Videos: Winds driving  wildfires through Southern Calif.

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 4:10 AM

Calif. firefighters battle inside, outside Bel Air homes

Firefighters are trying to get into fire-ravaged areas in Southern California to try and get an accurate estimate on the number of homes lost to raging wildfires since Monday. At least four major fires shut down highways, closed schools and museums, shut down TV productions and cast a haze over the region, according to The Associated Press. At least 200,000 people are under evacuation orders. 

>> California wildfires: Live updates

High winds are expected to make battling the fires difficult for first responders through the rest of the week. 

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Weather forecasters in Los Angeles are predicting high winds over night Wednesday and into Thursday morning, with gusts as high as 70 miles per hour in some areas. Los Angeles officials are urging people near the Creek and Rye Fires to be ready to evacuate.

California's top firefighter says the state is in for the worst Santa Ana wind conditions it's ever seen.

>> VIDEO: Wind-driven fire consumes northern California ranch

Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, says the wind wildfire threat to Southern California for Thursday is purple. That color has never been used before, and means there is extreme danger and that fires that erupt will burn uncontrollably.

>> VIDEO: Fiery commute greets motorists on California’s I-405

Below that is red, meaning high danger of fires that burn rapidly and intensely and are difficult to control.

Pimlott says the winds could hit 80 mph (129 kph) and make it impossible to fight Southern California wildfires that have destroyed at least 200 homes and buildings.

>> PHOTOS: Wildfires scorching thousands of acres

A surge from the biggest of the wildfires burning in Southern California has forced several thousand more people to evacuate in a community of artists and resorts, according to the AP.

>> VIDEO: Firefighters battle blaze inside, outside of Bel Air homes

Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Eric Buschow says flames have been creeping closer and slowly surrounding the town of Ojai (OH'hi), and on Tuesday night increasing winds brought them close enough to expand evacuation orders there.

Flames, now about 4 miles away, were visible from the city's downtown for the first time on Tuesday night, and ash was raining down.

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Dayton Air Show attendance rebounds with Blue Angels visit

Published: Monday, June 25, 2018 @ 11:04 AM

Blue Angels at the Air Show - June 23, 2018

This year’s Vectren Dayton Air Show attracted an estimated 62,000 spectators — an improvement over last year’s show — and generated an estimated $3.2 million in local revenue, organizers said. 

Good weather and the Navy’s Blue Angels attracted crowds to the show, said Roger Doctor, the air show’s public safety director. 

“The show went off without a hitch,” Doctor said, noting there were only two spectators removed for medical reasons. 

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Doctor said he anticipated the attendance number to increase as the total number of tickets is calculated.

PHOTOS: 2018 Vectren Dayton Air Show

An estimated 44,000 people attended the show in 2017, a decline from 2016’s attendance of about 51,000. Organizers blamed low attendance at last year’s air show on the cancellation of the Air Force Thunderbirds as the headline act due to a crash and record rainfall that caused parking delays.

Military jet teams like the Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels are the biggest draw for the air show and organizers bank on their appearance to bring tens of thousands to the grounds at James M. Cox Dayton International Airport. The show can draw as many as 65,000 or more spectators when the teams fly, officials say.

“The Blue Angels delighted the crowd,” Doctor said.  The show has seen varied attendance throughout the years. In 2003, more than 110,000 people attended a four-day exhibition celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight. By contrast, fewer than 25,000 people attended the show in 2013 when a fatal crash occurred on Saturday and no jet team performed.

The weather, which Doctor said was the best the air show had experienced in several years, also played a factor in attendance. However, Doctor said some attendees may have held off going on Saturday morning when it was cloudy and there was a chance for rain.

Doctor said there was one small car crash near the show, but credited the police departments that assisted with traffic for a mostly safe traffic situation in 2018. He said the parking lots cleared just an hour after the show.

“I did not receive a single negative comment,” he said.

MORE: Blue Angels thrill crowd

Scott Buchanan, United States Air and Trade Show chairman, said he met people who have traveled to Dayton several times to watch the air show, and was told by attendees that they enjoy the Dayton area hospitality.

“They like to come here,” Buchanan said.

Chris and Sandy Porter of Bloomington, Ind., arrived Friday night to meet with family members from Columbus.

“It’s more just about being together with family,” Sandy Porter said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Doctor said commercial airlines were largely unaffected by the show, since one runway is generally kept open to commercial traffic.

Looking ahead, Doctor said the Blue Angels could possible return in 2020, and the Thunderbirds are already booked for 2019.

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Staff Writer Barrie Barber contributed reporting.

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Bliss and Goodfellow: Which military bases will build camps to hold immigrants? 

Published: Monday, June 25, 2018 @ 2:36 PM

What You Need to Know: 'Zero Tolerance' Immigration Policy

The Pentagon announced on Monday that two bases in Texas will be building temporary housing for immigrants illegally crossing the country’s southern border.

Goodfellow Air Force Base and the Army’s Fort Bliss were chosen by the Department of Defense to house immigrants. According to the Pentagon, one base will house unaccompanied children while the other will host families.

Defense Secretary James Mattis told The Associated Press Sunday that the Pentagon is preparing to build temporary housing for migrants at two U.S. military bases. Mattis said that plans for the housing were already in the works, but he would not name which two bases would be hosting temporary camps for immigrants.

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The Pentagon said last week that officials at HHS requested housing for children at military installations “for occupancy as early as July through December 31, 2018.” A spokesman for the DOD said the department would make available space on military bases for as many as 20,000 migrant children.

The call for housing comes amid a backlash over the Trump Administration policy of “zero tolerance” for those coming into the country illegally. Under the zero-tolerance policy, any adult “believed to have committed any crime, including illegal entry,” is referred to the Justice Department for prosecution. Any child accompanying an adult entering the country illegally would be sent to a detention center, separated from the parent or guardian who would be sent to jail. 

Video footage of separated children along with an audiotape of children crying for their parents sparked outrage over the policy.

Last week, Trump signed an executive order that said that from that point on, migrant families would be housed together, and reiterated the call for military bases to find space for facilities to house families.

Trump’s executive order called for the Department of Defense to “take all legally available measures” to provide the Department of Homeland Security with “any existing facilities available for the housing and care of alien families,” according to The Washington Post.

The Pentagon was also tasked with the construction of facilities “if necessary and consistent with law.”

HHS, the department that takes custody of “unattended” immigrant children, has toured facilities on four military bases to assess whether they would meet their needs for housing children. The bases are Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, and Dyess Air Force Base, Goodfellow Air Force Base and Fort Bliss in Texas.

Time magazine is reporting that the U.S. Navy is ready to construct detention centers that would house more than 100,000 immigrants.

The centers – said to be tent cities and described as “temporary and austere” – are being considered for air fields in Alabama, Arizona and California that are no longer in regular use by the Navy. 

According to the internal draft memo obtained by TIME, the centers will be designed to last between six months and a year. They would be built at Navy Outlying Field Wolf in Orange Beach, Alabama, and nearby Navy Outlying Field Silverhill in Silverhill, Alabama, as well as at Naval Weapons Station Concord, near San Francisco, and Camp Pendleton in Southern California. Marine Corps Air Station Yuma (Arizona), is also being considered, according to the memo.

The memo said that the Navy would spend about $233 million to construct and operate each facility for 25,000 people for a six-month time period. 

Here is a look at the two bases:

Goodfellow Air Force Base

  • Goodfellow Air Force Base is located in San Angelo, Texas, which is in Tom Green County in central Texas, four hours northwest of San Antonio.
  • It is the home of the 17th Training Wing.
  • Air Education and Training Command was established and activated there in January 1942, making it the second-oldest major command in the Air Force.
  • Goodfellow hosts cryptologic and intelligence training for all branches of the military.
  • In addition, military firefighters are trained at Goodfellow as part of the 312th Training Squadron. 
  • The 217th Training Squadron of the Texas Air National Guard is hosted at the base, as is the Army’s 344th Military Intelligence Batallion.
  • The base sits on 1,235 acres. It has a population of about 5,500, half of whom are students.

Fort Bliss

  • Fort Bliss is a United States Army post that takes in land in both New Mexico and Texas.
  • It has an area of about 1,700 square miles and is the largest installation in the United States Army Forces Command.
  • Fort Bliss has the largest contiguous tract -- 1,500 square miles -- of restricted airspace in the continental United States.
  • The base is used for missile and artillery training and testing.
  • Fort Bliss is home to the 1st Armored Division and is supported by the 15th Sustainment Brigade. The installation is also home to the 32nd Army Air & Missile Defense Command, the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, the 212th Fires Brigade and the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade.
  • The post is also the headquarters for the El Paso Intelligence Center, a federal tactical operational intelligence center.

A transport officer, right, helps immigrants Dilma Araceley Riveria Hernandez, and her son, Anderson Alvarado, 2, get off the bus after they were processed and released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Sunday, June 24, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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Submarine House considering two expansions

Published: Monday, June 25, 2018 @ 11:24 AM

Gary Danner from the Submarine House shows the 16-inch Super Duper Cheesesteak that six contestants would race to consume in the Miami Valley Cheesesteak Challege.
Staff Writer
Gary Danner from the Submarine House shows the 16-inch Super Duper Cheesesteak that six contestants would race to consume in the Miami Valley Cheesesteak Challege.(Staff Writer)

Submarine House is looking to bring its signature east coast cheese steak sub to more Dayton-area customers in an upcoming expansion.

The Dayton-based restaurant is expecting to open a store in Springboro or Kettering soon. Franchise co-owner Brody Danner told this media outlet he hopes to open one of the stores before 2018 ends, but by early 2019 at the latest.

» BIZ BEAT: New discount clothing retailer may be coming to Dayton Mall

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The company has been talking to a potential owner who wants to open stores in both Kettering and Springboro, and they’re now looking for a building. They could find a building next week or in two months, Danner said, but he intends to do his homework in finding any new Submarine House locations because he wants each store to last a long time.

“It’s not good for us—it’s not good for the community—when a business doesn’t end up working out,” Danner said.

Danner said he isn’t sure whether the Kettering or Springboro store will open first, but he hopes one will follow the other quickly. The two stores are part of Danner’s and his brother Jason Drummer’s goal of averaging one new store each year for the next 10 years.

BIZ BEAT: Travel, spending expected to be down around Fourth of July

“We want to branch out from the Dayton area. This is our home, this always has been our home and this always will be our home,” he said.

The growing franchise is also in talks to open locations in Springfield and Athens, Ohio, the town where both Danner and brother went to college.

There a currently nine total stores, eight in the Dayton area and one in Hilliard, a Columbus suburb. Danner said the franchise is also hoping to expand in the Columbus area.

»RELATED: Technical issue at PSA Airlines Dayton headquarters grounds 675 flights

Over the last 11 years, the Danner brothers have worked at making each restaurant in the franchise cohesive in advertising and look, as well as changing the direction of Submarine House to a bar and grill style.

“Since then we’ve gradually changed over all the stores to the bar and grill concept and that’s all we’re doing in the future,” Danner said. “Any store that we had existing that we transferred over to a bar and grill concept we immediately tripled revenue.”

Submarine House gets a lot of interest, Danner said. But the brothers are strict about who they choose to own the stores because they want to form long-term relationships and keep owners around.

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“We’re not about just opening as many stores as we can. If we were, we’d have 40 or 50 stores by now. We’re very selective,” Danner said.

Sub House, as many refer to it, has been expanding in recent years, opening the two newest stores within three months. The Huber Heights location opened in September of 2016 and Centerville opened in January 2017.

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Cop fired for detaining daughter and her black boyfriend, ignoring real call for help

Published: Monday, June 25, 2018 @ 2:25 PM



Pixabay
(Pixabay)

An Ohio police officer has been fired for abusing his authority by detaining his daughter and her black boyfriend, all while a legitimate call for help went unanswered, police officials said. 

John Kovach Jr., who is white, was fired May 11 after an internal investigation determined he had violated multiple sections of the Lorain Police Department’s standards of conduct, as well as the department’s policy and procedures, the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reported. Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will is also reviewing the case to determine if Kovach will face criminal charges. 

“These actions are not acceptable for members of our police department and we felt it warranted immediate dismissal,” Dan Given, safety-service director for the city of Lorain, told the newspaper

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Lorain, a city of just under 65,000 people, is located about 30 miles west of Cleveland on Lake Erie. 

Dashboard camera footage shows the April 16 traffic stop that Kovach conducted on Makai Coleman, the 18-year-old dating Kovach’s daughter, Katlyn Kovach. She is also 18 years old, the Chronicle-Telegram reported

Kovach, a 26-year veteran officer, tells Coleman to get out of the car because he’s “going to jail,” according to the video, which was obtained by the Chronicle-Telegram

Coleman asks the police officer why he is being arrested. 

“Have a seat in my car,” Kovach responds. “We’ll make (expletive) up as we go.”

See the dashboard camera recording from Kovach’s patrol car below. Warning: The video contains some graphic language. 

Once Coleman is in the police cruiser, one of the passengers gets out of the stopped vehicle. 

“Did I tell you to get out of the car?” Kovach asks. 

Off camera, but while still being recorded, Kovach approaches a woman who lives nearby, who the Chronicle-Telegram identified as Gloria Morales. Morales’ children are two of the passengers in Coleman’s car. 

Unbeknownst to Kovach, his daughter is the third passenger. 

“My daughter in there?” Kovach is heard asking Morales, who tells him the girl isn’t in her home. “Why is her computer there?”

Morales offers to let him check inside the house for his daughter. 

Kovach doesn’t believe her. 

“If I check and you’re lying to me, you’re going to jail,” Kovach tells Morales

As he and Morales argue, Kovach tells her “that boy” was harboring his daughter, who he heard was suicidal. He then tells Morales her daughter will get a $300 ticket for failure to wear a seat belt. 

Morales tells Kovach to come back with a search warrant if he wants to enter her home. 

“That’s fine. I will,” he responds. 

After a brief silence, he is heard off camera telling Morales’ daughter she is getting a ticket.

“I had my seat belt on,” the girl says. 

“No, you didn’t,” he says. “You can go to court, then.”

Morales steps into the camera frame, telling Kovach that she and her children will tell the judge about his behavior when they fight the ticket. 

Kovach accuses her of being disorderly. 

“How am I being disorderly?” Morales asks. “You’re making this personal. You want to ticket my daughter because you think your daughter is in my house.”

As the argument continues, Morales accuses Kovach of using department time and resources to look for his daughter. She tells Kovach she is calling 911 to report him. 

“Call 911, you’re going to jail,” Kovach tells her

Former Lorain, Ohio police Officer John Kovach is pictured in 2014. Kovach was fired May 11, 2018, following an internal investigation into a traffic stop of his daughter's 18-year-old boyfriend.(Lorain Police Department)

The angry officer tells Morales’ children to go inside with their mother. It is at that point that he spots his own daughter sitting in the back seat of Coleman’s car. 

“I didn’t even see you. Get out of the car. Get in my car,” he tells his daughter. 

He opens the rear door of the patrol car.

“Goodbye,” he tells Coleman repeatedly as he orders his daughter into the cruiser.

“You can’t take me. I’m 18,” Katlyn Kovach tells her father. 

Coleman tells the girl she can get back in his car with him, but John Kovach tells her, “No, you are not.”

“Why are you taking me?” an increasingly panicked-sounding Katlyn Kovach asks her father. “Why are you taking me? You have to give me a reason, by law.”

She begins screaming and crying as her father pushes her into the back seat of the patrol car.  

Coleman, who initially walked back to his car, returns and asks John Kovach why he is taking his daughter. 

“Why are you putting her in the car?” Coleman asks. 

“She was suicidal yesterday,” the officer responds. 

“I was not,” Katlyn Kovach responds. “You weren’t even with me yesterday.”

The argument continues for a few moments, at which point John Kovach says his daughter is going to the hospital. The camera footage eventually shows the patrol car driving away, Katlyn Kovach still in the back seat.

While the argument with his daughter was going on, a call came in for a road rage incident elsewhere in the city. The dashboard footage shows that Kovach, who was nearby, ignored the call. 

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The Chronicle-Telegram reported that documents from the internal investigation indicate Kovach lied multiple times to the detectives conducting the internal investigation, which was prompted after Morales called 911. 

Kovach told internal investigators that he pulled Coleman’s car over after spotting him driving at a high rate of speed. He also claimed the car almost struck his patrol vehicle, the newspaper reported.

The dashboard footage shows Coleman driving at a normal rate of speed into the Morales family’s neighborhood. It also shows that Kovach did not inform dispatchers before initiating the traffic stop. 

The Chronicle-Telegram reported that Kovach, when questioned about the missed road rage call, told investigators that he called the officer at that scene after receiving the dispatch information and learned he was not needed. Lt. Ed Super, one of the men conducting the internal investigation, pointed out that the dashcam footage does not substantiate Kovach’s claim. 

Lt. Dan Smith wrote in a complaint against Kovach that he talked to both Coleman and Coleman’s mother about the incident. According to the documents, the teen told the lieutenant that Kovach called him the week before the traffic stop and threatened to take out warrants against him.

Kovach also threatened to go to Coleman’s U.S. Army recruiter and stop the teen’s enlistment, Coleman told Smith. According to his Facebook page, Coleman started basic training in May.

Smith wrote that Kovach told him he didn’t think Coleman was a good person because he had previously been arrested on a marijuana charge, the newspaper reported. The officer said his daughter was staying with Coleman against her parents’ wishes.

Kovach also claimed that his ex-wife told him she had seen a Facebook post on Coleman’s page in which the teen said he was going to pimp out their daughter to make money. The ex-wife later told investigators she had no idea what Kovach was talking about. 

The girl’s mother did say, however, that she believed Kovach was trying to be a good father. She did “not want him to lose everything,” and said that she and her ex-husband did have concerns about their daughter’s relationship, the documents said

Kovach was placed on leave less than four hours after the traffic stop, the Chronicle-Telegram reported. He was ultimately disciplined for initiating the traffic stop without cause, for threatening to arrest Morales and for placing Coleman in custody and saying he would make up charges against him.

Kovach was also disciplined for failing to back up the other officer at the road rage incident, the newspaper reported. 

He is appealing his firing. Kyle Gelenius, president of the Lorain Fraternal Order of Police, said in a statement Friday that Kovach is appealing through the grievance process. 

Gelenius said that the appeal is based not on claims that Kovach’s behavior was appropriate, but on violations of the union’s standing contract that allegedly took place during the disciplinary process. He said union officials are “just as disturbed as anyone else” by what Kovach did. 

“Clearly, he acted outside of the purview of his duties as an officer of the law, which our city administration recognized and felt warranted termination,” Gelenius said in the statement. “We are equally concerned about the rights of our citizens to whom we are sworn to serve and protect. We do not condone nor praise John Kovach’s actions in this matter.”

It is still the union’s job to offer Kovach fair and neutral representation through the disciplinary and appeals process, Gelenius said.

“That is why we stated HE is looking forward to presenting his side to a neutral arbitrator,” Gelenius said. 

The arbitration hearing is scheduled for September, the Chronicle-Telegram reported

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