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Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 12:12 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 5:47 PM
DAYTON — Good Samaritan Hospital looms large over northwest Dayton, and news of its planned closure this year sent shockwaves Wednesday through the community and halls of government.
The city, which only learned hours before Wednesday’s announcement about the hospital’s closure, is concerned about possible disinvestment in the area when it shuts down, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.
But Premier Health deserves credit for contracting with a respected planning group to help engage the community and figure out a quality redevelopment plan for the site, Dickstein said.
“This is disappointing and bad news for the city, but we’ve had many times when companies uprooted and left without any conversation or concern about the community they were leaving,” Dickstein said.
U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, issued a statement saying he was “deeply saddened” by the news.
“Like many in the community, I am deeply saddened by this news. I am mindful Premier Health is more than a corporate citizen, but is a community leader. I look forward to working with them on their plans for the future at this site and their other hospital locations.”
‘Everything leaving’ west Dayton
Community activist Amaha Sellassie said this is another major blow to the beleaguered west Dayton community that relies on the hospital.
“I’m like in absolute shock … cause that’s a huge anchor for our community and it literally just seems like the west side is under attack,” he said. “The west side just keeps getting gutted, and I just don’t understand why.”
Good Samaritan is a key partner in the Phoenix Project, which is investing millions of dollars for redevelopment activities in the greater Fairview neighborhood around the hospital. Premier has also been involved in bringing access to fresh food to west Dayton, recently announcing it would donate $400,000 toward a new grocery store in the community.
“I want to hear Premier’s plan to ensure the essential services that Good Samaritan has been providing to west Dayton is not lost,” Sellassie said.
This was echoed by people using or living near the hospital.
Kilo Simmons of Trotwood was visiting his aunt in the hospital at Good Samaritan when the news came on saying the hospital is closing.
Miami Valley Hospital being only five miles away doesn’t mean much to someone who doesn’t have a car, he said.
“How do they get there if they don’t have transportation?” he said. “Imagine a person walking out here in this cold, right now. Where are they going to get healthcare at?”
“It’s just like the grocery stores. Everything is leaving the west side of Dayton, man. Everything. Hospitals. Schools. Grocery stores. Everything is leaving.”
Eric Lewis rents a home owned by Premier that abuts the hospital. He grew up a few blocks from there.
“I’ve got several friends who have worked there for years,” he said. “It’s sad. It’s like everything is leaving the west side of Dayton.”
Hospital ‘anchored’ investment
As a nonprofit and community leader, Premier should not just sell the Good Samaritan site to any buyer — it should listen to community input and ensure the site is redeveloped in a beneficial way, said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
Good Samaritan was an anchor institution whose presence in that area helped spark private and public investment, including the decision where to place the Dayton Metro Library’s northwest branch, Whaley said.
The city has spent millions of dollars in that area on infrastructure and other improvements to help leverage investment by Good Samaritan, and Premier hopefully will be continue to be partner and won’t walk away from the site, Whaley said.
Hospitals have “cannibalized” themselves by overbuilding in the suburbs, and this loss will be hard on West Dayton, which has endured 40 years of disinvestment, Whaley said.
Montgomery County Commission President Debbie Lieberman likewise said she understands it was not an easy decision for the hospital network and believes Premier will help employees and the community in the transition.
“One of the comments that was made to me was (hospital officials) aren’t going to be like NCR and just walk away,” she said.
The announcement impacts hospital employees, patients and the surrounding community. She said the county will work with Premier to minimize the impact on all three groups.
“The county will assist in making sure health care services remain strong in that area,” she said. “Its’ not like they are packing up and leaving the community, but we are deeply saddened by this. But we will move forward.”
Good Samaritan was a lead partner on the Phoenix project, which helped leverage more than $125 million in investments around the hospital since 2004, Dayton officials said.
Good Samaritan’s level of commitment to the project beyond this year is uncertain, Dickstein said, but the city and other partners will engage residents and businesses about potential reuse of the space.
Good Samaritan has spent more than $60 million on campus improvements and contributed almost $10 million to help fund other neighborhood improvements.
Some funding has paid for acquiring and demolishing blighted structures along the Salem Avenue corridor, which is traveled by about 27,000 motorists each day. The city of Dayton also invested more than $10 million in the Phoenix project.
The city will talk with the community about what types of redevelopment would fit the Good Samaritan property, officials said.
Parallels with NCR, St. Elizabeth
State Rep. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, is a practicing physician and said the former St. Elizabeth hospital site is a sign there is life after death for large medical centers.
“I thoroughly believe that the Good Samaritan site will become a very viable medical community given time and the assistance of Premier Health and others,” he said.
RELATED: Hospital to add ER and 80 jobs
Franciscan Medical Center, originally St. Elizabeth Hospital, was the last major hospital to close in the city in 2000. The property is now home to a variety of medical offices and other health care providers.
Good Samaritan’s closure is a big setback considering there was strong and building momentum in that part of the city, said Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams.
Published: Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 6:30 PM
Updated: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 7:23 AM
DAYTON — Update@12:13 p.m.:
Wheatley, a grandmother, had just fed some neighborhood dogs and was walking back to her home when she was shot, neighbors said Monday. She died about a half block from home, neighbors said.
There’s a makeshift memorial where Wheatley died, and it continues to grow.
Meanwhile, a man called 911 after hearing shots fired and seeing Wheatley lying on the ground, according to the 911 recording.
“Someone just got shot on EclIud... a lady is lying on the sidewalk,” the unidentified man said, later adding that he heard 12-15 shots.
An innocent bystander was fatally shot Saturday evening when she was walking near a house targeted by a drive-by shooting, police said.
Sherrell Wheatley, 62, of Dayton was the woman shot and killed, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
Wheatley was an innocent bystander who suffered at least one gunshot wound as she was walking in the 800 block of North Euclid Avenue around 6:10 p.m. She was taken to Miami Valley Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries, Dayton police Sgt. Creigee Coleman said.
“A vehicle driven by a male had another male inside the vehicle, and that male fired several rounds towards an unknown house in an attempt to probably cause damage to that house,” Coleman said.
The passenger fired five or six rounds, he said.
Aaron Taylor said the woman was his great aunt.
“I just happened to pull up, see my auntie in the grass dead,” he said.
He described his aunt as a sweet lady and matriarch of his family and the community.
“Definitely innocent bystander walking up the street,” Taylor said.
Police are searching for a silver Ford Taurus or similar four-door car, and also are asking for the public’s help to come forward with any information.
“Now this is a situation where a person was indiscriminately firing a weapon, a large-caliber weapon from what I’ve been told, at a house and a person who was innocent just happened to be walking by and got hit by a bullet that has no eyes,” Coleman said.
Published: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 7:01 PM
BESSEMER CITY, N.C. — Families were sitting down for a comfortable Sunday lunch when chaos ensued at a Gaston County restaurant.
Two people died and others were injured when a man drove his car into a Gaston County restaurant just after noon.
Police said the driver of the car, Roger Self, was taken into custody.
Police said after their initial investigation, they believe Self, of Dallas, drove the car through the Surf and Turf Lodge in Bessemer City intentionally.
Wait staff told our partners at the Gaston Gazette that Self took his family into the restaurant and had them seated. He then went back out to his vehicle and drove at a high rate of speed into the area where they were sitting.
Police say a man drove his car into the restaurant killing one person pic.twitter.com/aOfXMtref0— glenn benson counts (@gcountswsoc9) May 20, 2018
Officers said one of the victims was identified as Self’s daughter, Katelyn Self, 26, who worked with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office.
Other family members were also injured, according to police.
"Tragic, tragic loss of life,” Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger said. “I'm asking people just to keep the family in your prayers, and the Sheriff's Office, because we're suffering right now."
Caleb Martin, who is just 14 years old and buses tables at the restaurant, witnessed the car crash through the building.
"I walked over to my station and I heard a loud boom,” he said. “It went straight through. There's a doorway. There is a wall and he drove in another room."
Caleb was dazed by the carnage he saw.
He said that momentarily he didn't know what to do but then sprang into action.
"The one guy I could help in back, he was pretty hurt,” Martin said, “I helped paramedics move tables off this dude and I moved debris out of the way so they could get to him."
Officials said Roger Self is a private investigator who used to work for the Gastonia Police Department years ago.
Police said all of the victims, and Roger Self, are known to the employees.
"He was a regular and we haven't seen him in a while, so when he came back, it was kind of sad,” Martin said.
Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 10:43 AM
— Wright State University will aim to add $3 million to its reserve fund next school year in its ongoing attempt to rebuild its finances.
To do this, the university will have to make more cuts or increase revenue in the fiscal year 2019 budget.
The university released some of the details of its fiscal year 2019 budget today, which trustees will consider at a June 8 meeting. The 2019 fiscal year starts on July 1.
“Next year is going to be a very, very tough year for the university,” said chief business officer Walt Branson.
The $3-million goal is part of Wright State’s ongoing attempts to rebound from a budget crisis that forced trustees to slash more than $30.8 million from the school’s FY 2018 budget. Wright State has spent more money than it brought in every year since 2012, draining its reserve fund from $162 million six years ago to an estimated $31 million as of June 2017.
The $3 million surplus for next year is about half of what the university has been trying to add to reserves this fiscal year. WSU administrators are trying to add $6 million to reserves by June 30 this year in order to avoid being placed on state fiscal watch.
Administrators and trustees have expressed a wide range of opinions in recent weeks about whether the university will meet that goal, with Branson saying today that he believed it would be achieved. A 2018 budget re-forecast presented to trustees today states that Wright State may add $7.2 million to reserves by the end of FY 2018.
Even if Wright State meets its budget goal this year, doing so next year will again be challenging. WSU is expecting revenue to decline by $12.65 million next year, which will mostly be fueled by another drop in enrollment, according to the university.
Overall enrollment at Wright State’s main campus is expected to decline 6.5 percent, according to a preliminary budget proposal. Out-of-state enrollment, which includes residents of other states and international students who attend WSU, is expected to decline by 32.4 percent, according to the university.
Trustee Bruce Langos voiced concerns about enrollment and the budget proposal today, calling it “a recipe for disaster” among other things. Boosting enrollment and therefore tuition revenue is a much better way to solve Wright State’s financial woes than having to implement budget cuts every year, trustees have long said.
The proposal presented to trustees today would likely result in more budget cuts, something both Langos and finance committee chairman Sean Fitzpatrick said is not a long-term sustainable solution for the university’s financial problems.
“This is a recipe to die… the university can’t survive this way,” said Langos.
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Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 12:04 PM
FRANKLIN — The person that Franklin police believe robbed a bank there May 18 may have also robbed a bank in Troy the day before, officials said.
Franklin and Troy police detectives believe the same man may be responsible for both robberies because of their similar descriptions, including a possible wig, Franklin Police Chief Russell Whitman said.
At 3:04 p.m. Friday, the Union Savings Bank at Second and Millard streets in Franklin was robbed by a man, according to police.
The suspect was described as a tall, white man with long hair and a mustache wearing a blue shirt, green pants with tennis shoes.
According to dispatch traffic, he may have been wearing a wig.
On Thursday evening, a man possibly wearing a wig and a fake mustache robbed Unity National Bank.
The suspect in that robbery is described as a tall, slender man wearing glasses and carrying a red duffle bag.
He fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.
No weapon was seen during the Troy robbery reported just before 5 p.m. at the bank, 1314 W. Main St., and there were no injuries.