Afternoon catchup: 5 Butler County stories you need to know today

Here’s a look at five big Butler County stories today to catch up on the news:


Lakota East principal placed on leave of absence

Yejide Mack has been placed on a paid leave of absence from her principal's position with Lakota East High School, according to officials with the Lakota school system. Mack, who was previously an assistant principal at Sycamore High School in northern Hamilton County, was hired last year to lead the Liberty Twp school. (File Photo\Journal-News)
Yejide Mack has been placed on a paid leave of absence from her principal's position with Lakota East High School, according to officials with the Lakota school system. Mack, who was previously an assistant principal at Sycamore High School in northern Hamilton County, was hired last year to lead the Liberty Twp school. (File Photo\Journal-News)

For the second time in less than a year the leadership of one of Butler County’s largest high schools has changed.

Yejide Mack, principal of Lakota East High School, “has been placed on a leave of absence,” according to an announcement sent to school families from Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller.

Mack, who was finishing up her first year as leader of the Liberty Twp. high school, is now on “paid administrative leave of absence,” said Lakota Spokeswoman Betsy Fuller.

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Hamilton event center creates podcast space, greenspace outdoor work area

Yvonne VanBibber sits in the new podcast studio in the cowork space at The Benison event center in Hamilton. The studio is available for rent or for use by people using the coworking space. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Yvonne VanBibber sits in the new podcast studio in the cowork space at The Benison event center in Hamilton. The studio is available for rent or for use by people using the coworking space. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The Benison has created what it calls Hamilton’s first rentable podcast center, with the equipment and technology needed to send messages to the world.

The Benison, at 100 S. 3rd St., is a combination of an elegant event and reception hall on street level and co-working office and other spaces upstairs. It also recently created what it calls Hamilton’s first rentable co-working greenspace outside.

“We are, in the next week, opening the city’s first podcasting room, and video room,” said Yvonne VanBibber, director of events and co-working there. “It’s about 95% of the way done, and it’s a really unique, cool thing.”

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Ambitious roadwork projects planned in Butler County this year: What comes next?

Butler County will spend about $25 million on major modifications to the Liberty Way and Interstate 75 interchange. GREG LYNCH / STAFF
Butler County will spend about $25 million on major modifications to the Liberty Way and Interstate 75 interchange. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Butler County drivers will begin seeing major roadway improvements this year from a series of projects that will continue with big moves in the next week.

The county government usually has the biggest roadwork to-do list, but the city of Middletown this year and next is launching a blitz of road resurfacing spending, including $51.6 million to fix a third (217) of the 621 lane miles in the city.

City Manager Jim Palenick told the Journal-News drivers will be disrupted, but the 0.25 percent, 10-year income tax levy voters approved last November made rapid road repairs possible.

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Franklin mayor announces bid for Congress

Franklin Mayor Brent Centers makes his formal announcement to run for Congress before family and friends at Camp Chautauqua. Centers, who is also the Hamilton Twp. administrator, is seeking to run for the current 1st Congressional District seat, now held by U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Franklin Mayor Brent Centers makes his formal announcement to run for Congress before family and friends at Camp Chautauqua. Centers, who is also the Hamilton Twp. administrator, is seeking to run for the current 1st Congressional District seat, now held by U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot. ED RICHTER/STAFF

With indoor pyrotechnics and in front of a large U.S. flag, Franklin Mayor Brent Centers announced his candidacy for a seat in Congress in a district that boundaries have not been drawn.

Centers, 32, who also works as Hamilton Twp.’s administrator, told a gathering of more than 100 friends and family at Camp Chautauqua, that there needs to be a “Republican Revival” because the national Republican Party needs to be re-energized.

He said the the national GOP is somewhat organized, but they still lost the House, Senate and presidency in the last election. “It needs to be re-energized,” Centers said.

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Lebanon manufacturer to close permanently, laying off 103

OPW Engineered Systems image
OPW Engineered Systems image

A Lebanon producer of loading systems is closing, resulting in a job loss for more than 100 employees, but workers will have an opportunity to apply for openings with a Hamilton company, the business is telling Ohio government.

OPW Engineered Systems, 2726 Henkle Drive, is permanently closing and will terminate employment for its 103 employees, James Anderson, OPW human resources director, said in a letter to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The closing of the OPW Engineered Systems facility will take place on a “rolling basis” no sooner than July 6 and finishing no later than the end of September, the company said.

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

Social media reacts: 2 downtown Middletown restaurants close due to lack of employees

Don’s Pizza, founded in Germantown in 1970, opened a new location at 1126 Central Ave. in Middletown on June 1, 2019. That storefront is the former site of Blast Furnace Pizza, which closed in December. RICK McCRABB/STAFF
Don’s Pizza, founded in Germantown in 1970, opened a new location at 1126 Central Ave. in Middletown on June 1, 2019. That storefront is the former site of Blast Furnace Pizza, which closed in December. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

Two downtown Middletown restaurants have closed due to the lack of available employees.

Don’s Pizza, 1126 Central Ave., and Fast Lane Subs, 1218 Central Ave., have closed after two years and six months in business, respectively, said Jeri Lewis, wife of Scott Lewis of Triad Investments, which owns the properties.

Readers reacted strongly, with over 400 comments on social media. Here are some of the responses we received:

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