5 biggest stories of the year in Carlisle, from tragedy to elections

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5 biggest stories of the year in Carlisle, from tragedy to elections

Carlisle saw tragedy and change in 2017.

The small Warren County village was in the regional spotlight after a story broke that a former cheerleader allegedly killed her newborn, burned the body and buried it in the backyard. In another major story, issues were raised with a local crematorium.

The Carlisle Village Council approved a medical marijuana moratorium but carved out an exception for a potential large-scale cultivator that was poised to purchase 10 acres at the village-owned business park. However, that group was not awarded a large-scale cultivation license, and the land purchase is on hold.

There were some changes in the leadership of the village, with two council members resigning and the return of a controversial former council member. A new village manager was selected to replace Sherry Callahan, who retired.

Elsewhere in elections, Carlisle voters approved a bond issue to build a new K-12 building.

Carlisle buried baby death

Brooke Skylar Richardson, 18, is charged with aggravated murder and several other felonies in a case that captivated the community this year when the teen was arrested for allegedly killing her newborn, burning the body and burying it in the backyard.

Prosecutors say the Carlisle High School cheerleader gave birth to a baby girl on May 6 or 7, caused the baby’s death then covered it up by burning the body and burying it in the yard.

Warren County Common Pleas Court Judge Donald Oda II granted the defense’s motion to continue the trial that was scheduled to begin in November. A new trial date of April 16 has been set.

Richardson is free on $50,000 bond that was set by Oda at arraignment.

Concerns about local crematory

A Carlisle crematory business has temporarily lost its license after it was investigated for having non-refrigerated human remains at its facility, according to state documents obtained by this news outlet.

Premium Mortuary Services failed to keep seven human bodies, which were not embalmed, in a working refrigerated facility at the crematory facility, according to the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.

Last summer, the board temporarily suspended the company’s license stating it presented “a danger of immediate and serious harm.” However, the license was temporarily reinstated in August.

During an inspection in July, a board inspector found:

  • “a slight odor of decomposition” around an exterior garage door that was slightly open;
  • three deceased human bodies in alternate cardboard containers — one on a cot, and the other two each on separate eight-foot tables, located outside of two coolers. These three bodies had been embalmed;
  • a three-person cooler not functioning properly with a temperature of about 68 degrees, according to the temperature gauge;
  • a walk-in cooler not functioning properly with a temperature of about 62 degrees;
  • an odor of decomposition inside the facility;
  • dead flies on the floor and live ones flying around the facility; and
  • a temperature of 95 degrees in the cremation retort area and 93 degrees on the garage door, according to documents.

In mid-December, a Montgomery County judge ruled Premium Mortuary Services may have a basis for defamation claims against the lawyer who sued it and allegedly made a “bodies decomposing with flies and maggots” statement to the media.

Village Council approves medical marijuana moratorium and a very narrow exception

Following the lead of other area communities, Carlisle approved a medical marijuana moratorium in February.

In June, council carved out an exception for a proposed $4 million to $5 million large-scale cultivation facility for which the applicants agreed to buy 10 acres in the village-owned Carlisle Business Park if they were awarded a state cultivation license. Village officials said the deal would assist Carlisle to pay off business park infrastructure debt and use municipal funds for other needs.

Residents raised concerns when Ohio Craft Cultivators LLC came back to council in early October asking for a rollback of the moratorium so they could apply for a processing permit.

However, in November, the Ohio Craft Cultivators did not receive a state license to move forward with its project. Village officials said the organization has not decided its next move.

Politics and elections

Longtime Village Manager Sherri Callahan announced her retirement after serving in the post for more than eight years and in various public-service capacities for 30 years. More than 40 applications were received to replace her, but Village Council opted to promote from within and selected Finance Director Julie Duffy for the position in March.

Four seats were up in this fall’s municipal elections.

Council also saw some turnover before the municipal elections as council member Jake Fryman resigned to move out of the village. He was replaced by Will Bicknell, who was elected to a four-year term in November.

In addition to Bicknell, incumbent Councilmen Randy Jewett and Brad McIntosh were re-elected to new four-year terms on council. Voters returned former councilman and mayor Tim Humphries to fill the final open seat. Write-in candidate Tiffanie Burney came in fifth for the four seats and was 43 votes behind Humphries.

Councilwoman Barbara Tankersley, who was disqualified from running for election due to errors on her petitions, was appointed to complete the final two years of Councilman James Lickliter’s term after he resigned effective Dec. 31.

Bicknell, Jewett, McIntosh and Tankersley were sworn in on Dec. 28. Humphries was unable to attend the ceremony and will be sworn in at a later date.

Carlisle school district passes bond issue for new building

Voters in the Carlisle school district approved a 37-year, 6.2-mill bond issue to raise $20.2 million that would cover 41 percent of the local costs to build a new $48.9 million K-12 facility. The state will be picking up 59 percent of the costs.

The district tried unsuccessfully to pass a bond issue for a new facility about five years ago.

District and levy officials said it would cost more to renovate the four buildings currently in use would than to construct a new building. Officials said the bond issue would cover the costs of the K-12 building with wings dedicated for high school, middle school, intermediate and elementary classrooms. The new building would also house the district’s central offices.

Burney said there would be two gyms with one seating 1,400 people, a central 500-seat auditorium, parking lot as well as all the furnishings and equipment for the new facility, which will be designed for future expansion. She said the bond issue would also cover the costs for the demolition and asbestos removal of the four buildings.

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