Middletown-based Ohio veterans group spearheads skydiving event

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 6:10 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 11:23 PM

Middletown-based non-profit Combat Outpost Robinson partnered with Start Skydiving to offer Ohio military veterans free tandem skydives above Middletown Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017.

A Middletown father is working to give veterans a chance to soar across the same sky that was part of his son’s final goodbye.

James Robinson Sr., president and CEO of Combat Outpost Robinson, partnered his non-profit with Middletown’s Start Skydiving business to provide free tandem skydiving to a handful of Ohio veterans Sunday at Middletown Regional Airport.

The event is aligned with Combat Outpost Robinson’s mission help and support Ohio’s post 9/11 combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, Robinson said.

MORE: Warrior Weekend in Middletown helps Marine heal old wounds

“(It) kind of brings back the camaraderie and brings back what they all did together whenever they was serving,” he said. “It’s an adrenaline-rush type of an event for them and it gets them back to what they was used to and it get them the help to talk with each other. It’s like a therapy between all of them.”

Robinson said it’s his hope that organizing such events will create a support group among veterans that attend Combat Outpost Robinson events and reduce the number of veteran suicides.

Formed in late 2016, Combat Outpost Robinson also offers help and support to the caregivers of those with PTSD or TBI.

MORE: West Chester VFW leader is Butler County Veteran of the Year

All such efforts are being carried out in remembrance of Robinson’s son, Sgt. James C. Robinson Jr., 27, of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, who developed symptoms of PTSD during two tours of duty in Iraq before he was killed in Afghanistan in 2010 during this third tour of duty.

Robinson said running Combat Outpost Robinson and holding an event at the same airport that saw the skydiver-accompanied return of his son’s body is “like therapy.”

“And it’s … my way of paying it forward,” he said.

MORE: Butler County veterans spending sees double digit increase

U.S. Navy veteran and 14-year Air Force reservist Dave Reagan, 44, of Centerville, a 14-year Air Force reservist with the 445th Airlife Wing out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, said being allowed to jump from a Cessna Caravan on Sunday was “a huge outreach initiative” on the part of Robinson’s group.

“Being in the military, being a veteran is all about service, so these guys are continuing to serve those of us who have served,” Reagan said. “(Skydiving) has been on my bucket list for a while … so this is a nice opportunity.”

U.S. Army and National Guard veteran Jay Winkleman, 46, of Springfield, said he previously went skydiving 14 times in the military, recreationally and once as part of Warrior Weekend to Remember.

MORE: Butler County shooting shows some battles for veterans fought at home

“Being with the U.S. Veterans Motorcycle Club, we try to team up with organization’s like Jim’s because there’s so many about there that people don’t know about,” Winkleman said. “We like help getting the word out. We like to help scratch their backs (and) they’ll scratch our backs and support and get the word out about our events. It just means the world when the community comes out in great numbers … and that they still care, they still worry about our veterans.”

U.S. Navy veteran Donald Tucker, 57, of Wilmington, said he has enormous amount of respect for Combat Outpost Robinson and labeled the experience “a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“It was extremely cool,” Tucker said, he said, a broad smile breaking out across his face. “I had a great time. I’d recommend it for anybody.”

Jumping with fellow veterans is important because “that’s the only people they can relate to,” Robinson said.

MORE: Butler County veterans board breaks service record

“They can talk to those guys — they’re brothers in arms — about stuff that they can’t talk to the general population about because people that’s never been there, they’ve got no clue what these guys have been through,” he said. “They kind of bottle it up, keep it to themselves, so by them getting together at events like this … they’re creating friendships and bonds and they can tell their stories to each other where they would not be telling it to anybody else.

“That in and of itself is therapeutic.”

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Trump to speak at CPAC: What time, what channel, who else is speaking?

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 8:37 AM

WATCH: President Trump Speaks at CPAC

President Donald Trump is scheduled to address an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday.

Trump is set to begin speaking around 10:05 a.m. ET at the gathering of conservative activists being held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near Washington, D.C.

>> Read more trending news

CPAC, hosted by the American Conservative Union, is held annually.

Trump has spoken at CPAC before – at the conferences held in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. He skipped the conference in 2016 while he was campaigning for president. 

Click here to read his speech from 2017.

Trump’s speech will be carried live by cable news networks. CPAC is being broadcast on CSPAN and CSPAN 2.

Here is the schedule of speakers for those following Trump on Friday:

  • 11:55 a.m. – White House counselor Kellyanne Conway; Small Business Administration Administer Linda McMahon
  • 12:30 p.m. – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai
  • 1:35 p.m. – Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
  • 2:00 p.m. – Gov. Matt Bevin, R-Ky.; Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C.
  • 3:35 p.m. – British politician Nigel Farage

The full CPAC agenda can be found here

Attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference listen to Vice President Mike Pence speak on Friday, February 22, 2017. (Associated Press).

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Prosecution opposes trial relocation in Carlisle dead baby case

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 11:21 AM

            Brooke Skylar Richardson, the Carlisle teen charged with aggravated murder for the death of her infant found buried in the back yard, appeared in Warren County Court for pretrial hearing, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017 in Lebanon. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Brooke Skylar Richardson, the Carlisle teen charged with aggravated murder for the death of her infant found buried in the back yard, appeared in Warren County Court for pretrial hearing, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017 in Lebanon. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Prosecutors are asking Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II to overrule a request for change of venue for the trial of a Carlise teen accused of killing her infant, then burning and burying the body in the backyard of her home.

In the response filed late Thursday, Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Steven Knippen said the request filed by Brooke Skylar Richardson’s attorneys two weeks ago is premature.

READ MORE: Defense seeks new venue for Carlisle cheerleader in buried baby case

In the motion for change of venue, defense attorneys Charles H. Rittgers and Charles M. Rittgers included a memorandum of support. That memorandum apparently was four pages long and contained specifics of the case. Last year, Oda issued a gag order prohibiting all parties involved in the case from making public statements about the case.

In his response to the change of venue motion, Oda said: “This case is not going to be tried in the press.”

The judge ordered the memorandum of support stricken from the change of venue motion.

The Rittgers then filed their response.

“The court’s order, which is now in the public sphere, is casting doubt as to the defense counsel’s sincerity, credibility, and truthfulness by indicating that the court is troubled by the defense memorandum,” the defense team stated in the motion.

Knippen said in the state’s position that The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled a change of venue is required merely because of a extensive pretrial publicity.

EXCLUSIVE: Prosecutor outlines challenges in buried baby case

“Any decision on change of venue rests in the sound discretion of the court,” Knippen said in the court filing.

The prosecution pointed to several “high profile” cases that have received substantial publicity and media attention, but have not required change of venue, including trial and two re-trials of of Ryan Widmer who is convicted of killing his wife, Sarah.

“Simply asserting that there has been pretrial publicity, as the defendant has done in this case, is not enough to demonstrate the defendant will suffer any prejudice. Rather a careful and searching voir dire provides the best test of whether prejudicial pretrial publicity has prevented obtaining a fair and impartial jury from the locality,” Knippen wrote citing a previous state court decision.

The prosecution concluding the change of venue issue should be decided during jury selection when the “effects of pretrial publicity, if any, on defendant’s right to a fair trial can be determined.”

MORE: Defense in Carlisle baby case asked judge to reconsider scrubbed motion

A hearing is set for March 14, and Richardson’s trial is scheduled to begin April 16.

Defense attorneys have said Richardson did not kill her baby. The prosecution previously said the baby was born alive. Warren County Coroner Dr. Russell Uptegrove has said the cause of death may never be known due to the condition of the remains.

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Trump calls again for security changes in wake of Florida school shooting

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 6:19 AM

In a speech to a large gathering of conservative political activists outside Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump on Friday said he is committed to forcing security changes in America’s schools, which he says will cut down on the threat of mass school shootings, like the one last week in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people.

“We will act, we will do something,” the President said in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. “We will act.”

Mr. Trump on Friday again repeated his support for his call to allow certain teachers and administrators to carry a concealed weapon in school, all to form a line of defense.

“Why do we protect our airports and banks, but not our schools?” the President said.

“Our schools are essentially gun-free zones and that makes them very dangerous places,” Mr. Trump added.

Both at the speech, and earlier in the day at the White House, Mr. Trump said he was disappointed in the reaction of an armed deputy, who was stationed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but did not confront the gunman who was shooting inside.

“When it came time to get in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage or something happened. But he certainly did a poor job,” the President told reporters before boarding Marine One.

At CPAC, the President also expressed his support for more efforts to put mental health information into the current instant background check system for gun buyers, and said it’s time for police and authorities to do more about people who have mental health issues.

“We will really have to strengthen up background checks,” the President said. “We have to do that.”

Several times, Mr. Trump seemed to be publicly cajoling the National Rifle Association to accept his plans on guns and school security, as the President reminded his audience that he was a staunch defender of the Second Amendment.

“Let’s get it done right,” the President said of action on a variety of fronts to deal with school shootings. “We really owe it to our country.”

The President on Friday did not mention his call to raise the minimum purchase age for a gun like an AR-15 from 18 years old to 21 years old – that proposal has already drawn some concern from Republicans in the Congress, and reports of resistance inside the NRA as well.

Also in his CPAC speech, Mr. Trump ran through a familiar list of achievements during his first term in office, talking up a major package of tax cuts, the end of dozens of regulations, and the confirmation of conservative federal judges.

“Don’t get complacent,” the President urged the crowd, telling them a victory for Democrats in the Congress in the 2018 mid-term elections would endanger a number of his accomplishments.

“They will take away those massive tax cuts, and they will take away your Second Amendment,” the President said of Democrats.

“We’ve got seven years to go,” Mr. Trump said to cheers. “We’re finally rebuilding our nation.”

There was also a lighter moment, as President Trump noted that the big video boards in the convention hall might show something he tries to avoid.

“I try like hell to hide that bald spot,” the Preisdent said to cheers.

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Middletown school on lockdown after student acts suspicious

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 9:34 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 10:45 AM

Bishop Fenwick High School is on a “soft lockdown” this morning, meaning classes are being conducted but no one is allowed to enter or leave the school, officials said. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Bishop Fenwick High School is on a “soft lockdown” this morning, meaning classes are being conducted but no one is allowed to enter or leave the school, officials said. ED RICHTER/STAFF

A Middletown high school is on lockdown this morning.

A notice from Bishop Fenwick High School this morning states: “Bishop Fenwick High School is currently on a ‘soft lockdown.’ This means that teaching continues in the building, but no one will be permitted in or out of the building until the lockdown is lifted. Everyone is safe in the building.”

Middletown Maj. David Birk said a student was acting suspiciously and the school called police. As a precaution the school was placed on lockdown. Birk said officers are on scene investigating and talking with those involved.

The school is asking for people to not call the school so phone lines can remain open.

This story will be updated when new information is available.

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