Teacher accused of taking students to strip club

Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013 @ 9:22 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 @ 9:22 AM

An Indiana teacher allegedly decided to celebrate a student's birthday in highly inappropriate fashion. The now-suspended high school teacher is accused of taking some of his students to a local strip club to celebrate the occasion.

The 31-year-old is also suspected of  serving the students beer and hard liquor whenever they came over to "hang out" at his home.

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The chemistry teacher, Travis Lechien, has been teaching for the Hanover Community school district in northwest Indiana for a decade and has been on paid suspension since mid-September. 

School authorities were warned by another teacher about Lechien's habit of hanging out with his students outside of school and had also been hearing rumors circulating among students at Hanover Central High School about possibly inappropriate behavior. 

According to an affidavit, several of the students say they were pulled over by police officers on their drive back from the strip club with Lechien.

While one of the students did apparently tell officers that Lechien was their teacher, there is no evidence that Lechien was charged during that traffic stop.

Lechien was driving the car and had been pulled over for speeding.

All of the students are age 18 or younger and many have known the teacher since middle school. Lechien is now facing three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Each charge could carry a penalty of up to one year in prison. His attorney says he plans to enter a plea of not guilty on the charges when he appears at a hearing in November. 

Election 2017: Sinclair asks voters to renew $28-million levy

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 3:48 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 3:48 PM

Sinclair Community College.
Sinclair Community College.

Sinclair Community College is asking Montgomery County voters to continue providing 20 percent of the school’s funding.

Sinclair is seeking the renewal of an operating levy on the November ballot, meaning if Issue 4 passes, it would not raise taxes. The school has never had a levy fail and hopes voters renew the 10-year, 3.2 mill levy that generates around $28 million annually for the college.

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The levy, which is one of two Sinclair gets funding from, costs the owner of a $100,000 home around $98 per year.

RELATED: Sinclair Community College on the move: What’s really going on?

“This is a big deal for us because this is 20 percent of our funding,” president Steve Johnson said. “Sinclair has had a major levy supporting it since the mid 60s.”

The levy up for renewal on Nov. 7 does not expire until the end of 2018 so the community college will have another chance to get it renewed if it were to go down next month.

Sinclair’s 10-year levy allows the school to invest in daily operations of the downtown Dayton campus as well as provide discounted tuition for Montgomery County residents. The discount means Montgomery County students pay just over $99 per credit hour while students from other counties pay around $146 per credit hour.

The discount means Montgomery County residents pay the lowest tuition in the state to attend a community college, Sinclair officials have said. Sinclair is one of six community colleges in the state that receive some funding through a levy, Johnson said.

The money generated by the Montgomery County levy can only be used within the county, according to state law, meaning no levy revenue can be used at Sinclair’s locations in Warren or Greene counties.

RELATED: Sinclair to help train pilots for PSA airlines with new cadet program

But, a local group led by David Esrati said Montgomery County tax dollars are being used elsewhere.

In response to Issue 4, Esrati started an political action committee called “Reconstructing Dayton” and a website called Keep Sinclair Fair. The website encourages residents to vote against the renewal this fall.

“I’m sure they’re spending Montgomery County tax dollars in other counties. You can’t have a branch campus in Warren County and have all the support…all the things that go along with it,” Esrati said. “That is not covered for $47 extra a credit hour.”

It’s not fair, said Esrati, that Sinclair has locations in neighboring counties but that residents of those counties are not taxed.

He pointed to Sinclair ‘s interest in buying Far Hills Church on Clyo Road as evidence because it sits immediately next to Wilmington Pike, which serves as the Greene County line. Sinclair may convert the 100,000 square-foot church and the 40 acres it sits on into a new learning center for $6 million to $10 million.

RELATED: Kasich: 2-year schools meet workforce needs better than universities

Esrati called for all counties Sinclair has facilities in to be taxed since Montgomery County residents already pay for Sinclair. Sinclair has locations in Preble County, Warren County, a Wright-Patterson Air Force Base location split between Montgomery County and Greene County and a Huber Heights location that serves people from Miami, Montgomery and Greene counties. The location at the Air Force base only serves military personnel.

Levies are not needed in other counties because Sinclair’s operations are substantially smaller than in Montgomery County, Johnson said. Although Sinclair has the authority to put a tax levy on the ballot in Warren County, Johnson said county leaders do not think one is needed right now.

“If at some time the leaders of Warren County want to have a levy…and want to have lower tuition and they want to have more programs and a bigger campus and all that stuff we’d be interested in talking to them about that,” Johnson said. “But, at this point in time, you know, the very small, modest thing that it is, is what it is.”

Middletown-based Ohio veterans group spearheads skydiving event

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 6:10 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 6:11 PM


            Dave Reagan, of Centerville, skydives for the first time with an instructor from Start Skydiving in the skies above Middletown Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. Middletown-based non-profit Combat Outpost Robinson partnered with Start Skydiving to offer free tandem skydives to Ohio military veterans. CONTRIBUTED
Dave Reagan, of Centerville, skydives for the first time with an instructor from Start Skydiving in the skies above Middletown Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. Middletown-based non-profit Combat Outpost Robinson partnered with Start Skydiving to offer free tandem skydives to Ohio military veterans. CONTRIBUTED

A Middletown father is working to give veterans a chance to soar the same sky that was part of his son’s final goodbye.

James Robinson Sr., president and CEO of Combat Outpost Robinson, partnered his non-profit with Middletown’s Start Skydiving business to provide free tandem skydiving to a handful of Ohio veterans Sunday at Middletown Regional Airport.

The event is aligned with Combat Outpost Robinson’s mission help and support Ohio’s post 9/11 combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, Robinson said.

“(It) kind of brings back the camaraderie and brings back what they all did together whenever they was serving,” he said. “It’s an adrenaline-rush type of an event for them and it gets them back to what they was used to and it get them the help to talk with each other. It’s like a therapy between all of them.”

Robinson said it’s his hope that organizing such events will create a support group among veterans that attend Combat Outpost Robinson events and reduce the number of veteran suicides.

Formed in late 2016, Combat Outpost Robinson also offers help and support to the caregivers of those with PTSD or TBI.

All such efforts are being carried out in remembrance of Robinson’s son, Sgt. James C. Robinson Jr., 27, of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, who developed symptoms of PTSD during two tours of duty in Iraq before he was killed in Afghanistan in 2010 during this third tour of duty.

Robinson said running Combat Outpost Robinson and holding an event at the same airport that saw the skydiver-accompanied return of his son’s body is “like therapy.”

“And it’s … my way of paying it forward,” he said.

U.S. Navy veteran and 14-year Air Force reservist Dave Reagan, 44, of Centerville, a 14-year Air Force reservist with the 445th Airlife Wing out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, said being allowed to jump from a Cessna Caravan on Sunday was “a huge outreach initiative” on the part of Robinson’s group.

“Being in the military, being a veteran is all about service, so these guys are continuing to serve those of us who have served,” Reagan said. “(Skydiving) has been on my bucket list for a while … so this is a nice opportunity.”

U.S. Army and National Guard veteran Jay Winkleman, 46, of Springfield, said he previously went skydiving 14 times in the military, recreationally and once as part of Warrior Weekend to Remember.

“Being with the U.S. Veterans Motorcycle Club, we try to team up with organization’s like Jim’s because there’s so many about there that people don’t know about,” Winkleman said. “We like help getting the word out. We like to help scratch their backs (and) they’ll scratch our backs and support and get the word out about our events. It just means the world when the community comes out in great numbers … and that they still care, they still worry about our veterans.”

U.S. Navy veteran Donald Tucker, 57, of Wilmington, said he has enormous amount of respect for Combat Outpost Robinson and labeled the experience “a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“It was extremely cool,” Tucker said, he said, a broad smile breaking out across his face. “I had a great time. I’d recommend it for anybody.”

Jumping with fellow veterans is important because “that’s the only people they can relate to,” he said.

“They can talk to those guys — they’re brothers in arms — about stuff that they can’t talk to the general population about because people that’s never been there, they’ve got no clue what these guys have been through,” Robinson said. “They kind of bottle it up, keep it to themselves, so by them getting together at events like this … they’re creating friendships and bonds and they can tell their stories to each other where they would not be telling it to anybody else.

“That in and of itself is therapeutic.”

Some of U.S.’s most secretive work will be done in new NASIC building

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 12:58 PM

Huge hangar built at Wright-Patterson for study of foreign weapons

Tucked away off the main airfield and near a remote area of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, researchers will conduct some of the most secretive work of the spying agency in a new 58,000-square-foot building.

The massive $29.5 million National Air and Space Intelligence Center expansion was dedicated Friday, giving analysts a more technically advanced and much larger area to dissect adversaries weapons technology, officials say.

RELATED: Stealth bombers, test pilots, UFO rumors among Wright Patt’s first 100 years

“It’s a very hands-on mission, ” said Col. Sean P. Larkin, NASIC commander, who noted the foreign technology work began at the Army’s airplane engineering department at the old McCook Field in Dayton a century ago in 1917.

“We have a long heritage of doing this for 100 years,” he said. “Although we have great scientists, technicians and engineers whose secret weapon is math and who can fill in missing puzzle pieces using the laws of physics, it’s still incredibly helpful and insightful to have the hands-on access and exploitation of foreign weapon systems. We can learn from those and plow that back into our analysis.”

“If you really want to know what keeps the Air Force competitive, this is a big part of it right here,” said Maj. Gen. James R. Marrs, Air Force assistant deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The two-star general spoke to more than 200 people at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.

PHOTOS: 100 years of amazing science at Wright-Patterson

‘Staying ahead’ of China, Russia

“We’re staying ahead of our adversaries as China and Russia look to challenge the United States dominance,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, a House Armed Services Committee member. “This is a facility that allows us to understand what our adversaries are doing (and) ensuring we’re staying ahead.”

NASIC advises the nation’s highest leaders on air, space and cyber threats, including assessments of adversaries ballistic missile capabilities, such as North Korea.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the assessments NASIC generates can make the difference between war and peace,” said Loren B. Thompson, a Virginia-based senior defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, said in an email Friday. “NASIC not only analyzes what weapons an enemy has, but what weapons it is seeking to acquire, when those weapons will become available, and how they might be used.”

The intelligence agency has more than 3,100 employees and a budget of about $430 million.

Seventy employees will relocate into the new Haynes Hall — nearly tripling the size of the current facility which will double lab space — in early 2018, Larkin said. The current facility was meant to house 20 employees, but has three and half times that today.

The new addition will help secure NASIC’s future at Wright-Patterson, particularly as the Pentagon and congressional leaders have in recent weeks urged a new round of base closures and mission re-alignments, some said.

Congressional backing to build the expanded center quickly under an emergency funding provision showed “very strong support” for NASIC, said Michael Gessel, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of federal programs.

RELATED: More jobs coming to Wright-Patterson, officials say

“Those opportunities are there, and the outlook is good, but the defense and intelligence worlds are increasingly uncertain,” he said in a telephone interview from Arlington, Va. “I would say that the need for intelligence and the need for the work that NASIC does has never been greater and the work will have to be done and the work is expanding.”

The coalition worked with congressional lawmakers to secure the money, said Jeff Hoagland, DDC president and chief executive officer.

‘Flabbergasted, speechless’

The new building, dubbed Haynes Hall, is named after Foreign Materiels Exploitation test pilot Lt. William V. Haynes, a World War II aviator who died at Freeman Field, Ind., flying a demonstration of a German Focke-Wulf Fw 109D-9 fighter plane in front of aeronautical experts in September 1945, according to NASIC.

Haynes’nephew, Ed Bishop, 68, of Niceville, Fla, traveled to Wright-Patterson to see the building named after the uncle he never met.

“I was just flabbergasted, speechless,” the Air Force veteran said, when he learned it would be named for Haynes. “I was in tears … I thought it was going to be a little building off a hallway. I come to see this, it’s massive.”

The building is next to Watson Hall, named after Maj. Gen. Harold E. Watson, who was in charge of Operation LUSTY in 1945. That mission flew enemy aircraft to Wright Field in Dayton to find the secrets the planes held.

Haynes was among seven Army P-47 aviators, dubbed “Watson’s Whizzers” who flew captured Messerschmitt Me262 fighter jets from Germany to Cherbourg, France at the end of World War II in Europe. The planes were put on an aircraft carrier and shipped to Newark, N.J.

Roy W. Brown, 96, of Chillicothe, is the last surviving member of the group. Standing in NASIC’s new hangar Friday, he recalled piloting the German jet.

“We knew when we went into it that we were getting into something we’d never been in before and once we found it was flying the (German) planes, it was very interesting,” the retired Goodyear engineer said. “It was an easier plane to fly. It was more quiet and more responsive to the controls and it would do whatever you wanted it to do better than a P-47.”

NASIC’s new facility

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center will open a new Foreign Materiel Exploitation facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Here are a few facts about the new building and NASIC.

Name: Haynes Hall

Cost: $29.5 million

Size: 58,000 square feet

NASIC budget: $30 million

NASIC employees: 3,100

Pilot uninjured after plane flips on Greene Co. airport runway

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 4:22 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 5:57 PM

FROM THE SCENE: Small plane crashes in Greene Co.

UPDATE @ 6:15 p.m.

High winds played a role in the crash of a single-engine plane at Greene County's Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport Sunday, according to troopers. 

The plane's pilot was landing on the runway when wind gusts sent the two-seater aircraft onto its top. 

Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar reports wind gusts in the area of the airport registered as high as 22 mph earlier today. 

Graphic by Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar

Troopers told our crew the pilot was flying in from an airport near Bradford before crashing. 

The airport will reopen once crews clear the scene and remove the now upright plane from the runway.

UPDATE @ 5:52 p.m.

A pilot is uninjured after the plane he was landing crashed at a Greene County airport Sunday evening. 

Our crew at the scene reports the airport is closed while state troopers conduct an investigation and remove the plane from the runway. 

It is unknown what caused the crash first reported around 4 p.m. 

>> Greene County fatal plane crash report released

Pilots taking off from the airport earlier today have been instructed to land at Wright Brothers in Miami Twp. 

Our crew reports the small red plane was on its top when authorities arrived. 

We are working to learn what caused the crash and how long the airport will remain closed.

EARLIER REPORT

No one is injured following a reported plane crash at Greene County's Lewis A. Jackson Airport Sunday evening, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol dispatchers. 

Crews were sent to the reported crash on the runway around 4:05 p.m. 

>>Small plane crashes at takeoff at Greene County airport

Dispatchers said no injuries are reported and the plane is reportedly crashed on the airport runway. 

Troopers and Beavercreek fire crews are heading to the scene to assess the damage. 

We have a crew heading to the scene to learn more on this developing report.

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