5 uplifting stories this week: Middletown girl spends Christmas money on blankets for homeless, local pro athletes get numbers retired and more.

Abby Tucker, 10, a fifth-grader at Mayfield Elementary School in Middletown, used some of her Christmas money to buy blankets and food for the homeless. She dropped the items off this week at the Middletown police department. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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Abby Tucker, 10, a fifth-grader at Mayfield Elementary School in Middletown, used some of her Christmas money to buy blankets and food for the homeless. She dropped the items off this week at the Middletown police department. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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


Middletown girl, 10, buys blankets for homeless with her Christmas money

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Abby Tucker, 10, a fifth-grader at Mayfield Elementary School in Middletown, used some of her Christmas money to buy blankets and food for the homeless. She dropped the items off this week at the Middletown police department. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Abby Tucker, 10, a fifth-grader at Mayfield Elementary School in Middletown, used some of her Christmas money to buy blankets and food for the homeless. She dropped the items off this week at the Middletown police department. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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Abby Tucker, 10, a fifth-grader at Mayfield Elementary School in Middletown, used some of her Christmas money to buy blankets and food for the homeless. She dropped the items off this week at the Middletown police department. SUBMITTED PHOTO

When Abby Tucker, a fifth-grader at Mayfield Elementary School in Middletown, rides in the car with her mother she periodically sees homeless walking downtown or holding cardboard signs begging for money near I-75.

Sometimes she convinces her mother, Regina Tucker, 43, to stop and help the homeless.

“We can’t always give them money,” her mother said. “We don’t have it.”

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Butler County Fair queen Maya Kidd named 2022 Ohio Fairs Queen

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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

The queen of the 2021 Butler County Fair is now the state’s 2022 queen.

Maya Kidd was crowned the 2022 Ohio Fairs Queen on Saturday in the contest conducted at the 97th Annual Ohio Fair Managers Association Convention and Trade Show in Columbus.

She won over all of the other county queens in the state.

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Franklin to retire numbers of Kennard, Lakins

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Luke Kennard reflects on his NBA Draft experience

Luke Kennard reflects on his NBA Draft experience

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Luke Kennard reflects on his NBA Draft experience

Franklin High School announced Wednesday it will retire the numbers of Travis Lakins, a 2013 graduate who now pitches for the Baltimore Orioles, and Luke Kennard, a 2015 graduate who plays for the Los Angeles Clippers.

The ceremony for Lakins, who wore No. 1, will take place at the boys basketball game against Thurgood Marshall on Jan. 29.

“Travis Lakins was one of the most competitive kids I have ever coached here at Franklin High School,” Franklin Athletic Director Brian Bales said in a press release. “He excelled on the basketball court — scoring over 1,000 points — as well as the baseball field where he won numerous awards. Travis’ work ethic and drive earned him a great career at Ohio State on the ball diamond. He now has succeeded in the MLB with the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. It is no surprise to me that he has had the success that he has due to his determination and grit.”

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New director of education, outreach at Fitton Center aims to grow programs

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Kate Rowekamp was recently promoted to the director of outreach and education at the Fitton Center. CONTRIBUTED

Kate Rowekamp was recently promoted to the director of outreach and education at the Fitton Center. CONTRIBUTED

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Kate Rowekamp was recently promoted to the director of outreach and education at the Fitton Center. CONTRIBUTED

HAMILTON — The Fitton Center recently announced that Kate Rowekamp has been promoted to the director of education and outreach.

“Kate Rowekamp, who has done such an outstanding job with putting our education program together over the last few years and really growing that, is now the head of education and outreach,” said Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, executive director of the Fitton Center.

Rowekamp first joined the Fitton Center as an education assistant and was promoted to run the education program, he said. Prior to her promotion, she served as the director of education.

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Schwarber’s baseball jersey retired at Middletown High School

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Middletown City Schools welcomed back World Series Champion and 2011 graduate Kyle Schwarber with a pep rally in his honor Tuesday, Nov. 22, at Middletown High School. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Middletown City Schools welcomed back World Series Champion and 2011 graduate Kyle Schwarber with a pep rally in his honor Tuesday, Nov. 22, at Middletown High School. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Middletown City Schools welcomed back World Series Champion and 2011 graduate Kyle Schwarber with a pep rally in his honor Tuesday, Nov. 22, at Middletown High School. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Calling him “a class act on the playing field and in the community,” Middletown High School Athletic Director Justin “JD” Foust said the retirement of Kyle Schwarber’s No. 12 baseball jersey is well deserved.

Schwarber’s jersey number will be retired Jan. 21 during halftime of the Middies 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, Foust said.

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

What will 2022 bring for Hamilton?

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A ground breaking ceremony was held for the Rossville Flats apartments and retail space Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 on Main Street in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

A ground breaking ceremony was held for the Rossville Flats apartments and retail space Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 on Main Street in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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A ground breaking ceremony was held for the Rossville Flats apartments and retail space Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 on Main Street in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

During the spring of 2022, Hamilton’s most anticipated economic development in years, Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, will open to become the country’s largest indoor sports complex, bringing 10,000 athletes and their families to the city on some weekends.

That will bring change. City Manager Joshua Smith and Dan Bates, the president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, both answered emailed questions from the Journal-News about what they foresee for 2022.

One thing they both see is two new hotels on their way by 2022-23, not including the 233-room one being built at the Spooky Nook sports complex and convention center. Here are their answers to some questions that were the same, others different:

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