcement followed a decision by Cleveland Clinic, a leading research hospital in the United States with a location in West Palm Beach, to move its eventpossibly to the Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa.

» Palm Beach chamber head tells charities ‘have a conscience’ about Mar-a-Lago events

Nick Gold, the public relations director of the oceanfront Eau Palm Beach , said it is working with the hospital in hopes of hosting next year’s event.

“Their first call was to us,” Gold said. “We are talking to them. … We certainly want to work with The Cleveland Clinic.”

The American Cancer Society said it has not settled on a new location and is evaluating venue options. No further information was available about whether AFMDA would try to hold an event elsewhere in Palm Beach County during the season.

The Cleveland Clinic’s move follows previous assertions its event would go on at Trump’s Palm Beach estate as planned, despite protests and letters of concern from some who demanded the venue be changed.

The hospital has hosted the fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago for the past eight years, according to The Associated Press, raising anywhere from $700,000 to $1 million a year.

» RELATED: Complaints aside, charities plan to stick with Mar-a-Lago

A representative for the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach said the nonprofit has no plans to move its fundraising event — The Palm Beach Wine Auction — which is scheduled to be held at Mar-a-Lago on Feb. 1. Tickets to the auction are $1,000 a person.

The Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Loxahatchee Groves also still plans to have one of its major fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago. The “Wine, Women and Shoes” event is scheduled for March 10, said Robin Friedman, Big Dog Ranch’s director of development.

» RELATED: Dana Farber, three other charities won’t return to Mar-a-Lago in 2018

“Most of our supporters know that we do what we do for our dogs, and that just happens to be the best venue,” Friedman said of Mar-a-Lago. “In fact, it’s one of the only venues where we can do an event of our size in the daytime.”

The president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is co-chairing the Big Dog Ranch Mar-a-Lago event with Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

The animal-rescue group is expecting 600 attendees — up from 450 last year. The group raised $1.1 million at its Mar-a-Lago event last year, and Friedman said “we are definitely expecting more” for 2018.

» RELATED: Why the American Humane Association won’t return to Mar-a-Lago

Nonetheless, Palm Beach County event venues have made clear they would be receptive to discussing opportunities with charities considering a move.

The Eau, located on a 7-acre site with ocean views and lush tropical gardens in Manalapan, underwent a major transformation in 2013 — dropping the Ritz-Carlton name and rebranding itself as a beachfront getaway for out-of-town guests and locals looking for a beachfront retreat. The property consistently ranks among the best resorts in the state. This spring, Chinese President Xi Jinping stayed at the resort during his two-day summit with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Gold said the resort can accommodate as many as 500 guests for a seated dinner. In addition to the Cleveland Clinic, the Eau has received inquiries from other charities looking to move events away from Mar-a-Lago, Gold said.

“We do see a lot of charities that are checking spaces to see what can be done,” Gold said.

» RELATED: U.S.-China summit a boon for Palm Beach hotels

Dave Anderson, the general manager of the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, said the venue is also hearing from groups who may be interested in moving events previously held at Mar-a-Lago. The convention center can host groups of roughly 1,000 people.

“We have a beautiful ballroom,” Anderson said. “We have a fantastic chef. … It is a great venue for social events. The only thing I can’t provide is an ocean at my doorstep.”

One leader in Palm Beach’s business community urged the charitable groups to consider a change of venue.

The Palm Beach Chamber’s Baker minced no words Thursday about whether charities should abandon Mar-a-Lago this season.

“If you have a conscience, you’re really condoning bad behavior by continuing to be there,” Baker said. “Many say it’s the dollars (raised at the events) that count. Yes. But the integrity of any or organization rests on their sound decisions and stewardship.”

She added: “Personally, I do not feel that supporting him, directly or indirectly, speaks well of any organization.”

Baker’s comments are the strongest yet from Palm Beach County’s business community in the wake of Trump’s conflicting and, to many, polarizing statements made in the aftermath of the weekend violence.

Last Friday night, neo-Nazis and white supremacists marched through the northwestern Virginia town that is home to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. On Saturday, a suspected white supremacist rammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19.

In response, Trump first blamed Saturday’s violence “on many sides,” but zeroed in on specific criticism of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis two days later after a backlash to his initial statement.

However, Trump doubled down on his first set of comments during Tuesday’s volatile news conference — and then tweeted support for Confederate monuments on Thursday.

No one from the Palm Beach County business community had spoken out publicly — until Baker.

» RELATED: Inside Mar-a-Lago for a charity ball with Trump and Jeff Sessions

Baker also expressed no patience for charities that will try to keep a low profile during this turbulent period.

“I hope that people will not maintain their neutrality,” she said. “This is the best time ever for people to show their backbone.”

Baker encouraged all charities to re-examine their core purpose for guidance about how to react to Trump’s comments.

In particular, she called out charities that advocate for social justice, the disabled, the poor and the sick.

“Look at your mission statement,” Baker said. “Are you living up to it?”

The Cleveland Clinic’s departure from Mar-a-Lago was no surprise after CEO Toby Cosgrove distanced himself from Trump following Tuesday’s comments. Cosgrove was one of a number of CEOs who stepped down from two White House business councils.

Trump later said he was disbanding that council and another after a rash of defections by other business industry leaders, including the CEOs of 3M, Campbell Soup Co. and United Technologies.

“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both,” the president tweeted. “Thank you all!”

But the pressure for the Cleveland Clinic to move its event from Mar-a-Lago started this past spring, with petitions and backlash against the Ohio-based hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as each planned lavish galas on the Palm Beach resort’s grounds during the first months of Trump’s presidency.

Eclipse glasses all gone or too pricey online? Here are some options

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 6:31 PM

Eclipse glasses all gone or too pricey online? Here are some options

Eclipse viewing glasses are in short supply but some are hoping to cash in on the high demand.

Online sellers are charging a premium and hope to spark bidding wars on sites like Ebay.

Listings start at around $20 but one listing we found is asking $100,000 for four pair of the paper glasses.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said David Race of Butler Township, “they are hustlers, they are just trying to make a buck.”

Race is taking advantage of another option. He bought three pair of welding goggles to view the eclipse from Weiler Welding in Dayton.

“Here in the last couple of days this has really exploded for us,” said Weiler general manager Dave Radominski.

RELATED: Solar Eclipse 2017: what you need to know.

Weiler has sold out of the darkest number 14 welding goggles, but is expecting to get the number 12 model in soon.

“Twelve might be a little bright for some folks. So if you’ve got any type of an eye issue- if you’ve got Lasik surgery or if you’ve got cataracts- you might want to stay away from the 12’s, but I htink for most people the 12’s wil be just fine,” said Radominski.

Experts recommend you not look directly at the sun or eclipse without approved glasses or goggles because retinal damage or blindness may occur.

If you want to save money- you can make a do-it-yourself pinhole viewer.

Here’s a step by step video from Stormcenter 7 meteorologists McCall Vrydags and Kirstie Zontini:

Xenia closing Monday for eclipse, several districts planning activities

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 8:28 PM
Updated: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 5:29 PM

UPDATE @ 5:29 p.m. (Aug. 17)

Practice for Bellbrook High School sports teams will be limited to indoor activities from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday due to the eclipse.

Xenia Community Schools will be closed Monday, Aug. 21.

EARLIER REPORT

Many school districts across the region are planning to turn Monday’s Great American Eclipse into a great learning opportunity.

Beavercreek City Schools is among about 20 districts to return to class today.

“Kids are excited, the staff is excited,” Superintendent Paul Otten said.

In addition to regular planning for the upcoming academic year, the district had to consider the Great American Eclipse. The district bought eclipse glasses earlier this summer.

“Every student and staff member in the district will be getting solar glasses,” which Otten said will be handed out Monday to the district’s staff and more than 7,800 students.

Teachers are enthusiastic about an interactive science lesson, the superintendent said.

“They saw it immediately as a learning experience for our kids, and instead of just trying to talk about it in the classroom, we wanted to give them an opportunity to get out and experience it firsthand,” Otten said.

Lena Ellis’ daughter started kindergarten today. “She’s so ready,” said Ellis, who admitted she is as well. “Mommy gets her break.”

She applauds the district for making sure science lessons on the eclipse will be safe.

“I think it’s wonderful they’ll keep their eyes protected,” Ellis said.

However, students must have parental permission to participate in outdoor eclipse activities. Letters will be sent home by the end of the week.

More eclipse-related news is on the News Center 7 website’s  #SkyWitness7 page.

News Center 7 will livestream special eclipse coverage Monday on Facebook and www.whio.com. A special broadcast also will be on AM 1290 and 95.7 WHIO.