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Jefferson Twp. school board ousts both principals; parents upset

Published: Thursday, June 14, 2018 @ 11:45 AM


            Richard Gates, superintendent of Jefferson Twp. schools, works with a student. Jefferson’s school board voted to oust both of the district’s principals last month, on a recommendation from Gates. FILE PHOTO
            Jan Underwood
Richard Gates, superintendent of Jefferson Twp. schools, works with a student. Jefferson’s school board voted to oust both of the district’s principals last month, on a recommendation from Gates. FILE PHOTO(Jan Underwood)

The Jefferson Twp. school board voted to non-renew the contracts of both school principals in the tiny district southwest of Dayton, just after the end of the school year.

SeMone Epps had been principal of Jefferson’s Blairwood Elementary for five years, and Walter Sledge led the district’s junior/senior high school for the same period. Their contracts are scheduled to expire at the end of June, with pay through July, according to Treasurer Craig Jones.

EARLIER: Jefferson best in area for reading improvement in 2015

According to district documents, the board voted 4-0 to non-renew the contracts at a May 29 meeting, on a recommendation from longtime Superintendent Richard Gates. Board member Emmett Orr abstained from the vote, which came after several residents spoke out in support of Epps, and after the board held an hour-long closed session to consider “expiring contracts, evaluations and charges or complaints.”

Gates did not respond to requests for comment on the moves Wednesday. School board President C.V. Mitchell could not be reached for comment.

The timeline for hiring new principals was unclear, as the positions were not posted on the local education hiring consortium’s website Wednesday, two weeks after the nonrenewal vote.

GRADUATION: Read bios of 2018 valedictorians from local schools

Epps attended this Monday’s school board meeting and said she is not sure why she lost her job, citing strong preliminary scores on this year’s state tests, and three years of A’s and B’s on the state report card’s K-3 Literacy improvement measure.

“I was a proud principal at Blairwood Elementary. We have done a lot of good things,” Epps said, pointing to a pilot tutoring program that helped sixth graders this year. “I want to give a shout out to Blairwood because I have a hard-working staff, and I’m a hard-worker. I have earned the right to be there and I deserve to be there.”

EDUCATION: Ohio bill calls for school to start after Labor Day

Jefferson Twp. ranks in the bottom 20 percent of Ohio school districts in median income, and its overall state test scores usually beat only Dayton and Trotwood schools locally. There have been bright spots, with the high school earning B’s in graduation rate for 2014 and 2015, and the K-3 Literacy scores that Epps referenced ranking among the area’s very best in 2015 and 2016. But both of those grades were lower for 2016-17.

Jefferson is the smallest school district in the area, with just more than 300 students, according to state data. Another 200 students who live in the district attend school elsewhere via open enrollment, private school vouchers, or by choosing charter schools.

EDUCATION: Local schools win $3 million-plus in reading grants

LaTonya Benson, whose daughter attends Jefferson schools, said a group of parents and teachers came to Monday’s board meeting to try to get Epps’ job back, saying the parents love her.

“We’re not getting answers. They’re not telling us nothing. Everything is confidential,” Benson said. “We really don’t know anything.”

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Small earthquake detected in Mexico City after national team beats Germany 

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 6:20 PM

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - JUNE 17: Mexicans celebrate at the Angel of Independence after the Mexico National Team victory over Germany in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia on June 17, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez / Getty Images)
Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - JUNE 17: Mexicans celebrate at the Angel of Independence after the Mexico National Team victory over Germany in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia on June 17, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez / Getty Images)(Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)

Fans cheering the national team’s win over Germany created an “artificial quake” that tipped the Richter scale, according to reports

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Seismologists at two monitoring stations in Mexico City picked up readings when Hirving Lozano scored 35 minutes into Mexico’s 1-0 upset over defending champion Germany Sunday, according to USA Today

Officials at the California Earthquake Center told USA Today the induced quake likely generated a 2 on the Richter scale and would have gone unnoticed by the public if it were a typical earthquake. 

Germany became the third defending champion to lose in its opening match in the last 16 years. Mexico next plays Korea Republic June 23. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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2 dead after Osaka hit with massive 6.1 magnitude earthquake

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 10:55 PM

Smoke rises from a house blaze in Takatsuki, Osaka, following an earthquake Monday, June 18, 2018.  A strong earthquake shook the city of Osaka in western Japan on Monday morning, causing scattered damage including broken glass and partial building collapses. There were no immediate reports of injuries. (Kyodo News via AP)
Yohei Nishimura/AP
Smoke rises from a house blaze in Takatsuki, Osaka, following an earthquake Monday, June 18, 2018. A strong earthquake shook the city of Osaka in western Japan on Monday morning, causing scattered damage including broken glass and partial building collapses. There were no immediate reports of injuries. (Kyodo News via AP)(Yohei Nishimura/AP)

A massive 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck outside Osaka Monday morning, leaving at least two dead and 41 injured.

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The quake registered around 8 a.m. with an initial strength of 5.9, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

There was no tsunami threat however morning commutes were disrupted as trains were not running and power was out to many homes, according to the Japan Times

Kansai Electric Power Co. said nuclear plants in Fukui Prefecture were operating normally.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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23-foot python swallows woman whole, reports say

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 8:42 AM

Woman Swallowed Whole By Python

A 54-year-old Indonesian woman is dead after villagers say a 23-foot python swallowed her whole.

>> Severed rattlesnake head bites Texas man

According to The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse, Wa Tiba of Muna Island disappeared Thursday after leaving her village, Persiapan Lawela, to tend to her garden. The next day, searchers discovered a "snake with a bloated belly" and some of Tiba's things near the garden, said the village's chief, known by the single name Faris, the AP reported.

Faris said villagers killed the python and cut it open, the AP reported. They then "found Tiba's body still intact with all her clothes," Faris said.

Graphic photos and videos posted online appeared to show the woman's body being extracted from the dead python.

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This isn't the first time a python has swallowed a person in Indonesia, where such snakes are common, AFP reported. A farmer died under similar circumstances in March 2017 on the island of Sulawesi, according to the news service.

Read more here or here.

Dangerous Snakes

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2 people shot at Washington Walmart

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 9:24 PM

File photo. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Police are responding to reports of a shooting inside the Walmart Supercenter in Tumwater, Washington. 

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The fire department told KIRO7.com they are calling it a "mass casualty incident" and confirmed at least two people were shot.

The Walmart is about 62 miles from Seattle.This is a developing story. Check back with KIRO7.com for updates.

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