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Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 6:56 AM
Trotwood’s Madison Park Elementary was one of nine schools in Ohio to be named a High Progress School of Honor by the Ohio Department of Education for 2016-17.
This honor goes to schools that meet certain state report card markers on test proficiency and gap closing while serving a student population that is at least 40 percent economically disadvantaged.
Madison Park currently serves only students in grades 2 and 3, so all of the state test data comes from third grade, the first year that students take Ohio’s state tests. Madison Park received a “D” in achievement, but a “C” in K-3 Literacy and a “B” in gap closing, which measures whether each subgroup of students (by race, economics, disability, etc.) narrowed achievement gaps when compared with the student body as a whole.
“It says the things we have in place are really starting to take hold and they’re working,” Superintendent Kevin Bell said of the honor. “That’s actual evidence that achievement gaps are closing.”
Madison Park saw third-grade reading proficiency go from 25.9 percent in 2015-16 to 50.5 percent in 2016-17. In third-grade math, the school improved from 38.5 percent to 57.5 percent proficiency.
“All children can learn and thrive, and these schools are supporting their students with the innovative practices that are closing achievement gaps,” said state superintendent Paolo DeMaria. “Congratulations to these teachers and administrators for making a real difference in the lives of their students.”
On the whole, Trotwood’s district report card was poor in 2016-17, ranking last out of Ohio’s 608 school districts in performance index, the most complete measure of test performance. The district got F’s in Achievement and Student Progress and is at risk of state takeover this summer if results from spring 2018 state tests don’t improve.
“We have great confidence and faith in what our staff is doing here,” Bell said last month. “Ultimately I realize in a ranking system somebody has to fall last, but that doesn’t define us. You know, the state tests don’t really say who we are.”
Bell said Trotwood is doing heavy academic interventions concerning literacy, which he called a weak point. It has also expanded after-school academic programs, with busing offered to all.
“We want you to stay, get any extra help you need, and then we’re going to drive you home afterward,” Bell said. “It’s a no-excuses kind of mindset.”
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 4:30 AM
FAIRFIELD — A Butler County restaurant that touted its “low and slow” wood-smoked barbecue has closed.
Butt Shack BBQ & Grill, 500 Wessel Drive in Fairfield, shut its doors earlier this month. The restaurant took its name from the shoulder of a pig, referred to as Boston butt or pork butt.
Andy Castle, a 1995 Fairfield High School graduate, started Butt Shack in Hamilton County’s New Baltimore in 2012, then moved to Greenhills in 2013 and Fairfield in late 2016, replacing Symmes Tavern, which closed a few months earlier.
“The opportunity to move our low and slow smoked BBQ restaurant from Greenhills to our hometown in Fairfield was a dream come true, which makes today bittersweet,” Castle said in a message posted to the restaurant’s website and its Facebook page. “With a heavy heart, we sadly announce that Butt Shack BBQ & Grill is closed. We’d like to thank our staff, our family and countless others that supported us. It’s been our pleasure to serve this community.”
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 7:03 AM
WINTHROP, Mass. — While Boston is very rich in history and culture, most people don't expect to find artifacts dating from the 1800s inside the walls of their homes.
Nick Murphy was one of those people, until he began to renovate his parents' home in Winthrop and found glimpses to the past hiding in the ceiling.
Some of the items Murphy found included door hinges, a comb and personal items such as letters and a dance card.
"I started pulling the ceiling down and I noticed newspaper clippings coming down with it," said Murphy.
One of the items, a dance card, was written out when Chester Arthur was president of the United States.
"1884, this was held by somebody who was actually going to attend a ball," said Murphy.
Another letter, decades apart from the dance card, was written in 1942 and details the interactions between a brother and a sister.
"That letter is from the World War II era and it’s between a brother and a sister," said Murphy. The sister's name is Edith and that's who it is addressed to. It’s talking about getting Edith out of WW2 and out of the navy and it talks about the impending surrender of the Germans and the Japanese."
Murphy says he doesn't know if these items belonged to people who once lived in his parents' home, but know these items all come with a story that he hopes will live on.
"For us, it’s this preserved piece of history, but for them it was their actual day to day life - it was just interesting to find it," said Murphy.
Murphy says that after he's done with renovating the room, his next project will be to frame up all those items and hang them on the walls of that room as a tribute.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 8:17 AM
MIDDLETOWN — Middletown police are continuing to look for Julie Kakaris, who told her father via phone messages that she was being held against her will.
Officers were called to the residence of Kakaris’ father on Tuesday afternoon on a report that she was possibly being held against her will at an apartment complex.
Paul Bilunka said he received messages from his daughter last Monday that two to three men were holding her in an apartment and forcing her to do drugs, according to the police report. She asked him to pick her up because she was scared, but in a later conversation she asked him not to do so.
Officers checked possible locations for Kakaris on Tuesday and have been checkout leads ever since, according to Major Scott Reeve.
“We have knocked on doors and talked to people, but we haven’t found her,” Reeve said. “We are concerned.”
Four other women with similar backgrounds remain missing from Middletown. The police department has enlisted the help the the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to locate the women or leads on their whereabouts.
The four women missing from Middletown are:
• Brandy English, 41, missing May 11, 2016 from Middletown
• Amber Flack, 30, missing Sept. 1, 2016 from Middletown
• Melinda (Oney) Miller, 47, missing Feb. 19, 2017 from Middletown
• Michelle Burgan, 47, missing May 16, 2017 from Middletown
Additionally, two others missing along the I-75/71 corridor could be connected.
• Amber Whitmer, 30, missing June 6, 2016 from Springfield
• Chelsey Coe, 25, reported missing in August from Miamisburg
Reeve said in recent weeks Middletown detectives have traveled to Jacksonville, Fla. and and Louisville, Ky. following leads on English, but had not luck finder her.
“It is difficult and frustrating trying to find these ladies because the don’t have a permanent address and have a lifestyles that makes them vulnerable,” Reeve said.
Reeve said all the women are adults with a history of drug abuse, and some were homeless and had a history of prostitution.
Detectives said it is possible English’s disappearance could be related to Lindsay Bogan, who went missing from Middletown two years ago and whose skeletal remains were found more than a year ago in a field on a Madison Twp. farm. Her death remains unsolved.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 7:53 AM
— Three local barbecue purveyors — one a restaurant, one that focuses on catering special events, and one a mail-order barbecue-sauce-and-rubs company founded by a local restaurant chef — collected some impressive hardware and awards at the National Barbecue & Grilling Association 2018 Awards of Excellence announced late last week and over the weekend.
Company 7 BBQ in Englewood captured 1st place in the all-purpose beef rub category for its “Rescue Rub.” The category drew 45 entries from throughout the country.
UrbanQ Smokehouse, a Waynesville-based mail-order company in its first year that sells sauces and rubs to backyard barbecue enthusiasts, won a first-place “People’s choice” award for its Smokehouse Blues BBQ sauce. It also placed third in the “Fruit-Based Sauce” category for its Smokehouse Blues sauce, and sixth in the beef-rub category for its “It’s All About the Meats & More” seasoning.
UrbanQ Smokehouse was founded in recent months by Chris Cavender and his family. Cavender oversees 1572 Roadhouse Bar-B-Q on the grounds of the Ohio Renaissance Festival near Waynesville. For more information or to shop for rubs and sauces, go www.urbanqsmokehouse.com.
Historic BBQ based in Lebanon captured second place for “Best Label” for its BBQ Sweet Zing, and fifth place in the fruit-based sauce category for the same Sweet Zing sauce, and it also captured third place in the “Tomato/Spicy” sauce category for its Historic BBQ Spicy sauce.
Historic BBQ caters parties, festivals, corporate events, luncheons, graduations, birthdays and other events. For more information and to see a menu, go to historicbbq.com/catering.
The first-place award for Company 7 was warmly received by the founders of the restaurant located at 1001 S. Main St. (Ohio 48) in Englewood.
RELATED: Local BBQ restaurant wins a 1st-place award in national competition (December 2016)
“Rescue Rub is one of our best secrets — we use it in almost all our dishes,” said Mary Grilliot, co-founder of Company 7. “It works well with pork, chicken, turkey, fish, almost any meat. It is equally delicious on sides, eggs, gravies — again almost anything and you can buy Rescue Rub for your use at home. HOWEVER, one word of caution: Rescue Rub is very powerful, so start seasoning with a restrained hand. One bottle of Rescue Rub will last you a long time, even though you will find yourself using it on most dishes.”
Grilliot said her family has been developing Rescue Rub for more than 30 years.
“It is wonderful to see it nationally recognized,” she said.
RELATED: Local BBQ restaurant wins national acclaim for its sauces (July 2015)