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Residents who live near Middletown bar take safety precautions

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 2:05 PM
Updated: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 4:09 PM

Residents who live near a Middletown bar said they want the establishment closed permanently because of safety concerns that lower property values.

They may soon get their wish.

Middletown police and the State Investigative Unit conducted an investigation last week at Bar Boca, Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw told the Journal-News. He said the agencies found six liquor violations, including drug use that led to one arrest, at the downtown bar located at 124 Charles St.

MORE: Bond set for man who allegedly fired shots outside Bar Boca in Middletown

The bar owners, who live in Hamilton, were also cited for unsanitary conditions, he said.

Police have received complaints about the bar from residents and midnight patrol officers, the chief said.

“We’re working on getting it shut down,” Muterspaw said. “We don’t want it open. The community doesn’t want it open. It’s not fair to the residents who live there. It’s a bad place in that neighborhood. I know that sounds harsh, but I’m tired of being nice to people who don’t care about the city.”

After further investigation this week, Muterspaw said he anticipates additional violations with other agencies.

The owners of Bar Boca could not be reached for comment.

If Bar Boca is closed, it would be the second time a bar in that location was shut down by the city. Miller’s Lounge closed in 2014 after repeated nuisance violations, police said.

RELATED: Middletown bar may be deemed nuisance property after shooting

The Ohio Liquor Control Commission upheld a decision by the Division of Liquor Control Commission that rejected the liquor renewal application from Miller’s Lounge.

About 65 residents and business owners in the area have signed a petition asking the city to close Bar Boca. The petition was started by Ronnie Perkins.

Perkins, who lives on Charles Street, said he wants Bar Boca closed permanently. He has installed surveillance cameras that point toward the bar, he said.

MORE: Middletown police want to use your security cameras

After Bar Boca opened last fall, there was a shooting outside the bar 10 days later, Perkins said.

He said Bar Boca patrons gather outside the bar, attract prostitutes and commit violent crimes.

One female neighbor, who wanted to remain anonymous because she fears for her safety, said after the shooting at the bar, she asked Perkins to install 2-by-4 wooden braces on her front and back doors.

Before she mows the back yard, she racks up used needles and discharged empty liquor bottles that she believes are tossed there by bar patrons, she said.

MORE: Middletown police urge residents to report potential violence

“It’s just horrible over there,” said the woman who used to sit on her porch every night until Bar Boca opened.

Another woman who lives near the bar called it “a war zone” because of the violence and illegal activity.

“I’m petrified,” said the woman, who also asked to remain anonymous because she fears for her safety.

Train blocks road; people climb train to get through

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 8:37 AM

People were seen climbing through a train that blocked access to and from their neighborhood.
via ActionNewsJax

Motorists told Action News Jax that a train blocked traffic for more than two hours at Roosevelt Boulevard and Ortega Hills Drive on Thursday evening.

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Neighbors told Action News Jax that the blockage affected Ortega Village Apartments, as there are only two ways in and out of the neighborhood, and the train blocked both of them. 

One viewer sent Action News Jax video of a woman climbing over the space between stopped train cars.

That same viewer sent Action News Jax video of a man lifting a child over the space between stopped train cars, and a woman who was with that child climbing over the space as well.

Action News Jax called CSX to find out why the train was blocking the road. They said the delay was caused because the train was waiting for another train to pass. They also said the delay was due to people climbing through the train and trespassing.

Neighbors said they're used to train delays, but this backup was much too long. For some people, like Lisa Jones, the delay was much more than an inconvenience. Jones has stage 3 breast cancer and was due to get radiation at UF Health.

"I missed my radiation treatment, I missed meeting the doctors with my mom because of CSX. I waited that 45 minutes, told my radiation people, 'OK, I'm gonna be late,' that went by," Jones said.

Miriam Byrd, who lives in the Ortega Village Apartments, said a train has blocked her neighborhood at least three times in the last two months. She said eventually there's going to be an emergency with no way in or out.

"It's not fair to the residents that live back here, cause elderly people live in the neighborhood and what if something happened? No authorities could get back here," Byrd said.

We asked the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office if it made any arrests for trespassing for people who climbed over the train and we have not yet heard back.

West Liberty school shooting suspect pleads not guilty by insanity

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:16 AM
Updated: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:28 AM

The suspect in the West Liberty-Salem High School shooting has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Ely Serna, through his attorney Dennis Lieberman, filed the plea by motions this week in Champaign County Common Pleas Court.

RELATED: Judge orders competency hearing for West Liberty shooting suspect

Serna has been accused of bringing a shotgun to school on Jan. 20 and firing six shots. Another student, 17-year-old Logan Cole, was shot twice in the chest and survived.

Deputies have alleged Serna also shot at a teacher and then randomly shot at classrooms before he was detained by school staff.

READ MORE: ‘Cole’s Pack’ greets West Liberty school shooting victim

Another student was grazed by a shotgun pellet but not injured.

Lieberman also filed a motion to dismiss the case in adult court and transfer the case back to juvenile court. A juvenile judge moved the case to adult court earlier this month.

Report: Pit bull sale arrangement leads to robbery

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:47 AM

Dayton Police Officers responded to an armed robbery on the corner of Warren Street and Lincoln Street Thursday afternoon.

A Dayton woman planned to meet with an acquaintance at the intersection regarding the purchase of a pit bull.

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Police say, while waiting, an unidentified suspect approached her around noon with a firearm in-hand demanding for her purse.  

The suspect would then flee on foot towards downtown Dayton. The purse and its contents were valued around $250.

Wright Patt: AFRL, AFIT help students gain experience

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:48 AM


            AFIT faculty member Dr. David Jacques mentors SUCCESS Program intern John Wintersohle.

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Students from Community College Gaining Skills and Experience in STEM, or the SUCCESS Program as it is known, is designed as a vehicle to introduce community college students to AFRL and the larger Air Force to gain real world science, technology, engineering and math experience.

Community colleges serve close to half of the undergraduate students in the United States and are the gateway to postsecondary education for many minority, low income and first-generation postsecondary education students, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.

“Most recruiters are focused on bigger name schools and target students who already have experience in STEM. This program focuses on an often neglected population of students – those attending community college. Through SUCCESS, we bring community college students into AFRL as interns to gain the needed experience to be more competitive when permeant positions are available,” said Dr. Mark Derriso, SUCCESS program manager.

During the year-long program, students receive a salary and tuition assistance. At the end of their time, their government supervisor can take over the funding requirements and potentially hire the student into a full-time position.

“Even if the student doesn’t transition to a permanent position within AFRL, they have gained a wealth of experience to complement their education and have made connections with other professionals in their career field,” said Derriso.

Currently there are five students in the SUCCESS program who work in AFRL’s Sensors Directorate, Airman Systems Directorate, and the Aerospace Systems Directorate. To build a connection with the other students in the program, a joint project was introduced this year where the students work with each other to solve a real world problem. AFRL teamed with the Air Force Institute of Technology on the joint project that involves a system-level design, build and flight test of an unmanned aircraft system, or UAS, including the air vehicle and associated pay loads, a ground station computer and communication between the ground and air components. Dr. David Jacques, professor of Systems Engineering within AFIT’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management, is working with the students to teach them UAS fundamentals and how to safely conduct flight tests with UAS.

“The challenge project is to find a lost hiker, maintain visual contact and deliver medical supplies or a communication device to them. The students have to provide surveillance of a target and keep it in the field of view of the camera and then they have to be able to deliver a quarter-pound payload. They receive a CONOPS for the project that lays out the challenge problem. The students break it down to determine what they need on the UAS as well as the functions it must be able to perform. They take that information and develop a set of requirements and then design, build and test in a rapid prototyping cycle,” said Jacques.

The students participate in labs where they run experiments on topics such as motor propulsion, communication and video subsystems, and telemetry. The project culminates in a flight test and evaluation scheduled for summer 2017.

John Wintersohle is a current SUCCESS Program intern working in AFRL’s Sensors Directorate. After earning an associate degree from Sinclair Community College, he transferred to Wright State University where he is working on a dual major in Computer Science and Computer Engineering.

Wintersohle was attracted to the SUCCESS Program because of the direct work experience he would gain.

“Any student who wants to get a job needs to be able to show that they can apply their knowledge,” Wintersohle said. “Sometimes learning to apply the knowledge is as big of a challenge as learning the material itself. The SUCCESS program, and my time with Dr. Jacques, allows me the opportunity to apply what I already know, and learn more about what I don’t, to actively solve problems. This program helps me develop myself academically and professionally. I really enjoy my time here and working with the other students.”

Participating in STEM outreach activities is a top priority for AFIT, and Jacques has been very involved with outreach efforts for many years.

“Coordinating UAS design projects is an area that we have a lot of experience in, and I was happy to help with this project when our partners at AFRL contacted me. The students in the program have great enthusiasm and energy for the topic. I enjoy it. I think it is important to get students interested in engineering projects by hopefully making them fun, but also teaching them about interdisciplinary design – the fact that it isn’t all electrical, computer, or aeronautical engineering. It tends to be a mix of all of the above in order to make a system work,” said Jacques.

Jacques’ focus on interdisciplinary team work has impacted the interns. Jaime Workman, an electrical engineering student at Wright State University, said that “this project has shown me that there is a lot of cross-disciplinary work to get a project done.” Morgan Oldman, a student at Wright State University studying biomedical engineering, echoed Workman’s thought, saying, “In this program I have learned that no matter what type of engineering you are studying, the material learned in class can be applied across multiple engineering projects.”

The interns are applying their new knowledge to school and work projects. Caitlin Jenkins, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Dayton, has learned about the process of designing, building and testing and is confident this knowledge will be beneficial to her in her career.

Evan Lynd is a student at Wright State University studying computer engineering and is working at AFRL’s Sensors Directorate.

“I am currently working on software development for ground station control units. What we are doing here with the internship is related to my job because this UAS has a ground station control as well. I am able to learn the differences in the software and apply my experience to make each one better,” Lynd said.

Working at AFRL through the SUCCESS program has opened Lynd’s eyes to all of the opportunities for a computer engineer.

“I have always heard that Wright-Patt is the leader in technological advancement and this is where I want to be in my career. My goal right now is to learn as much as I can,” said Evan.