breaking news

breaking news

Fairgrounds store’s future uncertain, liquidation sale underway

Published: Friday, December 01, 2017 @ 3:21 PM

More than four decades of doing business at the fairgrounds in Xenia is coming to an end for Fairgrounds Furniture, as owner Melissa Smith unloads inventory through a Lost Our Lease Liquidation Sale.

The sale began Thursday, with up to 50 percent off brand name recliners, couches, dining tables, bedroom sets and more.

The store must be gone from the fairgrounds, 112 Fairgrounds Road, by the end of April 2018, Smith said.

STAY CONNECTED: Greene County News on Facebook

In August, the Greene County Fairgrounds Board of Directors chose to terminate the lease for the store. Board President Jerry Liming said at the time the lease was terminated after an agreement could not be reached with Smith on relocating the store in May to accommodate Hamvention.

Messages left with the fairgrounds board seeking comment for this story were not returned. 

Smith said she has not found a new location for the store. She said possible locations in the area that she has checked out are considerably less than the two 7,500 square-foot buildings that the store occupies on the fairgrounds. 

RELATED >>> Long-standing store must move from Greene County Fairgrounds

In addition, the rents of other available buildings in the area are two to three times the $2,300 monthly lease Smith is currently paying. She said she’s not sure what the future holds, and dealing with the imminent change has been “overwhelming.”

“I’m a planner. I can’t plan and that is terrifying for me,” Smith said. “I try to remain positive. I’m a strong woman and I will figure it out one way or another.”

In 2001, Smith bought the store from her father, Harold “Mountain” Hill, who started the business at the fairgrounds in February 1973. Eighteen months later an F5 tornado devastated the city of Xenia, killing 34, injuring 1,150 and destroying homes and businesses. 

Smith said her father used the store to help the Red Cross and provided furnishings to residents who were starting over.

The uncertainty, the fight to stay at the location and preserve the family legacy are taking an emotional and physical toll on Smith, her children and her brother Mark Hill.

“I’ve been as anxious as she’s been since this whole thing started,” said Smith’s daughter Megan Smith, who remembers as a toddler running through the store’s aisles bordered by comfy recliners and living room sets. 

Megan expressed hope that things will take a better turn.

“When I see her go on deliveries and deliver heavy furniture, it does make me upset. It would be a relief if she found something better,” she said.

MORE >>> First Greene County Hamvention gets high marks

Prices will be slashed on all sofas, loveseats, sectionals, recliners, leather upholstery, reclining sofas, bedrooms, mattress sets in all sizes, dining rooms, lamps and pictures. Everything will be sold to the bare walls until all of the merchandise is gone. 

Fairgrounds Furniture will be open everyday to accommodate the sale, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

For more information, call the store at (937) 372-6002 or visit the store’s Facebook page.

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2 Republicans running for Montgomery County clerk of courts

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 11:02 AM
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 11:02 AM

Mike Foley and Ryan Colvin
Mike Foley and Ryan Colvin

Two Republicans are facing off in a primary May 8 to take on Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Russ Joseph, a Democrat.


Learn more about the candidates and issues on the May 8 ballot in our interactive voters guide 

Mike Foley, who is currently the county chair of the Mike DeWine for governor campaign, is running against Ryan Colvin, who has been endorsed by the Montgomery County Republican Party.

We asked them some questions about what they would do if elected. You can see more of their answers in our voters guide at Here’s a look at some of their answers:

Q: What are the key issues facing county clerks now and in the future?

Ryan Colvin: The key issue facing the county clerk now and in the future is trying to provide the same level of critical services with reduced revenue more specifically from the loss of the Medicaid managed care sales tax from the state.

Reduction of revenue from the state government is an issue that I am currently facing as a Miamisburg City councilmember after having endured cuts to our local government fund, loss of the Estate Tax and a potential overhaul to local income tax collection.

We have overcame this loss of revenue by consolidating services bringing further efficiency to our operations and holding the line on any unnecessary spending.

Mike Foley: To me, the key issues for the Clerk’s office now and in the future are: keeping up with technology and consistently striving to exceed customer’s expectations.

Technology is constantly evolving, and it seems as if the need for instant gratification is only getting worse. These are concepts that we need to embrace in the public sector, just like we do in the private sector.

ELECTION: Republican primary for Ohio governor turns personal, nasty

Giving excellent customer service and obtaining customer feedback are both paramount to the success and growth of any operation. I personally pledge to the residents of Montgomery County that I will bring my experience and ideals as a small business owner to the Clerk’s office, as well as, creating an atmosphere that fosters a positive customer experience.

Q: How has technology changed the clerk’s document system and how should it?

Ryan Colvin: Electronic filing has been a welcome and effective innovation that has brought efficiency, accountability and transparency to the operation while also helping to ensure to access to justice. I believe it’s imperative that we also get the Domestic Relations Courts on electronic filing as soon as possible.

Mike Foley: Technology in the Clerk’s Office has improved the document system in many ways, but none more notably than: convenience, efficiency, and the reduction of human error. Technology is a necessity for the future, but proper leadership and maintenance needs to be on the forefront of this evolution for optimal success and effectiveness. Time Is Money…technology offers countless opportunities to maximize efficiency, thus saving taxpayers money.

Related: Governor’s race: Taylor, DeWine loan their campaigns millions of dollars

Q: How is the clerk’s office running now and what could be improved?

Ryan Colvin: I think the Clerk’s office is running okay as of right now, but I’m confident that there can be further improvements made. I have worked with many members of the staff currently employed there in my 13 years as a bailiff and have always found them to be pleasant, diligent and professional.

Mike Foley: The Clerk’s office has certainly made strides over the years, but there’s still much room for improvement. Customer service and efficiency should be the focal point of the office. Cross-training employees has proved to be invaluable in every business that I’ve been a part of, so

I’d like to see it more prevalent in the Clerk’s office as well. I would also like to personally see nepotism and party patronage as a thing of the past - instead, fill positions with qualified candidates that have a positive attitude, a great work ethic, and a willingness to serve the public with a smile:)

Q: What makes you the best candidate for this position?

Ryan Colvin: I currently serve as the administrative bailiff for the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court and have worked in court operations for nearly 13 years.

Everything that I do in my full-time job has a partnering function with the Clerk of Courts office and I have effectively managed civil and criminal docket caseloads in my time at the courthouse. Also, I have served as a Miamisburg City councilmember for over the last decade, including serving as the vice mayor recently.

We have displayed leadership and accomplished many great things in my time on council and I want to export that success and the lessons I’ve learned in my experience as a public servant into being an effective Montgomery clerk of courts.

Mike Foley: The clerk of courts is an administrative position that requires strong leadership with a hands-on approach.

I feel that my experience in both small business and government operations dramatically sets me apart from all of the other candidates!

I’ve effectively overseen many people in a variety of industries over the past 25 years, and have worked in many facets- operations, accounting, finance, marketing/PR, and human resources. Providing excellent customer service has always been important to me, as most of my experience has come from the service industry. I am the only candidate that has not worked in government his entire adult life, in which I feel really gives me perspective and differentiates myself.

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Multiple OVI checkpoints planned for Friday night

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 10:58 AM

Monroe police officer Doug Leist works at an OVI checkpoint Early Saturday morning, June 11, 2011 along OH-4.
Monroe police officer Doug Leist works at an OVI checkpoint Early Saturday morning, June 11, 2011 along OH-4.(Nick Graham/MIDDLETOWN JOURNAL)

At least three sobriety checkpoints are planned for Friday night.

The Butler County OVI Task Force will be conducting a checkpoint and the Ohio State Highway Patrol Xenia Post announced they will be conducting two checkpoints in Greene County.

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The state and federally funded checkpoints are being held “to deter and intercept impaired drivers,” according to the patrol’s release.

In a prepared statement, Lt. Matt Schmenk, commander of the OSHP Xenia Post, said last year 405 people were killed in 379 OVI-related crashes across Ohio.

“State troopers make on average 25,000 OVI arrests each year in an attempt to combat these dangerous drivers,” Schmenk’s statement reads. “OVI checkpoints are designed to not only deter impaired driving but to proactively remove these dangerous drivers from our roadways.”

MORE >>> Reds fire Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins

The times and locations of the checkpoints will be released on Friday.

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The brand new IHOP that didn’t open. What’s the holdup?

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

Miller Lane IHOP breakfast restaurant on Benchwood Road near York Commons has not opened, and its potential customers want to know why.

The parking lot is striped, the brand-new chairs are neatly stacked atop the brand-new dining tables, the occupancy permit has been obtained. The only things missing are employees, customers, an unlocked front door — and a short stack of pancakes or two. 

>>GUIDE: 7 places to eat breakfast for dinner in Dayton

The IHOP restaurant that was built last fall and this winter at 3324 Benchwood Road near the Miller Lane/York Commons development in Vandalia is all revved up and ready to go, but it still has not opened. And no one is saying exactly why. 

>> Here’s a first look at the new Asian restaurant that opens Friday at The Greene

Messages were left with a spokeswoman for IHOP corporate, the CEO of the company that is acting as area developer for IHOP in the region and with a franchise owner-operator of the Dayton-area IHOP restaurants in Beavercreek, Huber Heights and Springfield. Those messages have not been returned. 

>> RELATED: IHOP restaurants returning to Dayton area (October 2014)

A spokeswoman for Las Cruces, New Mexico-based PDG/Prestige Development Group, the development company that has overseen development of the other three Dayton-Springfield IHOPs, told this news outlet in January that the restaurant was scheduled to open in early February. In late January, the spokeswoman revised the opening date to mid-March. Last week, on April 13, the same spokeswoman said, “I don’t yet have a date” for the restaurant’s opening.

>> ‘Too much competition’ forces Miamisburg restaurant to close

Rich Hopkins, a spokesman for the city of Vandalia, said there are no hangups from the city’s perspective, and city officials have not been notified of the reasons for the delay. In fact, the restaurant received its occupancy permit from the city — usually the final or nearly final bureaucratic step necessary before a retail establishment’s opening — on Feb. 2.

>>RELATED: You can now get Ohio’s favorite sweet treat in pancake form

Potential customers are getting curious and a bit impatient.

>>GUIDE: 6 must-try Dayton diners

“I get inquiries on it all the time by community members and business people,” said Will Roberts, president and CEO of the Vandalia-Butler Chamber of Commerce. An employee of the Frisch’s restaurant across the street said she is asked about the dormant-but-brand-new restaurant by many of her customers. 

>>RELATED: IHOP moves ahead with Dayton-area expansion plans (January 2016)

If or when the restaurant does open, IHOP will have doubled its Miami Valley footprint since last summer as part of the chain’s re-entry into the Dayton-area market. An IHOP opened Sept. 5, 2017 at 7611 Old Troy Pike in Huber Heights.  

>>RELATED: New Dayton-area IHOP now open, another location on the way

IHOP opened the first of what had been projected to be as many as seven IHOP locations in the region in October 2015 on North Fairfield Road in Beavercreek, and the second one in October 2016 on Bechtle Avenue in Springfield.

>>RELATED: IHOP opening two more Dayton-area locations (December 2016)

The region had multiple IHOP locations in the 1970s and 1980s, including one near Ohio 725 and Ohio 741 near the Dayton Mall and one on Shiloh Springs Road near the former Salem Mall, but those restaurants closed nearly three decades ago.

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Final report reveals cause of local double-fatal plane crash

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 10:47 AM

A final report  released this week by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the pilot killed in a plane crash at Camp Kern in Warren County in October 2016 had marijuana and alcohol in his system.

The pilot, who was identified as Eric Hackney, 43, of Punta Gorda, Florida, crashed the plane after it struck a zipline over the Little Miami River in Oregonia on Oct. 16, according to the report.

Hackney had alcohol in his system, the report read.

RELATED: Preliminary report from double-fatal plane crash released

“The blood level was below the regulatory limit; however pilots may be impaired below this threshold,” the report read.

Findings during the investigation also “indicated that the pilot had used marijuana sometime before the accident; however, since there is no accepted relationship between blood levels and degree of impairment, whether the impairing effects... contributed to the accident could not be determined,” the report said.

Hackney’s passenger, Jesse Loy, 36, of Punta Gorda, Florida, also was killed.

The report indicated the cause of the crash was “the pilot’s decision to fly at a low altitude, which resulted in the collision with a zipline.”

The plane did not have any other mechanical malfunctions during the crash, according to the report.

The report shows Hackney had a private pilot certificate since September 2008 and had at least 750 hours of flight time.  At least 200 of those hours were logged while Hackney flew an RV-4 plane, which was the type involved in the fatal crash, the report read.

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