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Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 4:21 PM
— Wayne High School’s principal met this week with a parent who alleges there is a “culture of hate … and white supremacy within all Huber Heights City Schools,” according to interviews with the parent and superintendent.
After Principal Jeff Berk met Monday with parent Will Smith, Smith on Wednesday evening sent local news media an eight-point list of demands on behalf of a group called the “Coalition of Concerned African American Parents and Students of Wayne High School.”
“There are glaring disparities with how African American students are handled versus the way white students are handled,” Smith said in the press release. “African American students and families feel that no matter how many times they voice their concerns, their pleas” fall on deaf ears.
Meanwhile, district officials said they were surprised Smith went to the media after what they believed was a constructive meeting during which Smith was invited to sit on the school’s parent advisory committee.
“They met for over an hour,” Superintendent Sue Gunnell said of Berk’s meeting with Smith. “My impression was that Mr. Berk said it was a good conversation and tried to assure him that, no, this is not happening, everything has a great, positive climate here at Wayne High School.”
Additionally, Gunnell said teachers work on practicing positive behavior intervention and support to create a “climate that is one of respect” and safety at school. She additionally said parents were welcome to meet with her to discuss concerns.
Smith said, “While the administration prides itself on being the only high school in Ohio with outstanding diversity, parents are concerned that the administrative and teaching staff do not fully grasp what true diversity looks like in practice.”
Smith — whose daughter is a senior at Wayne — and his public relations agent said they would work to provide the media with proof.
“It is my understanding that he, as well as another parent … met with the principal and got a lot of lip service,” said Jessica Watters-East, the public relations agent. “He felt that no one was looking into the totality of the incident.”
“They would like to sit down with members of the school higher ups,” she said. “He’s planning on being at the school board meeting.”
Other parents interviewed by this newsroom indicated the problems were being overplayed.
“I would say there is a little racial tension…” said Monica Richardson, who is black and whose daughter is a senior at Wayne High School. She said her daughter was nervous about going to school Monday because of bomb threats. “But the issues going on, I’m not so certain it’s actually racial.”
The main points of tension between Smith and the district are:
» Threats of violence: Smith says that prior to Saturday’s homecoming dance “several threats of violence were made. The threats were targeting African American students who had exercised their First Amendment rights by kneeling silently as the national anthem played during a pep assembly and the subsequent football game. Following this peaceful protest, a number of white students sent threats via SnapChat and graffiti written on school property. A number of teachers threatened students as well.”
Gunnell said Thursday: “My understanding is that there were not threats to students of color.”
Berk said a message found in a bathroom last week said “people at Wayne are going to die.” School officials identified the student responsible for that message, started the student conduct procedure, and notified police. Then, on Saturday night, the school’s homecoming dance was abruptly ended when a loud noise and threat of a “gun” spooked students and caused a police response. Administrators also identified a student connected to the incident and are working through the school’s conduct procedure, but police said this week officers will not bring charges in the incident.
The Dayton Daily News and WHIO have requested the Huber Heights Police Division provide incident reports and investigations involving Wayne High School since July 1. Additionally, the news organizations have requested that the district and police provide video of the homecoming incident.
» Attendance issues: Smith alleges that on Monday “over (50 percent) of enrolled students did not attend school because of a bomb threat posted on SnapChat.”
Attendance was down to about 80 percent on Monday, this newsroom reported Berk saying on Tuesday. A typical school day sees an attendance rate of about 91 percent, Berk said.
“There were less students than a typical day, but it wasn’t drastic numbers,” he said.
» First Amendment issues: Smith “demands” that “The First Amendment right(s) of students and parents … be upheld,” but in a follow-up interview with this news outlet conceded that the rights are already being upheld.
In the same press release demanding First Amendment rights be upheld “without being harassed and threatened by staff, students and other parents,” Smith detailed how Berk “had a meeting with the staff of Wayne HS and reminded them that the students who chose to kneel are afforded the right to do so under the protections of the United State(s) Constitution and it is unlawful to coerce, harass or intimidate a student to stand during the playing of the National Anthem.”
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
— Did you know that Dayton has its own independent comic book company? Sparkle Comics is a local publisher that brings readers comics based on old school properties and horror films.
“Our slogan sums up why we actually do it,” says Sparkle Comics owner Matthew Brassfield. “‘Comics made by friends for fans.’”
Brassfield founded Sparkle Comics with friend and fellow comics enthusiast Jason Young in late 2016. The two already had a history of making comic books.
“When I was a kid, I had a ongoing comic that I would make called 'Robo Raccoon.'” Brassfield told Dayton.com. “It was about a space adventure raccoon, much like Rocket Raccoon, who would team up with other space tie-ins. So one issue would have like Boba Fett from Star Wars in it. And then the next issue would have Frankenstein's monster and all kinds of stuff.”
Jason Young, who has worked at Maverick’s Cards and Comics in Kettering for over a decade, has also made comics for most of his life.
Brassfield and Young were working on a book together when the idea came to them—why not produce a line of high quality, professional comic books with all the talented friends they know?
“During one of our meetings, while we were scribbling down notes and story ideas, we came up with the idea of seeing if our like-minded friends wanted to join us and start making comics based on toys and horror movie films and stuff that we love,” Brassfield recalls.
Sparkle Comics has since released original titles as well as books based on toys from the ‘80s such as Defenders of the Planets and Adventure Man. The company has also produced comics with a Dayton connection, such as Wolf Hunter, which is based on a Dayton-made 2001 B horror movie.
The company has also released over a half-dozen titles as part of their adult imprint, Blood Scream Comics. The sister brand specializes in comics based on horror movies and other books with adult themes and situations.
Brassfield says he and Young have a simple goal with their comic books.
“When we are gone, we want these comics to be discovered by new readers for generations and centuries.”
To help acheive this goal, he says Sparkle Comics puts 100% of their profits back into the company.
“Everything that we make just helps Sparkle Comics to keep going,” he explains.
All that hard work is starting to pay off for Sparkle Comics. Brassfield says he and Young have gotten a lot of great feedback.
“We get a lot of great support from readers, or as we call them, ‘Sparklers,’” Brassfield says. “The overwhelming response has been all positive. People are excited when we release books. And outside of Dayton and Ohio, we have gotten great responses. We've had people order our stuff literally all over the world.”
Brassfield says Sparkle Comics has a bunch of good stuff coming down the pike. Such as Licántropo, which is set to be released in time for Gem City Comic Con this month.
“Licántropo is based on the work of Paul Naschy, who is like Spain's Boris Karloff basically,” Brassfield says. “We're also working on our first original title for Blood Scream Comics, which is called The Book of Whoa! It’s like a Tales from the Crypt horror anthology kind of book.”
According to Brassfield, right now is a great time to get into comics, which are in the midst of a resurgence in popularity thanks to the Marvel Studios films and a rise in “geek” culture in general.
“I think comics are on an upswing again. For a while, comics had slid down the priority pole of entertainment because of the gluttony of the ‘90s when they had all these gimmicks. ‘The Death of Superman’ and things like that. I think people got burnt by that, so there was a dip for a while, but I do think that it's on an upswing again,” Brassfield says.
“But we are also now seeing a rise in independent comics, not your Marvel and DC, but guys who are doing it themselves and delivering high quality comics to readers. There's the mainstream comics that are bringing people in, but then they're discovering these independents.”
Sparkle Comics are available at local comic book shops and at SparkleComics.com.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 1:40 AM
EATON — UPDATE @ 6:15 a.m: U.S. 35 has reopened after being closed due to a crash where a jackknifed semi spilled alcohol across the roadway early Monday morning.
UPDATE @ 5:33 a.m: U.S. 35 between Lexington Road and Main Street is expected to open in the next hour or so after being closed for over four hours due to a jackknifed semi spilling alcohol on the roadway, according to Eaton police.
Crews have worked all morning to clean up the spill that was reported around 1 a.m. due to a crash involving two semis.
UPDATE @ 2:15 a.m: U.S. 35 between Lexington Road and Main Street is closed after a semi spilled bottles, kegs, and cases of alcohol across the roadway Monday morning.
OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Vehicle drives into unattached garage, drives off in Dayton
Officials say two semis were involved in the crash around 1 a.m. A semi carrying 40,000 pounds of paper was attempting to turn into the nearby International Paper Company when the other semi carrying the alcohol swerved to avoid hitting the rear of the first semi-truck, causing it to jackknife.
The jackknifed semi landed in a residential front yard with the truck split in half, causing the alcohol to spill.
Neither of the truck drivers were injured as a result of the incident and the property was not damaged.
Eaton police do not have an time for when the road will reopen, stating it will be closed for “several hours.”
The detour for this closure, per officials, is Lexington Road to Barron Street.
Officials continue to investigate the crash.
A semi-truck has reportedly spilled bottles of alcohol across U.S. 35 in Eaton early Monday morning, according to officials.
The incident was dispatched around 1 a.m. in the 900 block of Eaton Richmond Pike, per initial reports.
The spill will reportedly have the road closed near Woodland Drive for a while.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 12:43 AM
Updated: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 6:06 AM
PREBLE COUNTY — UPDATE @6:10 a.m. About 30 DP&L customers are without power following a crash late Sunday night in Preble County.
Power is expected to be restored around 7 a.m.
UPDATE @ 1 a.m: Only 35 people are without power after a single-vehicle crashed into a pole late Sunday night, according to the DP&L outage site.
OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Driver killed in Butler County crash
The incident was dispatched around 11:45 p.m. on W. Holtzmuller Road, per initial reports.
Customer’s power are steadily being restored as DP&L are still working to repair the pole that was hit at the base as a result of the crash.
We’re working to learn the condition of the driver of the vehicle.
Over 100 people are without power after a vehicle crashed into a pole on W. Holtzmuller Road late Sunday night.
OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Driver killed in Butler County crash
Initial reports indicate the vehicle hit a pole and was reportedly on its side around 11:45 p.m.
DP&L are on scene to repair the pole that was hit at the base as a result of the crash.
No word on the condition of the driver of the vehicle.
We will continue to update this story with more information.
Published: Friday, March 02, 2018 @ 2:52 AM
Updated: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 8:39 AM
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