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Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 10:55 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 11:04 PM
SPRINGFIELD — Friends and colleagues are remembering the lives of Springfield women Andrea Heiser and Jennifer Sirons, shot to death in a murder-suicide Tuesday night.
Heiser and her mother were shot by Eric Sirons, Jennifer's husband and Heiser's stepfather, in their Quinlan Court home.
Friends and classmates of Heiser said the Wright State University undergrad was friendly with everyone.
"She was very very sweet, she was very talkative, very bubbly, she was very friendly with everyone in our group," said one of the classmates, Morgan Plummer.
Plummer said she and her classmates formed a quick bond with Heiser, spending countless hours studying macroeconomics together.
"We really got to know each other through school, and that was really nice, because she was really someone to talk to," Plummer said.
Many of Heiser's classmates are in shock over what happened and have come together to remember her and show support for the family.
"Everyone's pretty just shocked,” Plummer said. “A lot of people knew her, and a lot of people have similar stories as me: 'She was in my class,' 'Oh, I sat next to her,' or 'She was my first friend freshman year.' It was a lot of those stories of people coming out and really showing their support for her family and friends.”
Jennifer Sirons served as chief financial officer for Clark County Juvenile Court since 2011.
“Jen was not only a very gifted and devoted employee here at the court, she was also a very sweet friend to many of us,” Juvenile Court Judge Robert Vaughn said in a statement.
“We are all heartbroken, and we grieve deeply for her family. We ask that the public join us in praying for her daughters and extended family for the terrible loss and pain they are experiencing,” Judge Vaughn said.
Eric Sirons’s son, Andrew, admitted the couple's relationship had deteriorated, but that the father he knew was not a bad person.
"People kind of have a negative view on him right now...but he was a really good man, he would do anything for anybody, if they needed help, he would drop what he was doing and come help," Andrew Sirons told News Center 7’s Sean Cudahy on Wednesday evening.
Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 7:43 PM
HUBER HEIGHTS — Perfections Beauty College held a ribbon-cutting with the city Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
This Beauty College is located at 7806 Waynetown Blvd., where the old Carousel Beauty College was located.
When Carousel Beauty College abruptly closed about two years ago, over 300 students in the Dayton region were unable to finalize their education, said City Council Member of Huber Heights Richard Shaw.
Perfections Beauty College has revamped and renovated this location and is coming in to help students continue their education that they had with Carousel.
Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 12:44 PM
Updated: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 1:00 PM
DAYTON — UPDATE @ 1:00 p.m.:
Police on scene told us one man was taken to a hospital but is in good condition after he struck an RTA pole and flipped his car on its top.
The driver was the only person involved in the accident, police said.
He lost control of his car before striking the pole.
A tow truck just left the scene and the road should open back up soon.
A road is closed after a vehicle flipped on its top and caught fire in Dayton Sunday.
Crews responded to the scene at North Broadway Street and Superior Avenue around 11:38 a.m., regional dispatchers confirmed.
North Broadway Street between Grand Avenue and Superior Avenue is closed, according to our crew on scene.
Dispatch advised people take an alternate route.
Everyone was able to get out of the vehicle, dispatch said.
Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 12:18 PM
Updated: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 12:18 PM
Voters in Greene County will decide whether to approve a new tax to pay for a new career center that would be built at U.S. 68 and U.S. 35.
The proposal is for a 20-year, 1.03-mill bond issue that would generate approximately $4.1 million a year while costing homeowners about $36 for every $100,000 worth of property.
Building the new facility is estimated to be a $62 million project, part of which would be paid for through savings achieved by the district, according to Greene County Career Center Superintendent Dave Deskins.
About $18 million has been saved from two sources: A settlement on a faulty workmanship claim from work in 2010 and the permanent improvement levy that voters approved in 1996, which was the last time voters approved new revenue for the career center, Deskins said.
“Between savings and contributions from business and industry, we will be able to equip the facility for generations to come,” Deskins said. “The career center has been working to save diligently to pay toward this. We’re currently in a position to contribute a substantial portion to support the project.”
Deskins said they tried to avoid this tax request by lobbying to change state law and allow the Ohio School Facilities Commission to help fund a new career center. The OSFC can fund renovations and remodeling projects but not new construction for career centers, Deskins said.
Language was included in the state’s last budget bill that would have changed the law, but when it reached Gov. John Kasich’s desk, it was one of 47 line-item vetoes.
“We were really close to finding a way to have the state help with this project,” Deskins said.
Most voters are supportive of building a new career center, if programming is expanded, according to a survey of voters that the Career Center conducted.
According to the survey, 59 percent of voters would support a new construction project, while 41 percent said “no.”
The potential new location at U.S. 68 and U.S. 35 is about eight miles away from the Career Center’s current campus on West Enon Road. Deskins said the proposed site is more centrally located for the county’s seven districts and would be closer for five of the seven districts served by the career center.
The Career Center has big plans for the new initiative “Take Flight,” which aims to train students to enter the aerospace and aviation industry. Deskins cites a job market study that indicates significant demand for skilled workers in engineering, manufacturing and information technology related to the aviation industry.
Deskins said the current facility at 2960 W. Enon Road was built in 1967, and the electric system is inadequate to accommodate new technology and equipment.
Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 11:55 AM
Updated: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 11:55 AM
— The recent discovery that a Kettering man was living alone in failing health as another man’s body lie in the house for years is an extreme example but illustrates how older Americans sometimes become invisible within plain sight of neighbors and away from families.
“Good or bad, one of the realities is that as someone ages, your circle of friends tends to shrink. And we’re seeing that more and more with increased longevity of individuals …,” said Douglas McGarry, executive director of the Area Agency on Aging.
People like Denny Berry, 83, the Kettering home’s owner, drift toward isolation, fall away from acquaintances and family and through society’s safety nets.
More elderly, more living alone
In 1950, only 10 percent of Americans over the age of 65 lived alone. Today, almost a third do. And for those 85 and older, the figure rises to about half.
Longer lifespans coupled with divorce and smaller family sizes have increased the likelihood of living single during later years, said McGarry. His nonprofit agency works to keep older adults in their homes in Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Logan, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby counties.
A vast majority of senior citizens remain connected to society and lead active lives, McGarry said.
“We tend to focus on this one (Kettering) case and not enough on all of the successes out there,” said McGarry. “Literally, there are thousands of people out there who are successfully living by themselves, engaged in their community.”
Estrangement from children is cited as factor in some cases and may have played a role in the recent Kettering case. But a family split is typically not why older parents live alone, statistics show.
Despite a common misperception, it’s not that children’s loyalty to parents is waning, it’s that about 90 percent of older Americans choose to age on their own, according to a 2013 Council on Contemporary Families study.
‘I don’t have anyone’
But for some like Kathleen Carver, there’s little choice but to live alone. The retired schoolteacher has no children and a lone surviving sibling lives many states away.
“I’m the only one in my family. I don’t have anyone really close,” said Carver, 83, who moved to Fairborn in 2010 to be with a sister, who since died.
Carver is hardly wanting for community, though, finding friends at her older adult apartment building.
“It makes it nice because you have your own apartment, and yet you have neighbors that are close you’ve made friends with that kind of check on you,” said Carver, who spent her career teaching music in Houston.
She also made a new “family” at the Fairborn Senior Center, which also provides a number of government services.
On any given day, Carver has multiple people checking up on her: those from her church, a housekeeper hired through the senior center, her friends in a dominoes group, not to mention the Happy Hookers, her knitting and crocheting circle.
“I would be kind of lost,” Carver said of living without all the supports – particularly those provided by the Fairborn Senior Center.
Last year, the center assisted 3,000 seniors in the Fairborn area either through transportation, outreach, homemaking or activities, said Executive Director Ellen Slone-Farthing.
“A lot of the seniors here, either their families are not engaged with them or their families don’t live around here, so we become their family,” she said.
About 28 percent of seniors age 65 and older live alone, according to Census Bureau data. In Montgomery County the number is nearly a third. But that’s not necessarily cause for alarm, McGarry said.
“Just because someone lives alone, that’s not a bad thing. If you’re independent, a lot of people enjoy living by themselves and being very private,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s kind of almost incumbent upon that individual to think out farther then just next week, next month – but look into the future and say, ‘What are my options?’ ‘What happens if I get sick? What happens if I can’t drive anymore? Who can take me to the doctor?’ – to plan the next stage of your life.”
Because of a lack of standardized state reporting, its unclear exactly how many older Ohioans live alone but are on the knife-edge of peril, said Emily Muttillo, applied research fellow at the Center for Community Solutions. But research by the Cleveland-based nonpartisan think tank suggests the number is concerning.
Self-neglect was the most commonly reported type of elder abuse — above physical, sexual or financial — to the state’s Adult Protective Services, according to a study of seven Ohio counties published in June by the center.
“People have self-neglected to the point where they have passed away without anybody realizing it or had become so sick that it had become a crisis,” said Emily Muttillo, Center for Community Solutions applied research fellow.
While the study did not include area counties, the state’s three largest counties were examined along with four others.
“We know that it is happening in those seven counties and can pretty much assume it’s probably the most reported type of elder abuse across our state,” Muttillo said.
Because self-abuse doesn’t implicate others, however, it may be reported more often, she said.
Planning for care
Ann Foster of Fairborn said she’s studying now for the next phase of her life.
“I have a book I got recently about what to do when you get older, long-term care and that kind of thing,” she said. “I’ve also been detail-oriented. Then you add 20 years in the Air Force, you kind of know how to plan things.”
The 78-year-old has few living relatives beyond cousins in Springfield.
“One will be in charge when it’s time for me to join my parents in the cemetery,” Foster said.
But she’s not resting there yet, or anywhere.
Active in her church, Foster also helps train service dogs at 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia, is a member of Fairborn Area Historical Society and the Fairborn Veterans Memorial committee as well as historian for her American Legion Post. And she still wants to take dulcimer lessons.
“Maybe because of my service time, I’m always involved,” said Foster during a break from a group yoga class last week.
‘Loneliness is a disease’
As Foster and other older adults work to keep their minds and bodies engaged and healthy, isolation can have the opposite effect, McGarry said.
“Bad things can happen if you lose contact,” he said. “Loneliness is a disease and it can be as deadly as a heart condition or cancer.”
A number of studies show isolation can have far-reaching negative effects, diminishing mental health and increasing the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Studies in 2010 suggest the risk factor is equal to smoking and alcohol consumption and could be greater threat to health than obesity.
Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, presented a compendium of the stark findings at last year’s American Psychological Association convention.
“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need — crucial to both well-being and survival. Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment,” Holt-Lunstad said. “Yet an increasing portion of the U.S. population now experiences isolation regularly.”
Communicate before a crisis
Slone-Farthing said resources are available locally to enhance the lives of those living alone with recreation activities, homemaking assistance and transportation. But it may come to the point people can no longer care for themselves and Adult Protective Services must be called.
“If they don’t seem to want to get out of their homes, something’s happened,” she said.
But adults remain free to make their own decisions until a probate judge says otherwise, McGarry said.
“It’s not like when you’re dealing with children,” he said “With an older person, you can’t do that. Even though it may not be in their best interest to live alone or isolate themselves, unless they have been adjudicated to be incapable of making decisions for themselves, services cannot be forced upon them.”
Despite the myriad avenues to connect via phone, text, email and social media, the lines of communication are often frayed on both sides, McGarry said.
WHERE TO GET HELP
Two regional private, non-profit organization organizations are the state-designated contact agencies for federal and state aging programs aimed at keeping older Ohioans and those with disabilities in their homes and combatting elder abuse.
Area Agency on Aging
Serves Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Logan, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby counties.
937-223-4357 or toll-free 1-800-258-7277
Council on Aging of Southwest Ohio
Serves Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties.
513-721-1025 or toll-free 1-800-252-0155