NEW DETAILS: Developer plans to transform 158-year-old Oregon District church

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

We take you inside Monument Walk, a Charlie Simms development in Downtown Dayton. Video by Amelia Robinson

The developer purchasing a 158-year-old Oregon District church says the building’s next chapter might involve a restaurant, apartments and shops. 

>> MORE: Iconic church in the Oregon District being sold

As this news organization first reported, St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church located at 239 Wayne Ave. is in the process of being sold to Weyland Ventures, the developers of The Wheelhouse project, located nearby at 210 Wayne Ave. 

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>> Construction boom: 10 downtown Dayton projects

Mariah Gratz, Weyland Ventures’ CEO, said her Louisville-based company is evaluating the best use of the church, but it could be the future site of retail business and a restaurant. 

The parish hall could be used as housing, she said. 

“We have some initial concepts. We have not finalized that,” she said. “We have to finish up our market studies and analysis.” 

>> PHOTOS: Look inside the new Wheelhouse Lofts in Dayton’s Oregon District

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church pastor Robert E. Miller confirmed that the church at 239 Wayne Ave. will close after Christmas service 2017.(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

St. Paul’s will close December 31. The church dates back to 1859. Its steeple was built around 1869, and the parish hall in 1954.

Gratz said the company plans to keep the building’s features. 

“We love historic buildings,” she said. “We try to save them, especially the ones that have good bones and and stories to tell.” 

The Wheelhouse Lofts are in the historic Weustoff and Getz building, which was constructed in 1868. 

Tom GilliamWheelhouse Lofts is the adaptive reuse of the historic Weustoff and Getz building, once used as a machine shop, tool room and assembly room for automobiles. The four-story building is being converted into 40 loft-style apartments with restaurant and retail space on the first floor. Troll Pub Under the Bridge, a 6,500 square foot bar and restaurant with a courtyard will be among the tenants.(Tom Gilliam/Tom Gilliam)

>> RELATED: City works to preserve ‘rich urban fabric’ (Aug. 12, 2015) 

That development includes a 40-unit apartment building and a Troll Pub restaurant and bar location.

Speakeasy Yoga also plans to open a second location in the Wheelhouse building, Gratz told this news organization. 

St. Paul pastor Robert E. Miller said in July that the church will close at the end of the year and was looking for a buyer.

The church now has fewer than 100 members and many are elderly. The average age of a worshiper is 73. The church can only pay 40 percent of its bills through collections. The rest comes from its dwindling investment fund. 

Earlier this week, Miller said the congregation intends to “pay it forward” by supporting charitable causes and its employees. Additional details will be released later about its plans. 

Gratz said the building’s sale is expected to be finalized by the end of the year. The building fits into the Weyland’s overall plans for development in Dayton, she said. More development is possible. 

“We always have our eye on the area,” Gratz said. “We will be looking for strategic pieces when they pop up.” 


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Passing storms expected through the evening

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 3:08 AM
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 6:59 PM

Showers and thunderstorms are expected for our Monday, but a much drier change is on the way.

Scattered thunderstorms, some with brief heavy downpours, are showing weakening trend as expected as we approach sunset, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Eric Elwell reports. Storms should continue to fizzle although there are still a few heavy showers drifting near Richmond, another one near Xenia and another moving south in Butler County. Little, if any rainfall will be left after sunset (after 9pm).


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    • Scattered storms to taper off after dark
    • Cooler, less humid air arrives for midweek
    • Unsettled weather returns for the coming weekend

>> Live Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar

5-day forecast with Meteorologist Jesse Maag

>>Five-Day Forecast


This evening: Expect passing showers and storms. A few may contain gusty winds and brief heavy rainfall. Temperatures will be in the 80s but fall into the 70s where rainfall occurs.

Overnight: Any lingering showers will taper off with clouds breaking. Temperatures and humidity will drop with lows in the upper 60s by morning.

>> County-by-County Weather 

Tuesday: Skies will become mostly sunny. It will be warm but less humid with highs in the middle 80s.

Wednesday: Lots of sunshine is expected with much less humidity. Highs will top out near 80 degrees.

Thursday: Expect another nice day under mostly sunny skies. Highs will rebound back into the middle 80s.

Friday: Clouds will be on the increase with a chance for scattered showers and storms developing by afternoon. The humidity will also be on the rise with highs in the middle 80s. 

Saturday: Numerous showers and storms are expected, especially in the afternoon hours. Highs will be in the lower 80s.

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 Off-duty Troy firefighter dies unexpectedly

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 4:21 PM

An off-duty Troy firefighter/paramedic passed away unexpectedly Friday evening.

Jason Holfinger, 38, died unexpectedly at his Covington home, according to his obituary.

>>> Boy, 6, pulled from Dayton pool has died

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He is survived by his wife and three children.

Holfinger joined the Troy Fire Department in 2013.

Grief counseling has been offered to Troy firefighters.

Visitation will be at Koinos Christian Fellowship Church in Troy on Wednesday from 3 to 8 p.m.

>>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

A funeral service will be held Thursday at 10 a.m.  at the church.

A cause of death has not yet been determined.

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Wanted: workers who can pass a drug test

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 5:30 PM

Mindi Harris, Families of Addicts

Mindi Harris was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at an early age and suffered from severe pain. 

"They put me on Morphine 60's. They put me on Percocet 10's and Fentanyl patches and I'm just an 18-year-old kid," said Harris. 

Harris said she was soon addicted, but managed to hold down a full-time job until her addiction to opioids caught up with her at work.

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"They said, 'okay it's drug test time,' and at that time I'm in active addiction so I freak out," Harris said. 

Harris said she lost her job and spiraled out of control, "my addiction kind of took off and I hit rock bottom."

She is in recovery now and while looking for a new job, Harris said she is seeing a growing number of Miami Valley companies doing drug testing. Our investigation found that drug testing is mandatory in manufacturing since these businesses require employees to operate heavy machinery. 

RELATED:Workers under employers’ watch for opioid abuse

Steve Staub runs Staub Manufacturing Solutions in Dayton and said his company has a hard time filling jobs because so many applicants cannot pass the drug test. 

"We have people apply and we do interviews on the phone and ask, 'can you pass a drug test?' They say, 'no, not right now. Can you give me a month or so and maybe I can,'" Staub said.  

A top testing company found that drug use by American workers is at its highest rate in a decade at 4.2 percent, based on 10-million drug test results. What are these companies seeing when applicants find out there is a required drug test?

"Probably about a third of those folks who schedule to come in and see us, don't actually make it," said Jeff Noble, of Noble Staffing Solutions. 

RELATED:Failed drug tests holding back employment

Facing the need to fill these jobs, Staub is stepping up with a unique solution. 

"The business here is taking a new approach. First, working with a local nonprofit to give people a second chance, and at the same time, helping the company," said Staub. "It's the right thing to do."

The nonprofit is Good Shepherd Ministries and the goal is to give recovering addicts a place to live and help finding a job. 

Bryan Blackford said he used pain pills and then Fentanyl and eventually lost his job. 

"There were times when I was sitting there using Fentanyl," said Blackford. "I'd b half hunched over, dead basically, and still trying to hit more."

RELATED:Drug survey targets local businesses

Blackford was a welder at Honda and now that he is in recovery, he hopes to get a job in metal fabrication. 

"To be fully independent, that would mean the world to me," Blackford said. 

With the economy in overdrive, other local companies are now turning to Good Shepherd for help too. 

"My phone rings every other day. People want employees that can pass drug tests," said Shawn Trapp of Good Shepherd Ministries. 

While looking for work and fighting the stigma of addiction, Mindi Harris is telling others in recovery not to give up. 

"That's what I'm continuing to do because I have to," said Harris. "As frustrating as it is, that's what we have to do." 


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Victim in Springfield homicide identified 

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 10:29 AM

Units were dispatched to the scene at approximately 10:30 p.m. and found a male victim, reportedly in his 50s, dead in an alley on Clifton Ave. Police said the man was shot multiple times.

Police are still working to learn what led up to the homicide shooting that killed Howard Edley, 70, of Springfield. The shooting occured in the alley of E. Rose Street and Clifton Avenue.

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Authorities were dispatched to the scene at approximately 10:30 p.m. Saturday and found Edley who was shot multiple times according to police. 

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No arrests have been made in this shooting and police currently do not have a description of any suspects. 

We will continue to update this story with any information we receive. 

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