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

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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

2 Monroe students punished after video re-enacting murder of George Floyd

Two Monroe Schools’ students who made a social media video depicting the murder of George Floyd are being disciplined, school officials said.

Monroe officials said the video was posted online Thursday and has since been removed, but images from the student’s re-enactment of Floyd’s death, which was ruled by a jury this week to be a murder by a Minneapolis police officer, remained on social media.

Monroe Superintendent Kathy Demers sent a notice to school parents and said, “When high school administrators became aware of the video, an investigation began immediately.”


Teen already accused of attacking juvenile center employee indicted for child rape in Middletown

A teen already facing felony charges for allegedly attacking a worker at the Butler County Juvenile Rehabilitation Center has been indicted on child rape charges.

Nicolas Jeremiah Watson, 19, of Freedom Court in Middletown, was indicted by a Butler County grand jury Wednesday on two counts of rape, three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of kidnapping for alleged crimes involving a 9-year-old girl, according to the grand jury and police reports.

The indictment states the sexual assaults occurred between July 1, 2017, and Aug. 26, 2018. Watson was 16 at the time of the alleged crimes.


Hamilton school board member resigns

There’s now an opening on the Hamilton school board after a veteran member announced his resignation Thursday evening.

Rob Weigel, a former president of the Hamilton Board of Education, notified his fellow members he is ending his nearly eight-year run on the governing board of the 10,000-student school system.

While Weigel attended the board’s meeting, he did not speak other than to give a quick thanks to the remaining four members and Superintendent Mike Holbrook, who presented Weigel a plaque commemorating his public service.


New roundabout designed to help make dangerous intersection safer

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

One of Butler County’s most dangerous intersections is much safer now, according to the state transportation department.

Today, the intersection at Ohio 73 and Jacksonburg Road is a single-lane roundabout, a $2.9 million project designed to calm traffic. The ODOT-led project was constructed by Barrett Paving Materials. Work began last summer.

“The need for a safety improvement project arose from the number of crashes, types of crashes and their severity, and ODOT determined that a roundabout would provide the optimal solution for the intersection based on research, traffic studies and public input,” ODOT said.


City regains ownership of two downtown properties after council approves paying former owner $161K

On Tuesday, city council unanimously approved paying William Grau, owner of two downtown properties that are key to the redevelopment of the area, $161,824.60 that constitutes reimbursement of expenses for his years of ownership of the buildings, according to city documents.

Grau bought the Manchester Hotel and Snider Building for $1 each in 2014 with the intent of renovating the properties into a hotel and brewery/distillery and restaurant. The development agreement called for the project to be completed within two years, by late 2016.

But Grau never secured the necessary funds and the properties continued to deteriorate, according to City Manager Jim Palenick. He said the payment ends the litigation and attorney fees and gives the city full titles to the properties.


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

Riverway Summit will include Spooky Nook tour

The 2021 Great Miami Riverway Summit that will happen April 30 won’t only feature Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill owner Sam Beiler, but also the $144 million project he is building inside the former Champion Paper mill, organizers announced Thursday.

This media outlet previously reported Beiler would speak about what is to be the country’s largest indoor sports complex. Riverway Director Dan Foley, who leads efforts to attract tourists to the region, announced the under-construction complex itself, which is scheduled to open around the end of the year, will be part of what summit attendees will see as part of their $30-per-person (plus a $3.46 fee) tickets, along with box lunches and refreshments by Two Women in a Kitchen.

The summit will happen from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a bus trip to the 1.3-million-square-foot facility starting around 3:30 p.m., Foley said.