Middletown bridge reopens after crash between 2 semis

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 9:35 AM
Updated: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Middletown Semi Crash - Voicer

UPDATE @ 11 a.m.:

The Ohio 122 bridge reopened at 11 a.m. today following a semi crash that closed the bridge between Middletown and Madison Twp. for most of the morning.

UPDATE @ 10:30 a.m.:

Justin Hardesty, one of the drivers of a semi involved in this morning’s crash said he is “lucky to be alive.”

Hardesty said he was driving over the bridge on Ohio 122 after dropping off a load at a Camden business.

MORE: OVI checkpoint tonight in Butler County

He told this news outlet that he looked down at his GPS and then realized the truck in front of him was stopped.

Hardesty said he swerved to the left to prevent a hard rear-end collision with the semi in front of him.

“God must have been looking after me,” he said, noting he had a Bible on the passenger seat of his semi.

MORE: Middletown school closed today for power outage

The bridge remains closed while Ohio State Highway Patrol investigates the crash.

UPDATE @ 10:05 a.m.: 

One of the semi drivers was taken by ambulance to Atrium Medical Center to be treated for minor injuries, according to police at the scene.

A tow truck is now attempting to move one of the semis that has extensive front-end damage.

Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

INITIAL REPORT:

A crash on Ohio 122 between two tractor trailers has shut down the bridge leading from downtown Middletown into Madison Twp.

Traffic is being diverted at Trenton Franklin Road in Madison Twp., according to dispatchers. There’s no word yet on injuries.

The incident was called in around 9:12 a.m. Middletown Police, Middletown Fire and the Ohio State Highway Patrol are on the scene.

We have a crew at the scene and will continue to bring you more details.

Safety measures heightened at local shopping centers for Black Friday weekend

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 1:25 PM

TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Ty Greenlees
TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

After mass shootings killed dozens in Las Vegas and a small Texas church in recent months, shopping centers and malls are ensuring security protocols are robust for large crowds before the busy holiday shopping season.

Regional malls and shopping centers have seen violent crimes in recent years, but nationally retailers are more focused on combating theft and nonviolent crimes that cause loss of revenue for stores. An estimated 164 million people are planning to shop or considering shopping during Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.

A significant increase in store traffic can be a challenge for shopping malls and centers, and security firms are encouraging mall teams to ensure crowd control and identify suspicious behaviors during the busy holiday season. The busy shopping season comes on the heels of a string of mass shootings in populated areas. There has been more than 300 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2017, according to nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.

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At least 26 were killed and several others injured in a church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Another 58 died during a mass shooting at an October country concert in Las Vegas. Malls have also been impacted by mass shootings. Five people were killed in a mass shooting in 2016 at Cascade Mall in Washington. Another mass shooting at a Von Maur store in Nebraska left at least eight dead in 2007.

TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Staff Writer)

Global security firm GardaWorld encouraged malls to “provide situational awareness and security training to shopping mall’s personnel” before the holiday season.

“Threats your shopping mall personnel usually face are not severe. Yet, it’s important that they are trained to take appropriate actions in higher-risk scenarios to ensure everyone’s safety,” the security firm stated.

Local malls see shootings

Malls in the region have seen violent crimes within recent years. In May, a woman wounded a man during a shooting in a parking lot outside the Sears at Dayton Mall. The woman, Jordana Esses, fired 10 to 15 times and shot her boyfriend in the leg.

» HOLIDAY HIRING: 5 things we learned about local hiring this season

Other shootings have also occurred near the Dayton Mall. In late December 2014, a 16-year-old Middletown student was shot and killed outside the Dayton Mall while trying to rob a concealed-carry permit holder of his newly purchased athletic shoes. Earlier that year, a 41-year-old Los Angeles man was fatally shot outside P.F. Chang’s restaurant at 2626 Miamisburg-Centerville Road.

TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Staff Writer)

Both Dayton Mall and the Mall at Fairfield Commons are owned by Washington Prime Group, which previously told this news organization that safety is its top priority. Officials for The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek said they would not comment on specific security protocols.

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“We work closely with the local police departments and our own security teams to provide shoppers with a safe, pleasant shopping experience year round,” Shelley Sloan, regional marketing manager at Washington Prime Group, said in a statement.

From 2003-2008, there were 944 homicides involving workers in retail, according to a BLS study. Violent crimes occur more frequently in the parking lots of shopping centers, rather than in the actual malls. Parking lots are not a high priority for retailers when it comes to taking security precautions, Timothy L. Zehring, a risk assessment consultant, told STORES Magazine.

TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Staff Writer)

“If a retailer has 50 cameras on the premises, 47 of them will be in the store and three will be in the parking lot,” he said.

GardaWorld encouraged mall officials to “increase alertness within the team and emphasize the importance of fast emergency response” before Black Friday. The security company said high-risk areas during Black Friday include garbage cans, which are potential storage areas for stolen items, weapons, explosives and suspicious packages.

Combating theft

While shopping centers do prepare for catastrophic events like mass shootings, retailers are concerned with the day-to-day crimes that impact revenue. About 83 percent of merchants report an increase in organized retail crime, according to a 2016 study released by the NRF. About 89 percent of kids say they know other kids who shoplift.

“Retailers continue to deal with the challenges that come with fighting organized retail crime,” said NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Bob Moraca. “Every day, criminals are getting more creative in the ways they manipulate the retail supply chain. Combating theft is a full-time job, and it is a constant battle industry-wide for retailers large and small to stay one step ahead of these savvy criminals.”

More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years, according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention. Some malls are combating this issue by implementing curfews for young adults. The Dayton Mall has a parental escort policy on Friday and Saturday evenings for children under the age of 16. The Greene also has security officers, called guest assistance personnel, that wear shoulder radios and monitor activity in-person and via security cameras, according to the center’s website.

The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek opened in 2006 and is now boasting more than 100 shops and restaurants in the mixed retail open shopping center. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Staff Writer)

Criminals are also finding ways to manipulate store return policies. According to the NRF survey, 68 percent of respondents said they had experienced thieves returning stolen merchandise for store credit, which is often resold to secondary-market buyers.

“Organized retail crime continues to impact retailers at a larger scale now more than ever before,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for Supply Chain and Custom Policy.

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CONTINUED COVERAGE

This news organization is committed to bringing you in-depth retail coverage during the holiday season — work made possible by your subscription. Check out our Holiday Shopping Guide 2017 for everything you need to know before you head out next weekend at daytondailynews.com/retail/

Report: Robert Mugabe agrees to step down as Zimbabwe's president

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 9:18 AM
Updated: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 1:25 PM

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was expelled by his political party on Sunday.
AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was expelled by his political party on Sunday.(AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images)

Robert Mugabe agreed Sunday to resign as Zimbabwe’s president, a source told Reuters.  Mugabe’s move comes hours after the ruling ZANU-PF party fired him as its leader following 37 years in charge, a source familiar with the negotiations said.

>> Read more trending news

ZANU-PF had given Mugabe, 93, less than 24 hours to quit as head of state or face impeachment, Reuters reported. The source said the Zimbabwe military was working on a resignation statement by Mugabe, without giving details.

Earlier, Mugabe was replaced as party leader by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he fired this month,  Reuters reported.
“He has been expelled,” one of the delegates said. “Mnangagwa is our new leader.”

Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who had harbored ambitions of succeeding the 93-year-old leader, was also expelled from the party, Reuters reported.

Mugabe is the only leader Zimbabwe has had since the southern African nation gained its independence from Great Britain in 1980, 

After boasting of sex with 50 women, Supreme Court judge apologizes

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 12:47 PM

Ohio Supreme Court Justice William M. O Neill. JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Ohio Supreme Court Justice William M. O Neill. JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

An Ohio Supreme Court justice is apologizing for a recent Facebook post in which he boasted of having sex with about 50 women over 50 years.

“There comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to admit you were wrong,” Justice William O’Neill posted on his Facebook page Sunday.

“It is Sunday morning and I am preparing to go to church and get right with God,” the Democrat wrote. “But first I have to get right with my family, my friends, and the thousands of strangers who have been hurt by my insensitive remarks.

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“I am sorry. I have damaged the national debate on the very real subject of sexual harassment, abuse and unfortunately rape. It is not a laughing matter. It wasn’t when I prosecuted sexual misconduct for the state of Ohio, and it is not now,” the justice wrote.

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He went on to apologize to his daughters and his sisters, saying, “Please accept my public apology for dragging you into this matter. You deserved better treatment than this. I love you, respect you, and yes, I was wrong. Thank you for loving me enough to stand up to my departure from a loving life.”

O’Neill’s earlier remarks drew international attention and sparked a reaction across the Internet. On Friday evening, O’Neill, also a candidate for Ohio governor, said observers should “lighten up.”

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“This is how Democrats remain in the minority,” he wrote on Facebook Friday evening.

O’Neill has since removed his original Facebook post, which was written after charges of harassment first surfaced late last week against Minnesota senator Al Franken, a fellow Democrat.

Reaction to his statement Sunday on Facebook was steady. One correspondent said she planned to vote for O’Neill anyway; others accepted the apology or told him, “too little, too late.”

“You’re an idiot,” wrote one commenter on the justice’s Facebook page, Sue Castner.

LaToya Cantrell elected first female mayor of New Orleans

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 12:43 PM

LaToya Cantrell was elected mayor of New Orleans on Saturday night.
Riccardo S. Savi/WireImage
LaToya Cantrell was elected mayor of New Orleans on Saturday night.(Riccardo S. Savi/WireImage)

LaToya Cantrell made history Saturday night as she was elected New Orleans’ first female mayor, the Times-Picayune reported.

>> Read more trending news

Cantrell defeated fellow Democrat and former Judge Desiree Charbonnet to become the 51st mayor in a city that will celebrate the 300th anniversary of its founding 2018.

Cantrell, a city councilwoman, got 60 percent of the votes over Charbonnet, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office.  She won by a margin of 51,342 to 33,729 to take the city's top elected spot after a month-long runoff, WWL reported.

"Almost 300 years, my friends, and New Orleans, we're still making history," Cantrell told supporters at the New Orleans Jazz Market. 

Cantrell also told the crowd she had spoken to Charbonnet over the phone and congratulated her on making history. “Our history was two women making that runoff, and we both deserve to be proud of that,” Cantrell said.

"I truly do not regret one moment of anything about this campaign -- resigning from my position, working every day and talking to people, touching our community and knowing exactly what the needs are. I am so proud to have been in that race," Charbonnet said. "Listen, y'all. If she does well, we all do well."

Cantrell will take over in May, when Mayor Mitch Landrieu steps down after eight years in office, the Times-Picayune reported.