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Superintendent gets glowing evaluation from Dayton school board

Published: Friday, October 27, 2017 @ 3:17 PM


            Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Rhonda Corr discusses the district’s state report card in September 2017. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF
Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Rhonda Corr discusses the district’s state report card in September 2017. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

Dayton’s school board gave Superintendent Rhonda Corr a glowing performance review for her first year with the district, just two months after the teachers union issued a vote of no confidence in Corr and the school board.

The evaluation does not give Corr a grade or rating, but it “applauds,” “commends,” and otherwise praises her actions on academics, busing and personnel a dozen times. The closest thing to a criticism is a note “encouraging” her to improve strategic communications.

RELATED: School board votes 6-0 to extend Corr’s contract

School board member John McManus said he produced early drafts of Corr’s evaluation that were more balanced with constructive criticism, but the full school board changed those drafts. Board member Joe Lacey said Corr’s strong focus on academic improvement was a reason for the change to a more positive evaluation.

DPS won multimillion-dollar grants in 2015-16 while improving busing, textbooks and student technology. But the district also was placed on OHSAA probation, had a messy labor fight with teachers and ranked second-last in Ohio on state test scores.

MORE: See candidates’ profiles in Voters Guide

Corr said this week that change takes time, but she is confident she has the right team in place, and that the district will see “significant gains in many areas this year.”

Navy filing homicide charges against 2 ship commanders

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 7:16 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 6:39 PM

Funeral services were Saturday in West Jefferson for Navy sailor Jacob Drake who was one of 10 sailors who died at sea last month in a ship crash aboard the USS John McCain. Video produced by Barrie Barber.

The Navy says it is filing negligent homicide charges against the commanders of two ships involved in fatal collisions last year.

The USS John S. McCain collision resulted in the death of Champaign County sailor Jacob Drake. Drake was a Petty Officer 2nd class.

The charges are to be presented at what the military calls an Article 32 hearing, which will determine whether the accused are court-martialed.

The actions, including charges against several lower-ranking officers, were announced Tuesday by the Navy's chief spokesman, Capt. Greg Hicks.

Friends, family gather for funeral of Jacob Drake 

WATCH: Jacob Drake procession

Hicks says the decision to file charges was made by Adm. Frank Caldwell, head of the Navy's nuclear reactors program, who reviewed evidence of what caused the collisions. The USS Fitzgerald collided with a commercial ship in waters off Japan in June, killing seven sailors. Ten sailors were killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asia in August.

NEW DETAILS: Witness saw husband, wife before her death, sheriff says

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:45 PM

NEW DETAILS: Witness saw husband, wife before her death, sheriff says

Investigators believe they have witnesses who can place a husband at the scene where his wife was found dead in a car, Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said Tuesday.

Randy Freels faces a charge of one count of murder in the death of his wife, Samantha Freels, 52, who was found in a wrecked car with a gunshot wound Friday.

Bail for Randy Freels, 57, was set at $1.5 million Tuesday in Miami County Municipal Court. He pleaded not guilty.

EARLIER: Miami County woman found dead, husband held

Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell asked Judge Gary Nasal to set “a substantial cash bond as high as the court is willing to give. This is based on his conduct and the charge itself.”

Duchak said a check of available department records to 2010 did not show any sheriff’s office calls to the Freels’ residence.

WATCH: Husband gets $1.5M bond in death of Samantha Freels. Randy Freels has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of his wife who was found inside her car last Friday.

One of the witnesses told investigators she stopped on Ohio 55 around 2:50 p.m. Jan. 12 to ask a man and woman in the road if they needed assistance, then heard “six to eight popping sounds” a short time later after pulling into her nearby driveway, according to a sheriff’s office report.

The witness said the woman “appeared nervous and the male did not make eye contact with her and did not speak,” according to the report. The witness, after viewing a photograph, said she believed the woman was Samantha Freels of Union Twp.

MORE: Suspect in 30-hour standoff demanded ‘thousands’ in cash from 10-year-old boy’s mother

Emergency crews were called just after 3 p.m. Friday for a report of a car into a creek in the area of Ohio 55 and Elleman Road — near where the woman had encountered the couple earlier.

Investigators initially thought the driver, Samantha Freels, died because of the crash but later found she had a gunshot wound.

A sheriff’s investigator at the scene noticed a “fresh bullet hole” on the vehicle’s trunk lid.

Randy Freels was arrested Friday evening at the couple’s home on South Rangeline Road.

Duchak said Tuesday that the investigation continues after a search of a car driven by Samantha Freels, a truck also found near the crash scene and registered to Samantha Freels and the Rangeline Road, Ludlow Falls, residence.

The sheriff said numerous weapons were found in the search of the home, including long rifles and pistols. He did not have an exact number but said it would be “in excess of 40.”

“We have several witnesses we believe will place him at the scene,” Duchak said Tuesday.

Samantha Freels was employed as a digital sales specialist for Cox Media Group Ohio, the parent company of WHIO-TV and Dayton Daily News.

Woman killed after house catches fire, explodes in Fairborn identified

Published: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 10:57 AM
Updated: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:03 AM

Woman who died in Fairborn fire identified

UPDATE @ 10:52 a.m. (Jan. 16):

The woman killed in a Fairborn house fire Monday has been identified as Nola O’Daniel, 71, of Fairborn, according to the Greene County Coroner’s Office.

Nola O'Daniel pictured on the left with a co-worker from the St. Francis Thrift Store at a Christmas party several years ago. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

O’Daniel had worked at the St. Francis Thrift Store in Fairborn for more than a decade, people who knew her said.

“Yesterday, when we heard the news, there was a lot of crying,” said Jackie Fahsnestock, who still works at the thrift store. “She had such a good heart, cared about everyone and she was funny.”

INITIAL REPORT

One woman was killed after her Fairborn home caught fire and exploded Monday morning.

TRENDING: 7 things to know about 30-hour hostage standoff in Liberty Twp. 

Firefighters responded to the 400 block of Forest Street around 10:50 a.m. after being flooded with calls about heavy smoke conditions from the fire, according to initial reports. 

Before their arrival, neighbors who heard the explosion and saw the smoke attempted to rescue the woman by creating a human chain to enter the home. 

“Everyone in the neighborhood ran toward the home trying to help the woman and protect her family from this kind of loss”, said neighbor Cathy Sheward.

Unfortunately, their efforts were unsuccessful due to the smoke being unbearable. 

While on scene, fire crews attempted to clear the smoke by cutting holes in the roof which prompted a search confirming the woman was inside the home, per officials. 

Crews did experience another explosion during the search, but there are no reports of injuries as a result. 

The Greene County Coroner’s office arrived shortly after the woman was pronounced dead on scene.

The identification of the woman is being withheld at this time until family has been notified. 

We will continue to update this story as details become available. 

Forest Street fire in Fairborn
House fire on Forest Street, Fairborn, Jan. 15, 2018. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

Gun stolen in Miami Twp. store break-in

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:09 PM

WATCH: Surveillance video released in Miami Armory breakin

The Miami Township Police Department is investigating a break-in that occurred early Monday morning at the Miami Armory on Kingsridge Drive. 

RELATED: See more trending stories on WHIO.com

According to police an alarm was triggered at 6:28 a.m. Monday and when officers arrived they found the front window of the business smashed.

After reviewing surveillance footage officers say four people entered the building and one weapon is missing from the store. 

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Police have not made any arrests and if you have any information regarding this crime you are asked to call Detective Nienhaus at 937-433-2815.