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breaking news

Student threats disrupt school routines

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 @ 9:21 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 @ 9:21 PM

School shootings have forced area districts to heighten the attention they give to any threats of violence by students.

Tipp City Schools brought in an FBI agent and a local police detective Wednesday night to speak to concerned parents about multiple threats of violence made at two of the district’s schools in the last week.

Authorities said the fake threats take students out of valuable classroom time, are costly and force law enforcement off the streets. The bomb squad from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was called twice to the Tipp City threats.

Responses such as these have been employed by local school districts for years, while others have been folded into districts’ protocols as threats and acts of violence have occurred across the country.

“We have taken more precautions than we ever have, but are we safer? I’m not sure,” said Keith St. Pierre, Bellbrook-Sugarcreek superintendent.

Local school districts — including Urbana, Xenia, Springboro, Troy, Bellbrook-Sugarcreek, Springfield, Huber Heights and Edgewood — have dealt with threats of school violence in the last year.

“People are absolutely concerned because Sandy Hook just happened, and before that there was Columbine and Chardon,” Tipp City Superintendent John Kronour said. “The media has a role in this. The more coverage there is, the more it gets our school in the news and kids know that.”

St. Pierre said communication in general has contributed to the spread of the breeding of these threats.

“There’s more attention (on school violence) because there are more ways to communicate, such as Facebook, Twitter, email, (etc.),” St. Pierre said. “And sometimes once (these threats) start, it’s hard to get it stopped. You stop it by catching these kids.”

In Tipp City on Wednesday, police arrested a middle school and high school student in connection with threats made at those schools in the last week.

The 14- and 15-year-old boys reportedly know each other, but it was unclear whether the threats were done individually. Both have been taken to the West Central Juvenile Detention Center, according to Tipp City Sgt. Detective Chris Graham.

Graham told parents Wednesday night that five notes were written and police believe the two students arrested wrote two of them. Kronour said they will continue to investigate who wrote the other three notes.

“We will continue through a heighten sense of security until we have everyone caught, but we’ll probably will never go back to the way it was. I don’t think you can,” said Kronour, adding police will continue to be present in the schools.

FBI Special Agent Tim Ferguson answered questions about dealing with threats such as these and commended the local police action.

“I think districts are being more vigilant,” Ferguson said. “The vast majority of these are school pranks and kids think it will get them out of school, but (officials) have to take them seriously.”

Troy Superintendent Eric Herman, who was dealing with two separate threats made this week at Troy High and Troy Junior High schools, said schools have to follow up on every threat until it is resolved. One student was arrested Wednesday afternoon, according to police.

“We’ve changed our security, tightened everything down even more, added more supervision,” Herman said. “When we get this type of threat, we just investigate it as fast as we can.”

Ferguson said contacting police immediately is the best route for any district. He added that getting the school resource officer and advisers together for a meeting to examine the evidence and assist police also is of great value.

Some parents at the Tipp City meeting said their children were scared and suggested the school provide some kind of counseling for students who need it.

“My son told me he didn’t want to die in school,” one woman said.

Kronour said he thinks threats of school violence such as these run in cycles, and have for many years.

“Back when I worked in Brookville (Local Schools) in the late ’80s, we had a number of bomb threats and we brought in the bomb squad,” Kronour said. “We took the threats as credible, but I don’t know if we put as much time and energy in then.

“It’s a difficult situation, but we don’t want to undue everything we have done in the district. We don’t want to live in fear.”

8-foot alligator found under conveyer belt in Florida

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 9:41 AM

Workers at Port Canaveral found an 8-foot gator hiding under a conveyor belt Friday.

Employees at Ambassador Services aren’t sure how the alligator ended up in the cargo area and on their jobsite.

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“They were walking parallel toward the conveyor, and they were just down toward the warehouse when they heard a hissing and snarling sound,” said Ambassador Services employee Mike Noyes. “They looked down to see what it was and they were nose-to-nose with about an 8-foot gator.” 

The animal didn’t make the capture an easy one.

Trappers couldn’t coax the alligator out of the cargo area, so a forklift operator had to lift the platform.

“We ended up having to take a forklift and lifting a platform and getting him to come out,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife trapper Frank Robb.

The gator was euthanized and removed from the work site with the same forklift.

The forklift operator said lifting an alligator was a first in his career.

NWS investigating reports of storm damage in Preble County

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 9:15 AM

A rental trailer can be seen laying on a car in the driveway of a home on Twin Twp. Road in Preble County Saturday morning. Contributed

The National Weather Service is investigating damage caused by strong storms Friday night in Preble County.

PHOTOS: Strong winds cause damage in Preble County 

A parked rental trailer fell on a car at a Preble County home on Twin Twp. Road, according to a caller into our newsroom. 

The same caller reports significant damage in the area and claims the side of a barn was ripped of during the storm. 

A spokesperson with the National Weather Service said the agency is investigating other calls it has received from Preble County. 

We are working to learn more about the extent of the damage and the number of people affected.

2 arrested for trying to force alligator to drink beer

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 10:20 PM

Violetastock/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Two men who admitted to blowing smoke into a young alligator’s mouth and pouring beer down its throat have been charged with harassing wildlife in Ridgeland, South Carolina.

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State Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Kyndel McConchie said Friday that 20-year-old Joseph Andrew Floyd Jr. and 21-year-old Zachary Lloyd Brown admitted to officers that they picked up the alligator after they saw it crossing the road.

McConchie said the two Ridgeland men also acknowledged posting photos of their actions on social media.

Authorities said Floyd told officers they released the alligator and watched it swim away in a nearby pond.

The misdemeanor charge of harassing wildlife carries a maximum fine of $300.

Person reportedly drowns in Mercer County lake

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 8:05 AM

Steve Baker/Staff

A person has reportedly drowned at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park in Mercer County, according to officials. 

Authorities tell WHIO's Steve Baker a person drowned in the lake near Montezuma around 2:30 a.m. 

Initial reports indicate a man went overboard while on a boat in the lake. 

A spokesperson with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources could not be reached for comment. 

Our crew will be attending a news conference in Mercer County scheduled for 9:30 a.m. 

We will continue to monitor and update this developing story.