Franklin approves police officer in schools and is already considering expanding the program

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 5:00 AM

Franklin City Schools was dinged on its last state audit for 2016-17 due to a miscalculation of its retirement pension liability by one of its vendors. The error has been corrected. ED RICHTER/STAFF A former Franklin City Schools employee was indicted Feb. 2 by a Warren County grand jury for having sexual contact with two students under 16 years of age. ED RICHTER/STAFF Franklin City Schools recently received a top ranking by the state for its pre-school operation. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Staff Writer
Franklin City Schools was dinged on its last state audit for 2016-17 due to a miscalculation of its retirement pension liability by one of its vendors. The error has been corrected. ED RICHTER/STAFF A former Franklin City Schools employee was indicted Feb. 2 by a Warren County grand jury for having sexual contact with two students under 16 years of age. ED RICHTER/STAFF Franklin City Schools recently received a top ranking by the state for its pre-school operation. ED RICHTER/STAFF(Staff Writer)

Students at Franklin High and Junior High schools will be seeing a school resource officer starting next fall.

Following a lengthy discussion Monday during its monthly work session, Franklin’s school board adopted a resolution, contingent on review of the board’s attorney, to enter a partnership with the Warren County Educational Services Center to contract with the City of Franklin for a school resource officer.

However, the board also reserved the right to expand that to a full-time position that would service all of Franklin’s school buildings inside the city limits. Hunter Elementary School is in Franklin Twp., which is patrolled by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

MORE: Exclusive: Dozens of local students shared their security concerns with officials in a very unique way

Superintendent Michael Sander said WCESC has said it was going to hire an SRO for its learning centers with or without the participation of Franklin schools.

The decision came as school security has continued to be a dominant topic nationwide in the wake of shootings at a Parkland, Fla. high school last month. Franklin’s decision is the latest in the area to address security concerns or communicate security upgrades to the community.

“School safety is our number one priority” Sander said.

Under the proposal, Franklin schools and the WCESC would each pay 37.5 percent of the costs for an SRO to be assigned to both city schools and the WCESC’s two learning centers, with the city covering the other 25 percent. After the nine-month school year, the SRO would patrol city streets during the summer months. All three entities would cover the one-time costs for uniforms and a cruiser.

MORE: Franklin schools will consider adding a police officer in the high school after more than a decade

Sander said that for the first year, it would cost each of the districts between $47,662 and $55,794. Sander said costs go down in the second year to between $35,994 and $44,126 for the officer’s salary and benefits. If the district were to exercise its option for an SRO of its own, it would be responsible for 75 percent of the costs as well as the other start-up costs.

At the board’s Feb. 26 meeting, some school board members asked for additional information and options for hiring private armed guards for school security. Except for Dayton Public Schools, Sander said school districts in southwest Ohio that have SROs use local police or sheriff’s personnel and that the hourly rate for a police officer is close to what an armed guard would cost.

Sander also pointed out that a police SRO also has a radio to call for assistance from other officers and that they have arrest powers, which a private armed guard would not. He said the central office and the principals would have the SRO’s cell phone number for immediate response without having to use the dispatch center.

MORE: What Franklin schools are doing about security, including a possible armed addition

During the board’s discussion, some members were not sure if the shared SRO was enough as that officer would be stretched to some degree and wondered if the district should have its own.

“I believe it would be better to have an SRO of our own,” said Board member Lori Raleigh. “We have to decide if we want this or not.”

MORE: What Franklin schools are doing about security, including a possible armed addition

Board member Rachel Ruppert-Wolfinbarger said the district would have to identify where the funds would come from the budget. “I want to make sure we’re not missing out on an opportunity (with the WCESC),” she said.

Sander said if the district opted to go with a full-time SRO, there would have to be offsets in the budget, but it would not impact staff.

MORE: Exclusive: Dozens of local students shared their security concerns with officials in a very unique way

The board will receive additional budget information at its March 26 meeting and will determine if it will stay with the WCESC partnership or hire a full-time SRO.

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Isolated showers early, lingering clouds make for breezy afternoon

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 5:36 AM

Isolated showers this morning with temperatures rising heading into the afternoon. Lingering clouds will make for a breezy day, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydghas. 

>>Dayton Air Show forecast

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST:

  • Few passing showers or storms today
  • Breezy at times this afternoon
  • Heat and humidity return next week

>>WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Today: Mostly cloudy with a few isolated showers around in the morning. Temperatures will be rising out of the 60s. Clouds will linger through the day and become breezy. As an area of low pressure departs to the northeast, the flow wrapping around the low may spark a few passing showers or an isolated storm this afternoon. Highs expected in the upper 70s. Drying out later tonight with some breaks in the clouds. Overnight temperatures will drop into the lower 60s.

>>LISTEN: Dayton Air Show Chance of Podcast

Sunday: Partly sunny and warm with the slight chance of a passing shower. Most of the area will remain dry with highs in the lower 80s.

Monday: Sun and a few clouds, dry with highs in the lower 80s.

Tuesday:  Partly cloudy and warmer. Humidity will slowly begin to climb with highs in the middle 80s. Chance of a few showers may develop into the evening and night.

>>Moon and Jupiter close this weekend

Wednesday: Partly sunny skies with showers and a few storms developing. A very warm and muggy day with temperatures climbing into the upper 80s.

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Gulf grows between Trump and Congress on trade

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 5:15 AM

As President Donald Trump this week threatened $200 billion in new tariffs on Chinese imports, and then warned Europe that he would slap a 20 percent tariff on imported automobiles, members of both parties Congress accused the administration of starting a trade war which could cause collateral economic damage across the United States.

The differences were on display at a hearing Wednesday with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who took a bipartisan tongue lashing on a recent round of tariffs levied on imported steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and Europe.

“We’re picking winners and losers,” argued Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who said those tariffs were already hurting businesses in his home state.

“Probably resulting – in my view – in far more jobs being lost than being gained,” Toomey told Ross, citing a very well-known Pennsylvania company that could find it less expensive to move jobs from the U.S. to Canada.

Almost every Senator on the panel had a story of a small business that was feeling the pinch due to Trump Administration tariffs, impacting all sorts of agricultural products, as well as manufacturing, big and small.

“Do you think we’re in a trade war right now?” asked Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). “Because I do,” as Cantwell rattled off farm products that were losing markets because of retaliatory tariff measures.

Ross downplayed the cost of higher imported steel and aluminum, basically making the case that economic hardships were being overplayed.

“It’s a fraction of a penny on a can of Campbell’s soup, it’s a fraction on a can of Budweiser, it’s a fraction on a can of Coke,” Ross said.

That did not please the Senator from the state of Coca-Cola.

“Although a couple of pennies on a can is not much, a couple pennies times a billion is lots,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

“We’re hit harder than any other state by the Canadian retaliatory tariffs,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), warning the Trump Administration against tariffs on imported automobiles, as GOP Senators labeled such actions a tax on consumers.

“Steel prices are going up – not just for foreign steel subject to tariffs, but also for U.S. steel,” complained Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

“Mexico’s buying their wheat from Argentina and their corn from Brazil,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), as he told Ross that Kansas wheat exports were encountering troubles because of new retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, bringing bad economic news on the farm report.

Ross simply told Senators if other countries put new tariffs on U.S. exports, that was out of his control.

“We have no control over what another country does in retaliation,” Ross said.

The bipartisan complaints clearly had no impact, as by Friday, President Trump was on Twitter, issuing new threats against European auto imports.

As Democrats registered their opposition, they also couldn’t help but note the oddity of a Republican President going against what’s been a bedrock belief of the GOP.

“I feel like I’ve gone down a rabbit hole,” said Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO), who said she found it hard to believe the party of free trade now had a President in office who was doing the exact opposite.

“In a chaotic and frankly incompetent manner, you’re picking winners and losers,” McCaskill told Ross.

But for the President, this is about re-setting trade deals, which he says were tilted against the United States.

“As far as trade is concerned with other countries, we want fair and reciprocal trade, we don’t want stupid trade like we had for so long,” the President said at a rally in Minnesota.

“Remember the world reciprocal,” Mr. Trump said. “We have been ripped off by almost every country on Earth, our friends and our enemies.”

“But those days are over,” the President said to cheers from the crowd.

But while they’re cheering Mr. Trump on the stump, at the U.S. Capitol, they’re worried about a trade war.

“We’re getting into a war that’s going to cost lots of billions of dollars,” Isakson warned.

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Grass poisoning could be cause for 'drunk' kangaroos, veterinarians say

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 4:37 AM

Kangaroos in Australia have been affected by canary grass, veterinarians said.
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
Kangaroos in Australia have been affected by canary grass, veterinarians said.(VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Veterinarians in Australia are conducting tests to determine whether kangaroos that appear to be drunk have actually suffered neurological damage because of a strain of grass, The Guardian reported.

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The veterinarians, from the University of Melbourne, said Phalaris aquatica -- a common pasture crop in central Victoria -- have caused the suffering among eastern gray kangaroos, the Guardian reported. Wildlife officials said the kangaroos were suffering from Phalaris “staggers,” which is common among sheep and cattle that graze in Australia.

“A kangaroo with full-blown toxicity is just horrible,” Manfred Zabinskas from Five Freedoms Animal Rescue told Guardian Australia. “Their head flies around like they have got a broken neck; they summersault; they crash into fences and trees … they look like they are drunk.”

Phalaris, also known as canary grass, is a tall grass common to southeastern Australia. Some farmers have avoided planting the species because the “staggers” can cause heart failure among animals, the Guardian reported.

In domestic animals, the condition can be controlled by adding copper into their diet. But in kangaroos, the condition is believed to be irreversible, the Guardian reported.

“The kindest thing to do is to euthanize them,” Zabinskas said.

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Superman trades cape for badge: Dean Cain sworn in as reserve police officer in Idaho

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 4:02 AM

Actor Dean Cain was sworn in as a reserve police officer in Idaho.
Rich Polk/Getty Images for Variety
Actor Dean Cain was sworn in as a reserve police officer in Idaho.(Rich Polk/Getty Images for Variety)

Superman has changed uniforms.

>> Read more trending news

Actor Dean Cain, who played the Man of Steel in the show “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” was recently sworn in as a reserve officer in Idaho, Fox News reported.

Cain, 51, was sworn in as a reserve for the St. Anthony Police Department, Fox News reported. The Idaho State Police tweeted the news Tuesday, showing a series of photos of the swearing-in ceremony.

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