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

A blimp piloted by Terry Dillard featuring Discovery and Discovery+ "Shark Week" graphics landed at Middletown Municipal Airport/Hook Field for an overnight stay Tuesday, July 20, 2021 in Middletown. The 132 feet long, 67000 cubic feet airship has 200 pounds of decals on it that will be removed and replaced with something different after shark week promotion is over. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
A blimp piloted by Terry Dillard featuring Discovery and Discovery+ "Shark Week" graphics landed at Middletown Municipal Airport/Hook Field for an overnight stay Tuesday, July 20, 2021 in Middletown. The 132 feet long, 67000 cubic feet airship has 200 pounds of decals on it that will be removed and replaced with something different after shark week promotion is over. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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


‘She never came back up’: 911 calls show urgency in search for 14-year-old at Land of Illusion waterpark

Mykiara Jones, 14, of Dayton, an incoming freshman at Middletown High School, died Tuesday night, July 20, 2021, in an apparent drowning at a water park in Madison Twp. MIDDLETOWN CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
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Mykiara Jones, 14, of Dayton, an incoming freshman at Middletown High School, died Tuesday night, July 20, 2021, in an apparent drowning at a water park in Madison Twp. MIDDLETOWN CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office received two 911 calls Tuesday night regarding the search for a 14-year-old girl in the water at Land of Illusion, according to the calls obtained by this news outlet.

One caller said the girl was at the Land of Illusion’s Aqua Adventures in Madison Twp. and she wasn’t wearing a life jacket. The teen went into the water and “she never came back up,” the caller told dispatchers.

She said the girl was missing for about 12 minutes at the time.

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Trustees approve new Costco, $133 million development in Liberty Twp.

A new Costco store may be coming to Cox Road in Liberty Twp. soon.
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A new Costco store may be coming to Cox Road in Liberty Twp. soon.

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

One of the largest business and residential combination projects in Liberty Twp’s history was approved by trustee vote Tuesday moving the $133 million Freedom Pointe development closer to reality.

The 2-0 vote, with Liberty Twp. Trustee Tom Farrell abstaining due to living in proximity to the 88-acre development near the northeast corner of Cox Road and Liberty Way, was a major hurdle for the project to now move closer to completion.

The Freedom Pointe development will include a 160,529 square-foot Costco, restaurants, 402 apartments, other retail businesses, medical and other professional offices and a hotel at the southern border of Liberty Twp. across Liberty Way from the Voice of America Metro Park in West Chester Twp.

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New Butler County diner opens to ‘amazing’ crowds, reduces hours due to cook shortage

Barb Nease, who co-owns Farmhouse Diner in Trenton with her mother, delivers plates of food to customers Monday morning. The restaurant has been open for one week and because of a shortage of employees has reduced its hours. RICK McCRABB/STAFF
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Barb Nease, who co-owns Farmhouse Diner in Trenton with her mother, delivers plates of food to customers Monday morning. The restaurant has been open for one week and because of a shortage of employees has reduced its hours. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

In the first week, the owners of Trenton’s newest restaurant have been overwhelmed by their customer support, but have found themselves short staffed, a common theme in the restaurant industry due to unemployment benefits.

Farmhouse Diner opened last week and was expected to be serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week, but due to an employee shortage started closing at 4 p.m. until more cooks can be hired and trained, said Barb Nease, who owns the restaurant with her mother, Max Murphy.

Murphy said the decision to close early came after discussing the employee situation with her husband. They agreed that instead of having customers waiting for long periods of time for their food order, it was best to shorten the hours and improve the service until more employees are hired.

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Want a helicopter? The Butler County sheriff has one for sale

The Butler County Sheriff's Office helicopter takes off from Middletown Regional Airport / Hook field Wednesday, August 26, 2020 in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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The Butler County Sheriff's Office helicopter takes off from Middletown Regional Airport / Hook field Wednesday, August 26, 2020 in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The Butler County sheriff was hoping to sell a 2006 helicopter on GovDeals but the commissioners say they think they can get a better deal elsewhere.

Recently, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones asked the commissioners to approve a resolution selling a 2006 Robinson R-44 Raven II helicopter on the GovDeals auction, the estimated value was $100,000. Commissioner Don Dixon balked at the plan and asked if they didn’t get a decent offer if they could cancel the sale.

“I believe through the auction on GovDeals it’s a very quick auction you have so many minutes to approve it and accept it, so I don’t believe there would be time to come back to the board on this,” County Administrator Judi Boyko told him.

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Butler County sales tax revenues remain high, but for how long?

The Butler County Government Services Center. STAFF FILE
Caption
The Butler County Government Services Center. STAFF FILE

The monthly financial report for the Butler County general fund shows revenues for June were up $9.5 million over last year, and a third of that can be attributed to consumer spending, which continues to be high.

Through the end of June the county received $25.1 million in sales tax, up nearly $3.3 million or 15% from a year ago and collections received this month were $4.5 million or $1.35 million over last year. The July collection was $804,061 above the 2019 proceeds.

Sales tax receipts lag three months so the numbers likely show consumers were skittish in April 2020 when the pandemic began, compared to this year when people still have federal stimulus money in their pockets.

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

PHOTOS: Discovery Channel’s Shark Week blimp lands in Middletown

A blimp piloted by Terry Dillard featuring Discovery and Discovery+ "Shark Week" graphics landed at Middletown Municipal Airport/Hook Field for an overnight stay Tuesday, July 20, 2021 in Middletown. The 132 feet long, 67000 cubic feet airship has 200 pounds of decals on it that will be removed and replaced with something different after shark week promotion is over. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
A blimp piloted by Terry Dillard featuring Discovery and Discovery+ "Shark Week" graphics landed at Middletown Municipal Airport/Hook Field for an overnight stay Tuesday, July 20, 2021 in Middletown. The 132 feet long, 67000 cubic feet airship has 200 pounds of decals on it that will be removed and replaced with something different after shark week promotion is over. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A blimp piloted by Terry Dillard featuring Discovery and Discovery+ “Shark Week” graphics landed at Middletown Municipal Airport/Hook Field for an overnight stay Tuesday, July 20, 2021 in Middletown. The 132 feet long, 67000 cubic feet airship has 200 pounds of decals on it that will be removed and replaced with something different after shark week promotion is over. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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