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

Representatives from RINKA made a presentation last week to city council about the possible redevelopment of the Towne Mall. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Representatives from RINKA made a presentation last week to city council about the possible redevelopment of the Towne Mall. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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


YWCA Hamilton to use $1 million grant from billionaire to battle racism

The Butler County commissioners have approved $400,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the new Hamilton YWCA.
The Butler County commissioners have approved $400,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the new Hamilton YWCA.

YWCA Hamilton has decided how to use the $1 million grant it won in December from billionaire MacKenzie Scott: It will hire someone to lead a formal racial-justice program.

“Our No. 1 priority this year is declaring racism a public-health crisis,” said Wendy Waters-Connell, CEO of YWCA Hamilton. “We’d like to have it declared by government, and to have businesses embrace it, agencies embrace it, and for all of us to work arm-in-arm to develop resources and policies to reduce disparities.”

The large grant came from Scott, ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man who built most of his fortune through Amazon. She has been distributing billions of dollars to hundreds of charities, particularly those that help women and minorities.

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Police Tasers: Butler County prosecutor questions departments on training, policies

FILE - In this Thursday, April 15, 2021 file photo, attorney Ben Crump, representing the family of Daunte Wright, holds up images depicting an X26P Taser and a Glock 17 handgun during a news conference at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
FILE - In this Thursday, April 15, 2021 file photo, attorney Ben Crump, representing the family of Daunte Wright, holds up images depicting an X26P Taser and a Glock 17 handgun during a news conference at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Credit: John Minchillo

Credit: John Minchillo

Within days of an incident in Minnesota in which a police officer fatally shot a man when she reportedly intended to fire a Taser, Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser was questioning law enforcement here about training and policies.

He found departments were already reviewing policies and procedures.

“All the chiefs were ahead of the issue,” Gmoser said.

In a letter sent to county police chiefs, Gmoser raised questions about the color and feel of Tasers verses service weapons. He noted while the color of the Taser — yellow as opposed to black like a gun — might help in some cases, it may not be enough for confusion avoidance.

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McCrabb: Disabled Army veteran ‘stands tall’ in the face of disabilities, disappointments, homelessness

Army veteran Charles Knuckles tells his story about how he ended up staying at a hotel in Middletown. Knuckles lost his legs due to complications from injuries he sustained in the Army. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Army veteran Charles Knuckles tells his story about how he ended up staying at a hotel in Middletown. Knuckles lost his legs due to complications from injuries he sustained in the Army. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

No veteran should be treated this way.

That’s one takeaway after talking with Charles Knuckles, a disabled Army veteran who lost his legs due to complications from infections.

Then you talk to Pastor Mitchell Foster, executive director of the Hope House, a men’s homeless shelter in Middletown. Knuckles stayed there for two nights last week, but after getting into arguments with residents and staff, left before Foster could connect him with the Dayton Veterans Affairs office.

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5 things that are possible for a redeveloped Towne Mall Galleria in Middletown

Representatives from RINKA made a presentation last week to city council about the possible redevelopment of the Towne Mall. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Representatives from RINKA made a presentation last week to city council about the possible redevelopment of the Towne Mall. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The 44-year-old Towne Mall Galleria, once a major shopping destination, could be brought back to life if it’s redeveloped, according to Middletown city officials and a consultant.

During a recent city council meeting, representatives from RINKA, a Milwaukee-based company hired by the city, talked about what the mall could become and how it could serve the needs of thousands of visitors within the region.

A consultant has given the city a proposal for what the East End site could offer residents if funding and a developer could be obtained for a mixed-use 31-acre, open-air property.

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Kroger to test drone service at Centerville store with Monroe company

Drone Express/Kroger image
Drone Express/Kroger image

Kroger is working with a Monroe company to deliver groceries via drones, with testing set to begin soon in Centerville — and new Dayton-area jobs are expected as a result.

The Kroger Co. and Drone Express on Monday announced a pilot program to offer grocery delivery via autonomous drones.

The facility New Jersey-based Drone Express has established in Monroe will serve as a hub for the manufacturing, testing and piloting of autonomous drones for commercial package delivery, a representative of the company told the Dayton Daily News and the JournalNews.

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

Whimmydiddle festival at RiversEdge to change this year: Here’s the lineup

90 Proof Twang Acoustic plays at a previous Whimmydiddle Country Music Festival. CONTRIBUTED
90 Proof Twang Acoustic plays at a previous Whimmydiddle Country Music Festival. CONTRIBUTED

RiversEdge has announced that Whimmydiddle will return in 2021 in a different format – a four concert series that will be spread out across the summer concert season.

“In years’ past, we produced Whimmydiddle as a two-consecutive night, multi-band festival, so we’d have four bands each night, and given the limited capacity this year, having that many bands on two-consecutive nights makes things really difficult for a couple reasons,” said Adam Helms, director of Resident Services for the City of Hamilton and the producer of Whimmydiddle.

Having four bands on stage and changing all the equipment or sharing equipment doesn’t really lend itself to social distancing, he said.

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