A look back at 2023


XENIA — It was a big year in Greene County.

There were renamings, rebrandings, cell phone controversies, and somewhat surprising election results.

The staff at Greene County News compiled the top stories for each month.


DeWine starts second term

Greene County native Mike DeWine officially began his second term as governor during a private swearing-in ceremony at his Cedarville home. DeWine said he enters his second term with more optimism than ever for Ohio and a host of ambitions that could have lasting impact, including to make it the nation’s best state for mental health treatment and research. In his inauguration speech, the former U.S. senator praised Ohioans’ resilience during the coronavirus pandemic and thanked Ohio voters for giving him and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted more time to work on “unfinished business.”

Cell phone usage restricted

Gov. Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 288, which significantly strengthened laws in Ohio related to the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. The bill, which was initially part of House Bill 283 sponsored by representatives Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) and Brian Lampton (R-Beavercreek), contains several safety measures championed by DeWine, including a wide ban on using and holding a phone while driving.

WSU celebrates Homecoming

The annual chili cook-off, two men’s basketball games, the Alumni Achievement Awards and a Homecoming Dance highlighted Wright State University’s packed homecoming week at the end of the month.

WPAFB Fund-raiser

The Combined Federal Campaign came to an end on Jan. 14, with more than 420 donors pledging more than half a million dollars.

The Wright-Patterson CFC committee thanked the community for their gifts, which went to more than 5,600 charities nationwide, with more than 50 in the Miami Valley community.

Xenia Towne Square

The Cincinnati-based Dillin development firm joined city officials in a discussion of the on-going redevelopment of Xenia Towne Square, planning the start of Phase I of the five to 10 year project which includes existing stores/structures and what to do about the vacant Ramada Hotel which adjoins the property. The plan was presented to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission in February.


Beavercreek man sentenced

A Beavercreek man who was arrested by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force at John Glenn International Airport in 2018 while trying to travel to Afghanistan to join ISIS or ISIS- Khorasan (ISIS-K) was sentenced to a decade in prison. Naser Almadaoji, 23, an Iraqi-born United States citizen, was sentenced to 120 months in prison and 15 years of supervised release according to a release from United States Southern District Attorney Kenneth L. Parker.

Almadaoji pleaded guilty in November 2021 just before his jury trial was scheduled to begin. He admitted to attempting to provide material support — himself, as personnel — to foreign terrorist organizations, namely ISIS and ISIS-K.

WU band makes it big

The brand new Wilberforce University Marching Band took its rhythmic, high stepping, HBCU style to the Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans, Louisiana. The 147 member WU band, under the direction of Dr. Virgil Goodwine, performed in New Orleans beginning Feb. 18.

Goodwine said for historically black college and university marching bands (HBCUs), the Mardi Gras Parade invitation compares to being asked to participate in the Rose Bowl Parade. This is the first year that Wilberforce has had a marching band and its reputation as a quality, upper tier program has grown quickly through the college band performance arena.

CSU adding buildings

Central State University announced it was adding two buildings on campus to aid its land-grant mission. A 24,000 square-foot farm operations and storage facility, and a new facility for researchers working on projects funded by United States Department of Agriculture and other agencies will be coming to the campus along S.R. 42. The research facility will be located near the water tower and will be the first major facility constructed on campus since the completion of the University Student Center in 2015.

Core laboratories will occupy a portion of the 40,000-square foot space, and the remaining area will be shell space to allow for future collaborations with corporate partners in the areas of agricultural sciences and technologies. Central State researchers working in precision agriculture, food safety, and basic sciences will occupy the first spaces developed in the facility. The farm operations and storage facility will house researchers’ farm equipment, field offices, and maintenance operations for those research plots located on the farm.

CU student charged

A 19-year-old Cedarville student was charged with two felonies in connection with the stabbing of another student. Juniya Franks, of Galena, faced charges of second-degree felonious assault and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, court records show.

Around 8:15 a.m. on Feb. 7, Cedarville police were dispatched to the Stevens Student Center after a 911 caller said a female student stabbed another. When police arrived, campus security had the alleged victim in an ambulance ready to be taken to Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek. Campus security had the female, later identified as Franks, handcuffed in the back seat of one of their vehicles, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

CSU president cleared

An outside investigation into alleged personnel actions by then-Central State University President Dr. Jack Thomas found no discrimination, harassment, or university policy violations. But the investigation — conducted at the request of the CSU Board of Trustees after it received a letter of complaint by five former or current employees in August 2022 — did note issues related to the president’s leadership style.

The board hired the Taft law firm to conduct the investigation, which included interviewing the five complainants, Thomas, and university staff, and review relevant university policies.The report’s summary of findings stated, “President Thomas’ leadership style as it relates to the complainants may be characterized as rude, belittling, and bullying, but does not rise to the level of harassment.”

Board Chair Mark Hatcher said the trustees expect “university employees to conduct themselves at all times with civility and mutual respect for fellow employees.”

Museum holds Drone Race

The Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum hosted its fourth annual Micro Drone Race. The race, which was recorded and live-streamed both days, was run by competitors using specialized a headset that fed video from the micro drone to the screen inside the helmet. Racers got a point-of-view from the drone they controlled, which was also put up on a screen for the audience to see.

The event brought in dozens of racers from all over the world, who all competed for prize money totalling $3,000.

Fairborn owns wetland

Fairborn received ownership of a nine-acre wetland at the intersection of Garland Avenue and Commerce Boulevard, called Garland Wetland East. The wetland is a Category 3 (the highest designation) and is habitat for many plant, animal, and bird species.

This acquisition was possible via a Clean Ohio Fund grant awarded to B-W Greenway Community Land Trust (B-WGCLT). This brings to a total of 13 properties of 332 acres conserved in Bath Township and the City of Fairborn by B-WGCLT.


ODOT visits county

Representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation Districts 7 and 8 held their construction kick-off for 2023. ODOT officials and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) shared information about the U.S. 35/Valley-Trebein Road interchange and other area projects.

According to ODOT officials, the $40 million overpass project is projected to take two and a half years with an estimated completion date of June 2025.

“I am particularly thrilled to see this U.S. 35/Trebein interchange project finally breaking ground and moving forward,” said Greene County Engineer Stephanie Ann Goff, who has been a driving force in a campaign to make the projected project area safer for commuting motorists and travellers from across the state.

Body found in MetroPark

Five River MetroParks investigated the death of a 60-year-old male, whose body was found in Sugarcreek MetroPark Monday around 12 p.m. The man was found inside the park’s rear entrance off Lakeview Drive by an off-duty police officer who was walking his dogs near a small creek.

Five River MetroParks Chief Mark Hess confirmed it was being treated as a suicide by single gunshot to the head. This was the second body that has been discovered at the park in the last two weeks, according to Hess.

Democratic Party moves

The Greene County Democratic party announced it was moving from 10 S. Detroit Street in Xenia to a new headquarters office at 440 W. Main Street in Fairborn.

GCDP members said they were not happy about the move but are doing it at the request of their landlord, 10 W. Main Management. Although members said they will miss the “hustle and bustle” of their prime location downtown, they said they will not miss being at the epicenter of criminal mayhem and vandalism. The location has had a rock and some bricks thrown through the front window and a shooter emptied a round of bullets into the building one day after dark.

Cedarville gets high praise

Cedarville, a small but mighty college town, caught the attention of the Washington Post, which ranked it as Ohio’s “Most Collegiest College Town.” In describing Ohio’s most obvious college town, the Post identifies the village of Cedarville as a town where the university is central to the heartbeat of the community.

Community involvement is an integral part of the college experience for Cedarville’s students, and this is seen every day as they study in the two local coffee shops — Beans-N-Cream and Orion — or get late-night ice cream at Mom and Dad’s Dairy across from campus. Faculty, staff and students also enjoy celebrating various festivals and holiday events, whether that’s fireworks on Labor Day or a horse-drawn carriage ride during the “Little Town of Lights” Christmas festival.

Township to sell Pee Wee’s land

Sugarcreek Township said it was planning to sell the property that belonged to James “Pee Wee” Martin to his granddaughter after Martin’s trust willed the property to the township for free. A resolution signed by all three trustees and the fiscal officer shows that the township will sell the property on Stewart Road to Jodi Puterbaugh for $401,000 cash.

A renowned World War II veteran who was one of the last remaining Airborne “Toccoa Originals” of 1942, Martin died Sept. 11, 2022. Under terms of the trust, the township was to sell the property if it no longer had a use for it and put the money in the general fund, according to Trustees Vice-Chairperson Fred Cramer.

“We are doing what he asked us to do,” Cramer told the Gazette, adding that Martin also specified “who he didn’t want to have it.” Cramer said he did not wish to reveal who those people are.

African Utopian Boutique opens

The African Utopian Boutique, owned and operated by Sylvia Chess, held its ribbon cutting event on March 27. The unique location quickly became a staple of downtown Fairborn, and Chess herself would later go on to run for and win a city council seat in November.

The store honors all kinds of African heritage with robes, fabrics, and paintings in celebration of the rich history of which Chess is so fond.

Narcan kits hit FCS

Fairborn City Schools make a huge stride in preventing opioid overdoses by becoming the first district in the Miami Valley to receive Narcan kits in schools.

Narcan, or Naxalone, is used to prevent an overdose from happening after an individual has taken a high level of opioids, which has not happened on school grounds. Greene County Public Health provided these kits as a preventative measure to keep children and teens safe during the school year.

CarStar makes gift

C&H CarStar Auto Body, a car repair shop in Fairborn, made a surprise donation to one of its loyal customers.

The shop donated $5,000 to Carlette Jewell after an unfortunate series of events that Jewell had with her car. Owners Ed and Doni Collins wanted to give back to the community and thought who better than one fantastic customer in a tough spot.

Xenia High School students compete

Eight students from XHS competed in the Just Write Ohio Regional Tournament at Dublin Coffman High School. This was the first time XHS students competed in the tournament and faced 17 other schools in the competition. All eight students qualified for the state competition at the University of Findlay.


Fairborn names new chief

Following the retirement of Terry Bennington as chief of police, Ben Roman was given the interim position. Roman would be promoted to chief in May after all applicants were considered, and he has served since.

Safe Trade moves downtown

Greene County Public Health’s Safe Trade program moved to downtown Fairborn.

The facility provides easy access to education and clean syringes in an attempt to combat the opioid epidemic in Greene County.

The new location is 25 S. Central Avenue.

Cedarville dealing with felines

The village of Cedarville had drafted legislation targeting the cat population. But it tabled three proposed ordinances, dividing residents of Cedarville who claim these rules to be inhumane and unnecessary.

Alley Cat Allies, a charity organization dedicated to providing care and awareness for cats, raised several concerns with Cedarville’s proposed ordinances, labeling them cruel and unusual punishments for cats and preventing volunteers from providing adequate help.

As a result of that, Cedarville said it will no longer consider the three ordinances. Cedarville Mayor John Cody Jr., said the ordinances are now considered “previously proposed ordinances.”

WU hires president

Wilberforce University named Dr. Vann R. Newkirk as its 23rd president. Newkirk assumed the presidency in July, succeeding Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard, who announced his retirement as president in March 2022.

Newkirk brings a wealth of experience and has a sterling reputation in higher education, having served in various leadership roles at several institutions, WU said in a release. He presently serves as an interim associate vice president at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, and he is a former president of the historic Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to his presidential appointment at Fisk, Newkirk also served as that university’s provost and vice president of academic affairs.

Trustee dies in accident

Ross Township Trustee Mark Campbell, 44, of Jamestown, died in a fatal accident in West Carrollton. The crash occurred at the intersection of South Dixie Drive at Dryden Road, according to WDTN.

Campbell was elected to the board of trustees in 2021, receiving the most votes of the three candidates.

“Mark was really liked,” said Trustee Mike Brown. “Mark was a family man. He was really an up-and-coming star here in Ross Township. He just fit right in with everything going on. Mark was a hard worker plus he was just a really nice guy. I can’t say anything bad about Mark.”

Campbell was about 16 months into his township role and was exactly what Ross Township needed, according to Brown.

Cedarville Elementary School teacher honored

Rachael Sukel, an American history teacher at Cedarville Elementary School, was named the Daughters of the American Revolution Outstanding Teacher of American History in Ohio. She was nominated by Gayle Hartman of the Cedar Cliff Chapter of DAR. Hartman is a frequent visitor to Sukel’s classroom.

In Sukel’s class, history comes alive. You’ll see students acting out plays in costumes, dancing, singing, and rapping songs together, writing break-up letters to King George III, hiking on an Underground Railroad simulation, and acting out First Amendment rights.

What you likely won’t encounter, however, is the traditional setting where kids are taking notes and then testing their memorization skills on a test.

Kettering directs last Legacy show

Ken Kettering announced he was stepping away from theater to let someone else call the shots. The long-time drama director at Legacy Christian/Xenia Christian directed his final performance as the school presented “The Fiddler on the Roof.”

Kettering, who had been in charge of stage performances at the school for more than 20 years, directed “Our Miss Brooks” during the 1999-2000 school year and has directed multiple stage shows each school year since, with few exceptions.

“Had a lot of fun, directed some tremendously talented kids, and developed some amazing relationships and memories with staff members and school parents,” Kettering said when asked to look back on his career. “Deeply appreciate the opportunity to work initially in the Dayton Christian School System, then at Xenia Christian, and now at Legacy Christian Academy. Always felt the love and support of the administration.”

CSU named in lawsuits

Two women filed lawsuits against Central State University in the Ohio Court of Claims, alleging wrongful demotion from top administrative positions.

Lena Fields-Arnold, formerly executive director of public relations, and Ieesha Ramsey, formerly the executive director of the Undergraduate Student Success Center, say they were victims of a pattern of discrimination from President Dr. Jack Thomas, leading to their being demoted, demeaned, and denigrated. They are among five women who were part of a group who requested an internal investigation in August of 2022.

In Fields-Arnold’s lawsuit, she claimed that when she was promoted to executive director, the job should have started at $100,000 but was only offered $90,000 by Thomas. In Ramsey’s lawsuit, she claimed that during a meeting with human resources director Pamela Bowman, and Dr. F. Erik Brooks, VP of academic affairs and Ramsey’s former boss, she was given a signed letter by Bowman referencing discussions about her job performance. Ramsey was then told she was being reclassified to the role of scholarship coordinator with a reduced salary of $62,500, an 18 percent decrease. Ramsey alleged that she had never been informed of any issues with job performance and claims that Brooks was “intimidated by (Ramsey’s) knowledge and skill set and the fact that she was a female.”

Former WSU prof going to jail

Former Wright State University professor Jonathan Varhola was sentenced five and a half years in prison after taking a plea deal in Greene County Common Pleas Court. He pleaded no contest to one count of rape (a first-degree felony) and two counts of gross sexual imposition of a person under 13 years of age (third-degree felonies) and was found guilty by Sitting Judge Stephen Wolaver. Varhola was sentenced to three years in prison for the rape (all of which are mandatory), 18 months for one of the gross sexual imposition charges, and 12 months for the other (neither of which are mandatory). They will be served consecutively, court records show. Varhola must also register as a tier III sex offender.

Varhola was first indicted in January 2019 on two counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition, according to Greene County court records. The crimes were alleged to have occurred between April 24, 2014 and July 28, 2018 in a house on South Pleasant Avenue in Fairborn. The two alleged victims, both boys, were six and seven years old at the time of the assaults court documents show.

Food event comes to county

AWorldA’Fair moved to the Greene County Fairgrounds after a four-year hiatus. Formerly a three-day international festival, AWorldA’Fair had been held at the Dayton Convention Center for several years The festival showcased booths from 35 organizations representing 50 countries. Organizers also ran two full-time stages with performances from both local groups as well as regional, national, and international performing groups.

Officer partners with grocer

A local police officer became a community hero when he partnered with Kroger and the Fairborn FISH Pantry to donate to residents in need. Fairborn police officer Sam Fullen and the Kroger “Promise Team” dropped off food and other essential supplies to those in need.

Fullen discovered Kroger’s new “Promise Team” in 2022, and since then he said he has been looking for ways to grow the partnership. According to Fullen, the inspiration behind this work began with a wellness check in December 2022. After finding a man in need of food and water, he made the trip to Kroger to find the supplies needed to help. Since then, Fullen’s work and reputation has expanded.

Spring Fling in Xenia

The city welcomed the community to its annual Spring Fling. The weather was perfect as hundreds came to enjoy the all-day event. Several food and craft vendors were on hand as well as children’s games, information booths, a petting zoo, bounce houses, and more.

New pet store opens

Feeder’s Pet Supply held its grand opening at 1872 W. Park Square. Store manager Cat Storost transferred from the Fairborn Feeders to the new store in Xenia “to get things up and running.” The new store offers a full line of animals, pet toys, food, supplies, and individual pet wash stations.


For the second time in as many years, a Bellbrook High School drones team won a national title. This time it was the Hog Flyers who were crowned champions in Colorado. The Hog Flyers were dominant, sweeping the high school division in all the subcategories (video presentation, portfolio and display, design and engineering (tied for first), capture-the-flag and head-to-head), as well as the overall award.

While flying is a major part, it’s just the end result of hours of work. The team doesn’t scroll through Amazon for the best drone. Team members build it themselves, then work together to continually modify it for the best results.

‘Creek voters pass levies

Voters in Beavercreek and the Beavercreek City School District approved a pair of levies. The city’s 1.8 mill property tax levy, which will raise about $3.02 million annually for police operations will cost the owner of a $100,000 home around $63 annually. The city was able to hire additional officers and purchase and maintain equipment.

The school district’s 5.25 mill substitute renewal levy was expected to generate $11.4 million for five years to provide for the necessary emergency requirements of the school district. It will cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $183.75 annually.

CSU president allows contract to expire

Central State University President Dr. Jack Thomas said he will not seek a new contract when it expires, according to a letter he sent to the university community. Thomas was not stepping down, however, as he remained president through the end of his term, June 30. Following an educational sabbatical, he said he plans to return to CSU as a tenured professor in a yet-to-be-announced course.

He became the ninth president of CSU on July 1, 2020 in the midst of the COVID pandemic and cited myriad accomplishments since then.

Connor receives Nutter Award

Real estate and technology mogul Larry Connor received the prestigious E.J. Nutter Award during the county’s annual report to the community. Nutter was a local businessman who always gave back to the area. Connor has continued that custom.

Since 1992, The Connor Group has amassed $3.7 billion in assets. Since 2016, roughly $50 million has been invested in non-profit programs that help pull under-resourced kids out of generational poverty. In 2018 Connor founded Colin’s Lodge in Bellbrook. The program provides a safe place for adults with cognitive differences to enrich their lives and foster independence through social, physical, and health-focused programs. In 2022, the organization launched The Greater Dayton School, currently under construction just north of downtown Dayton at Deeds Point. The private, non-religious school, is the first in Ohio exclusively for under-resourced students.

Convicted killer wants do-over

Death row inmate David Lee Myers petitioned the Greene County Common Pleas Court to vacate his death sentence and receive a new trial on the grounds that his convictions and sentences are void or voidable as a result of constitutional errors that occurred at his initial trial and sentencing.

Myers was convicted and sentenced to death in 1996 for the much-publicized 1988 railroad spike death of Amanda Jo Maher near some abandoned railroad tracks in Xenia. Attorneys for Myers — who had an appeal denied in 1999 — raised several claims including Myers’ convictions and death sentence are predicated on what new scientific evidence has proven to be fundamentally unreliable expert testimony and evidence, in violation of due process.

WSU names interim dean

Wright State University appointed Donald Hopkins as the interim dean for the Raj Soin School of Business after Thomas Traynor officially stepped down on June 1. Hopkins is still serving as interim dean as he noted that it typically takes a year or more to find a full-time replacement.

Local wins pageant award

Evelyn Bridenbaugh received Ohio’s first Cinderella Ambassador Award for her participation in a local pageant event.

The award, which included a $500 scholarship and the opportunity to compete internationally, has been presented to girls from ages one month to 29 years but never to anyone in Ohio since it was founded in 1976. Evelyn was only nine-years-old when she was presented with the award, and had been competing since she was six.

School Levy

The Fairborn High School levy passed, allowing the district to add some things that were originally excluded from the original plan due to budget concerns. The high school building is set to be complete in March 2024 and be open for students in the fall.

Hamvention arrives in Greene County

The 71st Hamvention convention took over the Greene County Fairgrounds. The event offered more than 50 forums where enthusiasts shared ideas with other ham radio operators. The three-day’s theme was “Innovation” which encompassed the world of amateur radio.

Indecent exposure case decided

Xenia Municipal Court Judge David McNamee issued a ruling in the indecent exposure case involving Rachel Glines, a transgender woman. She was found not guilty on three counts of indecent exposure relating to using the female locker room at the Xenia YMCA.

Township levies approved, turned down

Xenia Township residents voted to pass a fire levy (461 to 426) but not a road levy, which failed 1,458 to 877. The additional levy was for general construction and roads and was estimated to collect $562,000 annually for five years. Both were 3.5 mill levies for five years and would cost $122.50 more annually per $100,000 in property value.

Moratorium on treatment facilities extended

Xenia City Council voted to extend a moratorium on approving more drug treatment facilities. The public was invited to vote on an amended ordinance. The expiration date for the moratorium was July 8. Council decided that treatment centers needed to be in compliance with state law in their placement.


Fairborn hosts Pride Parade

Inclusive Fairborn hosted the city’s first pride parade to celebrate its community and promote inclusivity. The parade took place on June 23 and preceded a drag show at the Fairborn Phoenix later that night.

The event was important for both the Fairborn community as a whole, and Inclusive Fairborn as a new non-profit community organization.

Hobson Freedom Park gets updates

Hobson Freedom Park held a ribbon cutting event to celebrate a brand new dog park and plans to expand the community staple even further.

Along with the dog park, the area boasts running water restrooms, a cricket field, basketball court, and of course, many soccer fields across the 92-acre plot of land.

Glen Helen raises money

The Glen Helen Association announced the last phase of its capital campaign to secure the future of the park.

Now, not only is the park open, but Glen Helen’s Outdoor Education Center has reopened and a team of five is working to educate and inspire visitors. The Raptor Center now also has a renovated classroom and regular hours for visitors. All this was thanks to the $4.17 mil in donations to the park.

Emerge opens

The Emerge Recovery & Trade Initiative held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house, officially opening its doors to men seeking recovery.

“Starting on (June 18), men with substance use disorders will have the opportunity to enter our doors, reside in this space and complete a certification in the skilled trades,” said Elaine Bonner, director of philanthropy. “Because of you all, Emerge will eliminate barriers for people trying to re-enter society.”

Bonner and others applauded Emerge’s three co-founders — Chris Adams of Narrow Path Plumbing, Kip Morris of Five Star Home Services, and Doug Van Dyke of Van Martin Roofing — for their vision. All three men, using their local companies, have been offering people in recovery “second chances” for many years. They saw Emerge and its trade school as an opportunity to do this at a larger scale and with the need for qualified skilled workers ever-increasing, the vision has resonated with community leaders and elected officials throughout the state.

Chamber of Commerce has new director

Tom Kirsch was named executive director of the Fairborn Chamber of Commerce following the retirement of Paul Newman Jr.

Kirsch previously served as ambassador for the chamber and brought 42 years of teaching experience and community development to the position.

LMWN celebrates river designation

The Little Miami Watershed Network celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Little Miami River’s National Wild and Scenic River designation at Washington Mill Park in Bellbrook. The event included a morning canoe race and an afternoon festival with community booths, and a visit from the Ohio School of Falconry during which handlers showcased a variety of raptors.

Pantry FISHing for for money

The Greene County FISH food pantry started a capital fundraiser campaign. Gail Matson, executive director, said she is trying to raise $1.2 million to build a warehouse in which to store food, supplies, goods, and equipment. A percentage of the raised amount will be deposited in accounts to provide revenue from investments.

The food pantry, which has put in new windows, doors, and air conditioners at its 774 Cincinnati Avenue address, hoped to have raised the funds needed to start building the 3,200-square-foot warehouse with a freezer and cooler space by Sept. 1. Pantry officials were also on track to have the current main building deeded to them sometime in August by the City of Xenia. The county had transferred the property to the city.

CSU names interim president

Central State University appointed Dr. Alex Johnson as interim president effective July 1.

With nearly 30 years of experience as a college president, Johnson is a nationally-recognized educator, author, and expert in institutional transformation. Most recently, he served as president of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), a position he held from 2013 through 2022. There, he focused on strengthening the institution’s longstanding mission to provide high-quality, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities and services.

Johnson has also served as president of the Community College of Allegheny County, a multi-campus college in and around Pittsburgh; chancellor of Delgado Community College in New Orleans; president of Tri-C’s Metropolitan Campus in Cleveland, and served a two-year term as president of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.

CSU faculty unhappy

The union representing Central State University faculty sent a letter to the board of trustees detailing “multiple issues” at the university.

In a letter dated May 31, 2023, the American Association of University Professors Executive Committee cited myriad concerns, all central to what the AAUP Central State University Chapter called a “consistent lack of regard for shared governance.” It claimed faculty are asked to do more with less resources, less staff across non-academic units, and less respect for the processes which are intended to assist in the running of the university.

The executive committee met with President Dr. Jack Thomas and Dr. F. Erik Brooks in February to share those concerns and were told they would be invited to a future leadership meeting. That meeting never came to fruition, according to the AAUP letter. The union acknowledged that while Thomas is not seeking renewal of his contract, it sees the issues as “persistent and beyond the scope of a single administrative figure.”

County vacates road

Greene County commissioners approved the vacation of a portion of Old Waynesville-Jamestown Road in New Jasper Township after a contentious public hearing. The commissioners met to discuss and consider vacating the road, which appeared to have been vacated in the 1950s but never recorded according to officials. At the center of the discussion was access to a 3.5-acre plot near Old Waynesville-Jamestown Road and the current Waynesville-Jamestown Road owned by Sandra Root.

Root accesses that portion of her property via land owned by Tim Hart. Vacating the portion of the old road — which has about 15 feet of right of way on each side — would remove an easement allowing Root to cross over Hart’s property. Hart and his attorney, Phil Hoover, expressed concerns over what they called the trespassing of Root onto his property in order to maintain an area near Root’s wedding venue business.

Root’s attorney Alan Schaeffer asked that the BOCC grant a partial vacation and reserve a permanent easement to ensure appropriate access to Root’s property and in return, Root would convey 3.5 acres of land to Hart so he would not lose any of his property.

Mother sentenced to jail

The mother of a 12-year-old girl who died in her home in 2021 was sentenced to more than two years in jail. Mary Artis, 44, was sentenced to 30 months in prison by Greene County Common Pleas Court Judge Adolfo Tornichio in connection with the death of Aaliyah Artis. Mary Artis had pleaded guilty to two counts of felony child endangering Nov. 10, 2022.

On June 8, 2021, Xenia police and fire crews responded to the home in the 1500 block of Texas Drive on a report of a 12-year-old who was not breathing. Artis was pronounced dead at the scene, while one other child and one adult sibling who were found living at the residence with their mother were transported to the hospital for evaluation.

The coroner’s report contained photos showing bags of trash in several rooms and the home in a general state of disarray. Artis, who celebrated her 12th birthday three days before her death, had “ground-in filth” on her body, showed signs of poor hygiene, was wearing soiled clothes, and had what appeared to be bites from bed bugs, the coroner’s report said.

Highway has new designation

A stretch of U.S. 35 between U.S. 68 and U.S. 42 was renamed the Sheriff Gene Fischer Memorial Highway in honor of the late Greene County sheriff who died suddenly in November 2021 after serving Greene County for decades.


Little Pantry opens in Fairborn

Greene County Public Health opened its first Little Pantry in Fairborn. The food bank was unveiled with a Backyard BBQ at 25 S. Central Avenue. The pantry is part of GCPH’s Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Program used to target obesity and chronic disease associated with unhealthy eating habits.

This location was the first of four planned to open by GCPH.

YONDR phone cases in Fairborn

It was announced by Fairborn city schools in July that students would be forced to use special phone containers while at school that would limit accessibility during school hours.

The cases were made by YONDR, and have been used to enforce phone usage in schools and concerts before, but the policy still faced backlash from parents who would no longer be able to contact their children directly during school hours. Students are still able to carry their phones around during school hours, but they are locked in the YONDR case and can only be unlocked by a teacher or staff after classes let out each day.

Baker Middle School and Fairborn High School were affected by this change.

Xenia holds Block Party

Xenia held its “Red, White, and Blue” block party in conjunction with the Kevin Sonnycalb Memorial Fireworks Festival. Thousands attended both events.

Greene County Fair auction changes

The Greene County Fair ran as usual but this year’s event included changes to the 4-H animal auction which included online bidding and credit card usage rules.

There were no major glitches reported post-fair.

Emerge receives donation

The Emerge Recovery & Trade Initiative received a donation from 100+ Women Making a Difference in Greene County. The $13,000 donation helped bring the center closer to raising the $1.8 million needed to complete the work being performed on the men’s recovery space.

Family Promise of Greene County, OH (FPGC) celebrated the 28 years it has served homeless families in Greene County. The organization’s founders, past and present staff, volunteers, and board members attended.

Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greene County (IHN) opened its doors in Xenia in January 1995 as a day center. Churches provided overnight sleeping facilities and meals for those families. IHN continued to grow and in 2000, the organization served 13 families. In October 2002, Brad and Eric Montgomery donated the old Francis Inn building at 124 S. Detroit Street, and the following year the renovation began to convert it into a facility to house displaced families and provide staff office space. In June 2010, the new home, named The Schneider House of Hope to honor the efforts of Don and Jan Schneider, opened its doors to homeless families. In 2021, IHN changed its name to Family Promise of Greene County, OH, in line with the national organization of which it is an affiliate.

Destroyed barn re-dedicated

The Beavercreek Historical Society rededicated the Tobias-Zimmer Barn to the Beavercreek community. The event also kicked off a fundraising campaign to raise money to add restrooms and a warming kitchen to the barn.

The treasured barn was destroyed in the 2019 tornadoes that did major damage to the surrounding community. City and community support enabled a historically accurate rebuild of the barn in 2022, which was funded by insurance proceeds.

Wartinger Park was named and dedicated as “John H. Wartinger Park” in 1975, honoring a local teacher and community servant. In the years following, it eventually became the home of four early Beavercreek family historic cabins representing first settlers in the area: Philip Harshman, Samuel Ankeney, John Nicodemus, and George Jarusiewic. The Tobias-Zimmer Barn was added in 1996 to complete the collection.

Xenia man sentenced to life

Brad A. Stewart, 33, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus an additional, consecutive prison term of 30-35 1/2 years. A Greene County jury convicted Stewart of aggravated murder and several other offenses in the death Jacob Scoby, 30, of Xenia.

According to a release from the prosecutor’s office, Stewart went to the Roundtable Bar in Xenia May 25 and 26, 2022. Inside the bar, Stewart encountered Scoby, an acquaintance of Stewart. While Stewart appeared friendly towards Scoby that night, Stewart privately told a witness that Stewart wanted to harm Scoby, the release said.

Hayes said evidence at the trial showed that when Scoby and Stewart were together outside the bar later that night, Stewart ambushed Scoby from behind and shot him in the face. Stewart then robbed a witness of his truck and fled the scene. Police arrested Stewart several hours later after a short car chase through Greene County. Scoby was declared dead at a local hospital.


Fairborn schools gets donation

Fairborn City Schools received its largest donation on record. The donation from Richard Helms, a Fairborn high school graduate, totalled more than $3.5 million and was the single largest donation, crucial in maintaining the schedule for the new high school’s construction.

The funds were used to purchase 86 acres of land for the new schools and athletic facilities, purchase computer technology for all students, and upgrade the new stadium to include synthetic concussion padding under the stadium’s turf.

Sweet Corn Festival held

Fairborn’s annual sweet corn festival is a town staple, and this year was no different. Good food and music in all genres were a highlight at this year’s festival at Community Park.

Michael and Dr. Greta Mayer were named the year festival king and queen.

CU adds residence hall

A year after Cedarville University recorded the largest freshman class and highest total enrollment in its 136-year history, the university opened a new residence hall for the 2023-24 academic year to accommodate the growing student body.

Morton Hall, an $8.75 million, 120-bed residence for women on the north side of campus, is the sixth residence hall built in the past five years. Named in memory of James Morton, one of Cedarville’s original founders, it was ready for freshmen and returning students to fill its rooms during the annual “Getting Started” move-in day.

The previous five new residence halls include Walker, Jenkins, Bates, Parker, and Wood. Collectively, these facilities have added 528 beds.

Cedar Cliff superintendent resigns

After more than two decades in administration, Chad Mason said he was ready for a change, announcing his resignation effective Jan. 1, 2024 to become the career connections coordinator at the Greene County Educational Service Center.

As the career connections coordinator, Mason will be the primary liaison between local employers and public schools in Greene County. He spent more than a decade in Cedarville.

“I am proud that we have a plan in place to keep Cedar Cliff financially stable and, hopefully, reduce taxes for the community without asking for an increase in the near future,” Mason said. “I am proud that the facilities were built new in 2013 and the campus still looks like it was just built last week, showing we are grateful for what the community provides and took care of it under my watch.”

Five inducted into county hall

Carolyn Destefani, Constance Kendall-Goss, Debbie Matheson, Dr. Catherine Roma, and Beth Rubin were named as inductees into the Greene County Women’s Hall of Fame.

Destefani, of Sugarcreek Township, and Kendall-Goss, of Cedarville, were honored for their community service, while Matheson, of Xenia, was be honored for her work in Family Violence Prevention. Roma, from Yellow Springs, was honored for her work creating inclusive choral communities, and Rubin, of Yellow Springs, was honored for her leadership in social services.

This marks the 43rd year for the Women’s Hall of Fame, which celebrates women who have made significant contributions to making Greene County a better place to live.

Summit has new building

Summit Academy — Xenia high school students were greeted by a new 10,524-square-foot school building to start the 2023-2024 school year. The new building comes complete with high-polish concrete and vinyl-plank flooring, spacious classrooms, generous windows and green technology. A canopied corridor links the school to Summit Academy — Xenia’s elementary and middle school building, situated catty-corner on the 1694 Pawnee Drive school property, creating a campus feel.

In all, the school includes eight classrooms, four offices and a reception area, and an expansive multipurpose room for meetings, team collaboration, conferences, staff professional development, and potentially a life skills class for students.

FVPC doing well

The Family Violence Prevention Center announced the official launch of a rebranding, including a new name — Violence Free Futures — and also received a $10,000 donation from the Xenia Kentucky Fried Chicken and the KFC Foundation in Kansas.

The Xenia KFC was the only one in Ohio chosen to make a donation on behalf of KFC’s “Kentucky Fried Wishes” campaign.

Xenia approves land development

City Council approved the proposed land development of 110 two-story townhouses at the intersection of Dayton Avenue and North Allison Avenue. Visser Building Company is heading the project.

Everybody Eats Week held in Xenia

One Bistro joined other non-profit community cafes across the country for the fifth annual National Everybody Eats week. The event was celebrated with a host of volunteers during its regular cafe hours near the end of the month.

STEAM school finally ready

A new independent public school focusing on STEM plus arts opens after a being delayed a year. Community STEAM Academy-Xenia welcomed more than 200 students in grades 6-9 to its year-one facility at 88 Lower Bellbrook Road. The academy was set to open last school year at the former YMCA building, but in July, CSA officials announced the delay due to myriad factors including the economic climate.

CSA-Xenia will operate much like the Dayton Regional STEM School and Global Impact STEM Academy in Springfield in that it’s tuition free and lottery-based once all spots are full. Funding comes from the state and is treated like open enrollment, according to school officials.

The school will will continue to use the Lower Bellbrook building as it expands into the YMCA and the former East High School buildings when more grades are added. It is expected to be the first K-12 STEAM school in Ohio when all grades are added.

Deputies save a life

Two Greene County sheriff deputies are being credited with saving a man’s life after an accident Aug. 28. According to a release from Sheriff Scott Anger, Greene Central Communications received a 911 call around 7:40 p.m. about a motor vehicle accident on Anderson Road in Spring Valley Township.

The vehicle was smoking and the engine was revving, the release said. Deputies Alex George and McKenzie Smith arrived on scene and found the vehicle smoking heavily and flames showing from the engine compartment and underbody. The deputies found one occupant — Harold Webb, 38, of Spring Valley — buckled into his seat and unconscious. The driver appeared to be experiencing a medical emergency, the release said. Deputies were able to turn off the vehicle and unbuckle the driver and pull him out of the passenger side of the car as the fire spread.

“Had they not arrived to pull him from the vehicle, he would have likely died from the smoke and fire,” Anger said. “We’re extremely grateful that the actions of our deputies saved the man’s life.”


Biodigester shuts down

After a lengthy legal battle and numerous residents’ complaints, Attorney General Dave Yost announced that the Herr Road biodigester will be permanently closed down.

Renergy, the company in charge of operating the biodigester, was ordered to follow a five-step procedure resulting in the termination of all permits and certification that the facility is permanently shut down by Jan 31, 2024.

The order came after hundreds of complaints of the foul odor from nearby residents.

Ukraine comes to Xenia

The Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus brought its Hope for Ukraine Tour to Greene County. The female members of the group performed at Xenia High School as the 10th stop on the 13-city tour through the southeast. KSOC is part of Music Mission Kiev (MMK), which uses sacred music to spread and share the Gospel with Ukrainians.

The 28 choristers and six instrumentalists performed sacred, classical, and then traditional Ukrainian selections in their native dress. The men were not allowed to come on this tour by order of the Ukrainian government because they might be needed to serve in the war with Russia.

MMK was created by former XHS vocal music teacher Roger McMurrin and his wife, Diane Nash McMurrin, a Xenia native.

CSU designated as Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader

Central State is one of only 19 HBCUs honored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). It is for its notable connections to the Fulbright Program that the university has received this noteworthy recognition. The school has additionally been honored for its dedication to engaging with diverse communities around the world since 2019.

The Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader designation was first established in 2019 to acknowledge strong partnerships between selected HBCUs and the Fulbright Program. The goal for the Fulbright Program with this designation is to encourage and promote further engagement between HBCUs and itself.

School report cards released

Bellbrook and Yellow Springs schools were the highest scoring public school districts in Greene County, according to report card data released by the Ohio Department of Education. Using a star system that began last year, districts earn one to five stars in five categories (achievement, progress, gap closing, graduation rate, and early literacy) and starting this year, one to five stars overall. Bellbrook and Yellow Springs each received five stars overall.

Bellbrook also received five stars in each of the categories and is one of just eight state-wide to earn five stars overall and in each category. Three stars indicates the district meets the state standards in that category.

Fairborn district awarded

Fairborn City Schools received three awards for financial reporting and oversight for the 2022 fiscal year.

The school received an award for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Annual Financial Report from both the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO), and the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). The third award is the Auditor of State Award for Excellence in Fiscal Management and Oversight given by the State of Ohio Auditor’s Office.

The awards for excellence in financial reporting are the highest form of recognition from the ASBO and GFOA.

Wright-Patt Credit Union receives award

Wright-Patt Credit Union was named the United States Air Force distinguished credit union of the year for 2022.

Of the 16 nominees nationwide, WPCU was presented with the award during the Defense Credit Union Council’s 60th annual conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The conference was attended by “industry leaders from around the world,” according to a press release from WPCU.

The Air Force Credit Union of the Year award is presented to a financial institution that provides the Air Force community with exceptional financial education and services.

Xenia finance department awarded

City receives financial reporting award, the Auditor of State Award with Distinction.

XCS holds groundbreaking

A groundbreaking was held for the new Warner Middle School, a state-of-the-art school with $45 million investment in the future of Xenia students and the community. A thousand plus students and faculty will be attending the new school upon its completion in 2024.

Perales not seeking another term

Greene County Commissioner Rick Perales announced that he would not be seeking another term on the board. Perales, who has served more than 20 years as an elected official, has recommended Beavercreek Mayor Bob Stone to run as his successor. When his term is over at the end of 2024, he would like to “work in some capacity with vets.” Xenia Mayor Sarah Mays and Beavercreek Township Trustee Tom Kretz have also announced plans to run.

XCS implements YONDR

Xenia Community Schools decided to make YONDR pouch usage a requirement for students who have mobile phones. Phones are to be kept off and out of sight in the self-locking devices until the end of the school day when they are returned. The goal is to keep students focused in their classrooms.

City providing SROs

The city of Xenia authorized the execution of memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Xenia Community Schools, the Greene County Career Center, and a multi-party MOU with Legacy Christian Academy, St. Brigid School, and Summit Academy for the provision of school resource officers (SROs).

County OKs grant application

The Board of County Commissioners gave its authorization for the Greene County Sheriff’s Office to apply for a Project Safe Neighborhood Grant which will create safer neighborhoods by reducing gun violence and gun crimes and sustaining that reduction.

Xenia approves plan for Highland Greene

City Council approved a planned unit development plan for Highland Greene, a 433-unit, master-planned residential community located in northeastern Xenia. The planned development will contain a variety of housing types, a community clubhouse with recreational amenities, and more than 100 acres of public/private open space.

Unique store opens in Xenia

A new business, Gem City Glow, opened its doors. The upscale permanent makeup and spray tan studio also does scar revision work, tattoos, and piercings said owner Jaqueline Postiy.

Adults guilty of endangering kids

Two Beavercreek adults were convicted of multiple counts of endangering children after the pair were accused of repeatedly striking a minor child and causing serious harm. Tchanavian Cantrell, 36, and John Cantrell, 37, were found guilty by a jury after four days of trial in Greene County Common Pleas Court, according to a release from the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office.

The Cantrells, two other adults who were charged but not yet been tried, and several children were living together as a family unit at a home in Beavercreek, the release said.

A few days prior to Oct. 19, 2021, the child in the home failed to properly complete an assigned chore. Prosecutors said the four adults disciplined the child by excessively striking the child on the lower back with a belt, ultimately causing severe abrasions and causing her great pain. Prosecutors added that during this abuse, one adult also sprayed isopropyl alcohol directly onto the bleeding, open wounds.

Bellbrook, YS among state’s best

Bellbrook High School (53) and Yellow Springs (71) were ranked among the best in Ohio according to U.S. News and World Report. They joined 10 other Dayton area schools to be ranked in the top 100. Bellbrook is also ranked 1,463 nationally, while Yellow Springs is 1,881.

According to the U.S. News website, schools are ranked based on college readiness (30 percent), state assessment proficiency (20 percent), state assessment performance (20 percent), underserved student performance (10 percent), college curriculum breadth (10 percent), and graduation rate (10 percent).

Other Greene County high schools and their state rankings include Beavercreek (114), Greeneview (244), Cedarville (270), Fairborn (361), and Xenia (390).

There were 741 high schools evaluated but only 507 received an official ranking.

CSU opens more housing

Geared toward non-traditional, older students, faculty, and staff, Central State University’s latest housing units — Shorter Avenue Apartments — opened for occupants after five years of development and construction that cost $8.1 million to complete.

Located on the outer edge of Central State’s campus, each of the 24 three-bedroom apartments is housed in two pairs of tenement buildings that altogether encompass a space of 26,900 square feet.

Of the fully furnished 24 units, 10 remain available for university staff and local business professionals in addition to students who may have family of their own with whom they live. The apartments are also ideal for students who might be looking for a quieter, calmer living environment contrasting that of the typical, youth-driven college dormitory experience.


Young’s Dairy holds fund-raiser

Young’s Jersey Dairy raised more than $40,000 for local non-profit Rocking Horse Community Health Center.

The fund-raiser involved putting up carousel animals for “adoption” while Cowtherine’s Carousel is under construction, planned to open in summer 2024. Donors had the opportunity to either “adopt” one of the animals on the carousel or purchase an engraved brick, and all proceeds went directly to the non-profit.

Rocker shocks Fairborn with visit

Alice Cooper paid a surprise visit to some of the local businesses in Fairborn as he prepared for his Oct. 10 show in Troy.

The 75-year-old shock rock singer and his wife, Sheryl, stopped by some of the city’s most famous Halloween-themed stores on the downtown strip.

According to the Fairborn Facebook page, Cooper — born Vincent Damon Furnier — also stopped by the Bourbon Bayou Bistro and took pictures with each business that recognized him, even signing deli paper for his fans.

YS Council president removed

The Yellow Springs Village Council voted to remove president Brian Housh amid impairment allegations.

Council Member Carmen Brown made the motion to remove Housh, and Vice President Kevin Stokes seconded. Council member Gavin DeVore Leonard was the third vote for Housh’s removal, with Housh and Marianne MacQueen voting against. Housh asked to read a letter before the motion was put to a vote. Housh addressed to the council an incident on Aug. 4 when he had allegedly been driving while intoxicated, calling it a medical emergency.

Housh claimed to be taking medication and pointed to that as the reason he had been seemingly intoxicated, according to WDTN.

Issues at Greene Met

Greene Metropolitan Housing Authority, an organization committed to providing quality, affordable housing in an efficient manner, is reportedly struggling with internal issues that have recently risen to the surface.

Greene County Commissioners — during a work session — reviewed agency workplace issues raised by former comptroller Ben Smith earlier in the year. The BOCC discussed assigning an auditor to come in and do a work audit was suggested during the meeting but nothing has been set in concrete.

Some of the issues the commissioners discussed include insufficient training, lack of communication, toxic work environment, no teamwork, and outdated computers.

Xenia man in blood hall

Lawrence “Larry” Turner of Xenia was among 12 blood donors nationwide named to the 2023 Fresenius Kabi Donation Hall of Fame. Turner represents Solvita (formerly Community Blood Center) and joined the 25th anniversary class of the Hall of Fame three months after making his milestone 800th lifetime donation.

Turner currently has 804 lifetime donations, second only to Solvita’s top donor Wendell Clark, who is also a Hall of Fame member. Turner is Solvita’s 11th Hall of Fame inductee and the ninth in the last nine years. Turner is 76 and routinely donates platelets or plasma twice a month. He has been an apheresis donor since the blood center’s early days of the procedure and served on its first apheresis advisory board.

County holds jail groundbreaking

The groundbreaking for the Greene County Gene Fischer Correctional Center took place at 2295 Greene Way Boulevard.

According to county officials, Fischer began working with the commissioners more than 10 years ago to build a new county jail. Sheriff Scott Anger and the board of county commissioners assembled a team to plan and design the new jail. The proposed facility will allow the Sheriff’s Office to combine the employee and inmate populations of the two current facilities into one modern combined facility.

The Correctional Center will include/provide necessary housing for the separation of males and females into classifications for minimum, medium, and maximum security and will contain separate areas for medical and mental health treatment services with a total of 386 beds. It will also have three separate administrative locations for sheriff personnel under one roof. The building will also include administrative offices for the coroner and his staff.


Fairborn city manager resigns

City Manager Rob Anderson announced his resignation, effective Dec. 31.

Anderson cited mental health concerns as the primary reason for his resignation and thanked the council for its service. Since the announcement on Nov. 20, Assistant City Manager Mike Gebhart has taken the role of Acting City Manager until a permanent solution is agreed upon by the city council.

Anderson has served as city manager since 2017, before which he worked as Fairborn’s economic development director. He has also worked as city manager for Vandalia.

Four indicted for stealing

A federal grand jury indicted four Ecuadorian nationals with crimes related to stealing jewelry and Apple products at retail centers including The Greene in Beavercreek to then resell the items on the black market.

Those charged include Alexander Wilson Diaz-Remache, 39; Jonathan Eduardo Remache-Diaz, 33; Alvaro Oswaldo Loaiza-Alvarez, 27; and Gustavo Daniel Vinueaza-Bueno, 36. According to the indictment, between January and September 2023, the defendants conspired to steal interstate shipments and transported stolen goods in interstate commerce.

It is alleged three of the defendants entered the United States on travel visas and established California as a base of their illegal activities with Diaz-Remache. From their California base, the co-conspirators would allegedly travel by plane and car to other states, including Ohio, Virginia and Maryland, in search of malls and retail centers housing Apple stores, jewelry stores, and other businesses.

XHS removes grads of distinction

Xenia High School will be naming valedictorians and salutatorians for its graduating classes. Since 2012, the school has annually been naming graduates of distinction, which features seniors in the top 5 percent of their graduating class who have met certain other requirements as well. However, in an attempt to better align with ever-changing state graduation guidelines, valedictorians and salutatorians will return beginning with the class of 2027 (this year’s freshmen).

The State of Ohio requires students to have instruction in economics and financial literacy in addition to 20 units of English (4), health (1/2), math (4), physical education (1/2), science (3), social students (3), and electives (5). State guidelines also require students to earn two diploma seals, which demonstrate academic, technical, and professional readiness for careers, college, the military, or self-sustaining professions.

To be a graduate of distinction, Xenia seniors had to have at least a 4.25 GPA and successfully complete no fewer than 11 honors courses (includes CCP) and no fewer than three advanced placement (AP) courses. The requirements to be a graduate of distinction were not sending students on the best path to meet the state requirements, according to district officials.

Meet the new boss

Former Greeneview High School principal Brian Masser was named the new superintendent of Cedar Cliff Local Schools.

Masser, current assistant superintendent at Clark-Shawnee Local Schools, was one of two finalists to replace current superintendent Chad Mason, who is resigning effective Jan. 4. Masser has 12 years of experience in school administration. In addition to five years at Greeneview, he served assistant principal at Northeastern High School for two years and was an English teacher at Kenton Ridge High School.

FCS announces Re-brand

Fairborn City Schools underwent a complete overhaul of its logos and fonts and presented a re-brand for the school and athletics department.

The new design is meant to call back to the history of the school system, and move the schools forward with a modern design. Kelly Mercer, Fairborn graduate and co-owner of Boom Crate Studios, worked with the district to create the new brand, as did a team of Fairborn stakeholders consisting of members from the board of education, alumni, building administration, teachers, and students to ensure representation and alignment with future goals from multiple perspectives.

Fairborn council has changes

Sylvia Chess, Clint Allen and Tana Stanton were the winners of the five-way race for city council, while Dan Kirkpatrick won out over former deputy mayor Kevin Knepp for the mayor’s position.

Allen and Stanton were re-elected after one successful term, while Sylvia Chess, a business owner in Fairborn, is a first-time council member. Kirkpatrick previously served as council member and mayor from 2009-2017.

New faces on Xenia City Council

Wes Smith was re-elected for another term on Xenia City Council, but incumbent Thomas Scrivens lost his seat during a tight election. Rebekah Dean and Cody Brannum did not seek re-election. Newly elected council members include James Crawford, Ethan Reynolds, Faith Ann Sorice.

Incumbents lost XCS board spots

Current Xenia Community Schools board members Joshua Smith, and Tamara Bartley did not retain their seats. Former science teacher Bill Richey and Jeremy Cox were elected by district voters. There could be another change in the next election as current president Joshua Day announced plans to run for the Ohio House of Representatives spot currently held by term-limited Bill Dean.

Ohio first lady visits CU

Fran DeWine visited the Cedarville University campus to help promote Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program. Children and their parents enjoyed a book reading from the first lady and later were treated to multiple kid games, balloon-making, snacks, bouncy houses, etc. Staff from the Greene County Public Library in Xenia helped organize the event. DeWine also visited the child care centers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Xenia schools among Ohio’s best

Tecumseh Elementary, McKinley Elementary, Arrowood Elementary, and Warner Middle School were honored by the U.S. News and World Report for being among the best in Ohio. They received overall scores in the top 40 percent of public schools in Ohio for 2024, with all meeting these criteria to be named a “Best School” in their category.

Tecumseh received an overall score of 86.47 and ranked No. 208 of the 3,049 elementary schools rated in Ohio. McKinley Elementary scored a 75.16 and came in at No. 381, while Arrowood scored a 66.21 and ranked No. 518. While not in the top percentage of school scores, Shawnee ranked No. 649 and Cox at No. 895, well in the top half of Ohio public elementary schools, according to district officials.

Warner Middle School had a score of 60.08 and ranked No. 391 of the 2,446 middle schools rated in Ohio.

Mass shooting at Walmart

Four people were injured during a shooting at the Beavercreek Walmart. A white male, identified as Benjamin Charles Jones, 20, entered the Walmart Supercenter armed with an a. 45 caliber long-gun and began shooting as he passed through various departments in the store, according to the Beavercreek Police Department.

One female victim was shot in the grocery department, another female was shot near the vision center, and a third female and one male were also shot and transported by medics to Soin Medical Center and Miami Valley Hospital.

After doing a thorough search of the store, the gunman was found deceased inside the building with what authorities believe is a self-inflicted gun shot wound. The assailant’s residence and vehicle were searched. The vehicle was found in the Walmart parking lot. FBI Cincinnati Field Office Special Agent Zrinka Dilber said Jones was originally from Dayton, moved away and returned back to Dayton around a year ago.


Vets Memorial opens

The first phase of a three-part veterans memorial project was finally revealed after seven long years of slow and steady progress.

The obelisk is the largest part of the project and weighs more than 22,000 pounds. Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick is co-chair of the organization in charge of designing and constructing the monument, and presented the final product to a crowd of over 150.

WSU/Premier announced partnership

Wright State University and Premier Health reached a new milestone in their partnership that began in 2018. The new agreement has five parts that hope to encourage students to utilize the opportunities Premier Health offers through jobs, internships and research groups.

Wright State University President Sue Edwards said she also hopes to see an increase in affordability as Premier Health officially becomes an academic medical center.

Airport upgrade application approved

The 277-acre facility has been endorsed by the Board of County Commissioners in its successful application for an Ohio Airport Improvement Project Grant contract for $13,188. “The FAA is funding 90 percent, ODOT is putting in 5 percent, and the other 5 percent is from airport services,” said airport manager Dave Kushner. “The $13,188 is for some design work of the terminal interior, parking lot, and crack sealing.”

The airport, which just underwent a $300,000 exterior remodel last year, has been working on its interior remodel which began last August at a cost of $400,000. Earlier this year, the commissioners pledged support of $400,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding toward the interior remodel. The initial grant was for $250,000 but costs have gone up.

Xenia Station becomes Christmas Station

The city held its winter festival “Christmas Station” at Xenia Station, complete with visits with Santa, carolers, volunteers from multiple groups, and student song/dance groups from Xenia High School.

Kids shop with a deputy

Walmart welcomed 35 sheriff deputies and 105 children (pre-selected by Greene County Children’s Services) to it’s Xenia location to give disadvantaged children an opportunity to pick out gifts. Children and their parents/guardians also got to meet and be photographed with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

One-year cannabis moratorium set

Xenia City Council enacted a pair of moratoriums regarding cannabis in response to the passage of Issue 2. An emergency ordinance was passed in November so a moratorium would be in effect on Dec. 7 when cannabis would be legal. On Dec. 14 council approved a one-year moratorium to replace the emergency ordinance.

Upon issuance from the state, regulation guidelines of the state’s Adult Use Cannabis Program will be examined by city staff in order to recommend to council whether various usages should be prohibited, allowed, and if allowed (or a limited number allowed), the extent and manner in which such uses should be zone-regulated. The moratorium involves adult use cannabis operators, cultivators, processors, and dispensaries.

Xenia trying for public safety property tax

City Council approved a resolution to proceed with placing a 4.0-mill tax on the March 19 primary ballot. If the continuous levy is approved, the city will not seek renewal of a 3.5-mill operating levy set to expire at the end of 2024. If passed, the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $140 per year. Funds from the levy would be used to maintain the Public Safety Department and its police and fire/FMS divisions.

Shelter expansion turned down

Xenia’s planning and zoning department denied a request by Bridges of Hope to add 50 additional beds at the shelter.

The vote to deny was based on public safety calls to Bridges of Hope and an annotated increase in calls with double the number of beds.

City Planner Brian Forschner showed graphs that depicted public safety call data. Per section 1220.05 of the Land Development Code, the commission’s vote can be appealed to the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals. If it is appealed from the Board of Zoning Appeals, it would go to the Greene County Court of Common Pleas.

Lampton, Dean help bill move

The Ohio House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to designate a portion of State Route 72 in Greene County as the Caitlin Renee Preston Memorial Highway. This bill — joint sponsored by Brian Lampton (R-Beavercreek) and Bill Dean (R-Xenia) — honors the legacy of Caitlin Renee Preston, who died in May of 2019 due to a car accident.

The legislation now moves to the Ohio Senate for consideration. If passed by the Senate, it will move on to Gov. Mike DeWine for final approval.

Xenia superintendent gets bonus, extension

Xenia Community School’s Board of Education recently approved a contract extension and bonus for Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton. By a 4-1 vote (George Leightenheimer voted no), Lofton received a $10,000 bonus and by a 5-0 vote a three-year extension.

The $10,000 bonus was based on goals and objectives that were made by previous board members. In his performance review, he has completed all his objectives, said Joshua Day, board resident. Some of the superintendent’s completed goals and objectives that were discussed included the completion of Phase 1 of Doug Adams Stadium and plans for Phase 2.

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