5 uplifting stories: Butler Co. queen gets state title, Kyle Schwarber’s Middie jersey retirement and more

Maya Kidd of Butler County, was named the 2022 Ohio Fairs' Queen. CONTRIBUTED

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Maya Kidd of Butler County, was named the 2022 Ohio Fairs' Queen. CONTRIBUTED

Here is a look at five positive Butler County stories that were in the news this week.


Ohio Fairs’ Queen wants to ‘blur the lines’ of traditional farm kids and those without agriculture backgrounds

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Butler County Fair Queen Maya Kidd was named the 2022 Ohio Fairs Queen on Jan. 8, 2022 in Columbus. BUTLER CO. FAIR/CONTRIBUTED

Butler County Fair Queen Maya Kidd was named the 2022 Ohio Fairs Queen on Jan. 8, 2022 in Columbus. BUTLER CO. FAIR/CONTRIBUTED

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Butler County Fair Queen Maya Kidd was named the 2022 Ohio Fairs Queen on Jan. 8, 2022 in Columbus. BUTLER CO. FAIR/CONTRIBUTED

Growing up in Butler County, with its mix of urban, suburban and rural areas, 18-year-old Maya Kidd saw the value that county fairs and 4-H clubs bring children and teens from all those areas. And as the 2022 Ohio Fairs’ Queen, she wants to help those various kids across Ohio hang out with and learn from each other.

Maya is the second oldest of Amy and Savalas Kidd, who live in a semi-rural area of Butler County. Her parents grew up in suburban Colerain Twp. and are not traditional farmers, although they now live on 6½ acres of agricultural land. Savalas is police chief and assistant vice president at the University of Dayton.

Maya recently won a competition against 77 other 2021 county fair queens to be crowned the 2022 Ohio Fairs’ Queen. She will visit many county fairs this summer with her family.

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Her mission: Knocking down barriers for people of color

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The YWCA of Hamilton has hired Charla Hale to fight racism in the city, using a $1 million grant from billionaire MacKenzie Scott. NICK GRAHAM/SAFF

The YWCA of Hamilton has hired Charla Hale to fight racism in the city, using a $1 million grant from billionaire MacKenzie Scott. NICK GRAHAM/SAFF

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The YWCA of Hamilton has hired Charla Hale to fight racism in the city, using a $1 million grant from billionaire MacKenzie Scott. NICK GRAHAM/SAFF

As the country observes the achievements of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the area has a weapon today against racism it hasn’t had in the past: A woman whose job is to help erase the racism that King worked hard to eliminate.

YWCA Hamilton in July hired Charla Hale, 26, for its new director of racial justice position, using a $1 million grant it received from billionaire MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man. Scott has distributed billions of dollars to charities, especially those that help women and minorities.

Hale plans to spend the next year working to improve lives of minorities in three areas: health care; education; and community engagement. Here are some of her approaches.

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Schwarber’s baseball jersey retirement ceremony tonight at Middletown High School

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Middletown Division of Fire Captain Brian Wright presents a check to Kyle Schwarber, Middletown native and Major League Baseball player, on behalf of The Middletown Firefighters Association to The Middie Way Baseball, an organization focused on helping area youth learn the game of baseball, during a ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 at the Middletown Division of Fire headquarters. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Middletown Division of Fire Captain Brian Wright presents a check to Kyle Schwarber, Middletown native and Major League Baseball player, on behalf of The Middletown Firefighters Association to The Middie Way Baseball, an organization focused on helping area youth learn the game of baseball, during a ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 at the Middletown Division of Fire headquarters. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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Middletown Division of Fire Captain Brian Wright presents a check to Kyle Schwarber, Middletown native and Major League Baseball player, on behalf of The Middletown Firefighters Association to The Middie Way Baseball, an organization focused on helping area youth learn the game of baseball, during a ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 at the Middletown Division of Fire headquarters. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Kyle Schwarber’s No 12 baseball jersey will be retired tonight during halftime of the Middletown High School’s boys basketball game against Princeton at Wade E. Miller Gym.

The retirement ceremony was originally scheduled for last football season, but Schwarber was traded from the Washington Nationals, who were playing the Reds in Cincinnati, to the Boston Red Sox, said Justin “JD” Foust, MHS athletic director

The jersey retirement will be the eighth in MHS history and the first for a baseball player, though Schwarber also played linebacker on the football team.

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Local dog to compete in televised Animal Planet Puppy Bowl

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The Animal Friends Humane Society announced that they are participating in the 6th annual Puppy Bowl. Odell Barkham is representing Animal Friends Humane Society and will be joining his teammates on Team Ruff to compete again Team Fluff for the Chewy “Lombarky” trophy at the GEICO stadium on Feb. 13. CONTRIBUTED

The Animal Friends Humane Society announced that they are participating in the 6th annual Puppy Bowl. Odell Barkham is representing Animal Friends Humane Society and will be joining his teammates on Team Ruff to compete again Team Fluff for the Chewy “Lombarky” trophy at the GEICO stadium on Feb. 13. CONTRIBUTED

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The Animal Friends Humane Society announced that they are participating in the 6th annual Puppy Bowl. Odell Barkham is representing Animal Friends Humane Society and will be joining his teammates on Team Ruff to compete again Team Fluff for the Chewy “Lombarky” trophy at the GEICO stadium on Feb. 13. CONTRIBUTED

BUTLER COUNTY — The Animal Friends Humane Society has announced that one of its dogs will be part of Puppy Bowl XVIII.

Odell Barkham, a beagle/chow chow, is representing the animal center and will be joining his teammates on Team Ruff to compete against Team Fluff for the Chewy “Lombarky” trophy at GEICO stadium in mid-February.

“Not only is his namesake an NFL player, he has a signature move that works in his favor,” says the Puppy Bowl’s website about Odell Barkham.

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High School wrestling: ‘Experience’ key for Fairfield’s Abrams

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Lane Abrams, Fairfield wrestling

Lane Abrams, Fairfield wrestling

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Lane Abrams, Fairfield wrestling

Fairfield’s Lane Abrams used a disappointing sophomore season to get better as a junior. He’s reaching new heights this season as a senior.

Wrestling this season at 165 pounds, Abrams goes into an upcoming busy three days leading all GMC wrestlers with a 21-1 record with 12 pins. He’s one win short of matching last season’s record, when he finished with a 22-10 record while switching between 160 and 170 pounds. He was named to the all-conference first team at 170 pounds and finished second at 160 pounds in the Division I sectional tournament before falling a couple of district tournament wins short of qualifying for the state tournament.

He suffered his only 2021-2022 loss in the mid-December Southwest Ohio Wrestling Coaches Association Classic to a highly regarded wrestler from Ryle High School in Kentucky. He finished third in his weight class and was named Fairfield’s Athlete of the Week for the holiday break.

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AND, for an extra sixth story of the day ...

Fairfield Twp. police collecting donated clothes to help local students

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Fairfield Twp. officials celebrated on Sept. 8, 2021, the completion of the newly remodeled and expanded Fairfield Twp. Police Department headquarters. The project cost the township $1.8 million. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Fairfield Twp. officials celebrated on Sept. 8, 2021, the completion of the newly remodeled and expanded Fairfield Twp. Police Department headquarters. The project cost the township $1.8 million. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

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Fairfield Twp. officials celebrated on Sept. 8, 2021, the completion of the newly remodeled and expanded Fairfield Twp. Police Department headquarters. The project cost the township $1.8 million. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

The Fairfield Twp. Police Department is continuing to give back to the community as it starts a new donation program.

Sgt. Jamie Mays, supervisor of the department’s third shift, said the New Year Clothing Drive is for elementary and middle school-aged kids within the Fairfield City School District.

“I know every year at Christmas families will get new clothes. I thought it would be good timing and a way for families to donate any gently used or new articles of clothing to kids in the district who may need coats, pants, sweatshirts, shoes, and even school supplies,” said Mays. “All of those are always in high demand.”

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