Region could lose $5M per day from shutdown

Published: Monday, September 30, 2013 @ 10:59 PM
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 @ 10:59 PM

            Region could lose $5M per day from shutdown

A federal government shutdown would have a $5 million economic impact in lost wages and less money spent in the Dayton area if thousands of civil service employees are sent home under an emergency furlough at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, according to the base officials.

If Congress fails to avert the shutdown at midnight, the hit to the about 8,700 employees’ pay would happen just weeks after 10,000 civil service employees at the base were forced to take six unpaid days off this summer because of automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

“We have 29,000 valued employees here at Wright-Patterson and it’s very distressing that we’re having to go through planning for an emergency furlough, especially having just completed a planned furlough,” Col. Cassie B. Barlow, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing, told reporters Monday.

The cuts to civil service workers’ pay would amount to $2.1 million each day, although the economic multiplier of those lost wages would amount to $5 million a day, according to base spokesman Daryl Mayer.

A dual furlough would mark the first time an administrative, or planned, furlough followed an emergency furlough within 12 months, Barlow said. “It’s just very unprecedented times and it’s very difficult on all of our employees,” she said.

Some 3,200 employees deemed essential to safety and protection of property would be “excepted” from a furlough. Those include foreign military sales, base security, fire safety, and many medical personnel and employees directly supporting wartime efforts “down range,” she said.

Wright-Patterson officials did not have an immediate estimate of how many contract employees might be impacted from a shutdown.

Military personnel, both active duty and reserve, would report to work, and will be paid during a shutdown under a bill both the House and the Senate have approved, according to The Associated Press.

Thomas C. Robinson, an American Federation of Government Employees Council 214 executive assistant, said the union has made clear a furlough would be a “grievous hurt” to employees who have had a three-year pay freeze while new employees pay more for benefits.

“We’ve taken all the hits,” said Robinson, who represents thousands of Wright-Patterson workers. “We seem to be the only ones contributing to alleviating the deficit.”

He said employees do not want Congress or the Obama administration to use workers’ jobs, pay, retirement or Social Security as bargaining chips. “We just want to go to work,” he said. “We need to provide for our families and we had a hard go of it this summer.”

Employees were “angry and cynical” about the latest potential furlough, he said. “They feel like promises made to them have been broken.”

Under Department of Defense guidelines outlined Monday, excepted civilian employees would receive pay retroactively under a continuing resolution, but employees who are placed in a non-pay, emergency furlough would be paid only if Congress enacts a law to compensate them.

Employees who are not excepted from a work stoppage would report to work Tuesday morning to receive a furlough notice from a supervisor and await word on when to return to work, Barlow said.

“People are pretty frustrated,” Barlow said. “… We’re still catching up from the planned furlough that we did a few months ago just because a lot of work piled up at that time.”

Workers have been told where to find financial aid or counseling through employee assistance programs and helping agencies, she said.

In a statement Monday, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, called the effects of a shutdown on Wright-Patterson and the nation “unacceptable.” He said he had contacted Barlow and Air Force Materiel Command Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger to express his concern.

A shutdown will close the doors temporarily at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, the region’s biggest tourist attraction with more than 1 million visitors a year.

The museum’s 95 federal civilian employees would be furloughed with the exception of three workers who are security personnel, according to spokeswoman Sarah Swan.

In the last government shutdown in November 1995, the museum closed to the public for five days.

If the museum closes, the National Aviation Hall of Fame will move a yearly induction ceremony and dinner Friday evening to the Hope Hotel and Conference Center ballroom, said Ron Kaplan, enshrinement director.

Passing showers today, storms this week

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 5:12 AM

Mostly cloudy and cool on Monday. Temperatures start in the upper 30s to about 40 degrees.

  • Few showers today 
  • Possible record-breaking temps Tuesday 
  • Chance of strong storms Tuesday and Wednesday

TODAY: Some light showers spread through the afternoon from the south. A few damp roads possible, but nothing too impactful. Warmer than normal with highs around 50 degrees. Some dry time tonight with the chance for a few showers toward morning and possibly a rumble of thunder as a warm front lifts northward into the area.

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy skies becoming breezy and very warm again. Highs soar into the middle 60s. Some showers and storms will be possible during the day. Isolated strong storm possible. Heavy rain and storms become more widespread Tuesday night into Wednesday as a cold front approaches from the northwest. Few strong to severe storms possible. The main threats will be damaging winds, heavy rain that could lead to flooding and small hail. Temperatures hold steady through the night.

WEDNESDAY: Storms and heavy rain possible for the early morning hours. Showers and storms will shift east through the day and temperatures will start around 60 and likely drop late afternoon. Gusty winds over 30 mph possible.

THURSDAY: Colder temperatures move in on Thursday. Temperatures will start in the 30s and climb a few degrees to the low 40s. Rain/snow showers possible late afternoon transitioning to some light passing snow showers at night with a quick moving system.

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy skies are expected Friday with the chance for a couple of flurries early. Highs Friday will be middle to upper 30s.

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Trial set for men charged in fire that killed Hamilton firefighter

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 7:06 AM
Updated: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 10:42 AM

A fall trial date has been set for a Hamilton man and his nephew charged in the arson fire that killed a Hamilton firefighter.

MORE: Burglar alarm sent police to Hamilton home where firefighter died

Lester Parker, 66, is the owner of the Pater Avenue residence where firefighter Patrick Wolterman died in December 2015. He is charged with two counts of aggravated arson and murder. William “Billy” Tucker, 46, Parker’s co-defendant, is facing the same charges.

Parker and Tucker were in Butler County Common Pleas Court this morning where Judge Greg Stephens set Nov. 6 as a trial date. The prosecution and defense anticipate the trial will last three weeks.

But that date could change for at least one defendant. Tamara Sack, attorney for Tucker, told the judge she intended to file a motion to sever the cases, meaning the co-defendants could receive separate trials. The attorneys and prosecutor will be back in court in April for a hearing on motions filed by both sides.

Stephens also approved $3,000 each for both Parker and Tucker’s attorneys to hire an investigator to talk to witness and review evidence.

MORE: Why 2 men charged in firefighter’s death won’t be in Butler County Jail

Prosecutors say Parker solicited Tucker to light the fire where Wolterman died fighting the blaze on Dec. 28, 2015.

Hamilton firefighters, including Chief Steve Dawson, and Wotlerman’s family, including wife, Bre, were in the courtroom as they have been for every hearing.

Tucker and Parker’s family were also present, sitting in the front row.

All had no comment.

5 things to know about Sinclair’s big campus investments

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 12:11 PM

            5 things to know about Sinclair’s big campus investments

Sinclair College has invested $150 million into its downtown Dayton campus in the last decade.

But the school is considering still more changes that seek to transform the look and character of the campus and better tie facilities, the streetscape and parking together.

Here’s some valuable things to know about the school.

1. Sinclair plans to invest $80 million to $90 million in the campus in the next three years. This includes the new, $31.5 million Health Sciences Center that’s under construction.

RELATED: Sinclair invests in building for high-demand field

2. Sinclair plans to reinvent the core of its campus to include more green space, assist students in navigating the campus and better connect with downtown. Improvements include realigning Fourth Street, constructing a new student services center and creating new park gateways, plazas and pedestrian pathways.

RELATED: Sinclair moves forward with campus plan

3. The school says parking is a common source of frustration among students. Sinclair wants to add a net of 93 new spaces to bring the total number of slots in on-campus lots to 5,158. The school wants to add more “high-quality” spaces that put students closer to their classes.

RELATED: Parking an issue at Sinclair

4. Sinclair says it wants to improved the student experience. The school serves 30,000 “unique” students each year, whose average age is 30 years old. The school also employs 3,200 employees.

5. Sinclair’s board of trustees approved spending $2.4 million for architectural and engineering designs to bring the master plan’s vision to life.

Area’s first Jeep-only dealership proposed for Centerville

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 10:53 AM
Updated: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 11:25 AM

The former site of Just Saab and Walker Used Cars could be re-branded as a new dealership, according to an application submitted to Centerville planning commission.

MORE: Proposed assisted living facility moving forward

The vacant building at 6950 Loop Rd. would be transformed into a Performance Jeep dealership, the first of its kind in the area and one of the few in the country that separates Jeep from its other brands, according to the city planner Andrew Rodney.

Planned changes to the building include renovations to the parking lot to “maximize” the proposed dealership space for inventory, with updated landscaping to allow for a clearer view for passing traffic. The front of the site can be seen from Alex Bell Road.

MORE: Park district buys land from local car dealership

Interior improvements include a redesigned customer lounge area. The time table for the project’s completion is unknown.

The site plans are scheduled to be discussed Tuesday at the city’s planning commission meeting, 7 p.m. at 100 W. Spring Valley Rd.