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Dayton school board quiet on Corr, task force issue

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 9:42 PM


            Dayton’s school board meets Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. From left are Vice President John McManus, President William Harris, Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli and board member Shelia Taylor. (Jeremy P. Kelley/Staff)
Dayton’s school board meets Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. From left are Vice President John McManus, President William Harris, Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli and board member Shelia Taylor. (Jeremy P. Kelley/Staff)

Dayton’s newly seated school board on Tuesday hired a security director and moved to appraise several properties that could be for sale, but there was little discussion of two big issues facing the district.

Rhonda Corr update

Beverly Meyer, the attorney whose report was key to Superintendent Rhonda Corr being placed on paid leave, met with school board members and DPS attorney Jyllian Bradshaw in a closed executive session Tuesday night.

RELATED: No decision on ousted superintendent’s hearing

Bradshaw would not comment on whether the executive session was about Corr. Asked about the district disciplinary process for the exiled superintendent, Bradshaw said hearings were “in the process of being rescheduled,” the same answer she gave last month.

David Duwel, one of Corr’s attorneys, confirmed there had been no official change in her case.

Facilities task force

Two speakers criticized the school district for trying to hold meetings of its facilities task force in private.

“I feel as if our board is moving in a direction without any type of engagement from our community,” DPS parent Cameron Walker said. “You shake your heads, nod and smile, and then you make decisions that really have a negative impact on the students and our community.”

RELATED: Task force leaders discuss group’s future

There was no scheduled discussion of the task force Tuesday night . School board member Karen Wick-Gagnet said there has been no additional movement by the task force, which disbanded its first meeting before it began after a dispute over public access.

Wick-Gagnet said asking school board members to take a stand on whether the meetings should be open or closed “is not appropriate right now” because the situation is pending.

Board action

The school board approved a new three-year contract with DPS’ clerical employees union. The district has now reached agreement with nine of its 11 bargaining units. Still operating under expired contracts from last year are bus drivers and the Building and Construction Trades Council.

The board promoted Richard Wright II from associate director to executive director of safety and security, replacing Jamie Bullens, who resigned in December. Wright has been with DPS for just over four years.

RELATED: DPS focuses on academics, long-term vision

Also Tuesday, as DPS continues to evaluate its facilities, the board approved a $13,700 contract to appraise the market value of five district sites — Gardendale, Longfellow, the former Patterson-Kennedy, district headquarters downtown, and two buildings across from headquarters on Ludlow Street.

Procedural issues

With four new members, including William Harris as president, the school board has talked about the need to make DPS meetings more efficient. The board just eliminated its once-a-month strategic planning meetings and is also trying to shorten its remaining two monthly meetings, which have lasted as long as four hours.

But that led to objections from school board member Sheila Taylor. Harris interrupted a pair of consultants making a long presentation on DPS’ student technology, asking the pair to wrap up and share the rest of their information with the district’s technology department.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Top Ohio, Dayton education stories of 2017

Taylor told Harris she “totally disagreed” with his decision, saying it went beyond efficiency and was not “community friendly.”

“If we have a presentation that we’ve been waiting on for quite some time, then I feel that’s what I’m here for, to hear it,” Taylor said after the 30-minute presentation. “Many dollars were invested in this consultation and it was also the topic of several meetings.”

The board had to re-do a vote on one recurring monthly issue after two members misunderstood board practice on teacher resignations.

RELATED: Relaxed graduation standards may be extended

Taylor also complained about the school board consolidating all of its personnel, contract and financial items into a single “consent agenda” vote, saying that should be a matter for board discussion. Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said the move is a time-saver, and emphasized that board members can call for any item to be pulled out of the consent agenda for a separate vote.

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Fire severely damages home north of St. Paris

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 11:25 AM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 12:11 PM

Bill Lackey/Staff
Bill Lackey/Staff

UPDATE @ 12:10 p.m.: 

A couple was able to safely evacuate their home after a fire broke out Friday morning. 

TRENDING: Noblesville, Indiana middle school shooting: 2 injured, 1 in custody

The home on North Heck Hill Road suffered extensive damage in the blaze, according to our crew on the scene. 

There have been no immediate reports of injuries. 

Crews are blocking North Heck Hill Road near Millerstown-Eris Road to battle the blaze. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

FIRST REPORT

Fire crews have reported heavy smoke and flames coming from a house on North Heck Hill Road, north of St. Paris in Champaign County Friday morning. 

Several fire crews were dispatched to the house in the 2500 block of North Heck Hill Road, near Millerstown-Eris Road, after the fire was reported around 11:10 a.m. 

It was not immediately known if the structure is believed to be occupied or vacant. 

Initial reports indicate fire crews are fighting the fire defensively. 

We have a crew on the way and we’ll update this page as we learn more. 

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Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million vehicles over cruise control issue

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 11:52 AM

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million vehicles over an issue that could prevent drivers from turning off cruise control. Models affected include the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, model years 2014-2018.
Joe Raedle, Getty Images
Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million vehicles over an issue that could prevent drivers from turning off cruise control. Models affected include the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, model years 2014-2018.(Joe Raedle, Getty Images)

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million vehicles that could prevent drivers from turning off the cruise control function.

>> Read more trending news

The cruise control could become dangerous when an affected car accelerates under cruise control, like when trying to climb up a hill, Fiat Chrysler officials told CNN. This could cause the car to become locked in cruise control, and the driver might not be able to tap the breaks or hit the designated switch to turn it off.

One incident related to this issue has been reported to Fiat Chrysler, but there have been no reported injuries. 

Affected car owners are told to stop using the cruise control function immediately until the vehicle can be repaired, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated in a press release.

If this issue happens while driving, the NHTSA said drivers might be able to stop the vehicle by pushing the break pedal and placing the vehicle in park once it is stopped. Drivers could also shift the transmission to neutral or forcefully apply the manual break and place the car in park once it has stopped. 

Fiat Chrysler officials are asking owners of the recalled vehicles to bring them to a dealership for a software update.

The models covered under the recall include:

• 2015-17 Chrysler 200 sedan

• 2014-18 Chrysler 300 sedan

• 2014-18 Dodge Charger sedan 

• 2014-18 Dodge Durango SUV 

• 2014-18 Dodge Journey crossover 

• 2014-18 Jeep Cherokee SUV 

• 2014-18 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV 

• 2014-18 Ram 2500 pickup 

• 2014-18 Ram 3500 cab chassis 

• 2014-18 Ram 3500 pickup 

• 2014-18 Ram 4500/5500 cab chassis

• 2014-19 Ram 1500 pickup 

• 2015-18 Dodge Challenger coupe 

• 2017-18 Chrysler Pacifica minivan 

• 2018 Jeep Wrangler 

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22-year-old uses ‘odd’ strategy to win $2 million on lotto scratch off

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 11:57 AM

A 22-year-old won $2 million on a Diamond Dazzler scratch-off ticket. (Photo: Michigan Lottery)
A 22-year-old won $2 million on a Diamond Dazzler scratch-off ticket. (Photo: Michigan Lottery)

A 22-year-old man whose strategy is to only play odd-numbered scratch off tickets, won $2 million from the Michigan Lottery’s Diamond Dazzler game.

>> Read more trending news

The player, who wanted to remain anonymous, took the lump-sum payout of $1.3 million Wednesday, according to lottery officials

“Winning this much money at my age gives me endless opportunities if I’m smart about how I spend it, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” he said.

The win came from the player’s odd strategy. 

He walked into the Busatti Party Store and asked the clerk what number the ticket was on his favorite game, the Diamond Dazzler. 

“Twenty-one,” she replied. 

He had to have it. He scratched the $20 ticket off in the store and saw it was a winner. He looked at the clerk then at his friend who was with him before running out to his car.

He plans to buy a new vehicle and invest the rest. 

More than $72 million in prizes remain, including two $2 million top prizes.

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Rape victim wins $1 billion verdict in civil suit against security company

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 2:11 AM

Rape Victim Wins $1 Billion Verdict Against Security Company

A Georgia rape victim was awarded a $1 billion settlement verdict Tuesday by a Clayton County jury in a civil lawsuit, according to court documents.

Hope Cheston, who is now 20 years old, sued a security company whose employee, Brandon Lamar Zachary, was convicted of rape and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The rape occurred in October 2012 when Cheston was 14. 

Hope Cheston, who is now 20 years old, sued a security company whose employee, Brandon Lamar Zachary (pictured), was convicted of rape and sentenced to 20 years in prison.(Clayton County Sheriff's Office)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s policy is to not name rape victims, but Cheston has chosen to speak out after the verdict. 

“Sexual assault is sexual assault,” Cheston said at a news conference Wednesday. “It’s not right, and it needs to be punished.”

She said the verdict was a pleasant surprise that validates her struggles and emotional pain.

>> Read more trending news 

“For the longest (time), I thought it would be pushed under the rug and no longer mattered ... but come to find out 12 strangers feel like what I went through and my story and how I feel six years later is worth a billion dollars,” Cheston said.

She originally filed the civil suit against the apartment complex, HACC Pointe South Inc., the property management company, Hammond Residential Group, Inc., and the security company, Crime Prevention Agency Inc.

HACC Pointe South Inc. and Hammond Residential Group Inc. were eventually dismissed from the suit.

The State Court of Clayton County ruled in Cheston’s favor against the security company, handing her the huge settlement, according to a statement from her attorney. 

“This is a huge victory for women,” Cheston’s attorney, Chris Stewart, said at the news conference.

Stewart said Crime Prevention Agency Inc. has since changed its name to International Security Agency Inc., which he said has prompted a subsequent lawsuit.

“You can’t change names or try to hide from your responsibility,” Stewart said.

Zachary, who is now 28, was arrested on charges of rape, statutory rape and child molestation, according to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office. 

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