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:

Letter signed by 103 doctors calls for Mason Schools to reverse stance on masks

A group of physicians have sent a letter urging Mason school officials to rethink their recent announcement about making mask-wearing optional when classes start later this month.

The letter, which claims the backing of 103 doctors listed on it who either work or live in the Mason and Deerfield Twp. communities, calls for Mason Schools to mandate masks indoors during school.

“Optional masking is simply not sufficient, as masks are most effective when all parties are wearing them. Parents, students, and staff should not be given the choice to mask when this choice endangers the health of other children and staff,” states the letter, which was sent to Mason school officials Monday.


Police ID two men shot in Hamilton on Tuesday afternoon

Two Hamilton men remain hospitalized following a Tuesday afternoon shooting on the city’s west side, and police continue to look for suspects.

The two were shot at about 2:45 p.m. in the 1000 block of Ross Avenue, Sgt. Rich Burkhardt said. Police received the call as a shots fired report.

Michael N. Benge, 42, of Goodman Avenue and Brian Alan Rose, 43, of Hunt Avenue both suffered a “major injury gunshot wound” according to the police report.


Fitton Center to receive nearly $200,000 in federal COVID funds in Hamilton

The Fitton Center waited as long as it could to lay off or furlough staff during the novel coronavirus pandemic, but staff cutbacks eventually happened in August 2020 for the Hamilton arts center.

But with the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants fund administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, it will use much of its $186,761 grant to pay for staff.

“We tried to hold on as long as we could because our staff is family,” said Fitton Center Executive Director Ian MacKenzie-Thurley. “We are looking to rebuild and regrow the Fitton Center organization. That’s the most important thing because if we can have staffing, we can have programming.”


Bond set for man accused of raping Miami University student

Bond was set at $25,000 on Tuesday for a northern Ohio man indicted last week for allegedly sexually assaulting a Miami University student.

Zachary Michael Frankart, 21, of Clyde in Sandusky County, is charged with four counts of rape, three counts of sexual battery, two counts of attempted rape and one count of gross sexual imposition. He is accused of assaulting a woman during the early morning hours of July 24 after giving her a ride from a bar, according to police.

Oxford police responded about 1:20 a.m. to North College Avenue after a passerby called 911 and reported he found a crying woman lying in a front yard who said she had been raped.


Hamilton Joes win first league championship in five years

Darrell Grissom learned the value of patience from participating in 20 previous dogpiles, so he knew to wait Saturday while one developed after his Hamilton Joes baseball team clinched the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League championship.

“I was on top,” said Grissom, the team’s president and general manager, on Tuesday afternoon by phone. “You can see my big butt up there. I’m the head coach at Miami University-Hamilton and we’ve won 18 championships there and three with the Joes, so I’ve learned to jump on real quick and roll off. I was still a little sore the next day, but it was a good soreness.”

Left-hander Sebastian Gongora, a Chaminade Julienne graduate, allowed four hits and one run in seven innings. Right-hander Chase Hopewell struck out five batters in two scoreless innings to lead the South Division-champion Joes to a 3-1 win over the North Division-champion Lima Locos in the decisive third game of the best-of-three championship round at Simmons Field in Lima.


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

Back to school: When Butler County schools and districts start this year

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The first Butler County students returning to classrooms will happen in less than a week.

Butler Tech has the first starting date in the county of next Tuesday. Other schools and districts will return through Aug. 24.

Here’s a look at when schools will be starting: