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How winter impacts our first responders

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 5:30 PM

Middletown Deputy Fire Chief David Adams explains the issues firefighters face when the temperatures drop

Imagine battling a fire in sub-zero temperatures or trying to get a life squad through a foot of snow. I went behind the scenes with local firefighters and paramedics for a look at how severe winter weather affects their mission to save lives. 

The snow, ice and cold add precious time to almost every task. 

ICE AND FIRE: Middletown firefighters battle 2 fires in dangerously cold conditions

"The conditions definitely makes it a lot tougher for all of us," said Deputy Chief David Adams of the Middletown Fire Department. 

So far this winter we have seen bitter cold snaps, with the temperature dropping to thirteen below zero one morning early in January. Every time we get below freezing, first responders have a new set of rules to follow. 

Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell explains the different criteria involved in issuing Winter Weather advisories, watches, or warnings

"We have to assign additional resources to that emergency scene to ensure that it stays safe," Scott Jacobs Dayton Fire Prevention Inspector.

Winter weather also means concern for the crews who are often wet and cold. Being out in the elements can take a toll on fire fighters who can be on a scene for six to eight hours! 

DOWNLOAD: Winter weather at your fingertips with the free WHIO Weather App

"We try to set up so we can rotate these guys and gals in and out so they get an opportunity to get warm," explained Chief David Reichert from Fairborn Department. 

"We have a lot of heavy clothes. The fire gear is designed to keep water out," said Scott Jacobs. "What a lot of people don't realize is ,that a heavy amount of exertion will cause sweat even when its zero degrees outside." 

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Fire fighters said 80 percent of people who call for help need an ambulance and each unit carries two crew members and a medic. In the winter, there is also a shovel and bag of salt in case the truck gets stuck or the roads are slick. 

"We are trained heavily in emergency response and when you throw snow on top of that, it adds to that level of confusion," said Jacobs. "We have to anticipate everybody doing anything. We never know what another driver is going to do."

To help firefighters and paramedics do their job, make sure you go right for sirens and lights. Also, keep a path clear from the sidewalk to your door in case you or your family members need an ambulance. They also ask you to clean off the fire hydrants near your home.

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2 arrested after burglary, pistol whipping in Dayton

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 @ 3:47 PM

Couple arrested after burglary, pistol whipping in Dayton

Two people were booked into jail on aggravated burglary charges after a woman and her boyfriend reportedly broke into a man's home, pointed a gun at him and demanded money. 

According to police reports, Jake Abston, 30, and Sara Rhoades, 23, both of Dayton, broke into the Philadelphia Street residence around 6 a.m. Monday.

LOCAL: Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force makes arrests Monday

When the man went downstairs Rhoades reportedly began arguing with him. Abston then allegedly approached him from behind and hit him over the head with a handgun, causing the man to fall, the report read. 

Once the man got back up, Abston allegedly pointed the gun at him and demanded money, the report read. 

Abston and Rhoades are accused of repeatedly hitting the man and fleeing the home after a neighbor entered the house to help the victim, according to the report. 

The man reported two gunshots fired before the pair left in a white GMC Yukon. 

Police later located the vehicle on Hoch Street and took Abston and Rhoades into custody, the report showed. 

Police reported the man had a visible knot and dried blood on his forehead, as well multiple little cuts. 

The front door of the residence was reportedly damaged, according to the report. 

Abston is facing an additional weapons charge.

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Blue Angels take community Key Influencers for private flight

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 8:47 PM

Blue Angels show off jet at Air Show

University of Dayton professor Margaret Pinnell and Dayton police officer Jason Olson flew with the US Navy's precision aircraft team, the Blue Angels today as part of the Key Influencer program. 

Pinnell and Olson flew out of Dayton International Airport in the F/A-18 Hornet with Lt. Andre Webb, assigned to the "Golden Eagles" of Training Squadron 22. 

>>Everything you need to know about the Dayton Air Show

According to the program's nomination form, Key Influencers are solicited by the Blue Angels and defined as "people who help to shape attitudes and opinions of youth in the community." 

"It means a lot to me," Olson told News Center 7's Kirstie Zontini. "I've been really excited about it for awhile." 

Serving as the city of Dayton's only addiction resource officer, Olson helped implement the GROW (Get Recovery Options Working) program where he and a team of specialists follow up with individuals arrested for an overdose. 

In 2017, Olson followed up on over 600 overdoses and has helped 290 families deal with addiction. 

"This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Just the experience of being up there and knowing that not a lot of other people have this opportunity was incredible," Olson said. 

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini was invited to fly along with one of the Blue Angels on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

Pinnell, a UD graduate and associate dean for faculty and staff development in the school of engineering, worked with the ETHOS program at the university for approximately ten years. The program places undergraduate students in developing countries to work with international community partners to find engineering solutions to basic human needs such as water, sanitation and cooking. During her time in this role, Pinnell grew the program from approximately five students a year to nearly 45 students a year and brought national recognition to the program. 

>>WATCH: Blue Angels practice ahead of Dayton Air Show

Pinnell is also deeply involved in the K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) community, leading the development of pick-up-and-go outreach kits that make it easier for engineering undergraduate students to go into area schools to deliver high impact STEM activities. She is actively involved in Project Lead the Way (PLTW) with Chaminade-Julienne High School and has provided support to Bellbrook High School's PLTW program, and currently working with area Catholic Schools on a STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering and Mathematics) initiative. 

Pinnell said Webb showed her around Dayton and pointed out UD's campus, describing it as a unique experience seeing the building she works in from the air. 

>>Blue Angels cancel Dayton Air Show appearance

"It was phenomenal, the pilot was amazing, he made me feel comfortable through the whole entire flight," Pinnell told Zontini. "It was an amazing experience and I feel very, very fortunate to be nominated for this." 

The public can see the Blue Angels make their first appearance at the Vectren Dayton Air Show since 2014 on June 23-24. For ticketing information, visit

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Wright State trustees fire former provost who was on paid leave for 3 years

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 7:27 PM

Former Wright State Provost Sundaram Narayanan, left, and his attorney Ted Copetas, right, sit in a Wright State board of trustees meeting on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Trustees voted to terminate Narayanan’s position as a faculty member.
Former Wright State Provost Sundaram Narayanan, left, and his attorney Ted Copetas, right, sit in a Wright State board of trustees meeting on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Trustees voted to terminate Narayanan’s position as a faculty member.(MAX FILBY / STAFF)

Wright State University’s board of trustees voted to fire its former provost who has been on paid leave in a faculty position for more than three years.

Six of the board’s nine members voted this evening to fire Sundaram Narayanan effective June 30. Three board members were absent from the closed-door meeting Wednesday when trustees met with Narayanan and his attorney Ted Copetas.

“At the end of the day, Dr. Narayanan was a decision-maker at the highest levels of the university at a time that resulted in millions of dollars in losses and the board feels there needs to be accountability from our administrators … and I think in the end that’s what it came down to,” board chairman Doug Fecher said after the vote.

» RELATED: Wright State to layoff up to 40; expects $10M loss next year

Following the private meeting, trustees returned to public session and voted to accept president Cheryl Schrader’s recommendation to terminate Narayanan’s employment.

Narayanan was placed on paid leave in May 2015 when a federal investigation was launched possible violation of immigration laws at WSU.

There was nothing “happy or satisfying” about the decision trustees made Wednesday, Fecher said. Fecher said he hopes that the decision helps the university move on from the visa scandal.

How WSU trustees voted on Narayanan’s termination

Doug Fecher: Yes

Bruce Langos: Yes

Bill Montgomery: Yes

Stephanie Green: Yes

Grace Ramos: Yes

Anuj Goyal: Yes

Michael Bridges: Absent

C.D. Moore: Absent

Sean Fitzpatrick: Absent

“This was not easy. There’s nothing to be happy about,” Fecher said. “This was hopefully the end of a very long and difficult chapter in the university’s history and I’m hoping we can all begin to put this behind us and move on and learn what lessons need to be learned and put the university on the path to the success that it deserves.”

After Narayanan and Copetas met with trustees behind closed doors, the former provost declined to comment on the then-pending decision. But, before trustees voted to fire Narayanan, Copetas said he thought the meeting “went very well.”

“I thought we made our point for the board and I can only hope that they make their decision based on the evidence and the record,” Copetas said before the vote.

Narayanan was one of four university administrators initially suspended in May 2015 because of the federal probe, which a Dayton Daily News investigation revealed was related to the university’s use of H-1B temporary work visas to secure employees for an area IT staffing firm.

» RELATED: Wright State pilot program saves students thousands on textbooks

University researcher Phani Kidambi, who was also suspended since May 2015 because of the federal probe, resigned from the university in August, records show.

The two others were university chief general counsel Gwen Mattison and senior advisor to the provost Ryan Fendley. Mattison was forced to retire in August 2015 with a $301,331 separation payment.

Sundaram Narayanan, former provost at Wright State University. CONTRIBUTED(Staff Writer)

Fendley was fired in August 2015, but then filed two lawsuits against the university. A breach of contract suit was settled with Wright State Applied Research Corporation paying him $13,209. A wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Fendley in the Ohio Court of Claims was decided in Wright State’s favor in September.

Copetas has not said whether he and Narayanan would file a lawsuit if the university terminated the former provost.

“We’ll have to evaluate our options after the board of trustees makes that decision,” Copetas told ;this news organization last week.

While Fecher said he hopes another lawsuit isn’t in the university’s future, he said Wright State’s leaders would handle one if it’s filed.

“That’s always a possibility,” Fecher said. “We’ll handle that if it comes. But, I don’t know that you can let that type of thing affect the kinds of decisions that you feel need to be made.”


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Storm Center 7’s Kirstie Zontini flies with U.S. Navy Blue Angels

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 8:26 AM
Updated: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 6:00 PM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini was invited to fly along with one of the Blue Angels on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

It was a ride of a lifetime for Storm Center 7 Daybreak meteorologist Kirstie Zontini, who suited up Wednesday afternoon with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

The flight crew is in town for this weekend’s Vectren Dayton Air Show.

Zontini took off with the team at 4:30 p.m., and is now safely back on the ground after quite the ride on an F/A-18C Hornet aircraft.

This Blue Angels jet has made its arrival at the Dayton Air Show.

PHOTOS: Get ready for these amazing aerial acts at the Vectren Dayton Air Show

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The Blue Angels are making their first appearance at the Vectren Dayton Air Show since 2014.

The fastest speed the team reaches during its performances is about 700 mph.

News Center 7 will bring you the behind the scenes look at the team and Zontini’s flight throughout Wednesday.

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

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