John Glenn, the 'last true national hero,' dead at 95

Published: Thursday, December 08, 2016 @ 3:32 PM

Rembering John Glenn

“The Right Stuff” author Tom Wolfe once said of John H. Glenn Jr. that he is “the last true national hero America has ever had.” 

America lost that true hero on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, when Glenn died at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus at age 95. 

He is survived by his wife Annie, his two children, Lyn and Dave and two grandchildren. 

Glenn lived a storybook life under the bright and constant glare of public attention, awe and adoration. The small-town Ohio boy married his childhood sweetheart, served as a fighter pilot in two wars, a test pilot, an astronaut and a U.S. Senator.

» PHOTOS: Scenes of John Glenn in Dayton through the years

He blasted to American hero status on Feb. 20, 1962, when he became the first American to orbit the Earth. Then, in a spectacular return to space, he joined the crew aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1998, which made 134 orbits and racked up 3.6 million miles during its nine-day mission.

Leslie Uggams listens to John Glenn at a Wilberforce press conference in 1970.

Glenn, 77 at the time, became the oldest human to experience space travel. 

Glenn grew up in New Concord, Ohio, where his parents owned a plumbing business and ran a boarding house for college students. 

His father gave him his first taste of aviation when he bought them both a ride in a WACO biplane, which was built in Troy. 

» PHOTOS: How John Glenn progressed from American hero to public servant

At age 21, he enlisted in the Navy, transferred to the Marine Corps and worked his way into a fighter unit. His accomplishments included combat duty in two wars, two flights as an astronaut, four terms in the U.S. Senate and building a public affairs program at Ohio State University. But when asked what achievement he was most proud of — a question he got often — Glenn’s answer was his enduring marriage to Annie, his lifelong companion.

John Glenn during a campaign stop with Joe Shump and Annie Glenn inside Arcade Square in 1983.

They met as toddlers in a playpen in New Concord, were married in their hometown on April 6, 1943, and appeared together well into their 90s, usually holding hands.

» RECENT HONOR: Columbus airport to be renamed after John Glenn

In April 1959, NASA selected him as one of the first seven astronauts in the Project Mercury space program. At 9:47 a.m. on Feb. 20, 1962 – five years after the Soviets had put a man into outer space – Glenn was strapped in atop an Atlas rocket with 367,000 pounds of thrust, blasting the Ohioan and the Friendship 7 capsule off the Cape Canaveral launch pad and into orbit 162 miles above the earth. 

“Godspeed, John Glenn,” said fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter as Americans watched transfixed and worried.

When Carpenter died in 2013, Glenn became the last surviving member of the Mercury 7.

» How valuable was John Glenn's 1962 mission?

After his 1962 orbit, Glenn served in an advisory role to NASA before shifting to business and public affairs. Robert F. Kennedy was among those who encouraged him to run for U.S. Senate, where he was elected in 1974 and served until 1999.

Glenn was often mentioned as a possible running mate for Democratic presidential candidates, and he ran for president in 1984, just as just as “The Right Stuff” made him even more of a household name. But Glenn’s presidential campaign faltered and he carried a campaign debt from his efforts for years afterward. 

In recent years, Glenn campaigned for Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama as well as for Sherrod Brown for U.S. Senate and Ted Strickland for governor. 

In November 2011, he and the crew of the first moon landing were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. The medal, first awarded in 1776 to Gen. George Washington and John Paul Jones during the American Revolutionary War, goes to an individual who performs an outstanding act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the United States.

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Thousands without power along U.S. 35 in western Montgomery County

Published: Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 12:23 AM
Updated: Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 12:33 AM

UPDATE @ 12:35 a.m.: The number of reported outages now stands at 2,101, according to the DP&L online outage map.


More than 4,000 Dayton Power & Light customers in New Lebanon, along U.S. 35, are without power and we're working to find out why. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: All eyes on Tropics, Alberto

According to the DP&L outage map, the outage is affecting 4,013 in the area of the Voyager Village Trailer Park and the Snickers Bar & Restaurant, between North Lutheran Church and Diamond Mill roads. 

An email to our newsroom describes a "complete power outage, lots of emergency vehicles" near the trailer park and the bar/restaurant. 

We will update this developing report as information becomes available. 

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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Endangered Missing Adult Alert for Columbus man, 79, is canceled

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 7:53 PM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 11:51 PM

Stanley Lapczynski
Stanley Lapczynski

UPDATE @ 11:50 p.m.: The alert for the 79-year-old Columbus man has been canceled.


An Endangered Missing Adult Alert has been issued for a Columbus man. 

Stanley Lapcynski, 79, suffers from dementia and was last seen around noon Friday when he left his residence but did not return.

He stands 5 feet 6 inches and weighs 190 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a Home Depot shirt and blue jeans.

He is believed to be driving a dark green 2001 Chevrolet Aveo with Ohio plate FFW4599.

Anyone with information is urged to call police or the Ohio Attorney General Missing Persons Unit at 866-693-9171.

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All eyes on the Tropics and Alberto; remnants could reach Miami Valley

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 10:36 PM

Subtropical Storm Alberto formed in the Caribbean Sea near Cancun Mexico Friday morning. The system is forecast to slowly strengthen as it moves into the Gulf Of Mexico, perhaps threatening the northern Gulf Coast around Memorial Day. There is also some potential it could influence the weather in the Miami Valley late next week.

Alberto, the first named storm of the Atlantic Ocean season, is forecast to strengthen as it emerges into the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center brings the system to strong tropical storm strength before making landfall somewhere along the Louisiana to Florida coastlines, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said.

Long range model tracks show that the remnants of Alberto could influence the weather here in the middle or later half of next week. The main threat for this area would be significant rain.

RELATED: 1st named storm of Atlantic season could hit Gulf states Memorial Day

There is still a lot to keep an eye on through the holiday weekend, Elwell said.

It also is important to note that your WHIO Weather App may alert you if the Miami Valley is placed within the uncertainty cone issued by the National Hurricane Center sometime this weekend. If you get that alert, it doesn’t mean to expect a tropical storm … but that there is an increased possibility of some influence of the storm.

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Fire causes ‘significant damage’ to farmhouse south of West Milton

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 8:51 PM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 11:55 PM

RAW FOOTAGE: Fire engulfs back of farmhouse south of West Milton

UPDATE @ 11:55 p.m.

Fire crews are expected to remain on scene into the early morning hours Saturday after a fire broke out Friday night at a Frederick Garland Road farmhouse south of West Milton.

“We were dispatched out to a structure fire fully engulfed,” said Ken Saunders of the Laura Fire Department.

Nobody was home at the time of the fire reported around 8:30 p.m., but the American Red Cross chapter will be contacted to assist the residents, he said.


The cause of the fire and estimated losses to the structure and contents are not determined.

“The damage is substantial,” Saunders said.

Although the department was able to maintain a steady water supply through tanker trucks and mutual aid from area departments, including Pleasant Hill, Ludlow Falls and West Milton, the age of the house posed a challenge, he said.

“Anytime that you’ve got an old farmhouse you’ve got repairs and updates that’s went on over time, so you’ve got ceilings over ceilings, plaster lathe ... that’s all worked against us.”

There were reports of pets inside the home, but Saunders said he was unable to confirm. 

UPDATE @ 9:30 p.m.

Family members were all able to escape a fire that broke out tonight inside a two-story farmhouse south of West Milton.

An hour later, the home was still burning with heavy smoke billowing into the sky, and crews were called from Arcanum to the scene to provide extra manpower.


Crews were called tonight to a fire that broke out at a two-story farmhouse.

The fire was reported around 8:30 p.m. in the 11100 block of West Frederick Garland Road, according to the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.

>> West Milton man seriously injured in crash involving trash truck

According to initial reports, the back of the home was engulfed when firefighters arrived.

Mutual aid was requested from area fire departments, including Pitsburg, to assist crews at the scene.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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