State leaders tour Wright Patt as they explore how to protect bases

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 3:14 PM


            State Reps. Hearcel F. Craig, D-Columbus, and Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, toured Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on Friday as part of a state BRAC and Military Affairs Task Force. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF
State Reps. Hearcel F. Craig, D-Columbus, and Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, toured Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on Friday as part of a state BRAC and Military Affairs Task Force. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF

A state panel touring military bases across Ohio to urge ways to protect the facilities visited the state’s largest installation base Friday as the panel prepares to release findings early next year.

Seven members of the 12-member BRAC and Military Affairs Task Force toured Wright-Patterson Air Force Base over five hours, the longest scheduled stop thus far to about a dozen installations in Ohio, said state Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beaverceek, and task force chairman.

The Miami Valley base, the state’s largest military installation with about 27,000 employees and about 100 units inside the fence, is the most complex of Ohio military facilities, he said.

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RELATED: Protecting Wright Patt goal of BRAC task force visit

The Wright-Patterson stops included the 445th Airlift Wing, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the National Air and Space Intelligence, and the 88th Air Base Wing headquarters.

“It’s huge,” said state Rep. Hearcel F. Craig, D-Columbus. “The sheer size of the landscape of the base is enormous.”

The Pentagon and the White House pushed for a base realignment and closure round in the latest defense budget, but Congress didn’t go along — despite years of pleas from top military leaders that the Department of Defense has too many bases for the size of the force.

Still, state leaders say they want to be prepared if a BRAC happens or the Pentagon reduces or moves missions on its own.

“When and if we are hit with a BRAC or anything that smells like a BRAC, we can pull that (report) out,” Perales said, saying it would be updated annually. “We won’t have to dust it off, it will be pretty accurate and we can just give a quick update.

“We’re going to have the whole state buy into it,” he added. “We’re not just coming to southwest Ohio.”

RELATED: Ohio leaders say funding will help protect Wright Patt

The task force will release recommendations and priorities on what to focus on by the end of March next year, Perales said.

This year, state lawmakers set aside $500,000 over two years to pay for infrastructure needs at Wright-Patterson to bolster the installation’s military value in anticipation of a future round of base closures.

The last BRAC round in 2005 brought more than 1,100 jobs to Wright-Patterson and the addition of the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and the AFRL Sensors Directorate.

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Hurricane Maria: Live updates

Published: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 @ 5:33 AM
Updated: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 @ 5:33 AM

Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall In Puerto Rico

Tropical Storm Maria continues to churn in the Atlantic Ocean. The deadly storm has claimed lives on multiple islands in its path.

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Venomous snake species discovered in Australia may already be endangered, biologists say

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 6:34 PM

A new species of bandy-bandy venomous snake has been discovered in Australia by researchers with the University of Queensland.
Bryan Fry, University of Queensland
A new species of bandy-bandy venomous snake has been discovered in Australia by researchers with the University of Queensland.(Bryan Fry, University of Queensland)

A new species of venomous snake has been discovered in Australia and biologists say it is dangerously close to extinction.

The new species of bandy snake was found at Weipa on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula by researchers with the University of Queensland

Bryan Fry, an associate professor at the University of Queensland who lead the team of biologists, said that the discovery happened by chance.

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A new species of bandy-bandy venomous snake has been discovered in Australia by researchers with the University of Queensland.(Bryan Fry, University of Queensland)

“Bandy-bandy is a burrowing snake, so Freek Vonk, from the Naturalis Museum, and I were surprised to find it on a concrete block by the sea,” Fry said. “We later discovered that the snake had slithered over from a pile of bauxite rubble waiting to be loaded onto a ship.”

The snake turned out to be genetically different than any other snake.

“On examination by my student Chantelle Derez, the bandy-bandy turned out to be a new species, visually and genetically distinct from those found on the Australian East coast and parts of the interior.”

A new species of bandy-bandy venomous snake has been discovered in Australia by researchers with the University of Queensland.(Bryan Fry, University of Queensland)

Another specimen was found in its natural habitat near Weipa, and another was killed by a car close to the mine.

Five of the snakes were found in all.

Fry said the species is at risk due to local development.

“Bauxite mining is a major economic activity in the region, and it may be reshaping the environment to the detriment of native plants and animals,” said Fry.

Venom from the snake could be rich in compounds that could be used to discover new medications, Fry said.

“Every species is precious and we need to protect them all, since we can’t predict where the next wonder drug will come from, Fry said. “The importance of such discoveries goes beyond simply documenting what is out there, as venoms are rich sources of compounds that can be used to develop new medications.”

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Destiny’s Child star Michelle Williams checks in to mental health facility, reports say

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 7:13 PM

Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child has checked herself into a mental health facility to seek treatment for depression, TMZ is reporting.
Scott Wintrow/Getty Images
Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child has checked herself into a mental health facility to seek treatment for depression, TMZ is reporting.(Scott Wintrow/Getty Images)

Destiny’s Child star Michelle Williams has reportedly checked herself into a mental health facility, TMZ reports.

Williams posted a letter to her fans on her Instagram page on Tuesday.

“I recently listened to the same advice I have given thousands around the world and sought help from a great team of professionals,” Williams posted.

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Sources told TMZ that Williams is receiving treatment at a facility near Los Angeles.

Williams has been open about her struggles with depression, revealing her story in an interview on “The Talk” last year.

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Williams recently reunited with Destiny’s Child members Beyonce and Kelly Rowland at Coachella in April.

It was the first time the group has performed together in several years.

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Family of boy who drowned in Dayton pool hires civil rights attorney Ben Crump

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 11:03 AM
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 6:06 PM

The family of a 6-year-old boy who died after drowning in a Dayton city-owned swimming pool wants answers about how long the boy was under water and why lifeguards were allegedly not watching the boy more closely.

UPDATE @ 5:53 p.m. (July 17): Niguel Hamilton’s family has retained the services of civil right attorney Ben Crump.

Crump, who has represented the family of Trayvon Martin and taken on other high profile cases, was retained by the Hamilton family to “pursue justice,” according to a statement issued Tuesday. 

“They don't understand how you have three certified swimming instructors and only four children in the pool, and yet you lose one of them,” Crump said of the family. “They're heartbroken, and they just are searching for answers.”

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The Hamilton family was paying for swimming lessons a Lohrey Recreation Center to prevent exactly this kind of tragedy, Crump said. 

READ: 2 pulled to safety from the Mad River at Eastwood MetroPark

The attorney was in town Tuesday and he said he’s helping the Hamilton family plan Niguel’s home-going celebrations this weekend. He said he also plans to push the city for an explanation of how the boy could have died. 

“The family has gotten no answers at this point,” Crump said. 

Niguel’s parents released a statement for the first time Tuesday: “No parent should ever have to endure such a preventable loss, and we want to make sure no other parents suffer a loss like this."

Crump added: "He had his whole life ahead of him. He never ever, ever, ever should have been taken this soon."

Services for Niguel are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Timothy Missionary Baptist Church in Dayton.

SEE ALSO: Boa constrictor skin found in Springfield, snake may be on loose

INITIAL REPORT

The 6-year-old pulled from a Dayton pool last week has died, according to the coroner’s office.

Niguel Hamilton died at the hospital Sunday night, officials said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Boy pulled from bottom of Dayton pool ‘brain dead,’ grandfather says

Hamilton was pulled from the indoor pool at Lohrey Recreation Center in Dayton on July 12.

The city released a statement Friday afternoon: “A thorough investigation is underway. Out of respect for the family involved, we will not be making additional comments at this time.”

A Dayton Police Department detective also has been assigned to the case.

Niguel Hamilton was one of about four children in the indoor pool for swim lessons at the center, the boy’s grandfather, Willie Hamilton said. 

“He’s happy, full of life, loving, smart,” his grandfather said Friday. “Niguel is a good kid. He is a loving kid. Everybody who meets Niguel loves him.”

The last thing Hamilton remembers of Niguel’s swim lesson is that he saw him with his class in the deep end, and that Niguel, who is 6 but small for his age, had just gone off the diving board with his instructor’s assistance.

Shortly after that, a lifeguard said they didn’t see Niguel in the water and asked if he had seen him, whether he had gone to the restroom.

“I got up, went to the bathroom and looked around and couldn’t find him,” Hamilton said.

The lifeguards then got everyone out of the pool and searched again, in vain.

Hamilton said he went outside to check for him, but when he returned he learned they found him at the bottom of the pool.

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